Tuesday, 22 February 2011

In Praise of.......Online Beer


Welcome to the third in an occasional series in which I heap praise, pile on the plaudits and generally blow smoke up the arse of those beers, brewers and beery people who have, in their own way, contributed to and enriched the lives of the many, many drinkers who like a glass of something well made and very refreshing every now and again.

Today, I want to doff my cap and say a big, hearty thanks to those online beer retailers who have made it just that bit easier for the legions of good beer drinkers to get their hairy palms on some of the finest examples of quality, well made beer from not only the UK but also from the other three corners of the globe. I stay in a big city but even then I often find that the supermarkets and beer retailers around my way tend to offer a choice that is resticted, repetitive and often uninspiring.

So, thank heavens for some beer savvy folk who clearly know a cracking beer from a crap one and are committed to sharing their passion and purchases with other beer lovers. Two online retailers deserve special mention for the wide variety and eclectic selection of bottles and cans from some of the world's finest breweries.

My Brewery Tap is a cracking site that allows you to buy difficult and hard to find UK beers directly from the brewery. Their product list contains some of the best regarded and 'cutting edge' UK breweries such as Thornbridge, Oakham, Hardknott, Marble, Crouch Vale and Fyne Ales. They also have a fine selection of international beers from countries such as the USA, Germany and Australia. My Brewery Tap have also just introduced the appropriately titled 'Beer Geek Pick n Mix' that allows you to choose individual bottles from excellent UK and US brewers. Recently listed in the Beer Geek selection include beers from Mallinson's, Rogue, Smuttynose, Stone and Great Divide.

Beer Merchants is another site that has been partly responsible for opening up my beer horizons and my taste buds to some stunning Danish, Belgian and British beers. Their recent choice of  Mikkeller and Kernel offerings has been very exciting and has included a wide selection of Mikkeller and almost all of Kernel's full range including their sublime Black IPA. They have a growing list of lovely American beers too.

I know I said two retailers deserve special mention but I must also squeeze in a thumbs up to Brewdog for making 2011 quite an exciting and interesting time for internet beer buying. As well as their own beer options which, in the past few months, have seen loads of their own new additions and one offs on their site including Alice Porter, IPA is Dead, Punk X, Euro Trash and Canned Punk they have also began listing some of the beers that Brewdog's Captain James Watt and Martin Dickie personally consider to be some of the finest examples of 'craft' beer available in Europe and the U.S. These include Maui's Big Swell IPA and Coconut Porter as well as beers from The Bruery, Alesmith, De Struisse, Nogne and Port Brewing Co.

So, let's praise and take our hats off to those online beer retailers who have now given us a reason never to visit a pub again.



  1. Thanks for the post - but, at beermerchants - we still say "get to the pub" - the pub is a great british institution that, for me, on a rainy cold evening, or sunny summers evening - seeing familiar faces from the "'hood" (sic) is particularly special.

    Whether this comes from years of travels away from the UK, or just growing up in a pub - they are still a pillar of many communities - I for one would not want to see that changed.

    We're seeing more and more pubs offering a "specialist beer" selection - giving us "beer afficionado's" something to sup when our friends gulp down corporate brewed yellow corn derived piss. Infiltrating the common pub with experiential beers is a big step and thanks to Brewdog and other full flavour brewers in the UK we're seeing taps occupied by their products usurping the brown beer drinkers tipples. Brown beer isn't going to die tho: I have as much appreciation for beers like London Pride, Harveys Bitter or Holts - as Hophead, Avalanche, JHB - it's just the reallllly bland stuff that pours to 80% of glasses in the UK - non descript pale blonde fizzy piss, that chaffs my butt.

    Of course, the point of this article, the accessibility to fuller flavoured brews from much further afield, gives not only the "beer geek" something to fawn over, stroke like a cat on the lap of a James bond nemesis and open with a small bunch of like minded peeps.

    I think now, that the UK is in a great spot for beer, be that "craft beer", "real ale", or what ever chapter of the wonderful world of beer that you chose to be part of...

    Thanks for taking the time to write this peice, we, still have mountains to climb - getting good beer in front of everyone, getting rid of stigmas, and ignorance toward our beloved beverage.

    (there endeth the sermon)

    Keep up the good work!

  2. somehow a para got dropped: at the end of of course: "but brewers a chance to try beers that draw plaudit, and involve those flavour profiles in to their products and deliver a local ingredient derived brew, or straight up mimic the brew to their hearts desire.

  3. @beermerchants

    Wow. what a great contribution. some excellent points made.
    I agree 100% with you in terms of the maxim - 'Get to the Pub'. There simply is nothing nicer in beerland than a lovely pub, full of character and characters, selling well made refreshing beer. However, thanks to the choice and availability of great beers from yourselves and My Brewery Tap, I find my visits to the pub becoming more and more infrequent.
    I agree that things are on the up but, as you say, we have a long way to go. However, the sterling work that you and others do evangelising about beer makes all the difference and is greatly appreciated.
    I look forward to the day when I walk into a pub and see, in the fridges behind the bar, half the range of beers that you and Rich at MBT carry then I will be a happy man.
    Until then, I'll continue to get my bottled beer kicks from great online retailers like yourself.