It was a few weeks ago now, but Craft Beer Rising was once again held in the former Truman Brewery Cellars, on Brick Lane. And what a show it was. I arrived there around lunchtime, and right from the door staff who were very welcoming, it was such a laid back and relaxed affair, really was all about the beer. Not far through the doorway and I bump into Peter Simpson of Simpsons Malt, and Fergus Fitzgerald of Adnams; a great pair of chaps to have my first beer with. I wouldn’t know where to start to talk about the beers – I was pleased to see dark beers indexing well, and the mix of cask, keg and bottle – which to me endorses the fact that the brewer’s task is split into two key components these days – the first is to produce decent beers that people want to drink, and are prepared to pay for; this may sound simplistic, but has not always been, and indeed sometimes still isn’t, the case, great to see the brewer’s having responsibility for the character of the beer. And the second is to make sure having produced these excellent beers, that they reach the consumer in the condition they should do. So if it is a higher volume selling beer, then that may well be cask. If it is stronger in flavour, alcohol or both, it may well have a slower rate of sale, so keg may be the answer. If it is very strong, or intended for those environments where draught would be difficult to serve, and by that I don’t just mean at home, but also in restaurants who may want to offer a range of beers, then bottle or can is the answer. Talk to more conservative brewers, and cans are history; talk to some of the newer brewers, and they are investing in canning facilities. But can and keg of the 21st Century are so different to what most people remember from the 1960′s and 1970′s. This is not crap beer being disguised by chilling and gassing it; this is great beer, being packaged in the most suitable way for the consumer to enjoy. We all know that cask ale, in good condition, is unrivalled. But not very nice if not in the right condition, so smaller packs can be the answer for certain occasions. As long as it is good beer.
Apart from the title of the event, I think I have avoided the C word. What I will do is use it once more, and say well done to all involved with Craft Beer Rising.