Blogging and writing

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: