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News, Nuggets & Longreads 10 November 2018: Pricing Policy, Peterloo, Park Hill

Here’s all the reading about beer and pubs from the past seven days that’s grabbed our attention, from 19th century politics to Taylor Swift.

On his wide-ranging blog, a kind of personal notebook, trade union activist and historian Keith Flett highlights a connection between 19th century political radicalism and brewing:

Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt (1773-1835) was one of the best-known English radical leaders of the first half of the nineteenth century, active before the Chartist movement… [John] Belchem argues that a crisis in stewardship of the Bristol brewery he owned led Hunt to move from his Wiltshire farm to Bristol to assume direct control. It was in Bristol that he found an audience for his radical politics and began on the career that led him to Peterloo on 16th August 1819.

Cash Money Pound Signs.

There was a minor kerfuffle around Cloudwater’s decision to make its upcoming beer festival a £60-a-ticket all-in affair with accusations of hypocrisy and elitism being levelled. (Mostly, it seemed to us, expressions personal entitlement masquerading as concern for the supposedly excluded.) Mark Johnson has put together a thoughtful reflection on the topic, comparing the beer festival to a Taylor Swift concert:

Taylor Swift didn’t put on a concert that catered to fans of Motorhead or Five Finger Death Punch or Mobb Deep. It didn’t exist to make every single person in attendance happy. That seems okay. It was for those that wanted to be there. Things can exist that aren’t suitable for all. Just don’t pretend or argue that they are.

Kegs and casks behind the Free Trade Inn, Newcastle.

Having worked in and around the beer and pub industry for years Rowan Molyneux’s thoughts on cask ale and where it sits in the scene, in the form of ‘love letter’, are well worth reading:

Eighteen keg lines, two taps dedicated to cocktails, and four cask on… It was a tough decision, but in the end a half of Origin on keg was exactly what I needed after the train journey; zingy, refreshing, and chilled. As my companion and I gazed up at the rest of the extensive beer range, sorely tempted by the BA Toffee Strannik… we spotted something we didn’t expect. Timothy Taylor’s Landlord… It was in perfect condition and tasted great… The happiness this brought me actually took me aback a little. Since when am I somebody who is excited about cask beer? And then I asked myself, wait – when did I stop being somebody who is excited about cask beer?

A man crouched over his brewing apparatus.
Dmitriy Zhezlov with his unusual brewing kit.

It’s been a while since we featured a mindbending expedition report from Lars Marius Garshol who, this time, calls in from 800km east of Moscow where Dmitriy Zhezlov brews farmhouse ale from undried rye malt:

Once the malts had been ground Dmitriy brought out the korchaga, a ceramic vessel that’s really the key to Dmitriy’s beer, since it is both the mash tun and the lauter tun. The korchaga is heated in the oven, and then the wort is lautered directly out of it through a small hole near the bottom, which is closed with a wooden plug. To make the mash filter Dmitriy soaked rye straw in water to soften it, and then covered the bottom with carefully cut lengths of straw. The straw has to go above the hole, and the higher layers need to be longer.

Park Hill.
One of our own photos of Park Hill.

Stephen Marland, AKA The Modern Moocher, has been researching the pubs of Park Hill, Sheffield – an architecturally significant housing development made newly famous by its recent appearance in Doctor Who:

I’m a virtual visitor to the four pubs that served the population of Park Hill Estate… I arrived late on the scene from not too distant Manchester, sadly much too late to stop and have a pint in The Parkway, Scottish Queen, Link or Earl George… Grade II* listed the building’s structure has prevailed, the original social structures, tenants and consequently their pubs have not.

Tennent's lager advertisement, 1978.
Tennent’s lager advertisement, 1978.

It’s interesting to read that Tandleman – not someone who dishes out praise easily – giving his caveated endorsement to Tennent’s Lager. It’s a reminder that true discernment is about more than parroting what everyone else says, and trusting your own tastebuds.

We and others have moaned about how little respect AB-InBev shows Bass, one of the best-known brands in the world; maybe they’ve listened, a bit?

A spokesperson said: “Bass is a pale ale pioneer and we can’t wait to reintroduce shoppers to this historic brand, whose name lives on as a hallmark of great-tasting beer. “The pale ale category has many good players, but Bass is the only one who can say that it has been on board the Titanic, flew on the Concorde and embarked with Shackleton to the ends of the earth.”

(We heard from an ABI insider a while ago who told us they had been beating this drum within the UK arm of the company so it’s not a total surprise.)

Finally, there’s this:

More reading required? Check out Alan’s Thursday round-up.

4 replies on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 10 November 2018: Pricing Policy, Peterloo, Park Hill”

You had my hopes up with that Bass link, but turns out it’s a bottled version that only has a tenuous link to the draught, and what’s more is being sold in silly little 355ml bottles 🙁

It won’t have much appeal to the crafties, and will miss the mark with PBA drinkers.

“silly little 355ml bottles” – that’s the standard 12 (US) fl oz size that most bottled beer in the US comes in, craft or mainstream. As for its appeal, I suspect the sensible end of the craft beer drinking spectrum is happy to include “heritage” beers like Bass pale ale in their repertoire – providing they taste any good. My experience of packaged Bass the most recent times I risked trying it – admittedly a few years ago – does not fill me with eager anticipation.

Incidentally, if anyone clicks through to that Keith Flett link and wonders who “Terry Collmann” is, he’s an anagram of Martyn Cornell …

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