News, Nuggets & Longreads 06/09/2014

Breakfast in the Palace, Leeds, by Bob Peters, from Flickr under Creative Commons.
Breakfast in the Palace, Leeds, by Bob Peters, from Flickr under Creative Commons.

Here’s some stuff from around the blogoshire and beyond to read once you’ve finished stumbling through the empties in search of a scraper for your tongue.

→ Oliver Gray at Literature and Libation explores beer pricing in the US with reference to some inside information on margins and material costs:

When you slap down $7 for a pint, you’re not paying for the sum of the ingredients, no matter how exotic the hops or rich and decadent the malt profile. You’re paying for the expertise of the brewer, her time and energy, the collective work of a brewery’s staff to deliver a product that you probably couldn’t make yourself… You’re paying for knowledge, practice, patience; for brewing as a service, not beer as a food.

→ The internal workings of the Campaign for Real Ale are illuminated by Glenn Johnson who explains how pubs are selected for the Good Beer Guide (2015 edition out now) in his region.

Nathanial ‘Nate Dawg’ Southwood is angry about tasting notes:

You cannot write that a beer smells like damp field mushrooms covered in manure, tasting like spunk covered hedgerow and expect people to believe your conclusion that it was rather nice… I’m just finding it irritating, vomit inducing and just straight up bullshit. It’s not doing the industry any favours by writing such pretentious crap.

(We don’t agree with him, but plenty of others do, and it’s food for thought.)

We wrote an article for Craft Beer Rising magazine on the revival of extinct British brewery brands. It also contains pieces by Pete Brown, Melissa Cole, Des de Moor.

→ Jeff Alworth highlights something interesting: the newsworthy 99-pack is ‘craft beer’ engaging in classic ‘big beer’ shenanigans, ‘selling packaging, not beer’.

→ Expert home brewer Andy ‘Tabamatu’ Parker attempts to clone a beer he’s never tried and experiments with posh flavour extracts (apricot, in this case).

→ Guinness have released two new bottled porters — Dublin (3.8%) and West Indies (6%) which are now available in UK supermarkets. We’ve been sent samples and will write something more detailed when we’ve processed our thoughts, but audio reviewer the Ormskirk Baron has already reviewed them. (West Indies | Dublin.)

→ IPA historian and expert Mitch Steele offers some thoughts on the revival of Ballantine IPA by Pabst.

This interactive map of global alcohol consumption preferences is simple but effective. (Via Laughing Squid.)

Screenshot of interactive map of global alcohol preferences.
Screenshot of interactive map.

→ You’ve got a month left to watch the episode of Alex Polizzi’s The Fixer in which she attempts to turn round a struggling UK microbrewery.

→ We’ve seen many variations on this image on Twitter in the last day or two so that big neon sign probably was a good way for Leeds International Beer Festival (which runs until tomorrow) to spend their marketing budget:

5 replies on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 06/09/2014”

If you take away the pint,add a Bird’s Eye Potato Waffle and substitute toasted rye bread for the white stuff your picture of a fried breakfast is remarkably similar to the one Mrs Professor Pie-Tin served up to me in bed a short while ago with my Daily Telegraph.
And her usual joke – ” you have made a will haven’t you ? ”
The perfect foundation for a long day of sport and beer.

“… not doing the industry any favours…”

So many of those links one way or another reflect the tension Nathan states explicitly. Why care if the industry, if one exists, is favoured. Beer buyers are involved in a struggle laced with economic forces which deter clear thinking consumerism. Any industry or rather players within it should live or die in the brawl of ideas and money. If your beer tastes like a rotted cabbage we should say so – even if that is written with affection but read with disgust.

I’m not sure that’s really what Nate’s talking about, though. I don’t think he means “don’t say it tastes like rotting cabbage because people who don’t like rotting cabbage might be put off and that would be bad for the industry”, I think he means “don’t write stuff like ‘this wonderful beer tastes like rotting cabbage and smells like a tramps vest’ because people will conclude that people who take a serious interest in what their beer tastes of are a bunch of pretentious idiots and anyone with common sense would be better off sticking to Stella.”

I’m still not entirely sure I agree with him, though – for my part I tend to find that the actual useful part of a beer review basically says what style it is and whether, relative to the style, it’s great, okay, disappointing or awful. The rest is basically either entertainment or just irrelevance depending on how well written it is, and personally I find that in the hands of a good writer, the bizarre, the personal and the counterintuitive can be a lot more entertaining than just reeling off a list of fruits…

You’re paying for knowledge, practice, patience; for brewing as a service, not beer as a food.

I’m paying for beer, full stop – and for a relationship with the providers of beer which involves them respecting me enough not to take the p*ss by charging twice as much as the beer down the road (or, increasingly, the beer on the cask pump).

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