News, Nuggets & Longreads 24 November 2018: Jopengasse, Bermondsey, Cold Comfort

The back bar of a pub.

Here’s all the reading about beer and pubs that grabbed us in the past week, from conclusions on cask beer to booze in cold climates.

First, an aston­ish­ing rev­e­la­tion – researchers have dis­cov­ered that liv­ing in a cold, dark cli­mates makes you want to drink more:

Senior author Ramon Bataller, asso­ciate direc­tor of the Pitts­burgh Liv­er Research Cen­tre, said: “This is the first study that sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly demon­strates that world­wide and in Amer­i­ca, in cold­er areas and areas with less sun, you have more drink­ing and more alco­holic cir­rho­sis.”

The old city of Gdansk.

We’re not gen­er­al­ly that inter­est­ed in Wot I Dun on my Hol­i­day blog posts but know­ing that Barm, AKA @robsterowski, is a seri­ous schol­ar of Euro­pean beer, and being long-time Polonophiles our­selves, we were excit­ed to read his account of a vis­it to Gdańsk. He did not dis­ap­point:

This is Uli­ca Piw­na in Gdan­sk. In the past when the town was pre­dom­i­nant­ly Ger­man, the street was called Jopen­gasse. Both names redo­lent with beery his­to­ry, for Jopen­gasse is named after the leg­endary Danziger Jopen­bier (or per­haps the beer is named after the street), where­as Piw­na lit­er­al­ly means Beer Street… Danzig in the 19th cen­tu­ry also had a Mälz­er­gasse, malt­sters’ street. The street then called Hin­ter Adlers Brauhaus, “Behind Adler’s Brew­ery” is now called Browar­na, brew­ery street and the one-time Hopfen­gasse is now Chmiel­na, both mean­ing Hop Lane.

We thought it was odd when Moor and Cloud­wa­ter opened bars on the Bermond­sey Beer Mile but it’s now got even weird­er with the announce­ment of plans by New Zealand brew­ery Pan­head to launch a spear­head there too. The full sto­ry is at Aus­tralian indus­try news site Brews­News in a sto­ry by Matt Cur­tis:

Lion-owned Pan­head Cus­tom Ales is set to open a tap­room in the UK before the end of 2019… This new retail site will be head­ed-up by Four­pure, itself acquired by Lion in July 2018. The project will be led by Four­pure Mar­ket­ing Man­ag­er and for­mer 4 Pines mar­ket­ing head Adri­an Lugg, accord­ing to its co-founder Dan Lowe.

There’s fur­ther com­men­tary, insight­ful as ever, from Will Hawkes at Imbibe:

Lit­tle Crea­tures, found­ed in 2000 in West­ern Aus­tralia and now owned by Kirin, is prepar­ing to open in King’s Cross, and Pan­head, a Kiwi brand also owned by Kirin, is set for Bermond­sey. There are also per­sis­tent rumours that Sier­ra Neva­da, which is inde­pen­dent­ly-owned but still huge, has sim­i­lar plans. Brew­dog, Britain’s only rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the big-craft league, opened a brew­pub in Tow­er Bridge ear­li­er this year… The val­ue of brew­pubs to big brands is sim­ple: prove­nance is impor­tant to craft-beer drinkers, so it pays to mud­dy the water.

Source: Kirsty Walk­er.

At Lady Sinks the Booze Kirsty Walk­er is on a mis­sion: to go drink­ing in the towns where the for­mer mem­bers of defunct pop group One Direc­tion were born. Obvi­ous­ly. She has start­ed with Brad­ford, home­town of Zayn Malik, where she had a per­fect pint of Tim­o­thy Tay­lor Bolt­mak­er in “Car Wash and Tyre Cen­tre Land” and got chat­ted up by a bloke who glad­ly drank a foul pint of Sam Smith’s she’d aban­doned:

The pint I had just returned wasn’t just on it’s way out, it was down­right ran­cid, and yet this spec­i­men gulped it down like it was that pint of Bolt­mak­er I pined for. I drank the Sov­er­eign. It was fine, it was good in fact. How some­one could taste both this and the pint of swamp water I had just con­sumed and say they were both the same was beyond me.

Pint glasses in a pub.

We’ve fea­tured both pre­vi­ous pars of Pete Brown’s reflec­tions on the health of the cask ale mar­ket and can’t omit his con­clud­ing post which is full of fas­ci­nat­ing details:

On my ques­tion­naire, before we got onto the busi­ness side of things, I asked respon­dents how they felt about cask them­selves. Now – I split the data by size of pub, by whether it was free­hold, leased, ten­ant­ed or man­aged, whether or not it had Cask Mar­que accred­i­ta­tion, and there was lit­tle vari­a­tion in the data. The one dif­fer­ence that was sig­nif­i­cant was when I com­pared pub­li­cans who said they per­son­al­ly adored cask and drank it them­selves to every­one else. These were the guys for whom cask ale was mak­ing mon­ey, who put in the extra time, who trained their staff prop­er­ly.

The lin­ger­ing exis­tence of Young & Co is fas­ci­nat­ing: the brands are now owned by Marston’s and brewed… in Bed­ford, maybe? But the heart and soul of the brew­ery remains in Wandsworth, south Lon­don, even if the site of the old place is in the process of becom­ing a res­i­den­tial and retail ‘quar­ter’. For the Brew­ers Jour­nal Tim Shea­han has inter­viewed the keep­er of the flame, John Hatch:

John is the head brew­er at Wandsworth’s Ram Brew­ery. He’s also the assis­tant brew­er, head clean­er, pack­ag­ing oper­a­tive and every­thing in-between… You see, the Ram Brew­ery is no nor­mal brew­ery. Instead, it’s a tru­ly unique oper­a­tion housed on the grounds of the old Young’s brew­ery. A pas­sion project that came into being upon the news that Young’s was to shut­ter it’s Lon­don brew­ing busi­ness back in 2006, Hatch has ensured that although the brew­ery would be leav­ing the site, brew­ing wouldn’t.

Old drawing of a brewery.
Dreher’s brew­ery. SOURCE: The Pen­ny Illus­trat­ed Paper, 28 May 1870, via The British News­pa­per Archive.

Andreas Kren­mair has made yet anoth­er break­through in his attempts to pin down the spec­i­fi­ca­tions of his­toric Vien­na beer. This time, it’s the colour:

Back in 2015, when I start­ed look­ing more close­ly into the his­toric spec­i­fi­ca­tions of Vien­na Lager, one ques­tion where I start­ed spec­u­lat­ing and couldn’t real­ly get a good answer was the ques­tion of colour. I based this off his­toric records that I had found in one of Ron Pattinson’s books, Decoc­tion!. The pro­vid­ed val­ue of 6.3 (no units) seemed rea­son­ably close to be SRM, but as Ron com­ment­ed below my post­ing, the beer colour is not in SRM, and that he’s not sure what exact­ly it is… Well, today I can proud­ly pro­claim that I have final­ly dis­cov­ered not only what the 6.3 means but also how the val­ue relates the mod­ern beer colour units like SRM or EBC.

We don’t nor­mal­ly do this but we’re going to fin­ish with one of our own Tweets – a short thread, in fact, and the kind of thing we might nor­mal­ly put on the blog, but want­ed to exper­i­ment with.

Want more? Alan posts a splen­did­ly sple­net­ic links round-up every Thurs­day.