Hats off to Hamburger Union…

…for their short but sweet beer list. I’m not usu­al­ly one to plug restau­rant chains, but I was very impressed to see Hook Nor­ton Best Bit­ter on the menu, and the fact that they have both­ered to get a decent bit­ter in makes it a pop­u­lar choice for a sneaky bit of qual­i­ty junk­food.

They also have Pil­sner Urquell – the orig­i­nal pils.

Ham­burg­er Union home page


1918 anti-brewing tract

I can’t find out much about Adolph Kei­t­el, but in 1918, he wrote “Gov­ern­ment by the Brew­ers?”. It was pub­lished in Chica­go, and is an anti-brew­ery/an­ti-beer tract. It’s avail­able from Project Guten­berg, the free etext archive.

His argu­ment is a bit odd – he’s not anti-pro­hi­bi­tion, but he’s annoyed that brew­ers were try­ing to con­vince peo­ple beer was less harm­ful than whisky. He says that beer is a habit form­ing drug (“It’s not a drug – it’s a drink” – Chris Mor­ris) and not fit to be in the home. Brew­ers, he argues, are a sin­is­ter force for evil.

This point re: the qual­i­ty of Amer­i­can beer is par­tic­u­lar­ly amus­ing:


In the well known Euro­pean beer drink­ing coun­tries noth­ing but hops and malt are per­mit­ted in brew­ing.

Here beer is a con­coc­tion of corn, rice, hops, malt, glucose,preservatives and oth­er drugs–and, in most cas­es, it has noth­ing in com­mon with real beer oth­er than its arti­fi­cial foam and col­or.

A leader of pub­lic opin­ion made the state­ment in the Unit­ed States Sen­ate that “Beer that is brewed in this coun­try is slop. They say it is ‘good for the health.’ I nev­er saw a man who drank it who was not a can­di­date for Bright’s dis­ease or paral­y­sis.”

Who makes those lovely German beer glasses?

On the recent Boak & Bai­ley tour of Bavaria, we were, as always, daz­zled by the cos­met­ic beau­ty of every beer we were served. It helps that the beer always has a creamy, frothy head, sev­er­al inch­es in height, but most of the impact real­ly comes from the glass­es and stoneware it’s served in.

SAHM’s tradition goblet
Con­tin­ue read­ing “Who makes those love­ly Ger­man beer glass­es?”

Curry and beer

The British Guild of Beer Writ­ers reports on a recent “tast­ing event” at the Bom­bay Brasserie in Lon­don. Emi­nent beer experts got togeth­er for a cur­ry and tried to work out which beers went best with spicy foods. Their rec­om­men­da­tions are here.

Rupert Pon­son­by, co-founder of the Beer Acad­e­my com­ments:
What this tast­ing hope­ful­ly shows is the poten­tial for Britain’s 8,500 cur­ry restau­rants to look seri­ous­ly at devel­op­ing beer lists to inspire their cus­tomers and to match with their cui­sine. This is a fan­tas­tic com­mer­cial and mar­ket­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty for them. Top Miche­lin-starred restau­rants such as Le Gavroche, Le Manoir aux Qua­tre Saisons and Aubergine have already tak­en the lead in cre­at­ing inspired beer lists, and it will be won­der­ful to see top Indi­an restau­rants doing the same.

On a vis­it to the Cin­na­mon Club last year, I was appalled to find that the only beer they had avail­able was Cobra lager. Cobra’s OK – nicer than you’d expect, is what I mean, for a mass-pro­duced lager made in Bed­ford – but sure­ly not any­where near as posh as the food, the wine or the wait­ers? Ms. Boak vis­it­ed one of Gary Rhodes’ restau­rants in the City of Lon­don last year, too, and was sim­i­lar­ly dis­ap­point­ed by the lack of any beer, nev­er mind a beer list.

Of course, my local cur­ry­house, which is very cheap and cheer­ful, is run by Sri Lankans, and they sell won­der­ful Lion Stout. It’s not a per­fect beer to drink with a cur­ry, but it’s a great one to have as a dessert. So, posh­er isn’t always bet­ter for beer lovers.