Here is a report from the front line - the very counter in Bury St. Edmunds from Paul, the owner of Beer2Go, a type of beer store that would be illegal in most of Canada and perhaps some of the USA - certainly Pennsylvania - though it is essentially the same idea as the Party Source in Syracuse, New York. I would be a very happy man indeed if I were near such a selection. Click on the pictures for larger views.
It's been an interesting first four months in our beer shop. Thankfully we seem to have been warmly welcomed by the paying public.I see a lot of favorites like the Anchor beers from San Francisco - including the loverly Old Foghorn - as well as the Samuel Smiths but also masses of unknowns to me. Lucky Paul. Must be tough not taking your work home with you.
Our range of beers we stock is constantly changing. On the ale front we stock a number of beers from East Anglian brewers (most of which are bottle-conditioned), City of Cambridge Brewery being my favourite. Hobsons Choice (their flagship beer) is a delicious golden ale which will stand up to any similar style of beer brewed in the west country. Parkers Porter is a rich dark beer with just the right amount of bitterness (I don't care much for very bitter beers). Their Jet Black is a perfect mild, a well balanced slightly chocolately, slightly hoppy without being bitter (otherwise of course it wouldn't be a mild !). Another popular local ale is Woodfordes Wherry - it's a very good example of an East Anglian session beer - never too bitter. If you want bitter then you need a Yorkshire beer. Nothing subtle about a Yorkshire beer!
When someone first walked into our shop and asked for Charles Wells Banana Bread Beer, we thought how disgusting. But we put some in stock, it sells well and of course we just had to try it. It's actually quite good. Goes well with Chinese Take-Away.
Other popular beers we sell from around the world include KEO from Cyprus, Erdinger Weissbier from Germany, Chili Beer (yes chili not chilli) from the USA which is an equivalent to liquid vindaloo and VB from Australia (the bemusingly named Victoria Bitter which is actually a lager and not a bitter - wags those antipodeans).
Of course you can't generalise, because every customer is different, but I have noticed that lager drinkers tend to be very brand loyal whereas ale drinkers seem to prefer to want to try as many different beers as they can.