Everything We Wrote in November 2017: Patreon’s Choice, Cask Magic, Brussels

November 2017 (and the ceiling of a Bristol pub)

Here’s everything we wrote last month in one handy round-up, including bits and pieces published in places other than the blog, and links to responses by other bloggers where we spotted them.

We began the month by raving about a delicious Vienna lager from Zero Degrees in Bristol. When we went back for more a few days later, it had run out. We hope it gets brewed again.


We observed that there seems to have been a flood of porters this autumn and mentioned a few we’d spotted. Earlier this week we noticed that Truman’s also have one out, though it’s not the first year they’ve done so. (Lisa Grimm mentioned this post in her contribution to…)


Session #129 was about missing beer styles, which led us to the conclusion that every beer style under the sun appears to be in product in or near Bristol — what a time to be alive! (Eoghan Walsh’s round-up of all the contributions is here.)

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Replacement Blog Services On This Line from 23 Nov 2017

The window of Mort Subite in Brussels.

We’re off on a break just short enough that we won’t be putting together the usual News, Nuggets & Longreads round-up this coming Saturday.

In the meantime, do check out Stan Hieronymus’s weekly round-up, Alan McLeod’s rare foray into the same territory, and Jordan’s at Timely Tipple’s beer history links.

We’ve also updated the list of lesser-known blogs from yesterday with a few we forgot including Life After FootballLincoln Pub Geek and Pursuit of Abbeyness.

We should (fingers crossed) also be continuing to Tweet, Facebook and Instagram from Brussels — give us a follow if you like pictures of beer, bars, ghost signs, breweries, and all that jazz.

Refresh Your Feeds

A quill pen.

The other day in conversation on Twitter with Nathaniel Southwood (@NateDawg27) we were prompted to think about beer blogs and bloggers again.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut following the same few people you’ve always engaged with since year dot and thus get the idea that Beer Blogging is Dead when some or all of them give up the game. Meanwhile, whole new waves of blogs have come, and maybe gone, and probably been replaced by yet more.

We share round-ups of interesting stuff every Saturday, trying to cast the net as far and wide as possible, which hopefully helps highlight interesting writers but we sometimes end up featuring the same names time and again for various reasons.

So, by way of a bit of extra sauce, what we’re going to do here is provide a list (if not’s rude to say so) of less well-known bloggers we’re following via RSS (we use Feedly) with brief notes on what they’re about.

You might not like the look of all of them, and inclusion doesn’t necessarily equate to endorsement, but hopefully you’ll find at least one or two new things to spice up your feeds.

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Everything We Wrote in October 2017: Painted Pubs, Plum Porter, Poetry

Header: beer tanks at Zero Degrees.

We didn’t manage quite so many posts this month as in September but that’s partly because we spent quite a bit of what is usually blogging time, before breakfast and after work, writing articles for (ker-ching) cash money.

We started the month off with a guest post on another blog, Municipal Dreams, about estate pubs:

The lack of pubs on estates in the first part of the 20th century was often a direct result of the temperance instinct: pubs were of the slum and if people were to be rescued from that environment and culture, the drier the sanctuary the better. That debate continued in the period after World War II with serious consideration given to nationalising any pubs to be built in new towns and a determined lobby that thought building any pubs at all was on par with providing, say, council-sponsored opium dens.


Our second post of the month about what The Local actually means in relation to pubs generated a huge amount of discussion on Twitter (1 | 2) — or, rather, intensified a discussion that was already underway.

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Further Reading #1: The Newcastle Beerpendium

Researching 20th Century Pub we spent time in some great libraries and archives with rich collections of pub- and beer-related material. We barely got to scratch the surface in the book so this series of blog posts is intended to highlight some great resources you can go and look up yourself.

Our first stop is the City Library in Newcastle upon Tyne which we visited for a couple of pleasant sessions in June 2016. The top floor reference collection has a nice collection of books on the region’s pubs, most packed with photos and anecdotes, like this from Brian Bennison’s Heavy Nights, published in 1997:

In Gosforth High St the County Hotel was owned by James Deuchar before [Scottish & Newcastle]. One significant change took place in 1975 when the sanctity of the Gents’ Buffet was breached after what was thought to have been 140 years of ‘men only’. The day the Sex Discrimination Act came into force three female journalists entered the Gents’ Buffet to push the boat out with an order of one glass of cider and two fruit juices. The landlord told them, “You realise you’ve just made history in here. It’s a sad day.”

The real star of the show, though, is a huge scrapbook of newspaper clippings and leaflets. Archivists rightly protest when people claim to have ‘unearthed’ something which they, the librarians, found, bound and catalogued years ago, and this collection is a great example of their work. It contains early Tyneside CAMRA leaflets, for example — the kind of thing that most people threw away or lost when their guidance ceased to be useful but that someone thought to keep and preserve.

Good Pub Guide c.1975

From the above, undated but c.1975 we’d guess, it becomes clear how dominant Bass was in the region and that the Mitre at Benwell (second on the list) and the Duke of Wellington in Newcastle city centre were the most notable ‘beer exhibition’ pubs.

The news cuts tell interesting stories, too, such as the offence taken in the region in 1971 when analyses of beer strength undertaken by Durham County Weights and Measures Inspectors revealed that the North East’s beer was rather weaker than popularly imagined.

HEADLINE: "We're Weak Beer Snobs!"

This article also contains a table of the original gravity, ABV and price-per-pint of every beer sold in the region. (Which we think we’ve already shared with Ron Pattinson…)

There’s a story from 1976 about a two-day CAMRA beer festival in Durham with no less than fifteen different ales, but not Tetley, which refused to supply the event because they feared the beer ‘would not be served properly’. That’s followed by a review of the event by John North for the Northern Echo:

There was a feller professing to be the Earl of Derby’s nephew, another who’d struggled there on crutches, and a third who carried round an empty Castrol GTX can, presumably in case he needed to take a few samples home… The senior man at St Chad’s College arrived in knee-length shorts and near knee-length hair; the wife of a bookshop owner in Saddler Street came in a Pickwickian dress; a lot of men wore light blue CAMRA tee-shirts over tight brown bellies and a young lady had the peculiar message ‘Lubby, lubby, lubby’ emblazoned across her chest… In one corner a bearded man sat engrossed in his Times crossword, automatically reaching out every few seconds to grab his Hook Norton’s.

(An early manifestation of the bellies and beards stereotype?)

One final item worth highlighting is the arrival in 1977 of Tsing-Tao at the Emperor Restaurant, run by Arthur King who came to Newcastle from Hong Kong as a child in the 1940s. The Journal had great fun with the crazy idea of Geordies drinking beer from China and got a few locals to taste it, like 71-year-old pensioner Albert Smith:

It’s very good: a soft, smooth tasting drink… But at 40p a bottle it’s too expensive for people like me to drink. And it’s a long way to take the bottle back.

Beyond the stuff specifically relating to beer and pubs there are also, for example, decades’ worth of issues of local society magazine Newcastle Life packed with ads for local pubs, clubs and breweries. (Main picture, top.)

If you live in the North East and fancy learning about your region’s beer history, or if you’re in Newcastle as a beer tourist and need something to do between your smashed avocado toast and the pub opening, do pop in and take a look at this fascinating collection.