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    Sunday, 22 June 2008

    That Beer Doesn't Travel Well.

    It's a common comment I hear from my occasional beer drinking friends. It's also one which carries no water with me. I've had cask ale from the Scottish islands down here in Northampton and they've been absolutely fine. And of course we get cask beers from Japan and USA at GBBF, and they are more than acceptable.

    The truth is that the beers I'm hearing about not travelling are your pretty dodgy national or regional brewers' beers, which are mass produced with basic ingredients and sent to pubs whose landlords aren't really bothered about the quality of their ale.

    The fact is that all ale needs a period of rest after their journey to the pub, whether it be from the pub's own backyard microbrewery; a trip of a few metres, or a long journey by wholesaler's lorry down the motorway. It then needs careful handling and conditioning, and should be tasted by the staff before serving, to check it's ready. The 'travel' part of a beer's life really should be irrelevant.

    The next time someone tells me beer X doesn't travel well, I shall tell them firmly not to drink crap beer in crap pubs.


    Stonch said...

    To some extent I agree with what you're saying. "X doesn't travel well" is one of those stock phrases people throw out without thinking.

    On the other hand, you can't blame the brewer or the publican if something happens to damage the beer in between the brewery gates and the cellar. Add to that the fact that some beers are definitely more resilient than others.

    Whorst said...

    Funny you should mention this. When I lived in the UK I heard this regularly. Seems to me Bass was one that people always mentioned about not traveling well. I agree with you, this is largely bullshit. The beer needs time to settle down and vent. If proper procedures are not followed in the cellar, the beer will suffer.

    Paul Garrard said...

    Stonch makes a fair point on the 'inbetween' bit. I know of two brewers that have stopped dealing with the same major distributor because they felt the quality had suffered whilst being 'handled' by them. Real ale needs TLC all the way down the supply chain!

    jocko said...

    I drink hundreds of beers every year most of them very average.But the great beers like Orkney -Darkstar-Red Sqirrel always taste superb no matter how far they have travelled.Landlord -London Pride and Harveys sussex bitter are good examples of beers that if looked after can be superb but sadly in a lot of London pubs are very average.

    helen said...

    I agree with Jocko. My husband and I have struggled to find many decent beers served by pubs. To be honest we have resorted to buying most of our beer and ales from online shops
    leave in the drinks cupboard a few days and they are fine.