We managed to post slightly more in October than in September, only thrown off course by the usual combination of day jobs, other hobbies, autumn sniffles and weather-triggered ennui.
Having said that, we did also manage to complete a long-planned project, from graphic design to printing, which feels, it must be said, FANTASTIC.
Anyway, here on the blog, we kicked the month off with a hangover from September in the form of notes on The Black Cat, a quirky micropub in Weston-super-Mare:
This strange hybrid is a thing we’ve seen a few times, now, in towns apparently not quite big enough or hip enough to support both a micropub (real ale, conservatism) and a craft beer bar (keg beer, trend-chasing). Sonder in Truro springs to mind as another example.
Then, getting into October proper, we declared Cider Season 2019, and committed to trying to get to understand a beverage popular in the West Country but about which we know woefully little. That took us to The CoriTap, down the rabbit-hole of cidermaking and into quite a few cider-focused bars and pubs:
Has this month turned us into cider drinkers? Probably not. While we have much more appreciation for the variety that is out there, and will definitely continue to have the occasional cider session, it’s difficult to conceive of us choosing cider when beer is available. We find it hard to session on and hard work rather than refreshing.
Excited by the arrival of the new edition of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide we were inspired to put together a respectful additional list of Bristol pubs that we reckon GBG believers might also enjoy:
Selection processes vary from district to district, as we understand it, but the Bristol branch has clearly documented processes which seem to be about as thorough and democratic as is possible to be, but obviously will still favour pubs that are popular with active CAMRA members… We’re not really sociable enough to contribute to this sort of thing so of course we don’t get to complain if we don’t like the entries. And actually, in Bristol, there isn’t much to grumble about from our perspective.
Continuing the theme, we wrote up an extraordinarily productive day of #EveryPubInBristol ticking in Bedminster and beyond, from The Assembly to the Star & Dove:
There’s something about this particular approach, every pub, that really makes sense of the scene as a whole and how things fit together. Posh pubs are uphill, less fancy ones at the bottom; chains are sometimes where the action is; and there’s almost no pub that’s not OK for at least one round on a Saturday afternoon.
How much foam is the right amount of foam? Having been served what felt to us like the perfect pint, we wondered if it might help us prove a rule: that regardless how much head is on a beer, someone on Twitter will tell you it’s the wrong amount. We ran a poll and everything:
[About] 90% of poll respondents thought it looked fairly spot on, the remaining votes were split between too much and not enough, with a slight bias towards too much.
We finally shared our embarrassingly dorky system for deciding whether a place is a pub or not using a spreadsheet. So far, responses have tended to amount to either:
- this kinda works
- you’re overthinking it.
If you’ve had chance to have a play, we’d love to know the results.
If you wanted to put together a gift-box to help someone new to beer get their heads around the different styles fairly quickly and easily, what would be in it? Here’s our suggested line-up.
We also put out the usual round-ups of links and news each Saturday:
5 October 2019 | sessionability, Spam, the seventies
12 October 2019 | silly stout, Somerset cider, sad stories
19 October 2019 | Lancashire, language, local
26 October 2019 | Westminster, Witbier, white men
Then there was the email newsletter, with notes on apples rolling in the gutters of Bristol, the annoyance of unasked for advice, motorway pubs and more. Sign up for next month’s here.
For Patreon subscribers we gave weekly round-ups of the best beers we encountered over each weekend, shared an original short story with a beer bottle at its heart, gave lots of sneak previews of the van Klomp project in progress and an advance look at the Beta version of the ‘Is it a pub?’ spreadsheet. We’ve also spent the past week sending out free copies of the PVK zine to subscribers. Sign up!
On Twitter, there was loads of this kind of thing:
FRESH TROUT FOR SALE Large, cleaned and gutted. pic.twitter.com/D24lY6okUl
— Boak and Bailey (@BoakandBailey) October 5, 2019
Now then, November – let’s do this.