The Month That Was: April 2016

Here’s everything we wrote in April 2016 in one handy place, and links to responses from other writers and bloggers where we’ve spotted them.

→ We started the month off with a second-hand April Fool’s joke: Instant Guinness.

→ In the North West of England we photographed a load of interesting pubs. (But not necessarily good ones.)

→ Joe Stange suggested some beers we ought to try and we’ve already tasted Ruhstaller’s Gilt EdgeHeadlands Pt. Bonita Rustic Lager and Slaapmutske Dry-Hopped Lager.

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Us On the Subject of Bitter

Last autumn we wrote 1,500 words on bitter for the American magazine Beer Advocate and that article has just been made available free online.

For us, this was pretty much like writing about water, or bread, or the sun — that is difficult despite, or maybe because of, the apparent simplicity and familiarity of the subject.

Anyway, we were quite happy with how it turned out, and people on Twitter seem to be enjoying it. Here’s a good bit:

Today in the UK, Bitter is not a strictly governed style and beers bearing that appellation might be golden to red, drily bitter or honey-sweet, rich in hop perfume or rather austere. Depending on strength, they might be called “Ordinary,” “Best,” or “Extra Special Bitter (ESB).” It is easier, perhaps, to say what Bitter is not. Once the classy alternative to Mild, then the conservative alternative to trendy lager, it is now the preferred choice of the anti-hipster—not Double IPA, and definitely not fruit-infused barrel-aged Saison.

And asking nosy questions paid off here, too:

“Southwold Bitter is still our best-selling cask beer and its place as No. 1 is probably secure for some time yet, but it has been caught up by Ghost Ship [a hoppy Golden Ale] in the last few years,” Fergus Fitzgerald explains. “When I joined Adnams 10 years ago, Bitter was about 70 percent of what we did, but it’s now closer to 40 percent as we have expanded the range of styles we brew, and as tastes broaden.”

Sadly, since we wrote it last summer Fuller’s Chiswick Bitter has ceased to be a regular brew (Twitter) and is now seasonal only. When it comes to writing about specific brands beer is a moving target.

Status Update: Bona Fide Travelling

Window at the Old Pack Horse, Chiswick.

Today and tomorrow we’re on the road visiting some pubs and interviewing some people for research purposes so there won’t be a News, Nuggets & Longreads links round-up tomorrow.

If you’re desperate for a Saturday morning fix keep an eye on our Twitter timeline tomorrow — we’ll share a few things there instead of here.

And, as they say at the BBC, other links round ups are available, e.g. Stan Hieronymus’s regular Monday morning post which, this week, had some particularly juicy stuff.

(The title of this non-post is a reference to a quirk of UK licencing law that we wrote about here, by the way.)

The Month That Was: March 2016 — Glass Pubs, Blubus, Beer Weeks

We took a week off blogging in March to undertake what it tickles us to call ‘field work’ so this is a slightly shorter round up than usual.

→ We kicked off the month with a guest post from etiquette expert R.M. Banks, on the subject of jukeboxes:

The soundest advice is to avoid the deep end of the pool – songs containing full-throated Scandinavian metal screaming, dischord intended to evoke mans inhumanity to man, treated piano, laxative basslines, children’s choirs, and so on. Jukebox songs ought to elicit a tapping of the foot, perhaps a gay whistle, but oughtn’t interfere with the conversation.

→ Our contribution to Session #109 on the subject of porters was to the point: What is porter? And what is it not? (Mark Lindner’s round-up of all the Session posts is here.)

→ We spotted a nice bit of dialogue about beer in a 1960 episode of Hancock’s Half Hour.

→ The fourth and final beer suggested for us by Dina in round one of our ‘Magical Mystery Pour’ project was Wild Beer and Beavertown’s collaboration Blubus Maximus.

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The Month That Was: February 2016

Here’s everything we wrote in February 2016, from Fuller’s pubs to BrewDog recipes via stormy weather, tzatziki beer and pub grub.

→ We started the month of with a tour around some Fuller’s pubs in West London which left us a little anxious:

We’re not sure this particular brewery need be so obsessed with getting involved in Craft Beer, especially if it’s at the expense of what they do best, and what makes them almost unique in London: brilliant cask-conditioned bitter, best bitter and strong bitter, served in great old pubs.

→ In 1900 some brewers pre-empted Williams Bros by almost a century when they attempted to recreate the semi-mythical Pictish heather ale.

→ One of Bailey’s pals doesn’t drink Guinness any more — keg IPA has become his usual.

→ For the 108th beer blogging session we considered the importance of pubs and strong beer when the weather is blustering. (There’s a round-up of all the entries at The Brew Site.)

→ This quote summed up the British attitude to pubs and to war‘And beer too has played its traditional part in keeping us friendly, buoyant and good tempered…’

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