News, Nuggets & Longreads 16 July 2016: Root Beer, Lisbon, Pub Habits

Here’s all the beer- and pub-related writing from the past seven days that’s tickled our fancy or piqued our interest, from a hard look at hard root beer to the meaning of the pub.

Canadian beer writer Jordan St. John wanted to write tasting notes on hard (i.e. alcoholic) root beer but noticed that lots of other beer folk seemed to be struggling with the same task because they lacked the frame of reference for describing the flavours. So, before he got to the boozy variant, he got to know the soft stuff:

The last time I had one of these was when I got a Papa Burger at the Eglinton Station food court and at the time it seemed watery and may be in fountain service. There is a vaguely barky presence on the finish, a marshmallowy aftertaste here and an herbal kind of presence on the burp. I would describe the flavour as sweet, but balanced and relatively mild. It’s sort of a weird idea. What do you want with your drive in burger? A vanilla, mint and root bark soda, please, and throw a marshmallow at it.

(Related: Next time you have a Coca Cola look out for the lime note — hard to miss once you know it’s there.)

Duque craft beer in the sun.
SOURCE: Rebecca Pate.

London-based beer blogger Rebecca Pate has been to Lisbon where she observed the signs of a nascent craft beer scene:

Up until 2014, it was nearly impossible to source craft beer in Portugal. The first taproom and bottle shop to open its doors was Cerveteca Lisboa in Lisbon and the city’s first microbrewery, Duque Brewpub, opened in February this year. Duque boasts 10 taps where Portuguese breweries are represented- including offerings from their on-site microbrewery, Cerveja Aroeira, and an expansive selection of bottles.  

(See also: Craftonia.)

British beer bottle cap.

After a round of immediate post-Brexit decision worry about the UK beer industry we’ve started to see the odd piece about the possible benefits such as this summary of an otherwise pay-walled banking report in the Morning Advertiser:

Craft brewers could see opportunities arise as foreign drinks importers face challenges due to the marked devaluation of the pound and anticipated issues around importing and exporting surrounding Brexit, according to Dutch banking group Rabobank… Despite the importation costs for raw packaging materials to the UK, there was great value provided in UK sourcing already, such as barley and malt, according to the report.

(Footnote: which London brewery has attempted to register a trademark for Brexit beer…?)


Veteran pub blogger Sean Liquorish has written a thoughtful piece on the purpose of the pub, habit and community:

Take Old Pete who comes in for his few pints every weekday lunch, always Johns Smiths despite the pub selling five other far better real ales. Pete comes in, has two pints, reads his paper and goes on his way, no one really knowing a lot about him. But what he does build up is a routine, which when broken is noticed… There are individuals in society who chose to live a relatively solitary life, leaving very few stamps on the world, but when that stamp is not made, people ask questions.

Cask Beer Revolution?
SOURCE: Tiny Rebel website.

It’s a surprise it’s taken so long for this to happen: award-winning Welsh brewery Tiny Rebel, if we’re reading this right, have taken BrewDog’s keg-only Punk IPA, degassed it, and put it in a cask. They don’t seem to have added any extra priming sugar or live yeast so it’s not cask-conditioned but it’s probably as close a pint of the cask Punk of old as you’re likely to get. The question is, isn’t it against the Brewers’ Code to serve a peer’s beer in a way other than intended? (Via Michael Lally @bushcraftbeer.)

Neon sign: Custard Factory.
SOURCE: ‘Custard Factory’ by Mark McQuitty from Flickr under Creative Commons.

The Independent Birmingham website brings news of a new opening that further bolsters the city’s craft beer credentials: Clink Beer will occupy space at the former Bird’s custard factory, AKA The Custard Factory, in bohemian Digbeth just outside the city centre.

5 replies on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 16 July 2016: Root Beer, Lisbon, Pub Habits”

If Punk tastes good de-gassed, a) why is it so gassy? and b) why don’t they do cask?

1.Because they sold all their casks
2.Because it would show up the keg offering
3.Doesn’t suit the image
4. Pig headedness
5. What’s cask?

Please define exactly what you mean by the “Brewer’s Code”. It’s not something I have ever come across during my 40 years of taking an interest in all things related to beer and brewing, but I am open to being corrected.

The way it’s referred to in your post, makes it sound like some secretive covenant, which must never be broken! Aprons, goats and rolled-up trouser legs??

Thanks, Bailey. I remember the post now, and notice that I even commented on it. I believe the consensus was that if pubs want to “muck about” with a beer, there’s not a lot the brewer can do – apart from not supplying that outlet in future.

That whole Randall idea does seem a load of pretentious b*ll*cks, if you’ll pardon my French, but as it’s little more than a gimmick, I can’t see it catching on. As for degassing a keg beer; well why would you? Stick with cask if you don’t like your beer too much gas in your beer.

“Cask Punk of old” was where I discovered BrewDog. (And thought them awesome, and became a shareholder not long after.)

But a de-gassed keg of Punk-of-present will be nothing like it. It’s a completely different beer. Even were it put into cask “properly” by the Brewery it would not be cask Punk of old.

Punk IPA is dead… long live Punk IPA?

As an aside: I know of a pub that put Punk IPA KeyKeg on hand-pump and called it “cask BrewDog”… BrewDog reacted in less than a happy way about it.

The debate as to whether pubs can do what they like with beer is always bubbling on. Be it Randalls, or popping a bottle of rum in a cask of porter (illegal mind you)… one argument is “I bought it, I’ll do with it what I like” – to which the brewery responds: “You are barred from buying our beer.” … Some breweries enjoy the fun of this sort of things, others are too tied up in the purity of their brands and get very upset about it.

A pint of that double-rum cask porter randalled through raspberries for me please!

(Hm, now there’s an idea… cask + randall… must make that happen.)

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