There is a lot of talk about food and beer as well as the shifting of beer in the UK into the home and out of the pub. This latter trend is the sort of thing that might force Stonch to break out the red flag and arm the barricades but I am a devoted stash builder and home tippler. Why? Sure there is that question of kids...not to mention decades of Canadian urban planning standards which require pubs to be in defined zones downtown or at least nowhere near walking distance from where people actually live. But I do like good beer at home for meals, to treat and inform guest and also just to have when a game is on the screen...the beautiful blue glowing screen...blue...screen...[Ed.: Wake Up!!!]
So, it is interesting to note this article in The Guardian, aka "The Mancunian Organ":
The trend has taken many in the brewing industry by surprise, with even the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) expressing shock at the news that, when it comes to drinking at home, Britons are losing their taste for gaseous, continental-style lagers and are instead switching to more traditional, home-produced beers. New figures show that last year sales of ale in UK supermarkets grew by 6.6 per cent while sales of lager slipped by 0.2 per cent. Although total lager sales in supermarkets outnumber those of beer by around five to one, the big retailers are now waking up to how consumer tastes are rapidly changing. In particular, consumers are developing a thirst for 'conditioned' real ales, which are favoured by bitter purists because they contain yeast and continue to ferment until they are opened.This goes a bit against the recent trend many have also been noting, like maeib today: the 50p beer. The ales the article is describing are not your el cheapo BudDraftDryIceLite. No, we've had the same buck a beer phenomenon for sometime in Canada: canned or bottled light lagers mainly, though usually with a honey brown option, bought in volume to fill the fridge and the hours that drag so when you have little or no taste. This looks different.
What causes someone to buy beer when shopping for food? For the most part in Canada it is a different process than one-stop groceries as we shop for beer at a dedicated booze-only government store. But, however you do what Grannie used to call "going on messages", you are preparing for your home life for the next few days. And while most of the food and beer writing in the last while has been about fine dining (and mainly fine dining out) as in the excellent The Brewmaster's Table, for most of us most meals are not eaten that way. No, when we go shopping we are looking for something to go with or even in the meal we make at home and that takes a beer with character.
Good news, of course, for folk like Lucy Saunders who has a range of books on cooking with beer and good news for those exploring the bigger flavours of beer. After you have saved the last third of a big malty brew to throw in a stew, like I did last November with Allagash Odyssey, how could you think of going to the slight whiff of flavour found in a buck a beer brew? After marinading a steak in smoked porter or a pork shoulder in hefeweizen, how could you ever go back to even suggesting that a whimp pilsner could do the job? And forget about baking bread with the stuff.
No, this looks a little different. It may be that this is what's going on in the UK. It may be about what is going on in the kitchen.