About the author

The Author, with Riggwelter brown ale

The Author, with Riggwelter brown ale

Kevin Weedon is a transatlantic transplant to California. Born in England, most of his drinking life was spent in two cities – Norwich and Nottingham.

Actually, this is about me, so I’ll cut the third-party blurb style and tell you that I started drinking beer in Norwich in 1973, at a time when the number of old-fashioned ales was declining rapidly, as big companies took over the traditional breweries, leaving something of a quality vacuum in the pub trade. Beer drinkers were being persuaded that the products they were used to were both poor in quality and too expensive. What was left after the demise of the small, craft brews  was industrially-produced, gassy beer which travelled well, but which lacked body, flavour and colour.

The other part of the problem was the unfashionable nature of our national beverage. In the face of a growing and demanding upwardly-mobile class, wine was now seen as the sexy drink of choice, and the discerning drinker was often moved away from the grain and onto the grape.

The situation was saved by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, which began life in Ireland in 1971. They grew quickly, putting paid to the lie that the public wanted the new industrial keg brews, and rapidly became the advocate for the British beer drinker. By the time I left Norwich in 1979, the number of independent, real-ale pubs in the city had grown dramatically, and even the brewery-owned pubs would have guest beers from smaller breweries, to give back some of the choice to the ale afficionados.

Now I have emigrated to the US, I have been delighted to discover that the tradition of well-crafted beer is far from dead; in fact, the most disappointing pint I have had since my arrival was in fact Bass Bitter, an English beer filtered and fined and chilled to death. Served in a frosted glass, it was characterless and gassy, suited only for the tastes of the uneducated beer drinker.

I admit to having a preference for fuller-bodied and more robust ales. I reserve my highest praise for the darker, the tastier and the maltier, so please forgive me if I don’t deal with lagers and whatnot quite such enthusiasm. Oh, and I’m still using British English spellings, and make no apologies for talking about “colour”, so there.

I continue to enjoy my beer and am fortunate enough to live in an area surrounded by great microbreweries, and to work in a groovy food co-op with a fabulously varied range of excellent beers, both domestic and imported. It is from this Beer Heaven that I will write my missives to the masses. Or so I hope.

So I will raise my glass to your health, good reader, and wish you a safe and enjoyable journey through the wonderful world of beer. Cheers!

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  1. 8 June, 2010 at 07:37

    Hi Kevin

    Would you like to write a beer review 2 of Strangford Lough Brewing Company’s traditional Irish ales? St Patrick’s Best Ale and Legbiter Ale have just been launched into 20 states throughout North America. If you are interested email me at emmam@slbc.ie for further information.

    Thanks
    Emma

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