News, nuggets and longreads 22 August 2020: Flights, Harp, Braumeisters

Here’s all the most attention-grabbing writing about beer and pubs from the past week, including interesting new hops and youthful memories.

First, news of more idiosyncratic behaviour from Yorkshire brewery Samuel Smith whose boss, Humphrey Smith, has declared that its pubs will not be bothering with track-and-trace. The brewery told The Times:

The reasoning behind [not having track and trace] is it’s against GDPR data protection to ask people’s names and addresses and most people would give false names and addresses. Sam Smith’s customers are locals and most managers know the customers and word would get around if Covid was in a pub.

(With thanks for Emma Stump for bringing this to our attention.)

Tasting flight at the Driftwood Spars beer festival.

At Craft Beer Amethyst Ruvani, a Brit based in Austin, Texas, explores how her beer drinking habits have been affected by the pandemic:

The closure of brewery taprooms, along with everything else, during lockdown brought a swift end to my consumption of beer flights. No more cute mini-pours. No more free samples in the store either. The option to try before buying suddenly vanished from my life and I found myself somewhat bewildered as to how exactly I had gotten so dependent on the culture of small pours… With purchasing choices suddenly, brutally limited, my drinking habits were thrown into sharp relief and I was forced to ask myself, for what felt like the first time in a very long time, what it was that I actually wanted.

Harp lager beer mat (detail)

We enjoyed Liam’s account of buying his first pint of beer – Harp Lager no less – in a provincial town in Ireland in 1984:

I stared at it for a minute watching the bubbles rise in quick succession from the base of the glass and breaking on the surface. This was my first proper drink in a bar, my first proper beer too, and I had somehow expected it to be a more momentous occasion. I picked up the glass and put it to my lips and had my first taste of beer… The music abruptly stopped with a mistimed twang of guitar strings. Everyone in the whole bar turned to look at me silently… before erupting into applause. I raised my glass and toasted my adoring fans.

Hops against green.

Stan Hieronymus offers some insider chat on developments in US hop breeding which is of interest as much for what it tells us about general trends as for the specifics:

The most anticipated new name this year is whatever HBC is calling HBC 692… HBC 692 is a daughter of Sabro and depending on who is describing the aroma and flavor is packed with “grapefruit, floral, stone fruit, potpourri, woody, coconut, and pine.” She is a high impact hop, bound for plenty of hazy IPAs… There are many other IPA-friendly varieties brewers are just learning or will soon learn the names of, but not all of them will produce beers that “smells like your cat ate your weed and then pissed in the Christmas tree.”

Braumeister Pils beer mat.

What does the term ‘Braumeister’ mean in the 21st century? That’s the question Ben Palmer, a British brewer working in Berlin, asks in his most recent post at Hops & Schwein:

In Germany, the Braumeister title is clearly defined. It is characterised solely by professional training and education… In the rest of the world, the definition of the brew master/master brewer is less stringent. Other institutions offering brew master level qualifications include the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, Siebel Academy and UC Davis, just to name a few. And then obviously, there is the unique category of self-proclaimed brew masters without professional qualifications or training but with decades practical brewing experience, and sometimes those without the latter.

And from Twitter, there’s another nugget from photographer Colin Moody’s Bristol pubs project:

For more good reading, check out Alan McLeod’s round-up from Thursday.

One reply on “News, nuggets and longreads 22 August 2020: Flights, Harp, Braumeisters”

A while back, researching something aviation-related, I came across the fact that between 1932 and 1940 (so a period in which an air force was being created more or less from scratch), German higher technical institutions produced roughly three times as many ‘Diplom’ graduates in brewing science as they did in aeronautical engineering. Not sure whether all those graduates were Braumeister, or indeed what this says about the relative status of the two subjects…

(As a further related aside, I’ve seen accounts that when the Luftwaffe built their shiny new airbases, the officers’ messes had porcelain-lined vomitoria off the dining rooms so that aircrew could… refresh themselves half-way through a drinking session. I’ve always assumed this was scurrilous rumour, but I now wonder whether I should see if I can track down a source…)

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