We’re on holiday this week so probably won’t be posting anything but this lot ought to keep you busy while we’re away.
→ For Wired, Nick Stockton wrote about the urgent importance of defining ‘natural’ in relation to food and drink:
[While] it’s great that fast food giants are listening to the public, there’s one problem: In terms of describing food, “natural” is almost completely meaningless.
→ Elaine Leong at The Recipes Project wrote about 17th century brewing and the ‘long boil’:
Johanna St. John, a frequent subject of posts on this blog, also preferred the long boil. In a letter to her steward, she gave very specific instructions for the stocking of her cellar. This included the preparation of two sorts of strong beer and an ale which she ‘would have it boyled for 4 to 5 howers at the least’.
→ Emma at Cremas Beer Odyssey got some things off her chest. First, if she says she doesn’t like a beer, regardless of fashion, then she means it; and, secondly, why should anyone feel obliged to give any more feedback to brewers than that?
→ The team at Belgian Smaak carried out an interesting exercise, tasting Irish attempts at Belgian beer styles alongside the real thing.
→ For Hot Rum Cow, Liz Longden explored the challenges of brewing low-alcohol beers with flavour and body. We especially liked this quote from Gregg Irwin of Weird Beard:
Another Weird Beard brew, ‘Little Things That Kill’ (3.9%), was selling extremely well until it became apparent that the ‘unfermentable’ sugars were indeed fermenting, slowly and after bottling. “We thought we had an absolutely amazing recipe,” Irwin says wryly. “Right up until the point where we started getting complaints about exploding bottles.”
→ At his re-vamped Total Ales blog Matt Curtis shared an interview with the manager of Mother Kelly’s, an unusual off-licence/bar in the East End of London.
→ Ron Pattinson gave us the recipe for a 1954 Whitbread ‘strong’ mild (4% ABV) — very modern-sounding with crystal malt, caramel and Fuggles all the way.
→ Richard Taylor at The BeerCast put forward the argument that certain beers don’t just happen to pair well with food — they make no sense without it:
When tasted with the sharp raspberry and blackberry fruit, it sweetened and broadened the beer. But when the elderflower and lavender elements arrived, the beer became more like a bitter honeysuckle instead. It was all fairly exhausting stuff. But I got the impression throughout that these beers and this degree of execution from a kitchen really had to co-exist, otherwise one of the sides would dominate.
→ And finally, filed under signs of the times, one of the big American writing style guides has declared the victory of ‘craft’ over ‘microbrewery’: