News, Nuggets & Longreads for 2 June 2018: Flanders, Erith, Easterly Road

Here’s everything that grabbed our attention in writing about beer and pubs in the past week, from D&D to WWI.

First, a great sto­ry by Liam Barnes that just missed the cut off for last week’s round-up, about the part pubs and bars are play­ing in the resur­gence of Dun­geons & Drag­ons:

On first glance this branch of Brew­Dog in Not­ting­ham might seem like your typ­i­cal hip­ster hang­out, but one thing gives it a slight­ly dif­fer­ent air: numer­ous hand-drawn maps, some char­ac­ter sheets, and volu­mi­nous bags of 20-sided dice.… It’s the bar’s month­ly table­top gam­ing night – and reg­u­lars love it.… “I think the escapism is the best bit,” says 27-year-old gamer Han­nah Yeates. “For a few hours you can become a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent per­son liv­ing a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent life, mak­ing deci­sions you’d nev­er make and for­get­ting what’s hap­pen­ing in the real world.… It’s lib­er­at­ing.”

German troops sharing beer during World War I.

For All About Beer Christo­pher Barnes has writ­ten a long, detailed, heav­i­ly illus­trat­ed account of how World War I affect­ed French and Bel­gian brew­eries:

The monks of West­malle and Achel were forced to flee to The Nether­lands. The Bel­gians, in their defense of Antwerp, destroyed a tow­er at West­malle to pre­vent it being used as an obser­va­tion post by the approach­ing Ger­mans. Achel was occu­pied by the Bel­gians and shelled by the Ger­mans until they were able to solid­i­fy their hold on Bel­gium. To keep cit­i­zens from going back and forth over the bor­der with The Nether­lands, the Ger­mans erect­ed an elec­tri­fied fence along the bor­der. Since Achel strad­dles the bor­der of The Nether­lands and Bel­gium, the fence bisect­ed the abbey’s lands. When the call went out from the Ger­man War Depart­ment, the monks of Achel were able to sad­ly watch as their brew­ery was dis­man­tled. No beer was brewed at Achel until 2001.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “News, Nuggets & Lon­greads for 2 June 2018: Flan­ders, Erith, East­er­ly Road”

Don’t Worry, Be (Mostly) Happy

This post was writ­ten for #BeeryLongreads2018 and made pos­si­ble by the sup­port of our Patre­on sub­scribers. Do con­sid­er sign­ing up if you enjoy this blog, or per­haps just buy us a one-off pint.

For the last year or so we’ve been slowly chewing over a single big question: how healthy is British beer culture?

You might remem­ber, if you’re a long-time read­er, that we first wrote about the idea of healthy beer cul­ture in 2013, but that was a set of bul­let points. This post expands on those ideas with anoth­er five years’-worth of evi­dence, expe­ri­ence and think­ing.

We should con­fess that our start­ing point is one of mild frus­tra­tion at the per­va­sive idea that British beer – and beer cul­ture more gen­er­al­ly – is ail­ing. We see var­i­ous wor­ries expressed on social media, and in blog posts and arti­cles, each one dis­crete and per­son­al, but adding up to a mass of anx­i­ety. If you’re in this bub­ble it can feel like the end times.

To pro­vide fuel for this spe­cif­ic blog post we asked our Twit­ter fol­low­ers to tell us what, if any­thing, made them wor­ried for the future of British beer. Some state­ments echoed things we’ve seen said many times before, while oth­ers flagged issues we had not con­sid­ered. Quite a few effec­tive­ly can­celled each oth­er out, high­light­ing the absur­di­ty of think­ing about British beer as a mono­lith. There is no sin­gle idea of what healthy looks like, and no vic­to­ry that won’t feel like a defeat to some­body else.

In this post we want to focus on some of the most com­mon­ly expressed fears, ques­tion whether they have a basis in real­i­ty, and con­sid­er the the like­ly impact of those that do.

Let’s begin with a sta­ple of beer com­men­tary for the past 25 years or so: the  per­ils of the pur­suit of nov­el­ty.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Don’t Wor­ry, Be (Most­ly) Hap­py”