News, Nuggets & Longreads 6 October 2018: Cask, Cans, Classics

Here’s everything that grabbed our attention in the world of beer in the past week, from cask anxiety to Berlin boozers.

The lat­est Cask Report was pub­lished (PDF, via Cask Mar­que) but for the first time in a few years we couldn’t sum­mon the ener­gy to read it, hence no men­tion in last Saturday’s round-up. But there has been plen­ty of com­men­tary in the past week and a bit which we thought it might be worth round­ing up:

Mar­tyn Cor­nell – “Why is find­ing a prop­er­ly kept pint of cask ale such an appalling lot­tery in Britain’s pubs”?

Ben Nunn – “[Are] we… head­ing for a world where real ale is, like vinyl, a niche prod­uct – not real­ly for the main­stream, sold only in spe­cial­ist out­lets and usu­al­ly restrict­ed only to cer­tain styles or gen­res?”

Pub Cur­mud­geon – “Maybe it is also time to ques­tion whether hand­pumps can be more of a hin­drance than a help.”

Steph Shut­tle­worth (Twit­ter) – “[We] don’t cur­rent­ly have any reports that are nuanced or in-depth enough for the indus­try to rely on… Cask is a sig­nif­i­cant part of many craft brew­eries e.g. Mar­ble, Mag­ic Rock, Thorn­bridge, but we can’t draw lines as to who is in which mar­ket…”


Relat­ed: you might remem­ber us pon­der­ing on Cloudwater’s aban­don­ment of cask a cou­ple of years ago; well, they’ve now un-aban­doned it, on a sea­son­al basis.


Jaipur cans.

Like us, Mark John­son has been watch­ing the social media excite­ment over the revamped beer range at Tesco with a raised eye­brow. What is going on when peo­ple post pic­tures of emp­ty shelves, or get a bad canned beer and vow to buy more?

Amongst the many trends to come from the lat­est big shop choice increase is the case of incon­sis­ten­cy, seen most in Voca­tion Brewery’s Love & Hate. This New Eng­land IPA seems to have suf­fered on the can­ning line with clear oxi­di­s­a­tion hap­pen­ing far too fre­quent­ly in batch­es… Sur­pris­ing­ly, this hasn’t put peo­ple off but led to an addi­tion­al side-quest to the super­mar­ket hunt. “I’ve got one of the good ones.” “Looks like I’ve been unlucky and had an oxi­dised one.” “I’ve bought three so far, one good, two bad – will buy more and report back…”


Homebrewing yeast, book, notes and bottle.

Jo Turn­er has writ­ten about home-brew­ing, brew­ing cours­es and brew­ing kits for the Inde­pen­dent:

It’s the aro­ma that blan­kets Cardiff city cen­tre a few times a week; that flies down Edinburgh’s Princes Street on chilly winds from the west of town; that stung the unsea­soned nos­trils of my broth­er and I when we were kids tak­ing turns to inves­ti­gate the bit­ter liq­uid bub­bling away in Dad’s kitchen con­tain­ers… In the present at New Bris­tol Brew­ery, home to Bris­tol Brew­ery School, the smell of sweet cere­al (like warm Weet­abix), with a slight under­tone of dog bis­cuit (pleas­ing once you’re used to it), ris­es from the mash tun (a huge, cylin­dri­cal, wood-jack­et­ed pot) into which I’m star­ing, and where an hour ago, eager stu­dents emp­tied bag after bag of grain.


British beer bottle cap.

We dis­agree with Pete Brown’s fun­da­men­tal asser­tion that craft beer fans gen­er­al­ly over­look or ignore clas­sic British beers – as with lager, we reck­on peo­ple con­fuse a tiny hard­core with the mass­es when they say things like this, and most of the craft beer types we fol­low on social media find time to rave about ESB, Land­lord, Harvey’s Sus­sex Best, and so son. Still, his piece riff­ing on this argu­ment for Imbibe is as enter­tain­ing and pas­sion­ate as ever:

This is part of a wider British malaise of self-dep­re­ca­tion. We were wide­ly pre­dict­ed to exit the World Cup igno­min­ious­ly ear­ly, where­as in fact we won hearts and minds as well as games. Equal­ly, most of the coun­try agreed that the 2012 Olympics were going to be an embar­rass­ing farce until their jaws hit the floor 30 sec­onds into Dan­ny Boyle’s open­ing cer­e­mo­ny… And I know of no oth­er nation of peo­ple who are so quick to agree that their nation­al cui­sine is the worst in the world, when it patent­ly isn’t. The prob­lem is, even if we want­ed to stand up for our nation­al food and drink, being proud of what we do is undoubt­ed­ly one thing that we Brits are gen­uine­ly ter­ri­ble at.


Berlin beers.

Joe Stange has writ­ten about his “alter­nate local” in Berlin which he was prompt­ed to inves­ti­gate by the tem­po­rary clo­sure of the pub where he usu­al­ly hangs out. Read­ing his post is as good as pop­ping in for a 0,5 there your­self, and high­lights some inter­est­ing details:

Unusu­al­ly for a place like this, there are eight taps. The favored house pils is Fran­con­ian – from Franken­wälder Burg­er­bräu in Naila – so we start with that. It’s the cheap­est on the menu at €2.95 a half-liter, which sug­gests a con­cert­ed effort to have a beer of that size under €3. It implies some com­bi­na­tion of nos­tal­gia and gen­er­al prin­ci­ple.


We’ll fin­ish with a Tweet that eco­nom­i­cal­ly sums up a com­plaint enthu­si­asts have about recent ver­sion of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide:

One thought on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 6 October 2018: Cask, Cans, Classics”

  1. Thanks for high­light­ing my tweet – I was aston­ished at the reac­tion it got.

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