Here are all the beer- and pub-related links we bookmarked in the past week, including plenty of challenging stuff about who belongs in beer.
This could almost be boilerplate text: BrewDog has not had a good week. After launching a big marketing campaign criticising FIFA and World Cup hosts Qatar, there was significant backlash. They’re still showing World Cup games in their bars, it turns out, and have sold beer to the Qatar state alcohol distribution company recently. Even people on LinkedIn (generally pro-business BrewDog cheerleaders) were annoyed by this one.
A little more news: Estrella Damm has bought the Eagle Brewery in Bedford, formerly home of Charles Wells, from Carlsberg Marston’s. That means beers such as Young’s Original (AKA Bitter, AKA Ordinary) will be brewed elsewhere in the UK. The link to where these brands are from and where they’re made was broken a long time ago in most cases but, still, this feels like another step along the wrong path. Keith Flett has opinions.
Good Beer Hunting is hosting posts by the winners of Diversity in British Beer Grants from the Guild of British Beer Writers. This week, it’s a piece by Damian Kerlin about how lad culture gets in the way of gay men enjoying, and getting involved in, craft beer:
[Among] the gay men I spoke to, there was an early awareness that beer was “a man’s drink.” As I was growing up, I had a heightened sense of what was “manly” and what wasn’t, an acute awareness that my interests did not align with what I was told I should enjoy. And beer was always manly. You would only have to watch TV to see beer adverts aimed at straight men, or look at photos in national publications of pints being consumed by men staggering out of sport stadiums, to understand that. When you see a drink associated with interests that are opposed to yours, you unconsciously learn to avoid it.
For Pellicle Jemma Beedie has written about the difficulties of being seen with a beer in your hand while you’re breastfeeding a baby:
Cultural gender roles mean that women who drink may be stigmatised, and new mothers who have a drink may be criticised, either by society at large or, worse, by their families, friends and partners… New fathers are encouraged out to ‘wet the baby’s head’ but we shy away from serving new mothers a glass of wine. We don’t see men drinking as shameful or unnecessary. Many decades of marketing tell us that it is manly to drink beer. We’ve all hung out with a pair of new parents while the dad drinks beer after beer and the mum is on duty because she’s breastfeeding—the primary parent no matter the situation.
We were surprised and pleased to see a post by Michael Tonsmeire pop up in our RSS feed this week. His last was in 2020. It’s a pretty dense technical piece about yeast management in small breweries but some of you will no doubt revel in that:
When it comes to brewing delicious beer, there are few aspects more important than the yeast. A healthy fermentation allows the malt, hops, and adjuncts to shine. Pitching the right amount of healthy cells helps ensure that the finished beer has the intended alcohol, expected residual sweetness, and appropriate yeast character… Over the last four years at Sapwood Cellars we’ve slowly improved our yeast handling. We’ve noticed improved fermentation consistency, and better tasting beers. Most of our process is excessive for a homebrewer, but it might give you some ideas!
At Beer is for Everyone Ruvani de Silva has interviewed David Jesudason about Empire State of Mind, the beer he brewed with London’s Villages Brewery:
“Desis wanted to hang onto our cultural heritage, which we don’t have that much of. We have very little to hang onto when it comes to our heritage, so we see something that looks Indian, like Jaipur IPA by Thornbridge. We don’t want to pull it down, but now we can view this through a specifically desi perspective – our own perspective. All of this is a desi thing – it’s a British-Indian thing. It’s up to us to do this – we are British – there’s no other way of looking at it. We are who we are. We can’t change – British culture is part of us.”
At Belgian Smaak Cliff Lucas provides a photo portrait of Poechenellekelder in central Brussels:
The peeing boy attraction, known as Mannekin Pis, is so disorientating and bizarrely unimpressive, that visitors often need a drink afterwards to digest the experience. Nearby Poechenellekelder, however, offers little relief from the bewilderment: its eclectic wall art, peculiar hanging puppets, and strange antique photographs are nearly all dedicated to this small peeing boy…
From Twitter, an excellent newsletter worth signing up to:
We got the first edition yesterday and it is, as you might expect from Will Hawkes, great.
Finally, from Mastodon…