Here’s what we’ve enjoyed reading on the subject of beer, or what has got us thinking, or both, from the last week.
→ Rock musician Lemmy died on 28 December which has prompted lots of people to consider how, as a prolific smoker, drinker and drug user, he ever made it to 70. Music journalist Jeremy Allen gave an account of discussing addiction and sobriety with Lemmy in 2010, when Allen himself had just come out of rehab:
‘If you overdo booze it’ll kill you,’ [Lemmy] warned. ‘If you overdo heroin… Well, you don’t even need to overdo heroin, just do heroin and it’ll kill you. If you overdo speed or coke it’ll send you nuts. There is a way through it, you can do everything in moderation, you just have to be content with a bit of a buzz and not going to the moon all the time…’
→ Which brings us to the new, tougher UK Government guidelines on alcohol consumption which suggest people ought to be consuming no more than the equivalent of six pints of beer a week. The beer industry and its lobbyists are shouting them down as ‘nonsense’, while anti-alcohol campaigners seem broadly happy with them, especially the ‘no safe level’ line. Our two’pennorth: alcohol has its downsides, but it can also be a lot of fun (there is no safe level of mountain climbing &c.); the guidelines are only guidelines; and we’ll be continuing to take advice from our own friends and families, and our own doctors, rather than strangers with axes to grind from whichever camp.
→ File this for your next city break in Berlin: Joe ‘Thirsty Pilgrim’ Stange has thoughts on the beer scene in the Friedrichshain district which is ‘colonized by a cosmopolitan mix of twentysomethings with enough time and money for things like locally roasted coffee, interesting beer, and street food’. (H-word successfully avoided, there…)
→ Andy ‘Tabamatu’ Parker has started a new series of posts explaining the nuts and bolts of setting up his own brewery, which isn’t quite up and running yet, because…
[At] time of writing, I still don’t have keys to an industrial unit. For most breweries I’ve visited, premises was the single biggest headache in getting started and it’ll take at least double the length of time you thought it would.
→ From Rick Kempen (via @TheBeerNut) news that Heineken is experimenting with the lager-like yeast strain discovered in the wild in Patagonia a couple of years ago.
The Weight of History
→ Alan ‘A Good Beer Blog’ McLeod continues his research into the regional ales of Britain with pieces on Northdown Ale — ‘(i) a premium product, (ii) defined quite clearly to a time and place which was (iii) notably strong and (iv) bottled’ — and Hull Ale…
→ …which prompted Martyn Cornell to consider, at length, some of the myths, well-established and repeated in reputable texts, about the rise of Burton Ale, which talk down its near cousin, Derby Ale.
→ Meanwhile, Lars Marius Garshol recounts his adventures collecting Kveik (yeast) in Hornindal:
Through an open window upstairs we can see a family eating dinner. Terje shouts a greeting up through the window, then explains that I’m researching home brew, and asks if we can have some of their kveik. ‘No, it’s all gone. It went bad, so we threw it away years ago,’ is the reply. Terje pretends not to have heard. ‘We just want to study it genetically,’ he shouts. ‘We don’t care if it makes good beer or not.’ Silence inside the house, then a brief discussion. ‘Just a minute,’ comes the reply.
While his fellow scholar of Scandinavian brewing, Martin Warren at Poppyland Brewing, has made himself ‘yeast ring’.