News, Nuggets & Longreads 14/02/2015

Roses are red/ Violets are blue/ Here are some Valentine’s day links for you.

→ Raymond Davies (probably no relation) has detailed, UK-specific instructions on how to build a ‘kegerator’ (beer dispense system) out of an old fridge. No, we mean really detailed. (Via @RecentlyDrunk.)

→ Lars Marius Garshol gave us an insight into what the ancestors drank, explaining that it wasn’t perhaps as simple as wine or mead or beer:

The big question, of course, is how this mix of wine, berries, honey, and beer, flavoured with juniper and bog myrtle developed into something we would recognize as beer, and when.

→ Alan McLeod unearthed an interesting nugget: according to one study, people who drink alcohol in professional contexts are perceived as less intelligent than those who stick to softies.

Psst! Gambrinus Waltz, our short Kindle book about lager in Victorian and Edwardian London, is currently on sale at 99p in the UK and 99c in the US. Go on, then — as you were.

→ We’re going to stick up the this article on Thrillist that’s been dismissed by many as obnoxious clickbait. It actually made us laugh; the author writes with flair; and, unlike other pure clickbait articles (‘craft beer sucks and people that drink it are dicks’) it has an argument — that ‘craft beer’ is a cultural phenomenon built on IPA, which is actually pretty accessible, which cannot be said of gose, the next big thing.

→ Rob Lovatt at Thornbridge (who got our Golden Pint nomination for brewery social media stuff in December) has written about hops and the perception of bitterness: ‘I know a few brewers who tell the customers it has a high EBU, but target a lower EBU as it makes for a better more balanced beer.’

→ Roger Protz fired both barrels into the brewing giants who are raising the price of some flagship brands on the grounds of increased production costs:

What are those costs? The main raw materials that go to make beer are malted grain and hops.  Grain is the major cost but there have been no increases in either the cost of barley or the malt it produces.

→ But Stephen ‘Pastey’ Dunkley, a writer who also runs a small brewery, questioned some of Mr Protz’s conclusions:

There are however more costs to making beer, such as the wages of the people involved. A lot of people haven’t had a pay rise for several years now, and the big breweries employ a lot of people. This could be one of the associated manufacturing costs.

→ Is crowd-funding for breweries a con exploiting suckers, or is it your duty to support such things in the name of the great cause? This is a debate that’s been bubbling for a while that we’re glad to see playing out, if only to help us make up our own minds.

→ Speaking of crowd-funding, this is the first such campaign to which we’ve ever pledged as a corporate unit: Pete Brown is writing a book about the ingredients that go into beer and wants your support.

→ And, finally, this is an interesting development, though the pump-clip is rather coy about naming the style…

Psst! (Again) The second edition of our new monthly email newsletter went out yesterday, with news of several articles we’re writing, and some stuff that was TOO HOT TO BLOG! Sign up now to start receiving it from next month.