Here’s all the beer- and pub-related writing we’ve found most interesting in the last week, from Vietnam to mince pie stout.
→ For the Wall Street Journal Emma Hurt has been exploring Vietnam’s nascent craft beer scene:
“When they first tried our beer, people would say, ‘This doesn’t taste like beer,’ ” says Alex Violette, the brewmaster at Saigon’s Pasteur Street Brewing Company. “I would respond, ‘No, what you’ve been drinking doesn’t taste like beer. It tastes like water. This is beer.’ ”
(Via Joe Stange.)
→ Ed has been ageing porter with Brettanomyces and his experiments lead him to a pleasing conclusion: ‘Those old brewers knew what they were doing when they aged porter for a year.’
→ The release of DIY DOG, a free e-book containing recipes for every BrewDog beer ever produced, was greeted with general delight and just a smattering of cynicism — what are they up to? Who cares? Are the recipes even truthful? Why does the origin story it contains omit to mention Martin Dickie’s time at Thornbridge before starting BrewDog? (We joined in that last one.) Luke Robertson at Ale of a Time found this all a bit wearying and has a rant about why BrewDog in particular get it in the neck:
I have many issues with Brewdog and don’t drink their beer for a number of reasons but to pretend they are any different than 90% of the other breweries out there is pretty ridiculous. They are all marketing, they are all lying, and they are all stretching the truth. Brewdog just happen to be really damn good at it.
→ On the same subject Stu at Train Beers wonders why BrewDog didn’t go all in and release the recipes under a Creative Commons license:
[If] they gave their recipes a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license, not only would [any brewery using them commercially] have to attribute Brewdog, they would also have to share the recipe they themselves used, along with any changes they made along the way. This would create a buzz around the recipe, allowing others to tweak, change and brew… while releasing their recipe under the same license.
→ Martyn Cornell has something you don’t often come across on beer blogs: a review of a play, Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen. Why? Because it’s set in a pub of course…
Pub historians will not have much to complain about the staging, though: I suspect straight glasses, rather than dimples, would have been used in a real Oldham pub in 1965, and the bitter looked a little too amber and definitely too flat for a real North West of England brew at the time (though the mild was authentically dark as Barber Booth in a blackout. There was, too, plenty of smoky fug being puffed across the stage, and much use of the on-the-wall cigarette machine.
→ It’s never too soon to start thinking about Christmas (sob) and Kat Sewell’s home brewed Mince Pie Imperial Stout sounds like fun. We agree wholeheartedly with this statement:
I should probably be adding cinnamon and ginger but when it came to it on brew day I decided against spices. I just haven’t had a beer that wasn’t ruined by them.
→ And, finally, in The New Yorker of all places, Amos Vernon parodies the ever-inflating marketing spiel that accompanies the release of novelty IPAs these days:
Our innovative quantum-hopping technique squeezes more hoppy goodness into each and every bottle than traditional Euclidean geometry deems possible. The process is simple: first we snort a generous line of hop dust just to get up our nerve. Then we shoot a billion hops per second into the mash tun using a modified particle accelerator. This rips apart the space-time fabric just enough for us to shove a few extra hops into the cracks with a jackhammer.
(Via Thomas Turnell-Read.)