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’.
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.
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.
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.
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?’
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: