News, nuggets and longreads 3 September 2022: The in crowd

It’s Saturday morning and time for our regular round-up of writing about beer and pubs. This week we’ve got what feels like multiple takes on ideas of inclusion and exclusion.

First, a bit of news: on top of everything else, as Stan Hieronymus puts it, ‘It’s official: Bad to horrible year for most European hops’. Stan (whose hop-related newsletter is also worth a read) says:

This year, there was no “August Surprise” for European hop growers, whose crop was saved last year by unusually good weather just before harvest… Estimates made as harvest began — late, in many cases — indicate that the German crop will be down about 20 percent from 2021, and 18 percent below an average year. The Czechian crop, which is almost entirely Saaz, will be down 43 percent from last year’s record crop.

Illustration: a quiet corner in a quiet pub, with table and stools.

In The Drapers Arms last night all anyone wanted to talk about was the energy crisis. People are anxious and, as yet, there’s been no concrete policy response from the Government. The Pub Curmudgeon has been pondering on the idea of ‘warm rooms’ – public places where people can hang out during the day – and whether pubs might fulfil that function:

Licensees, with good reason, have always been resistant to the idea of allowing freeloaders to spend extended periods in the pub without putting any money across the bar, and to not being able to exercise control over who is allowed entry. It would not be reasonable to expect already cash-strapped pubs to extend this welcome out of the goodness of their own heart, but if this role was formally recognised it could be a reason for pubs to receive additional financial support. 

Tasting notes

Courtney Iseman has been reflecting on the language we use to describe flavour in beer and other beverages. It’s a long piece that reflects a lot of fretting over inclusivity. Ultimately, though, there’s a point about intent – are we choosing our words to lock people out, or bring them in?

Taking valid terms that capture the essence of a beer or wine well and deciding they’re the only “correct” terms instead of using them as jumping-off points for interpretation and expansion cuts entire cultures out of the conversation and keeps beverage alcohol small, narrow, homogeneous, exclusive. It tells consumers they won’t like this because they won’t get it, which, as Miroki points out, is just bad business—it obviously behooves any brand to connect with as many people as possible. It tells people that they could never be sommeliers or brewers. It others the brands that do exist, based on rigid Westernized constructs.

People outside the King's Arms.
This picture floats, uncredited, around the internet.

We’re fascinated by the idea of English pubs around the world and Gary Gillman has uncovered a great example, The King’s Arms in Kobe, Japan:

[The] pub was operated by [R.D. Courtney-Browne] (d. 1994), a Briton who took up residence in Kobe after the war. Apparently he was a former British Army major with war service in India and elsewhere in the Far East… It was built as an express tribute, including in architecture and décor, to a traditional, English country public house… Edmund Blunden, the poet, composed verses in its honour, referenced in the film. The full poem may be read in Sumie Okada’s 1988 book, Edmund Blunden and Japan: the History of a Relationship.

This 2021 Twitter thread on pubs in Japan is also worth a read:

The Murnauer Moos. SOURCE: Franz D. Hofer/Tempest in a Tankard.

At Tempest in a Tankard Franz D. Hofer takes us on a tour of Murnau in Bavaria, famous for its light which inspired artists, and which also has plenty of beer:

Small as Murnau is, it’s home to two breweries. And for folks who like to combine imbibing with wandering, Murnau is ideal. The hike around the fascinating Murnauer Moos wetlands is worth the trip alone, while the shorter Drachenstich loop with its rewarding views of the Murnauer Moos makes for a nice afternoon walk… Brauerei Karg is one of those rare Bavarian breweries like Schneider Weisse, Erdinger, Kuchlbauer, and Hopf that focuses its attention on wheat beer. And it does so to great effect… Karg has been a family enterprise since its founding in 1912, when Andreas Karg took over the Hirschvogel brewery and turned it into a wheat beer brewery. Now in its fourth generation, the brewery and its Wirtshaus is a fixture in the center of Murnau’s old town.

A group of people in a pub garden holding a rainbow flag.
SOURCE: Ferment/Out and About (Sheffield).

For Ferment, the promo mag of a beer subscription service, Siobhan Hewison has explored the various groups for queer beer drinkers around the UK:

Being openly queer is very much still a radical act, and being openly queer in a group of over a dozen other queers is even more so… I started Queer Beer Drinkers to get more people interested in beer, to diversify the scene, and to provide a safe, sociable setting for those who want to try more tasty bevs. But, it was also to create a community where queer folks can feel supported and accepted, and drink freely in ‘regular’ establishments rather than feeling like they can only hang out in ‘gay bars’…

Finally, from Twitter…

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

One reply on “News, nuggets and longreads 3 September 2022: The in crowd”

Thank-you for unearthing the article, plus the You Tube video, about the King’s Arms, in Japan. The company I work for is Japanese owned, and up until the recent pandemic, there were quite close cultural links, and exchanges, between ourselves, and the parent company.

As things slowly get back together, the links will no doubt be re-established, but I can confirm that our Japanese colleagues enjoy their beer, and always insist on being taken to an English pub, whilst visiting us on business.

Comments are closed.