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.