Sunday, March 13, 2011

I would be a British beer drinker ... if I lived there.

"Proud of British Beer" is a short film produced by the Society of Independent Brewers. It features brewers, both large and small, hop and barley growers, maltsters, and industry suppliers. Our concerns are that the continued above inflation increases in beer duty are destroying this indigenous British industry. Pubs, which are an integral part of the fabric of British society, are also being forced to close at the rate of 29 per week.

Compared to 2009's "I Am a [US] Craft Brewer", this video promoting British beer somehow manages to appear justly proud rather than merely supercilious, inclusive rather than smug. It's a call to Britons to protect their beer, their heritage. It extols British beer by revealing its inherent qualities, rather than by denigrating other beverages. *

Then there's that pub thing: those cozy third places of good beer that are rare here in the US, and a threatened species in the UK. And there's that session cask ale thing: 'living' beer of a reasonable alcohol level that refreshes and nourishes rather than inebriates.

There's one particular moment in this short video that captures the quintessence of British beer in a pithy manner that eludes the US video in its defense of US 'craft' beer. The narrator asks, "What's so good about British beer?" Beer blogger Marverine Cole responds, seemingly astonished by the self-evidence of the answer: "Oh, come on!"

It makes me, at least, want to have a British beer ... that is, if I lived there.

  • *For the most part, the script takes the high road. There is one 'beer is better than wine with food' comment. Both good fermentables have their place at the table.
  • The beer 'duty' in the UK is somewhat akin to beer excise taxes here in the US. A bill currently (March 2011) under consideration by the Maryland General Assembly would increase the tax on beer by over 1,100% at the state level.

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