Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"What's the matter, Lagerboy, afraid you might taste something?"

It's been a while since my subscription to CAMRA's newsletter expired, but I've tried to keep up with the "real ale" scene from afar. During our visit to Plymouth in 2009, I was gratified to find so many excellent Bitters from the new generation of small breweries described here, and to read that Milds and Porter may be making a comeback seals the deal.

Cheers! It's a real ale renaissance; Despite pub closures and a dwindling lager market, record number of microbreweries are opening, by Jon Henley (Guardian.CO.UK)

... Hunter's is part of a remarkable early 21st-century flowering of traditional British ale. Helped by an increasingly enthusiastic public and a handy excise duty relief that effectively halves your tax bill as long as you make no more than about 3,000 barrels a year (thank you, Gordon Brown), some 50 new small breweries are expected to open around the country this year.

There are now, in fact, more breweries in Britain than at any time since the end of the second world war: well over 800, against half that number, of all sizes, less than a decade ago, and a mere 140 in 1970. And we clearly like what they're brewing: sales of "live", cask-conditioned ales, which ferment a second time in the barrel, have surged by 25% over the past five years.

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