News, Nuggets & Longreads 17 February 2018: Koduõlu, Tmavé Pivo, Buck’s Fizz

Here’s everything that grabbed us in the world of beer and pubs in the past week, from inclusion to IKEA.

Before we start, though, here’s a reminder that oth­er links round-ups are avail­able: Stan Hierony­mus posts every Mon­day (lat­est) and Alan McLeod has nabbed Thurs­day. Do take a look if our list below leaves you hun­gry for more.

Illustration: "Odd One Out".

First up, for Gal-Dem mag­a­zine Alexan­dra Sewell (@wehavelalex) has writ­ten about her expe­ri­ence of the British beer scene as a black woman, and explored the pos­si­ble rea­sons more black women might not be involved:

Alco­hol was nev­er a fea­ture in our fam­i­ly house­hold. My British-born Jamaican mum nev­er kept low­ly bot­tles of brandy hid­den in the kitchen cup­boards and we weren’t accus­tomed to any­thing more than a non-alco­holic “Buck’s Fizz” at Christ­mas time. As a small kid, Sun­days were for church. As a big­ger kid, I was too pre­oc­cu­pied with school. And as far as I was con­cerned, alco­hol was some­thing that was out of sight, and there­fore entire­ly out of mind. I knew of it; I knew oth­er peo­ple that liked it and drank it, but the only edu­ca­tion I had about such a big part of the cul­ture I was born into was from those bor­der­line hilar­i­ous Chan­nel 4 doc­u­men­taries about peo­ple binge-drink­ing and puk­ing up onto the street.


A glass of milky farmhouse ale.

Lars Mar­ius Garshol con­tin­ues to explore the strange galaxy of farm­house ales on the out­er rim of Europe, this time land­ing in Esto­nia:

Koduõlu is one of the few farm­house styles that you can actu­al­ly buy right now, thanks to the com­mer­cial brew­ery Piht­la Õlleköök, in the vil­lage of Piht­la on Saare­maa island.… What sur­prised me was that it nev­er seemed to be the same beer twice. That is, you can rec­og­nize the beer when you taste it, but major com­po­nents of the flavour seem to be dif­fer­ent each time. Which is per­haps the way it should be for a true farm­house ale.… As for the beer itself, the head is white, and the body is always a milky opaque yel­low. This is typ­i­cal of raw ale, because all the pro­tein is still in the beer.


U Fleku sign, 2008.

Also on the sub­ject of niche beer styles here’s Evan Rail writ­ing for Vine­Pair about Czech dark lager:

For those of us who love Czech pub cul­ture, tmavé pivo has long been some­thing of a local secret. The style wasn’t even list­ed in the guide­lines of the Beer Judge Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Pro­gram, a set of style descrip­tions for home­brew­ers and pro brew­ers alike, until a revi­sion in 2014.… When I stop by U Supa to ask [Ivan] Chramosil for a basic tmavé pivo recipe, he spells out the answer like it should be obvi­ous: about 50 per­cent Pil­sner malt, between 30 and 40 per­cent Munich malt, up to 15 per­cent of a caramel malt like Cara­Mu­nich, and at most 5 per­cent of a very dark malt like Weyermann’s Carafa II Spe­cial.


Detail from the cover of 'Sussex Pubs', Batsford books.

At Look at Brew one of our favourite blog­gers, Rach Smith, has drawn some con­clu­sions after sev­er­al years of reflec­tion on the state of beer in her native Sus­sex:

These posts have been slow and steady, I’ve sat back some­what in a bid to see just what’s going on, but the pace hasn’t slowed, in fact the scene has just about explod­ed and it’s been hard to keep up with it at times.… The coun­ty has lost some pubs and brew­eries too. In fact, the high­lights of bot­tled and cask beers that appeared at the start of this series now con­tain redun­dant info. Naked Beer Co, Turn­ers, Hast­ings and King Beer are no longer with us.


Illustration: beer bottles.

This piece about the var­i­ous sizes of beer can and bot­tle by Phil Edwards at Oh Good Ale has almost the qual­i­ty of poet­ry but it also mak­ing a point which we think we under­stand…

440 ml cans, I mean we’ve all seen those, we know about those, but for me it comes back to the same thing, the same ques­tion: have you seen some of the stuff they’re putting in them these days? Have you seen how strong it is? Ten per cent! Twelve per cent! Twelve per cent alco­hol in a 440 ml can – I tell you, you’re not going to pile into a few of those on the train, are you? That’s like a pint at nine per cent – all in a nice handy can! Putting all that booze in a can, it’s ridicu­lous. Why would you want that? Point­less.


Otley brewery publicity photo.

A bit of brew­ery clo­sure news: Welsh brew­ery Otley, which got into trou­ble and changed hands back in 2016, has unex­pect­ed­ly shut its doors, pos­si­bly for the last time, accord­ing to Wales Online. It sounds like a strange sit­u­a­tion:

It was sold by its founder Nick Otley in Feb­ru­ary 2017 to a firm he under­stood to be called All Beer Com­pa­ny Ltd.… How­ev­er, Com­pa­nies House records indi­cate no evi­dence of a com­pa­ny of that name. A firm called All Beer Ltd was dis­solved in Jan­u­ary 2016, and was based in Sheffield.… In the months fol­low­ing the Otley sale, brew­ery staff said they received no con­tact from their new own­ers, and were nev­er intro­duced.

(Via @kmflett/@canIgetaP.)


Final­ly, there’s this sign of the times – a fake craft beer shop form­ing part of the shop dis­play at a branch of IKEA:

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3 thoughts on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 17 February 2018: Koduõlu, Tmavé Pivo, Buck’s Fizz”

  1. I’m sur­prised nobody has writ­ten much about Czech dark lager before. I’ve not been to Prague since the ear­ly 90s, but every place we went to then served at least one dark beer, and as men­tioned, that’s ALL U Fleku served – and it’s a real­ly inter­est­ing beer, too.
    Time to go back. 😉

  2. And I also meant to say some­thing about the loss of Otley. Very sad indeed, some excel­lent beers. Per­haps rather bizarrely, I first found their beers at a small agri­cul­tur­al show in the Black Moun­tains. Since then, I’ve made a point of drink­ing their beers when­ev­er pos­si­ble. Ter­ri­ble shame.

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