News, nuggets and longreads 27 August 2022: Oompah-pah

Every Saturday we round up the most interesting writing about beer and pubs we’ve found in the past week. This time we’ve got gas, Guinness and Gärten.

The beer industry just can’t catch a break these days. On top of some terrifying figures being thrown around in relation to the rising costs of commercial energy, there’s also a problem with supplies of CO2:

CF Industries is halting ammonia production at its UK plant, in Billingham. This, in turn, will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) supplies… The plant is the main source of the country’s CO2 which is used throughout the food and drink industry. A temporary closure of the plant last year led to many shortages in the supply chain. Closure now is being blamed on soaring natural gas prices.

A pint of stout.

Dublin by Pub has caved to popular demand and decided to give a straight answer to an often-asked question: where’s the best pint of Guinness in the city?

J.M Cleary’s: Amiens Street

A favoured haunt of Michael Collins, Cleary’s is said to have had its electricity bill taken care of by Irish Rail to balance the inconvenience of having had a railway bridge pass over its roof. Evidently, the time that would have been spent on the administrative task of paying the electric has been better spent perfecting their pint purveying abilities- they’re unrivalled between the canals, as far as we’re concerned.

(Price: €5.20 as of Summer 2022) 

Illustration: "Wodge of cash."

Dave, founder of A Hoppy Place, a bottle shop in Windsor, has written in some detail about the process of crowdfunding the opening of a second outlet in Maidenhead:

I think there is an issue of credibility when it comes to some crowdfunders, and especially non-equity crowdfunders. A great many of us have been sold a dream, some snake oil, or invest in a brewery only to see it fail months later. My great friends at Weird Beard for example raised a very respectable £46k only 6 or so months before their brewery in Hanwell was closed… A question is always going to be “why do they need MY money – don’t they have it / can’t they get it?”… Both answers to that can be galling. Either the owner has access to his own funds and doesn’t want to invest them, or worse for the health of your investment: Doesn’t, and the banks are saying no.

The exterior of The Sunflower with a green sign and a notice that reads "No topless sunbathing - Ulster has suffered enough".

Lisa Grimm has been to Belfast and for Weird Beer Girl writes about her experience of drinking cask ale in its pubs:

We had been recommended The Crown Liquor Saloon for cask and food by many people, and during pre-trip planning, I was excited to update my Nicholson’s Pub app so that we could order from our eventual table (especially handy when you have a hungry child in tow). Although their dining room was closed and it was a bit crowded in the bar area as a result (soooo many people looking for the perfect Instagram shot without even getting a beer), we did manage to score one of the very pleasant snugs and ordered away… As an aside, my Grand Unified Theory of Everything is that the world would be a more pleasant place if we could replace all ‘Spoons with Nicholson’s pubs, but maybe I simply haven’t been in enough of the latter to have had a bad experience.

Lederhosen lads with litres of lager.
The Hirschgarten in Munich.

For The Washington Post Will Hawkes evokes the world of the Bavarian beer garden with a long piece covering their past, present and purpose:

Munich’s beer gardens have a checkered history. The Löwenbräukeller in Stiglmaierplatz, for example, hosted Nazi meetings in the early years of the Second World War, until a Royal Air Force bombing raid severely damaged half the building in 1944. Other beer halls and gardens, such as the Hofbräukeller in Wiener Platz, can tell similar stories… This is not, though, the Löwenbräukeller’s only history of note. It opened in 1883, when Munich was the “City of Beer and Art,” a glorious moment of growth and cultural richness. Its appearance reflects that, even if its iconic stone lion, gazing moodily into the middle distance from its perch above the entrance, was added in 1911.

(You might be unlucky with the paywall but we had no trouble reading this piece.)

"So who says we have to sit in a booth!?"

At Ferment, the promo mag for a beer subscription service, Rachel Hendry asks a great question: why are people so obsessed with “getting a booth”?

My friend Elliot Comanescu works across hospitality, design and architecture, so I asked him about the sinful, sought after nature of the booth seating… “I think you can draw lots out of this notion of public and private spaces. Booth seating creates a sense of privacy and intimacy simultaneously,” says Elliot. “The increased height of the back creates more privacy than your regular chair,” he adds, which is something I’d never considered before. A space within a space. Interesting.

Whatever the reason, the same psychology must also be behind the undignified argy-bargy over ‘table seats’ on the train.

Finally, from Twitter…

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

One reply on “News, nuggets and longreads 27 August 2022: Oompah-pah”

When I’m shown to a booth I always say “I had a nasty turn in a booth.” The older generation usually smile (through clenched teeth) and even occasionally say something like “very good Mr Bond.” The younger generation panic and offer me a seat somewhere else. No doubt afraid of the legal ramifications.

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