Craft Brewers Cure Hop Fatigue by Embracing English-Style Ales

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by ESHBG, Apr 11, 2022.

  1. ESHBG

    ESHBG Disciple (395) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I suppose that this is becoming a bit more common again now that I think about it, at least onsite at breweries? I would love for this to start reflecting more on my local shelves, though.
  2. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,426) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Well, one could make an argument that the US versions (some of 'em, anyway) took "beer back its roots", since the low-abv, under-hopped modern UK styles are mostly a creation of the 20th century's wars and taxes.
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  3. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,236) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    On my first two trips to England (1970, 1978) I found the standard offering of draft ales wonderful and diverse. They were not overtly hoppy but were hoppier than Bud and Schlitz. What was really profound was the fresh grain/malt character that was utterly delicious. There was also a good bit of decent Danish lager about and even Bud had found a crowd of young folks that seemed to love it. Just about any pub in any locale had better beer than I could normally get stateside.
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,430) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I was traveling frequently to England in the 1990's (mostly London but other places like Cambridge, Oxford,...) and I was shocked to see the young people in the pubs drinking Rolling Rock directly from the long neck bottles. I was there drinking Cask Ales (with a smile on my face while drinking) and I was perplexed to see all these young folks drinking Rolling Rock; go figure?

    And I do know all about Rolling Rock. Below are some of the cases containing homebrewed beer in my basement:


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  5. billandsuz

    billandsuz Devotee (498) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Nice boxes!
    Those Rolling Rock boxes are built like a friggin fall out shelter.
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  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,430) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    There are a handful of breweries in our area that produce English style ales. Forest & Main, with their three handpumps, is likely the best example. I have had some tasty English style ales at Troubles End in Collegeville; they have two handpumps.

    A couple decades ago the 'poster child' for locally brewed English style beer was Yards ESA which was available on cask in the Philly area. I used to drink a lot of ESA at Dawsons Pub in Manayunk.

    Nowadays the most English style beer I drink is the ones I homebrew. I have a batch of Oatmeal Stout in my basement and in a couple of months I will be brewing my annual batch of English Bitter Ale where I use the Timothy Landlord yeast strain (fermented warm). As was discussed above:

    “full of hop character without being hoppy,” and expresses its malt character without being overly malty.

    “When done right, [ESBs have] a gentle yeast touch that adds to the hop and malt character without being ‘yeasty,’ ” he says. “To us, it’s a style that pops because of the soft touch of each component making for a truly enjoyable easy-to-drink pint.”

    Yup, that pretty much nails the description of my homebrewed English Bitter Ale. I wish there were more examples of this sort of beer locally. It seems like the Haze Craze is what most craft beer consumers are vociferously demanding.

    On a related note I had a conversation with Jay von Czoernig (Von C Brewing) a few months ago and he stated he had a beer engine on order. I have yet to see this installed (yet).

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  7. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,236) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I have a strong suspicion that most of those bottles are very age-worthy!
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  8. QuakeAttack

    QuakeAttack Defender (688) Mar 19, 2012 California

    In the late 80s when I started getting into "good" beer, most micro breweries in the SF Bay Area tended to sell styles similar or the same as English and German styles. Gordan Bierch opened up with German styles (Marzen, Bocks, etc.), Pete's Wicked Ale (brown), and Red Hook ESB was freely available. I drank a lot of Marzens, ESB, and browns back then.

    I doubt that they will fully come back, but always on the look out for them.
  9. moodenba

    moodenba Zealot (552) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    I used green bottles for homebrew myselt. It was easier to monitor the fill with the green glass.. In the late 70s and 80s, I used the squat green Molson bottles and the returnable tall Ballantine Ale quarts. I admire your perseverence in carrying on with homebrewing.
  10. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,426) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah, those "shells" (that's what distributors and retailers always called 'em) were built for multiple-use for true "refillable/returnable" deposit bottles. Into the late 1980s, Falstaff was still using the Ballantine Ale shells they got when they bought the Ballantine brands in 1972, still stating "Newark, New Jersey" on them.

    When the deposit on a case of beer was $1, each bottle was listed as 2¢ ea., while the deposit on the shell itself was 52¢. The nice thing on some of Jack's Rolling Rock cases were the hand-holds were covered to protect those 4 bottles from light. Some of the Miller High Life shells had the same sort of inner flaps.
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  11. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,426) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah, me, too. (Heck, that's why I went).

    But I was referring to the UK ales of the previous century (19th) - closer to their "roots". Just a few random ABV's from Ron Pattinson's Numbers! book:

    1880-1890s Bass Ale - ~7%
    1880s Whitebread Mild 6-7%
    1830 Edinburgh Scotch Ale 9-10%
    1890's Guinness Extra Stout (Ireland) 7- 8%
  12. Beerspeakspeoplemumble

    Beerspeakspeoplemumble Initiate (31) Sep 12, 2021 Connecticut

    About time baby! Out with new, in with the old. "Hop Fatigue" is that what the kids are calling it these days? Sounds like a high estrogen level term....
  13. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,236) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I have a strong suspicion that most of those bottles are very age-worthy!
  14. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,236) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    To Jess, Yeah and in the 70s the pubs closed at around 11:00 so "folks" could get to work closer to on time. Last call was no nonsense.
  15. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,430) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yes. Two batches of Quad, a clone of Orval (brewed with Brett), a batch of Dubbel, a batch of Saison,...

    Cheers to age-worthy beer styles!!!!!
  16. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,236) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Amen. A little can go a long way!
  17. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,430) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    And then you could go to what was referred to as a Licensed Bar (in the US I would call this an After Hours Bar). I did go to a Licensed Bar afterwards in London more than I probably should have.

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  18. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,236) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Nothing like Amsterdam I might add!
  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,430) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I have never been to Amsterdam but from co-workers who did travel to The Netherlands they enjoyed visiting the coffee shops, but they didn't drink coffee there. :wink:

  20. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,426) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah, the hours were still restricting when I was there mid-80s. Closed for a few hours in the afternoon (we used it to sober up a bit and do the obligatory tourist stuff, like the Changing of the Guard going from one side of London to another) and early at night.

    We were drinking with two young women in a Welsh pub+B&B we were staying at and when "Time" was called, they informed us that, as B&B patrons, we could continue to buy and drink. "Oh, that's cool..." When we didn't immediately buy more beer, it was hinted that we were kinda expected to buy another round. "Oh, OK..." Far be it from us to cause an international incident...
  21. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,236) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    A wide open city for sure. I was then a student and met students from around the world. It was unbelievable great fun........
  22. ESHBG

    ESHBG Disciple (395) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Me too and I miss Yards ESA but thankfully you can still have it onsite at the brewery (draft). And thankfully Brawler is still around and easy to get.
  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,430) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It has been over a couple of years since I visited the Yards brewery/taproom but last time I was there they had beer engines (two?) and ESA was available on cask during my last visit there.

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  24. crazyspicychef

    crazyspicychef Disciple (339) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    ANYTHING but IPA's, barrel aged beers and beers with groceries in them!
    And crappy sours/Gose too.
    I am so sick and tired of perusing the beer isle for something "normal"!
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  25. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,736) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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  26. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,391) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    I’m glad American taproom brewers are coming around. Pilsners and lagers started making a comeback last few years and now English ales hopefully return. Belgians are warming up in the bullpen for 2023 (hopefully). I think a good rotation of English ale varieties on a hand pump in a taproom would be a welcome novelty to American beer culture as a normal thing to see and not a rare exception. But as mentioned, brewers need to do their homework 1st and learn to maintain the beer and the pump properly.
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  27. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (5,258) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    It's worth noting, and I have discussed it on these forums before, that several brewers local to me admitted their lower ABV product did not move well during the 'to-go phase' of the COVID shutdown. These brewers admitted this independent of each other, both referencing a decline in sales of 'sessionable' beer.

    As I predicted then, session ales would see a resurgence once on-site consumption is consistently allowed. I believe this is apart of why English styles have been increasing in production frequency. Especially now that patrons can head out to the bar and stay for a few pints while socializing, traditional English style ales tend to facilitate this better than 7%+ ABV IPAs.

    FWIW, the local brewers that used to produce an English Dark Mild pre-pandemic are back to offering this, or other comparable styles, in their taproom. To-go releases for these styles still remain infrequent, but they can be had on draft consistently. To OP's point, one of those breweries just released an English style ale that is new to their catalog.

    We still have yet to see the adoption of cask ale in my area, at least, as far as anyone offering consistent cask ales outside of the occasional firkin tapping event (which also isn't strictly in the traditional style of cask). I'm aware of one brewery planning to add a full and traditional cask program, but have yet to see it come to fruition.
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  28. Providence

    Providence Crusader (790) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I'm slowly seeing more traditional German lagers and traditional English Ales on shelves. Not as much as I'd like, but I'll take it. It is a sight for sore eyes.
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  29. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,736) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Society Trader

    So grandpa's brew is the next new thing.
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  30. rolltide8425

    rolltide8425 Meyvn (1,313) Feb 18, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I make the rounds around the SEPA breweries regularly and there has been an explosion of English-style beer lately. More breweries than not have them now but Forest and Main has and will continue to be the gold standard in the area for cask ale. Returning to England in June for a few days and I can't friggin wait.
  31. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (521) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    I never mind a good mild, common, ESB, table beer etc. The idea of good craft is about, balance, flavor, mouthfeel and ABV. Low abv shouldn't mean poor, weak or watery flavor and mouthfeel. By contrast the art of crafting a high ABV beer is when a brewer is able to achieve said ABV w/o it being a nice creeper.
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  32. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (521) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    Bell's Best Brown Ale on cask that I had at FatHead's a number of years back was really nice. Having had it previously on draft and bottle.
    FatHead's bar back was pretty snide when I ordered it and we had a friendly agree to disagree exchange on cask beer.
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  33. defunksta

    defunksta Meyvn (1,336) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota

    To the OP I would definitely like to see this reflected on the shelves, and would also add to embracing German-styles beers as well.
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  34. GratefulBeerGuy

    GratefulBeerGuy Poo-Bah (3,384) May 20, 2006 New Hampshire
    Society Trader

    Yes indeed. I just pulled the Bent Water Dortmunder Lager and it was a very nice change of pace from my usually onslaught of hazy IPA's. German, English, real Belgian and French styles need to be more accessible.
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  35. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,426) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah - unfortunately, once on the shelves they have to be purchased often enough and in quantities that make it economically feasible for the brewers to continue to brew them and offer them fresh.
  36. GratefulBeerGuy

    GratefulBeerGuy Poo-Bah (3,384) May 20, 2006 New Hampshire
    Society Trader

    Truth. Even more small batches would be an improvement. Harken back to the days of things like the Smuttynose Big Beer Series in the bombers! One great style after another for years.
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  37. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,037) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Yep, I see these styles taking some hold at small brewers on tap only but it takes a much greater level of support to maintain a shelf presence in distribution
  38. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,880) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    You don’t see Schilling beers on your shelves?
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  39. Tilley4

    Tilley4 Poo-Bah (2,453) Nov 13, 2007 Tennessee
    Society Trader

    I support this endeavor...

    More German and English offerings can in no way be a bad thing...
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  40. RaulMondesi

    RaulMondesi Poo-Bah (4,291) Dec 11, 2006 California
    Society Trader

    Hop fatigue or not, I love a good English Ale. It’s kind of the beer I embraced in my early 20’s (tons of London Pride Raul had). And fortunately enough, we have a good English brewery here called Yorkshire Square (they also have lots of stuff on cask). I would like to see more - especially in cans or bottles. Cheers.
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