I am sure all you ale “connoisseurs” who read my beery ramblings, will have heard the word “craft” being bandied about, to describe certain cask conditioned beers.
The word is popping-up in regular conversation down the boozer and on social media sites - and there are differing opinions, on what is to be termed as “craft beer”.
It’s certainly a subjective issue.
Some of you appear to have an opinion of what it is, and perhaps more contentiously, what it’s not.
So, here is my “four penneth worth” and what I deem to be the definition of “craft beer”.
Craft beer, in my opinion, is produced in small quantities, by an independent brewer - a microbrewer in most cases. An operation that is run by an artisan - a craftsman.
There are many in the locality. Worsthorne and Reedley Hallows breweries, are good examples in Burnley. Bowland Brewery in the Ribble Valley. Barlick Brewery in Pendle.
And the most recent addition: Big Clock Brewery, based inside Grant’s Bar, in Accrington - and already producing a range of “craft beers” to tempt your taste buds.
Unfortunately, there are some, who, in my opinion, will use the term “craft beer” purely for marketing purposes - or indeed to inflate the price of your pint.
Enter “industrial brewer”, Greene King.
The TV advert for their IPA brand boasts: “crafted for the moment”. What, it’s crafted? Hang on, you produce about 130,000 barrels of the stuff, each year.
And the fermentation tanks are the height of a gabled-ended terraced house. It’s surely an “industrial brew”. It cannot bear any relation to a craft-produced beer. In fact, how the heck can you have an India Pale Ale at 3.6%, in the first place?
More “crafty” examples are highlighted on pub chalkboards.
One boozer had a list of cask ales and a list of craft ales.
Now, that appeared OK at first glance.
However, one of the beers on the “craft list” was 13 Guns, the excellent American IPA style slurp, from the Thwaites “Crafty Dan” brewery.
It read: Crafty Dan 13 Guns IPA. Eh? No mention of the brewer, Thwaites. Just a devious, crafty and misleading description - no argument. An excuse, no doubt, to increase the price - what a nerve!
I know some of you will be saying: “What does it matter whether it is deemed ‘craft brewed’ or not.”
Well, it does in my opinion. As “industrial brewers” are now rolling out, what they describe as,“craft beer”.
“Crafted for the moment?”
I reckon I know what cask ale lover Ricky Tomlinson, would have said.
However, to quote the retort, is not appropriate in this instance.