Here’s all the writing about beer and pubs that struck us as especially interesting in the past seven days, from Egypt to European beer styles.
We usually put some news at the top here but, frankly, the news around beer and pubs has been variations on the same few themes for weeks now. Further restrictions on opening are either here or imminent, depending on where you live, and everyone is struggling. Even so, we reckon the industry is making a mistake by lobbying against lockdown – it’ll just damage trust. Ah, well. Let’s have some distractions.
Jordan St. John has written about a confusion of sense and memory that we haven’t experienced and don’t quite understand, which makes it all the more fascinating:
Since about April, I’ve been getting periodic involuntary flashes of autobiographical memory; awfully specific granular moments of sensory memory brought on by some random set of variables in my environment. It’s the kind of thing Proust wrote about, essentially a limited kind of Hyperthymesia, which in my case seems to be focused specifically around moments with food and drink… I’ve had a pint of Otley 01 (no longer exists) at The Rake in Borough Market with black pudding and mustard flavoured crisps. I’ve had a pint of Fuller’s Steam Effort (a 2018 one off with Redemption) at The Harp Covent Garden triggered by the consideration of whether to put Anchor Steam in the online version of the George Brown course. I’ve had a mixed grill at the Crown and Greyhound in Dulwich, and had to consult with my dining companion from February of 2008 on which kind of mustard he thought might have been on the table (we think Keen’s).
SOURCE: Alexander Krivitskiy at Unsplash.
Sticking with sensory perception, Stan Hieronymus provides his “biannual reminder” that less is more when it comes to the perception of hop character in beer:
Researchers at Kyushu University found that the olfactory sensory neurons can exhibit suppression or enhancement of response when odors are mixed, meaning that perception is not the simple sum of the odors… “It has been previously considered that each odor ‘activates’ a specific set of receptors, and that the response of neurons in the nose to odor mixtures is a simple sum of the responses to each component, but now we have evidence in mice that this is not the case,” said Shigenori Inagaki, the lead author of a paper published in Cell Reports.
SOURCE: Omar Foda/Photorientalism.
For Good Beer Hunting, Omar Foda, a writer who is new to us, delves into beer and colonialism in Egypt in the 20th century:
Erik Carl Kettner had a dilemma. The Dutch employee – appointed by Heineken to head up the recently acquired Pyramid Brewery in Cairo – wanted to teach his charges about the Ten Commandments of Management. It was necessary to convey the importance of efficiency, organization, and training; to prioritize communications, supervision, and discipline… So he held a competition among the department heads to see who could reproduce them best. After collecting the answers, he announced the winners to the whole company: the ‘Awad brothers, who were in charge of the brewery’s cellars… This contest was well-meaning, but, in general, the moves Kettner and Heineken would make in response to the ground shifting underneath them would only inflame relationships within the company. The working environment would quickly turn toxic.
The photo above comes from another piece by Foda on Stella beer which is also worth reading.
Gary Gillman shines a light on brewing scientist John Lester Shimwell and his views on pasteurisation, published in 1937:
“No one, surely, would contend that pasteurised, carbonated beer is better than unpasteurised, naturally-conditioned beer, and it is therefore perhaps not untrue to say that the quality of beer, as at present retailed, is just as good as bacteria and yeast will allow it to be, since pasteurisation is enforced at the dictation of yeasts and bacteria.”
Did you know renowned beer writer Tim Webb had produced a comprehensive guide to European beer styles, available online via the European Beer Consumers’ Union? No, neither did we until @thebeernut pointed it out to us. It’s a work in progress, we gather, and will no doubt keep the pedantic busy for a few hours.
A nugget from Ron Pattinson: notes from 1943, on a strong ale from Essex, that give us a glimpse into what vat-ageing brought to the party: “a pine-apple flavour developed and the beer was ready for consumption at the end of two years”.
Finally, from Twitter, there’s this:
After 8 fruited pulp IPA's at the taproom, Yoshi had completely fucked it pic.twitter.com/oA7COHboGj
— Tom Bolland (@BeerShite) October 10, 2020
For more good reading with additional notes check out Alan McLeod’s round-up from Thursday.