Blogging and writing

The Month That Was: September 2014

A week into October, here’s a round-up of everything we posted in September 2014, with follow-up information here and there.

→ We started the month by reflecting on BrewDog’s status: in our opinion, they are important, even if they’re not always likeable.

What did ‘winey’ mean to Victorian commentators on food and drink?

→ For the 91st beer blogging session, we recalled learning about Belgian beer with draught Leffe in East London. (The round-up of all the posts from this session is at Belgian Smaak.)

→ We were so impressed with bottles of Sam Smith’s Taddy Porter that it prompted an entire project: tasting British bottled porters to decide which, if any, are better — Batch 1 (Fuller’s, Redemption, Meantime/M&S)  | Batch 2 (BrewDog, Five Points, Brew by Numbers).

→ 100 words on hype and prejudice: ‘I like things. You over-rate things. They are fanboys.’

Do people really want to drink local beer, or are they actually after native styles? (Partly in response, here’s Stan Hieronymus on indigenous beers.)

→ At long last, we have our hands on that terrible, forbidden volume detailing the manufacture of Watney’s beers in the 1960s and 70s. The first fruits of our dissection are this guidance for brewing your own clone of the fabled Red Barrel as it was c.1966, and this piece on how to taste beer with complete objectivity.

→ The ongoing ‘crafting up’ of the Wetherspoon chain of pubs continues apace. (The Devil’s Backbone IPA, it seems, is brewed at Banks’s in Wolverhampton, though you’d struggle to find that out from the Spoons website.)

→ Some more time travel: in 1861, an anonymous author attempted to explain Belgian beer to British readers; while, in 1944, a social commentator described the workings of the village inn.

If a beer is rotten when served at the wrong temperature, how good can the underlying product actually be?

A detail in a leaked document from AB-InBev caught our eye: they think (perhaps rightly) that craft beer is off-putting to many consumers because it is complicated and pretentious, and see this as a gap in the market. This turned into a discussion about whether a beer’s back story ‘matters’, which, elsewhere, Stephen Beaumont has wisely answered thus:

When I’m reviewing a beer or a spirit, I don’t care where it comes from and rate everything on the same as-objective-as-possible scale… [But] when I’m choosing where to spend my dollar ‘votes’ as a consumer, I consider several other factors besides.

→ Feeling moody about the state of beer writing, we put our glumness into words. Alan McLeod disagreed, as did many others. (On good days, we don’t even agree with ourselves.)

→ There were also weekly links round-ups, some stray quotations, a gallery of photos of brewing in Ireland c.1902, a couple of videos, things on Facebook, and a whole lot of Tweets.