Pub in a shed

If you’re in the UK and into beer, have a look at this on the BBC I-player; fellow beer blogger John and his shed are featured.

This is no ordinary shed – Darlington-based John and his friends have all converted their sheds into mini-pubs serving homebrew.  BBC’s regional programme “Inside out” picked it up.

You could learn more about beer watching this than the whole series of James & Oz, and it makes home-brewing look seriously cool.

The bit you want is about 20 minutes into the show.

La Ronda – New year's beer resolutions

This month’s “round” is paid for by Andres of Culturilla Cervecera, and it’s a follow-up to a previous question on building and maintaining a good beer culture. He asks us what our resolutions for 2009 are to help further the cause.



This month’s “round” is paid for by Andres of Culturilla Cervecera, and it’s a follow-up to a previous question on building and maintaining a good beer culture. He asks us what our resolutions for 2009 are to help further the cause.

Apart from the obvious answer (“drink more beer”), we do have a number of beer-related resolutions;

1. Try to persuade our local to rotate the range of beer a bit.
Our local pub has got a great atmosphere, friendly staff, and the beer it does serve is usually in good condition. We’re usually there at least once a week for all these reasons. We’ve often thought that it would be perfect if they took advantage of having five handpumps and being a genuine free house to have at least one pump offering something different each week. So our first resolution is to talk to the landlady about it.

2. Organise a cheese and beer tasting
We’ve wanted to have a go at this ever since seeing Garrett Oliver do one at BeerExposed. Could be a fun way of getting some of our friends interested in beer? After all, everyone loves cheese.

3. Go on more beer expeditions
There are lots of great pubs in London, some of them in the suburbs. There are also many great beer destinations that are within a short train ride. We always have fun when we go exploring, so we’re going to do that some more. At least one a month.

P.S. Jeff Pickthall has an interesting resolution — to provide almost instant reviews EVERY beer he drinks via modern technology. Anyone else got any beer-related resolutions?

Plain English, please!

In an excellent post on his blog, brewer Tom Cizauskas recently made a compelling case for plain English in beer writing.

Yes, it’s important to preserve the historical terminology; yes, some of the words are just plain fun to use (“spile” is a favourite of ours); and, yes, people who are into this will know what most of them mean.

But often, that rarefied vocabulary is used as a way to lord it over others and to exclude them, just like political jargon or street slang. It’s an obvious sign of the “If I can just stop you there to make a minor correction, young lady” mentality we’ve written about here.

Watching Neil Morrissey and his mate on TV this week as they struggled to understand the brewing instructions from this book really brought this point home — why the hell should anyone who didn’t grow up in the 16th century know what “turbid” means?

The Carpenters Arms with the Beer Nut

We’re very slowly becoming tickers for beer bloggers. This week, we finally caught up with TV’s the Beer Nut. We took the opportunity to try out a pub we’d never visited before, just five minutes walk from Marble Arch in the west end of London.

The Carpenters Arms is very much a Proper Pub, without making a big deal of it. There are usually five or six cask ales available on the big, brown, wooden bar. The big, brown wooden tables are worn and ringed with beer stains. There is a dartboard. The crowd is largely made up of builders and regulars.

Bailey thought O’Hanlon’s Yellow Hammer was on good form (we’ve only had this from bottles on location in Devon in the past, and not been impressed) but we note Beer Nut didn’t care for it, thus going to demonstrate again that although we seem to share fairly similar outlooks, we never like the same beers…

This pub makes a nice change from sweaty chain pubs crammed to the rafters. It’s worth knowing about if you’re in that area and looking for a decent pint.

Beer Nut is very much a Proper Beer Blogger, without making a big deal of it. He does have a notebook, but when he scribbles in it, he makes it look like he’s a busy man with great thoughts. And who’s to say he isn’t?

The Carpenters Arms (definitely no apostrophe) is at 12 Seymour Place, W1H 7NA. (Beer in the evening review here). As well as being handy for Oxford Street and the Lebanese restaurants on Edgware Road, there’s also an Austrian cafe (with beer!) over the road, which we’ll have to investigate some other time.