Ten long articles on beer to read later

Tablet computers and smartphones have led to a growth industry in apps that take articles from the web and present them in a clean, readable, magazine-like format. We use Pocket (formerly Read it Later) which allows you to mark articles online to enjoy later in a customised publication which, as if by magic, only covers topics in which we’re interested.

Longform and Longreads are great places to find substantial articles available online, but there’s little in their curated collections which touches on beer. So, with that in mind, here are ten decent-sized articles related to our favourite topic that might get you through a long train journey.

1. The murder of US brewery millionaire Adolph Coors III in 1960 (via Longform)

Provides an interesting insight into the US brewing business in the 20th century, as well as being an enthralling ‘true crime’ story.

2. How British landowners used to age strong ale for twenty years or more (Zythophile)

We could fill this entire list with Martyn ‘Zythophile’ Cornell’s meticulous, article-length ‘blog posts’ but have limited ourselves to two.

3. The Most Notorious Brewer in History (Zythophile)

Antoine-Joseph Santerre was France’s biggest brewer in the 18th century and a revolutionary to boot.

4. New Yorker magazine’s profile of Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione (New Yorker)

Love or hate ‘extreme’ US beer, Burkhard Bilger’s interview gives a great insight into the thinking behind it.

5. How 45 million year-old yeast was recultured from a sample trapped in amber (Wired)

Like Jurassic Park only with yeast instead of dinosaurs. (The yeast doesn’t chase anyone, sadly.)

6. Binge drinking and moral panics in British history (History and Policy)

Are there lessons to be learned from how the government reacted to the ‘gin craze’ in the 18th century?

7. The story of Budweiser Budvar (Des de Moor)

The history, the controversy and the Czech brewery’s struggle to remain independent.

8. The rise of ‘craft keg’ in the UK (by Adrian Tierney Jones)

Quibbles over terminology aside, a good summary of where we’re at and how we got here.

9. The Beer Strikes of 1834 (Brewery History Society)

Tim Holt’s fascinating account of a crisis in London brewing that began with a dispute over pay for coopers.

10. Beer at the Thanksgiving Table (Michael Jackson)

A reminder that beer writers have been trying to convince people that beers goes with food for a long time. This article dates from 1983.

In several cases above, there are a treasure trove of articles behind the ones we’ve picked — the Michael Jackson, Brewery History Society and Zythophile websites are particular goldmines.

We were nudged to finish this post by this discussion: we like short blog posts, but love long articles, too.


The one that got away

Augsburger Plaerrer billboard from 2007

A recent discussion about Steinbier reminded us of a trip to Augsburg, Bavaria, in 2007.

We were armed with our well-worn copy of Michael Jackson’s Great Beer Guide which, back then, we referred to in reverent tones as “The Book”.

The Book told us that, in Augsburg, we had to try Rauchenfelser Steinbier (“Style: Stone Beer”), an amber lager darkened and given a “smoky, treacle-toffee flavour” by burning hot rocks chucked into the boil.

What The Book commanded, we did. Or tried to do, at least: there was no Steinbier to be found. The brewery, we were told, after we had undertaken much schlepping and hunting, had closed. Under the impression that this was the only Steinbier on the market, we left Germany mourning the one that got away.

Now we hear from well informed sources that other German breweries make Steinbier, so perhaps, one day, we’ll get to try one after all. There’s something a little poignant about knowing that a specific beer has passed away before you got chance to know it, but at least it beats missing out on a whole family of beers.

We remember Augsburg fondly. We hit town as the Plärrer (folk festival) was in full flow, drank too much of a delicious beer that tasted just like sausages, and Boak threw up in a flowerbed. Happy times.