Blogging and writing

Everything we wrote about beer and pubs in August 2019

A bit of a low score this month – just 13 posts in total, although, to be fair, one of those was an absolute whopper.

Leeds has played a pivotal role in the evolution of British beer, as covered in our first book, Brew Britannia. We kicked off last month with an in-depth, in-their-own-words look at the city’s beer scene, featuring insight from veterans such as Barrie Pepper and relative newcomers like Gareth Pettman. This piece ended up running to 3,000 words and seemed to meet the general approval of Leodensians, to our great relief.

An update: Antony Ramm at Leeds Libraries (@rammalibrary), who first suggested this article, is working on an archive project around beer in Leeds in the past decade or two. If you’ve got original memorabilia or ephemera – leaflets, flyers, programmes, papers and so on – he’d love to know about them for possible inclusion in the collection.

We also did some pondering on beer scenes more generally – what makes a scene as opposed to just… some good pubs and beer? This prompted some prickly but interesting reactions, both below the line and on Twitter.

Leaping back in time, Ray wrote about a couple of passing mentions of beer and brewing he dug out of Walter Ison’s book The Buildings of Georgian Bristol. This led to some intriguing conversation about why well-to-do households might have installed breweries in the early 19th century: because the Napoleonic wars had reduced the availability of wine.

Illustration: a flat pint.

Further evidence that Bristol beer is by tradition and preference headless: we observed a pub staff training session in which this point was made with some force.

We wondered aloud why it seems so hard for people to credit others with sincerity when it comes to their taste in beer. Why do people assume that a preference expressed is a pose or pretence? This generated a fair amount of chat on social media with lots of people in agreement but a few others sticking to their guns: there simply must be something odd going on for so many people to express a liking for Harvey’s Sussex Best.

From the corner of the saloon in a pub in a strange town, we watched a man desperate to talk about music but denied at every turn:

“So you’re not into prog much at all?”

“I like Krautrock.”

The Old Rocker thinks he’s done it – he’s found an in.

“Oh, yeah, man – great stuff! That driving motorik beat. Did you read the MOJO article a couple of months back–”

“Well, no, I don’t really have time to read magazines. I work thirteen days out of fourteen, and most evenings. The only music I hear is what’s on in here. And that’s on a loop.”

Do you know of a Whitbread pub in London called The Golden Lion that was demolished or refurbished in the mid-1950s? If so, maybe you can help solve the mystery of an English pub that now lives at a Colorado Springs hotel in the USA.

On Patreon, we:

Our usual round-ups of links and news landed each Saturday, as usual:

There was also an article on The Ring in the latest edition of CAMRA’s BEER magazine – find a copy at your local pub if you’re not a member, or (we think this will work) online here.

The newsletter went out mid-month with notes on beer-loving trolls (the mythological variety, not Internet dickheads), an update from one of the subjects of 20th Century Pub and the launch of Ray’s novel. Sign up now to receive the September newsletter.

Finally, we were all over Twitter with stuff like this: