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18th

Feb

It's beer Bob, but not as we know it.

Craft beer brewers are forever pushing the boundaries to create new and exciting brews. In fact the one question I get asked the most in the ten-plus years I have been involved in the microbrewing industry is 'What's new?'.
Brewers are using new techniques, ingredients and ideas to expand the range of beers and styles available. Some work, some don't but at least they are trying. And yet it seems that in this country more than in any other that I have worked the beer drinkers are, on the whole, much less adventurous.
I understand that we have a longer tradition of brewing beer than most countries, and that beer is what our society was built upon, but we must change our habits in order to embrace this wonderful historical and diverse beverage.
All too often I encounter the phrase 'Nothing over 4%, I don't want to go crazy!'. And each time I do my heart sinks a little. Very few people when choosing a wine from our huge variety do people even look or question how strong it is. So why do we with beer?
I think that the answer lies in the habits that we, a nation of beer drinkers, have fallen into. When we talk about beer it is 'a few pints down the pub', or 'going out on the ale'. Beer is the most diverse beverage on the planet. It can range from almost translucent to as black as the night sky on the Pennines in colour. It has flavours of grapefruit, coffee, orange, cardamom and smells of wet dog and chocolate and everything in-between. I have tasted beers ranging from an alcohol percentage of less than 0.2% to 41%. So why do we put it in such a small box? Let it out! There's beers for breakfast; beers for after a long bike ride; beers to drink in front of a warm fire. There are beers to share and beers that will have you coveting in a dark corner whispering about 'your precious'.
Give beer the credit it deserves. Cook with it pair it with food treat each new beer not against the last beer or any other beer. Treat it as an experience of it's own, with an open mind and more importantly an open palate. If not you are doing yourself, and the drink a massive disservice.

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