other day, I’ve had Putty. A few months ago I didn’t know what a Putty was, or, shall I say, it was evoking much different things in my mind than beer. Being a part of the craft beer community means that I didn’t have any other choice than to learn about Putty. And Putty is gorgeous. It is the baby of Cornish brewery Verdant, who I’m very fond of – they make beer how I like it, flavourful, smooth, hoppy but low on the bitterness. Well, turns out Verdant released a beer called Putty in 2017 for the Hop City beer festival – the idea was to make a New England Double IPA, similar to the ones that were extremely popular in the US at the time, but without ever having tasted them. Could be a recipe for disaster - turns out, it worked. And it worked so well that people got crazy about this Putty, and the beer got a bit of a legendary status. In all fairness, 4 years ago, beer was much different, and it’s very likely that it will be very different 4 years from now. A beer like this, 4 years ago, tasted like a revolution, and it opened a world of possibilities. If beer could taste like this, then it should taste like it always. Today, 4 years from Putty’s first release, the beer doesn’t taste like a revolution anymore – it tastes like a damn fine beer.
to undermine it at all – Putty is a beautiful, beautiful beer, clearly fantastically well brewed, as fragrant as it could be, and smooth as all hell. But in 2021, it isn’t unique anymore, it isn’t groundbreaking, and it does force you to think back on how far craft beer has come in the UK in only a few years. Bottles are practically gone (if you look at early pictures of BeerCraft, the shelves are full of brown glass bottles), brewers are as daring as ever, and it feels like each new release is bringing something interesting to the table. Once again, it doesn’t deter from Putty’s flavour, and I love to witness how some beers get legendary statuses. I’ve talked about it in my last post, breweries are now rock stars, and some beers are their White Album. What beers like Putty also make me aware of, is the power that social media now has on this (fairly) new scene. Facebook, Instagram, with their fair share of aficionados, but also, very importantly, Untappd.
someone who is unaware about this social media, the concept of Untappd seems completely ludicrous, as well as its sheer popularity. Diving into Untappd’s deep end makes me feel like a teetotaller – it’s not rare to find users with (literal) thousands of reviews of different beers, often posting several times a day. And people take this art very seriously – it is pretty serious business deciding if your beer is worth a 3.25 or a 3.5. Like everywhere, you also find some unbelievably odd uses of the rating system – a low score because anyway, they never like this type of beer (why drinking it then??), or a mediocre score for a beer that is called the best thing ever. Everybody has a different approach to the app – some people will never give a beer a 5, because there isn’t a perfect beer. Some people, like me (oops), are happy to throw good scores around if they enjoyed a beer, because, why not. I suppose the whole rating thing raises a few questions and concerns, especially when craft beer drinkers now use Untappd so much to decide what to buy next – hopefully, breweries aren’t affected by the harshness of the anonymous public.
find myself wondering how Untappd came about, how it became so famous when it would have seemed like a crazy idea a few years ago, and how we got here in the first place. But a few days ago, a lovely customer came back to the shop for his weekly dose – he is what I like to call a new regular, someone who starting coming to the shop a few weeks ago and is slowly but surely finding his way with craft beer. I had made him a little selection last time, and he was happy to report he loved them – he had even rated them! He pulled his phone and showed me a list of all the beers he tried, and his rating out of 5 for each beer. I couldn’t believe it. I asked him – do you know about Untappd? He had never heard of it. And suddenly, it all made sense. Rating things is part of us, almost like an instinct. It’s easy, it’s fun, and we do it without even thinking. Untappd was going to happen at one point or another. And I think I just got them a new user.