What can I say about 2012? In global terms it has been the year of a very successful Olympics, the year when it has never seemed to stop raining, and the year the blue & white Brazil finally managed to extricate themselves from the lower eschelons of the football league - not to mention English and Yorkshire cricket on the up again. But what does this have to do with a beer blog? Frankly not a lot but I have to start somewhere.
In brewing terms there are more and more new breweries coming on stream, I have sampled more than 100 myself, some good, some less so. And I have aired my concern previously that soon the bubble will burst and we may have a situation where supply outstrips demand and we start to lose breweries rather than gain more. All we can hope is that the good ones keep going. Locally, we have over a dozen, that seem to do reasonably well, thankfully, and keep us interested by producing new beers on an almost daily basis.
2012 has also been the year when 'craft' breweries have cornered a market niche all of their own. I don't want to go into the 'craft' brewery debate at the moment, that will be for a later date, but I am frankly getting a bit cheesed off with some of them. Likewise with the key keg debate. Key kegs seem to be here to stay, and in general terms I have no real issue with them. I just wish that if I want a key keg beer I could pay a reasonable price for it, not the hiked up prices that the brewers seem to expect us to pay. This is my gripe with the 'craft' brewers too. Why are their beers more expensive than 'non craft' brewers? The ingredients are usually the same, the cost to produce must be much the same, so why is there such a difference at the point of sale. The same applies to 'craft beer' pubs. They seem to be on the increase. We all know who they are, and you will no doubt say that it is my choice to drink there or not, but why is the beer so expensive there? And if we are in an economic recession, (all right, may be in strict terms we are on the way out of one), who can afford to drink at these inflated prices on a regular basis?
It sounds as though I am a real curmudgeon. And maybe I am. Or just a realist. My hopes for the new year will be for every brewery to make superb beers. For prices to remain reasonable. For the good pubs to go from strength to strength. For beer duty to be abolished. And for people to realise that beer is good for you. It should be on prescription!
But seriously folks. Thanks to all who read 'A Swift One', to those who take the time to comment on it, and hope you all have a very enjoyable and successful 2013. We are looking forward to the challenges it will bring.