News, Nuggets & Longreads 20 August 2016: Ribbeltje, Gasholders and Serebryanka

A pub window in London with Young's ram logo.

Here’s all the writing about beer, pubs, beer glasses and gasholders that’s caught our eye in the last week.

Barm (@robsterowski) breaks the oddly sad news that the company behind Stella Artois is to cease serving its premium lager in so-called ribbeltje glasses in its native Belgium, going over instead to the fancier chalice design:

As is widely known, despite the brewer’s attempt to punt it in other countries as a ‘reassuringly expensive’ premium beer, in Belgium Stella is the bog standard café beer, with a basic, proletarian glass to match. This, of course, is precisely why the marketers hate the glass so much. It’s not chic enough for their pretensions.


Dandelion saison in the glass.
SOURCE: Ales of the Riverwards

With a cameo appearance from just such a glass, Ed Coffey at Ales of the Riverwards has been reflecting on foraged ingredients and his idea for dandelion saison is simple and, we think, rather brilliant.


Illuminated Pilsner Urquell sign, Prague.

Jeff Alworth (@Beervana) has had a run of interesting posts throughout the last week or so but we’re going to pick one, ‘When the Original is the Outlier’, about the refusal of Pilsner Urquell, the original golden lager, to conform to the style guidelines for Czech pilsner:

Truth is, writers of style guidelines don’t know how to handle Urquell… [One] thing is for sure: the diacetyl note* in that beer is not ‘very low.’ It’s huge and aggressive, and because Urquell, a světlý ležák (12° beer), is so under-attenuated — it’s just 4.4% ABV — that diacetyl really comes through as sticky and sweet. Budvar, by contrast, is also a 12° beer, but it’s 5% ABV. 


The Beavertown bar at LCBF.
SOURCE: Rebecca Pate.

Rebecca Pate (@rpate) at Brewing East provides an account of her experience at London Craft Beer Festival, now in it’s fourth year, as part of London Beer Week:

So there you have it: London Beer City 2016 came to a close at the London Craft Beer Festival with a group of us belting out Together in Electric Dreams, hugging glasses of Brew by Numbers’ 14|03 Tripel. It’s not difficult to see why it drew such large crowds this year and leaves me wondering how it will evolve to meet the increased interest in 2017.

Alec Latham (@lathamalec) was there too and his write-up is in two parts. The first is a more-or-less straight review of the Festival which ‘knocked [him] sideways’. The second takes a characteristically tangential, meditative approach: it is a reverie on gasholders. Just read it, it makes sense.


The headline of this post from Stan Hieronymus (@stanhieronymus) sounds like something we might hear parroted a lot in the coming years: ‘pH is the new IBU’.


Macro image: 'Hops' with illustration of hop cones, 1970s.

When the Guardian republished Igor Zanatulin’s Calvert Journal article on Soviet and Russian hop-growing region of Chuvashia they gave it a sensational headline: ‘How the Soviets helped America’s craft beer revolution’. Which turns out to be kind of true:

Hop-farming was quickly becoming a prestigious scientific discipline which demanded its own bureaucratic hierarchy. Thus the Soviets’ first hop research institute was established just outside of Cheboksary. Its inventions and experiments still reverberate across the planet. One of its signature products — a particularly flavoursome breed called Serebryanka — would inspire scientists at the University of Oregon to breed Cascade, a citrus-flavoured sort which has now become the most widely used hop by craft brewers. However it’s difficult to say how much Serebyanka could be traced in modern-day Cascade as there is hardly any of the former left in existence.


And, finally, a bit of news dropped casually by the man who’s installing it: the Timothy Taylor brewery of Keighley now has one of those trendy pilot plants the kids are into.

2 thoughts on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 20 August 2016: Ribbeltje, Gasholders and Serebryanka”

  1. These quotes from the two LCBF posts seem to sum up… well, something:

    “When I entered the main hall upstairs I submitted to some mild panic. This happens every time I hear eardrum-throbbing music or sound in an enclosed space … I soon got used to it as the rhythm entered the bloodstream … You end up mouthing the name of the beer to be lip-read or just pointing at it.”

    “The Cask Yard also afforded refuge from the crowds … boasting a more low-key ambiance … located only a short jaunt from Oval Space, it was still overlooked by many attendees”

    “Waddling back to the Oval Space … you ascend up the stairs, come back out into the light and are ambushed by one of London’s most beautiful urban vistas. This could almost be an analogy about leaving the constraints of real ale in the little shed behind.”

    Still, nice to see young people enjoying themselves.

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