So I got back from the UK about a month ago, which was a wonderful trip that took me to meet my partner’s family and parents and experience the general loveliness of the British Isles.
I learned that Wales is lovely, if a bit trolly, the Lake District is phenomenal, and that London is hugely WTF and very different from everywhere else.
But what I really learned is that the “real ale” culture in the UK knows what they’re on about.
What is a “Real Ale”
It turns out that a real ale is an interesting beast in the UK, consisting of being hand pulled - not using gas pressure to fill the glass, but pure human strength of vacuum, as well as being unfiltered and unpasturized. It’s still alive, in the bottle or glass, and you’re drinking it.
Boy, do they taste good.
Real ales in the UK are entirely handpulls, and seem to be entirely casked, living, sessionable beers that are utterly delicious.
They’re not strongly flavoured, unlike New Zealand beers. It’s like drinking a good friend, warm hugs and pleasant times all around.
A New Zealand craft beer, on the other hand, is like getting into a fistfight with the beer, and you’re not entirely sure who’s won. Delicious, but incredibly intense and powerful.
Sometimes, though, you get a lovely ale, like Townshend Pure Trouble IPA, you end up with that delightful character palate of UK soft, friendly, and hand-pulled, but still with the skull-crushing intensity of an NZ ale.
Which leaves you in the position of wondering why the ground isn’t where you left it.