I wouldn’t say that I’m a particularly reminiscent person. I like studying history and revisiting the past, but I’ve never really gone in for re-living the glory days or pining for days gone by. I’m a keep moving forward ind of guy. Alan’s post form earlier this week about the effects of styling beer to meet the demands of a trend, however, has got me thinking about something I do miss from the past—Brown ale.
Brown ale used to be a staple during the early days of American craft brewing. Hoppy Pales, malty Ambers, and nutty Browns were the got to brews, and just about every brewpub and micro from here to Palo Alto offered those three—without question. But something has changed. Brown ale, and to some extent Ambers have been put in the corner.
I understand that beer evolves, tastes change and styles wane—look at Burton. I also know that I’ll most likely get 800 examples of fantastic Brown ales in the comments below. Yes, I know they’re still around. In fact, working the jockey box with Ethan at the Craft New York Festival, back in March, showed me how much Brown ale is still beloved. The Whale—CBW’s variation on a Brown— was one of the most popular beers at the festival—and deservedly so.
But that’s not the point.
The point is we have a tendency to forget the good for the new. Is the race to be innovative and the charge for new and exciting, obscuring the simple goodness of beers like Brown ale? Are we swinging for the fences when we should be trying for a solid single? I’m not asking for a total about face, nor do I expect breweries to stop making there session IPAs and lavender-spiked Sour ales. I want breweries to experiment and try new ideas. But, maybe, revisiting an old friend—like Brown ale—might have an unexpected result.
Maybe good is good enough.