|Jaipur - Ten years young in 2014|
The creation of that tolerance is what has led us to 2014's 'Year of Craft' - Sixpoint cans in Wetherspoons, big breweries running campaigns with the word 'craft' shoe-horned uncomfortably into the copy, and a brewery under every railway arch in the SE postcode. So what now?
|Clarity - overrated or essential?|
If the 'craft revolution' was about prioritising flavour and aroma at the expense of appearance and, well, expense, perhaps the most successful brewers of the post-craft revolution will be those that can address the latter without sacrificing the former, and do it consistently. Some breweries are heading that way anyway.
I was intrigued to hear from Andy Parker that Fourpure, one of the newest breweries in London, have set beer clarity as one of their most important principles. (I have yet to try any of their beer, but although their Pils is reportedly excellent, what I have heard of the rest of the range has not been great - so perhaps some work needed there.)
|The Armoury - seen here before it went down the drain|
As 'craft' infiltrates Wetherspoons and the High St, expectations surrounding quality will rise accordingly. Uncarbonated batches, oxygen-riddled IPAs and gushing saisons are a surefire way to send the curious drinker back to their comfortable macrobrew. Post-craft needs to be defined by an ability to match the consistency of big beer. Big regionals like Thornbridge and Adnams, with their impressive brewplants, can manage it - the challenge for the small start-up breweries will be how that can be achieved through good process rather than through investment in equipment.