News, nuggets and longreads 9 January 2021: aerosols, Allegra glasses, aalhouses

Here’s everything on beer and pubs that caught our attention in the past week, from fruity esters to Brussels beer slang.

Once again, let’s get the grim reality of now out of the way first. For New StatesmanSarah Manavis has written about aerosol transmission of COVID-19 in enclosed spaces:

People who have had coronavirus are truly baffled as to how they managed to catch it, because they wore a mask, distanced and followed official guidelines. This is not a problem of ignorance or denial, but a lack of education – and that, like so much else during this pandemic, is the fault of the government… Little has been said since the spring about the dangers of meeting indoors, even as restrictions are tightened.

And with pubs forced to close once again (see above) the Government has announced a new round of one-off grants for leisure, hospitality and retail businesses. Again, they’ve ignored the supply chain – breweries get nothing, for example – but hopefully for some, this will be the necessary bare minimum to see them through to the easing of restrictions in spring.

In the meantime, could they operate as vaccination centres? Some operators certainly seem to think so.

On a less gloomy note, the London Beer and Pub Guide has published its end-of-year stats and finds that 2020 hasn’t yet wrought disaster on the city’s beer scene:

We started 2020 with 323 Guide entries (this includes pubs, brewery taps, tap rooms, bottle shop bars, etc) and, rather bizarrely, we end the year with 323. Not surprisingly, this year saw a sharp reduction in the number of new places added to the Guide: from a record total of 80 in 2019, in 2020 we added just 25. Only four of those 25 were added after mid March… Balancing the 25 new entries were 25 deletions, and while many of these are due to the pandemic, this is not the case for them all.

A ripe peach.

For Ferment, the promotional magazine for a beer subscription service, Mark Dredge provides a useful explainer about esters – what they are, how they influence the taste of your beer and why they’re no longer talked about only in relation to quirky German and Belgian beers:

For his hazy modern IPAs, [Sam] Dickison [of Boxcar Brewing] is trying to great an ester profile of “addictively delicious fruit”. Think Fruit Salad sweets, peach, apple and vanilla. To get that he uses a blend of different yeasts: “I like blends because I feel like a lot of yeasts have some aspects where I’d prefer less of one thing and more of the other stuff. It’s interesting to see if in a blend, flavours from another yeast can mask some of the flavours you’re not so keen on.”

Cactus in a desert.

SOURCE: Christoph von Gellhorn on Unsplash.

At Bring on the BeerMichael has provided some practical tips on how to do Dry January if you’ve decided it’s for you:

The arguments over lo/no have been done to death but the one truth is that the range, and quality of that range, is growing. In 2016 all I had was Becks Blue and Kopparberg Non Alcoholic Cider. Now there is an absolute plethora of options and styles from brands such as Hammerton, Brooklyn, Budweiser, Birra Moretti, Peroni, Drop Bear, Pistonhead, Guinness Open Gate, Big Drop, St Peters, Adnams, Sharps, Tiny Rebel, Northern Monk, Br*wD*g…. the list goes on and on.


At Beer Food TravelLiam has been exploring words for food and drink in Yola, an almost-extinct language spoken by English-ish settlers in Wexford, Ireland, and their descendents:

Back in 1867 an Englishman called William Barnes published a book with the typical-for-the-time long title of A Glossary with Some Pieces of Verse of the Old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, which included information collected by Wexford native Jacob Poole around 1823… Barnes goes into great detail on pronunciation and origins of the language, suggesting it is closely connected to the language spoken in Somerset, Dorset and Devon in the past…

Verscheuren, Brussels.

This, in turn, inspired Eoghan Walsh to dig into the booze-related dialect of his adopted home for Brussels Beer City, providing 27 Brusseleir words for drinking and drunkenness:

Beeke (noun): small beer

Boemele (verb): to get drunk regularly

Druuge leiver (noun): drunk, drinker (literally, dry liver)

Allegra stemless glass.

SOURCE: Adapted from a product image at Festival Glass.

Finally, here’s something you don’t see often these days: a review of a beer glass, the Allegra stemless. It’s by Marianne Hodgkinson from the Time at the Bar podcast and makes, among others, this interesting observation:

Stemless Allegras are undeniably attractive to look at, and in a world where looks equal likes, the natural benefit of breweries adopting this glassware is the free advertisement they will get online as every beer geek worth thier salt snaps and tags thier products into the public eye. Though one might argue that these glasses drift dangerously close to #propervaseware, the effect will still financially benefit the breweries.

From Twitter, there’s this thread of retro Kitsch:

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