These are the beer-related blog posts and articles that caught our attention in the last seven days, from low-alcohol beer to the eccentricity of Samuel Smith’s.
→ There have been lots of articles questioning the UK Government’s new alcohol consumption guidelines most of which, frankly, we’ve ignored as seeming shrill and defensive. This critical take-down from Adam ‘The Stats Guy’ Jacob, however, seems pretty well balanced and, crucially, offers a textbook example of how to disclose potential biases. (Via @PhilMellows.)
→ Those of you unable to drink for medical reasons, during pregnancy, because you’re the designated driver, or just because you fancy giving your innards a break, will be interested in Tony Naylor’s round-up of the best alcohol free beers for the Guardian. Conventional wisdom is ‘Don’t bother!’ but Mr Naylor found a couple of decent contenders:
The lemony, herbal saaz hop flavours that distinguish Czech pilsners shine through remarkably well. OK, it tastes cardboardy at the back, but this has more character than many alcoholic big-brand lagers. Shockingly good.
→ The official designations for the different categories of Czech beer are changing, reports Max ‘Pivni Filosof’ Bahnson:
Speciál will be called Silné Pivo… Porter as a legal category will be scrapped… The most contentious issue in the proposed amendment—at least for the local beer community—is that the current text does not contemplate renaming the category Ležák, something a few people have been fussing about for some time already.
→ Tandleman highlights an established brewery’s craft-style sub-brand that had escaped our notice:
Perhaps living in Manchester (well, nearly) I should be aware of Hydes Brewery’s seasonal range under the “Provenance Brewing from Hydes” banner, but sadly I wasn’t… Recommended to me by the landlord, Hokkaido is a pale, hoppy, citric little number, containing that most difficult of hops Sorachi Ace.
→ Joe Tindall has been collecting examples of contemporary brown ales in the UK market:
When I wrote about Brighton Bier’s Free State, billed as “21st century brown” here, I remarked that the nevertheless delicious beer had very little ‘brown’ quality. Brewer Gary Sillence got in touch with me to clarify his intentions – “My main ambition was the brew down the mainstream perception that brown beer means dull or old fashioned”, he said, and the beer was never intended to be received as a brown ale as such…
→ A dispute over the construction of a temporary footbridge in the wake of flooding has shone a light on the reclusive eccentricity of the Samuel Smith brewery of Tadcaster in the last week. For the Yorkshire Post Grant Woodward spoke to residents of the town:
Few of those I talk to want to give their names. Local councillor Chris Metcalfe explains that it’s because so many in Tadcaster are reliant on Samuel Smith’s. They lease their business premises from the company, live in a house it owns, or depend on it for their pension.
“We’ve lived with this for so long that we just think, ‘Oh, it’s Humphrey again’,” he says. “It’s in our DNA. People have become accustomed to how the town is and think it’s never going to change. That’s enormously sad. We feel we’re living in a community that’s heading to oblivion.”