Because we’re both on our travels this is a scheduled post with urgent updates, if any, made on fiddly touchscreens.
First, some gorgeous pictures from Invisible Works whose author, Nick Stone, acquired a big sack of found photographs of Norwich and has been sharing them in a series of posts. We, of course, had our attention grabbed by a collection of images of pubs, like this one:
Gary Gillman has been pondering a lost taste in beer — that of ‘pitch’:
Germans in particular coated the interior of casks with hot pitch, the resin extracted from the sap of pine and other fir trees. George Ehret, the prominent New York brewer who in 1891 wrote a history of American brewing, described two purposes for the pitching. The first was to ensure proper cleaning of the cask before reuse. The second was to avoid the “taste of the wood”. The cleaning reference is compressed. He meant, as other writers made clear, that beer was more likely to sour from micro-organisms in the wood unless the barrier of pitch minimized this risk.
The logical conclusion of this thought? The revival of pitched lager!
For the Growler magazine Ben Reeves tells the story of the kidnapping of a brewery boss in St Paul, Minnesota, in 1933:
Once in a safe house in Bensenville, Illinois, Hamm was placed in a sparsely furnished room with boarded windows and forced to sign four separate ransom notes demanding $100,000. Within days, Hamm would be returned safely home without a scratch on his head, and the men responsible for his kidnapping—better known as the Barker-Karpis gang—would be padding their wallets. It seemed like the perfect crime; little did the Barker-Karpis gang know that they had just detonated a societal bomb that would end their outlaw careers and completely reshape Minnesota’s legal system.
The basis for season 4 of Fargo, with a Miller’s Crossing feel, perhaps?
On his 39th birthday Alec Latham returns to a preoccupation of his: does he belong with the craft beer young guns, or among the growling veterans in the real ale pub?
With mature pub-goers, I understand everything they say but might miss historic cultural references. With pub-goers of my age, I get the vibe but haven’t got a clue what anybody’s job title means. With some younger drinkers, I might understand the words individually but not when they’re strung together.
‘Dirty South’, one of the authors of the Deserter blog, toured all parts of South London with only one pub:
The epitome of a one horse town, Bellingham has very little to offer the visitor other than its run-down, but Grade II-listed pub, The Fellowship… Only one of its bars is open and in between serving the sparse customers, the barmaid returns to the comfort of the gas fire on our side of the bar. The pub has received a lottery grant though to restore it to its former glory – and it’s no exaggeration to talk of ‘glory’.
And, finally, something a bit new: a link to a Twitter ‘thread’. If you’ve been following politics on Twitter for the last year, you’ll have seen a lot of these — blog posts, in effect, split up into 10, 20, 30 or more (usually) numbered Tweets. It’s a weird way to digest what amounts to an article but, as the author of this one says, ‘Where the eyeballs are, innit?’ This is where it starts — click the date to go through to Twitter and read the whole thing:
We've got other no cask venues, of course: Beavertown tap; BrewDog's bars, Mother Kelly's, Mason & Co. but real shame. We'll see more of it.
— John West (@jwestjourno) November 20, 2016