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News, nuggets and longreads 21 November 2020: laddism, lager, longing for pubs

Here’s everything bookmarkworthy on beer and pubs from the past week, including two pieces on hops and one about cornettos.

There’s an absence of anything resembling beer-specific news this week although it’s clear we are entering some sort of final phase with daily vaccine progress announcements. In the meantime, we’re all missing pubs and Jim Rangeley at Mashtun and Meow has expressed the yearning well:

I miss pints.

I miss a table with torn open packs of Sneiders Pretzels.

I miss lacing.

I miss a sarni for snap after early brew shifts.

I miss 4:15 lagers with the team.

I miss the joint acknowledgement that we are, indeed, in rounds.

I miss the pub.


Vintage photo of a woman behind the bar of an Irish pub.

SOURCE: National Library of Ireland/Flickr.

At Every Pub in Dublin Cian Duffy provides a fascinating insight into the long fight for women to be allowed to work behind the bar in pubs in Ireland:

Dublin’s then strong barmans union… prohibited the employment of women in unionised pubs, and the majority of Dublin’s pubs were unionised. Most non-union pubs were smaller, family operated premises with the larger and busier pubs that made up most of the volume of the trade, and of employment of external staff, being signed to union agreements… Dublin’s infamous longest strike – that at Downeys pub in Dun Laoghaire – actually related to the replacement of a unionised staff member with a barmaid.. The first attempts to get this ban overturned came from a less than ideal source – the publicans union… seeking to be able to employ barmaids so that they could pay them less than men, this being explicitly legal until 1974.

(Via @thebeernut.)


Hops against green.

At Zythophile Martyn Cornell asks “How important were hop varieties to pre-20th century brewers?” You’ll know the answer to this if you’ve ever looked at any old brewing logs:

The hops, in themselves, were pretty irrelevant, with perhaps the single exception that Goldings, as THE premium hop, were regarded as the hop to use in the most premium beers, such as IPAs. But apart from that, the concept of “hop variety” itself was scarcely developed, as far as brewers (but not growers) were concerned… For growers, varieties WERE important, but the importance of variety was not connected with flavour so much as yield…


Lager illustration.

For Pellicle Adrian Tierney-Jones has produced a characteristically spiralling, tumbling piece of prose-poetry on the subject of lager:

If ever there was such a hopeless descriptor of a family of beers of various colours, aromas, flavours and cultural mores, then lager is it. This is a variety of beers that encompasses the brooding, shadowy alter egos of bock, doppelbock and schwarzbier, the bright, cheerful treasure hoard of gold-flecked helles, pils, kellerbier and světlý ležák and not forgetting the amber assertiveness of a vienna or a märzen (oh and there’s also rauchbier, maibock, festbier, zoigl, tmavý ležák and American pils). I could cheerfully hang out with this family for the rest of my life.


Pub life.

Next up it’s, erm, us. We wrote a lot of ‘Pub life’ vignettes over the past few years. Then, when we came to put together our best-of collection Balmy Nectar, we realised they clicked together rather well as an extended piece which we called ‘The Complete Pub Life’. That is now available for everyone to read via our Patreon feed:

Two barmen in matching polo shirts, one small, one tall, stand behind the bar with arms folded engaged in debate with a regular sat at the bar.

The tall barman leads: ‘No, you’re not getting what I’m saying: I’m asking, does a staircase go up or come down? Which way does it go?’

‘Up,’ says the baffled regular. ‘If it didn’t go up, you wouldn’t need it to come down. That it comes down is a side effect of it having gone up in the first place.’


Diagram of EKG flavours.

SOURCE: Brulosophy.

At Brulosophy Paul Amico has been experimenting with East Kent Goldings. We all know the cliched descriptors but what does this classic hop variety actually bring to beer?

Participants were instructed to focus only on the aromatic qualities of the beer before evaluating the flavor. For each aroma and flavor descriptor, tasters were asked to write-in the perceived strength of that particular characteristic on a 0-9 scale where a rating of 0 meant they did not perceive the character at all and a 9 rating meant the character was extremely strong. Once the data was collected, the average rating of each aroma and flavor descriptor was compiled and analyzed… Like the blind tasters, I also perceived a bit more fruit than I expected based on existing descriptions, though floral notes and a mushroom-like earthiness were just underneath.

(Via Stan Hieronymus.)


The World's End: the 'gang' lined up at the bar downing lager.

For Burum Collective Paul Crowther has been thinking about beer and gender stereotypes in the so-called Cornetto Trilogy of films by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg:

Edgar Wright has had the same socialisation from media that is then being repeated in his own creations. Edgar growing up will have seen the same representations of men and women on tv and film and has unthinkingly reproduced them. His female characters drinking vodka tonics, his underage drinkers all being teenage boys, his pubs filled with men because that is just obvious, it doesn’t require thought… Does this mean Edgar Wright is a bad man, should we shun him and boycott the films? No, not at all. They are still good films and I’ll still enjoy them, whilst being aware of their shortcomings in this area.


And, from Twitter, there’s this.

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

2 replies on “News, nuggets and longreads 21 November 2020: laddism, lager, longing for pubs”

Yes. All of that stuff is there – the analysis is good as far as that goes – but the idea that it’s a problem with the films seems, well, problematic. Saying that a particular scene “doesn’t represent reality” seems off the mark – the films don’t aspire to “represent reality” (they wouldn’t feature zombies, bloodthirsty rural cultists or aliens if they did). From the moment we meet Simon Pegg’s character we’re operating within a familiar set of tropes, a familiar fictional world of gendered socialisation – a caricatured (and mildly critiqued) version of that world, but still a very recognisable one. Not having Gary in World’s End refer to drinking water in a pub as “gay” would be like rewriting Friends so that Ross is on good terms with Susan – it’d be better politically, and would make the characters more like you and me, but it would go against the grain of the way it’s written.

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