Last weekend saw a predictable outpouring of ballyhoo about the opening of the new BrewDog bar on Peter Street in Manchester City Centre. Now, I can’t really say that this is something that has much appeal to me; I’m not going to rush out to visit it, and even if I did I suspect I wouldn’t remotely feel at home.
It’s interesting, though, how the opening of a new beer-focused bar without any cask beer whatsoever has the great and good of CAMRA clearing their throats and shuffling their feet, unable either to condemn it outright or unequivocally praise it. What many would see as the cutting edge of innovation and excitement in the beer world has escaped beyond their control.
On the other hand, though, to my mind it’s a classic urban beer bubble phenomenon. Despite all the hype and debate, “craft keg” has not broken through into mainstream pubs, and shows very little sign of doing so. In the 1970s, the term “real ale” might have been vaguely understood by the blokes in the vault at the Gungesmearers’ Arms. Now, if you talked to them about “craft keg”, they wouldn’t have the faintest idea what you were on about.
And will the dog prove to have legs, or will it be more like a comet that burns brightly for a short time before fading away again once the novelty has worn off?