News, nuggets and longreads 13 February 2021: demolition & developers

Here’s all the reading about beer and pubs that caught our attention in the past week, from ambient sound to monstrous Guinness keg fonts.

First up, an important amenity: is an ambient sound generator that recreates the atmosphere of a pub or bar. You can turn sounds on and off, or adjust the levels, and even add music via a custom Spotify playlist. It was in such demand yesterday when it went viral that the site fell over but it seems to be stable now. Enjoy!

Collage: a 1960s pub.

For Hull Live, Michael Mutch has written a frankly macabre account of the misfortune and violence that has plagued the estate pubs of Hull in recent years. There are subheadings such as ‘Chainsaw threat’ and ‘Lawless pub with mass brawls’. Depending on your point of view, this is either wallowing in the misfortune of others or a rare example of absolute raw honesty:

There are many reasons why these pubs are forced to close but there are none in Hull that raised eyebrows more than Orchard Park’s Arctic Ranger… On the surface it seemed like a traditional community pub set within the heart of the Orchard Park Community. But behind closed doors it was a different story… The pub was closed down in 2013 after a spate of violent attacks in and around the premises, including glassings and mass brawls, with Humberside Police saying it had become almost lawless.

Truman pavement.

From ‘The Gentle Author’ at Spitalfields Life we get yet another story of developers rushing to destroy brewing heritage to prevent its listing holding up their no doubt very important building project:

Last year, Dan Cruickshank made a survey of the historic fabric of the Old Truman Brewery to ensure that these elements would be preserved in any redevelopment of the site, which sits within the Fournier St and Brick Lane Conservation Area. The owners have responded by destroying a large area of old granite paviours and setts in the large yard east of Brick Lane that Dan identified as original, thus avoiding the possibility of any restriction upon their future development plans in this area… The work was undertaken covertly on Thursday 28th and Friday 29th January when the yard was cordoned off by security guards while mechanical diggers removed the surface and the debris was hastily taken away on trucks.

SOURCE: Simonds Family website.

In happier news, The Giant Goram, one of Bristol’s few remaining post-war estate pubs, has been saved as developers’ plans to build houses on the site were rejected. The planning inspector, John Wilde, said:

“To my mind the Giant Goram has to be defined as a community facility… It is the last of the original five pubs in Lawrence Weston, a community that has also lost many of its other facilities. Further housing in the community is due to be developed in the near future… It has not been shown that there is no longer a need to retain the pub and alternative provision has not been made.”

SOURCE: Matt Curtis/Pellicle.

For Pellicle Matt Curtis has produced a long, earnest tribute to St. Mars of the Desert, the Sheffield brewery that evolved out of cult US outfit Pretty Things. If you’re a cynic, you might roll your eyes here and there, but enter in to the spirit of things and it’s a touching piece that also includes some astute commentary on the status of Sheffield as a beer city:

Could the arrival of Dann, Martha and The Brewery of St. Mars of the Desert be the missing piece, cementing the Steel City in people’s minds as one of England’s best beer destinations? More likely, they’ve added another layer of excitement and intrigue to an already buoyant scene. Try as they might, they did not arrive anonymously. The lofty reputation of Pretty Things following them across the Atlantic, with rumours of their new brewery soon appearing online. 

Hops against green.

From Jake Huolihan at Brülosophy comes a recipe for hop-flavoured pop introduced with an interesting nugget:

I love beer, but there are certain occasions where consuming alcoholic beverages just isn’t in the cards and can even be dangerous or illegal. According to Lagunitas, regular consumption of beer on the job was killing productivity as employees became lethargic and probably still hungover from the previous day. To keep brewers happy satiated yet sober while on the job, they began making non-alcoholic carbonated hop flavored water, a concoction that was spearheaded by homebrewer Paul Tecker in the mid-2000s.

Finally, from Twitter, there’s this:

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