Here’s all the beer- and pub-related writing that grabbed our attention in the past week, from GBBF politics to Jarl.
First, three bits of news:
1. CAMRA has announced that it will have a key-keg beer bar at its flagship national event, the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF). There’s commentary from Benjamin Nunn here (this, he says, is a non-story) and Dave S, who argues that CAMRA has put too many restrictions and caveats on this to make it as meaningful as it ought to be.
2. Heineken has bought a chunk of Amsterdam craft brewery Oedipus. This fits the pattern.
3. Brains has had to dump 36,000 pints of Bitter after reports that the batch in question had a ‘tang’ when served in pubs.
The National Brewing Heritage Trust in Burton-upon-Trent has launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for an online catalogue of every item in its vast collection. They need to make £20,000 and £3,500 is already in the bag. We’ve chipped in; if you’re interested in Britain’s brewing history, you should too.
On a related note, here’s Jeff Alworth on the fragility of brewing archives, and how easy it is for them to end up in skips during periods of succession or corporate takeovers, quoting Matt Swihart at length:
Miller had no interest in the Olympia history or its archive. There was a 100-year-old plus library of old brewing journals, magazines, research articles, technical journals, and brewing records all stored in that library. Paul was sorrowful that it was all slated for the dumpster as of some coming weekend. I asked if I could have the library if I came up and picked it up. He graciously accepted and I went up the next day with my old Toyota pick-up with a camper shell, and filled the entire truck with everything I could.
We’re in the middle of a holiday in Scotland and cannot help but agree with Mark Johnson’s declaration that all he wants to drink is Fyne Ales Jarl:
Sat facing the bar with my pint of handpulled Jarl I realised that this was all I wanted from this industry, that this was still as good as it got for me. I’d take this 16th century tollbooth-structure-come-pub over school chairs and Edison bulbs any day. I’d take this beer on cask over any clichéd milky Imperial Gose you can stick in a plastic keg. It doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy those places and those beers at times, but they are becoming like new Hip Hop to me.
We’ll confess that we weren’t immediately moved to click on the link to this article about Rwandan banana beer by Eoghan Walsh for Pellicle – who wants to read another article about a European or American beer writer explaining a country they’ve only been in for ten minutes? But then we read it and realised, oh, that’s his point:
I scuttled back to my hotel to soothe a bruised ego. I was supposed to be the voyeur, the foreign interloper in search of a bit of African exoticism I could parlay into a bottle-share anecdote when I got home. Confronted with my obvious and pathetic whiteness, I felt keenly out of place and uncomfortable in self-reflection. It turns out I didn’t really want to experience Kigali as it was, but instead a carefully packaged version that I could easily digest during my visit through the region. For the rest of the week, I drank macro lagers that tasted of nothing except an acrid taint of self-loathing.
Finally, there’s this:
An internet bore: "all large cities are now the same with no unique local features"
Birmingham: "our train station has a pork scratching bar, thereby proving that you are mistaken". pic.twitter.com/Eedf8oXbot
— Tom Forth (@thomasforth) June 4, 2019