Some pictures we took while walking from one meeting to another in London a couple of weeks ago. We’d forgotten quite how densely ‘pubbed’ London is, and how characterful and varied those pubs can be.(There’s more of this kind of stuff on our Facebook page, by the way.)
Should small ‘craft’ brewers worry about the appearance of ‘craft beer’ in JD Wetherspoon pubs? Or should they welcome it?
Beyond major cities, this will be the first time many people will have had the chance to enjoy a sexily-packaged American-style IPA in a pub. Do you remember the first time you tried Goose Island IPA? We do. That eye-opening moment ought to lead at least some people to decide that’s their thing:’I'm well into the old craft beers, me.’ That would be good news for smaller brewers.
On the other hand, at £5 for two bottles or cans, this might be the moment when the rug gets pulled out from under the price structure of ‘craft beer’. ‘Spoons may not be able to compete with the Craft Beer Company or The Rake on cosmopolitan ‘vibe’ or variety, but you don’t get much for £2.50 at either of those venues.
If JDW can keep the range rotating, even if the selection is middle of the road, they might lure some beer geeks (like us) who had previously turned their noses up, and who welcome the thought of an extra tenner in their pocket at the end of the night.
It doesn’t hurt that many of the recent US-UK cask ale collaborations have been excellent — the Sixpoint/Adnams Make it Rain tasted so good on Sunday that we ended up drinking more than planned, despite the frankly dismal surroundings, and still spent less than the price of two bottles of Orval in a pub round the corner.
Disclosure: as we mentioned on Sunday, JD Wetherspoon sent us samples of their new Sixpoint American craft beer in cans: we weren’t impressed.
In 1976, the Sunday Mirror invited Michael Hardman, a founding member of the Campaign for Real Ale, to take part in a beer ‘taste test’. He walked right into a trap.
Tasting ‘blind’, Hardman joined his fellow judges in declaring a keg bitter, Tetley’s Drum, the unanimous winner, and the Sunday Mirror duly declared it ‘the best beer in Britain’.
Hardman was quoted in the article, admitting that Drum was ‘very good’ and that he wasn’t surprised by the result.
CAMRA had, in effect, publicly endorsed a product of the very type it had been set up to do away with.
Campaign members were not impressed: they wrote to What’s Brewing declaring it a ‘fiasco’ and berating Hardman not only for taking part, but in particular for appearing to speak positively about keg bitter.
Hardman argued that he had only reacted honestly — the real ales, in the middle of a famous heat wave, had not been at their best, and the keg had been ‘in better condition on the day‘. He also defended his decision to take part, saying that CAMRA needed to take every opportunity it could to reach mainstream audiences.
Nonetheless, a lesson was learned, we think: we can’t recall hearing of anyone from CAMRA being lured into a similar cask vs. keg blind-tasting since.
There was only so much space available in Brew Britannia and not every nugget we came across made it into the text, so there will no doubt be more posts like this in the coming months.
by Chris Hall (@cshallwriter)
For a long time, I’ve used the word affectionately, referring to hipsters in the same way I might say ‘Oh Morrissey, you silly Quorn sausage.’ I see people doing things that seem naive or gullible, fashion-following or amusingly trendy, and I think, somewhat patronisingly, oh, hipsters, shaking my head in fatherly amusement/disapproval. In the past year or so though, I have become increasingly aware and sensitive to the use of the word hipster in a decidedly non-affectionate way.
by David Shipman (@othertonaleman)
I don’t know any more where (or who) it came from, or how it got shared, but initially sensible discussions fuelled by beer became bolder. A vision was born. Only an outline at first, blurred but recognisable. We created the Birmingham Beer Bash.
by Stan Hieronymus (@stanhieronymus)
Fifteen years after Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi began selling their Sierra Nevada beers in 1980 America’s beer renaissance demanded attention.
by Leigh Linley (@LeighGoodStuff)
The aroma is the first thing you notice. You try to stop yourself thinking ‘Well it does smell like Banana’, but you can’t. It’s there all right; sweet and almost cloying, recalling those foam banana sweets.
by Justin Mason (@1970sboy)
Cardboard, a heavy duty paper in all its forms, from the box your latest online order came in to the handy beer mat you scribbled that telephone number on in a hurry has had a long association with beer and our drinking habits…
by Matt Curtis (@totalcurtis)
My more avid Twitter followers will have recently witnessed a brief tirade against what I felt was an excessively high price for imported cans of Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s IPA, one of my very favourite double IPA’s. The cheapest price I could find was £6.49 for a single 455ml/16oz can…
by Alan McLeod (@agoodbeerblog)
I give you excerpts from a late draft of Ontario Beer: A Heady History of Brewing from the Great Lakes to the Hudson Bay. Final tweaks continue…
by Connor Murphy (@likethemurphys)
With so many nascent breweries now in operation, it’s fair to say there’s been a net decrease in experience throughout the brewing trade and, given the appeal of craft, there has been an increase in those keen to cash in on demand… That’s not to say the boom has been bad for beer but the current state of flux has caused quality to waver over the last couple of years.
by David Bishop (@broadfordbrewer)
It’s my opinion that the boom-and-boom of homebrewing is symbiotic with the general surge of interest in beer… 2013 was another good year for homebrewing, and 2014 is already full of promise.
Nowadays, the idea of a community campaign to save a pub hardly seems remarkable — they are seen as an endangered species, the cruel property developers’ harpoons glancing off their leathery old skin — but a hundred years ago, thing were very different. Then, a cull was underway. [Read more...]
We’ll add any stragglers to this list and when we find out about them either in the comments below or through Twitter.