Something is happening very quickly in the beer world, right before our very eyes & we almost are oblivious to the woods because of the trees. Well what is it I hear you cry?!
The influence of American beers, American hops & American craft breweries is starting to ooze a little more throughout the British beer scene everyday.
The use of US hops has never been more prevalent in British brewing, more & more breweries are brewing US style pale ales, average IBU's of beers is on the rise, US yeast is becoming commonplace & British beer has never been never been in such a rude state of health.
In the past 5 years more & more British breweries have opened heavily influenced by US styles & ideals, BrewDog being the most obvious, but I would include our brewery in that our beers are dominated with US hops & brewed with an American yeast strain. Only yesterday a new brewery just a few miles from us was opened by a good friend, Richard has opened (Magic Rock Brewing) Richard admits “The intention is to brew modern flavour-forward beers inspired in part by US craft breweries in order to take advantage of the current real ale boom and an expected increase in discerning drinkers seeking more flavourful beers,”
But why are US beers, hops & breweries so irresistible?? The answer partly lies in the very nature of Americans...
If something is worth doing, it is worth overdoing!
Big flavours, big ideals & big volumes, it is this intrepid nature that is at the very heart of the US craft beer movement. Those in the American craft beer movement want beer to grab you by your senses, to enthral you & to capture your imagination. It is merely not enough for beer to be a social lubricant, it must be more, it must be at the very heart of the reason to socialise, to talk about the very beer you are socialising over.
These ideals are sinking into British beer & I for one welcome it, the time of insipid faceless beer is on the wane in the UK, and US hops are giving a more than generous hand. There will always be those who are very wary of US influence, some believe it will eclipse British beer, the truth is it won't! As the very beers being made with the stunning array of hops coming from the US are being brewed on British soil & therefore ARE British beer! Also the fact that British beer styles are also embraced by the American craft beer movement, not to mention the growing popularity of British hops in US pale ales, I met an American brewer recently who swears by certain UK varieties to finish his beer. It is give & take, the market is mutating & evolving & the prospective outlook is looking nothing short of sensational.
As I brewer I have a plethora of superb US hops waiting to grace a new beer, such varieties include: Citra, Chinook, Centennial, Amarillo, Cascade, Columbus, Summit, Bravo, Herkules, Simcoe, El-Dorado, Willamette, Santiam, Sterling & Liberty. The truth is British hops just cannot compete on the vast array of flavours & aromas that can be achieved through the liberal us of what I like to call 'sunshine hops', bright green oozing with sticky lupulin, these hops were only destined for one thing, to make stunning beer!
British pale ales have never been more exciting & US hops are the biggest reason!
Love them or loathe them, they are growing stunning hops & brewing stunning beer & the US influence will continue to grow for a long time to come in the UK. I for one welcome it, because it's dragging British beer kicking and screaming out of the dark ages in back to the top of the tree where it belongs!
The outcome of this mingling of influences will be a creative, inspirational & diverse British craft brewing scene which will be nothing short of nirvana for all beer lovers.
The Americans are waking up to something amazing & I can assure you we won't be far behind!
You may have seen this video, but watch it again & be inspired about what is to come...