Here’s everything we wrote in February 2016, from Fuller’s pubs to BrewDog recipes via stormy weather, tzatziki beer and pub grub.
→ We started the month of with a tour around some Fuller’s pubs in West London which left us a little anxious:
We’re not sure this particular brewery need be so obsessed with getting involved in Craft Beer, especially if it’s at the expense of what they do best, and what makes them almost unique in London: brilliant cask-conditioned bitter, best bitter and strong bitter, served in great old pubs.
→ In 1900 some brewers pre-empted Williams Bros by almost a century when they attempted to recreate the semi-mythical Pictish heather ale.
→ One of Bailey’s pals doesn’t drink Guinness any more — keg IPA has become his usual.
→ This quote summed up the British attitude to pubs and to war: ‘And beer too has played its traditional part in keeping us friendly, buoyant and good tempered…’
→ We asked for your help researching Irish Pubs (not pubs in Ireland — capital I, capital P Irish Pubs in England) and would still love to hear from you if you’ve got any stories to share.
→ ‘Big Beer is Part of a Healthy Culture’, sez we:
It’s not a battle between good and evil which only one side can win — it’s about achieving a balance, or even a tension.
→ We attempted to answer another reader question: why do pub preservationists appear to be so obsessed with bell pushes?
→ Where are all the great guides to the pubs of The North from before 1980? The comments elicited a couple of interesting leads (we now have Tiptaft’s Inns of the Midlands) but the 1960 guide to the pubs of Manchester we hoped was lurking out there somewhere hasn’t yet shown up.
→ The second and third beers recommended to us by Dina as part of our Magical Mystery Pour series were Mad Hatter Tzatziki Sour (‘cucumber… dusty dried mint… acid funk’) and Siren Caribbean Chocolate cake (‘Espresso with chocolate ice cream on top’).
→ We liked Thornbridge Eldon, an 8% ABV bourbon oak imperial stout: ‘Give it a go if you get the chance, especially if you prefer clean to dirty.’
→ When did the phrase ‘pub grub’ enter the national vocabulary? 1967 by the look of it.
→ While we were in the mood for walking back the cat we also asked when ‘saucy’ beer names became common in Britain. That one, we reckon, is the 1980s’ fault. (Stan liked this one and offered some further thoughts.)
→ Did beer get colder because pubs got hotter in the period after World War II? (Footnote: we said we’d never come across this theory before but of course we have — Martyn Cornell mentions it in the section on stout in his must-read book Amber, Gold & Black.)
→ Bailey has been collecting references to porter and German beer in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain.
→ Thinking aloud we pondered whether the financial struggles of a bar playing out on Twitter were a sign of the fragility of the craft beer boom outside major urban centres.