News, Nuggets & Longreads 03 February 2018: Cole, CAMRA, Carlsberg

A corner of the Hillgrove Porter Stores pub, Bristol.

Here’s everything in writing about beer and pubs that grabbed our attention in the past week, from anger management to keg konfrontations.

The debate about sex­ism in beer has been a con­stant back­ground noise as long as we’ve been blog­ging but seems to be reach­ing a head right now, in var­i­ous pos­i­tive ways. For exam­ple, at Good Beer Hunt­ingMelis­sa Cole has writ­ten a long piece express­ing what we sus­pect a lot of peo­ple have been think­ing: pas­sion­ate anger and ‘call­ing out’ over sex­ist beer brand­ing clangers is under­stand­able, and often feels like one of the few effec­tive ways to dri­ve change, but is it the best way in every case, and is it sus­tain­able?

All I’m actu­al­ly say­ing here is that per­haps we need to stop and think about what led these men, and some­times women, to not being able to see how this art­work is unac­cept­able. Are these instances a chance to move the con­ver­sa­tion on from mere­ly call­ing out, and call­ing names, to a more gen­uine dis­course about why sex­ist brand­ing is dam­ag­ing on so many lev­els? I hope so.… If we can encour­age more empa­thy out­side of priv­i­lege bub­bles, encour­age thought beyond what makes you laugh, seek­ing advice from groups that might be affect­ed by your actions, if we can get acknowl­edge­ment that just our own life expe­ri­ences are not the be all and end all, then that would be a huge start.

By way of a chas­er, check out this piece by Alice at Alice Likes Beer report­ing on a spe­cif­ic, awk­ward instance of weird behav­iour occur­ring where else but in the crowd at a dis­cus­sion about sex­ism at a beer fes­ti­val.


Close-up of the CAMRA logo from the 1984 Good Beer Guide.

The Cam­paign for Real Ale’s Revi­tal­i­sa­tion project is also reach­ing a head and as the pro­pos­als are laid out and the big vote approach­es (mem­bers can vote at the AGM, or by proxy) the pros and cons are being explored. Here’s a list of opin­ion pieces which might help you make up your mind, or alter­na­tive­ly give you ammo to back up what you already believe.

Paul Bai­ley (no rela­tion) at Bai­ley’s Beer Blog – “ I have mixed feel­ings.… not because I feel they are wrong as such, but more so because I feel they may fun­da­men­tal­ly change the nature of CAMRA – an organ­i­sa­tion I have been a mem­ber of for over 40 years.”

Pete BrownMorn­ing Adver­tis­er – “CAMRA’s stat­ed aim to move from argu­ing over dis­pense to pri­ori­tis­ing beer qual­i­ty more broad­ly is pre­cise­ly the thing that cask ale needs des­per­ate­ly to sur­vive.”

Roger ProtzProtz on Beer – “The threats to good beer come not from the likes of Beaver­town or Cloud­wa­ter but from fac­to­ry beers brewed by glob­al giants con­cerned with prof­its, not qual­i­ty.”

The Pub Cur­mud­geon – “‘Real ale’, for bet­ter or worse, is some­thing that has an objec­tive def­i­n­i­tion. ‘Qual­i­ty beer’ doesn’t, and can mean what­ev­er you choose it to mean.”

Dave SBrew­ing in a Bed­sit­ter – “[A] lot of it seems to be sen­si­ble, prag­mat­ic stuff.… [But] talk of ‘pin­na­cles’ and ‘supe­ri­or­i­ty’ is, essen­tial­ly, bol­locks, and exem­pli­fies the prob­lem that a lot of peo­ple have with CAMRA.”

The Crown Tavern, Burnt Ash Hill.

The author of the Run­ning Past local his­to­ry blog has turned their atten­tion to a set of Vic­to­ri­an pubs in South East Lon­don with some­thing in com­mon: they are all the work of the same devel­op­er-builder-archi­tect, John Pound.

Pound was born in Black­heath in 1827. He was the son of pub­li­cans, Thomas and Sarah, who ran the Three Tuns pub (now O’Neill’s), above, in Tran­quil Vale in Black­heath from 1824.… He mar­ried into the pub trade – his wife, Rose, was daugh­ter of Car­o­line Mor­ton who ran the (Old) Tiger’s Head at Lee Green.… for over two decades in the mid 19th cen­tu­ry.…


Keg fonts in a London pub, 2015.

Via James Bee­son at the Morn­ing Adver­tis­er comes news of a front line tus­sle between Brew­Dog and Carlsberg/Heineken:

On 24 Jan­u­ary.… [a York pub] which declined to be named, received a let­ter from Ser­viced Dis­pense Equip­ment (SDE), a joint ven­ture between by Heineken UK and Carls­berg UK, inform­ing them that BrewDog’s use of the beer dis­pense equip­ment in its venue had not been paid for or autho­rised by SDE. In the let­ter, seen by The Morn­ing Adver­tis­er ​(MA​), the pub was told that because Brew­Dog has refused to pur­chase the lease pay­ments incurred by the use of SDE equip­ment to serve its beers, the com­pa­ny has ‘no oth­er option’ but to dis­con­nect all Brew­Dog prod­ucts being served in the venue.

We can per­haps expect to see more of this kind of thing as com­pe­ti­tion for the craft beer slot on the keg sec­tion in main­stream pubs heats up. In the mean­time, it’s a use­ful reminder that there are often com­pli­cat­ed, rather bor­ing rea­sons for what pubs sell, and what they don’t.


A sign-o-the-times foot­note, and the first time we’ve ever linked to Hel­lo mag­a­zine: film direc­tor Guy Ritchie has set up a brew­ery on the coun­try estate he got as part of his divorce set­tle­ment with Madon­na. When we saw the head­line we assumed he’d be lend­ing his name to some­one else but, no, the 20-bar­rel Gritchie brew­ery (awful name) is actu­al­ly in an old barn on his land.


We’re going to fin­ish with this Tweet thread from Stephen Beau­mont which has con­vinced us to give this beer anoth­er chance:

2 thoughts on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 03 February 2018: Cole, CAMRA, Carlsberg”

  1. House­keep­ing note – you’ve got two (actu­al­ly three) links to Pete Brown and none to Paul Bai­ley.

    1. Thanks, Phil. There’s so much copy­ing and past­ing of links that goes into these posts, often before we’ve had any tea/coffee, that mis­takes slip through annoy­ing­ly often.

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