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British Beer 2.0

In my end of year review I argued that there had been a fundamental shift in the attitudes of brewers – that the likes of Brew Dog and Thornbridge were now spearheading a much wider movement of more experimental and innovative brewing.

This week I expanded on that thought in a feature for The Publican.  I like writing for this magazine.  They keep putting my features on their website so I can link to them.  But don’t let that put you off buying the mag too, there’s loads more good stuff in it.
Am I right?  Or am I making a mountain out of a few speciality beer crown caps?  To continue my music analogy, have I spotted punk or acid house, or am I the sad sack author of Romo or the New Wave of the New Wave? (see Melody Maker in the early 1990s if you don’t know what I’m talking about – yo probably don’t.  And that’s my point.)  




Trouble is there only so much you can do with beer, if you make a beer its going to fall into one of the neatly placed categories for it, its doubtful that any beer will be produced by a micro that really does buck the trend.
It can be packaged up as hip as you like but it wont be anything new.

Crown Brewer

It is very hard to brew something new that no one has done before. The only hope is the occasional new hop variety or some sort of fruit or spice; you also have to find a beer style that hasn’t been brewed that way with those ingredients.


That’s my point – we used to have this reverential attitude and almost our own version of the reinheitsgebot. Now we’re opening up to all sorts of new ingredients, aging beers in ways that are genuinely experimental, and brewing in ways other countries may have done but Britain has previously been sniffy about. Stuart, some of your beers like weeti-bits and ring of fire are a perfect example.

Wild yeasts! Oak aging! Whisky finishes! American hops! Let’s go for it!


Pete, great piece and I’m with you. BrewDog and Thornbridge are really progressing British beer and not just in terms of different techniques and ingredients – the beers speak for themselves in terms of quality and the skills they’ve been made with.

British Beer 2.0 (cool name, btw) is moving in a direction similar to that of the US craft beer scene just with typical British restraint (compare the Paradox beers to something like Bourbon County Stout) in most cases. It’s a beer world and Britain can’t lag behind with bitters any more, especially with so many good, progressive European beers (Mikkeller, etc.).

With the likes of Thornbridge and BrewDog moving things forward then the other brewers are going to have to keep up and I think that’s a good thing.


Heh heh. I’ve got a mate who is *still* convinced the romo revolution is round the corner. He just can’t understand why Orlando didn’t make it.

Sid Boggle

Don’t agree with Anglepen, not sure that CB’s view is the point. Like music, there’s room for re-interpretation of old movements and styles. Apart from not bigging up Dark Star enough (a couple of years ahead of both Brew Dog and Thornbridge in my view), I agree with you, Pete. I do wonder if there are any other drivers to this? Watching somebody I work with walk into the Rake and ask for Magic Hat #9 because they had it in NYC suggests that consumers, even casual drinkers, are being more open-minded about beer and wanting something different. Anecdotal, but it’s there…


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