Here’s everything that grabbed our attention in the past week in the world of beer and pubs, from beer festivals to Friday skiving.
From Roger Protz comes a reflection on the London Drinker beer festival which has been organised by north London Campaign for Real Ale activists annually since 1985, but which this year is sadly winding up:
It’s not because the festival lacks success. On the contrary, it’s one of CAMRA’s longest running and most successful events. But the Camden Centre is due to be knocked down and redeveloped and finding – and affording – a replacement venue is difficult if not impossible….
As interesting as the news itself, though, is Roger’s account of pioneering the very concept of tasting notes in the 1980s, and being jeered at for daring to suggest that there might be chocolate notes in a dark beer.
Phil at Oh Good Ale seems to have found an interesting voice lately — a sort of stream of consciousness that coalesces into commentary if you let it. This week he wrote with some panache about the passing culture of Friday lunchtime pints:
I knew we were on when I saw Tom going back for a pudding. Most days, we’d clock out at lunchtime, go to the canteen for something to eat – a hot meal served with plates and cutlery, none of your rubbish – and then it’d be down the Cestrian for a pint or two, or three…. On this particular Friday Tom went back to get some apple crumble and custard, which he ate with great relish and without any appearance of watching the time, heartily recommending it to the rest of us; a couple of people actually followed his lead. Then he looked at his watch with some ostentation and led the way out of the canteen…. It wasn’t a 15-minute weekday session or a standard 45-minute Friday session; that Friday, we were on.
New research published in Social Currents by Helana Darwin shows how the new culture of craft beer still leans on old assumptions about gender and social status…. Two interesting findings about what people do with these assumptions stand out. First, patrons admired women who drank masculine beer, but looked down on those who stuck to the feminine choices. Men, however, could have it both ways. Patrons described their choice to drink feminine beer as open-mindedness—the mark of a beer geek who could enjoy everything.
Some news from the SIBA AGM: plans by the organisation representing British microbreweries to open membership to larger independent breweries currently barred from joining were defeated in a vote on Thursday.
For the record: Last week, a couple of people commented to say that they were surprised there hadn’t been more talk of Northern Monk’s crowdfunding programme. We’ve written about crowdfunding in general but, yes, fair cop — because individual campaigns don’t especially interest us, we tend to forget to mention them here. So, for the record, in the last few weeks…
- Northern Monk launched a campaign to raise £500k, smashing their target within a few hours. Coverage: Good Beer Hunting | Morning Advertiser
- In the same week Left Handed Giant, based here in Bristol, asked for £450k and raised more than £500k in less than 24 hours. Coverage: Original Gravity | Crowdfund Insider
- And shortly afterwards London brewery Five Points announced a bid for £750k; so far, open to early bird insiders from 12 March and to the general public from 19 March (Monday). Coverage: Morning Advertiser | Hackney Gazette
If there’s anything to draw from all this it’s perhaps that outside the craft beer bubble breweries have strong local followings and generate huge amounts of goodwill. We’ve certainly been asked by non-beer-obsessed friends if they ought to invest in crowdfunding schemes run by their local breweries. So, yes, expect more of this kind of thing.
And also from the SIBA jamboree an instant (slightly depressing) read out on the mood in the room with regard to SIBA’s plans to regulate sexist packaging:
Feeling by the end was odd. That's the largest real life reaction I've heard in favour of leaving things as they are and as there's no problem. Applause was greatest, for the most part, when The Daily Mail, having a laugh and not bowing to 'minority pressure' were mention. #BeerX
— Steph Shuttleworth (@StephShutt) March 15, 2018
Can honestly say I'm disappointed. Debate was busy, but I'm surprised by some of the opinions of some in 2018. We have a long way to go on the road to equality in beer.
— Jaega Wise (@jaegawise) March 15, 2018
It’s so easy to think there’s more of a consensus than there is, isn’t it?
To finish, here’s a lovely nugget from the Bristol Dockers project — a minute long audio clip which makes clear that, oh yes, there was definitely scope down the docks.
This post was written on Friday morning and scheduled to post so if anything big happened and we didn’t manage to add it, we’ll Tweet it and include it in next week’s round-up.