News, nuggets and longreads 25 May 2019: Hyperlocal, Global, Superfresh

Here’s all the beer and pub writing from the past week that made us pause to think, with something of a common thread emerging.

For Ferment, the magazine published by beer subscription service Beer52, Katie Mather has written about the beer-drinker’s equivalent to the book group:

What’s especially grand about these hyperlocal communities is that they’ve all grown out of necessity and pure enthusiasm. Even large groups like Craft Beer Newcastle, Ladies That Beer and the long-running Twitter community Craft Beer Hour started off as ideas sparked by pub conversations between beer lovers who wanted to hang out more. Now, most areas have at least one super-small community for you to take part in, whether they’re local CAMRA groups or self-started clubs like Beer Merseyside, Glasgow Beer, Midlands Beer Blog, South Dublin Brewers, North Coast Bottle Share, Leeds Beer Bulletin or CRAP (Cumbria Real Ale Postings).

Oompah band at the Hofbrauhaus.

There are four First Class Beer Countries, argues Ed, where the beer and drinking culture is just better than anywhere else:

1. Britain

A well kept pint of cask ale is indeed the greatest beer in the world. It has only been when drinking cask beer that I’ve felt the magic come and angels dance on my tongue. Served as god intended without artificial carbonation, there is no better beer. And to back it up it will be found in pubs, the greatest places that can be found to drink beer, where you can relax and unwind in a comfortable and cosy environment.

Barcelona in 2007.

Now, segueing well, here’s a month-old article that barely mentions beer: Rebecca Mead writing for the New Yorker on Airbnb and its impact on European cities. The apartment rental service, she argues, is driving the homogenisation of culture as part of ‘a global trend in urban gentrification’, focusing on Barcelona as a prime example:

We crossed the Ronda de Sant Pau, a boulevard that separates the Raval from its more middle-class neighbor Sant Antoni. Quaglieri wanted to show me a café, Federal, which Australian expats had opened a few years ago. We might as well have been in Hackney or the Mission District or anywhere else that hipsters gather: signs, in English, requested that visitors with laptops confine themselves to a large common table, every seat of which was occupied by a young person using the Internet. We ordered drinks: a warm ginger infusion for me, a turmeric latte for Quaglieri.

Dom Cook.
Source: The Takeout/Tiesha Cook.

And another segue: what are the alternatives to generic, cosmopolitan white hipster culture? For The Takeout Kate Bernot has interviewed Dom Cook, author of This Ain’t the Beer That You’re Used To:

Dom “Doochie” Cook is also not the beer writer that you’re used to. I’ve read a lot of beer books, and I’ve never seen proper beer and food pairing described as “like Jadakiss and Styles P going back and forth on a Swizz track in the early 2000s.” Cook and his Beer Kulture collective have set out to change the way urban black America thinks about beer, and vice versa. They’re out to deliver a wake-up call.

Jaipur can
SOURCE: Thornbridge.

This one is about global or local beer culture… Or is it? Josh Farrington at Beer and Present Danger was moved to come out of a year-long blogging hiatus by a can of Thornbridge Jaipur from his local supermarket which made him rethink his attitude to freshness:

Cracking it open ready to enjoy a simple glugging beer, I was stopped in my tracks, even before I took a swig – the aroma leapt out of the tin, a tuft of fruit salad chewiness, and the taste was perfect, part Nordic Fir and part marmalade shred, decidedly bitter but without being harsh or drying. It was sublime, a platonically good beer, and a perfect revelation when I’d expected merely fine. I checked the can – and discovered it was three days old.

And finally, an interesting looking book with a great title:


For more of this kind of thing check out Alan McLeod’s round-up on Thursday; Stan Hieronymus’s Monday links are on hold.