A couple of years back the exciting issue of the beer blogosphere wasn’t murkey beer or mocking the self-interested brewers attempting to stop other brewers calling their grog “craft beer”, or even attempting to define craft beer without coming across as a bit of a snob or dick. It was the momentous news that much loved or much derided (depending on whether your nearest one was quite nice or a bit of a dump or maybe just your level of fear of regular working class people) pub chain had started to flog craft beer.
This, it was deemed, was craft beer going mainstream. Around the same time they shook up a few other offerings like the mainstream keg lager and cask beer but neither of these got noticed. Though the addition of pulled pork to the menu, did. Spoons change things regularly. Giving new lines a go and dropping lines that shift slowly. It's like they are running a business or something.
Then 6 months later something else happened that beer bloggers decided was the death of craft beer at Spoons. The cans of craft beer got knocked down in price. Reports of 1.99, 1.49 an even 99p were all indications, if you believe the nonsense beer bloggers come out with, that craft beer at Spoons had failed. They were getting shut of the stock and that would be that. Not that they were discovering what effect price cuts had on volume shifted.
I attach the latest in Spoons craft offering. You can decide for yourself whether they are actually craft beers as many are the craft brand variants of more mainstream UK brewers. Spoons have handily defined craft beer for you if you see the top right hand corner. Brewdog and the like, take note, if you are still looking for that elusive definition.
The craft beer offering appears to have evolved away from lagers. Brewdogs This is lager has gone, as has the Budvar and Vedett. A beardy pub I quite like are pleased about this as they are flogging the latter 2 at £4 and Spoons had the cans on at £1.49. There are still a fair few lagers on the list, though.
The much loved Sixpoint cans are still there, albeit a choice of 2 rather than 3. The better 2. The much renowned Dutch lager, Meantime is there.
3 decent industrial German beers are on. As much as the crafties like to mock industrial beer, our Teutonic cousins do manage to produce high quality products through mass production, and better than the copies many UK self defined craft brewers do. The last time I got pissed on German beer, it tasted great, didn’t give me a hangover but I did fart a lot. Expect another emission scandal to rock German industry, the truth will out.
The ciders look interesting and nicer than that warm flat muck CAMRA insist is “real”
The pricing is more in line with the mainstream products rather than attempting for a premium. Lots are written about the types of people Spoons attracts, but in my observation that’s “allsorts”. I suspect the pricing and the branding would attract the students that can drink a brewdog IPA for £1.99 rather than be stung in a brewdog bar.
The Devils backbone is at the top end of the draught, with the Guinness, though the Shipyard is pence more than the cask beers. A few pence more for ice cold reliable hoppy pale ale? I like the stuff.
You wanna know when I think craft beer will disappear from Spoons? When the fashions change and what is cool today is naff tomorrow. Then Spoons will drop it in favour of whatever is the next trend. The stuff that is actually good will remain. For now, though, I like this stuff. Most of it is nice beer, for buttons. Consistent and not the gamble the beardies seem to like.
The craft definition too, seems the best one anyone has come with yet.