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The Month That Was: June 2016

All in one handy list, here’s everything we wrote in the last month, from Ted Handel to rough pubs.

Vintage illustration (1869) of a man peering into a microscope.We started the month with some pondering on quality, consistency and conspiracy theories prompted by problems at Goose Island: ‘False flag, man! Blame the bugs and bacteria to justify The New World Order! Wake up and smell the mind control drugs!’


A 1964 article from the Spectator archive highlighted the fact that people have been worrying about the decline of the English pub for a long time:

Given that the beer is good (and I know that this is another question), I can’t believe that anyone wants to drink his pint, let alone talk the evening through with friends, in the kind of South Seas Traders tavern or sub-Scandinavian bar which seems to appear whenever the painters and decorators move in on an ordinary pub.


Black and white portrait of a man in a three-piece suit.We finally found a picture of Mr E.C. (Ted) Handel of Watney’s, one of the stars of Brew Britannia. He’s the chap who argued with Christopher Hutt on the letters page of the Financial Times in 1973, thus boosting CAMRA’s membership, Hutt reckons, by thousands.


For Session #112 hosted by Carla Jean Lauter we considered the place of the secondary economy in UK beer — where is there money to be made other than in brewing or selling beer? (She hasn’t posted a round-up yet.)


A vaguely Art Deco illustration of a pint of dark beer.

Commenter and blogger Dave S asked an interesting question about which beers get ‘traddies’ as excited as, say, Cloudwater DIPA gets ‘crafties’. We did our best to answer and then threw it open for suggestions which prompted some fantastically thought-provoking comments:

The one I would run over hot coals for is Harveys Porter, which is up there with Fullers Porter in the “it’s insane this is not available, on cask, Nov-Feb in many outlets at a time and temperature the beers suit” category.


We volunteered to host Session #113 ourselves on the topic of Mass Observation: The Pub and The People. (Friday was D-Day for contributions but, following the advice of a previous host, we’re not going to write the round-up for a week or so there’s still time to take part.)


Kegs and casks behind the Free Trade Inn, Newcastle.

We took ten days off in the middle of June. We visited a lot of pubs, digested our impressions, and then wrote three posts on…

  1. Newcastle
  2. Birmingham
  3. The Black Country

What you might call Series 3 of Magical Mystery Pour got going with a review of Italian brewery LoverBeer’s Madamin — an interesting beer, but expensive.


Stained Glass at the Moon Under Water.We’re after your help again: did you, or one of your pals, drink at the Wetherspoon pub on Deansgate, Manchester, on 15 August 1995, the day it opened? The Moon Under Water was then the biggest pub in Britain and we’re trying to put together a detailed pen portrait of the place for our latest Big Project.


And, finally, Bailey went solo with a reflection on rough pubs, or pubs that look rough but aren’t, and the calculations we all make before deciding to step over the threshold of a strange boozer.


Beyond the blog there is also our long-read for All About Beer on the status of Guinness:

In the mid-20th century, it is no exaggeration to say that Guinness was regarded as about the hippest beer around — a brew for connoisseurs, and a beer of almost mystical complexity and brilliance… Back then, enthusiasts shared details of the oddities of its manufacture such as the addition of soured beer to give the finished product its tang, and discussed how temperamental it could be if stored and served at the wrong temperature, or for too long, or not long enough.


You can read our most recent column for Devon Life here, in flippy-flappy pretend magazine format.


And, of course, there have been several links round-ups, a 1000+ word email newsletter (sign up!), a ton of Tweets, and a few bits and pieces on Facebook.

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