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

The Rutland Arms pub in Sheffield.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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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