Bury St Edmunds beer expert René van den Oort on discovering beers to suit your lifestyle
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. . .
Everything and everyone goes through times of change. As has been so evident over the past couple of weeks, nature has suddenly changed from bare, leafless branches, muddy, brown patches of soil and seemingly lifeless dead bushes into bright, colourful tapestries of blossom, lush green grass and beautiful flowers brimming with life. People too are suddenly subconsciously changing their mood and even patterns of behaviour. This is often noticeable as people are suddenly happier and more chatty, as temperatures outside slowly rise.
Also, people’s shopping habits suddenly change. Purchases of clothing, food and drink often go hand-in-hand as people realise when trying on more summery garments, they might need to shed a few pounds as the effects of winter food and drink take their toll on our waistlines. Suddenly the hearty, filling food items in shopping trolleys are replaced by salad and healthy eating items. So too for the styles of beer people drink. Wintery, dark, strong beers are no longer the favourite tipple, with lighter, easy drinking and beers lower in alcohol are the preferred option.
Recently there has been a remarkable increase in the quality of low and zero alcohol beers available to the beer drinker, as well as a good selection of gluten free options. No longer are the insipid, bland tasting beers the only option for those with an intolerance to gluten or who prefer not to, or cannot, consume alcoholic beverages. Breweries had to adapt to this changing trend rapidly and there are now a number of breweries specialising in such beers. Even to such an extent, they now only produce gluten free or low alcohol beers.
More and more people are trying and discovering new styles of beer better suited to their lifestyle.
For those of you who are looking for that change, what better way than just enjoy trying out the wide variety of different beers currently available from a large range of breweries. Talking of which, the Bury St Edmunds’ 28th Beer and Cider Festival is due to take place at The Apex and arc during the first week in May. This is a great opportunity to try some of these trendy beers either from cask, Keykeg, bottle or even beers conditioned in the can. Bigger and better than ever before, this year’s festival has a huge range of beers and ciders available from dozens of local, national and international breweries. There’s even a Pimms and Prosecco bar, numerous food stalls, a sound stage and, on Saturday, a children’s entertainment area.
Support for this local event has been growing rapidly due to the numerous changes made over the past few years, mainly in response to requests by a more diverse clientele. As David Bowie famously sang “Turn and face the strange” in his song Changes, we all find ourselves out of our comfort zone by trying new things. Be adventurous and embrace the fact that sometimes change is for the better. Though I still enjoy a good old pint of mild sometimes. . .
René van den Oort is owner of Beautiful Beers
1b St John’s Street
Bury St Edmunds