Once again, our fears that we would be going it alone on #BeeryLongReads day proved to be unfounded — thanks, everyone, for taking part. Here are all the posts that we’ve spotted or been told about.
→ Old Family Brewers of Britain. Part Seven — Brakspears of Henley-on-Thames by Paul Bailey (no relation) recounts the history of a brewery and the author’s own long experience of drinking its beer: “I had learnt of the company’s existence late in 1973 after reading Christopher Hutt’s excellent and pioneering book, The Death of the English Pub… [but]it was not until the spring of 1975, during my student days, that I first had the chance to sample them.”
→ ‘Spoons, Man by The Beer Nut (@thebeernut) considers the arrival in Ireland of the UK pub chain Wetherspoon: “[This] wasn’t going to be one of those Wild West Wetherspoons, run down and gum-stained, that one occasionally encounters across the water. Though they didn’t make it explicit, I suspect the intention was for this to be both pilot fish and flagship all under one enormous roof.”
→ Whatever People Say I Am, I’m Not, also by The Beer Nut, explores the Guinness Brewers Project: “I’m not having a go at Diageo for not making Pattinsonian clones of beers in their logs. They are entitled to make what they like. I do, however, think presenting them as any way historically associated was a mistake — something that will mislead most customers and just irritate the ones who look a bit further into it.”
→ #GamerGate Might Portend Something Ill for Craft Beer by The Brewolero asks questions about whether we might expect the bitter row which has recently poisoned conversation around gaming might find another front in the world of beer: “The parallels are not quite direct between #GamerGate and craft beer’s internal conflicts, and gaming’s dirty laundry is probably magnitudes worse than the beer’s, but it’s worth paying attention to if only as a cautionary tale.”
→ ADDED 01/12/2014: Learning to love constraint in brewing, or, Globalization and the terroirs of music, soccer formations, and local beer, also by The Brewolero, draws parallels between the homogeneity of globalisation on craft beer styles and other areas of popular culture: “Globalization is great–it allows for a much freer spread of information and ideas. Also, globalization sucks–Starbucks opened this weekend in Bolivia, and you can bet that Pumpkin Spice is one of the options. So what does that mean for beer?”
→ How the West Was Won by Andrew Drinkwater (@andrewdrinks) is, in his own words, “a long, totally biased love letter to a bar I spent much of this year in”: “When Brewdog opened its Shepherds Bush bar in November 2013, it was a considerable risk. The venue itself was an unorthodox choice, huge by comparison with the Scottish brewery’s other bars, and a long way from the crucible for London’s beer boom in the East…”
→ The More I Travel the More I Realize How Little I Know by Stan Hieronymus (@stanhieronymus) is an archive piece from 2010 which gave brewers the chance to talk about what they had learned on their travels: “Jason Oliver brews a pretty mean Vienna-style Lager in Roseland, Virginia. Likewise Alastair Hook in London… How did they learn to brew such beer, and why do they bother?”
→ Beer and Pubs: a Personal History by Matthew Lawrenson (@seethelizards) is actually a nakedly honest account of the author’s relationship with society through the prism of booze: “Just as you cannot appreciate happiness unless you have known misery, you cannot appreciate flavoursome beer unless you have drunk a standard regional brewery mild.”
→ Bend’s ‘Healthy Beer Culture’ by Mark Lindner (@bythebbl) is a response to a year-old post of ours examining the state of beer and brewing in Bend, Oregon: “Currently, beer tourism is a significant and growing portion of local tourism dollars. Beer goes with everything that goes on here, indoors or out…”
→ ‘Photo Contest 2014: The What, the How and the Why’ by Alan McLeod (@agoodbeerblog) both advertises and explores the history of a beer blogging institution: “Why have I done this since 2006? Think about it. That is longer that more than half of today’s craft brewer have been opened! Why have I kept going for now nine contests? Fear of habit breaking in large part. There must be a 37 letter word for that in German or Hindi.”
→ How to Make Malt by Ed Wray (@TheBeerFather) explains, with copious illustrations, exactly how malt is produced: “This is moist green malt, and it tastes a bit like bean sprouts at this stage. Which perhaps explains why bizarre as it now sounds beans were once used for brewing. It is possible to brew using green malt, and I’ve heard of a grain whisky distillery that does this.”
→ And, finally, Welcome to Adnamsland by, er, us is a portrait of the town and region where Broadside, Southwold Bitter and Ghost Ship are brewed: “What saves Southwold from feeling completely twee is the presence of a thumping great working brewery… whenever the scene began to resemble too closely an episode of theVicar of Dibley, a fork-lift truck would come skidding out of the brewery gates, heading for one of the many ancillary workshops or warehouses.”
The next round of #BeeryLongReads will be on Saturday 28 February. Put it in your diary now and we’ll remind you and give more guidance nearer the time.