Adnams and Sustainability

adnams1.gifAs part of their push to build a rep­u­ta­tion as one of Britain’s green­est brew­ers, Suf­folk brew­ery have stuck a nice lit­tle book­let (print­ed in veg­etable ink, on recy­cled paper) into every issue of New Sci­en­tist this week. The book­let out­lines, in some detail, every­thing they’re doing to reduce their envi­ron­men­tal impact.

Brew­ing and beer (espe­cial­ly beer from abroad) is a guilty plea­sure for peo­ple who wor­ry about the envi­ron­ment. Most brew­eries waste a lot of ener­gy to turn bar­ley and water into beer. Adnams are ahead of the game in try­ing to reduce the wastage. For exam­ple, they say they reuse 90% of the steam pro­duced by the process. They’ve also made their bot­tles lighter and, in so doing, reduced their “car­bon foot­print” sig­nif­i­cant­ly, because they’re eas­i­er to trans­port.

I’ve nev­er been par­tic­u­lar­ly excit­ed by any of their beers – I sus­pect this is to do with the crap­py pubs where I’ve tast­ed them! – but do applaud the huge com­mit­ment they’ve appar­ent­ly made to this cause.

Update: I’m not the only one who’s inter­est­ed in green brew­eries today…

Truman, Hanbury and Buxton in the East End

Tru­man, Han­bury and Bux­ton were one of the biggest brew­eries in Lon­don in the 19th and ear­ly 20th cen­turies. They moved to Bur­ton in the 1970s, merged with Wat­ney Mann not long after, and then closed alto­geth­er. East Lon­don – the area imme­di­ate­ly around the old Black Eagle Brew­ery – is par­tic­u­lar­ly rife with small reminders.

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More after the, er, “more” link…

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Tru­man, Han­bury and Bux­ton in the East End”

92 Squadron

Did you know there was a Bat­tle of Britain Loco­mo­tive Soci­ety? No, me nei­ther. Can you work out from the name of the organ­i­sa­tion what they actu­al­ly do? No, me nei­ther.

The impor­tant thing is that they inspired the Bunting­ford Brew­ery Com­pa­ny from Hert­ford­shire to cre­ate 92 Squadron, one of the most deli­cious beers I’ve had in ages. It looks like a brown bit­ter, but has a shed­load of flo­ral, cit­rusy Amer­i­can hops in it (Amar­il­lo and Colum­bus) so tastes a bit like an IPA. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed.

The pump clip for the beer adver­tis­es the soci­ety, with a the weblink above. Nice idea.

Beer label design

Randy Mosh­er, a home­brew­er and com­mer­cial design­er, argues in his excel­lent book Rad­i­cal Brew­ing that a bad­ly designed label says to peo­ple: “I don’t respect my beer, so why should you?”

I think this is an inter­est­ing point. There are cer­tain beers whose labels I like almost more than the beer. A bad label can lead to a good beer being ignored; and a great label can make you try a beer you’d prob­a­bly oth­er­wise not look at twice.

There are sev­er­al dif­fer­ent schools of label design. Here are just a few.

1. Pri­ma­ry colours, gilt – “mod­ern but tra­di­tion­al”
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Fuller’s and Cain’s. This real­ly works for me. Some­how sug­gests qual­i­ty. Fuller’s car­ry this style of gold and enam­el all the way through their brand. Cains – a great brew­ery, I’m begin­ning to think, from the two beers I’ve had – do it even bet­ter. All the bet­ter for being entire­ly ersatz!

2. Antique, brown paper – “found in a crate aboard a sunken Napoleon­ic frigate”

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Guin­ness, Bur­ton Bridge Brew­ery and… er… us.

Anoth­er good style, and a good option for the skint brew­ery with no innate design abil­i­ty. Imme­di­ate­ly looks cred­i­ble, restrained and, again, sug­gests tra­di­tion. The down­side is, your beer can look like a jar of pick­le from a church fayre.

3. Quaint­ly ama­teur­ish – “my son is a tal­ent­ed design­er”

My least favourite school of beer label design, but often con­ceal­ing great beer. I’m not going to name names here, but you know the kind of thing I mean: cheap illus­tra­tions, names ALL IN CAPS; prob­a­bly in Times New Roman; pos­si­bly even clip art. OK, I will name one: Sier­ra Neva­da. The beers are great. The bot­tles even look nice – they’re at the top end of “ama­teur­ish” – but they look a bit cheap. Like maybe they were coloured in with felt tip pens.

If you’re brew­ing your own beer and want some inspi­ra­tion for your own labels, check out the Brew Your Own label design con­test win­ners, and also Randy Mosh­er’s own site.

What food should I serve with this beer?

Over on the Brook­ston beer blog they bring news of a four course meal themed around var­i­ous Schnei­der Weiss prod­ucts.

I real­ly rate Schnei­der Aventi­nus (not that orig­i­nal, I know – I seem to recall Michael Jack­son say­ing that if he had to pick a favourite beer, it would prob­a­bly be that), and I like the idea that it has inspired a chef to con­coct a menu to go with it.

It’s a com­mon rant of ours that hard­ly any restau­rants con­sid­er hav­ing a beer menu to go with the food, but hav­ing a food menu to go with the beer? Get me to Chica­go…