Category Archives: Blogging and writing

The Month That Was: January 2015

Coming back from Christmas full of vim and vigour and writing resolutions we managed a pretty decent number of posts this month.

→ We kicked off the year with our predictions for 2015. (On a related note, here’s Richard ‘Beercast’ Taylor’s list of breweries to watch in the next 12 months.)

→ Our contribution to the 95th beer blogging Session was an attempt to summon into being a readable but scholarly modern history of beer in continental Europe.

→ We gave some thought to what the embryonic buzz-phrase ‘beer architect’ might mean in practice. (Which prompted some comments from Stan Hieronymus.)

Continue reading The Month That Was: January 2015

We’re Stumped – Help!

We’ve reached dead ends in various strands of research and thought we’d throw these questions open to the floor in search of solid leads.

Book of Beer advert, 1956.1. Who exactly was Andrew Campbell? We can’t find out anything about the author of 1956’s Book of Beer, published by Dennis Dobson. We asked Barrie Pepper, collector of beer books and veteran beer writer, and he put the word out through his network, to no avail.  Our guess is that it was a pseudonym for a better-known writer or journalist not eager to be associated with beer.

AK mentioned in an advertisement, 1846.

2. What did AK stand for? This is Martyn Cornell’s fault: he’s been trying to work this out for years but, in an idle moment, we joined the hunt for evidence and are now obsessed. Bailey managed to find an early reference (1846) in the newspaper archives but that trail went cold. Have you come across an earlier reference? Or does your local archive or family brewery have old brewing records and papers that might hold the key?

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From Us To You

We’ve decided to party like it’s 1999 and start an email newsletter.

The first one goes out tomorrow (Friday 16 January) with content we won’t be sharing anywhere else, and we’ll aim to send one a month from here on. Here’s a taste of the contents:

  • Machines for drinking in — an update on our research into post-war pub buildings.
  • Beers from 1999 and 1981 from a head brewer’s private stash.
  • A brief rant about Dry January but probably not the one you’re expecting.
  • Highlights of the last month on our blog…
  • …and some essential reading elsewhere in the world of beer writing and blogging.
  • Plus some bits and pieces: a new camera; another award; and notes and queries.

Sign up here, or using the little form which should appear over there → and up a bit on desktop PCs or down there ↓ near the bottom on mobile devices.

UPDATE 16/01/2015 13:45: The newsletter has gone out. If yours hasn’t arrived check (a) your spam folder and (b) in Gmail, the tabs across the top — some people are telling us it’s been automatically filed as an Update/Promotion/Social. There’s still time to subscribe today — we’ll send another batch at the end of the day.

Book Review: Built to Brew by Lynn Pearson

English Heritage/Brewery History Society, June 2014, 256 pages, large format paperback, £25, ISBN 9781848022386

Just when you think there are no new angles from which to approach the subject of British beer, along comes Lynn Pearson with a book which focuses not on the products or the people, but on bricks and mortar, copper and iron, stone and steel. In so doing, she has created something which combines the rigour of a scholarly reference work with the ‘dippability’ of a coffee table book.

Built-to-BrewIt would be easy to overlook this volume – the cover features one of the least exciting images in the book, and English Heritage’s off-the-peg guidebook design template renders it rather bland. Inside, however, the barrage of arresting imagery begins at once with a photograph of a brewery worker tending to mash tuns at Shipstone’s in Nottingham c.1900, and doesn’t let up thereafter. There are multiple images on every page – plans, sketches, paintings, photographs. Because she has made good use of the English Heritage archive and her own original photography, most of them are new to us, despite the increasing availability online of major picture archives.

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The Month That Was: December 2014

Despite our Christmas shut down, we managed to post a few things in December.

We began the month by trying to answer a question about what we would be willing to pay for a beer: ‘[The] most important factor is probably this: what else we could get for the same money?’

→ After winning multiple gongs at the British Guild of Beer Writers annual awards, we took a moment to bask in the glory and ponder what might be next.

→ We considered the refurbishment of a pub in Penzance and what it might say about the prevailing narrative of decline that surrounds pubs and town centres.

Continue reading The Month That Was: December 2014