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News, Nuggets & Longreads 21/03/2015

It’s been a bit quiet round here this week, mostly because we both have terrible, stinking, evil colds. (Beer of the week: hot toddy.) Fortunately, there’s been plenty to read elsewhere.

→ For The Guardian, Tim Burrows pondered the appeal of the Wetherspoon’s breakfast, ‘at the coalface of boozed-up Britain’.

→ Addressing home brewers’ problems with professional know-how, James ‘Kempicus’ Kemp gave advice on improving the shelf-life of the beer you make at home.

→ Tim Sowula penned a portrait of a new kind of business on London’s outer fringes, for Leytonstoner:

The Tap has beers stacked in shelving better suited to twelve inch records, with seemingly no order. This throwback to the joys of browsing through vinyl is deliberate, to allow people to wander through the selection of around 100 different beers and ciders from a rotation of around 30 breweries around London and beyond, and come away with something they might have wanted, but also something they’d never heard of before.

(Via @teninchwheels.)

→ Gabrielle Glaser’s long feature piece for The Atlantic points out that Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t the only solution to the problem of dependency despite its own claims to the contrary.

→ Though some of his history seems a bit shaky, Richard Taylor at the Beercast nonetheless asked a provocative question: which style should be Britain’s ‘national beer’? (Our vote is for… porter.)

→ SIBA (founded in 1980 as the Small Independent Brewers’ Association) has announced the winners at its Beer X competition in Sheffield which, unlike CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain, includes kegged beer.

→ The Chancellor cut beer duty by 1p a pint for a third year in a row in his budget earlier this week. There’s commentary from the BBC | Telegraph | Stonch.

This article is in German but Google Translate does a pretty good job of it:  it turns out that Schlüssel Altbier from Düsseldorf, has, on occasion, been brewed under contract in, of all places, Cologne. This is a bit like discovering that your favourite Cornish pasty was made in Devon. (Via @thirsty_pilgrim.)

→ We’d never noticed the cult-of-personality portrait of Tim Martin on this pub sign until Nick Mitchell pointed it out to us:

5 replies on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 21/03/2015”

Isn’t that anti-AA article odd, laced with its own pre-conceptions. Anti-amateur self help, anti-faith. Gets temperence all wrong, perpetuates the myth that mean people took away the fun. Society was being harmed by all reasonable measures by the pervasive use of booze. Take a pill.

“Alcohol- and substance-use disorders are the realm of medicine,” McLellan says. “This is not the realm of priests.” !!

I suppose folk with books to sell could claim the same about many things in life… interpersonal relationships, work productivity, criminality. Take a pill. For a fee… and here’s the bill for the advice on your way out the door. I suppose having pals who went into medicine helps, knowing how the understand the limits of their field.

Re: anti-faith, I have to say that, should I ever need help with alcohol dependency, the God stuff in the 12-steps programme would be a deal breaker for me.

I don’t know – the roots of AA are fairly dodgy (and definitely Xtian), but I’ve come round to thinking the ‘higher power’ stuff might be quite constructive. On one hand it enables you to commit to a programme which doesn’t seem to make sense or doesn’t seem to be working, which can be useful; on the other, it makes it easier to forgive yourself if you fall short. Perhaps “there absolutely is a higher power” – or “you absolutely do need to act as if there were a higher power” – is a bit blunt, but you can only go so far down the road of “thinking as if you believed in X without committing yourself to actually believing in X” before you lose people’s interest.

Fair enough on a personal level. I grew up in a manse and go to church on some off-holiday Sunday’s still so I do not have an aversion. But the thing I was saying is that because it is not founded on science it seem that the author feels that is enough to delegitimize AA. Many strong things in our cultures have non-scientific roots, many of them revolving about getting out of yourself and into a conversation with others. One of my favourite things about church is being in the company of others, sober and singing. If the construct works for some of the participants, the fact that it’s not based on psychiatry – and doesn’t hand out pills – shouldn’t be in itself a reason to find fault. What doesn’t have some failure rate? What, in fact, makes science so shit hot? 😉

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