Raise a glass to beer!
The Independent, the Guardian and the Telegraph have given more attention to beer and pubs this year while both the BBC and Channel 4 ran two series on British drink (BBC) and beer and pubs (Channel 4). Both programmes left a lot to be desired and I know that Morrissey and Fox were deeply unhappy with the way their Channel 4 series was turned into a bit of a giggle. But at least beer got an airing. The James May and Oz Clarke series on BBC2 was weird (did anybody believe these two posh geezers actually slept in a crappy caravan?) but a number of breweries featured and showed that beer-making is a serious craft. What we need now is a programme producer with sufficient balls and freedom to make a series about beer that treats it with a degree of reverence. It's been a long time since the Beer Hunter was made -- 18 years to be precise.
Among the beer-making fraternity, it's encouraging to see a growing number of brewers going the extra mile to produce new styles such as oak-aged beers and to recreate historic styles such as IPA and Porter. I know BrewDog is a touchy subject on this Blog but I admire many of the things they do to increase the appreciation of beer and interest in beer.
There's also a lot of good writing on the subject. I'm delighted that the beer-writing touch has passed to a younger generation. Zak Avery writes beautifully and Pete Brown richly deserved winning the Beer Writer of the Year accolade this month. Lets hope the growing number of books on beer get both the sales and the media coverage they deserve.
For me, 2009 will go down as the year when a spirited campaign saved the national brewery museum in Burton-on-Trent. I look forward to it re-opening in 2010 and urge all beer lovers to visit it and use its facilities.
In case I don't write again this week. have a good holiday everyone. Drink wisely and drink well!