Category Archives: Blogging and writing

March 2015: The Month That Was

Despite being all over the place running real-life errands, we managed to turn out a respectable number of posts in March, a couple of which were accidental epics.

→ There was a good batch of #BeeryLongReads from across the Blogoshire including insights into the politics of keg lines in bars and a profile of a South London brewery.

→ Ted Bruning’s short book Merrie England: the medieval roots of the great British pub got a thumbs-up from us.

→ Also on the subject of pub history, how is it that so many of them are allowed to get away with straight-up lying about their history?

Continue reading March 2015: The Month That Was

How to Beer Blog

We’ve been blogging since 2007 and this post summarises what we’ve learned in that time.

We got the nerve to write it after asking subscribers to our email newsletter if they thought it was a good idea, and after our online communication award from the British Guild of Beer Writers last year.

If you’re thinking of starting a beer blog, reviving an old one, or are struggling to keep one going, we hope you’ll find it useful.

Leaving the Shire.

Starting Out

This is how we’d go about starting a beer blog from scratch today.

  1. Lay solid foundations. Write 5-10 good posts on a range of subjects in your area of interest of 200-800 words each, posting at least once a week. Hardly anyone will be reading them but it doesn’t matter – you’ll be finding a voice, getting into the groove, learning your blogging software, and preparing for the next stage. (And if you can’t manage five posts, then maybe blogging isn’t for you.) Don’t make your first post ‘So, I’ve decided to start a blog! Let’s hope this goes well!’ Just plunge in with proper content.
  1. Get a Twitter account and/or Facebook page. Include the term ‘beer blogger’ and a link to your blog (lots of people, oddly, don’t do this) in your bio. Then follow/like other beer bloggers. Hopefully, they’ll do what we do and check out your link, where they’ll find a month or two’s worth of decent content which suggests you’re worth keeping an eye on. By all means follow the big ones like Pete Brown – he’s always interesting – but you might get a more immediate response from others who are at a similar stage in the process to you. Don’t mither people: ‘I’ve just started a blog – please take a look and Retweet!’

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A Disruptive Influence?

One of the most critical and questioning voices in the world of British beer is not a writer but a brewer: Jon Kyme of Stringers.

When he blogs, it is usually because someone has provoked him by, for example, making a claim in marketing material that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, and he often adopts indirectly the persona of ‘The Professor‘ to deliver lectures laced with economics, science and philosophy.

On Twitter, he often posts acidic sub-Tweets picking up on factual errors, grandiose claims, or even just typos. In comments on various blogs, he is similarly sharp, in both senses of the word.

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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