Flagship February 2021: From the Source

Flagship February 2021: From the Source

Flagship February 2021: From the Source

After two successful years of Flagship February, we felt pretty satisfied. We had worked hard to spread the word about the often-overlooked flagship beers that made our industry what it is today, the beers that got us here. We’d shared some great writing about some of our favorite beers, and we daresay inspired some to return to the pleasures and comfort of flagship beers.

But then came Covid. The pandemic put an end to life as we knew it. There were no more beer festivals, no more sitting down at a restaurant, and no more stopping by your local to clink glasses with some friends to laugh and cry over the issues of the day.

The “social” aspect of beer as a social lubricant was gone, and we think we can safely speak for everybody when we say it was very much missed.

But time marches on, and it’s a new year and another February is upon us, albeit a very different month from the one last year. One thing that has remained a constant, always welcome aspect of life, even under the new rules, is beer. While we couldn’t enjoy our beer out in the world, or with friends and family, we could bring it into our lockdowned homes. So as the new year approached, we knew that there would still be interest in flagship beers and felt we needed to continue Flagship February, even if we did that in a much different way.

We considered going forward the same way as before, trying to ignore what Covid has done to the world, let alone the beer industry. But like it or not, the pandemic is an omnipresent sword of Damocles and it feels impossible to avoid as we face the new realities of life during, and hopefully, after Covid. Even once the pandemic is behind us, and our breweries, bars and restaurants are once again open and the beer is flowing again, its effects will continue to echo and be a part of our post-Covid lives.

Stephen Beaumont and Jay Brooks enjoy some flagship beers pre-Covid.

One of the few silver linings of this past year, is that many people did seem to retreat back to flagship beers to remind themselves of how beer used to taste, before all of this mess. In the same way comfort food works, people found solace in flagship beers, a reassuring reminder of the time before Covid. Perhaps more importantly, these were beers we already knew tasted good and could rely on to be as delicious as when we first tasted them.

In the end, we decided to turn to the brewers and publicans themselves and let them tell their stories. So instead of our usual great writers, we asked brewers to write about their own flagship beers and tell us about their beers in their own way. Essentially, it’s Flagship February from the source. In addition to those essays, throughout the month we’ll also include some Q & A interviews with others and hear from a few bar owners about both their relationship with flagship beers and how they’ve been impacted by the pandemic. So join us again this February as we explore, and celebrate, flagship beers – pandemics be damned!

Stephen Beaumont is a veteran beer writer, author of Will Travel for Beer and the author or co-author of thirteen other books, including The World Atlas of Beer, the third edition of which will appear this fall. He is also the founder of #FlagshipFebruary.

Jay R. Brooks is a syndicated beer columnist, a co-founder of San Francisco Beer Week and the author of several books, including California Breweries North. He is also a founder and current president of the North American Guild of Beer Writers and developed and taught a Beer Appreciation certificate course for Sonoma State University.

Flagship beers were chosen by the individual writers with no input from the #FlagshipFebruary partners or sponsor breweries.

Brought to you by