News, nuggets and longreads 11 December 2021: butter beer, cola beer

There’s been a lot of writing about brewing, beer and pubs in the past week. Here’s everything that struck us as particularly insightful or interesting, from London to Newcastle.

First, news of the ill-fated London Fields Brewery. Surrounded by scandal in its early years, it was acquired by Brooklyn/Carlsberg in 2017. But now…

For the sake of accessibility, that reads:

“It is with regret that we have taken a difficult decision and propose to close London Fields Brewery with a view to selling the business and finding new owners… We will close our taproom and e-commerce platforms and pause onsite brewing immediately… If you would like to reach out, please visit our website at and we will aim to get back to you pronto… We thank you all for your support on our journey so far and we’re hopeful that London Fields will continue in the near future, if a sale is agreed… Until then, stay safe and be kind.”

There’s more information at Beer Today:

This week, CMBC CEO, Paul Davies, said the company would enter into a period of consultation with the London Fields team. It would also explore market interest in the business… The taproom has closed with immediate effect, and brewing has been suspended. Hartlepool-based Camerons will brew some of the beers for on-trade customers.

SOURCE: Brussels Beer City/Eoghan Walsh.

At Brussels Beer City Eoghan Walsh explains the purpose and history of the Tire-Bouchon, a device we feel we’ve seen without understanding:

As early as the 1850s “Lambic et Lambic (gueuse)” were sold side by side. Once Lambic brewers and blenders mastered the bottle conditioning of Lambic, Gueuze began to take its now-familiar form: a blend of variously-aged Lambic, conditioned in green champagne bottles, and corked. Once opened by a countertop metal tire-bouchon (corkscrew), this Lambic Gueuze was (relatively) clear, foamy, and highly carbonated… Lambic was a 19th century beer, a hangover from Brussel’s pre-industrial past. Gueuze, a product of its modern, industrialising future, was a beer for the 20th century. And on café shelves across the city, earthenware Lambic jugs eventually ceded their place to the tires-bouchons of the iron foundries.

Dr Christina Wade has been in the lab again. This time, she’s made a version of 16th century butter beer “with sugar, warming spices, eggs, and you guessed it, butter”:

To make Buttered Beere… Take three pintes of Beere, put fiue yolkes of Egges to it, straine them together, and set it in a pewter pot to the fyre, and put to it halfe a pound of Sugar, one penniworth of Nutmegs beaten, one penniworth of Cloues beaten, and a halfepenniworth of Ginger beaten, and when it is all in, take another pewter pot and brewe them together, and set it to the fire againe, and when it is readie to boyle, take it from the fire, and put a dish of sweet butter into it, and brewe them together out of one pot into an other.

At Craft Beer Newcastle Robin Colwyn has written about the magic moments you sometimes get in pubs – a topic to which we’re naturally drawn:

The beer, the atmosphere, the light, everything, and this is comparable to similar moments in sport or the arts. In that conversation, I was comparing the buzz in the pub, to a time I was in the audience at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon, when the play, the actors and the audience just connect. Or watching the Toon, when the goals fly in and that disbelief becomes joy and belief… Or sitting in The Mean Eyed Cat being drawn into a long rambling conversation by a young French woman, her girlfriend and their dog, as she became progressively merrier and more endearing.

Pilsner Coke logo.

Like us, Gary Gillman enjoys mixing beers, but this week, he pushed the boundaries of good taste by mixing beer with cola. But the thing is…

Over decades I combined beer in virtually every way imaginable, but not that way… I suppose I had the maven’s distrust of what seemed a gimmick drink… But this was the perfect opportunity to go for it, so we did… Given the Germans’ unquestioned mastery of all things brewing, I should have credited them with a better idea than (until this test) I did… Because it’s very good!

A brain.

We usually link to Alan McLeod’s weekly round-up in an endnote but, this week, it’s more than a collection of links and notes – it’s a blog post in its own right, or maybe two, or three:

Can we tie that argument all together: awards now suck because the dysfunction of style sucks because new craft sucks because young people who want new craft today… suck? Really? Isn’t something else the problem?  Hasn’t uncontrolled style division and propagation as a top down exercise itself caused craft’s cacophony as opposed to clarifying anything? Who pushed that propagation of sub-style after sub-style? Those who benefit from manufactured complexity. And who is that? Surely not the reader of a well thumbed copy of Modern British Beer.

Finally, from Twitter, yet another evocative painting of a pub:

For more good reading check out Stan Hieronymus’s round-up from Monday.

6 replies on “News, nuggets and longreads 11 December 2021: butter beer, cola beer”

Heavens! Thanks for enjoying that paragraph. I worked and reworked on getting myself to that statement over the course of three days. Wasn’t sure it even made sense.

Thanks guys. In a beer culture that values the vinegar-laced taste of many ‘specialties’, or tropical cocktail vibe of much current IPA, the cola-pils mix stands shoulder-to-shoulder, at least.

It needs the power of early pils, which craft often duplicates, to show it at its best. Mixing with a standard lager isn’t nearly as good, but that is the type of beer most used who tried the mix years back only to dismiss it.

Something the craft brewers might look at for the next jam.

Just as a culinary pairing opportunity, a pal from my hometown grew up with “Calgary Roast” which was beef pot roast coasted in basic hot dog quality ketchup, mustard and green relish and basted with Coke. Sounds disgusting but its one of the best comfort foods ever.

Interesting, I’m game to try it, maybe using a Diesel for the Coke.

Some Americans in the old days used Coke to baste ham, this seems a variation, or vice versa.

Calgary invented the Bloody Caesar, maybe this will take off next! 🙂

We’re currently working our way through a tea advent calendar. Thursday’s was a cherry cola teabag that worked incredibly well. Personally, I like Coke, and think it’s a more subtle-tasting drink than is sometimes recognised — lime, cinnamon… All interesting flavours.

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