News, Nuggets & Longreads 13 August 2016: Ireland, North Korea, Hants

Here’s all the best beer- and pub-related reading we’ve come across in the past week, from Dublin to Pyongyang.

The week before last brought news of the death of Oliver Hughes, founder of Ireland’s Porterhouse Group and a key figure in Irish craft beer. There have been various obituaries and tributes but this one from the Irish Independent offers a good summary of his life, career and influence:

With Oliver Hughes’s flair for publicity they began by serving two beers called ‘Wiserbuddy’ and ‘Probably’ – which he said, prompted threatening letters from a solicitors’ firm on behalf of Dublin’s best-known brewery. Hughes negotiated a two-week truce and then promptly began advertising a nationwide radio competition for names for beers “formerly known as ‘Wiserbuddy’ and ‘Probably’”, which attracted another sheaf of solicitor’s letters.

The Japan Times reports that North Korea has just launched its first German-style beer festival which we’re going to call GDPRKBF. Does anyone else find it odd that this super-secretive totalitarian state keeps using beer as a sign that Things Are Fine Here, Honest? (The defunct British brewery mentioned in the article, by the way, is Usher’s of Trowbridge.)

Cartoon illustration: Richard Boston.

The Guardian, finally showing a bit of appreciation for the beer-related riches in their archives, has reproduced Richard Boston’s first Boston on Beer column from 1973 to mark its 43rd anniversary:

In the last week or so I have been talking about beer to a completely representative, sociologically precise cross-section of the community who, by an almost incredible stroke of luck, I happened to bump into in various public houses in London. The most widely expressed complaint was about keg (top-pressure) beer, which was unfavourably compared with the Real Thing which is pumped up by hand from the cellar… But grumbling about beer and pubs is a popular and time-honoured British pastime, and some complaints are better founded than others.

We were impressed by Hampshire brewery Vibrant Forest‘s Citra VPA at GBBF (disclosure: we had freebie trade tickets but paid for our beer) and, as luck would have it, Glenn Johnson has just written a short profile of the brewery based on a recent visit:

I want to shout out to all beer lovers about this brewery because their beers really are first class. ‘We won’t tolerate dull or boring’ it says on their website.  How very true. If Vibrant Forest were based in London you would get beer writers going all gooey eyed over them.  However, if you want to try their beers you will now find them all along the south coast across to Brighton and they also make regular trips to Bristol.

Detail from a vintage India Pale Ale beer label.

Paste Magazine conducted an epic taste-off of American IPAs which Jim Vorel has written up here:

[This] tasting ended up at an astounding, bewildering, quite frankly overwhelming 247 entrants. For perspective, the Great American Beer Festival tasted 336 American IPA entrants this year, meaning that we did only 89 fewer than the largest beer festival in the country… And where GABF awards medals only to the top 3 beers, we’ve ranked the entire top 50. To even make that top 50, it means that beer was in the top 20 percent of entrants. Literally every ranked beer is among the elite. So let’s get to it.

Via Jon Urch (@ClassDrinking)

1987 ad for Wrexham Lager.
Ad from Wrexham Ace, August 1987. SOURCE: Wrexham History.

Here’s something worth a browse if you’re interested in recent British brewing history: Wrexham History has begun digitising various documents as PDFs including this issue of the Wrexham Brewery in-house newspaper Wrexham Ace from 1987. (Via @jamesbxwm.)

And, finally, the responses to the latest brewery takeover news, of Texas’s Revolver Brewing by Miller Coors, have been jaded to say the least:

5 replies on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 13 August 2016: Ireland, North Korea, Hants”

It’s from my solo trip down to Herne — The Butcher’s Arms micropub. I also had a pint of something from Old Dairy which was very decent, but I didn’t note the name. A bitter in the Young’s Ordinary/Chiswick style.

From that Richard Boston column: “One witty fellow described the process of pub-modernisation as fornication.”

I very much doubt that he did – presumably the word he used was formication. Don’t blame the Graun’s subs, though – it’s spelt with an N in the original piece too.

Oliver Hughes.
57 is awfully young to die of a heart attack.
But I loved his beer and I loved the Porterhouse pub in Temple Bar with a vengeance.
I often sat there all afternoon listening to the same conversation.
Fat American walks into bar.
” A pint of Guiness if you will. ”
” We don’t serve Guinness ”
“Why not ? ”
“Well,they don’t sell our beer so why should we sell theirs ? ”
But 57 ?

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