Friday, 5 October 2012

A Belgian. (And a little bit about IMBC.)

I’m going to come right out and say it – “the best beer in England” isn’t saying much now is it. It’s a bit like “the best chocolate in the Netherlands”
That quote is from a Belgian colleague of mine at work (the context being that she was looking for Duvel Tripel Hop in England, and the place I suggested not only sells it but also 'some of the best beers in England').

It's hard to know how to respond to someone saying something like that - it's hard to know how much they know of beer in this country beyond the most visible brands, although, generally speaking, the higher the profile, the worse the beer. It's also possible that they've drunk quite a bit of English beer and they're singularly unimpressed by it all - or gave up after endless disappointments.

In any case, so far I haven't actually said anything to challenge what they've said. To make a massive generalisation about generalisations, I think a lot of people don't want to have their assumptions about things challenged. Belgians make great beers of many varieties. American beer is yellow, 'lite' and pissy. English beer is warm, brown and flat. Bears go in the woods. Why try to challenge what we already know?

(What I wish I could do would be to take them to the Independent Manchester Beer Convention which kicked off today and concludes tomorrow (which is when I'm going up). The venue looks fantastic (a former swimming baths, with bars in the pool), and the list of beers on offer is truly superb (and, dare I say, slightly more interesting than the vast majority of British beers on offer at the GBBF this year - I'm definitely not getting into whether this has anything to do with the diversity of dispense methods). I'm especially looking forward to seeing what The Wild Beer Co are bringing, if only because I'm tired of hearing from other people how great their prototypes are.)

A question to end with - if you had to change my colleague's mind, what would you serve them? I was thinking of the Kernel's Citra IPA (seeing as they like this year's Tripel Hop) or perhaps Magic Rock's Clown Juice for something with a Belgian twist. And maybe I could find something from a specialist Dutch chocolatier to go with it?


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