News, nuggets and longreads 15 June 2019: Beavertown, Bristol, Boozeless Beer

The Laurieston in Glasgow.

Here’s all the writing about beer and pubs from the past week that struck as interesting, thought-provoking or otherwise noteworthy, from The Crumpled Horn to craft beer.

First, some bits of news.

> It used to be that if you wanted to buy Westvleteren beer you had to visit the monastery at prescribed times and purchase a limited amount under strict rules. (Or go into almost any beer shop, it seems, and pay over the odds.) Then, a few years ago, a telephone ordering line was introduced. Now, though, you can order it online. (But you still have to pick up your order in person.)

> Last year, five post-war pubs were listed, including The Crumpled Horn in Swindon. Now, according to the Swindon Advertiser, it has closed. Worrying news.

> When we visited the Fellowship at Bellingham, South London, during research on 20th Century Pub it was a near-wreck with only one decrepit room still operating as a pub. Now, finally, its reinvention as a ‘community pub’ is complete. We look forward to visiting.


It’s always worth reading Pete Brown on the state of the nation. For Imbibe he’s written a substantial overview of where craft beer is at in 2019, reflecting in particular on the takeover fever of the last couple of years:

Fourpure’s beers are broadly similar in style and quality to Beavertown’s, and are available about as widely. Yet somehow, Fourpure’s 100% acquisition was not greeted with anything like the outrage prompted by Beavertown’s minority sale. The rules of acceptable behaviour among craft brewers, it seems, are flexible, depending on who we’re talking about.


Cranes on the waterside in Bristol.

Lydia and Lorna at LiquorTrips offer a review of the recent Bristol Craft Beer Festival which might help you decide whether to attend next year:

With more than 35 breweries offering their wares, it was difficult to pace yourself too much with so much to try. We managed to get round the majority, even if it was just for tasters from some. Locals Wiper and True and Wild Beer Co were there, among other national and international names in beer such as The Kernel, To Øl, Mikkeller, Verdant, Lervig, Left Handed Giant, Lost and Grounded and Northern Monk to name a few… Some of the sours on offer were among our absolute best beers of the day – Gipsy Hill’s People Like Us fruited sour, Wiper and True’s Barrel Ageing Cardinal Sour and the Pomelo Paloma by Commonwealth Brewing Company stay in our minds.


The Waggon & Horses.

From The New Wipers Times, a blog about 1930s architecture, comes an interesting note on an inter-war pub, the Waggon & Horses, in London N14:

With the opening of Southgate Tube station on 13 March 1933, as part of the Piccadilly line extension to Cockfosters, and the completion of the nearby North Circular Road, the surrounding area was heavily developed during the 1930s and so Southgate became one of many new suburbs in London where Watney’s required larger, more suitable premises… The North London building was designed by the group’s Chief Architect, A. W. Blomfield, F.R.I.B.A., (Alfred William Blomfield, 1879-1949), who also oversaw the design of “The Giraffe” in Kennington, S.E.17. Both buildings would likely now be described as Neo-Georgian in their external appearance.


Non alcoholic beer: 0,0

A provoking thought from the Pub Curmudgeon: has the recent drive to market non-alcoholic beers been a tactical decision in response to the threat of a ban on booze advertising? Maybe. (Jess remembers TV adverts for vodka in Poland that weren’t for vodka – weird, but effective.)


Scales and balance.

The ever-perceptive Kate Bernot makes some interesting observations about writing about alcohol in a piece for The Takeout, concluding with this zinger:

I think drinkers owe it to themselves to understand the risks inherent in overconsumption, and to savor and appreciate responsible drinking all the more so. Perhaps those sentiments can coexist, and perhaps an awareness of the duality makes the subject of alcohol even more fascinating to cover.


Finally, we’re finishing with one of our own Tweets:

For more selected links check out Alan McLeod on Thursdays and Stan Hieronymus on Monday (probably).

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