Everything We Wrote in August 2017: Lager Louts, Vapeman, Backstreet Boozers

August 2017 -- psychedelic poster design

That was a pretty decent month with lots of new stuff covering all the angles from history to tasting notes via the usual navel-gazing.

We missed a few days here and there because, e.g., we were in Lon­don for GBBF, but even then we kept up a flow of Twit­ter, Face­book and Insta­gram posts.

If you think this lot, along with quite a few Patre­on exclu­sive blog posts, is worth a cou­ple of quid a month do con­sid­er sub­scrib­ing.

ILLUSTRATION: "Kill the Bill".

The big event was our #beery­lon­greads piece on the lager lout phe­nom­e­non – some­thing we’d been mean­ing to put togeth­er for ages and which made us realise how lit­tle we knew. This will be the basis of a chap­ter if we ever get to write that big book about lager in Britain that’s on the pos­si­ble projects list.

Sketch of two people at a pub bar.
Kaffe Fas­sett 1966 illus­tra­tions were reused in 1971 but this is one of the addi­tion­al pic­tures con­tributed by Vici Williams.

Hav­ing said that, we actu­al­ly start­ed the month by pick­ing apart a guide­book to Lon­don from 1971, pulling out all the juicy nuggets relat­ing to pubs and beer:

The search for a good pub is now no longer based on atmos­phere, but on the qual­i­ty of its beer. This is quite sen­si­ble, for the pubs with the best atmos­phere are those where knowl­edge­able drinkers drink. Atmos­phere was always a doubt­ful cri­te­ri­on, since its qual­i­ty can only be appre­ci­at­ed in time, and those pubs with one obtru­sive enough to be not­ed at once tend to super­fi­cial or pre­ten­tious. What good drinker any­way cares for the sur­round­ings that mist before him as he savours the tang of a well-kept beer?

Auguste Escoffier in pop art colours.

We came across the ‘rules’ of Nou­velle Cui­sine, the culi­nary move­ment that swept France and then the world in the 1970s and 80s, and won­dered if they reflect­ed sim­i­lar think­ing in the world of beer at the same time, dur­ing the micro-brew­ing rev­o­lu­tion.

Detail from a mock advertisement by Nick Tolson.

We announced that our new book exists as a phys­i­cal object. Received wis­dom in mar­ket­ing says that you hold every­thing back and then launch with a BANG on one day so, of course, we’ve been trick­ling bits of info about it for months until every­one is fed up.

Some reviews are now in (Pub Cur­mud­geon, Roger Protz, Tim Thomas at West Berks CAMRA (PDF)) if you need more info before you com­mit to buy­ing a copy.

In a post enti­tled ‘Break­ing out of the Rut’ we issued a bit of a call to action: don’t keep going to the same pubs, drink­ing the same beers – try some­thing new and see what hap­pens.

Bai­ley final­ly tracked down a pub in Green­wich, South Lon­don, that he last vis­it­ed more than a decade ago and got warm fuzzy feel­ings from the expe­ri­ence, and the beer.

The cover of the Beer Map of Great Britain, 1970s.

We expressed some frus­tra­tion at the dif­fi­cul­ty of actu­al­ly buy­ing some beers that seem to exist only on social media. Where can we actu­al­ly buy your beer?

There were some inter­est­ing respons­es to this, includ­ing from one brew­er by pri­vate mes­sage from (edit­ed for anonymi­ty):

I used to check in to every pub I deliv­ered to telling fol­low­ers what I was deliv­er­ing. I stopped because I found out some com­peti­tors were going in after me and under­cut­ting me.

The Wellington: close until further notiice.

Pon­der­ing pubs again, prompt­ed by a Twit­ter dis­cus­sion, we won­dered whether it might be a par­tic­u­lar type of pub that is under threat – the back­street booz­er.

There were a cou­ple of Pub Life posts – a thing we’ve been doing for ages but only just realised is a kind of ongo­ing series. First, an account of a low-lev­el con-man, and then of a vape-fuelled game of Cards Against Human­i­ty that took a dark turn.

(We’ve done a few of these on Patre­on, too, one of which we made pub­lic the oth­er day if you fan­cy tak­ing a look.)

We also had a new instal­ment in anoth­er ongo­ing series, name­ly Ques­tions & Answers. This time, it was a query about eti­quette:

What’s the eti­quette when you know more about beer than bar staff? They’re prob­a­bly pas­sion­ate about beer, about craft. Maybe they’re younger and hip­per than you. Some­times they think that because they behind a bar they’re experts on beer, but drop clangers like telling you that Ekuan­ot is a brand new exper­i­men­tal hop rather than a rename of Equinox. What do you do? How do you com­mu­ni­cate that they’re wrong about some­thing with­out being boor­ish?”

In 100 words we reflect­ed on the dif­fer­ence between murky beer and mud­dy beer. Mud, for us, is a step too far.

We kicked off a new round of Mag­i­cal Mys­tery Pour with a review of Long Man Best Bit­ter, a per­fect­ly decent, er, best bit­ter.

And final­ly we end­ed the month with a bit of a coup: tast­ing notes on a 47-year-old beer that Bai­ley bought for £1.50 at a car boot sale in Som­er­set. (Spoil­er: it was great.)