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.
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.
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?”
“A half? Northerners can’t drink halves!”
“That’s not true. You can drink whatever you want.”
“Nah. Can’t drink halves!”
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.”
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: