News, Nuggets & Longreads 22/08/2015

Here’s our pick of the most interesting, entertaining or eye-opening beer-related reading of the last week.

→ Lars Marius Garshol continues his investigations into Scandinavian farmhouse ales, this time in Denmark where he has been mining information from ethnographic surveys. This sounds appealingly quick and easy, doesn’t it?

Basically, it’s the most straightforward raw ale process, where one starts with a simple infusion mash. Then, the mash is moved to the strainer, and run off directly into the fermenter. Hops are boiled in water on the side, to make hop tea, which is then added to the fermenter. Cool the wort, then pitch the yeast.

→ ‘Cream ale’ is a quintessentially American style of beer that we know very little about so Tom Acitelli’s piece on the origins of the best known example, Genesee, was an interesting read:

Predating Prohibition, the style grew up as a response to the pilsners flooding the market via immigrant brewers from Central Europe. Cream ales were generally made with adjuncts such as corn and rice to lighten the body of what would otherwise end up as a thicker ale…

→ Adam H. Graham reports on the thriving beer scene in Kosovo for the New York Times (via @PJMcKerry):

“Beer consumption does clash with our Muslim history,” said Bekim Shala, the manager of Birra Prishtina, a brewery that opened last year. “But we are a secular society and alcohol has always been consumed here.”

→ Joe Stange has done some sums on session beer and reminds us that a 5% ABV beer is, in terms of what your body can process, a lot more alcoholic than a 4%-er.

→ Craig Heap considers a 2013 report on automation in the workplace and what it might mean for beer and pubs in years to come. (We like this mostly because people have been predicting ‘robot barmen’ since forever.)

Old school pub furniture.
And Lots About Pubs

→ Beers Manchester reports on a pub crawl in Huddersfield — an entertaining flood of personal impressions and photos which makes us want to visit ASAP: ‘I may love Manchester. Deeply. But I could oh so easily have an affair with Huddersfield.’

→ Ian Thurman ponders what constitutes ‘pub perfection’ with reference to some favourites he’s visited over the past few weeks:

I think the detestable are closing (and I’d prefer homes and convenience stores to moribund pubs) and the pubs that are unique contributions to human happiness are getting better but harder to find. Let’s keep trying.

→ We walked past the Duke’s Head on Wood Street in Walthamstow the other week and, noting that its exterior had been painted black, guessed it was in the process of ‘being Anticked’. Sure enough, we now read at Bill Foster’s Walthamstow Diary that it has re-opened, with a more upmarket feel, as ‘The Duke’. The all-comers debate on gentrification in the comments below is fantastic, with good points raised on both sides:

I think a big change in Walthamstow is that people used to live here but go out in other parts of London. Now many will go out locally. And that’s because pubs like the Duke are offering what they want.

And finally…

2 replies on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 22/08/2015”

That is an interesting bit about cream ale. Not sure much of it other than the interview of the brewer’s son is accurate but that’s par for the course with these pieces. Genesee Cream Ale, still a lovely beer that I brought to Maine the other week, was not a singular response but a lingering point in evolution. Ale was king in upstate NY until it was equaled by lagers (and a whole range not just pilsner) by prohibition. As Craig has noted, the term “cream ale” existed in upstate NY as early as the 1840s = but so did imperial. These reimaginings of US brewing history are sad but typical. Folk not wanting to do the work I suppose, happy to repeat. Like the “no pale malt until coke used” fibs.

I liked that Walthamstow gentrification bit – I’m generally suspicious of bland gentro pub makeovers but the line about “pubs should have pool tables, sports and lagers people know and want” really brought home the gap between my middle-class CAMRA conception of “proper traditional boozers” and that of the “stowies”.

(Also, it’s rare and refreshing to see the old guard locals dominating BTL debate, I’m used to see them overrun and patronised within an inch of their lives on other hyperlocal sites.)

Comments are closed.