Everything We Wrote in February 2019: Zero Degrees, Beer Deliveries, Connect Four


We managed a couple more posts in February than January, including one proper longread, and another chunky piece from the print archives.

As ever, we’re grate­ful to our Patre­on sub­scribers for their encour­age­ment. If you fan­cy join­ing them, you can sign up here. Or, alter­na­tive­ly, just buy us a one-off pint.

We start­ed the month with one of our short pub life posts, recount­ing the tale of a flir­ta­tious game of Con­nect 4 in an oth­er­wise quite unerot­ic pub.

A new ver­sion of an old post next: we sub­stan­tial­ly updat­ed our Bris­tol pub guide, remov­ing some that have gone off the boil (the Com­mer­cial Rooms, for exam­ple) and adding a few that we’ve come to appre­ci­ate, as well as one that’s com­plete­ly new.

Some inter­est­ing pho­tographs led us to an inter­est­ing piece of writ­ing from 1988 about the way men inter­act with each oth­er in pubs, engag­ing in what the author regard­ed as forced cama­raderie.

The Progress Inn, Sea Mills.

A pass­ing ref­er­ence in a book on social hous­ing got us dig­ging around in the his­to­ry of beer in Bris­tol, and the way drinkers on new estates got their beer between the wars, from rov­ing deliv­ery vans.

Is it pos­si­ble for a pub to be too min­i­mal­is­tic to qual­i­fy for Prop­er Pub sta­tus? We say yes, it is – pubs need a basic degree of com­fort and char­ac­ter or they’re just booz­ers. Oth­ers (see the com­ments) dis­agree.

The con­clu­sion often drawn is that, per­haps counter-intu­itive­ly, if you price your prod­uct high­er than the com­pe­ti­tion, many con­sumers will assume yours is bet­ter and worth the extra mon­ey… Con­verse­ly, if your prod­uct is too cheap, it might seem sus­pi­cious: “Hmm. What’s wrong with it? Does all of this also apply to beer?

We’ve got a new res­o­lu­tion: to try at least one beer from a brew­ery we don’t know every week. After all, there are around 2,000 of them these days. First up was Man­u­al Brew­ing’s This Ele­va­tor.

Graffiti outside Zero Degrees.

This mon­th’s big Patre­on sup­port­ed lon­gread was an inter­view with Simon Gue­neau of the Bris­tol branch of Zero Degrees, offer­ing insight into how this unusu­al brew­pub chain oper­ates.

Boots Home Brewing equipment 1979.

Last year, a 1,500 word arti­cle we wrote on the his­to­ry of home-brew­ing in the UK appeared in Hop & Bar­ley mag­a­zine. Now, prompt­ed by a con­ver­sa­tion on Twit­ter about a per­ceived lack of writ­ing on home-brew­ing, we’ve decid­ed to share it on the blog.

As the month wound down, in the wake of a rev­e­la­to­ry round of Bass in Long Ash­ton, we found our­selves think­ing about the sub­tle, elu­sive mag­ic that makes one pint of cask ale work while anoth­er of the same beer else­where… Does­n’t.

Final­ly, anoth­er brew­ery new to us: Bris­tol’s own Cock­sure with an African hibis­cus pale ale.

There were also the usu­al week­ly round-ups of links to news, nuggets and lon­greads:

This was our best Tweet: