News, Nuggets & Longreads 21/11/2015

A row of beer pumps overlaid with today's date.

These are the beer- and pub-related blog posts and articles that we’ve found most interesting, entertaining or amusing in the past week.

→ For Draft Magazine Joe Stange has compiled a list of recipes for ‘hot beer drinks’ from lambswool to Cornish shenagrum. (The latter being our contribution.)

Devilled ale in cups.

→ Justin Mason provides notes and observations on a pretty serious-sounding home brew beer festival in Essex:

I don’t think any of us actually brew in our sheds… I’ve been home brewing for about four years, and I took it up as a way of saving money. I started brewing from kits at first but soon moved on to all-grain brewing with some interesting results in the beginning.

→ Steve ‘Beers I’ve Known’ Lamond reflects on the increasing number of strong, hoppy double IPAs being brewed in Ireland, with input from the brewers themselves.

→ The Bag O’Nails in Bristol (which we wrote about here) has gained a cult following because of its fifteen cats, according to BBC News:

The cats that are left variously go by names such as Salvador, Absinthe, Pompidou and Caligula, and “apart from the odd, external influence” are all descended from Malcolm, a British short-haired male silver tabby, and solid black female Beresford, named after a former landlord.

→ This account of two men who continued drinking in a Leeds pub garden even as the river flooded and rose around their waists went viral worldwide, seeming to reflect the British reputation for stoicism and eccentricity.

→ San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing has been bought out by Constellation Brands for a startling $1bn and the usual cycle of commentary has played out: dismay, boycotts, ‘why this is good news’ opinion pieces, and ennui. Jeff Alworth provides interesting commentary, though, suggesting that Constellation ‘look at that 200 million barrel U.S. beer market and see a lot more craft in its future—and they’re willing to pay a king’s ransom to make sure they have a brand in the game.’ On the same topic, Stephen Beaumont asks breweries that have been taken over to ‘cut the crap’:

[When] your company’s entire marketing strategy has for years been based upon the premise of “small is good, big is evil,” do you honestly think it reasonable to suddenly turn on a dime and tell us otherwise? After imploring us to “buy local” for decades, does it really make sense to expect us to abruptly opt for “international” instead?

→ Not reading but listening: Dr Sam Goodman is one of the BBC’s ‘New Generation Thinkers’ and gave a short lecture this week entitled ‘Beer and the British Empire’. (Via @LiamTheBrewer.)

→ And finally…

→ PS. Here’s a piece we wrote for All About Beer on the emergence of pale’n’hoppy British session beer and how it has brought us to the about the same place as the US trend for ‘session IPA’.

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