News, Nuggets & Longreads 25 March 2017: Morse, Ma Pardoe, Mild

A West London pub interior with date overlaid.

Here’s all the writing on beer and pubs that’s stood out in the last seven days, from Inspector Morse to the provocative nature of lists on the Internet.

The crime nov­el­ist Col­in Dex­ter died this week which prompt­ed vet­er­an beer writer Roger Protz to dig out an inter­view he con­duct­ed with Dex­ter back in 1990, in an Oxford pub, nat­u­ral­ly. Although it first appeared in CAM­RA’s What’s Brew­ing news­pa­per, it isn’t pri­mar­i­ly about beer, but that’s a thread through­out:

When he was in hos­pi­tal a few years ago he dreamt he was win­ning a cross coun­try race but he was more con­cerned with get­ting a pint of beer after fin­ish­ing than being laud­ed as the win­ner. When he woke, slaver­ing for a drink, he saw the dread­ed mes­sage above his bed ‘Nil by mouth’.


Interior of the Old Swan.

The Wench at Black Coun­try Pub takes us on anoth­er jol­ly, this time to The Black Swan, AKA Ma Par­doe’s, where the local dialect is as thick as the doorstop sand­wich­es, and every detail has a sto­ry to tell:

You may think me a lit­tle strange, but one of my favourite things about Ma Par­does is the worn car­pet that leads you to the bar. Now it’s not one of them fan­cy Weath­er­spoons car­pets like those fea­tured in Kit Caless­es book and blog, how­ev­er I imag­ine the many Black Coun­try folk who’ve weari­ly trod that same path in search of fine ale, and the tales they have told.


Detail from a vintage ad for Tetley mild.

Ron Pat­tin­son has a recipe for a Tet­ley mild from 1946, with this inter­est­ing aside:

It’s typ­i­cal of a type of Mild brewed in York­shire, lying some­where between pale and dark. Weird­ly, all those years I drank it, I nev­er realised that it wasn’t real­ly that dark. More of a dark red than brown.


The Eagle Hotel.

Tan­dle­man has joined the wel­come trend of Epic Pub Quests (e.g. Cam­bridge, Bed­ford) with a mis­sion to vis­it all 30 Samuel Smith pubs in the catch­ment area for his local CAMRA branch. Only four sell real ale but this kind of endeav­our isn’t real­ly about the beer – it’s about going to and observ­ing places that might oth­er­wise get over­looked. The sec­ond report so far filed has pas­sages that would seem at home in a 20th Cen­tu­ry social real­ist nov­el:

The Irish woman walked over and warmed her arse on the roar­ing coal fire adja­cent to the card play­ers. She asked no-one in par­tic­u­lar if the clocks go back or for­ward this week­end.  There was some dis­pute about this, but it was final­ly agreed that the clocks go for­ward. The Old Irish­woman sniffed at this.‘Forward or back, you should­n’t inter­fere with the feck­ing clock,’ she announced, elic­it­ing no opin­ions either way.


A scared, angry mob.

For Good Beer Hunt­ing Bryan Roth shakes a weary head at peo­ple argu­ing online with a US Brew­ers’ Asso­ci­a­tion list of ‘The Top 50 Brew­eries’ by beer sales vol­ume – an act as futile as debat­ing the iTunes Top 10. Tying it into the buzz-phrase of the day, FAKE NEWS!, Roth says:

The back­lash was swift. Push­back came over social media as com­menters offered their hot takes while ignor­ing the fac­tu­al basis of the list—it was, as it has been for at least a decade, orga­nized by pro­duc­tion lev­els. Even still, these inter­net denizens repeat­ed­ly asked, as if they were debat­ing a lis­ti­cle on Red­dit, ‘how can you leave [My Favorite Brew­ery Name Here] off this list?’


Detail from Ansell's beer mat, 1970s: "Brewed in Birmingham".

News from Birm­ing­ham via Dave Hop­kins at The Mid­lands Beer Blog Col­lec­tive: The Birm­ing­ham Beer Bash is dead (or at least in sta­sis); long live the Birm­ing­ham Beer Bazaar! This replace­ment event has dif­fer­ent organ­is­ers and, we sus­pect, might prove con­tro­ver­sial – there’s already a bit of mut­ter­ing on social media. At any rate, we’ll be adding this to the reg­is­ter of good and bad news, along with…


…the announce­ment of Leices­ter’s new spe­cial­ist bot­tle shop, the awk­ward­ly-named Brewk­lo­pe­dia:

The idea for the shop came about after the own­ers of 23 Wine & Whisky on Gran­by Street decid­ed to intro­duce some local beers into their range… Man­ag­er of Brewk­lo­pe­dia, Kunal Kapa­dia, said: “We had a real­ly good response, so we start­ed intro­duc­ing more beer from around the globe… ‘Cus­tomers quite liked the idea of hav­ing a sep­a­rate shop in the city cen­tre, so we decid­ed to take the risk and jump right in.’

(Report­ed by Hay­ley Wat­son for a local news web­site ren­dered bare­ly read­able by intru­sive ads – sor­ry.)


Final­ly, here’s a some sooth­say­ing from one of the authors of the World Atlas of Beer which, we sus­pect, has the weight of inside info behind it:

8 thoughts on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 25 March 2017: Morse, Ma Pardoe, Mild”

  1. So sad for Mr Roth that some have opin­ions not in agree­ment with him. The util­i­ty of any set of data as a basis for any con­clu­sion is always a valid ques­tion. But, as he sug­gests, every­one seems to be an expert these days.

  2. On Heineken – they’ve already got a $400m deal for Punch pubs, and a $700m deal for Kirin Brazil under their belts this year, and every­one’s kin­da expect­ing a big deal as a response to Inbev/SAB.

  3. He devised the Ximenes cross­words for the Observ­er for many years” says Protz of Dex­ter, which is either a typo or a howler.

        1. Oh, right. The error’s also in the orig­i­nal 1990 arti­cle which Roger is repro­duc­ing. Easy mis­take to make if you’re not a cross­word nut, I guess.

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