American (USA) Beers

Advent Calendar Day 6: Blue point Mosaic Session IPA and ‘Are AB-Inbev craft?’

day-6-blue-point

I thought I might be getting a different style today, but No, it’s another IPA. This time from Long Island, NY based brewers Blue Point Brewing. Cleary the term craft beer is linked to IPA’s? I knew that, obviously. What I didn’t appreciate was the theme of Anheuser Busch running through my craft beer advent calendar, because this is the second brewery that is owned by them in the case. Apparently Blue Point Brewing were bought out for $24M in February 2014, according to NY Times. People are even suggesting that Beer Hawk, the suppliers of my Advent case are actually owned by AB-Inbev?

Am I bothered? I had a look at Blue Point Brewing web site. It looks and feels like a US craft brewer, they’re even doing cask conditioned ale, and Nitro keg. I applaud the former, I’m none too sure about the latter. I instantly think of John Smith’s Smooth and shudder, but I won’t judge until I’ve tried it. They have a tap house, tours and tastings and I’d definitely go and have a look see, if I had the opportunity. There is however nothing apparent to connect them with AB-Inbev anywhere on their web site, you have to do a bit more digging to reveal this.

That raises the argument, does it matter? So long as the beer is alright. And why are AB-Inbev buying up craft breweries? Personally I think that’s because it’s a rather good marketing term that will sell more beer and make them even more money than they generate already.

What worries me with this is that some people might start drinking ‘craft beer’ because it’s cool, but end up drinking an inferior product. Thwaites Crafty Dan range springs to mind here, other traditional brewers have also sneaked in, along with some of the very thin and stannic tasting ‘craft’ bottles I’ve tried from places like Lidl and Aldi.  To continue to universally use the term craft could, I reckon, eventually devalue something that set out being really good, innovative, original. We still have the latter three adjectives in abundance in the brewing industry, but does modern UK brewing need to be called craft? Aren’t we now mixing up a whole variety of really diverse things by continuing to do this, at the same time confusing a lot of people? You tell me?

Getting back to today’s beer. The breweries tasting notes sum it up; a complex India Pale Ale flavour without all the punch. Grapefruit and passion fruit aromas, tropical fruits continue in the mouth. It’s quite medium bodied and there’s no overly strong malt flavours. There’s a nice lingering bitterness and a bit of a lemony aftertaste, but nothing extreme, quite nicely balanced. I’ve got mates brought up on large quantities of Northern Bitters who frown when I press them into trying something new. I won’t relate the expletives, but you probably get the idea. I reckon I could get them to drink and enjoy this Blue Point Brewing beer, which in my opinion at 4.8% ABV, is rightly termed a Session IPA. If I had a criticism, the name Mosaic Session IPA may be a little misleading, this isn’t a single hopped beer, there are several different American hops in the brew.

I liked the way the beer changed as the temperature increased. Almost a fractional distillation of the various flavours happening in the glass. The bitter notes were more pronounced straight from the fridge, the fruitier, softer ones came to the fore as the beer warmed up. I know there are suggested temperatures for storing different types of beer, but do you know exactly how cold your fridge is? I certainly don’t. Perhaps I should take more care over this?

Verdict – a really nice easy going, tasty, but not demanding sort of everyday beer. It would fit into the ‘go to’ supping beer (if I fancied a US style IPA) category for me if it were universally available on draught in the UK. I’d even seek it out. The Advent Calendar continues to deliver.

Are AB-Inbev craft? Course not, and they don’t care, so long as they continue to generate profit, seemingly by trying to obtain a stranglehold on the global beer market.

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