News, Nuggets & Longreads 11 November 2017: Morrison’s, Magic Lanterns, Mental Health

The Hollybush, a country pub, after dark.

Here’s all the news, opinion and pondering on pubs and beer that’s seized our attention in the last week, from old London pubs to Mishing rice beer.

First up, from Richard Cold­well at Beer Leeds, what we think counts as a scoop: a branch of the Morrison’s super­mar­ket near him has installed a cask ale line in its cafe. Super­mar­ket cafes are one down the rung from Wether­spoon pubs in terms of hip­ness but are, at the same time, extreme­ly pop­u­lar, offer­ing com­pet­i­tive­ly priced, unpre­ten­tious meals. Adding draught beer to the mix is an inter­est­ing if unex­pect­ed move. “I won­der how long it will take before a super­mar­ket café gets in the Good Beer Guide?” Richard asks.


Pub interior.
The Widow’s Son, Bow.

The always absorb­ing Spi­tal­fields Life has anoth­er huge gallery of archive pho­tographs of Lon­don pubs, this time sourced from a new­ly digi­tised col­lec­tion of glass slides once used to give ‘mag­ic lantern shows’ at the Bish­ops­gate Insti­tute.


The Hop Locker pop-up bar at Waterloo.

Emma at Crema’s Beer Odyssey has been work­ing behind bars in an effort to plug a nig­gling gap in her knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence. One result is a blog post which gives us 13 insights into the strange behav­iour of drinkers:

North­ern­ers can’t drink halves

Neck Oil please”
“Is that a pint or a half?”
*incred­u­lous splut­ter*
“A half? North­ern­ers can’t drink halves!”
“That’s not true. You can drink what­ev­er you want.”
“Nah. Can’t drink halves!”
“Ok.”


A rice beer container in a field.
An Apong rice wine con­tain­er. (By Ezralsim10 via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons.)

Jor­dan at Time­ly Tip­ple has been research­ing the rice beers of the Mish­ing peo­ple of the Assam region of North East India and pro­vides a fas­ci­nat­ing overview of his find­ings:

To brew, the Mish­ing pre­pare their yeast cakes called Apop pitha. To do so, any­where between 16 to 39 dif­fer­ent plants, herbs, and twigs are gath­ered and cleaned along a bam­boo mat. These can either be used imme­di­ate­ly after or sun dried for lat­er use.  Then, soaked rice and the gath­ered plants are ground sep­a­rate­ly, then com­bined with a bit of water to form a dough. This dough is then shaped into ovule-like balls of about 3 cm x 6 cm and are then dried under the sun.


From Luke Robert­son at Good Beer Hunt­ing comes a long piece on men­tal health in the beer indus­try – a great exam­ple of the kind of hon­esty peo­ple say they want in beer writ­ing, with mul­ti­ple peo­ple telling tales of envy, despair and exhaus­tion, trig­gered not least by the require­ment to stay per­ma­nent­ly upbeat for social media:

I’ve had a few break­downs recent­ly because I just feel worth­less,” [Jessie] says. “I feel like noth­ing I do is good enough. Some­times I have these moments where I think everyone’s fake and no one real­ly likes me, and it’s hard. I love this. I love what I do, no mat­ter what, and I’m thank­ful I have that deter­mi­na­tion, but it sucks some­times.”


Big brew­ery takeover news: Trou du dia­ble of Que­bec, Cana­da, has been tak­en over by Mol­son Coors. (Via @TheThirstyWench)


Brew­ing in unex­pect­ed places: Jesus Col­lege, Cam­bridge, is recruit­ing for an assis­tant brew­er to help run its ‘excit­ing new micro-brew­ery’.


Final­ly, via Twit­ter, a brew­ery that is in itself a work of art:

4 thoughts on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 11 November 2017: Morrison’s, Magic Lanterns, Mental Health”

  1. I went to Jesus Col­lege, Cam­bridge, time back way back. A cou­ple of years ago I spent the night there – alumni/ae can book rooms at hotel rates – and felt so at home it was unre­al. I felt far more at home than I had when I was there; if any­thing I felt more at home than I do when I’m at home.

    So that’s the job for me, if I didn’t have a life up here. Oh, and if I knew any­thing about brew­ing – they prob­a­bly aren’t look­ing for some­one who doesn’t know a wort hop­per from a mash shov­el. Ah well.

    1. Blimey – Pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence of super­vis­ing a busy bar is essen­tial, and they’re offer­ing £20K? In the south-east? Tight gets. I guess they’re hop­ing to recruit a recent grad­u­ate who’s been doing bar work for but­tons – even so, they won’t be keep­ing them for very long on that mon­ey.

  2. The Luke Robert­son arti­cle is very good. Being in a pres­sure job with law and grow­ing up in a house with my Dad in what con­sid­er a big­ger pres­sure of being a Protes­tant min­is­ter I always thought being in beer would be tougher. So when folk years ago would ask why I didn’t start a small brew­ery say­ing that I knew a lot about beer, even hav­ing set up aspects of the legal side for some, I was very clear that it would be too much. Warned a few friends off as well. I have great respect and sym­pa­thy for those who go into it even if I think the trade is a meat grinder in many respects.

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