Everything we wrote in October 2019: Apples, pubbiness, the perfect pint

October 2019: apples.

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.

The Rising Sun

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:

  1. this kin­da works
  2. 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:

Now then, Novem­ber – let’s do this.

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