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You kids stay off my lawn!
Just finished ten days in Britain, most of it in London. The Brits talked a good deal about the Syrian refugee issue - mostly to say, "We've got more people than we can house and feed now, how are we (Europe) going to take in all the people that want to escape?" That was usually followed up by total amazement at American gun laws.

They don't call them "pubs" for nothing and that brings me to my real question: What's happened to British beer?

This was our fourth visit, but the first since 1989. I was looking forward to hitting some pubs and tasting some local beer again. UGH. The temp doesn't bother me, nor does the lack of bubbles, and I recall liking the stuff the last time I was in town - but this time it all tasted like weak tea.

Was it because I usually ordered up a bitters? Was it because American beer has gotten so much better since 1989? Have my taste buds changed? Or has British beer gone bad?
American breweries have long been pushing the boundaries of traditional styles, especially when it comes to increasing ABV and hoppiness. I think it has kind of warped our perspective on traditional beers. I have come to appreciate the restrained approach taken with bitters, mild ales, and other session and table beers. Many of the beers that I've tried from those styles manage to have as much if not more flavor and complexity as American beers with twice the alcohol that are sold as being "sessionable".
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Had Fullers London Pride quite a bit this summer when I was there. So good. Actually enjoyed most of the ales I had. Beer over here is definitely both stronger in ABV and IBU these days. That's neither good or bad, just a difference.
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Watney's Red Barrel used to be available along with Speckled Hen. Haven't looked for them in a while. What they bottle may follow a traditional recipe, but I believe they carbonate it and sell it cold instead of at cellar temp.

We were in Dublin in 2013 and I really enjoyed the local beers there.

Loved the beers in Prague (where I drank a good deal of the original Budweiser) and Dutch and Belgian beers as well. Some of the later get pretty experimental and funky, but many of them are tasty.

I tried to be diplomatic in discussing the issue. Some patrons claimed that many local beers have been put out of business by the big breweries. Others stated that breweries have cut back on ingredients, undermining the quality. Lots of the pubs in London have been bought up and plowed under to make room for the building boom, taking with them small batch breweries.

One I tried and really liked was Brass Monkey - very tasty, pulled - not pumped, reminded me of the beers and bitters I had enjoyed in previous visits, but I think it may have been local to Lincolnshire as I couldn't find it in London.

In the final assessment I think I find JLB's response that my taste buds have been influenced by the many craft beers here in Cincinnati and throughout the US, to be the logical answer.
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