News, Nuggets & Longreads 23/08/2014

Pint of beer illustration.

We found time to put together a (small) Saturday round-up after all! Yer tis.

→ Saved to Pocket: Evan Rail on how a renowned computer hacker is bringing Berliner Weisse back to the city of its birth. (From what we’ve read so far, this looks like a superb questioning, probing piece of writing.)

→ Home brewers with a love of detail: Derek Dellinger’s home brewing experiments continue with tweaks to yeast selection and water treatment.

Stephen Beaumont lays down the law on the use of ‘Belgian’ and ‘Belgian-style’ as descriptors, and Stan Hieronymus gently questions his underlying assumption.

→ The Beer Nut’s series of posts on Bristol (1 | 2 | 3) have made for good reading in the last week. We agree with several of the points he makes, especially this one:

Moving from BrewDog to Zero Degrees was like stepping back in time. Even though the chain only dates from 2000 and the Bristol branch is four years younger again, it feels like a period piece from a time before bare wood and distressed lettering, when iconoclastic British beer meant cavernous halls, bare concrete and steel gantries.

UPDATE: we’ve removed the bit about the atmosphere at the Great British Beer Festival and might try to revisit later in the week.

News, Nuggets & Longreads 16/08/2014

"The Wall Worker" by John Thomson, c.1877.

Cock-a-doodle-doo! Good morning, good morning, good morning, good morning-aaaah! Nothing to do but read these links, eat some bacon.

→ The picture at the top of this post comes from Street Life in London, a collection of photographs from 1877-78, with accompanying essays, which is available online through the the London School of Economics digital library. There are a couple of other pictures of pubs in the set.

→ Notoriously aromatic and bitter, Ballantine was arguably the single most influential beer in the aromatic IPA-mania of the last 30-odd years, and now it’s back. This is one American beer we will be making serious efforts to get our hands on.

→ In the week when the Campaign for Real Ale launches a drive to change the law to make it hard to convert pubs into shops or homes, Martyn ‘Zythophile’ Cornell argues vehemently that they’re on the wrong track:

Pubs are not sacred. The rights of pubgoers do not trump the rights of property owners. The disappearance of any pub is not the same as, eg, the disappearance of a Saxon church… If a pub is making less money for its owner than it would under another use, the owner must have the right to maximise their income.

→ On a somewhat related note, prolific epistolarian, committed Marxist, and beer-loving celebrity beard-sporter Keith Flett writes about ‘The Moral Economy of the Great British Beer Festival‘:

The concept of the moral economy, developed by the late historian EP Thompson in 1971, is to posit a customary and traditional way of looking at things in relation to a market economy. The moral economy does not aim to replace a market economy but to temper with a framework of laws and obligations… I think there is an interesting case for understanding the Great British Beer Festival as an annual gathering of those who take a moral economic view of the beer world.

→ Saved to Pocket this week: a piece from the Washington City Paper about cult beers, customer entitlement, and the competitive urge which is making beer less sociable. (Via Stan Hieronymus.)

→ We like this picture because (a) hops and (b) London E17:

And, finally, there are a couple of beer stories that went sufficiently mainstream ‘viral’ that we’d surprised if anyone missed them, but, just in case…

The Daily Beast wrote a profile of Kent ‘Battle’ Martin, the civil servant who approves US beer labelsHe rejected an “Adnams Broadside” beer, which touted itself as a “heart-warming ale,” because this supposedly involved a medical claim.’.

Tony Naylor wrote a substantial piece on the current UK ‘craft beer’ boom for the the Guardian. (If you must read the ranting comments, note the unjustified confidence with which many people issue downright rude ‘corrections’.)

News, Nuggets & Longreads 09/08/2014

Bloke drinking beer.

Don’t have much time. Must go out in sun before storm comes. Links below!

Lynn Pearson on churches with links to beer, for English Heritage. The first picture, of a stained glass window, is especially wonderful. (Via Tim Holt.)

Tandleman had a chance encounter with the head brewer at Paulaner’s ‘craft’ offshoot in Munich: ‘“We could maybe taste some of the products?” he suggested.’

→ The ever-provocative ‘Hardknott’ Dave Bailey has concluded that ‘handpulls suck’ as a method of serving beer.

→ Saved to Pocket for reading later: a long piece (5000 words) by Phil on the social benefits, or not, of enforcing abstinence from alcohol.

→ Also saved to Pocket, this 1940 portrait of the legendary ale house McSorley’s from the New Yorker archive. (Via someone called BB, via Jeff Alworth, who adds commentary.)

Blogging about blogging

Session #91 has been announced by the hosts, Belgian Smaak. The pleasingly wide-open topic is ‘Your first Belgian’.

Chris Hall has reminded us all about his Golden Posts project:

Each tired sigh from the crypt of “is beer blogging dead?” (accompanied by the rattling of chains, creaking of doors and so on) suggests to me a suffocating, numbing ignorance of just how many great beer blogs are out there, so I hope The Golden Posts could help people find new, great blogs.

→ And speaking of mass-blogging circle-jerking love-ins, don’t forget that we’re ‘going long’ on 30 August — we’d love you to join in!

News, Nuggets & Longreads 02/08/2014

Pint of beer illustration.

Seven days is too long without you, baby!

Here’s our weekly round-up of links from around the Blogoshire and beyond.

This post from Pete Drinks is thought-provoking: when he found beers from a brewery underwhelming, they contacted him to explain that it was a result of over-optimistic ‘best before’ dates — a commercial necessity, it seems. But, as Pete observes, “not every punter that drinks one of their beers after it’s past its best will write a blog about it and get to understand what went wrong“.

Craig Gravina at DrinkDrank gave a blunt state of the nation address with regard to ‘craft beer‘:

First, I think a change is coming. Is it a bubble? Maybe, maybe not, and whatever is going to happen, isn’t going to happen over night. But I think we’re moving into the breaking zone—kinda like when the phrase “fo shizzle my nizzle” became common in upper class, white suburban neighborhoods.

→ Carla Jean Lauter (aka Beer Babe) has written a chunky piece for Medium.com about the unstoppable march of India Pale Ale (IPA) across the US, arguing that the best examples are now being brewed on the East Coast. She backs this assertion up with the best data at hand, from beer rating sites. Interesting stuff, even for those of us who’ve never crossed the Atlantic.

→ While we’re considering the geography and culture of a country we’ve never visited, here’s Jeff Alworth on why Idaho isn’t a great beer state, while Washington and California are.

→ As yet unread, but saved to Pocket, archaeologists Billy Quinn and Declan Moore explore whether a particular type of Irish field monument might not actually be the worlds earliest breweries. (Via @craigheap)

Clive Martin of Vice writes explores the gentrification of London through a crawl of its pubs and bars. The blokey, less-gentrified-than-thou tone wears a bit thin, but he makes some good points. (Via @roryelsome)

→ It’s not often beer plays a part in international affairs, but this Russian lager commercial starring David Duchovny has arrived at an inopportune moment.

→ Isn’t this pretty?

→ And, finally, a couple of Brew Britannia reviews, from The Barley Blog and Glen Humphries.

News, Nuggets & Longreads 26/07/2014

mild_brum_474

By the time you read this, we will be in Birmingham preparing for our turn at the Beer Bash (3 pm). Let’s hope some people turn up to see us.

At any rate, through the magic of post scheduling, here’s everything of interest we’d spotted by Thursday evening, for your enjoyment this Saturday morning.

→ We’ve managed to avoid the ‘What does AK stand for?’ debate until this point but this post by Martyn Cornell has got us hooked.

→ Late night parties at London Zoo amid the gorillas, tigers and snakes? What could possibly go wrong?

Barm on his relief at finding a beer he can rave about: “I have no idea whether Fourpure’s other beers are also as good as this, and to be honest I don’t really care.”

Barry Masterson cuts through the politics to observe (a) that he really likes Stone’s beer and (b) when they open their brewery in Berlin, it’ll be good news for him.

While Jordan St John goes beyond being a bit miffed at the crowd-funding aspect of Stone’s project: Stone’s Indiegogo campaign is actively evil because they are exploiting secondary ideas around the brewery business model like art and community in order to get you to pay them money to do something they are going to do anyway.”

→ Because Ed is a scientist, he reads all kinds of boring in-depth publications that most of us don’t, which is how he caught the news that lager yeast probably didn’t originate in Patagonia after all, but in Tibet.

→ From a couple of weeks back, an inspiring home brew recipe from Michael ‘Sour Beer’ Tonsmeire, called Saison ‘Merica. Just look at the picture of the beer in the glass: Yum!

→ Jay Brooks keeps up a constant flow of nice scans from old beer ads on his blog, but this one particularly caught our attention:

erlanger

Why don’t more mainstream brewers produce a really well-made, top-notch flagship lager? Is it because it would highlight the poor quality of their other supposedly ‘premium’ products?

→ Er, that’s it. No ‘longreads’ of note, and no Brew Britannia reviews to link to. Let’s hope everyone is writing something good for 30 August, eh?