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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We’ll finish on this bright note:
Felt like a thundercloud so went and bought cheese for tea. Stomping my way home a pub regular waved at me through the Ale House window. Had to join him for a half of Vocation Pride and Joy, didn't I? All the auld lads saw I was grumpy & set about cheering me up. Pubs are great.
— Katie Mather (@Shinybiscuit) February 22, 2019