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Blog round-up

A couple of things from other blogs that have caught our eye recently.

Wilson at Brewvana has organised a “tasting session to engage women in brewvana”, with six beers tested on women from six decades. It’s a thoroughly good read, with Wilson being slightly surprised by the favourite beer. He then challenges us to organise similar tastings.

I’m still sceptical about there being a difference between male and female tastebuds – I think a lot of the conclusions from tasting would apply to a group of men who didn’t like beer either. Still, quite up for organising some tastings at some point…

Image, and therefore, marketing does have a lot to do with it, a factor Wilson and his tasters discuss, and is discussed at more length in an article by Lew Bryson in Conde Naste.

I think in the UK, real ale is disliked by women for the same reason it’s disliked by men – it’s often too warm, too flat and off. And the sterotypical image of the real ale drinker is the old bearded sexist (rather than the young clean-shaven sexist for mainstream lager…). More on real ale marketing to come in a future post.

On the subject of beer warmth, this seems to be exercising British blogs, especially when it comes to real ale. Stonch plumps for 11 degrees* as does Tandleman. This is slightly cooler than CAMRA recommendations (12-14), and certainly cooler than it’s served in a lot of pubs, especially in the summer. This topic seems to attract a lot of interest, judging by the number of comments. Who said that real ale lovers were anal beer geeks?

I suppose the one thing conclusion that can be drawn is that temperature is a matter of personal taste rather than scientific truth. I’m generally pretty happy between about 8 deg and 12 deg for most ales. Too cold can be a problem, but I’d rather too cold than too warm (it can always warm up!) Except that last night I was drinking Orval in a pub, which was absolutely revolting straight out of the fridge but rather nice when it had warmed up a bit (they recommend 12-14 on the bottle, and who am I to argue with the monks?)

Finally, Tandleman is also plugging the Winter Ales festival in Manchester, ticking off other blogs for not mentioning it. Sorry for our typical southern bias, hope this makes up for it!

Talking of regions – I’ve been offered a job that may mean spending a lot of time in Birmingham. Can anyone advise me on the beer and pub situation there before I accept the offer?

Boak

*That’s in Celsius.  About 52F

8 replies on “Blog round-up”

A couple of things:

One, I wasn’t surprised at the winner. I don’t think I ever really said what I thought would come out on top. I suppose I should have. I did say that I thought more would go for the Double Chocolate, and hoped so. Mainly because I hear so many people say, “I don’t like dark beer,” when it’s really not all just light and dark. I like opening people’s eyes to porters and stouts, which are beers they’re usually too afraid to even try.

Two, I wasn’t really asserting that women’s tastebuds are different from men’s. The whole thing came about because I knew women were turned off by the sexist advertising. I wanted to do this with women to show them something they had likely never tried, and because of advertising, were likely never to get too interested in seeking out–unless they had someone in their life that put it in front of them. I decided, for experiment’s sake, I’d be that someone.

Beer Nut – cheers, you have an excellent memory.

Stonch – yes, I can turn it down, but the position itself has a lot of advantages. Weren’t you advocating using the quality of local pub as a basis for determining where to live the other day?

So perhaps a better question for my Brum experts out there (Maieb? where are you?) is: All other things being equal, does the pub and beer scene in the West Midlands make up for the hassle of having to travel and stay there?

As well as The Wellington, there is The Anchor which is a ten minute walk from New Street Station and is a fascinating old multi room pub with many original features. This does a superb range of beers too and has plenty of foreign bottles (see your latest article, it may just be the answer!!).

Birmingham itself is a good city, not sure I’d want to live there, but it’s worth visiting for many reasons other than beer (can’t believe I’m saying that!)

I don’t really get to the rest of the West Midlands. It’s the East Mids (Leic, Nott, Derby) I do most of my drinking.

I would certainly jump at the chance of a short term work opportunity in Brum, if home circumstances allowed.

“Weren’t you advocating using the quality of local pub as a basis for determining where to live the other day?”

Probably, but there are other things to take into account. One of those is whether the place in question is Birmingham.

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