News, Nuggets and Longreads 9 February 2019: London, Chuvashia, Viborg

Frueh Koelsch.

Here’s everything that struck us as especially interesting in the world of beer and pubs in the past week, from the origins of craft beer to best practice in bars.

A cou­ple of years ago we put togeth­er a short his­to­ry of beer weeks with input from Will Hawkes, then involved in organ­is­ing Lon­don Beer Week. Now, Will has writ­ten his own piece reveal­ing just how much stress and work was involved, and for how lit­tle reward:

It had all been a ter­ri­ble error. I should have known that I was doing some­thing very stu­pid before I start­ed; I’d asked around to see if any­one else in the Lon­don beer demi-monde was inter­est­ed in help­ing, and got a series of respons­es along the lines of “Good idea! No, sor­ry, I’m too busy,” gen­er­al­ly from peo­ple with enough time to be dis­cussing the idea with me in a pub in mid-after­noon… Not only that, but I was nev­er real­ly sure why I was doing it: it just sort of kept on hap­pen­ing, for four long years.


For The Take­out Kate Bernot writes about the expe­ri­ence of drink­ing out as a woman, and how much she appre­ci­ates con­crete steps tak­en by bars to make women feel safe:

The Rhi­no bar in Mis­soula, where I live, has post­ed fly­ers indi­cat­ing its bar­tenders have under­gone “bystander inter­ven­tion” train­ing. The bar has also host­ed police-led class­es on the top­ic. “What our train­ing specif­i­cal­ly talked about was inter­ven­ing in things like sex­u­al assault,” Mis­soula Police Depar­ment detec­tive Jamie Mer­i­field told KGVO years ago. “When you see some­one in trou­ble, the train­ing helps you to inter­vene, and not just turn a blind eye. Most peo­ple would want to help, they just don’t know how.” In a sim­i­lar vein, oth­er estab­lish­ments around the coun­try have intro­duced “angel shots,” drinks that peo­ple can order as a sig­nal to bar­tenders that they’re in trou­ble.


Bottles of beer from Viborg.
SOURCE: DR TV.

This is a nice sto­ry from Den­mark: ren­o­va­tions at an old brew­ery build­ing in Viborg have unearthed a set of beer bot­tles, most­ly intact and full, from 1906. An accom­pa­ny­ing note from the long-dead head brew­er explains the motive: “as we don’t know how long it will last, these words and some bot­tles of the beer that we brew nowa­days will be placed under the floor”.


Women serving beer in Chuvashia.

Lars Mar­ius Garshol reports on brew­ing tra­di­tions in Chu­vashia, a for­mer Sovi­et repub­lic and now an autonomous unit with­in the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion:

The Chu­vashi­an farm­house ale is called ‘saura’, obvi­ous­ly relat­ed to the Komi ‘sur’ (and Hun­gar­i­an, and Finnish). So why would a Tur­kic peo­ple use a Finno-Ugric word for some­thing so ancient and impor­tant as beer? Well, accord­ing to Mari­na the Chu­vash were orig­i­nal­ly nomads, and only set­tled in Chu­vashia in the 13th cen­tu­ry. At that point, the area was dom­i­nat­ed by Finno-Ugric peo­ples, and the Chu­vash prob­a­bly learned grain grow­ing and beer brew­ing from them, also tak­ing their word for beer.


Illustration: Micheal Jackson peers from behind his glasses.

A small but sig­nif­i­cant dis­cov­ery by Gary Gill­man: Michael Jack­son did use the exact phrase ‘craft brew­ery’ as ear­ly as 1982, with ref­er­enc to Tim­o­thy Tay­lor, in his 1982 Pock­et Beer Guide. We crawled all over this book when we were research­ing Brew Bri­tan­nia but didn’t spot this, though we did give him cred­it (blame) for the phrase via a side­ways ref­er­ence to Bel­gian beer as arti­sanale in his 1977 World Guide to Beer.


RateBeer logo.

A nugget of news: Rate­Beer is now entire­ly owned by AB-InBev, which pre­vi­ous­ly took a minor­i­ty stake in the con­sumer beer log­ging and review­ing web­site.


A no smoking sign on a pub door.

We said a while ago that we intend­ed to resur­face the odd old­er bit of writ­ing in these round-ups. This week, it’s nov­el­ist Beryl Bain­bridge with an homage to George Orwell, imag­in­ing ‘The Eagle Over Water’ for the Guardian a decade ago, in 2009:

Mr Stone nev­er goes fur­ther than the plas­tic-topped table adja­cent to the gents; he has only one leg. Accord­ing to Mrs Moon, a Sat­ur­day bar­maid, he’s a vic­tim of pas­sion, not war. Fifty years ago, walk­ing to meet Dol­ly, his sweet­heart, he saw her across the road in the arms of a strange man. He ran for­ward imme­di­ate­ly, just as the Queen’s hors­es, en route to Regent’s Park, can­tered into Park­way. Dol­ly screamed; Mr Stone faint­ed; a horse named Infi­del stamped all over him. I’ve nev­er spo­ken to Mr Stone, or he to me. I did ask Mrs Moon if he and Dol­ly had got togeth­er again, but she said she’d nev­er both­ered to ask.


And, final­ly, a reminder that Evan Rail’s @Beer_In_Art exists and is very much worth a fol­low:

Want more? Stan Hierony­mus posts links on Mon­day; Alan McLeod on Thurs­day.

3 thoughts on “News, Nuggets and Longreads 9 February 2019: London, Chuvashia, Viborg”

  1. Thanks B&B for pick­ing up on my find­ing. I added a com­ment to my post this morn­ing to reflect your dis­cus­sion a few years ago of cer­tain relat­ed terms in Michael Jackson’s 1977 “The World Guide to Beer”.

    But just a point (as I expand there), to my knowl­edge Jack­son did not use the spe­cif­ic phrase, craft brew­ery (or craft brew­eries), in that 1977 book. He used “craft-brew­ing” and “craft -brew­ers” in rela­tion to small Bel­gian and French brew­eries, but not craft brew­ery.

    1. Yes, just look­ing at my 1977 copy of Jackson’s book. On page 133 he sats: “As small busi­ness­es, Belgium’s craft brew­ers have proved to be com­mer­cial­ly vul­ner­a­ble.…”

  2. gen­er­al­ly from peo­ple with enough time to be dis­cussing the idea with me in a pub in mid-after­noon

    Ouch.

    There are two kinds of peo­ple, I think – those (most of us) who gen­er­al­ly feel they’re “too busy” get­ting on with their lives to take on any­thing that would occu­py more than one evening a week; and those who think evenings & week­ends are there to be busy in, and ordi­nary social & leisure activ­i­ties are there for when you’ve got noth­ing else on. If you can’t lay your hands on of the sec­ond type of peo­ple, organ­is­ing any­thing is an uphill strug­gle.

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