Blogging and writing

The Month That Was: January 2014

Some beer books that we've used for research.

Here’s a summary of our blog posts from last month, with some added updates and links.

→ We started with some thoughts on the challenge posed by the increasingly unusual beers on sale in ‘craft beer’ bars: how do you know if they’re off, weird, or just rubbish? (The comments are interesting, and Jon at Stringer’s responded here.)

Micro brewing legend Peter Austin died and we gave a short summary of his life and career based on our brief dealings with him last year. (Roger Protz’s more detailed obituary is here.)

→ After a year’s reflection, we concluded that Bristol’s Arbor Ales just don’t do it for us. (Tandleman commented on the outcome here.)

→ After ‘feedback’ on that post, we added to our set of principles for reviewing breweries and bars.

→ We reviewed Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s film The World’s End, which has a lot to say about pubs and beer.

→ Our attempt to categorise different tribes in British beer geekery was either pointless and flawed, or quite amusing, depending who you talk to. (Observation: Brewdog shared the link through their social media channels and we got a month’s traffic in a day.)

→ The next ‘go long’ post is due here on 1 March. Join us, bloggers and writers!

→ Do people always understand that, when we say a beer was unexpectedly good, we’re not saying it was AWESOME? Or that ‘disappointing’ doesn’t mean ‘terrible’?

This was our first ever quiz. We made it too difficult. Lesson learned.

→ Basil Oliver’s 1947 The Renaissance of the English Public House got two thumbs up from us, not least for its fantastic photographs and plans. (The Pub Curmudgeon bought a copy, too, and it prompted Phil Mellows to wonder whether we might be about see a new ‘golden age’ of the pub.)

We flipping loved the Sandford Park Alehouse in Cheltenham.

→ Westerham sent us samples of their beer and we really enjoyed almost all of them.

→ Somewhere along the line, even a trip to a bog standard pub became a significant investment: the pub is now a premium product.

→ Here’s our best attempt to translate a 1938 Starkey, Knight & Ford ‘Family Ale’ recipe for home brewing. Advice welcome!

→ A post about various ‘historic’ beers we’ve accumulated turned into something of an epic.

Revisiting the question of how far the idea of ‘craft beer’ has spread outside big cities, we concluded that most towns will have something by the end of 2014.

Where did the Licensed Victuallers’ association(s) go?

→ Do you know what we mean when we talk about ‘falling in love‘ with a pub?

→ It had never occurred to us that brewers might be insulted by having their beer put through a ‘hop infuser’ at the point of sale. (Commenters suggested that this happens so rarely, it’s hardly worth worrying about.)

→ We finished the month with a piece about Camden Town Brewery and their not-exactly-well-publicised use of continental European breweries to fulfil demand for their Hells lager. (The comments on this poll we ran beforehand are also interesting.)

→ We’re now using Saturday morning to post round-ups of news, interesting links around the blogoshire, and suggestions for ‘long reads’: 4 January | 11 January | 18 January | 25 January.

→ Throughout the month, we’ve also been adding new galleries, short quotations and videos. There have also been some bits and pieces on our Facebook page, and some images and videos shared on Twitter.