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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Young's, well, a year after

In light of the buyout of local brewer Dominion by Anheuser-Busch and Fordham, and of the recent merger of SAB/Miller with Molson/Coors, let's not forget the folding of UK brewery Young's into brewery Wells.

It's been a bit over a year since the closure of that historic Wandsworth brewery in London. How's the beer? UK blogger Stonch takes a look. Synopsis: some blips, some positives.

The photo was taken at the Old Dominion Beer Festival of June 2004.

Young's then brewmaster Ken Don was a special guest at that festival. A cask of his Special London Ale was almost not.

The shipping company erroneously sent the cask to Texas, where suspicious TSA officials refused to release it. Frantic phone calls and faxes eventually convinced the authorities to free the firkin. It arrived at the Virginia festival, shaken, but safe, mere minutes before the 12 noon opening time.

I'm on the right in the photo, sporting a full beard, and showing homage in a Young's tee. At the fest, I took the opportunity to ask Ken Don about the whispered rumors that Young's was for sale. He replied, "Young's is now in the business of real estate." The land on which the brewery stood was worth more than the brewery itself.

The Dominion fest, as well, is no more.

In the same post, but in the comments section, Stonch writes on the issue of beer freshness and quality versus sheer quantity:

My philosophy is that quality is more important than choice. Some of my favourite pubs that serve top notch real ale have no decent bottled beers and very little selection on draught. Often the quality of the real ale is because of that, not in spite of it.

Too many places try and offer too much choice and end up turning everything over slowly, resulting in stale beer and out of date bottles.

Fresh beer is the better beer!

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