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News, Nuggets & Longreads 27 August 2016: Lithuania, Brett, Criticism

Here’s everything on beer and pubs that’s stimulated our brain-boxes in the last seven days, from Lithuanian beer queens to naughty hats.

Aldona Udriene surveys a fermenting vessel.
SOURCE: Lars Marius Garshol.

Lars Marius Garshol (@larsga) met ‘the queen of Lithuanian beer’, Aldona Udriene:

Her father and grandfather both made the malts themselves. They would soak the barley in water, then take it up and leave it to sprout in the sacks so it would remain wet. The shoots and rootlets would be removed by rubbing between the hands (just like at Storli in Norway). The rubbing was child’s work, and she herself started doing it when she was four years old. Her hands would get sweet and sticky, she says.

For Craft Beer & Brewing Jamie Bogner provided tasting notes on two sets of beers designed to showcase the effects of different strains of Brettanomyces:

In The Bruery’s iteration, B. Lambicus brings the woodsy, hay, and earthy character to the forefront, with slightly lower attenuation and a soft lingering bitterness. Think baked sweet potato with the skin on and a faint dusting of ground black pepper.

German postcard: a man struggles with the choice of beer in Munich.
“He who has choice is tormented.”

Ryan Moses (@moewriter), AKA The Beer Counsellor, has been reading about the purpose and meaning of criticism and considering how that might apply to beer:

The public sees the critic as a utility. The reason people love rating websites is that they point them in a direction.  Critics help cut through all the clutter and noise to find the stuff worth enjoying… There are over 4,000 breweries in the US and if you say they each produce around seven beers each, you are looking at almost 30,000 different beers.  The critic in part should strive to make the average consumer’s life a little bit easier.

London brewery Late Knights is going through some difficulties, closing one of its pubs and ceasing brewing, while the remaining six pubs have been split into two new companies. London Beer Guide (@BeerGuideLondonhas the latest news (quote updated 28/08/2016 15:30):

Each group of three is now under different ownership.  Neither will carry Late Knights branding but both intend to continue to brew, though obviously only one has an actual brewery at present.  We understand that a company called Erimus Brewing/Erimus Pubs and Bars now owns the first group of pubs, and that a company called Southey Brewing owns the second group, but this is yet to be confirmed.

Illustration: Kolsch glass.

A study carried out in Germany (quite a small one which to us has the whiff of PR about it) suggests that blindfolded Rhinelanders can’t really tell the difference between the Kölsch of Cologne and the Altbier of Düsseldorf, despite this being one of the central points of tension in the local rivalry.

The Pilcrow, Manchester’s brand new built-from-scratch pub, is to be run by the people behind the city’s Port Street Beer House and 2016’s ‘It’ brewery Cloudwater. A little surprise, perhaps even amounting to dismay, was expressed at this news on Twitter: The Pilcrow project had presented as community-led and relied to some extent on the work of volunteers learning traditional craft skills (e.g. wood-turning) as they made fixtures and fittings for the pub, and this felt to some bait-and-switch.

For what it’s worth, when we asked about the social/commercial status of the project by email back in February, it was made clear that the intention was always to hand over to a commercial operator and for the pub to make money in the long run, so we don’t think any volunteers can be said to have been hoodwinked.

These are a couple of useful resources you might want to bookmark if you’re planning a weekend city break this autumn:

  1. Evan Rail’s guide to Prague for National Geographic. (via @ATJbeer).
  2. Kev‘s (@BelgianBeerGeek) Google Map of Brussels bars, breweries and beer-friendly restaurants. (Via @Thirsty_Pilgrim)

And, finally, something that definitely cannot be considered breaking news:

4 replies on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 27 August 2016: Lithuania, Brett, Criticism”

With regard to your first article and your resources list you could add “Lithuanian Beer: A rough guide” by Lars Marius Garshol to your reading list. Written in English, it is, as described, a rough guide, but has enough content to rouse my curiosity in a beer scene I know very little about. Vilnius is now somewhere I’m hoping to go to quite soon.

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