Here’s all the news and commentary on beer and pubs that struck us as especially interesting in the past week, from endangered styles to sleep warehouses.
For Ferment, the promotional magazine published by beer retailer Beer52, Katie Mather has written about mild – if everyone feels so fond of it, why is it so hard to get hold of?
“You don’t get many milds nowadays, do you?” says a fellow drinker, after I tell him I’m drinking a mild. “Never see them around anymore.” I found the comment curious, because there was one in my hand, and I was drinking it. A strange sensation crept over me, as though he had looked at me, and at my beer, and found us both transparent; as though despite appearances, we did not really exist.
Jessica Mason, AKA The Drinks Maven, has written about the struggle of missing pubs and the importance of being there when they re-open:
If you’re struggling right now, know that your struggle is not madness creeping in – it is normal. It means you have a working heart. Because it is only human to need people and to want others. We reach out, not for what numbs us, but what makes us feel something. It is why so many of us feel at sea right now. We thrive on sharing. And we are being told to avoid one another… We need to give the pub some credit. Here and later. But, most importantly, when our nation’s publicans need us to show it most – when they open their doors once again and wonder if any of us will walk through them. When the time is right, we need to be there. We need to show them they matter… We owe it to them to give something back. Let’s try.
On the other hand, here’s Michael at Bring on the Beer setting out why he’s in no hurry to get back to pubs if it means a compromised experience and potentially unsafe surroundings:
I want to go to a pub and relax, and not be second guessing others’ behaviour. I don’t want paranoia (at least, no more than usual). I don’t want people being overly wary, on edge, around me (again, no more than usual)… So I can wait. I can wait until such time as social distancing is relaxed for scientific reasons, not financial or political reasons. I can wait until the life that we will be permitted to lead is as close as damnit to the life we had until March. I can wait until such time as we can have the “Now, where was I before I was so rudely interrupted?” moment.
Rachael Smith at Look at Brew has been staring deep into her pale ale and reflecting on a relationship with a single beer, Good Things Brewing Co Reflection:
“Waiter!”, Dad called, laughing. “That’s the second time tonight you’ve used that joke,” I said. “He’s not got many good ones,” Mum had chipped in. We had got to the end of our dinner. The scene suggesting a family meal, yet the screen revealing the truth; we’d been apart in our togetherness that night… Eat, sip, laugh, repeat. The evening was over too quickly. The food was over too quickly. Lockdown seems to last forever. Then, just two sips left of a beer which had acted as an ideal liquid soundtrack. Soft citrus and elegant tropical notes washed down a happy moment, of which Reflection had sat part of perfectly.
Martyn Cornell has turned his attention to a newly-topical issue: British brewing and its relationship with the history of slavery. In particular, he has turned a spotlight on Benjamin Greene, founder of what would eventually become Greene King:
[From] 1819 Benjamin’s life took a sharp swerve away from the usual career of a country brewer… Greene became the manager of three estates in Basseterre parish on St Kitts and one on Montserrat, as well as the actual owner of an estate at Nicola Town on St Kitts and one on Montserrat… He claimed that he found the traffic in slaves “abhorrent” but the institution itself “necessary”, and quoted Biblical passages in support of this argument. Astonishingly, the cognitive dissonance this must have induced did not make his head explode.
In the third of his pieces about how beer businesses have coped with lockdown, Will Hawkes profiles beer importer and distributor Euroboozer, speaking to its owner, Martin Railton:
Euroboozer’s base, a warehouse just off the M25 north of Watford, is normally a hive of activity. Six or seven vans leave every day to deliver beer into London: pallets are packed to be sent off around the rest of the UK; beer arrives from around the country and, via ports like Harwich, from overseas… Right now, though it’s very quiet. It has been for the past two months. Kegs and casks of beer are still squatting where they were placed when they arrived in March. Much of this beer is out-of-date, particularly the cask ale, destined never to be drunk.
From Twitter, in a week when Bristol became the centre of world news, there’s this…
The Seven Stars pub, behind St Thomas Church, Redcliffe, in the 1930s. It was in this pub in the 1780s that Thomas Clarkson gathered evidence from sailors that helped change public opinion of the slave trade and the treatment of black African people. https://t.co/7q0lHRcxsh pic.twitter.com/TUhrfNZSGB
— KYPBristol (@KYPBristol) June 12, 2020
And let’s have a bonus Tweet, too:
Can you tell I’m missing the pub? pic.twitter.com/5j4oLIzH5W
— Jack Spicer Adams (@JackSpicerAdams) June 9, 2020
Alan McLeod also posts a weekly round-up – check out his selection every Thursday.