Here are some links to enjoy with your breakfast, or perhaps when you’re sat in a pub this afternoon surrounded by shopping bags, shaking and pale, vowing never to leave your Christmas shopping this late again.
→ Joe Stange’s survey of Bamberg’s breweries and pubs for All About Beer is an evocative piece of travel writing and a useful practical guide for first-time visitors. One to save for future reference.
→ In case you missed it, the Wetherspoon chain and Heineken are having a falling out, ostensibly over supply to a pub in growing JDW’s Irish estate. (Commentary from Tandleman here.)
→ Lars Marius Garshol, the BBC4 of beer blogging, reveals the history of stones once commonly used in brewing, piles of which litter the European landscape:
And if people have been using stones every time they brewed for such a long period of time, wouldn’t the resulting piles be pretty big? Well, they are. The farm of Vik in Flatanger near Trondheim burned in the late 19th century, and was rebuilt elsewhere on the farm. In 1978, the farmer tried ploughing the area where the original buildings had been, and struck huge amounts of black earth and fire-shattered stones. This was found to be on average about 70cm deep, and circular in area, with a diameter of about 50 meters. That’s more than 2500 cubic meters, which is a lot of rock.
→ This article about the Twitter hashtag #drainpour In the National Post (Canada) offers some excellent navel-gazing on the rights of consumers and the dividing line between snobbery and discernment:
Discernment is healthy ruthlessness in your own [choices]. It’s the confidence, as [Jordan] St. John says, to avoid “tricking yourself into thinking that you like something that you don’t.” Snobbery is a force for evil; it intimidates people and makes them feel ashamed of their preferences. Discernment is a force for good. It nudges you, the consumer, to insist on beer you like.
(Via Alan ‘A Good Beer Blog’ McLeod who sticks up for the #drainpour hashtag in his commentary.)
→ Barm has a series of posts poring over some archive paper work from defunct Edinburgh brewery T&J Bernard. Part one is about their takeover by Scottish Brewers in 1960; part two looks into the colours (and ‘colouring-up’) of the new owners’ beer range at the time; and part three explores the Bernard beers they were replacing.
→ Jeff Alworth drank a 25-year-old bottle of Bridgeport Old Knucklehead Barley Wine: ‘The beer probably would have been better a decade or two earlier, but it was still surprisingly fresh and tasty.’
→ Clanger of the week: these bizarrely inappropriate pub toilets. They’re awful, but trade magazine In a Pub reckons they’re hilarious, and the clumsy David Brent/Alan Partridge tone of their editorial commentary unfortunately rather underlines Melissa Cole’s experience of the beer industry as a boys’ club.
→ The new magazine Original Gravity is being given away in pubs and bars around the UK from this week. It has several meaty articles from people like Pete Brown and Chris Hall, and even a few words from us setting out which beers we’ve most enjoyed in the last six months. It’s also free to read online.
→ Stan Hieronymus, author of For the Love of Hops, got this excellent Christmas card:
How the Hop Research Center in Huell says "Hoppy Holidays." pic.twitter.com/EMTerZESSp
— Stan Hieronymus (@StanHieronymus) December 12, 2014
Brew Britannia updates
→ Darren Turpin, late of the Folk Ale blog, now runs the Manchester Ale News website, and has been kind enough to review the book, saying:
The main revelation for me – although it surely won’t have been a surprise to many CAMRA members, particularly the longer-serving ones… is that the current ‘beer revolution’, that often feels like something that sprung up in the past five or six years, really isn’t new or revolutionary at all (no matter what BrewDog’s PR department would have us all believe).
→ If you want to hear what the judges had to say at the British Guild of Beer Writers’ awards last week, Jeff Pickthall’s recording of the ceremony is available here. (Our awkward minute-long video acceptance speech is at the end.)