Mark Dredge from Pencil and Spoon has thrown the question "Is there such a thing as UK Craft Beer?" out into the internet ether.
This has been discussed with some people arguing that the craft beer moniker for some British beer is a misnomer and should only be used when in reference to beer produced by our American ale cousins on the other side of the Atlantic. This is a rather knee jerk, rigid and dogmatic response that maintains that under no circumstances should the term "craft beer" or "craft beer revolution" be used to describe the product or the upturn in interest and sales of some of our most exciting and progressive brewers and breweries.
Others, Mr Dredge included, consider it an apt name to describe and quantify the new brewers on the British beer scene who embody, exhibit and bring new levels of passion, creativity, experimentation and eclecticism into their beer craft. When I hear these words referring to British beer, I think of the following breweries - Dark Star, Thornbridge, Brewdog, Hardknott, Fyne Ales, Kernel, Marble, Moor, Redemption among others. These breweries are pushing the beer boundaries and are radically different from what has gone before. Many have been inspired by the U.S. and are using a range of hops and flavours that would have been unimaginable a few years ago. They are clearly doing something radical, something different and distinct from many other UK breweries.
Should we therefore create a new category of definition to differentiate these beers and breweries from the rest?
Yes. I think so. But I don't think that it should be the term 'Craft Beer'
Well, I've always been wary of the U.S. linguistic imperialism that seems to be creeping into the lexicon of our language. Words and phrases such as '24/7', 'Step up to the Plate', 'OMG', 'Awesome' and 'Craft Beer' are Americanisms that deserve to stay on the other side of the Atlantic.
Personally, I prefer the phrase 'Artisan Ale' or 'Artisan Beer' rather than 'Craft Beer'.
It conjures up an image in my mind of people making beer for the sheer love, pleasure and passion of it. Making it to be enjoyed and experienced and the beer produced being an end in itself and not simply a means to an end.
Ultimately, though, it doesn't really matter what it is labelled or pigeon holed as.
Good beer is good beer. Just get it opened, poured and enjoyed.
Have a nice weekend.