News, Nuggets & Longreads 17/10/2015

Here are the articles and blog posts about beer from the last week that we’ve found most interesting or illuminating.

→ This week’s main event is a meaty, thorough piece of proper journalism by Tom Lamont for the Guardian which uses the case of the Golden Lion in North London as a window into the battle to preserve pubs in a market where the buildings are worth far more converted to flats:

“If you’re a developer, and you develop pubs, and you’ve bought six pubs to develop,” Ingram said, “then one of those is going to blow up in your face. It’s like Russian roulette.” … She told Murphy they must do what they could to make the Golden Lion a live bullet.

India Pale Ale No. 1

→ Martyn Cornell has tracked down evidence that there was, after all, a shipwreck off Liverpool which led to salvaged pale ale bound for India being sold on the British market:

But were these sales in Liverpool of several dozen hogsheads, at least, of India ale brewed by Bass’s brewery and Allsopp’s brewery in Burton upon Trent the foundation on which was built the popularity of IPA in Britain? Alas, there is still no hard evidence for that part of the story: and what evidence there is suggests even Liverpool knew about IPA before the Crusader went aground.

→ The always thought-provoking Maureen Ogle reflects, in faintly curmudgeonly fashion, on how American craft beer has changed in her years of attending the Great American Beer Festival:

The problem is that craft brewing’s ‘origin’ story is (relatively) ancient history to Millenials, ancient to the point of being irrelevant. From a Millennial’s perspective, the beer, the demand, and the “community” are already in place. No need to reinvent the wheel. Skip the passion; go for the profit. The hell with the collegiality and fellowship; where’s the winning team?

→ This week’s brewery takeover news is big: AB-InBev is going to merge with SAB Miller after all. There’s been plenty of commentary and speculation — this piece from the Wall Street Journal has lots of detail for starters — but it’s hard to know what the implications for the UK market might be until things settle down and we know which beer brands are going where.

→ Glenn Johnson at My World of Beer usually posts notes on the now annual Wetherspoon real ale festival but, this year, he’s had enough:

There are some things I no longer want to put up with and Spoons is one of these things.  Believe it or not there are still plenty of excellent pubs around.  Warm inviting places where the landlord will serve you a pint that has been looked after rather than having to wait in line to be served by someone who knows nothing about what they are selling.

→ Stan Hieronymus has an account of an interesting example of what we’re minded to call ‘folk beer’ ‘which got its name from the Choctaw Indians, in whose county the liquor is supposed to first have been brewed’.

→ Adrian Tierney-Jones has reviewed the latest batch of beer books from Jeff Alworth, Stephen Beaumont and Mark Dredge.

→ And, finally, this mash-up of two British institutions, the Archers and The Bermondsey Beer Mile, has potential:

3 replies on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 17/10/2015”

The rather jingoistic comic poem “October” – about the delights of October beer – which you featured here in 2012, was sung by Peter Bellamy on the 1977 album The Tale of Ale, and by me at a singaround this evening. It’s roughly to the tune of Bonny Green Garters (in case Martyn sees this comment).

I’ve never heard of Charlie Papazian, I’m afraid. But that is an interesting article. Viewed through a British lens, it looks as if what he’s lamenting the loss of isn’t so much passion & enthusiasm, as a collective identity and a sense of being part of a movement, or at any rate something more substantial than beer fandom. Shame. (You can always tell the difference between fandom and a movement by how easily the former is commoditised & reduced to how much you’re willing to spend.)

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