Monday, April 01, 2013

Beer is the news

Story of the week has to be BrewDog's brilliantly conceived beer vote in which the Ellon punks invited their followers to design their next beer. That's right, over a week, and using the phrase #Mashtag, Twitter users were each day asked to choose key elements of the new beer.

Here're the results, and they look pretty damned tasty: 
Monday: Beer Style - Brown Ale.
Tuesday: Malt Bill & ABV - American Brown Ale at 7.5% ABV
Wednesday: Hops & IBU - New Zealand Hops and 95 IBU
Thursday: Special Twist - adding Hazelnuts and oak chips
Friday: Name -  #Mashtag

You should check out the BrewDog blog. As well as seeing the other options for each day, you get an idea of how all these flavours and methods work together, with good explanations on the brewing processes. Anyway, as a final twist BrewDog are also letting folks design the label. Plan is they'll start brewing very, very soon, with the first batch ready in about a month.

Anyway, it was a beautiful stunt, got a good hit online and in papers, and was in keeping with BrewDog's off-the-wall modus operandi. I'm sure it'll be lovely, but my worry is that, given the British electorate's tendency for blinkered stupidity, that the beer will be as uninspiring and unpalatable as our current government. Thank goodness then that craft beer drinkers aren't as braindead as the majority of UK voters. 

Also newsworthy, Munro's in Glasgow had their official opening, and I got leathered. Highlights were the Arbor Oyster Stout and Redchurch's Bethnel Pale Ale. 

And, finally, Cheerless News of the Week is how George Osborne became posterboy for British beer drinkers by giving the industry a mediocre tax break and removing a much-hated duty escalator that was generally considered to be the chief cause of thousands of pub closures.

In the following article, Camra chief executive Mike Benner said: "The Chancellor has become the toast of Britain's cash-strapped beer drinkers and we should now be paying around 10p less per pub pint than we would have been had the escalator remained in place in last week's Budget. This is a massive victory for Britain's 15 million beer drinkers."

I have not and will not be toasting Mr Osborne, and, frankly, I'd quite happily keep paying that 10p. I think on a ten-pint bender I can afford to waste another pound. Drinkers in dire poverty will be pleased, no doubt. Shame about the axe in welfare, social fund and council tax benefits, the imposition of the bedroom tax, removal of legal aid, tax credit reduction, public sector cuts, etc. 

What is worth raising a glass to is Mr Osborne's economy-salving decision to reduce the tax bill faced by millionaires. It's this kind of forward-thinking, groundbreaking vision that'll have this economy restored in no time - and the guy's not even an economist!! My millionaire beer-drinking readers out there, I trust YOU will be raising two glasses to Mr Osborne. 

Now, it really is good that the duty escalator has been removed, following hearty campaigning by Camra et al, and thousands of pub closures and job losses. Call me cynical, but I think this only happened because the duty escalator was starting to affect some of the larger breweries' bottom line. Maybe one of their non-exec board members went to the same school as Mr Osborne, maybe he had a wee word over dinner. Anyway, I hope he's toasting Mr Osborne. He can certainly afford to. 

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