Blogging and writing

The Month That Was: April 2014

We kept up the pace last month, posting 32 times if you include videos, galleries and quotations.

One day, we’ll get the battered tin dispatch box from the vault at Cox & Co. and show you the drafts we didn’t post (“In Defence of Roger Protz”) but, for now, here’s April in a nutshell.

[ezcol_1third]Spot the difference -- beer glasses. [/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Our first post of the month was a mere 100 words on the subject of ‘controlled inconsistency’.[/ezcol_2third_end]

[ezcol_1third]The Anchor Tap, Tower Bridge.[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]We tried but failed to do the Bermondsey Beer Mile, ending up in various pubs instead.[/ezcol_2third_end]


Our two penn’orth on the state of ‘beer journalism’ for the 86th beer blogging session included this statement: “As readers, we’d like there to be more writers who ask unwelcome questions on behalf of readers.” This from Richard at the Beercast is just the kind of thing we had in mind. (And Heather’s session round-up is here.)

→ An academic study of nightlife in British cities from more than a decade ago has become a fascinating snapshot of our recent pub-going history.

→ An attempt to do something a bit different and with a portrait of a pub landlord was perhaps more fun for us than for our readers.

Can traditional English hop varieties be exciting if you actually use enough of them? (The Kirkstall beer mentioned in this post will be called ‘Revitalisation’ and is being brewed tomorrow, 2 May.)

→ Observing the frenzy around the release of Magic Rock Unhuman Cannonball 2014, we felt a pang of regret that we weren’t joining in. Elsewhere in the Blogoshire, there was lots of coverage of the launch, both sceptical and enthusiastic, and lots of debate about ‘hype’. These two posts by Mean Miss Mustard and Rowan Molyneux are worth a read.

→ We announced a break for #beerylongreads and set a date for when we’ll next be ‘going long’: Saturday 30 August.

→ In amongst some distracting stuff about the Big Six, we tried to make the point that it’s hard for breweries to retain idealism when (a) they get big and (b) the founders hand over control. (Which triggered further thoughts from Stan Hieronymus.)

Is it possible for European brewers to ‘innovate’ without merely aping American styles? (The comments are better than the post in this case — lots of great insight from those who know Belgium and Germany better than us.)

→ David ‘Firkin’ Bruce is getting his overalls on and turning out a batch of his original 1979 Dogbolter recipe to coincide with our book launch in June. Woop!

We sampled a few Belgian ‘hop beers’. (We weren’t the only ones unimpressed by Palm Hop Select.)

→ On our trip to London, we formed some fleeting impressions of the Brodie’s Brewery Bunny Basher festival at the William IV. (And here’s what Meer for Beer had to say.)

→ Having acquired a few new books and articles relating to beer and pubs, we put a few thoughts down mostly for the benefit of future book-collecting Googlers.

Clive ‘Stono’ Stonebridge wrote a guest post for us, setting out his favourite Suffolk pubs.

→ Last weekend, we visited three pubs in Plymouth for the first time and liked them all in different ways. (The Hyde Park Hotel with its 1970s retro beer range and décor is the real story here.)

→ We took it in turns to write about essentially the same subject: interaction (or the lack of it) in the pub. Bailey’s piece was about introversion, while Boak explained why she exercises caution before entering pubs alone these days.

→ A video from the British Pathé archive gave us our first glimpse inside the tiny Miners Arms brewery which opened in Somerset in 1973.

→ We also added a couple of new ‘pages’, linked from the menu bar at the top there so they don’t disappear in the tide of blog posts:

  • How to be a beer geek — “When drinking becomes thinking, it can be hard to just relax and enjoy a pint. It’s even possible that, for a time, you might become, frankly, a bit of a dick about it.”
  • Why you should order a copy of Brew Britannia — “Innocent bystanders: It will help you understand why everyone is suddenly going on about bloody beer all the bloody time.”

→ And, finally, there was the usual barrage of less well-thought out opinions, daft questions, and scans of yellowing pamphlets on both Twitter and Facebook (no login required to read either).