You may have seen ShortList magazine on your travels. It is a free weekly magazine that's usually thrust into your hand at the entrance of mainline train stations as you scuttle busily to and from work. Failing that, you are more than likely to find a discarded copy on the train as it fights for floor and seat space with another free sheet, the Metro Daily newspaper.
In essence it's a lifestyle magazine that is 'For men with more than one thing on their minds'. The adverts that ShortList carries tell you all about it's target audience - There are usually ads for high performance cars, upmarket men's grooming products, smart phones, trendy designer labels and high end shops like Selfridges.
What has all this to do with beer?, I hear you ask.
Well, the 12th May edition of ShortList contains a feature entitled '20 Beers you probably haven't met yet' that contains the selection of five people who are pretty much in the loop when it comes to beery knowledge and taste. The five are Pete Brown (author of Hops and Glory), Jon Howard (organiser of the Great British Beer Festival), Tony Lennon of the Euston Tap, Charlie McVeigh owner of the Draft House pubs and Head beer buyer for Waitrose, Pierpaolo Petrassi. It is perhaps indicative of the growing popularity of Real Ale and 'Craft' Beer that a lifestyle magazine such as this should run a feature and compile a best of beer list in their publication.
For me, it also indicates the near seismic shift in how beer is now being perceived and how it is now, dare I say it in a hushed whisper, becoming rather trendy and fashionable. Beer is being accepted, enjoyed and loved by growing number of people.
Witness the expansion of craft beer pubs that are popping up all over the UK and doing spectacular business - The Southampton Arms, The Jolly Butchers, The Grove, Dean Swift, Port Street Beer House, The growing BrewDog Bar empire, Pivni, Mason Taylor, The Rake and the Sheffield and Euston taps among many, many others. And lets not forget the Real Ale pubs dishing up an exciting array of well made and beautifully kept cask beers. A change in tastes and preferences is clearly taking place and it is all rather exciting.
This list is numbered but I don't think that it is in order of preference. It is as follows -
Hophead by Dark Star
Badger Golden Champion by Hall and Woodhouse
Bernard Unfiltered by Bernard
London Pale Ale by Meantime
Texas Ranger Barrel Aged by Mikkeller
Ola Dubh 40 by Harviestoun
Camden Pale Ale by Camden Town Brewery
Hooky Dark by Hook Norton
Crop Circle by Hop Back
Organic Best Bitter by St Peter's
Old Ruby Ale by Duchy Originals
India Pale Ale by Goose Island
Kipling by Thornbridge
Abbot Ale by Greene King
Manchester Bitter by Marble
Artisan Gold by Bowland Brewery
Hefeweizen by West Brewery
Doppelmalz by Schremser
Punk IPA by BrewDog
As you can see it is a pretty eclectic list of UK and Foreign, Cask, Keg and Bottled beer and underscores the great choice and variety available out there. You can't argue with the vast majority of it, Abbot Ale aside. Some I haven't tried and can't pass comment but the good thing is that it is only the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of other beers out there to try and enjoy.
It's a great time to be a beer drinker.
You can read the article in shortlist