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News, nuggets and longreads 14 November 2020: Mexico, money, mould

Here’s all the writing about beer and pubs that seized our attention in the past week, from microbiology to model pubs.

First, a bit of news: Guinness recently launched an alcohol-free variant of its stout; that beer has now been recalled because of the possible presence of mould in the beer. This comes a week or two after a major publicity blitz which saw many writers and bloggers receiving free samples – we’re not saying Diageo was trying to wipe out its critics but… No, we’re definitely not saying that.


Macro shot of 1p pieces with The Queen's profile.

Paul Crowther answered our challenge and wrote about something that’s always puzzled him in the world of beer: why are we so shy about asking the price of a pint?

What an absolutely bizarre commercial interaction. The bar doesn’t advertise the price, I don’t ask for the price because its against social norms to do so, the beer server doesn’t even then inform me of the price until after I have the change and beer in my hand. I leave with the can, even though it was unopened and I could easily have asked for refund and got a different drink! We’ve all been there, left with less change than we thought we’d get, or asked to hand over more money when we though the note we handed over was sufficient. I’ve even had a pint handed to me, poured and the server say to me “That’s £5.20, unfortunately!’ Like he’d tricked me somehow.


Gig posters on a pub in Manchester.

Our post on ‘greebling’ inspired a response from Phil Edwards at Oh Good Ale – it’s do with implying age, he reckons:

Age doesn’t necessarily mean trying to look like “really old pubs”, either. I’m thinking of Jam Street Café, a bar near us that I never used to visit very often (beer range not great, plenty of alternatives). When I did go in, though, I always felt comfortable straight away, purely because of the decor: framed posters advertising local bands from the very first days of punk… I went in again a year or so back, after a refit and a rename (Jam Street), and immediately felt uncomfortable. I realised eventually it was (also) because of the decor – the walls were now covered with posters for all these, I don’t know, modern, up-to-the-minute acts, like Moby and Catatonia and the Stereophonics… In other words, instead of appealing to people who wanted to be reminded of their lost youth in the late 70s, they’d reoriented to people who wanted to be reminded of their lost youth in the late 90s.


Santa Barbara, Mexico.

Kevin Kain of Casket Beer has been inspired by Andreas Krennmair’s recent eBook on Vienna lager to dig deeper into the history of this beer style in Mexico:

Mexican lager brewing didn’t start until in the mid-1880s with brewers primarily from Germany and Switzerland, many of whom had trained in the United States. The growth at this time was due to the completion of a rail line between El Paso, Texas and Mexico City, providing access to grain and brewing equipment, including refrigeration. This kicked off a period of dramatic growth in domestic production… Some of the literature about these early breweries is incorrect or misleading by confusing when a brewery opened, and when it began making lager. For example, it is true that Compania Cervecera Toluca y Mexico, makers of Victoria, began operations in 1865, but they were producing ales. It was not until two decades later that a new owner, Santiago Graf, began making lager.


Paper model of a pub.

Do you fancy printing and making a tiny model of the Betsey Trotwood, a pub in Clerkenwell, London? Well, here you go. It’s by Andrew Frueh, based on an original photogrametric scan by David Fletcher.


Liverpool c.1907.

For the British Library’s Untold Lives project, cataloguer Lesley Shapland explores the story of her great-great-grandfather John Barlow:

On 29 December 1884, John was having a drink after work in the Farmer’s Arms, New Ferry, when he accidentally picked up the wrong pint of beer and drank from it. The pint’s owner, John Whitehouse, alias Mantle, objected and an argument quickly escalated into a fight… Unfortunately, John sustained fatal injuries and died next morning in the Borough Hospital, Birkenhead.


Finally, from Twitter… how big is Ron’s beer cellar?

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

5 replies on “News, nuggets and longreads 14 November 2020: Mexico, money, mould”

No chance of me being wiped out then. I didn’t get a sample sent. I would though hope that is of the bloggers sent some, it excludes somehow the other nine bloggers in the Vuelio Top Ten, or I might feel picked on. But I doubt that. Of course, they could have knowingly spared me the contamination, but that seems unlikely. Or maybe it is the deserved criticism I have meted out to them over the year.

I made a paper model of the Cross Keys in Newark about 20 years ago. But, annoyingly, seem to have lost the file. And those of the paper tram models I made for my kids.

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