And it’s another European beer; Belgium; Trappist – Rochefort 8, a beer brewed in a brewery associated with the Abbey of Our Lady of Saint-Remy, Belgium, a Trappist monastery, sub-category of the Cistercian order.
After all the activity on various social media accounts yesterday, I probably shouldn’t go anywhere near the word ‘craft’. Instead, shall I just say that I don’t hold with using ‘craft’ as an outdated, catch-all term referring to any interesting, distinctive beer. I’ve nicked this notion from Boak & Bailey’s Beer Blog recent post, and I’m indebted, not for their verbal support, but for actually sorting out in my own mind the process I’ve been going through. Their verbalisation of what I’m thinking, or trying to say, is much clearer than my own!
If I’m honest, do I know what ‘craft’ is? Maybe I’ve an idea. Does anyone actually know? One of the critical tweets I saw yesterday said something along the lines of, ‘trying to define craft is like trying to find Zeuss on a mountain top playing chess with Jesus.’ So why are we doing it then? And why is it so controversial when we try to define it?
Looking back to where I set off with this series of posts, it all started with an Advent Calendar given as a present. I’d no intentions of going anywhere specific with the posts, I just thought I’d let things go where the box took me. It’s proved fascinating for me and I’ve learned so much, I just love discovering things; about myself and others. If you’ve read any of my posts, you’ll see one of my mantras is, ‘Different isn’t wrong’.
Only thing is, ‘Different can be wrong’, especially when it’s so confusing to the average person who doesn’t know what ‘craft’ is/was/might be/going to be. It’s so confusing that I reckon you could sell anything labelled craft these days, and people, ordinary everyday people, will buy it in total ignorance. I’ve been watching the progress of a craft beer advent calendar elsewhere and seen nothing but very steady, traditional, British ales come out, I didn’t know you could still get Manns Brown Ale?
This mysterious protectiveness around the term ‘craft’ seems almost reminiscent of the Medieval Guilds, who stuck together, withholding and protecting key bits of information, which if released meant that anyone could do what they did. Me? I’ve always tried to be inclusive, in everything I do; as a husband, father, neighbour, professionally, and just as an ordinary bloke.
I didn’t drink my Belgian Trappist ale, it’s gone into the pantry along with my other esoteric, artisanal, boutique ales. You know, those that can benefit from some time in the bottle and will stand a while in the dark, and maybe improve, mature, or at least change a bit.
Verdict? A pretty decent bottle of ale to get in an Advent Calendar case, probably best part of what, nearly four quid in a bottle shop.