News, Nuggets & Longreads 24 February 2018: Labels, Lollies, Lambic,

These are all the beer- and pub-related links we’ve enjoyed most, or found most informative, in the past week, covering everything from breakfast beer to computer games.

First, from Jeff Alworth, a clever idea: using rank-my-boss web­site Glass Door to gain insight into the employ­ment cul­tures of Amer­i­can craft brew­eries. He writes:

In my expe­ri­ence, peo­ple are uni­form­ly tight-lipped about their employ­ers, and try­ing to suss out which brew­eries treat their employ­ees well and which don’t has always been elu­sive.… There are some real sur­pris­es here. Rogue has long had a rep­u­ta­tion as a ter­ri­ble place to work, thanks in part to this report. But on Glass­door, it’s get­ting a quite-respectable 3.9. New Bel­gium, by con­trast, is usu­al­ly described as some­thing like heav­en to work for, and it’s get­ting only a 3.5.


A crowd outside the Market Porter.
SOURCE: Stacy/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Jes­si­ca Furseth has writ­ten a fas­ci­nat­ing piece for Atlas Obscu­ra on the hand­ful of Lon­don pubs that are open for break­fast, argu­ing that they are the last reminders of a time when Lon­don­ers drank at all hours of the day:

It’s 7 a.m. at The Mar­ket Porter in South Lon­don, and I’m eye­ing the choic­es behind the bar. “You alright there?” the bar­man asks. This is the first time I’ve stopped by the pub on my way to work in the morn­ing, and I have no idea what to get. Hon­est­ly, what I want is anoth­er cof­fee. But even­tu­al­ly I set­tle on a cider: the “Tra­di­tion­al Scrumpy,” which is a feisty six per­cent alco­hol. As the morn­ing sun pokes through the pat­terned glass win­dows, it goes down a lot bet­ter than I expect.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “News, Nuggets & Lon­greads 24 Feb­ru­ary 2018: Labels, Lol­lies, Lam­bic,”

Brouwerij ‘t IJ (try typing that while tipsy)

Brouwerij 't IJ bottles

One of our friends is a keen crick­eter and, on a recent tour of the Nether­lands (yes, lots of crick­et there, appar­ent­ly) he picked up a cou­ple of bot­tles from Brouw­er­ij ‘t IJ for us to try – Colum­bus (a ‘spe­cial’) and Nat­te (sort of a dou­ble).

It took us a moment to get the mea­sure of them: the slick­ly designed, bright­ly coloured labels led us to expect bright, slick beers, but what we got in our glass­es (despite our great care) was murky, spicy and a lit­tle funky – more along the lines of the mys­te­ri­ous Witkap Stim­u­lo or some­thing from De la Senne. Tak­ing a walk on the wild­side.

Nat­te (6.5%) did not impress us at all at first: “It tastes like a rub­bish Christ­mas beer from a mediocre British micro­brew­ery,” said Boak. But, as we worked our way down the glass, the tongue-dry­ing sug­ges­tion of cin­na­mon sticks cou­pled with what seemed a very gen­er­ous amount of bit­ter­ing hops became rather mor­eish. So, a lit­tle rough around the edges, but ulti­mate­ly very like­able. We’d prob­a­bly take it over, say, Chi­may Red, if we saw them on sale togeth­er.

The yel­low-amber Colum­bus (9%) was also a grow­er. The name sug­gests an Amer­i­can influ­ence and the web­site boasts of ‘lots of hops’, but what we detect­ed was plen­ty of resid­ual sug­ar (hon­ey, gold­en syrup); wet grass; and mouldy cel­lar walls. Then, at the end, as it burned its way down our throats, rum came to mind. That all worked togeth­er quite pleas­ing­ly, once we’d got over our ini­tial nose-wrin­kling.

In the end, what made them good was that they were so close to being bad, like a garage band whose per­for­mances are more excit­ing because they’re on the verge of col­laps­ing at any moment.

Beer and board game match­ing: these went well with Alham­bra.