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News, Nuggets and Longreads 23 February 2019: Mindfulness, Kulture, Flagships

Here’s all the writing about beer and pubs that grabbed our attention in the past week, from racism to Belgian burglars.

This week’s big viral piece was by Toni Canada for Kulture and issued a challenge on the subject of of race in (primarily the American) beer scene:

The craft beer community swears it isn’t racist, but the disparity in the amount of visibility, public concern, and outrage given to issues offending white craft beer drinkers versus those concerning black folks tells a different story.

(But a note: we had seen the Founder’s news, were following the story, and felt as if it got decent coverage at, e.g., VinePair. Which stories shouldn’t have been written or shared to make more room for more on this?)


Deep in the technical weeds, Andreas Krennmair has written a fascinating piece on ‘Why a Triple Decoction Mash Can Never Fail’:

[When] bringing your decoctions to a boil, they will partially, if not mostly, convert, and then release more starch during the boil, which will then be fully converted in the main mash. There are two decoctions where the enzymes get into the right temperature range to convert starch into sugar, and there are two rest steps where the enzymes have even more time to convert more starch into sugar. Your whole mash goes through the right temperature so many times, it will eventually be fully converted. And to get into these right temperature ranges, all you need to do is follow a few simple principles. And if you want, you could even do this totally without a thermometer.

A brain.

For Ferment, the magazine of beer subscription service Beer 52, Matt Curtis has written about ‘mindful drinking’:

I’ve been using a popular app called Headspace for over two years, which loosely leans on Buddhist meditation techniques (without ever getting too heavy). Essentially it’s like a little daily workout for your brain, and it helps you notice things. This practise can be easily applied to beer. It can be as simple as letting the liquid in your glass hold your complete attention, from first sip to last. Similarly it can help you manage (but importantly, not cure) things such as social anxiety, possibly even helping to make those moments in the pub all the more meaningful.

Pints of Proper Job.

Flagship February has prompted some surprisingly interesting writing such as this from beer writer of the year Emma Inch on St Austell Proper Job and heartbreak:

Sometimes the places you visit with a lover become imbued with so much more than the beauty they may intrinsically possess. They become saturated with memories, drenched in meaning: that beach where you stepped in and out of each other’s footprints; the path where she held your hand as you jumped from the stile; the estuary that cut into the cliffs like a half-smile, leading to that spot where you kissed, her hair whipping against your cheeks and the sea-spray filling your mouth with her salted scent. And then there’s the beer on your lips in the pub that becomes yours for the week. Your pub. The pub where you told that joke; where you ate that sandwich; where the dog fell asleep with his head in your boot. The pub where you ordered that pint you’d never had before and then ordered the same beer again and again all week.

The Black Horse, Northfield.

This week’s piece from the archive is by the late Gavin Stamp for Apollo magazine, from 2015, on the subject of pub architecture:

Those who have written about pubs and inns always seem to have felt they were under threat, and certainly their history is one of constant change. Girouard noted that ‘London is full of dead pubs. In Oxford Street…there were nineteen pubs in 1890; today there is only one.’ The advent of railways in the mid 19th century was a catastrophe for the old coaching inns, taking away their trade. In London they disappeared – the Society for Photographing the Relics of Old London recording several, like the Oxford Arms in Warwick Lane, in their last sad days. Now we have only the George in Southwark, that precious galleried fragment off Borough High Street, to show us what they were like.

A vintage map of Belgium (detail)

If you want more reading, Breandán Kearney’s updates on the Belgian beer scene are essential reading. The latest instalment offers news on burglaries, not-Lambic, kombucha and more.

And, of course, there’s Stan Hieronymus on Mondays and Alan McLeod on Thursdays.

We’ll finish on this bright note:

2 replies on “News, Nuggets and Longreads 23 February 2019: Mindfulness, Kulture, Flagships”

Being a very bad and thankfully long lapsed home brewer, I can advise that decoction brewing can fail miserably. And can actually strain a marriage concurrently.

As an also long-lapsed home brewer, I have to ask why would you ever want to carry out a decoction mash anyway? Modern strains of barley and modern malting techniques are such that a simple, straight forward infusion mash is all you need.

I did once try decoction mashing, and like Alan’s experience, it was not a success. It’s alright if you’re Pilsner Urquell, and have been brewing this way for over a hundred years, but for us lesser mortals it’s infusion mashing every time.

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