Here’s all the bookmarkworthy writing about beer and pubs that landed in the past week, from the mysterious behaviour of dads to corn syrup.
First, some depressing news from the north west of England, in a story that’s unfolding right now: Cloudwater’s much-anticipated Family & Friends beer festival has run into a licencing issue and may not go ahead today. In a statement issued first thing this morning, the brewery said:
The police have informed us that Upper Campfield Market is not, as we have been assured on many occasions by the managing agent acting on behalf of Manchester City Council, licensed for the sale of alcohol. The attending police officer earlier this evening, the two licensing officers, a licensing solicitor, and even the night-time tzar of Greater Manchester, appear to have exhausted every option to allow us to operate in Upper Campfield Market tomorrow. If we ignore the licensing team, and run tomorrow anyway, I risk an unlimited fine or six months imprisonment.
It’s a reminder of just how much behind-the-scenes bureaucratic battling has to go on to put on any event with booze, and gives a glimpse into why entrepreneurs so often seem to end up regarding local government as the enemy.
For Deserter Andrew Grumbridge, AKA The Dulwich Raider, has written a memoir of his heavy-drinking father and the course of their relationship over decades:
Gin had become his tipple. At work, at play, all day, every day. At the outset of his working life, when picking up a bottle of Guinness to share with my mother after work each day, he watched the smartly dressed man in front of him in the queue at the off-licence buy a bottle of gin. ‘I promised myself,’ he later told me, ‘that if I worked hard, one day that could be me.’ And now it was, except he was no longer sharing it with my mother. Or anyone… A concerned doctor once asked my father how he felt if he went 24 hours without drinking. ‘No idea,’ he replied, with a shrug.
We liked Rach Smith’s short but elegant piece on the philosophy of pub-going:
Life is complicated enough. Life is survival and that can get messy, but life is also about finding a balance; finding harmony; making the most of your time; enjoying life. Some people search for answers, others seek thrills. Often, I simplify. You can’t get a much simpler pleasure than a pint of cask beer. This is harmony, this is a small thrill. This, for the time it takes to drink it, is life.
For Brewed Culture historian Brian Alberts has written about the long trail of arguments over adjuncts in American beer recently revived by bickering between the marketing teams of brewing giants Anheuser-Busch and Miller-Coors:
Lagers were not just beer to Germans. It was an expression of their entire ethnocultural identity, and that identity considered beer to be literal nourishment, a “poor man’s bread” thanks to its hearty all-barley malts and lower alcohol content. As Germans steadily co-opted the American brewing industry during the mid-1800s (indeed, 80% of people working in the industry by 1880 were German immigrants, or else their children), they expanded the debate about what American beer is and ought to be. It didn’t take long for rebuttals to emerge… Some Americans considered immigrants—and their beer—to be a dangerous foreign element. Temperance reformers likewise saw lager beer as a threat to their crusade against alcohol, and found that one of the most effective ways to attack beer was to claim it was dangerous.
Today’s archive revival is from 2015 and is one of the reasons we’ve never attempted to write a substantial piece on pub companies: what more is there to be said that isn’t already conveyed brilliantly in Tom Lamont’s article for the Guardian about the Golden Lion in Camden, north London?
Sticking in the big city, the author of A London Inheritance has researched the history of a City of London pub, The Horn Tavern, inspired by a photograph of its distinctive lantern taken by his father c.1950.
And we’ll finish with this: