Hello World – My first Blog

So I have finally got my blog up and running so can share my beer and cider related experiences, advice and general musings with you.

I am particularly interested in matching local and seasonal food with beers and ciders although would not want to exclude beers from overseas.   It would for example be foolish to ignore the amazing array of Belgium beers or nonsensical to overlook the great American craft beers from over the pond so I will try to be inclusive in my recommendations.

Despite the fact that beer and cider as sophisticated, grown up-dare I say it ‘trendy’ drinks are definitely on a roll, there are still many people out there who do not give these great drinks the reverence they deserves.

I was having lunch with some friends recently, and I suggested they try the lovely Oude Gueuze that I was drinking.  My friends however said they didn’t like beer.   Rather than point out there are numerous different types of beer I persuaded them both to try a sip.   They both thought the Oude Gueuze was nice, but still went on to order wine.hmmmmm I have my work cut out!

A lot of the problem is presentation.  slam a pint in front of someone who doesn’t normally drink beer and you are on a hiding to nothing.   Offer that same person a red wine glass full of something sumptuous such as Thwaites Tavern Porter – lovely dark beer with a nose of smoke and  damp blankets (trust me this is better than it sounds) and a taste of lovely smokey, treacle and serve with pasta in a tomato and basil sauce and you could well have a convert on your hands.

Looking forward there are some great beer events coming up but on a serious note tomorrow I hope to attend the Save your Pint meeting at the Orpington Liberal Club with Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group.  The meeting concerns the deeply damaging beer duty escalator ahead of next week’s budget.  This escalator is the policy introduced by the previous government of placing a tax on beer at a rate of 2% above inflation.  This policy has been continued by the current government.

The result is that the price of beer has increased significantly over the past few years which is obviously damaging to pubs and breweries.

What governments fail to recognise is that beer is a home grown product that employs vast numbers of people in the UK.   

Furthermore, despite David Cameron’s talk of a ‘big Society’ by continuing with the  beer duty escalator, pubs are under threat -pubs that are so often at the heart of communities.

The view that alcohol is bad, is only being reinforced by such policy.   In moderation alcohol is beneficial and should not been seen as a negative in society but instead a cohesive element.   Opening a bottle of something at home after a hard day is fine but the act of going to the pub, socialising with other patrons is beneficial to communities and all the businesses who depend upon pub trade.   Businesses such as the cab company you might use to get home or the Pork Scratching makers who supply the pub.  

Surely it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that raising taxes at the expense of the brewing and pub industry and all those other businesses who directly and indirectly benefit from the existence of pubs , is daft if those taxes are then going to have to help support individuals who fall by the way side when these industries fail?

Despite the above, it is not all doom and gloom in the world of Beer and Cider.   New micro breweries are appearing which is good in these austere times.

I intend to make it my business to support as many breweries as possible and hope you will pop back to this blog to see how this project is going.