News, Nuggets & Longreads 16 June 2018: Football, Motorbikes, Public Toilets

Here’s everything about beer and pubs that grabbed our attention in the past week, from Russia to New York City.

This is a local story for us: for Bristol Cable Maff Tucker writes about The Banjo, as the council estate at Cadbury Heath in east Bristol is affectionately known, and the pub around which life there is centred:

There’s a wall of pictures in the Lamb that remembers the regulars that have passed away. Les points at a framed bikers jacket: “Jamie England, he was abandoned when he was a kid, his nan took him in and brought him up, along with me and my brothers and sisters because our dad worked days and our mum worked nights.”


Plastic footballs.

At Lady Sinks the Booze Kirst Walker offers advice for discerning beer drinkers on how to go about watching the World Cup, which is now underway:

30 minutes before kick-off – get two drinks

At 38 minutes, get two drinks (studies** have shown that most people will attempt to avoid the half time rush at 40 minutes, by which time you’re already at the bar like a genius).

If you need a further drink before 90 minutes, or if there may be significant extra time because Gary Cahill has straight up murdered someone, the time to go is on 67 minutes when statistically a goal is unlikely to be scored.

Related: this seems like a good time to remind everyone of the existence of the craft beer and football map at Beer Frontiers which lists pubs with interesting beer that also have TVs. It’s also worth noting that some chains (BrewDog, Craft Beer Co) that don’t normally show football are making an exception for the World Cup.


Text illustration: "FRAGILE FINICKY POLARISING".

Here’s a provocative suggestion from George Rivers at Beer Strength Matters: drink-fresh hazy NEIPAs are the true American equivalent of British cask ale. We think that’s what he’s suggesting, anyway:

After decades of worshipping at the altar of the hand pump, American drinkers now have their own counterpart that is just as fragile, finicky, and polarizing as cask-conditioned ale…. Getting one’s hands on the Holy Grail of contemporary beer can be almost as cumbersome and costly as jetting across the pond for a pint of Fuller’s London Pride. First, you’ll need some sort of online equivalent of CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide to direct you to the right location. Once there, you may have to stand in line—sometimes for hours—then pay an exorbitant fee for a limited quantity of prized elixir. With the clock now ticking, you have less than two weeks to consume all the 16-ounce cans you can cram into your trunk or suitcase before your investment turns into drain-pour. Not since the heyday of English mild in the mid-20th century has the window of freshness been narrower or more tyrannical.


Katie Taylor at The Snap & The Hiss gives a beer- and pub-centric account of her time on the Isle of Man for the TT races:

The Railway Inn sits on the elbow of Union Mills, the first right-handed bend before a swift S on a busy 30mph road just before the local Methodist church and the old post office. Usually steady with traffic moving to-and-from Peel, today nobody’s on it. We’re not even allowed to step on the pavement. The sun has strengthened to a midday sizzle in a stonewashed denim sky. Red and white crash barriers, hot to the touch, stand between us, Victorian stone walls and the road. A set of yellow crowd control bars have been shifted to block off a connecting minor junction, to state in full-colour that we are not to leave our temporary island, and that we should stay here, where it’s safe, where we can be out of the way, and where we’re in close proximity to good beer, clean toilets and burgers with fried onions. We tune in our radios to the local station as heat shimmers over the tarmac and we listen for the first chupa-chupa-chupa of the press helicopter, announcing the advance of today’s heroes.


Three people posing by a half-built bar.

For Undefeated Maya M. Jones profiles Harlem Hops, a new bar in New York City owned and operated exclusively by African-Americans:

The vision of Harlem Hops began for [Kim] Harris, a graduate of Clark Atlanta University, nearly five years ago. Born and raised in Harlem, Harris appreciated her neighborhood, but good beer was hard to find. Her quests to drink beer she enjoyed included traveling to Brooklyn to get it.

(Via @BeerWithDooch.)


Bert and Harry Piel.

Still in New York, for Craft Beer & Brewing John Holl looks into the resurrection of a famous brand, Piels, ownership of which recently came into the hands of people with a family connection:

[It] was a bit of a surprise to see Piels Lager behind the bar and on shelves throughout the New York metro area earlier this spring. Adding a pleasant layer to that surprise was that the beer actually tastes great. Long a staple of Brooklyn’s brewing heritage, going back to its founding by brothers Gottfried, Michael, and Wilhelm Piel in the 1880s, Piels grew into a regional powerhouse and by the 1950s, thanks to animated television and memorable radio ads, was a brand many called “their beer.” … [Pabst] shed the brand in 2015, and it was purchased by Shannon Degnan and his family… Degnan’s grandfather, Thomas P. Hawkes, was the last president of Piel Bros., so the current revival is personal.


The High Cross.

News of an interesting arrival on the scene comes via Jezza at Beer Guide London: The High Cross, Tottenham, is a pub occupying a former public toilet. (The bar staff will have heard all the jokes already; spare them!)


Want more reading? Check out Stan’s Monday links, and Alan’s Thursday round-up.

4 thoughts on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 16 June 2018: Football, Motorbikes, Public Toilets”

  1. There is (or was) a bar in central Manchester called the Temple of Convenience that occupied a former underground public toilet.

    Of course it’s quite easy for BrewDog to show the World Cup as, unlike the Premier League, it’s on free-to-air telly. I think at least some Spoons make an exception too.

  2. I thought the NEIPA piece was rather poking fun at the whole “freshness” thing in an “Emperor’s New Clothes” way. NEIPA fans as the American equivalent of the Real Ale Twats? And, in the manner of Davey Jones with the RAT’s, recognising a bit of it in himself.

    A propos shelf-lives: I think that some beers up here in Scotland have been coming out with ever further BBE dates. I noticed Williams Bros beers, which presumably pretty much rolled off the bottling line onto the shelves of Lidl, with BBEs eighteen months ahead. Other breweries were fifteen to sixteen months ahead. (I particularly checked after reading in another blog of someone’s shop being shipped Camden beers with only six weeks left.)

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