A couple of days ago, I posted a piece on All About Beer wherein I mentioned with some alarm the ubiquity of American-style beers in London. I specifically name-checked The Kernel, and yesterday one of the brewers, Toby Munn, left a really thoughtful comment on the blog. With his permission, I'm reprinting it in full.
I commented on your All About Beer page, but I like repeating myself. This is just regarding point 1. These are all valid points, and your concern over the health of
British cask beer is not insignificant. But, I would like to point out
that, although there are a few breweries and a few beers that are
attracting headlines, there are still a huge amount of beers produced
that are quintessentially British.
This is just my tiny little
opinion, but I happen to think that the influx of outside influence is
good for traditional beers and breweries. I think that the younger/newer
drinkers are bringing with them a different, critical look to beers. On
the one hand, traditional brewers are concerned that newer drinkers are
just after a 'grapefruit hit' in their beers, and concerned with only
IBUs and intensity of flavours. In the short term, this may be true,
sadly. Long term, I think that these newer drinkers will understand more
about the technicalities about what makes beer great, and the
subtleties that makes beer great. To reference a post that I think is
perhaps relevant, and almost certainly true. [Note: Toby added that link, not me.]
think that the introduction of these different styles and new flavours
is only a good thing. These modern drinkers will have a fuller and more
rounded view and opinion of beers, and are more critical in general. If
we are to follow trends of the US, we will see that producers of truly
great beer are in demand. This, I think, will happen here in the UK, and
elsewhere. Actually, it is evident already.
The problem with
many indigenous beers, whether in Britain, Germany, or, especially,
Belgium, is that, after years and years of little progression, the only
point of difference has been price point, and the only change has been a
deterioration in standard. There are many traditional beers and
breweries that are truly awful. And there are many that have stuck to
their principals and are outstanding. I think with the newer drinkers,
armed with more discerning taste buds, will raise the expectation of
what good beer should be, irrespective of style, and make our tiny
little world of beer a better place. Other opinions are, of course,
When you came to Britain in 2011, I am sure that you
found many beers that were dreadful. Just because it is served from a
cask does not make it good. Similarly, just because a beer is doused in
Mosaic is no guarantee that it is any good.
Your concern for
traditional styles is valid. It is not insignificant. But I believe that
your concern will be proved to be moot.