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 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


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:


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?

News, Nuggets & Longreads 19/07/2014

Bloke drinking beer.

Boy, it sure is [rainy/sunny] out there! The perfect day to sit [inside/outside] with [a nice cup of tea/an umbrella-festooned cocktail] and read about beer and pubs! [Delete as appropriate.]

→ Stan ‘Hops’ Hieronymus, author of Hopssummarises the 2014 Barth-Haas Group Hop Report, and provides a hop of the hops, in relation to hops. Hops!

Simcoe production was minuscule in 2007, Citra didn’t have a name and Mosaic was still in test plots… Growers planted 1,840 acres of Simcoe this year, 1,720 of Citra and 670 of Mosaic.

→ Ron Pattinson has worked out, he thinks, ‘year zero’ for the not-all-that-ancient beer style, oatmeal stout, and is also continuing to plough through data on historic beer quality: ‘See how once again there’s no correlation between quality and clarity.’

An illuminating bit of ‘craft beer’-related mischief from David ‘Broadford Brewer’. (Read to the end.)

→ The actual news in one bullet point: BrewDog undergoes superficial re-brand. (BONG!) New Minister for Community Pubs. (BONG!) And Greene King form new ‘Axis of Evil’ with Goose Island.

→ Amidst the expected flood of posts about the European Beer Bloggers’ Conference there have been a couple of gems, notably this from Chris Hall in which a decent pint of Fuller’s ESB acts as a ‘hard factory reset’ for a jaded soul.

→ Nico Guba’s ongoing quest to perfect the brewing of German-style beers continues with experiments to test the benefits of decoction:

This simply cannot be replaced by other methods. More starch is available, and this leads to a higher mash efficiency (up to 10%) and a brighter, lighter in colour,  and stronger beer.

→ In the post-war period, while Britain was building ‘modern pubs’, the US was getting into ‘Tiki lounges’ like the Luau in Beverly Hills. This long Collector’s Weekly interview (3000 wds) with an expert on the trend is worth a read.

→ How is it possible for a pub to be completely Victorian and completely of the 1960s? It’s that yellow sign. (There’s more about the Black Friar here.)

Brew Britannia Business

→ Too skint or tight to buy a copy? This competition to win a copy closes tomorrow (20 July) and this one runs until Sunday 27.

→ Speaking of which, here’s Pete Brown’s review and another by Matt ‘Total Ales’ Curtis. Best review on Amazon? Quick delivery and just as described.”

→ And if you’ve got tickets for next Saturday’s session at the Birmingham Beer Bash, then do come and say hello!

News, Nuggets & Longreads 12/07/2014

The Connoisseur. (Of whisky, not beer.)
From 1905. Sadly, he’s drinking whisky, not beer, but we like the image too much not to share it.

It’s time for our weekly round-up of interesting stuff from around the internet. Don’t take it too serious — not many do. Read between the lines and you’ll find the truth.

The schedule for London Beer Week (9-16 August) looks pretty impressive. If you’re a beer geek planning to visit the UK, this might help you decide where to stay and when. (Are there politics behind the fact that the site doesn’t mention this is also the week of the Great British Beer Festival…?)

→ Their beer coverage isn’t always particularly deep but this piece from Serious Eats on how beer prices are set has lots to chew on: “Typically, in a restaurant, you want to keep your food costs and so forth at 33 percent… So, a lot people simply multiply [the product cost] by 3.”

‘How To Blow $9 Billion: The Fallen Stroh Family’, from Forbes magazine. (2000 words; via Tim Holt.)

→ Back in 2011, local historian Patrick Carroll attempted to sift facts from the mass of myths and outright fibs surrounding the history of the legendary Blue Anchor pub at Helston, Cornwall. (3,500 words.)

Derek Dellinger argues that beer styles should be taken less seriously while seeming to take them quite seriously: When I pick up a bottle and there’s no style or description at all, nothing but a cute name and a government warning, I become so annoyed that I will almost never buy that beerGive me at least an idea of what the beer is — however you want to do that.” (1600 words.)

→ Emma has written about the apparently sensitive subject of women drinking alone in pubs and the harassment they sometimes experience.

Tangential pub content, but a good read anyway:

For 30 years, the Ripley Road was the go-to destination for the smart set of the day: young, athletic gentlemen at first; radical, bloomer-wearing ladies later. The ten miles between the Angel Inn at Thames Ditton and the Anchor hotel at Ripley were world-famous, and busy with cyclists on all manner of machines.

Hayley Flynn explored a well-preserved 1960’s shopping arcade in Manchester but couldn’t get into the locked-up and dormant El Patio pub. (via Pubs of Manchester Twitter | Web)

→ And, finally, does anyone know if this is actually legal..?