January 10, 2023 3 min read
Hello beer drinkers and happy new year. Now Christmas has passed and things have quietened down, it’s always a good time of year to reflect and plan for the coming months. Things haven’t been easy with the cost of living crisis following several years of COVID disruption - inevitably it has influenced drinking habits. People became accustomed to drinking at home during the lockdowns and although there was great excitement about the re-opening of pubs, for many, going to the pub had now become a novelty rather than a routine. To compound matters, drinkers found they had saved a lot of money serving themselves in their own back garden. Now with the cost of living crisis upon us, the pros of home drinking rather than cons have been reinforced. Pubs have borne the brunt of these changes, but it has also affected breweries too.
Here at Bishop Nick we had a better than expected Christmas. The doom and gloom in the media obviously didn’t stop people wanting to drink beer during the seasonal festivities, but it was our bottle sales that boomed, rather than our pub sales. I have mixed feelings about this. I’m glad people enjoy drinking Bishop Nick beer at home, and long may it continue, but it’s also sad that many drinkers have turned their backs on cask-conditioned beer, especially if this is down to a conscious decision to save money. In my opinion, you can’t beat the taste of a well-kept real ale poured straight from the cask. Beer is a living product and it doesn’t respond well to the filtering, transportation, re-packaging and carbonating during the bottling process, and inevitably loses some flavour along the way. Another bonus of cask beer is that it’s much more environmentally friendly. The fermented barley nectar is filled straight into re-usable firkins, which is then dispensed into washable glassware, and the empty firkin is returned to the brewery to be filled again and again. Packaged beer for home consumption has more food miles, involves shrink wrapping in single use plastic, and although the cardboard and glass bottle are recyclable, re-using is always better than recycling. If all the beer Bishop Nick brewed was drunk at the pub, the only waste we’d have at the end of the working week would be a few empty hop bags. I say forget about ‘Dry January’ and instead head to a local pub that serves Bishop Nick cask ale.
So what do we have planned for 2023? We’ve already brewed our limited edition named RITUAL for January – a 3.8% light amber, easy drinking ale with a floral and delicate citrus aroma, followed by a full-bodied, lightly toasted maltiness and apricot, nectarine and spice in the finish. It’s brewed with the new British hop variety Opus, together with the relatively unknown, but characterful and fruity hop called Ernest. It’s currently available in the pubs, and in mini-casks and polypins at the brewery. Bottles should be in stock soon.
For February we’ll be brewing two different limited editions – one dark and one not. Our 4.5% DEVOUT stout will be available again in cask and we’ll have some more stock of it in bottles. I love a good creamy, roasty stout at any time of the year, but even more so when the weather is foul, so don’t miss out if you love your dark beers. Our other offering will be MITRE – a zesty golden beer brewed with Azacca and Cascade hops that will give notes of grapefruit, pine and mango, with a floral finish.Hopefully I will have the time to update you on future limited editions throughout 2023, but if I don’t, it’s not because we’re not brewing any, it’s because I’m too busy brewing them! Cheers!
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