Keeping it real … Real Ale
November 2nd marked the 3 year anniversary of my blog. 3 years I’ve been putting words together to make some sort of vague sense, in the hope that it might encourage people to explore what’s in their pint glass (Or half.. Or third.. Or growler.. Or bottle.. Or can.. A lot has changed in 3 years!).
I’m not sure there’s been a more exciting 3 years to start blogging, as the UK beer scene is unrecognisable compared to a couple of years before I started blogging.
Gone are the days when I am super excited to walk into a pub and see offerings other than Doombar and Green King IPA. Gone are the days of even considering opening a can of Lager on a long away trip to watch Leyton Orient. Gone are the days of settling for big bottles of Leffe at house parties.
Beer has evolved so much and for the better. I have evolved along with it too, taking a healthy interest of real ale and expanding my passion into an obsession. Ever since I had that first bottle on Tiny Rebel Hadouken on my first visit to The Alehouse in Chelmsford I have embarked on a journey of discovery. Things really changed when the misses and I had our first visit to Belgium since I was a kid, that changed everything. To see a country so rich in beer history and tradition made me want to show other people what there was out there to taste and experience. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to get stuck into many different countries beer scenes. From the incredible beer scene hiding under our noses in Amsterdam, to drinking Kolsh alongside shots of , and I quote, “Hitler juice” in Cologne, to making friends while being surprised by the French Craft Beer scene in Bordeaux, to all the way out in Lithuania for one of the most exciting and secret beer scenes I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. A beer scene that is much closer to our real ale beers than most, including myself before travelling, could have imagined.
3 years ago I would have never of said that once a month I would be sitting around a table of like minded friends I had met off the Internet sharing big bottles of beer. The SX Bottleshare is one of my highlights of the month and I don’t think there is a better venue to host the event than The Alehouse, the place it really kicked off for me.
I started blogging to help the growth and interest in better beer, some of my favourite moments over the last 3 years is when I’ve had people come up to me and thank me for giving them suggestions to visit while away on a city break. My motives for producing new articles for my blog hasn’t changed, I want to help people discover their own unique beer experiences. Although the blog was never intended to be used as way to get complementary invites to events or products, I have been lucky enough to be involved with certain things. I would like to thank everyone who has every sent me something to review or invited me to come check out their product.
It has also been great to see the growth of some of my favourite breweries and also favourite writers. The first blogs that I would regularly read, which inspired me to blog also, are Beer Beauty, The Petit Four and Beersay. Although I am gutted to see The Petit Four is no more and Marverine Cole is such a busy bee that Beer Beauty has taken a back seat, I am over the moon to see the latest developments in Phil from Beersay’s beer adventure with the opening of his own shop.
I have met some top people over the last 3 years also. Fellow beer geeks from around the world. It is funny how something as simple as beer can bring people together in such a social way. I have enjoyed every bev with you lot and I hope to chink glasses with you again soon!
I was honoured this year to join the British Guild of Beer Writers, I still get a buzz out of seeing my name among some of my favourite Beer Writers. I plan to write more, recently I haven’t been able to put as much time into my blog as I have wanted to. Sometimes life gets in the way! The combination of buying a house and having incompetent solicitors means that I have been busy elsewhere but when that is all finished I will be able to put even more work in.
Where will beer go in the next 3 years? It is crazy to think that London now has 70+ breweries and my home county of Essex having 30+. I hope that Essex grows more over the next few years, it would be great to see some of the local breweries around me get more exposure. I honestly have no idea how the next few years will roll out, the advances with CAMRA and their attitude towards Craft Beer have been good recently, its great to see Beer Writers being employed by breweries, wooaahh can conditioned beer and the constant vast selection of different types of quality beers continuing to grow.
I mean come on, you can even get Craft Beer battered McCain oven chips now… what a time to be alive!