What makes an IPA Old School in our view is and emphasis on hop bitterness as well as, and perhaps more than, aroma/flavour; a preference for English hop varieties; mellow orange character rather than pine or grapefruit; and a certain stoical pintability, despite relatively high ABVs by late 20th century cask ale standards.
The younger drinkers we’ve noticed are often on hot chocolate, frothy coffee or pounding cans of energy drink. A typical party, sat near us about a fortnight ago, between them had one pint of bitter, two of lager, a can of Monster, and a pint of Coke. They were all eating, too, treating it almost like a diner.
If you think your region is being overlooked as a beer destination (i.e. not written about by the Usual Suspects) the answer is simple, we reckon: write about it yourself. The comments on this ended up focusing on Birmingham and the West Midlands even though we tried to keep it general, but they’re interesting nonetheless.
How do pubs smell? That’s something we were prompted to think about by the tenth anniversary of the institution of the ban on smoking in pubs, the debate around which often ends up wallowing in foul aromas of one kind or another.
We posted a few Patron-only things on our Patreon feed — behind the scenes notes mostly, including stuff on how our book cover got designed and some thoughts on the upcoming British Guild of Beer Writers awards.
We’re approaching our (fairly modest) second target of $100 a month, by the way — thanks, everyone!
Our newsletter was a little more curt than usual because we typed it on a smartphone in a packed-up house with no chairs to sit on but what we did write seemed to get people talking:
In the wake of our Michael Jackson article for Beer Advocate, and reflecting on the blogosphere with our weekly news round-ups in mind, we reached a conclusion: free beer and hospitality don’t guarantee positive coverage but, when you’re just starting out as a writer or blogger, they aren’t half flattering…
If you’re interested in c.1,300 words of this kind of stuff every month sign up!
On Facebook there’s been some of this sort of thing…
The first beer that came to mind was local brewery St Austell’s short-lived 1913 stout. Strong by cask ale standards and historically-inspired it unfortunately didn’t sell and slowly morphed into Mena Dhu — still great but a much tamer product. We’d go out of our way for a pint of 1913 which isn’t something we can say of many beers.
May was a busy month with around 20 proper blog posts covering everything from flying saucers to ham rolls.
We started the month with a rare guest post from John Robinson, a North West of England CAMRA veteran who has been digging into what went wrong with Boddington’s Bitter and when. (He is in the process of revising this post based on the feedback in the comments.)
Having raided a bookshop in Truro we came across a mention of a post-war pub called The Flying Saucer in a book on Kent pubs and did a little digging into its history, the origins of its name, and the design of its sign.
It was a fairly lazy month for us with considerably fewer posts than we usually manage although a couple that did go up were proper whoppers.
We started the month with the kind of most you expect on 1 April: have you ever tried putting a pickled egg in your pint? It’s delicious, honest! We don’t always do an April Fool’s Day post but when we do, we of course put far too much effort into it.
Our first proper post of the month was an account of a perfectly ordinary weekend which in itself showed how much things have changed since we moved to Cornwall in 2011 with stylistically adventurous one-off specials from St Austell, micropubs, new breweries, and so on.