Old World Becomes New World

by | Jul 3, 2014 | Article

When talking about wine, people often refer to ‘old world’ (Europe) versus ‘new world’ (Australia, NZ, Argentina, USA). Old world in France, Italy and Spain have the classics and the new world have bold new styles which have drawn so many people into being wine lovers.

However, when it comes to beer things are different. For so many years Europe was easy to understand beer wise. Until around 10 years ago the wine producing countries in the south produced unchallenging fizzy lagers which were great to drink by the pool on a hot day, but they kept their real skill for growing amazing wines. The northern countries such as Germany, Sweden, Czech, Denmark and Holland all produced high quality lagers (light and dark) and wheat beers, putting great emphasis on quality of ingredients but not too much into variety and innovation of flavour. The UK and Belgium were different, they produced many different styles of beer with a vast array of flavours, but in general the UK had been resting on its laurels for too long and things were in a bit of a rut.

Spin forward to 2014 and things are topsy turvy. Italy is in the process of becoming a beer loving nation, now with hundreds of mirco breweries producing some stunning and innovative beers. France is producing some stunning beers, rediscovering its brewing roots and passion. Spain has now got a great network of micro breweries producing beers which are a far cry from the flavorless fizz of Estrella.

So the south of Europe has changed very quickly, but it’s maybe easier to make an impression when you have a blank canvas. The north has a deeply entrenched beer culture which is hard to change, especially in Germany which is a nation of conservatives when it comes to drink. However, the speed of change in the north has been remarkable too, Sweden, Denmark and Norway have embraced new styles and ingredients like no others, micro breweries starting up and many new derivations of beers styles be produced. In Germany where beer is a way of life things are starting to change too. Brew pubs and micros are starting to experiment, you can now drink German IPA and what is even more exciting is that they are starting to develop new hop varieties that suit modern styles.

So the ‘old world’ of wine has become the ‘new world’ of beer. The beer revolution seems to be penetrating every corner of the world, but it is most remarkable when you visit the world’s biggest wine producing nation so be able to enjoy such variety and quality of beer.

 

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