Before we go out to blow our pocket money on polo mints and bags of toy soldiers, here are some items of note from the last week.
→ It was a nice treat to discover a new piece from Evan Rail for the New York Times, about Belgium and ‘food that highlights the country’s brews, and for which the proper pairing is a drink made of barley, not grapes’. (Back in 2007, we found out for ourselves that, as Rail diplomatically expresses it, ‘Restobières isn’t perfect’.)
→ This meaty character-led article about the Danish twins behind brewing companies Mikkeller and Evil Twin from the same newspaper is one we saved to Pocket.
→ But we also enjoyed the various responses to it. Craig Gravina thought it tabloid fodder and worried that it fed in to the ‘celebritisation’ of brewers; while Jeff Alworth seems to have liked it for the same reasons we did:
These are identical twins and rivals pursuing identical professions while embroiled in a strange familial psychodrama. It doesn’t matter what widgets they’re selling–the story is fascinating. I’d have loved it if they were pickle-makers.
→ Across the Atlantic, an old trademark dispute rumbles on: is ‘Steam’ as in Anchor Steam generic or specific? (Via Eugene Pak who is actually entitled to an opinion on such matters being a lawyer.)
→ Conor Murphy has commenced an interesting project and one we wish we’d thought of: a survey of the UK’s major supermarkets’ beer offers with the intention of recommending for each ‘one IPA, one pale or session ale, one stout or porter, one bitter, one lager and one continental style’. (Our own short supermarket beer guide has proven popular, but Conor’s will probably be much better.)
→ For the second week in a row, a post at Crema’s Beer Odyssey caught our eye, this time with a robust expression of the frustration we’ve all felt at being sold a beer that is still in ‘consumer testing’:
He’s sorry I don’t like it – ‘it’s an experiment, just a one-off, they won’t brew it again…’ I point out that just because it was brewed as an experiment that isn’t an excuse for asking people to pay for a beer that tastes unpleasant and clearly didn’t work as the style they’ve assigned it. We’ve drainpoured whole batches of our own brews that tasted better than Elephant because they weren’t right… Maybe if you can’t afford to discard something that didn’t work and tastes horrible then you shouldn’t be experimenting on a commercial scale?
→ Barm has news from Scotland of a ‘medieval Belgian beer’ that is actually a Stella-Artois-alike, and of a would-be ‘craft’ re-brand for Belhaven.
→ And finally, filed under shameless self-promotion, here is some more detail about our tasting and talk at the Hop Hideout in Sheffield on 22 May. (We’re not taking any payment — the ticket price covers generous tasters, a branded glass and the venue.)