News, Nuggets & Longreads 26 November 2016

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:

Duke's Palace Inn, Norwich.

(Via @teninchwheels.)


Wooden beer casks.

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!


Old photos: the kidnapper and Mr Hamm, the victim.

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?


Hat, pipe and pint glass.

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.


The Fellowship Inn, Bellingham: pool table and dereliction.

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’.


Beer and Twitter

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:

2 thoughts on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 26 November 2016”

  1. My niece lives just around the cor­ner from The Fel­low­ship. I’m pret­ty sure it was Bar­clay Perkins flag­ship “improved” pub­lic house. Nev­er been in, mind.

    1. Ron – very much so. We read all the board min­utes about it and lots of oth­er stuff before Her­self wrote some­thing like 2,000 words on it for the new book. Most of it we’ve decid­ed to trim, sad­ly. Still a good chunk in the cur­rent draft, though.

Comments are closed.