Why medium strength?
Michael Huddart13 October 2015
“At Gipsy Hill we focus on full flavoured, medium strength beer.” If you’re reading this you’ve probably been to our homepage. This is our philosophy and it’s what we’ve stuck to for the 15 months of our existence. We’ve been interrogated a lot about it, and have seen every reaction, from absolute relief and joy written all over the face of exhausted, craft loving parents who couldn’t stomach a barley wine before their 9pm bedtime, to total disdain from the beer snobs who aren’t interested if it doesn’t have barrel, dubbel or lambic in the name.
Our take on this is simple, 99% of the UK’s drinkers still drink macro-brews. Our job, as breweries and as an industry, is to convert people to the benefit of better-made, passionately brewed beer with the best ingredients. How best to do this? Offer an alternative to what people knew. Medium strength, full flavoured, micro-batch craft beer that can slip right into peoples’ lives. As a drinker, what I wanted most was a richer real ale, a more delicate flavourful lager, a more hopped up pale, not necessarily a DIPA barrel aged with beetroots. Upgrade my drinking!
So we decided to focus on that. It’s kind of our ethos. Full flavoured beer that goes well with conversation. Hence our slogan “Drink it and talk to people”.
The other benefit of that choice was differentiation from the 70 or so breweries that were around in July 2014. Back then it seemed almost everything in London craft beer seemed to be between 6% and 12%. It’s enormously exciting to have all this new beer, and, as a beer geek, it’s heaven, but was it slightly missing the point of just making better beer?
Incredibly, since that date at the end of July 2014, it seems that more and more of the craft beer that’s hit the market is medium to low strength. Everyone seems to be releasing a better version of the beers we used to drink. The craft movement seemed to be coming our way… So what now? We’ve been going a year, we’ve got a core range of 5 medium strength beers that we’re really happy with, and plans for more. But we’ve also realised something else: after a year of refinement, fine-tuning our equipment, establishing our hops strategies, persona, etc, we are pretty excited about doing some “experimentation”. Ultimately, we want people to enjoy not just our beers, but a full range of our beer. We want them to rely on our core beers as their daily bread, and then flip to the wild side with some specialist, limited addition brews. To see what can be done when the best brewing process, equipment, ingredients and attitude goes wild.
We’re really pumped up over here. Watch this space.