The Brewers Association represents the interests of their members, who number more than 2600 of the USA’s craft brewers. There are also over 44,000 non commercial home-brewers who are members too, and they are in the UK promoting American craft breweries and showing the British just how exciting the scene is on the other side of the pond.
I swung by the Brewers Association stand at Imbibe Live recently and managed to get on the guest list at a fantastic tasting at the White Horse pub in Parsons Green. The White Horse has long been a mecca for lovers of great and interesting beer, and has been a host of many a Beer Academy course.
The pub was already buzzing by the time I arrived with my other half, a cider and wine loving gal who is being gradually weened onto the pleasures of beer. As she seems to be coming round to the fruity notes of many of the North American hops, what better event to try a few drops of hoppy deliciousness than this?
American craft beers are often characterised as hop bombs with little in the way of balance, but although the liberal use of the Pacific Northwest’s finest greenery is a regular feature of many beers, there is a lot more to the US craft beer scene that mere IBUs! There were beery representatives from 12 breweries from Uncle Sam alongside some canapés that represented some classic American fare. BBQ chicken, pulled pork, smoked salmon blinis and burger sliders were a welcome addition. Full-flavoured food with well-flavoured beer, the pairings were up to us!
There were a range of beers, many influenced by British styles that don’t get brewed as often over here – including a delicious Double Brown Stout from Deep Ellum Brewing from Texas. There were well-balanced Czech style pilsners, flavoursome porters, Belgian-inspired strong ales, fruity wheat beers, and a delicately nuanced earl grey tea pale ale as well as a refreshing German style Gose beer (beer made with salt). Of course there were some hoppy pale ales and intensely aromatic and bitter IPAs too, it wouldn’t be an American craft beer tasting without them!!
More and more beers are making their way across the Atlantic and of course the BA has a vested interest in inviting beer writers and buyers to a tasting. In reality lovers of everything from Meantime and Brewdog beer to Beavertown and Kernel brewing have the craft beer movement in the US to thank. They were originally inspired by traditional beers from the UK, including historical styles that were barely ever brewed in the late 70s and 80s when it all kicked off. Now their re-interpretation and innovation has influenced small and radical brewers all over the world including British breweries who now make beer with American hops, innovation and style! It is well worth picking up a few cans or bottles when you get the chance as you can get to grips with a vast range of flavours from some talented brewers that have helped change the landscape of the beer industry forever.