Tuesday, 4 May 2010

A True Recession - Beer Is The Key

When you think of luxurious alcoholic products you immediately become aware that you're going to spend a substantial amount. If you want the best this is a general sods law of the beverages' industry. With beer however there is a better way of economics. You DON'T have to spend a lot to consume the BEST.

The best beer in the world is considered to be Westvlereten 12. This beer is in VERY high demand. You may think this beer costs as much as a Grand Classe Cru or some other ostentatious fine beverage. It doesn't. I can acquire it at a De Struise auction shop for very little. Ok you have to pay postage and packaging and wait for customs to clear it but if you WANT the best you can buy it.

You can get it direct here. Please bare in mind they are only selling limited quantities at the moment. I was lucky to get mine and now you may have to wait for fresh stock. They are brewers based in Vleteren which is close to Saint Sixtus, where Westvleteren is brewed, so minimum traveling involed from Saint Sixtus to De Struise. A small disclaimer if you will. I paid under 4 Euros for this. Other sources it sells for 6 Euros MORE.

I went to the Kulminator last March and found you don't need to pay a lot for a vintage either. I paid 15 Euros for a Chimay Rouge from 1982! I was astounded by the oaky woody notes I received from the beer. A definite sherry flavour laced around the caramel base. This is due to the aging. Certain beers can hapily sit there and age. Even milds can age and they are relatively low abv. However the problem with aging beers is you instantly lose the hop appeal. You have to have a beer fresh to get the hops. Blondes are always better straight away but the brunnettes age with find distinction. This has happend regularly on my findings. I am currently aging Thomas O'Hardy's from 2008. Along with a Westvleteren 12 from 1996 and an Achel Exstra bomber.

Anyway back to the point. Today I received from an order from Beermerchants a mixed personally selected crate of beers. 3 Fonteinen 2005 vintage, a superb geuze from Belgium, Brewdog's 77 Larger and Zietgeist, the famous Port Brewing's Wipeout IPA; Old Viscosity and Santas Little Helpa 2008! I also received a Rochefort 10 (also in top 100), Mikkeller Black Hole, Moor Tripple J, Old Freddie Walker and Merlin's Magic.

The grand total of these mainly very highly rated and globally appreciated beers?? Not even more than £80! This included delivery. I paid £74.80. This is the equivilant of ONE St Julien! Now I love my fine wine but as beer economics goes and I've been hit by the global supressive recession I forsee that beer drinking and beer buying is the way forward. I can no longer afford to acquire my descent grand classe crues which in England are easily £30 a bottle. I used to buy Margaux at £35 but now I can't do that. I got my tax credits recently and decided to buy a mixed crate when I can still get these beers.

I am pretty convinced there will be a trend away from wine and other beverages to beer. Beer is high quality, beer has its health benefits with moderation and there is a massive social element to beer drinking. I believe that craft beer will ride the recession as it is a cheaper option and more reliable option than the Bordaux circuit for instance. Champagne sales have plumbeted recently. There are a lot of reserves UNTAPED and beer is selling through the roof. Craft brewers are popping up like there is no tomorrow. Not too long ago Mikkeller wasn't even a brewery. Now it is setting trends for microbeers in Denmark like nothing else. They have an amazing array of beers.

Domestic ale sales are on the increase. Ale has a small tax benefit in the UK so people are realising this and trying out ale for the first time due to their economic worries. Ale is benefiting from this and due to this there are a lot of new craft ale brewers in the country. There is a graet growth at the moment for the industry. Here is an article from Roger Protz on the current state.

You can save a fantastic amount of cash if you are smart and use the right resources. I shop at Beermerchants. They are rated very highly by the Rate Beer community. This site is an awesome guide to find out the best beers from the consumer perspective and ratings are fair and sometimes conducted during blind tastings. There is no corporate side to rate beer. It is not owned by a brewery but run by a great guy called Joe Tucker.

Do yourself a favour. If you want to get into beer and you want to do it properly and to learn about the hops and the funk and the brett and the intensity of the lambics then log in, try a few beers, write on them and buy them. There are links to shops and resources on the places' page.

A recession comes accross as markets contract globally. People lose jobs. Business die. Business become taken over by new chairmans. Businesses collapse.

It's a worrying time but there is always good and cheap beer. Instead of getting smashed on champagne show some true class and buy some beer. Beer is a fraction of the cost and the taste is something you will come back to again and again. If you don't like it just try a different beer. That beer could be shot or just bland and awful. Have another. Wait for something else. Stay away from the macro big business and stick to the micros. There are some great cases options at Beermerchants so start there. £35 a mixed crate or a bottle of Margaux Grand Classe Cru????

Enjoy, sit back and have your mates in envy at your ever increasing cellar. I have one, although pretty primitive. I will write up about that later. Cheers.