As many of you are aware I’m a regular customer of many of the beer bottle shops on Tyneside. I also frequent a great many of the good quality boozers that have set up here. But recently something odd has started happening. I’ll be honest for the last few years I’ve been marvelling at the new, enticed by the different and chuffed to discover what new breweries are bringing to the table.
Lately though there have been a few occasions when I’ve looked at shelves full of beers and just felt abit meh about the beers that I’m looking at. Don’t get me wrong I love a good pale ale but there are so so many on the market that I’m no longer that drawn by new ones. Add to that the fact that the breweries that were new a few years ago have now finely tuned their pale ales to a good high consistent standard. Part of me is turning back to have a regular beer, only there are a few different beers that I go for regularly rather than just having one. How many folk always grab a can or two of Gamma Ray when we’re selecting our haul? That’s no longer new and exciting it’s just unbelievably good, high quality, consistent beer.
There are also the processes to consider. A new brewery, or an existing brewery who has just started bottling or canning, will take a while to get the correct system in place to get the best out of the beer going into the bottles/cans. Again Beavertown were one of the first breweries to get their own canning line in which means they’re so much further down the line with learning how to fine tune it.
Pale ales are the heartbeat of any brewery these days. Quantity wise, they’re by far the biggest seller. Or at least they should be. I’m all for breweries not being profit driven but commerciality has to come into it at some point so that the brewery can survive and thrive. If you can sell your most accessible beer, usually a pale, in quantity it gives you a good basis to experiment with stronger flavours and more adventurous brews.
Maybe this is the first sign of the saturation point. What I want is for new beers to stand out from what’s already on the market. There are a boat load of good pale ales already established on the market so any new brewery has its work cut out to bring something both different and of a very high standard.
Recipe wise I suspect a great many pales are very similar interms of grain and yeast, and the wide use of most hops means we’ve had a great many of the new hops before. Again, very difficult to come up with something new.
Think I need a spell on sours, cleanse the palette and reset my hop clock.
Or maybe I’m just ready for a break after a few months of drinking too much, too often!
Or maybe I’m just ready for Magic Rock cans to set my taste buds aglow again!
Or maybe I’m just being a grumpy bugga sat on a Monday morning train.