Everything We Wrote in April 2018: Real Ale, Beer Gardens, Amsterdam

April was a relatively quiet month because we went on holiday for ten days in the middle of it, but we managed a few decent posts nonetheless.

If you got some­thing out of this lot, and the periph­er­al activ­i­ty on social media, then do con­sid­er sign­ing up for our Patre­on. We’d love to get to to 100 sign-ups by the end of this year. Or, fail­ing that, buy us a one-off pint – we’ve had a few of these already and it’s a love­ly boost when they land in the inbox.

Orbit beers in a row.

Any­way… The month start­ed with anoth­er entry in our series of tast­ing notes on beers sug­gest­ed by our Patre­on sub­scribers, focus­ing on beers from Siren as request­ed by Tim Thomas. Then, lat­er in the month, we tast­ed a bunch of beers from Orbit as cho­sen by Paul B. Final­ly, we worked our way through a whole bunch of beers from Ire­land at the prompt­ing of the Beer Nut:

Kin­negar Rust­buck­et, at 5.1%.… smelled won­der­ful, tak­ing us back to those days of a decade ago when Goose Island IPA was con­sid­ered Way Out There, all orange and pine. Red-brown in colour, it tast­ed like a well exe­cut­ed, tongue-coat­ing, jam­my IPA of the old school, and gave the impres­sion of being a much big­ger beer. It was per­fect­ly clean, nice­ly bit­ter, and just a touch pep­pery by way of a twist. What a breath of fresh air, and good val­ue, too. We’d drink more of this.

(Side note: we had a cou­ple of pri­vate mes­sages from brew­ers of the back of this run of posts, offer­ing fol­low-up infor­ma­tion on what might have been wrong with beers we had­n’t enjoyed, and updat­ing us on back­ground goings-on that should mean bet­ter beer in months to come.)


Long­form sub­tweet­ing at Mark John­son and Peter McK­er­ry in an effort to raise their spir­its (they spot­ted this was aimed at them imme­di­ate­ly) we came up with a list of rea­sons to be cheer­ful about beer. This was Stan Hierony­mus’s favourite:

10. Beer in gen­er­al con­tin­ues to be real­ly tasty, and get­ting tip­sy with friends and fam­i­ly is still great fun.

The yard at the Downend Tavern, Bristol.

For the 134th round of The Ses­sion we reflect­ed on beer gar­dens, com­par­ing our expe­ri­ences of the ide­al in Ger­many with the some­times grim real­i­ty of the UK. We raid­ed our pho­to archive, too, so it’s heav­i­ly illus­trat­ed with shots like the one above.

On a mild tan­gent we thought we ought to share some infor­ma­tion we came across about Britain’s first motels, pio­neered in part by mega-brew­er Wat­ney’s. There are some good com­ments on this one fol­low­ing up on the fate of some of the motel-pubs men­tioned in pass­ing and fill­ing in gaps in the sto­ry.

To cel­e­brate the news of our short­list­ing in the Fort­num & Mason Food and Drink Awards we shared a big chunk from 20th Cen­tu­ry Pub on the emer­gence of the gas­trop­ub in the 1990s. (There are some fur­ther reflec­tions from the front­line by the Pub Her­mit here and it cropped up in the com­ments on a post about the ori­gins of the term gas­trop­ub here.)

Over on Patre­on (flagged here on the blog) we unlocked the long arti­cle we wrote last year for CAM­RA’s BEER mag­a­zine about British beer enthu­si­asts who are obsessed with Bel­gium and its cul­ture.

To hold the fort while we were away on our hols we put togeth­er a round-up of our pre­vi­ous writ­ing on Guin­ness – a recur­ring obses­sion. (Link­ing a round-up from this round-up feels a bit daft but there you go.)

The post that got the most traf­fic this month by a loooooooong chalk was our brief reflec­tion on the results of the CAMRA AGM and the Revi­tal­i­sa­tion project. There are some inter­est­ing com­ments below the line and it got picked up by Tan­dle­man, Alan McLeod and Paul Bai­ley (no rela­tion).

Sign advertising real ale in London, 2007.

In the dis­cus­sion that fol­lowed the CAMRA vote we noticed some con­fu­sion and queries about the ter­mi­nol­o­gy in use in the dis­cus­sion around British beer. As we had lots of the research at hand we put togeth­er a quick glos­sary explain­ing the ori­gins of phras­es such as Real Ale and Bou­tique Beer. Then, at the request of read­ers, we added sev­er­al more entries for things like Microp­ub and KeyKeg. If it’s not big­head­ed so sug­gest it (it is) you might want to book­mark this one for future ref­er­ence.

Reflect­ing on our trip to Ams­ter­dam we pon­dered why drink­ing out there did­n’t feel like great val­ue, espe­cial­ly in close com­par­i­son to Brus­sels.

Yes­ter­day, we post­ed twice: first to plug a hash­tag on Twit­ter intend­ed to help novice beer blog­gers find each oth­er for mutu­al sup­port, and then to admit an embar­rass­ing mis­take in Glouces­ter where we sat in one booz­er think­ing it was anoth­er for more than an hour.

There were also the usu­al round-ups of news and links, except for one week we missed:

Over on the Patre­on feed for $2+ sub­scribers we post­ed…

We also post­ed plen­ty of pic­tures on Insta­gram and a ton of stuff on Twit­ter, like this rather sur­pris­ing­ly pop­u­lar pho­to of a back street Lon­don pub: