News, Nuggets and Longreads 15/02/2014

Bloke drinking beer.

Saturdays kids play one arm bandits. They never win, but that’s not the point, is it? Dip in silver paper when their pints go flat. How about that!? Far out!

Ahem. So, yes, it’s Saturday, and time for us to highlight a few bits and pieces from around the blogoshire and beyond.

→ An update on a story from a couple of weekends back: Marston’s new range of self-consciously ‘craft’ keg beers, we thought, would be a perfect opportunity for pub chain Wetherspoon’s to dabble in these murky waters. Now, from A Swift One, comes news that they’re doing exactly that.

→ We love this longish read (1300 words) at Jeff Evans’ Inside Beer about the development of St Austell’s hugely popular Tribute ale, in which head brewer Roger Ryman dishes the dirt:

[Sharp’s Doom Bar] was probably a better beer than the offerings at that time from St Austell – three beers, all parti-gyled off one brew… Of the three – Boson’s Bitter (3%), Tinner’s Ale (3.7%) and Hick’s Special Draught (5%) – only Hick’s, known locally as HSD, had any depth of flavour or character. The rest were thin, sharp, over attenuated, under hopped and generally uninteresting.

→ Frank Baillie, author of The Beer Drinker’s Companion, has died at the age of 92. Graham Lees, one of the founder members of the Campaign for Real Ale, recalls his life and influence in this obituary at the CAMRA website.

→ The most inspiring home brewing post of the week has to be Derek Dellinger’s update on progress with his India Pale Aged Ale — the opposite of instant gratification, where each round of experimentation takes months.

→ Around these parts, you might have missed that we added a new permanent page to the top menu: a list of blog posts and articles to which we often find ourselves referring. (There’s other interesting stuff lurking up there too — have a nose about.)

→ Did anybody notice that the weather has been rough? Here’s a pub in Newlyn, about 25 minutes walk from where we live, pictured yesterday evening:

→ And finally, blogging about blogging about blogging: Chris Hall has suggested that, alongside next year’s Golden Pints, there ought to be a Golden Posts to recognise the efforts of beer bloggers in more detail. We’re still pondering whether we think this is a good idea. On the one hand, we’re  sensitive to the fact that bloggers are already derided for ‘circle jerking’ and mutual appreciation; on the other, a bit of mutual encouragement is surely a good thing? At any rate, we’ll be taking Chris’s advice and bookmarking greats posts we see throughout the year.