This is a purely subjective list of the most illuminating, amusing or interesting beer- and pub-related blog posts and articles from the last 12 months, all of which we shared in our weekly news round-ups.
Before we get to the links, though, here’s a bit of state-of-the-nation reflection.
First, it’s hard for us to agree that beer writing is dead, past its best, or otherwise in trouble. (As per Alan McLeod, here.) Seriously, if you think 2008 was a golden age for beer blogging, go and read some beer blog posts from 2008 (not ours, please, we beg you) and clear your head. (Alan is right, though — there was more chat back then.)
Today, there are lots of beer blogs, many of them turning out pieces that, with barely an edit, could happily appear in print alongside the work of professional journalists.
Bloggers are challenging themselves, seeking out first hand information, interviewing brewers, raiding libraries and archives, and taking some lovely photographs as they go about it.
I didn’t have the knowledge then that I have now, but I somehow knew you had to look after beer or it would spoil and, at worst, end up tasting like vinegar. A skilled publican knew how to care for beer and made sure it was only ever served tasting the way it should. But it seemed as though there must be a shortage of skilled publicans because wherever we went, in whatever town, we kept being served, flat, smelly and often vinegary cask beer. So I stopped drinking it.
There were a lot of IRA bomb scares at the time. We were using an office just up the road – there were no mobile phones in those days so we had to have an office with a phone – and, one evening, when we were locking up, we left a briefcase in the street. The alarm went up and the police cordoned off the whole area.