News, Nuggets & Longreads 17 December 2016: Revitalisation, Raw Ale, Rebel

Detail from Federation Brewery beer mat showing Father Christmas with beer.

For this final news and links round-up before Christmas we’ve got stories about CAMRA, Indian street food and historic pubs from around the beer blogs and beyond.

First, some very sub­stan­tial read­ing, though not nec­es­sar­i­ly ter­ri­bly enter­tain­ing – the Cam­paign for Real Ale’s Revi­tal­i­sa­tion Project has report­ed, with rec­om­men­da­tions for how CAMRA can, might and should change:

There is no doubt that, on the mar­ket today, there exist some keg and oth­er non-cask beers that are high-qual­i­ty prod­ucts – brewed with first-class ingre­di­ents, often matured over long peri­ods, unfil­tered and unpas­teurised. In some cas­es, keg beer con­tains live yeast and is sub­ject to sec­ondary fer­men­ta­tion in the con­tain­er. It is, to all intents and pur­pos­es, real ale up to the point that car­bon diox­ide pres­sure is applied in the cel­lar… Some of these prod­ucts, by most mea­sures, are far supe­ri­or to some of the low­er-qual­i­ty, mass pro­duced cask beer com­mon in pubs – some of which, it is alleged, may be sub­ject to very min­i­mal, if any, sec­ondary fer­men­ta­tion despite being mar­ket­ed as real ale. Yet today, in accor­dance with its poli­cies, CAMRA cham­pi­ons the lat­ter over the for­mer.

We’re still digest­ing it but, as we expect­ed, it is a care­ful com­pro­mise designed to appeal to mod­er­ates on both sides of the keg/cask divide. Some will bri­dle at the sug­ges­tion that, even while per­mit­ting qual­i­ty keg beer at fes­ti­vals, CAMRA should make sure to com­mu­ni­cate the inher­ent supe­ri­or­i­ty of cask, but we get it. Cask is the jew­el in the crown, the USP, the quirk that sets us apart.

Bundobust sign.

From Man­ches­ter Kaleigh at The Ale in Kaleigh reports on the open­ing of a huge new branch of Indi­an-street-food-n-beer joint Bun­do­bust. We were blown away by the orig­i­nal in Leeds when we vis­it­ed last year but this report sug­gests Man­ches­ter may be bet­ter again:

Bun­do­bust Man­ches­ter has 14 keg lines (although one is used for a cider), with their house beer Bom­bay Daz­zler, a Wit made by North­ern Monk, always on offer. There’s also a tap ded­i­cat­ed to one oth­er North­ern Monk beer and one for Mag­ic Rock, show­ing that they haven’t lost touch with their York­shire roots, and one for Man­ches­ter favourite Cloud­wa­ter.

Braumeister Pils beer mat.

Stan Hierony­mus has been pon­der­ing the term ‘Brew­mas­ter’ which some brew­ers apply to them­selves regard­less of their expe­ri­ence or the extent of their rep­u­ta­tion:

More than 3,000 brew­eries have opened in the Unit­ed States in the past five years. Many of the brew­ers in charge of these new oper­a­tions have pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ence that goes fur­ther back, but, dang, 3,000 new­ly mint­ed brew­mas­ters? Does that sound right?

The equationer, 1892 engraving.

Every­one is bored of talk­ing about the def­i­n­i­tion of craft beer, right? Which is why we had our biggest day of traf­fic in weeks when we some­what reluc­tant­ly returned to the sub­ject on Wednes­day. Any­way, our post prompt­ed Dave S at Brew in a Bed­sit to try a more log­i­cal approach, assign­ing points for ‘crafti­ness’ to give brew­eries an over­all score:

I test­ed this out for a few obvi­ous can­di­dates, and got rough­ly the fol­low­ing scores, from least to most crafty:

Tim­o­thy Tay­lor: ‑9
Oakham: ‑2
Thorn­bridge: +4
The Ker­nel: +6
Wild Beer Co: +8 (ish)

Michael Lal­ly at Bushcraft Beer gives us three items to chew on every Tues­day. This week, item one was high­ly thought-pro­vok­ing: which brew­eries would you put into the four quad­rants he pro­pos­es? Brew­eries which find them­selves in the bot­tom left ought to be con­cerned: if peo­ple don’t like you and can’t get hold of your beer, it’s prob­a­bly time to change some­thing.

Detail from one of Lars's maps.

Attempt­ing to sum­marise his research into Nor­we­gian farm­house brew­ing in digestible form Lars Mar­ius Garshol has pro­duced a map-laden post which is a good place to start explor­ing the deep, rich mine of con­tent on his blog:

The big white area is an area where they boiled the wort. What was his­tor­i­cal­ly the biggest city and the main trade port of Nor­way, Bergen, is on the south­west­ern edge of that area. So it seems pret­ty like­ly that the prac­tice of boil­ing the wort spread from there. The south­ern white area con­tains the oth­er major city and port of Sta­vanger, so it might be a sim­i­lar sto­ry there. What’s in between the two I’m not sure of.

One of our local Cor­nish brew­eries, Rebel Brew­ing Co of Pen­ryn, has gone into admin­is­tra­tion, reports Dar­ren Nor­bury at Beer Today. This is a sur­prise but makes some sense: they had always strug­gled to get their beer into pubs down here and did­n’t real­ly have the piz­zaz to get into pubs up there. We were big fans of their 80 Shilling and, when it was on form, their big choco­late stout Mex­i­c­o­coa, but found much of the rest of their range under­whelm­ing. Any­way, anoth­er tremor that may or may not mean some­thing. Watch this space.

And, final­ly, from The Gen­tle Author news of a suc­cess­ful cam­paign to save a pub of par­tic­u­lar his­toric inter­est, The Still & Star, the last ‘slum pub’ in the City of Lon­don.

2 thoughts on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 17 December 2016: Revitalisation, Raw Ale, Rebel”

  1. I went to where I thought this Bun­do­bust was going to be yes­ter­day, wan­dered around for about five min­utes & could­n’t see it. I’m sure it’ll be hilar­i­ous when I work out where it real­ly is (judg­ing from that write­up, it’s not as if they’re going to be able to hide it).

    As for ‘brew­mas­ter’, is it pos­si­ble that the orig­i­nal Ger­man term Braumeis­ter does­n’t have the hairy-chest­ed over­tones that Eng­lish words end­ing in ‑mas­ter always seem to have, par­tic­u­lar­ly the neol­o­gisms? Come to think of it, it is specif­i­cal­ly the neol­o­gisms. If you meet some­body call­ing him­self Beer­mas­ter Bill or Dave the Bar­be­cue Mas­ter, you feel that he’s implic­it­ly claim­ing either to have decades of expe­ri­ence or to be pret­ty hot stuff in the machis­mo depart­ment (or both) – but a school­mas­ter or a har­bour­mas­ter is just some­one with a respon­si­ble posi­tion in a har­bour or a school. I very strong­ly sus­pect that the same’s true of Braumeis­ter – it just means ‘per­son occu­py­ing respon­si­ble posi­tion in a brew­ery’, or in Eng­lish ‘head brew­er’. If head (or sole) brew­ers in the States are using ‘brew­mas­ter’ to imply some­thing above and beyond that, more fool them.

    1. Phil, the (very small) entrance is cov­ered in scaf­fold­ing and it’s down­stairs, per­haps that’s how you missed it. Right next to Sub­way (and obvi­ous­ly a much bet­ter, small­er, ‘chain’). Used to be a Chi­nese restau­rant.

      Was quite impressed with a brief lunchtime vis­it in Thurs­day, peo­ple were def­i­nite­ly find­ing it was quite crowd­ed by 1pm. My wife even liked the okra fries (she hates okra) so they must be doing some­thing right.

      Not much in the way of dark beer (one that can recall) and the keg beer as usu­al not exact­ly cheap ( the 2 cask from mar­ble were rea­son­able)

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