News, Nuggets & Longreads 05 August 2017: Anchor, ‘Arf Pints, Amsterdam

Courtenay's micropub, Tiverton, Devon.

Here’s everything that grabbed our attention in the past week, from a very significant big brewery takeover to a bunch of priests on the lash.

The big news this week – real­ly big news – was the takeover of San Fran­cis­co’s Anchor Brew­ing by Sap­poro of Japan. Depend­ing how you look at it, Anchor has a claim to being patient zero in the craft beer boom of the past half-cen­tu­ry, and so this does go a bit beyond just anoth­er takeover. There’s been lots of analy­sis but our favourite piece is by a local writer, Esther Mob­ley, for the San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle:

In San Fran­cis­co, the emo­tion­al stakes are espe­cial­ly high when it comes to Anchor. Not only is it our brew­ery — our first, our sig­na­ture — but it’s America’s orig­i­nal craft beer. It’s an icon of inde­pen­dence, and has seemed, at least we thought, large and estab­lished enough to be insu­lat­ed from the pres­sures that have forced oth­ers to sell.


In De Wildeman

For Left Lion Bene­dict Coop­er has writ­ten a won­der­ful account of his pil­grim­age from an Eng­lish pub to its twin in Con­ti­nen­tal Europe:

I’ve been in the Poach­er I pre­fer not to recall how many times, but I’d nev­er noticed the brass plaque on one of the walls until one slow, win­ter evening this year. Sit­ting at the long table, I found myself read­ing:

The Lin­colnshire Poach­er
Not­ting­ham, Eng­land
Twinned with
In De Wilde­man
Ams­ter­dam, Nether­lands

It feels as if more pubs ought to be twinned – does any­one know of oth­ers?


Illustration: government stamp on a British pint glass.

Alec Lath­am has been pon­der­ing again: why is it, he asks, that a half-pint glass full of beer feels like much less than half a pint of beer?

[A] pint goes down in gra­da­tions as you nurse it and watch the lev­el of oth­ers’ if you’re in com­pa­ny.

A half should stretch to fifty per cent of that time but seems like sev­er­al mouth­fuls. Half a pint – the real­i­ty – doesn’t last as long as half a pint – the notion. In oth­er words, a half isn’t as much as half of a pint. Do you fol­low?

Maybe that’s why it’s often pre­fixed with ‘swift’.


The Gaping Goose, Leeds.

Richard Cold­well revis­it­ed a once favourite pub only to be dis­mayed at the changes it had under­gone, prompt­ing some reflec­tion on how frag­ile the unique iden­ti­ties of pubs, beers and neigh­bour­hoods can be:

There’s plen­ty oth­er pubs who laid claim to have sold the best Tetley’s in Leeds. In fact depend­ing on who you talk to, every­one will have their own idea, but that’s life for you. If you’ve nev­er expe­ri­enced Joshua Tetley’s Bit­ter, the real mccoy, then you’ve nev­er lived. A smooth, creamy pint of beer that cre­at­ed a plim­soll type gauge down the glass denot­ing the length of each slurp. The creami­ness was cre­at­ed by the auto­vac sys­tem that recir­cu­lat­ed the beer back into the beer engine as it over­flowed from the glass into the trough like drip tray. I’ve read a lot about people’s thoughts on auto­vacs, most­ly from the kind of folk with that mod­ern OCD based, you’ve just touched some­one wash your hands, wash them again, turn round three times to the left, jump to the right and you won’t catch any germs kind of atti­tude; recy­cled beer nev­er did me any harm.


This is a clas­sic sil­ly sea­son sto­ry but irre­sistible nonethe­less, not least because of the pure Father Ted-ness of it all: a Cardiff pub this week attempt­ed to eject a par­ty of priests hav­ing mis­tak­en them for a cos­tume-wear­ing stag par­ty.


A cou­ple of oth­er bits of news, just for the record: the Craft Beer Co, which owns pubs across Lon­don and (a bit) beyond, has qui­et­ly closed its Clapham branch; and Pure­craft has closed its Not­ting­ham branch. Not evi­dence of a cri­sis, we don’t think, so much as prag­mat­ic busi­ness deci­sions. But, still.


And, final­ly, the cus­tom­ary pick of the Tweets to sign off:

2 thoughts on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 05 August 2017: Anchor, ‘Arf Pints, Amsterdam”

  1. I seem to remem­ber the White Star in Liv­er­pool city cen­tre being twinned with pubs in Nor­way and Czech Repub­lic

  2. Just caught up with the news of the Clapham Craft Beer Co clo­sure. Always busy on occa­sions I used it, and Clapham would seem on the sur­face just their sort of ter­ri­to­ry. Oh well, as a daugh­ter has just recent­ly moved out from Clapham guess would­n’t have been going down there so much any­way (he says, self­ish­ly).

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