Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I Refuse to Name This Post "Reflections on" Something or Other.

Love that tiled mirror ceiling. Excellent for peeping into glasses and shirts and taking not-so-clever photos.

Some of you U.K. folks will see the face on the right and know right away where I am in this photo. For the rest of you: That's Tom Cadden, manager and geek extraordinaire at the Craft Beer Company in Clerkenwell, London. It's an ideal visit for any tourist who wants to see what the evolving British version of the craft beer movement is all about, while still having the option of well-kept cask-conditioned ales.

There were 21 keg taps and 16 cask pumps, by my count. Tom told me that about 40 percent of what he sells is cask, versus 30 percent in keg. The fridges were full of real lambics and other fun bottles; those are another 20 percent of sales. The other 10 percent would be wine and spirits, i.e. "I don't think I like beer but my friends brought me." (Occasionally, they're the ones dragging their friends along next time.)

I drank Moor Top, a 3.6%-strength, aromatic deep-gold ale from Buxton. It is among that new-ish wave of citrus-hopped, session-strength ale that has become one of mankind's greater cultural achievements, the culmination of millenia of just messing around. It seemed to be in many places when I was there in August. Suited me well.

I asked Tom (and lots of other people) what "craft beer" means in Britain. He said it's an unanswerable question and then proceeded to answer it pretty well. More to come, including better but still not-so-clever photos, in an upcoming issue of Draft.

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