News, Nuggets and Longreads 19/04/2014

Detail from Watney's Brown Ale advertisement c.1960.

Here are a few things we’ve spotted around the blogoshire and beyond for you to enjoy with your hangover.

→ There’s a real sense of place evoked through small details in this piece on a Sam Smith’s pub in Cardiff from Craig Heap, and it made us want to drink their beer.

→ Is it time for breweries to indicate a recommend retail price for their beer?

→ Old wooden brewery crates are practical and attractive, but they go at a premium on Ebay, but Bob Arnott has a solution.

→ Saved to Pocket this week: a piece on the new Oregon Hops & Brewing archive at Oregon State University. (Via @brewingarchives)

→ We wrote a not entirely serious piece explaining why you should order a copy of Brew Britannia. (If you don’t like Amazon or Waterstones, you could ask your local independent bookshop to get a copy on order.)

→ We’re fascinated by the question of whether ‘golden ale’ is really a 1980s invention so this example of a notably pale beer with the brand name Golden Ale from the 1930s has us intrigued.

→ Here’s a piece we were asked to write for the Guardian’s Comment is Free blog section, on big brewery mergers. (Annoyingly, we got the brewery number statistic wrong – we’ve asked for it to be corrected.)

News, Nuggets and Longreads 12/04/2014

Bloke drinking beer.

Before we head off to conduct earnest research into Cornish beer for our now annual ‘best beers‘ blog post, some bits and pieces of interest.

→ If you don’t follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you might have missed that, yesterday, instead of a blog post, we added a new page: “So you’re thinking about getting seriously into beer?

→ News just in: the esteemed judges of the World Beer Cup (PDF link) agree with us about Magic Rock Salty Kiss. (Albeit in the weirdly specific category of fruit wheat beers.)

→ Here’s Phil Mellows on Marston’s programme of pub building. (In Somerset last weekend, we saw that they built a brand new plastick Olde Worlde country inn two doors down from an actually old country inn. Hmmmm.)

→ This from Adnams is a great example of how to respond to frequently asked questions from customers: what exactly is the difference between cask and bottled Broadside?

→ Saved to Pocket this week:

→ And, finally, we agree with Richard:

News, Nuggets and Longreads 05/04/2014

Detail from Watney's Brown Ale advertisement c.1960.

Before you get your boozing trousers on and head to the pub, here are a few things we’ve spotted around and about in the last week.

→ Following on from last autumn’s Craft Beer 365 ‘bookazine’, Craig Heap and Chris Hall are back with another, this time aided by Matt Curtis, Leigh Linley and Ruari O’Toole. The 100 Best Breweries in the World is available online and will also probably be turning up in newsagents and on iTunes fairly shortly.

→ Saved to Pocket this week: a long piece by Terry Foster and Bob Hansen which originally appeared in Brew Your Own Magazine and is now on the website of US maltster Briess: what exactly is the difference between crystal and caramel malts? (Via @BeerWineHobby and @richardmackney on Twitter.)

→ There’s a piece about Wetherspoon’s on the Guardian blog (by @maxbrearley):

There’s a sharp intake of breath and I fear a heart attack when I tell him that in London you can pay £4 a half. His response? Not printable.

→ For the first time ever, the London Wine Fair is to have a beer section.

→ And a bit of news from us relating to the launch of Brew Britannia: it might come to nothing, but there is a possibility that, in and around June, several beers might be on sale around the country which haven’t been tasted for 20 years or more. We’ll keep you posted!

News, Nuggets and Longreads 29/03/2014

Pint? (illustration)

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.)

News, Nuggets and Longreads 22/03/2014

Bloke drinking beer.

Hello you!

→ Several books of note have been released or are due soon: Joe Stange and Tim Webb’s Good Beer Guide to Belgium is on our wish list (out now) as is Randy Mosher’s Mastering Home Brew (due on 1 April).

→ Max ‘Pivni Filosof’ Bahnson has posted the first in a series of posts revisiting Prague brewpubs now he is older, wiser and (it’s probably fair to say) more cynical.

→ Saved to Pocket for reading later this week: a history of breweries in Richmond, Virginia (probably via Tom Cizauskas — we must keep better notes) and this 2000+ word piece in which Emma interviews some fellow home brewers about their methods and inspiration.

→ The owners of Ellenberg, a new London brewery which shared a premises with Weird Beard, have announced that they will be winding it down. A harbinger of the ‘shake out’ people have been predicting? No, we don’t think so — just natural ‘churn’.

→ Meanwhile, James Wilson is departing from Tap East, also in London, leaving  a vacancy for a brewer:

While a formal brewing and packaging qualification would be useful it is not essential.  However, there must be evidence that the applicant has the skills to brew.  These could have been developed as a Home Brewer.

→ Though we’re firmly of the belief that the Campaign for Real Ale needs to change if it’s to thrive in the long run, this did make us laugh:

→ We’ve updated our post about Starkey, Knight & Ford in light of new information received through correspondence in the Brewery History Society newsletter.