Archive for July, 2013


Golden Fire

Godlen Fire - The history of Cider. By Ted Bruning

Golden Fire – The history of Cider. By Ted Bruning

I’d just like to tell the world about a book I’ve just finished reading. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, however, for anyone interested in the subject of cider I feel this is a must read.

Golden Fire by Ted Bruning is basicly a comprehensive history of cider from its possible beginnings millennia ago, to recent business mergers of the major cider industries in recent years. The first few chapters I found were a bit dry and did remind me somewhat of an old history text book from when I was at school. Saying this, when the subject matter moves on to slightly more modern times (when there is more hard evidence and less supposition to be made) the book is easy to read, informative and full of little bits of information which will one day keep the reader in good stead during the ‘history of cider’ round of a pub quiz.

I’m in two minds about the final conclusions of the book, in which Ted asks whether enough is being done to promote high quality “smooth” ciders, which are much more akin to wine than what most of us know as “traditional” or “rough” or “scrumpy”, and that not is being done across the cider industry to educate cider makers and consumers. I’m not sure if cider, being a smaller industry than beer would ever get the investment that he is calling for but at the same time I can’t argue with the fact that if the investment were made then more high quality ciders would be available.

Either way, agree or disagree with the final conclusions of the book, it is a great read and one which i thoroughly recommend to anyone who is interested in cider.

Available to buy at amazon and all good retailers. 

Let there be beer!

Flicking through the pages of What’s Brewing the other day, I came across an article about two new new industry campaigns, both of which are being backed by CAMRA. The first, http://www.itsbetterdownthepub.com, is a website which asks people to go online and tell the world why it is better drinking in the pub, and specifically their local. I’m not so sure about this, surely the point is that this website should be telling the world why they should be going to the pub, not the other way around?

The other campaign is Let There Be Beer. This is currently on Facebook and Twitter, with their own website expected next month. This is basicly just a big advertising campaign for beer in general. As well as online media there is also a TV advert. I’m guessing that this has been timed so that it can come up against the swaithes of summertime cider adverts which plague the television this time of year.  As well as CAMRA this campaign is being backed by AB-inbev, Carlsberg, Heineken, Miller Brands and Molson-coors. I like the idea of all of the big boys in brewing coming together and just saying “look. Let’s just have a beer”

 

The Session

OK, The session is a monthly communal blog where subject where many different beer bloggers all comment on the same topic. This month the topic has been suggested by Justin  of Justin’s Brew Reviews. He asks,

“For quite some time now, I’ve been wondering what makes the India Pale Ale (IPA) style of beer so popular. Don’t get me wrong–I thoroughly enjoy it and gladly participate in #IPADay. I’m just wondering, why all the hype?”

I’m not really sure where to begin with this one. I, like so many people, love a good IPA, and I’m not talking about Greene King here (I drink that because it’s cheap and readily available). I find a decent IPA or double IPA really refreshing at the beginning of a session or as a great way of completely mixing things up after a lot of heavy bitters and stouts. That’s why I like them.

I’d hazard a guess, and this is only a guess, that brewers (particularly in America) like IPA’s because it is easy to quantify their bitterness. We have all seen the claims of beer X having ten trillion IBU’s and then next week the brewery down the road comes out with eleven trillion IBU’s. I’m exaggerating, of course, but this does allow a sort of one-upmanship which can help with sales etc. Brewers will also like its appeal to us: the beer geeks; the one’s who make a big fuss about it online and help the brewers with free advertising and online hype.

But that brings us back tot the original question: why the hype? Well, give a heavily hopped IPA to a larger drinker, just your average bloke down the pub and see what they say. In my experience they pull a funny face and ask why anyone makes such a thing. Perhaps this is the most important thing? It’s a beer for real beer lovers and it helps to set us aside from those that drink any old swill just to get drunk. We drink it and love it because it is not like your average beers, a real hop bomb (and it’s the hop bomb’s which cause all the  hype) will smack you in the mouth and not apologise for it, whereas even the most outrageous of stouts is smooth and luscious and forgiving. I suppose it’s the acid test, whether your really a beer geek or not.