News, nuggets and longreads 9 March 2024: Heroes & Villains

Here’s our selection of the best beer writing from the past week, including Meteor, Elusive and Lokalbiere.

First, though, some news. We wrote recently about what we’ve gained and lost in British beer in the past decade and had Meantime in the ‘lost’ column. Now, it’s got even more lost, as Asahi has announced it will be moving production from South East London to Chiswick, consolidating its UK brewing at Fuller’s.

And there’s more: from this fascinating story about a Ukrainian woman who has taken on the running of a pub in Newport, South Wales, we learned that Tiny Rebel is closing its flagship bar in its home town because of “decreasing footfall and rising operating costs”.

Meteor beer advertising sign, Strasbourg, France.

For Good Beer Hunting Anaïs Lecoq has written about Brasserie Meteor whose distinctly superior lager we enjoyed in Strasbourg a few years ago:

It’s unusual to find a big production site in a town center in France, but Meteor brews its 500,000 hectoliters (about 420,000 barrels) right in the middle of Hochfelden. The gigantic silo, with the brewery’s name in large, bright red letters, is unmissable from afar, giving Meteor a place in the skyline… The aroma of wort that blankets the streets is also part of the town’s atmosphere, with Meteor brewing as often as seven days a week in the busy season.

Lager illustration.

At Daft Eejit Brewing Andreas Krennmair tackles a persistent gripe: “All beer is IPA these days!” As he explains, with reference to German language sources, people have been complaining about the dominance of one beer style or another for centuries:

150 to 200 years ago, German beer and brewing experienced a massive shift. Small breweries were previously mostly brewing relatively small amounts of beer solely for the local market using little to no automation, brewers were organized in guilds, not interested in scaling out their businesses, and sometimes even bound by local law to brew and sell their beer on a rota (Reihebrauen). Then the industrial revolution came and destroyed a lot of these structures… Within just a few decades, a lot of small, local breweries simply shut down because they couldn’t compete, and local beer styles… simply went extinct because nobody wanted to drink them anymore. A lot of these beers we only know by name these days, a few have been preserved in the form of recipes, though a lot of details like how specific malts were prepared are not so well documented, leaving more questions than answers.

A smiling Andy Parker with a glass of beer outside Elusive Brewing.
SOURCE: Pellicle/Matthew Curtis.

At Pellicle David Jesudason has profiled Elusive Brewing and its founder, Andy Parker, who has acquired the perhaps burdensome reputation of “the nicest man in brewing”:

Andy’s journey from experimental homebrewer to Elusive owner and operator was documented in detail in his 2018 book CAMRA’s Essential Home Brewing. He also blogged about beer and homebrewing from 2010 under the name ‘Musings of an Elusive Beer Geek.’ But to properly understand his origin story we have to go back to 1983… At 10 years old, Andy first caught a glimpse of a beige plastic box that would change his life. The BBC Micro is now the kind of retro computer that looks garish from the harsh glare of tech-savvy 2024—a box monitor, sat on a basic 8-bit processor and Cold War nuclear launchpad-style keyboard. But to schoolchildren like Andy, it was a glimpse into the future.

BrewDog bar sign.

At VinePair Will Hawkes has dug into the collapse of BrewDog’s reputation among UK craft beer drinkers and the possible future of the company:

Every so often, Brewdog goes viral on British social media. An ill-judged spat with a much-loved Scottish lager brand; anger over the revelation that it was going to stop paying Britain’s real living wage; a skit that appears to make fun of the middle-aged, baseball-capped owners; an arch review of the brewery’s flagship London bar, which describes it as an “infernal pint crèche for confused children and the wife-dodging salarymen they’ll one day become.”… As one Twitter user put it recently, “When you see Brewdog trending it’s never because they’ve made a lovely new beer, is it?”

The City Arms, a Victorian pub in central Manchester.

On Substack, Jim Cullen recounts a crawl of central Manchester pubs, including old favourites, famous classics, and some that were new to him, despite his decades of drinking in the city:

As we approached [The Circus Tavern] Jaz said “At least the doors are open”…. Which reminded me that when the pub used to reach (its very small) capacity, they’d lock the doors. At the front. (Those in the know could access via the rear of the premises.)… In this pub, the great thing is that you don’t have a choice but to interact with the other customers. We got chatting to a lovely couple from Maghull and shot the breeze for a while. Just one of the things that makes The Circus special.

Finally, from BlueSky

IrishBeerHistory ( on BlueSky: "There are those who say we shouldn't be doing  this kind of thing. Those people are wrong, of course..." The accompanying photo is of Rye River Big Bangin' IPA blended with Saison Dupont.

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

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