Blogging and writing

The Month That Was: March 2014

It’s been a busy few weeks in which we proofread our book several times, wrote some articles, and sorted out most of a promotional tour for our book. We still found time to put together a few blog posts, though.

[ezcol_1third]Doorway of the Golden Heart, Spitalfields. [/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]We kicked the month off with a long post about the history of the pub preservation movement.[/ezcol_2third_end]

[ezcol_1third]Tasting flight at the Driftwood Spars beer festival.[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]A two-hour schlep by bus and train to the Driftwood Spars beer festival was worth it.[/ezcol_2third_end]


There were ten ‘long reads’ from 1 March and thereabouts around the blogoshire. We’re going to have a break and set the date for the next ‘go long’ day as Saturday 30 August.

→ We dug out the story of a blind ‘cask vs. keg’ taste test which caused the Campaign for Real Ale some embarrassment in 1976.

→ As canned American ‘craft beer’ hit Wetherspoon’s pubs, we asked whether it is good or bad news for British brewers.

→ Session #85 asked us to consider why we drink. The round-up is here, and here’s a relevant quotation from The British Worker by Ferdynand Zweig (1952):

We found the new UK edition of Michael Larson’s Beer Select-o-Pedia ‘likeable enough’, though it is really aimed at those new to beer.

→ After attending our first ever social event for home brewers, we concluded it was a good thing, rather to our surprise.

→ Hoping to draw out some insider information, we put out a call for help formulating a ‘clone’ recipe for Watney’s Red. (Comments are now closed, but email us at if you’ve got anything to share.)

→ On a somewhat related note, here’s our account of using mini-kegs for our home brew.

→ A few sightings of the term ‘post craft’ in use got us thinking about where we might be in the cycle of fashion. (Andrew Drinkwater responded with a piece about the ‘post craft revolution‘ and Tandleman coined the term ‘mainstream craft‘.)

→ Another archive nugget: in 1983, Penrhos Brewery handed control over to a ‘suitcase-sized microchip brain‘.

→ As the supermarkets are filling up with bottled ‘craft lager’ from larger regional breweries, we tasted Fuller’s and Marston’s efforts.

What colour exactly is ‘golden’? And how about ‘straw’? These two-related pieces are part of an ongoing attempt on our part to understand what people were actually seeing, tasting and thinking when they drank beer 40 or more years ago. There will no doubt be more.

→ Bailey went drinking in Falmouth on his own and braved the legendary Seven Stars: “The best pubs aren’t always the easiest.”

→ In the nineteenth century, in St Ives, Cornwall, pubs were at the centre of the community, and used not only for drinking.

→ After all the ‘long reads’, we challenged ourselves to produce something more like the pithy posts we used to write, and came up with 100 words on whether small is necessarily beautiful.

→ As part of research for a possible future project, we stumbled upon what we thought was a wonderful semi-fictional account of visiting a lager beer cellar in late nineteenth-century London.

→ And we finished the month by reviewing the bottled range from cult German brewery Rothaus.

→ In addition, there were the usual galleries, quotations and foraged videos; a ton of Tweets; and a few bits and pieces on Facebook (no account required if you just want to read/look).

→ (And, from a year ago today, here’s our interview with Belgian brewing genius Pierre van Klomp.)