Everything We Wrote in August 2018: Old Haunts, Wheat Beer, Bierkellers

The chequered floor of the Old Duke pub.

Here’s everything we wrote in August 2018 in one handy round-up, from blog posts to magazine articles, via a blizzard of social media.

This was our low­est out­put since April this year, press­ing fam­i­ly and work busi­ness for both of us mean­ing that we just did­n’t get round to the huge list of posts we’re itch­ing to write and have half-draft­ed in our heads.

Any­way, nev­er mind – what we did turn out was­n’t bad, and we’re hop­ing to find time for a bit more writ­ing over the course of this bless­ed­ly emp­ty week­end.

If you think all the effort below is worth any­thing do con­sid­er sign­ing up for our Patre­on (with yet more exclu­sive stuff) or just buy­ing us a one-off pint via Ko-Fi.

Sketch of The Brunswick.

The month kicked off with a solo piece from Jess on the Brunswick in Der­by, a pub we loved when we vis­it­ed a decade ago, and which it turns out is still a cork­er.

We fil­let­ed an obscure book of West Coun­try humourOur Vil­lage Par­lia­ment, for details of the cider-soaked pubs of Som­er­set in the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry:

Time, gen­namin, please,” broke in the voice of Mrs Bark­er. “Let I zee your backs tonight an’ your feaces at ten-thir­ty, mar­ra’ mornin’.”

For Ses­sion #138 we wrote about how wood has made a come­back in the world of beer even since 2013 when we were research­ing our book Brew Bri­tan­nia. You can read a round-up of all the respons­es at Jack Per­due’s blog.

Revis­it­ing the Pem­bury Tav­ern in Hack­ney we were delight­ed to find it much improved in terms of atmos­phere, and real­ly enjoyed some of the Five Points beers we drank. (It has since closed for a bit of light refur­bish­ment – let’s hope not too much change takes place.)

Illustration: queue.

There was a huge amount of inter­est in our post about queu­ing in pubs with lots of strong feel­ings either way. (Although one bloke on Face­book said it sent him to sleep.)

More excit­ing and inter­est­ing for us was the dis­cov­ery of a cache of paper­work relat­ing to the Guin­ness brew­ery at Park Roy­al in Lon­don. We now have pos­ses­sion of the whole lot and have begun sort­ing through it and tak­ing notes. There’ll be a few posts high­light­ing inter­est­ing bits in the col­lec­tion the first of which con­cerns a 1939 man­u­al for how to brew the famous stout.

The semi-finals of our Tripel Taste-off saw West­malle face De Dolle and Karmeli­et up against Lost & Ground­ed. We’ll hope­ful­ly arrange the final, and maybe a third-place play off, this week.

Berni Inn logo.

We real­ly enjoyed writ­ing a long post about the his­to­ry of Berni Inns with a par­tic­u­lar focus on their Bris­tol roots:

Frank Berni vis­it­ed the US in the ear­ly 1950s and came away inspired by Amer­i­can steak bars which made mon­ey by care­ful­ly con­trol­ling mar­gins while main­tain­ing the appear­ance of gen­eros­i­ty and good val­ue. He was also impressed by the con­sis­ten­cy of chain restau­rants which were capa­ble of serv­ing iden­ti­cal steak meals in iden­ti­cal sur­round­ings any­where in the US… When meat rationing end­ed in Britain in 1954, they pounced, tak­ing on The Rum­mer, a his­toric pub in cen­tral Bris­tol.

Just for a bit of fun we tried putting cock­tail bit­ters in beer. It was… inter­est­ing. Since this we’ve also been exper­i­ment­ing with non-alco­holic spir­its sub­sti­tutes which most­ly taste like gar­den weeds.

What was the first British take on Ger­man wheat beer, who brewed it, where and when? We found the answer in an old copy of CAM­RA’s news­pa­per What’s Brew­ing.

A 1924 arti­cle on ‘The Future of Beer’ fas­ci­nat­ed us not least because it got so much basi­cal­ly right.

Then there was a sec­ond solo post by Jess, this time on the Head of Steam in Birm­ing­ham – our first encounter with this grow­ing chain. Peo­ple gen­er­al­ly seem to agree with her judge­ment.

Then Ray had a go at writ­ing on his own, report­ing on a vis­it to an old favourite pub in his home town with his Dad which turned into a recre­ation of the famous pho­to­graph ‘Lads of the Vil­lage’.

The Royal Forest Hotel in full view.

After stay­ing in an inter­est­ing pub-hotel in Ching­ford on the Lon­don-Essex bor­der we decid­ed to find out a bit more about it and dis­cov­ered a tale of fak­ery, fire and chaini­fi­ca­tion.

There were also the usu­al instal­ments of news, nuggets and lon­greads:

Our email newslet­ter was back to its full length of 1,000+ words and deliv­ered on time, after a wob­ble the month before. Sign up if you want to receive a load of exclu­sive stuff once every month.

Open­ing night at Rig­by’s Bierkeller.

In print, you’ll find our lat­est piece for CAMRA, on Ger­man-style Bierkellers in Britain in the 1970s, in BEER mag­a­zine which is online here.

On Patre­on for $2+ sub­scribers we wrote about whether pubs need beer | the British Guild of Beer Writ­ers | pub life – cider | pub life – them gay lads | the best beers of week­ends one, two , three and four | and a bit of behind the scenes main­te­nance stuff nobody needs to hear about again.

We did some Insta­gram­ming and lots of Tweet­ing, the biggest hit of which was this: