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Brewing for the American market

Whether you embrace *xtr*m* beers or not, there’s little argument that Americans’ willingness to try experimental beers has captured the attention of brewers from other countries.

Case in point, Roger Protz visits the Nethergate Brewery on England’s Essex-Suffolk border, which has earned its reputation with excellent mild cask ales.

What does he find brewer Tom Knox working on?

“Belgian beers have helped the appreciation of bottle-conditioned ales in Britain,” Tom said. He plans a 10.5% beer with 85 bitterness units for the American market: it will be finished with Champagne yeast. The range of bottled beers will come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including some with corks and wire cradles in the Belgian fashion.

Twenty years ago you wouldn’t have heard many British, Belgian and German brewers talking about “brewing for the American market” and if they did they certainly weren’t talking about their more flavorful beers.

3 Responses to Brewing for the American market

  1. Jeff Alworth May 27, 2007 at 8:39 pm #

    Oregon and Seattle have twin International Beer Fests, and last year’s featured a number of Belgian breweries with huge, hoppy ales “in the American style.” Belgians are always willing to experiment, but it was the first time I really tumbled to the idea that the US had become characteristic enough to warrant imitation. And from the Belgians–what flattery!

    (I, of course, think of this as the NW or West Coast style, but I hesitate to appropriate it off my own parochial blog.)

  2. Stan Hieronymus May 28, 2007 at 6:07 am #

    I suppose I should be fretting that brewers are giving up their sense of place when they begin to move toward an “international” style – particularly when he consider we already have an international beer style, which is pale, bland lager.

    But just as Americans can take inspiration from traditional beers and make them something new, so can other brewers. I think Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel is an example of that.

    I love that beer, and that Americans are now looking at doing their own riff on that.

  3. Loren May 29, 2007 at 5:13 am #

    “But just as Americans can take inspiration from traditional beers and make them something new, so can other brewers. I think Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel is an example of that.

    I love that beer, and that Americans are now looking at doing their own riff on that.”

    Which results in the perfect full circle situation, no? This kind of worldwide experimenting and criss-crossing of styles and beer nationalities is refreshing and more than often a worthwhile result.

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