It’s fairly easy to pinpoint the moment my life changed. I was in Wilton’s Music Hall in Tower Hill in late 2010 deciding, as I often did around that time, between a glass of half-decent wine and a bottle of bland lager for purposes of refreshment. But lurking in the fridge was something mysterious. A large bottle of beer with a strange light brown wrapping paper-type label. From London. A chat with the barman followed, who asserted that I “have to try it’, this confirmed my fate. The explosion of flavour that hit my mouth was unprecedented, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I pretty much cleaned them out of Kernel Pale Ale that night. I remember the mixture of pride and satisfaction on the barman’s face upon seeing my reaction. This, to me, is something that everyone involved in serving beer these days should strive to feel. It’s no longer enough simply to chuck out a generic pint with a grunt. People are paying premium prices for the best products in the world, and we owe it to them to know and love these products, and attempt to transfer this passion to everyone who comes through our doors.
My favourite beers of recent times? Everything from Evil Twin’s Femme Fatale Blanc IPA to Northern Monk’s beautiful Strannik stout, via a healthy dose of Hawkshead’s Great White wheat beer. There has never been a better time to be into beer; the incredible standards being set by breweries all over the world are driving quality up, and this is brilliant news for all of us who will forever be in love with water, hops, malt and yeast.