Here’s everything on beer and pubs that seized our attention in the past week, from greasy spoons to tap rooms.
For Imbibe Will Hawkes has been investigating what’s going on with London’s beer scene as outsiders infiltrate and success leads to exodus:
Enid Street is not London’s most picturesque road, despite the huge, verdant plane trees on the Neckinger Estate along its southern side in Bermondsey. It’s a place of light industry rather than elegant architecture, distinguished by its railway-arch businesses and the rumble of trains on the tracks above. For beer-lovers, though, Enid Street is special, and it is about to become even more so…. The recent past and immediate future of London beer and brewing is being played out here. Regulars on the ‘Bermondsey Beer Mile’…. may know about Moor Beer, the Bristol brewery that occupies number 71. And if they don’t yet, they’ll surely soon know all about number 73, which Cloudwater is turning into a London tap for its Manchester-brewed products.
London isn’t an island and all that.
The weeks-old post Cask Report discussion continues, and continues to be interesting.
First, Pete Brown reveals some of the background research behind the Cask Report, which he didn’t edit this year, but did contribute to. Of particular note is the word-cloud showing what people who don’t drink cask ale think of it: “old man”, “unpleasant”, “strong”, “dark”, “warm”, “thick”, “hipster”, “piss”, and so on.
Meanwhile, at the narrative end of the lane, Jessica Mason has been conducting a thought experiment: what if cask ale was a person, and what if you were trying to convince a mate to go on a blind date with it?
You were so busy trying to describe them by comparing them to others and by trying to impress people with details on their past or intellect; you forgot all of the really great things about them.
You forgot the fact that they are honest. Humble. And really really nice.
You forgot to say how, when you met them, that moment was life-affirming. And how, for lots of your shared time, they have always been a pleasure and a comfort.
This article about greasy spoon cafes by Edwina Attlee for Architectural Review isn’t about pubs but also kind of is, in a week when there has been much discussion of boozeless boozers, and in the general context of thinking about ‘the third place’:
In one sense it was the immateriality of the food in these places that meant they were problematic for planners and puritans alike. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, you could always get breakfast. It didn’t matter how long you stayed as long as you ordered a cup of tea. If you were going there for one reason (company or comfort), you could pretend it was for another (eggs and bacon). If the planners hoped that civilians would start and end their day at the family home, these strayed homes made that less likely. They needed to be planned out.
Here’s another shout-out for new blogger Peter Allen who at Pete Drinks a Beer reflected this week on the supposed gulf between the world of beer geeks and that of ‘normals’:
Aside from the brewery based at trendy Fort Point, Trillium also run a beer garden (Garden on the Greenway) in a more offices-and-Irish Pubs part of the city that I visited twice. Perhaps the most notable thing about this was that, although there were a handful of the maligned “people sitting there with five small glasses in front of them, filled with different beers, taking notes”, the place was mostly filled with people who clearly had no idea that a) Trillium are a world-renowned brewery or b) that many Craft Beer Nerds would likely consider exchanging a limb for a night spent at the Garden on the Greenway. Most of them were drinking the lowest ABV beer on offer (the superb Launch Beer) and paying it basically no mind whatsoever.
The Beer Nut offers tasting notes on an interesting set of beers: a stout/Lambic blend from Guinness and Timmerman’s, with support from a bunch of Belgian-inspired beers brewed at the experimental Open Gate brewery in Dublin. Some hits, some misses, but overall an intriguing path for Guinness to be on, even tentatively.
We’ve never quite got into the Thomas Hardy game but we note with interest via our pal Darren Norbury at Beer Today that the 50th anniversary edition of the beer, brewed at Meantime, is now on sale.
Now, an advertisement for someone else: if you value what Ron Pattinson does (“Pedantically correct people on Twitter?” No, the painstaking research and writing and stuff) then you really ought to bung him some money once in a while. Now, there’s a fun new way to do that: for €25 he’ll dig into his vast collection of historic beer recipes and find one for a date of your choice — your birthday, or your kid’s, or your wedding anniversary, or whenever.
Finally, here’s an interesting bit of news for people who like to monitor CAMRA after the manner of Cold War Kremlinologists:
One of the four founders of CAMRA, Michael Hardman, has resigned from the National Executive.
Michael served as National Chairman for two years at the inception of the campaign and recently returned to chair the Revitalisation Project.
We wish Michael the best for his future.
— Dudley & South Staffs CAMRA (@DudleyCAMRA) October 19, 2018
Want more? Alan does something like this every Thursday, too.