Category Archives: Blogging and writing

September 2015: The Month That Was

More or less back on schedule, here’s everything we wrote in September 2015 in one handy round-up.

→ Brewers might not all be ‘passionate’ but they’re not all money-grubbing cynics either — most exist somewhere in-between, but tending towards the former over the latter.

→ We weren’t hugely impressed by Schneider’s Meine Porter Weisse, especially at £10 a bottle.

→ For the 103rd session we wrote about the dominance of middle class voices in beer writing. (Tasha’s round-up of all the Session entries on the topic of ‘The Hard Stuff’ is here.)

Continue reading September 2015: The Month That Was

News, Nuggets & Longreads 03/10/2015

Here’s our pick of the most interesting beer- and pub-related writing of the last week, with a sneaky contribution to Session 104 hidden at the end.

→ For All About Beer, Jeff Alworth asks ‘How Wild is Your Beer?‘:

Is there a difference between inoculated-wild ales and truly wild ales? There is. A Brett-aged beer will develop a lot of complexity as the wild yeast slowly creates different flavor and aroma compounds. Some breweries even add a cocktail of Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus, which creates even more complexity. But truly wild ales have something more… [You’re] getting the taste of place.

→ Connor Murphy at the Beer Battered blog has been spurred into a blogging frenzy by the imminence of the Independent Manchester Beer Convention (IndyManBeerCon). The first post in a series profiling local brewers looks at Mark Welsby at Runaway:

I knew I wasn’t motivated by money because, in my previous role, the more successful I got, the more miserable I got. Brewing gave us the chance to leave everything we hated about our previous jobs, so we came upon the name Runaway because we were both escaping our past lives.

Continue reading News, Nuggets & Longreads 03/10/2015

Another Award for Brew Britannia

On Saturday, the North American Guild of Beer Writers gave Brew Britannia the top prize in the history/technical category at their annual awards.

You can read the full list of winners in every category here — it includes blogger Bryan Roth, British journalist Will Hawkes, and quite a few people whose work we hadn’t come across before but now look forward to checking out.

A bit of background: as we’re not members, we had to pay to enter this competition — not something we’d usually do, but we figured that we might be in with a shot given Brew Britannia‘s performance at the British Guild awards in December.

Though of course it’s nice to have a pat on the back and our egos stroked, awards have a practical benefit: they are really useful when it comes to pitching books to publishers and, as there is another substantial book we’d really like to write, we need all the help we can get.

You can buy Brew Britannia in various places:

And there’s also a short ‘One Year On’ update available on the blog and as a free e-book.

August 2015: The Month That Was

A bit late because we didn’t get round to it before we went on holiday, here’s a round-up of everything we posted in August.

→ We started the month with a long piece on attempts by Watneys, Whitbread and other big British breweries to export the idea of the English pub to Continental Europe in the 1960s and 70s:

In the more sophisticated city centres, with their cosmopolitan populations, the cachet of drinking bitter seems to have had some success, particularly in Paris where there is a distinct preference for top-class beers.

→ Could BrewDog brewing Arrogant Bastard in the UK turn into a more permanent arrangement? (James Watt of BrewDog: ‘No.’)

→ Though we’re still after a high resolution, full colour reproduction, we were pleased to find an image of one of Watney’s notorious 1970s ‘Red Revolution’ posters.

→ We tasted one last UK saison (Cheddar Ales Firewitch) then a few from elsewhere before finally rounding up our saison-tasting season and declaring an overall winner.

Continue reading August 2015: The Month That Was

The Campaign for Unreal Ale: Deleted Scene

Our first piece for All About Beer magazine, ‘The Campaign for Unreal Ale‘, went live this week.

We wanted to focus on a particular moment and challenged ourselves, as with the recent piece on Covent Garden ’75 in BEER, to use only the words of those involved.

Of course, there’s a bit of a con there: the faux-oral-history format implies the absence of an author when, in fact, we’ve selected quotes from much longer transcripts, based on questions we asked, in order to tell a particular story in 1000 words.

By way of additional context, here’s a bit from Alastair Hook we didn’t use:

[My criticism of CAMRA in The Grist] didn’t necessarily chime with the heart-chords of SIBA members who were mostly cask ale brewers. In fact, it wound them up.

The late Michael Jackson told me, ‘Only ever talk good things of beer’, and that’s what I try to do, so, for all their ills, CAMRA have spent decades promoting good beer. (I’m just not sure they know what it is.)

I don’t have a problem with CAMRA – I don’t think about it. It’s irrelevant. What was strange was when I gave a talk at the Great British Beer Festival but my own beer, from Meantime, got stopped at the door by some jobsworth who wouldn’t have it on the premises because it wasn’t real ale. Isn’t that weird? Absurd.

It’s no wonder that people are sometimes confused about Mr Hook’s stance on CAMRA: even though it can sound extreme — ‘the idea that oxygen improves beer is just absurd’ — it’s actually rather complex and, dare we say it, emotional.

We’ve illustrated this post with pictures of Hook and Haydon scanned from 1990s copies of The Grist, the copyright holders of which All About Beer weren’t able to track down. If that’s you, and you’d like us to add a credit or remove the image from this post, let us know.