Hi, my name is Paul, aka Mr Fueled by Beer. This blog was started in Seattle, USA and comes to you now from Reading, UK (it’s a long story). Disclaimer: I don’t take this seriously so neither should you. If you’re like me, however; into craft beer, public transport, walking and occasional irreverence, then read on…
This all got started back in 2008 after a job relocation from the Bud/Miller/Coors fizzy yellow hell of South Florida to the hop heaven of Seattle where I immediately found myself living like “a kid in a candy store” as they say over there (of course things have changed dramatically for the better all over America since then, even in southern states like Florida).
But back then, for the first time in more than 20 years living and working in America, three interests came together in perfect union: public transport, craft beer and walking, in no particular order. Thus the premise for Fueled by Beer was born.
But what does all this have to do with carbon neutrality you might be asking? Well, I decided from the start that my exploration of America’s craft beer scene would be conducted exclusively on foot and by public transport. As it progressed I had less and less need for a gasoline-fueled automobile. In other words I was Fueled By Beer – get it?
By the end of 2012 I had walked hundreds of miles, ridden countless buses, trains and ferries, and visited the vast majority of craft breweries within a 100 mile radius of Seattle (trust me, that’s a lot of breweries). There were also visits to breweries further afield, notably in Portland and San Francisco, and the total number of breweries visited was fast approaching 100.
In January 2013 it all came to an end when I bade farewell to Seattle and all its hoppy greatness. I relocated my family to the UK, back to my original hometown of Reading, and a new chapter in the Fueled by Beer saga opened. The original plan was to continue the same modus operandi in England that worked so well in Seattle but it quickly became clear that it wouldn’t work because the UK craft beer business model is so very different. Unlike their American counterparts, most UK breweries do not have a taproom; and they also tend to be in rural locations, often making them inaccessible via public transport.
For this reason the focus shifted from visiting breweries to attending beer festivals – particularly those organized by local branches of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. These are almost always staged in a town or city centre within walking distance of a train station. And, whenever in the absence of brewery taprooms, we also seek out CAMRA LocAle accredited pubs. With the very notable exceptions of the Bermondsey and Hackney breweries in London, it is at the CAMRA festivals and LocAle pubs where you have the most direct way to experience a brewery’s products.
2018 update: this page was written in 2013 and things have changed significantly since then. Traditional as well as new breweries, responding to exploding demand for craft keg beer, have been steadily embracing change by expanding their offerings. As a result, a UK taproom culture is now emerging in many parts of the country. In some instances this involves opening a taproom at the brewery, in other instances it involves opening or acquiring a micropub, which is another emerging scene in the UK.