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Bits of Yolk From the Pickled Egg Jar

Detail of the cover of 'More About Inn Signs'.
Detail of the cover of ‘More About Inn Signs’, kindly scanned for us by Mark Landells.

Here are a few things we’ve spotted around and about that prompted a thought or two.

1. This interview with James Watt from the Daily Mail contains the most concise summary yet of the contradiction at the heart of Brewdog: ‘behind all the anarchy there’s a very stable profitable company’, he says. They’re KER-azy, but also very sensible; anti-corporate, but also… really corporate. What a balancing act.

2. Has anyone ever published a book of Michael ‘Beer Hunter’ Jackson’s columns for CAMRA’s What’s Brewing? If not, they should. Here he is talking ‘big picture’ in May 1985:

For consumers who wanted a beer of some character, real ale was shown to be more satisfactory than keg bitter. On the other hand, keg was also unsatisfactory to drinkers who wanted a bright, refreshing beer. They eventually defected to bland lagers… The real ale movement may, in fact, have encouraged a polarisation of public taste in beer… [At one end of the market] there is a growth in interest in products of quality, character and tradition, and at the other end… a demand for bland, light flavours; the middle ground is vanishing.

3. There’s been a flare-up in attempts to define ‘craft beer’. Here’s ‘Hardknott’ Dave Bailey’s take on the efforts of one drinks industry consultancy firm to pin down a working definition; and here’s Max Pivni Filosof Bahnson (via Lars Marius Garshol) with a very hard-line approach. CGA’s effort would benefit from the expertise of, say, Pete Brown; and Max’s reminds us of something David ‘Firkin’ Bruce said:

[At H.G. Simonds in Reading] it was… real ‘craft brewing, not in the current American sense. I was a wooden spoon brewer. I’d never get a job as a ‘proper’ brewer, in a ‘proper brewery, because they only wanted Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt microbiologists, but I could certainly brew. 

4. Beyond the blog, we’ve posted a few new things on Facebook, such as this small gallery of images of Dirty Dick’s on Bishopsgate in London (apostrophe important…); and, on Twitter, people seemed to find this interesting.

9 replies on “Bits of Yolk From the Pickled Egg Jar”

I like the David ‘Firkin’ Bruce definition of craft. 🙂 What the word always brings to mind to me is grannies and grandchildren gluing bits of found stuff to cardboard. Like making Christmas wreaths out of sticks and pinecones.

[Oh, and well done for managing to use Facebook yet also keep the content door “open”.]

Re: Facebook — it didn’t seem to be that difficult. Are others enabling some setting that says you have to be signed-up to Facebook to view their pages or something? Maybe it’s a spam/harassment thing?

I finished it, unless Mr Čižas comes here to buy us a pint…:)

No, seriously, I like “Craft Beer” as a brand. It’s a pity that many of the brand’s merchants and fanboys are so annoying at times.

Those two are as good as any definition I’ve come across.

Marketing always feels like the elephant in the room when people talk about craft just meaning “beer that’s brewed for taste not profit” – as if the old beardy producing “Winston’s Willy Warmer” (available in three local pubs and some branches of Booths) is only in it for the cash.

“keg was also unsatisfactory to drinkers who wanted a bright, refreshing beer. They eventually defected to bland lagers”

This is an understated and IMO very important point. I don’t think many lager drinkers really actually like lager all that much. Its just that if you want a bright, refreshing (read cold) beer, for as long as most of us can remember, bland lager has been the only option.

I had a beer earlier on today that was both cold and refreshing – it was from a bottle straight out of the fridge, and it was a very hot day. Also, I was in Belgium. The number of times I’ve wanted a fridge-cold beer in this country is tiny. But maybe it is something that’s caught on in the last decade or three. I blame global warming.

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