News, Nuggets & Longreads 16 December 2017: Portman, Golden Pints, Pretzel Pieces

The Moor Brewing tap room in Bristol.

Here’s everything that’s grabbed our attention in the world of beer and pubs in the last seven days, from Tiny Rebel’s labelling woes to pairing beer with chocolate.

(Note: because we’re on the road we put this togeth­er on Thurs­day so any excit­ing devel­op­ments from Fri­day might be miss­ing, depend­ing on whether we could be both­ered to fid­dle with edit­ing the post on a phone screen.)

First, undoubt­ed­ly the biggest sto­ry of the week was the Port­man Group’s rul­ing against Tiny Rebel over the design of the Cwtch can. This has gen­er­at­ed com­men­tary to rein­force each and every set of prej­u­dices:

The most essen­tial items of read­ing, though, are the Port­man Group’s own report on the deci­sion, and Tiny Rebel’s response which comes with (per­haps ques­tion­able) fig­ures for the final cost of the exer­cise.


Here’s one we added from a smart­phone sit­ting in a pub on Fri­day: Emma Inch asks if we might apply a ver­sion of the Bechdel test to beer. We don’t do much Women in Beer stuff these days, even though one of us is, of course, a Woman in Beer, so this very much res­onates.


Detail from the cover of the menu.

We always enjoy dis­sec­tions of arte­facts from recent beer his­to­ry which is why this piece  by Josh Noel about an ear­ly-to-mid-1990s menu from Goose Island’s orig­i­nal Chica­go brew­pub caught our eye. He dis­cov­ered it while research­ing his upcom­ing book about Goose Island, an extract from which is quot­ed in this post, and it tells us a lot about where Amer­i­can beer was at just 25 years ago:

The menu fea­tures three core year-round beers: Gold­en Goose Pil­sner, which had been a brew­pub main­stay since open­ing in 1988; Honker’s Ale, the only 1988 orig­i­nal that has endured through­out Goose Island’s 30-year his­to­ry (though the fad­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty of the easy drink­ing, malt for­ward style leaves it at the periph­ery these days); and Tanzen Gans Kolsch, like­ly one of the ear­li­est exam­ples of the kolsch style made by an Amer­i­can craft brew­er… The Brewmaster’s Spe­cials includ­ed anoth­er 19 beers that rotat­ed sea­son­al­ly, includ­ing a hereto­fore rar­i­ty in Chica­go called IPA (“very strong, very bit­ter, very pale”).


Katie Wiles and Christine Cryne.

Hav­ing cor­re­spond­ed with her on and off for some years we final­ly met Chris­tine Cryne com­plete­ly coin­ci­den­tal­ly in our local pub ear­li­er in the year. Now Katie Wiles gives us a pro­file of one of the qui­et stars of British beer based on a lunchtime choco­late-and-beer pair­ing ses­sion at London’s Wen­lock Arms:

I’m eager to see what it’s like to drink beer with a Mas­ter Beer Train­er, so we decide to break open the Oddfellow’s Choco­late, a favourite for Christine’s pair­ings. “It’s best to pair choco­late with a beer that is over 4% ABV,” Chris­tine explains. “You want to make sure that the choco­late either ampli­fies the flavours or tones them down – you can try the same type of beer with two dif­fer­ent choco­lates and bring out com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent tastes.”


Illustration: blue Whitbread beer crate.

Con­cealed with­in this bit of PR fluff, an odd­i­ty: Black Sheep has brewed a Cos­ta cof­fee infused beer for hos­pi­tal­i­ty com­pa­ny Whit­bread. Whit­bread. Hos­pi­tal­i­ty com­pa­ny Whit­bread. Hos­pi­tal­i­ty. There is some­thing very sad about this sto­ry.

(Dis­clo­sure, we guess: Whit­bread allowed us to use archive images from their col­lec­tion in 20th Cen­tu­ry Pub.)


Illustration: a glowing pint of beer.

The first batch of Gold­en Pints posts are in. We won’t be shar­ing every one that pops up but this is by way of a reminder that this is still A Thing, in case you were in two minds about whether to both­er. Ours will be up some­time next week, we hope.


We’ll fin­ish with this work of art:

One thought on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 16 December 2017: Portman, Golden Pints, Pretzel Pieces”

  1. I have been think­ing about your “woman in beer” com­ment for a few weeks now and would have to admit I do not think of you as that as I think of you as a sin­gu­lar “you”; you are odd­ly androg­y­nous and speak­ing with a uni­fied voice to me. Which I think, in terms of voice, is one of your great suc­cess­es. Helps sup­port the tone of objec­tiv­i­ty.

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