News, Nuggets & Longreads for 11 August 2018: Price, Parenting, Popstars

Public Bar: door of a pub with date overlaid.

Here’s all the beer and pub related news, opinion and history that’s grabbed us in the past week, from kids in pubs to Never Gonna Give You Up.

First, mon­ey. As part of the pub­lic­i­ty around its Great British Beer Fes­ti­val (last day today) the Cam­paign for Real Ale pub­lished the results of a sur­vey sug­gest­ing that the major­i­ty of British drinkers who expressed an opin­ion find the price of a pint of beer unaf­ford­able.

Cash Money Pound Signs.

There were var­i­ous bits of inter­est­ing com­men­tary around this, from mus­ings on the ques­tion of val­ue from Katie Tay­lor

Afford­abil­i­ty is quite an abstract con­cept, isn’t it? In my expe­ri­ence as some­one who’s lived in extreme pover­ty and in rel­a­tive com­fort and all the incre­men­tal stages of debt, exhaus­tion and errat­ic spend­ing in-between, things like pints come down to how much you val­ue them. They’re not essen­tial – unless you have an addic­tion – and yet as part of our cul­ture they’re a cen­tral point of our social lives.

…to Richard Cold­well’s reflec­tions on the dif­fer­ence between afford­abil­i­ty and pri­or­i­ties:

I think there are many who are mak­ing the choice between going out for a pint and oth­er things… Sim­ple choic­es like; Sun­day after­noon at the local pub with the fam­i­ly or a full day out at the beach with sand­wich­es and maybe an ice cream and a few bob on the amuse­ments. I reck­on it’s about 50 miles from our house to Scar­bro’, so the biggest cost of the day is fuel… Round here, the price of the first round of say, a pint, glass of pros­ec­co, three soft drinks and a few snacks would just about cov­er the fuel costs of a return jour­ney to the sea­side. The sec­ond round would more than pay for the pic­nic and sun­dries and we’ve only been in the pub for about an hour, max.

Jon­ny Gar­rett, mean­while, is unim­pressed with this focus on price which he regards as ulti­mate­ly dam­ag­ing to the image of cask ale:

Per­haps the great­est step CAMRA could take toward restor­ing growth in cask beer would be to invest in train­ing and equip­ment for pubs that show loy­al­ty to cask and price it fair­ly. For some rea­son, this call for qual­i­ty brew­ing falls on deaf ears at CAMRA, who this week lament­ed how expen­sive pints have become. The par­ty line of cham­pi­oning cask above all else appears to include the mil­lions of cheap, dull, vine­gary pints poured across the UK each year. Some of them even at their own fes­ti­vals.


George Adams with his collection of beer steins.

For Atlas Obscu­ra Eric J Wal­lace brings us the sto­ry of Steins Unlim­it­ed, George Adams’s muse­um of beer mugs in Pam­plin, Vir­ginia, with love­ly pho­tos by Jill Nance:

In Adams’s child­hood home, a hand-carved wood­en cup with a han­dle and top hung above the man­tel­piece. When his moth­er explained that the object had belonged to his great-grand­fa­ther and was a “stein,” it took on a myth­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance. “That word was so odd; it fas­ci­nat­ed me. I start­ed to imag­ine where this ‘stein’ thing came from and what kind of world it had been a part of.”


TicketyBrew tickets.
SOURCE: Beer­Bods.

From Phil at Oh Good Ale comes a bit of slow-break­ing news: Staly­bridge brew­ery Tick­ety­Brew qui­et­ly shut up shop ear­li­er this year, with­out pub­li­cis­ing the deci­sion. What makes Phil’s piece isn’t the break­ing of the news itself, it’s the expres­sion of feel­ing that comes with it:

It start­ed in July 2013, when I nom­i­nat­ed their Pale, on cask, as my beer of the year; I didn’t think I’d taste any­thing bet­ter in the remain­ing five months of the year – and as it turned out I was right. I wrote: The aro­mat­ic wal­lop of a good con­tem­po­rary pale ale runs head-on into the soft herbal rich­ness of a Tripel, and they danceWhich still seems about right. On cask, the Blonde was pret­ty amaz­ing too – not to men­tion the Jas­mine Green Tea Pale, the Gold­en Bit­ter, the Invalid Stout, the Mar­malade Pale… On keg and in bot­tle, there was a real­ly nice Dubbel, a superb Tripel, the East India Porter, the Rose Wheat, the Rhubarb Weiss, the Gin­ger Beer and some ter­rif­ic hop­py pales… the list just went on. Not to men­tion more or less exper­i­men­tal styles – Munch­n­er, Grodziskie, Mumme – and dot­ty one-offs like Mar­mite Stout or Tea and Bis­cuits Mild.

A foot­note to this, for what it’s worth: we haven’t been keep­ing a log of every clo­sure this year as we did last year but, over­all, our impres­sion is that there have been few­er UK brew­eries shut­ting up shop in 2018.


Baby Betty in the pub.
SOURCE: Yes Ale

David Hold­en at Yes Ale is a young father and has been reflect­ing on that peren­ni­al favourite top­ic, chil­dren in pubs. What makes this piece worth a share of your eye­balls is that it recog­nis­es some­thing that these pieces often miss: kids in pubs isn’t some­thing that start­ed hap­pen­ing in the past few years, it’s how most of us grew up. This is the key pas­sage:

Sat­ur­days and Sun­day after­noons, were spent down the pub as our par­ents didn’t have Face­book or Myspace to socialise so you were dragged along to be bored to death or hope that anoth­er kid had brought a ball so you could play Wal­ly… Our first local was The Bloom­field in Black­pool… In my time there, every­body knew every­body. It was my dad’s local. My mum did shifts. Fake Aun­ties, False Uncles, step-dads and last­ing fam­i­ly friends all came from the epi­cen­tre that is the pub. And, EVERYBODY knew my Gramp­si was the one who bent the bars on the rail­ings out­side. As you walked in, we always went through the left door. No kids in the Games Room.


Cranes on the waterside in Bristol.

We’ve been enjoy­ing notes on Bris­tol from the Beer Nut, not least because we were there for part of his research, watch­ing him scrib­ble in the ever-present note­book as he passed judge­ment on our local beer and pubs. Here’s part one, and this is part two which fea­tures our cameo.


As we near the end, here’s what looks like a bit of nov­el­ty news, or even a joke, but is actu­al­ly kind of a big deal for beer geeks: Dan­ish brew­ing com­pa­ny Mikkeller is open­ing a bar in Lon­don in part­ner­ship with singer Rick Ast­ley.


We’ll fin­ish with a Tweet from Geoff Quin­cy (@geoffquincy) which col­lects togeth­er pho­tographs of The Wind­sock, a famous­ly exu­ber­ant post-war pub that we men­tioned in 20th Cen­tu­ry Pub.

One thought on “News, Nuggets & Longreads for 11 August 2018: Price, Parenting, Popstars”

  1. Thanks for the link! Great image, too, which I shall (also) bor­row. For a brew­ery that nev­er got much recog­ni­tion or had very much ‘craft’ cred, Tick­ety­Brew clear­ly had fans – the last time I looked that post had had near­ly 800 reads, which is close to a record for my blog.

    Dan­ish brew­ing com­pa­ny Mikkeller is open­ing a bar in Lon­don in part­ner­ship with singer Rick Ast­ley.

    Come on, nobody is going to click that link. (Ever.)

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