Once upon a time, serious real ale enthusiasts would turn away in a hoppy huff if you stuck a bottled beer under their nose. If it wasn’t draft, you were daft. Cringeworthy one-liners aside, bottles didn't quite match the flowing ales that the local real ale pub could offer.
Those days are long gone. We all still love pubs, but instead of cheap and nasty cans of lager or mass-produced bitter, there are real options if you want to take a quality ale home. Well-crafted beers in bottles now jostle for top spot with old favourites that used to come only from keg and cask. Just make sure you get the right stuff. That means ensuring that you buy and drink bottle-conditioned beer. Even the guys from CAMRA have slapped their famous name and logo on a campaign to highlight the quality that now comes in bottles.
Check out labels that have “CAMRA says this is REAL ALE” to be sure. Apparently, around 300 breweries have received official approval to use the logo. That’s like a call from the Queen!
The technical stuff goes a little like this: Real Ale in a bottle is a live product; the yeast allows for secondary fermentation, giving top-notch flavours; finally, it’s unpasteurised and not artificially carbonated. So now you know.
So go on then, sell the bottled beer experience to me…
There are hundreds - no, thousands - of possibilities on the shelves of the larger outlets, namely supermarkets. Many of their top-sellers come from the big guns of the brewing industry. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying what the nationals offer, buying bottled ale also lets you choose local. And guess what? That means you can support your local economy, just as millions do with fruit, veg, meats and cheese.
At Beer Dock we stock plenty of local craft and real ales, proper bottle-conditioned beers from the Cheshire, Staffordshire and Shropshire breweries just a few miles away. Ask one of our in-house experts what’s on offer.
The flavours really can be out of this world. Because of the yeast and secondary fermentation going on inside, it’s a living product. Treat it with love; lap up the uniqueness.
There is soooo much choice. The big brewers turn out plenty of flavours, names and styles, but when you add up the many thousands of small independents you can’t touch the vast array of quality real ales that the one and two-man bands brew in bijou facilities. Okay, garages and barns in some cases. Buy hey! If it tastes great, brew on…
We’ve already highlighted the benefits of local, and quite right too. But real ale aficionados love plenty of choice. Once again that is the beauty of bottles. With so many importers getting adventurous and shipping in labels from far and distant lands, there’s never been a better opportunity to compare Cheshire with Czech Republic, Bollington to Brooklyn, and Titanic to Toronto!
And finally, some of the bottles and their stunning labels look fabulous on your table. Cans and 2Ltr plastic bottles of bitter never added much to one’s dinner party ambience, whereas the latest real ale titles look and sound just dandy. Try them with food instead of the usual wine. Make a feature of them. Clink glass and toast the flavours that sit perfectly with most meals.
Oh, and Beer Dock also posts out bottled beers. Ask in store or check out the options above. If you live local and need enough to keep your party going we might even drop some off. Maybe…