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News, Nuggets & Longreads 05/07/2014

Pint of beer illustration.

There’s been plenty of substantial reading this week, on subjects ranging from children in pubs to the philosophy of reviewing.

→ Justin Mason is a parent and a beer geek and has given some serious thought to the etiquette of taking children into pubs. It’s interesting to see what probably comes naturally to most people broken down into actions.

“Are we living through the death of the review?” asked David Lloyd earlier this week. He isn’t referring specifically to beer but, blimey, it certainly applies: Is anyone, really, listening anymore? Or is it doing no more than fuelling our confirmation bias or excusing our bitterness?” (via @Christopher_R)

→ On a related note, Jeff Alworth argues that beer judging, competitions and awards ‘help Americans understand’ (first beer, and now cider); while Alan ‘A Good Beer Blog’ McLeod is troubled by the idea that ‘craft beer’ implies you don’t have the expertise and knowledge to enjoy it without professional help.

→ We’ve heard it said that the definition of a good brewer is one who knows what to do when things go wrong: Chris and Emma’s use of Yakult ‘probiotic’ yoghurt drink in the absence of  acidulated malt is a striking example.

→ The Beer Nut’s entry to the 89th beer blogging session tells the tale of Ireland’s first lager brewery — a sadly typical tale of grand launch followed, a few years later, by a FOR SALE ad in the back of the paper.

→ Stan Hieronymus reports on serious plans to revive a Polish Grodziskie brewery.

→ We’ve been spoilt for full-length UK brewer profiles this week. First, The Evening Brews’ piece on London’s Brew by Numbers (of cucumber and juniper saison fame) runs to 2000 words.

→ Then Connor Murphy gave us a glimpse behind the scenes at Manchester’s Marble where a new brewer has recently taken over. Mr Murphy’s questioning elicited some delightfully detailed answers about the technicalities:

Previously we were pitching at 25C and fermenting at up to 28C and it was resulting in really high esters, which can sometimes add to the beer but we wanted to tone it down…. We’ve started pitching at 18C and fermenting at 20C because we want all these hop flavours to shine through and we’re not going to get that with a warm fermentation.

→ More on beer from the BBC, who we assume have a ‘habit streak’ going: a report from Harar, Ethiopia, where there is a Heineken-run lager brewery.

→ We liked this photo (via @robsterowski) of a Hackney pub between the wars — that jaunty illuminated sign promises fun times!