Here’s everything that grabbed our attention in the world of beer and pubs in the past week, from interviews to historical ponderings, via a pub crawl in Stafford.
A bit of news to begin: Robinson’s of Stockport has decided to change the branding of its successful golden ale Dizzy Blonde after publicly resisting the idea earlier this year:
Dizzy Blonde has been the focal point of the sexism debate in the beer industry. Despite the fact that Dizzy Blonde is a much-loved brand by many, we don’t have our heads in the sand. It is time to acknowledge that the presentation is not universally accepted by a society that strives for, and celebrates, equality.
In an interview for the Morning Advertiser by James Beeson influential American brewer Shaun Hill of Hill Farmstead has spoken about mental health and attitudes to alcohol in the world of craft beer:
“I was doing 12 to 14-hour days and because I live 15ft away from the brewery, there was very little decompression. I would typically drink too much in order to artificially decompress, and then I wouldn’t sleep well. Then when I woke up I would still be tired, so then I would drink as much caffeine as I could, which would then accelerate an overall sense of anxiety. It was a vicious circle.”
(Footnote: Mr Hill has since complained about this story, apparently surprised that Mr Beeson identified the most interesting parts of a broader conversation and shaped it into a narrative. Which is, of course, what proper journalists do.)
It’s #BeeryLongreads2018 day, in case you’d forgotten, and Lisa Grimm got in early with this reflection on changing attitudes to craft beer in the US, manufactured scarcity, and the popularity of ‘sours’ vs IPAs:
While 10 years ago it would not have been remarkable to see people lining up to buy Goose Island’s Bourbon County Breakfast Stout, it’s now something that sits on supermarket shelves. Some of this is, one presumes, in response to In-Bev’s purchase of Goose Island; one wouldn’t want to be seen drinking a Secret Macrobeer, because Craft Beer Is Part Of Your Identity. And shifting tastes are no doubt at play to some extent as well, but I suspect two other factors are also in play: novelty and availability. When it was hard to find, either because of true logistical constraints or by design, it was Important and Special. Now…not so much.
Here’s an interesting question from Alan McLeod, illustrated with some lovely extracts from the archives: if Belgium only came into being as a nation in 1830, how soon after did the idea of Belgian beer emerge? Certainly by 1858:
Since Noah left the ark and the sons of Noah raised up new cities, each new-formed nation has found some new stimulant; but not one among the list of findings is at once so wholesome, cheap, and harmless as Belgian beer, and I look upon its introduction into the United States as an important reformatory movement.
Kirst Walker visited Stafford for a pub crawl and the report is fun not only because it is peppered with her trademark wit but also because it brilliantly conveys the inevitable increasing tipsiness of such an expedition:
By this point, having not adhered strictly to the pub crawl recommended measure of a half pint, we were seeking sustenance, and so scurried to the Sun, a Titanic pub. Surely I had a plum porter in here, surely! Untappd says no, but I feel in my bones I did. The Sun sells giant burgers which are nigh on impossible to eat demurely – and mine came with chips and an egg. Whether I specially requested this egg I don’t recall, but it was very welcome.
We like it when Phil at Oh Good Ale goes all stream-of-consciousness. This week he gave us a glimpse at the difficulties of leaving a Wetherspoon pub with porter at £1.79 a pint:
That porter… it’s good. No, I mean it, it’s fine. I mean there’s nothing wrong with it. Seriously, just as the beer that it is, you know… It’s an enjoyable beer, if you don’t think about…
You just feel a bit cheap after a while, that’s the thing. Or, maybe not cheap exactly, but a bit… off. A bit, kind of, is this what I’ve come to. Is this the kind of person I am?
Fag ash on the table, and everything. And the porter, I mean, it’s good, but…
We’re delighted that someone has finally taken the hint and had a go at the ‘100 Words’ format, namely Dave S, who uses it to make a point about yeast: “Everything else is additive, linear and predictable… but yeast is transformative.”
Finally, here’s a bit of news which comes with two photographs that might excited brewers keen to clone Fuller’s ESB: