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The Seven Moods of Craft Beer

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by Adrian Tierney-Jones

We all know that there are times when a beer – for some reason – tastes better.


The Seven Moods of BeerIt’s not always to do with the flavour or how it’s brewed, kept or served. Sometimes there’s another factor at play, namely how you feel in yourself.

Similarly, we all know that there are times when we fancy one beer style over another, probably because of the environment or company we are in or the circumstances in which we are drinking.

The very reason we decide to pick up a beer in the first place has a bearing.

The idea that all these factors have an impact on the enjoyment and appreciation of a beer provides the essence of this new book by Adrian Tierney-Jones.

As a means of structuring a guide to the world of craft beer, The Seven Moods of Craft Beer is certainly different.

We’ve seen plenty of books divide beers by style, by colour, by strength and by nationality, but here, for the first time, you have an opportunity to choose a beer according to the mood you’re in, or perhaps the mood the brewers were in when they created it.

When A Beer Seems Right

I’ve shared plenty of pints with Adrian over the years and in our conversations he’s often returned to the idea of when a beer seems right. I’ve heard him poetically drift off into hyperbole and also turn inwards to discover what, as he puts it, ‘this beer is saying to me’.

It seems a bit obtuse, admittedly, but on reflection it does hit upon one important and generally overlooked aspect of beer appreciation. It’s not all about aroma and taste. Your own disposition and the choice of beer you have made are key elements in how much you enjoy the liquid in your glass.

That said, in this book, you’ll be glad to hear ATJ doesn’t get all philosophical (but buy him a few pints and I’m sure he’ll oblige). Apart from laying out the principles in a short introduction, he simply divides the beers up into seven ‘moods’ and lets them speak for themselves.

The moods he has identified are Social, Adventurous, Poetic, Bucolic, Imaginative, Gastronomic and Contemplative.

Taking Social as an example, this covers beers that are ‘playful, celebratory, friendly and conversational’, and includes anything from Marble Manchester Bitter and Beavertown Neck Oil to Birrificio Italiano Tipopils and Old Town Sun Dazed Kölsch-style Ale.

Beers in the Poetic section, on the other hand, are described as ‘tuneful, musical, delicate, thoughtful and considered’. To justify this, ATJ has chosen the likes of The Kernel London Sour, Magic Rock Salty Kiss, Camden Town Gentleman’s Wit and De Ranke XXX Bitter.

For each beer in the book, there’s a short description, with tasting notes, plus a pithy one-liner to sum up its charms and suggest how it fits into the relevant mood.

Elgood’s Coolship – in the Bucolic chapter – is summed up as ‘Fenland magic’, La Pirata’s Vallenato Coffee Porter – in the Imaginative chapter – is portrayed as ‘Morning in Catalonia’, and Duits & Lauret’s Houtgerijpte Rook Dubbelbock – among the Gastronomic beers – is labelled ‘The hotpot hero’.

Irrespective of the ‘moods’, however, the book is a fine snapshot of what’s going on in the world of craft beer at the moment, nicely illustrated with line drawings and well laid out for easy browsing.

I’m pretty sure that not everyone will agree with the unusual classification employed, but I think it’s novel and fun.

I also venture to suggest that it might just make you think a little bit more about what beer actually is and why it is you are enjoying it – or not.

First edition (2017)

224-page paperback (Eight Books)

£12.99

Available now from Amazon and other retailers

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