June was hot and hectic, and yet somehow we managed 20 posts here and 13 over on the Patreon feed.
There was also the usual barrage of Tweets, bits and pieces on Instagram and Facebook, and 1000+ words of exclusive stuff in the newsletter. (We don’t normally make those publicly viewable but this one is, if you want to see the kind of thing we write about.)
The month began, as they so often do, with a contribution to the Session, this time on the subject of farmhouse brewing. The fun thing about the Session is how often we think we have nothing to say but start typing anyway and… Oh, there’s a thing.
You can read a round-up of all the entries at Brewing in a Bedsitter.
The first of this month’s Pub Life posts records a conversation between bar staff on important philosophical questions: are zebras black with white stripes, or white with black? (Do check out the hilariously (knowingly) literal comments on this post…)
Someone asked if we knew anything about ‘lanted ale’ — that is, beer pepped up with the addition of urine. Sounds disgusting, right? And maybe it would be if there was any evidence of it actually having ever happened.
The month’s big feature piece was our guide to drinking in Bristol which since posting we’ve been able to use to answer several queries on that subject by email. The feedback from Bristolians has so far been pretty positive — yes, everyone has their own preferences, and of course we omitted some people’s favourites, but we don’t seem to have utterly embarrassed ourselves.
Another slice of Pub Life: a man in a cat T-shirt connects with a woman eager to buy a kitten.
Oh, or maybe our Q&A with Davey Jones, creator of the Real Ale Twats strip for Viz, was the big feature? It was certainly our most-read piece this month and, gratifyingly, was shared fairly widely beyond the beer world:
I’ve always been a fan of the band Half Man Half Biscuit and they had done a song called ‘CAMRA Man’ which made me want to draw a strip along those lines. It’s got lyrics like “Weekend vintage car show, Dr Who aficionado” and so on…
We had a little debate over some unintentionally cloudy ale in a pub and wrote it up as an example of the odd things that pub managers and publicans do sometimes driven by targets and margins.
For ‘Beer Day Britain’ we put together a found poem based on searching the Tweets of people we follow for the phrase “British beer”:
The Great British Beer Hunt —
Jester, Ernest, Olicana and Godiva
On a rail replacement bus.
Beer and queuing —
A British thing in a British stadium,
A beer at the British Museum.
When news of the Beavertown-Heineken deal broke our Twitter mentions went mad. We didn’t have much to say but thought it worth making some sort of… Ugh… statement, maybe? It’s brief, anyway, and plays down our mystic powers of prediction, but got plenty of traffic despite protestations all round that people were bored of the topic.
We really liked the Cornish Saison St Austell are brewing for Marks & Spencer.
(Via Twitter Roger Ryman, St Austell’s head brewer, confirmed that the can does put a limit on carbonation levels, and adds that the filtered clarity was at the request of the customer.)
By way of a break from thinking about Beavertown we spared a few words to reflect on the state of BrewDog’s brand in 2018 — no longer a sign of craft beer credibility but merely one of the usual cash-n-carry suspects.
Brut IPA is the current big buzz which got us thinking about how long people have been comparing beer to Champagne (spoiler: for a long time) and why.
An indulgence — an exercising of the creative muscles: a couple of hundred words on the ways we play with our beer in the pub, from wiping the sides of the glass to dipping fingers in the foam.
There’s a pub in Keith Waterhouse’s 1959 novel Billy Liar — “an enormous drinking barracks”, newly built, where people displaced from corner pubs in demolished slums drink mild beneath salvaged nick-nacks.
Those Patreon posts: weekend beer reports 1, 2, 3, 4 | Reggie Perrin and the right wingness of real ale | background notes on the Bristol pub guide | notes on pursuing reluctant interviewees | our piece from BEER on GBG pub crawlers | how’s our driving? | Pub Life: Morrismen | a call for help with News Nuggets | advance notice of Tripel-Off beers | Beavertown, Beaverex and the politics of breweries withdrawing | poll: which Tripel is better, X or Y?
There were also several round-ups of news, nuggets and longreads:
- 2 June 2018 — Flanders, Erith, Easterly Road
- 9 June 2018 — Etiquette, Esters, Ethics
- 16 June 2018 — Football, Motorbikes, Public Toilets
- 23 June 2018 — Lager, Gas, Glass
- 30 June 2018 — Drunkards, Dill, Dilemmas