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

A pie and a pint

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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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