The Month That Was: December 2016 — Dinner Parties, Wheat Beer, Penzance Pubs

Guise dancers in a Penzance pub at Christmas.

Despite a flipping great big gap where Christmas fell we still managed a decent number of posts in December, covering all sorts of topics from wheat beer to Penzance pubs.

Sir Sydney Nevil's autobiography (page spread).

Our first duty was responding to the Session topic set by Stan Hieronymus: who, living or dead, would we like to invite to a beer dinner party? Stan’s round-up is here and we were rather honoured to be nominated as guests in Mark Lindner’s contribution.


After a trip to a wintry St Austell we wondered what if anything it means when a pub starts selling tinned lager, reaching a somewhat optimistic conclusion. (We have since worried that we got the wrong end of the stick or might have dobbed the pub into the pub company, which wasn’t our intention.)

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The Best Beer Reading of 2016, Sez Us

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.

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Top Beer Tweets of 2016

These are the Tweets that made us laugh or think in the last 12 months.

Some are from people who write mostly about beer, others are from outside The Bubble, but they all prompted us to either click the Retweet button or include them in our weekly links round-ups.

For more of this kind of thing follow us @boakandbailey and if you see anything below that tickles you, give it a Like or an RT. If these people are anything like us, it’ll cheer them right up.

1. Craig Garvie brought us this horror which made us wonder why they don’t just roll the bottle round in some hair and toenail clippings and be done.

2. We’re surprised we haven’t seen more of this kind of thing to be honest. It’s hard to stop looking at.

3. This from Bryan Roth made us feel faintly guilty. In a good way.

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News, Nuggets & Longreads 1 October 2016: Off-Trade, On-Trade, Hops and TV

Another hectic week for us — only one blog post! — but we have been keeping up with our reading. Here’s what grabbed us in the last week.

First, a big story that deserves some pondering: for the first time beer sold to drink at home has outsold that drunk in pubs and other licensed premises. Here’s the Morning Advertiser‘s report and there’s some commentary from Matt Curtis and Neville ‘Red Nev’ Grundy.


Cask Report cover detail.

This year’s Cask Report has a new author, Sophie Atherton, who provides some personal commentary on her own relationship with cask beer on her blog:

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.

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The Month That Was, August 2016: Boddies, Spoons, Grape Beer

We spent a week away in August but still managed a decent number of posts, from cultural pondering to tasting notes, via the archives.

We started the month by sharing a recipe for a home-brew clone of Boddington’s Bitter in its prime put together by Tony Leach. That post surfaced a very interesting bit of intel we’d otherwise have missed:


We shared a 1904 courtroom debate about beer with a ‘twang’ — a word that puzzled the judge. As Gary Gillman pointed out in the comments, they could perhaps have called the writer Thomas Hardy as an expert witness.


Crowds at the festival.
Covent Garden in 1975. Pictures by and © David Davies.

Before we went off to London for a week we unleashed a 2,500 word beast — an account of CAMRA’s Covent Garden Beer Exhibition, 1975, in the words of those who were there:

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.

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