Category Archives: Blogging and writing

All the #BeeryLongreads from February 2015

Once again, several other bloggers joined us in ‘going long’. Here are all the posts we spotted and considered eligible.

Keg: All Tied Up’ by Yvan Seth
2000 words
A beer distributor explains some of the politics behind the scenes which mean that a handful of breweries have the ‘craft’ keg market sewn up.

Every Beer Has Its Place: The Rise of Bexley Brewery’ by Steve 1500 words
So deep into South East London that it’s actually in Kent, Bexley is home to a micro-brewery producing amazing beer.

Cascade: A Study in Hop Terroir’ by Stan Hieronymus
1400 words
‘Conducting a study during the 2010 hop harvest in the Willamette Valley, researchers at Oregon State University’s Shellhammer Lab discovered something outside of the focus of the trials…’

Making Diastatic Brown Malt’ by Ed Wray
1500 words
How can modern brewers go about recreating a long-lost style of malt that was once essential to the taste of British beer?

‘The Distance: All of the People, All of the Time’ by Chris Hall
1800 words
When beer lovers from beyond our shores and outside the self-affirming bubble visit the UK, they are astonished to see how much the British beer scene has changed.

‘A Little Less Conversation’ by Matthew Lawrenson
1500 words
A personal account of an awkward social situation in a favoured pub.

‘Can Mavericks Brewing Ride the Wave of Low-Alcohol Craft Beer?’ by Derrick Peterman
2000 words
Maverick’s is an American brewery founded by Pete ‘Wicked Ales’ Slosberg that produces mostly beers with an unusually low 3.75% alcohol by volume.

‘An Introduction to Beer in Essex’ by Justin Mason
2200 words
The co-founder of the Beer East Anglia project summarises the history of brewing in his home county and gives a view of the state it’s in today, with conservative drinkers and publicans rubbing up against brewers interested in pushing the boundaries.

‘Williams Bros: Craft Before it was a Thing’ by Boak & Bailey
2600 words
The quintessentially Scottish brewery Williams Bros began its life in 1988 when an elderly woman walked into a home-brewing supply shop in Glasgow with a recipe for heather ale.

This would usually be where we’d set a date for next time but we’ve decided that this will be the last round of #BeeryLongReads for the time being, for various reasons. Thanks to everyone who’s taken part since September 2013, and to those who’ve found the time to reward writers’ efforts by reading their work.

The Month That Was: February 2015

February’s a funny month in Cornwall: everything’s closed for refurbishment and the pubs are so quiet you can hear the bar staff  blink. This is how we survived it.

→ The month kicked off with highlights fom an account by a British brewer of his work in Belgium c.1924, including clandestine night-time pipe-fitting.

→ We blended Orval with Old Peculier to great effect; and, less successfully, with two classic bottled best bitters/pale ales. (We also inspired Ghost Drinker to have a go and we received some reports on Twitter, too: 1 | 2 | 3.)

→ A 100-word ‘beery short read': Should we acknowledge deliberately provocative (trolling) publicity stunts by breweries, or even ‘call them out’?

Continue reading The Month That Was: February 2015

Over/Under Represented, Pt 2

On Friday, we asked people to tell us which breweries they think get more than their fair share of attention, and which are being overlooked.

The results were interesting, though perhaps not quite in the way we had hoped.

There are going on for c.1,300 breweries in Britain (the numbers are disputed) but there were hardly any names put forward for either list that were not familiar to us from blog posts or newspaper articles. That rather confirmed our view that, if no-one is raving about Bloggs’s Brew Co of Dufton, it’s probably because the beer it produces is, at best, unremarkable. Or, to put that another way, there are only a handful of breweries really worth writing home about.

Continue reading Over/Under Represented, Pt 2

So Who Are the Usual Suspects?

In a comment on that Jeff Alworth piece about British beer, Barm put into words something we’ve noticed as a permanent background grumble in the blogoshire:

The publicity… goes to those breweries with well-thought out marketing strategies, ambitious export programmes and PR agencies… So you shouldn’t form your picture of what is going on in Britain based on the UK mass media, or on beer blogs written by a small number of extremely passionate extreme beer drinkers.

Of course it’s not only the bloggerati/crafterati who have their favourites — just look at winners of CAMRA’s various beer competitions over the past couple of decades.

Continue reading So Who Are the Usual Suspects?

Cask-focused UK Beer Blogs

In an article for All About Beer, American writer Jeff Alworth said: ‘If you read the English beer blogs, you’ll find mention of cask ale is nearly absent.’

He’s reading the wrong blogs, then, we thought, and came up with this reading list of people who mostly write about cask-conditioned beer consumed in the pub.

Before we get to the links, though, it’s worth noting that we do think Jeff might be broadly right: the bloggers we’ve suggested below are all on the… erm… experienced side, and while younger bloggers do write about cask-conditioned beer, it does seem that it’s not often what that gets them excited.

Tandleman

A long-time Campaign for Real Ale activist based in Manchester, Tandleman is proud to say that he rarely drinks beer at home, and rarely touches keg beer when he’s out. With experience in pub cellars and managing festival bars, he understands the technical ins-and-outs of cask ale better than most, and a recurring theme on his blog is the generally poor condition in which he finds it in London pubs.

Tandleman screenshot.

Sample quote: ‘There is nothing more vexing than coughing up the best part of four quid for a pint in London (or anywhere to be fair) and then finding it warm enough to poach an egg in.’

Paul Bailey (no relation)

While not dogmatic about cask vs. keg, Paul has been a CAMRA member since the 1970s and writes frequently about his memories of drinking cask-conditioned beer over the course of four decades, as well as providing first-hand commentary on the contemporary scene such as this piece on Doom Bar.Paul Bailey screenshot.

Oh Good Ale

Another Manchester-based blogger and CAMRA loyalist, Phil is an academic by day and so knows how to string a sentence together. He is outspoken in his praise of cask-conditioned beer and, despite repeated efforts to ‘get’ what it is people see in it, an intelligent critic of modern kegged craft beer, and especially the way it is priced and marketed.

Sample quote: ‘The answer to the question, I honestly believe, is “because any given beer is better from a cask than a keg (or bottle, or can)”.’