I like the odd family tree / graph generated by the industrial complex that is Boak and Bailey today. It was an effort to explain a grand unified theory that might not exist but it is a wonderful thing in itself. I like the odd size - tall and narrow. I am not sure what the colours are supposed to mean and I really don't know what "weird real ale" is at all. But who cares. It is an idea set out in a drawing so as to see if the idea can be drawn to establish that it might actually be an idea.
But what caught my eye was the line attaching world beer to lager. See, if I understand what that might mean, it makes international lagers of a sort an antecedent to craft beer or maybe good beer. One of the things I was thinking about recently is the distinction between extreme beer scene of just a couple of years ago and the hipster scene now. The first was about strong and intense. The second about adding flavours from seemingly any source and... and not being like last week. Fortunately, the main lesson that comes with age is that cool is just tomorrow's sad. And a really good lesson that it.
So, with that understanding, can we look at a timeline like the one to the right as a means to examine our prejudices? I asked in the comments whether there was any indication of a parallel to continental lager phase of trendy in, say, the '70s with an empire-based one in the '60s at the time that the Canadian brand Carling moved back to the mother country. By which I mean was Canadian - or beer from any end of the empire - all international and trendy half a century ago? The thought was that it clearly was not - until Martyn admitted enjoying a Foster's as a lad. Perhaps he thought it cool.
Which reminds me of an earlier empire and beer as trendy trade. I started the process of looking for Albany ale by asking whether, as Pete described, given an empire that created India Pale Ale could there also, as not described yet, might have had other brews moving in bulk under sail around the globe in this direction or that. Finding it being retailed in the first half of the 1800s thousands of miles brought me back to the upper Hudson river vally asking what it was. But what was it that made it a premium ale worth buying by people elsewhere fully able to make their own beer in the household? Similarly, Taunton ale in the mid-1700s was clearly worth the trip and the extra cost and, as I recently discovered, apparently far more abundant on the other side of an ocean from the brewers than I had imagined. But why?
A friend used to point out often that the most attractive girl at the party was the one with the accent. Has beer also had that same semi-truth attached to it? It may be a far more stable factor in the mix of what attracts the beer buyer than many other trends. If the BoakBailean diagram were extended towards this present and pushed back before Taunton was but the twinkle in a brewer's eye could it be that there would have to be taken into account a constant which is simply beer from that other place?