Over the past couple of years I’ve become a little obsessed with the idea of legacy, and what it means to modern craft brewers.
With the explosion of new breweries in the UK over the past decade or so (there are now more than 2,000), many of us have changed the way we enjoy beer; instead of sticking to a couple of beers we know and love, we chop and change like the tide. Hunting the latest delicious release for the gratifying feeling of both taking that first sip – and being the first to post a pic of it on Instagram.
Smart breweries have used this to their advantage, playing on consumers' fear of missing out, better known by its acronym: FOMO. By drip-feeding them a near constant stream of new releases, they keep coming back for more. And so on.
Or at least, that was the plan. Things have changed now. We’ve changed. The global pandemic has seen a shift in our drinking habits away from the new and exciting, back towards the reassuring and the comforting. Before the pandemic, I can’t remember the last time I came away from a bottle shop with more than two of the same beer. Now if I don’t have at least four of a tried and trusted favourite in the fridge, I begin to feel anxious.
It makes sense, then, that breweries who did rely on hype now look instead towards building a legacy, or at least the foundations of one. True legacy: Becoming a regular fixture in someone’s life, something a person really cares about rather than just a fleeting social media post, takes time. But that’s exactly what North Wales favourite Polly’s have done by releasing a core range – a saliva-inducing line-up of beers that aren’t simply around for a couple of weeks, then gone. Familiarity breeds affection.
At the forefront of this range is Floret, a juicy pale, buoyed with North American Citra and Azacca hops that give it an intense kick of pineapple and tangerine. These flavours are balanced out by one of my absolute favourite US hops, Simcoe, which brings a little fresh mango flavour and luscious cedar bark aromas. This beer is silky smooth and easy drinking, something I’ve come to expect from Polly’s beers.
While I acknowledge that, yes, actually we do still need a little hype and excitement in our lives from time to time, I’m glad a beer like this will be around more permanently. Reliable, faithful, and always there to satisfy a thirst.
Matthew Curtis is a writer, photographer and editor of Pellicle Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis and @pelliclemag. Sign up to our All Killer No Filler subscription box and you'll find incredible beers like this one every month, plus more great writing from Matthew and our food writer Claire Bullen.