News, nuggets and longreads 27 January 2024: Dead Beat

It’s Saturday morning which means another round-up of good reading about beer, brewing and pubs, from the Baltic to Bermondsey.

First, a couple of bits of news:

  • Steve Holt, owner of Kirkstall Brewery, has stepped into rescue North Brewing: “The move will ensure North’s future, including its Springwell Brewery and Taproom, as well as the North Taproom sites in Leeds and Manchester. The transaction does not include the North Taproom in Birmingham, which will close.”
  • Carlsberg Marston has decided to shut down the last example of Burton union brewing equipment still in use, in Burton upon Trent. Ian Webster has more background at The Beertonian: “[The] various incarnations of Marston’s have been proud of their Union Room, calling it the ‘Cathedral of Brewing.’ In 1991 their commitment expanded with the installation of more Unions. ‘No Burton Union. No Pedigree. End of.’ Not my words but those on”

An alleyway leading into a courtyard with shops and cafes.
Neal’s Yard by Martina Jorden on Unsplash.

For The Guardian Jonathan Nunn has written about Nicholas Saunders, founder of Neal’s Yard Dairy and various other ventures in the UK. It’s not about beer, though The Kernel does get a mention, but about the complexity behind the idea of ‘artisanal’ foodie culture:

Passersby assumed it was all a posh hippy commune, and in some sense they were correct. For all its democratic impulse, many workers in the warehouse either had the title “Honourable” before their names, had been to the same public school as Saunders… Some resented the increase in “straight” customers that the Yard’s success was attracting. In 1977, when a Daily Telegraph article flooded the Yard with people from the home counties desperate for bargain basement coffee, Saunders temporarily shut it down. He may have distrusted the “freaks”, but Saunders also realised that if too many “straights” came then the Yard’s alternative atmosphere could not be maintained. Days later, an irritated customer came by to harangue Saunders with his thoughts on the matter: “So you stopped selling coffee because you were too successful? How British. How disgustingly British.”

Nunn also observes that graduates of Neal’s Yard and associated businesses dominate the UK artisanal food and drink scene even today. Until very recently (like, this week) Bristol had a specialist beer and cheese shop run by former Neal’s Yard people, via Bermondsey.

His final observation is a depressing one: when you try to create an alternative, it seems to either get co-opted (taken over by Holland & Barrett) or becomes part of the engine of gentrification:

“At times [the British food scene’s] institutions bring to mind Saunders’s criticism of the shops he was once trying to put out of business: meeting places for the in-group, expensive, making ordinary people feel like intruders.”

Illustration: a pub door spilling light.

In the latest edition of her newsletter, The Gulp, Katie Mather asks: “When I say I want to go to the pub, what do I mean?”

I want to be chatted to when I go to the bar to choose from a good selection of beer, and feel like the people who work here are looked after and enjoy being there. I love a real fire, but controversially, it’s not a dealbreaker. I do, however, award huge bonus points for hauntings, witch marks, and fascinating or gory local history that can be linked to the pub—however tentatively. Points are deducted for tourism-baiting, although I’m not too harsh on this right now. It’s a difficult industry out there. Beautiful views from the windows are a tick. Funny or interesting regulars are a tick. Classic bar snacks are a massive tick—pickled eggs, butties wrapped in clingfilm, or pies from a local butchers’ shop all tot the points right up.

Historic red brick buildings around the market square of a German city.
The main square in Stralsund, Germany, by Samuel Svec on Unsplash.

For Pellicle Will Hawkes provides a detailed profile of Störtebeker Braumanufaktur in Stralsund, Germany, which also acts a vehicle to explain the history of brewing in the DDR, and German attitudes to experimental beer:

It was once Stralsunder, founded in 1827, but its modern story begins in February 1990 amidst the wreckage of the former DDR… At the time East Germany breweries were in high demand—or some of them were. Export brands such as Radeberger and Lübzer, which had the best equipment and ingredients East Germany could afford, had an excellent reputation, and were quickly snaffled when the Treuhand—the organisation established to sell off state-owned East German companies—put them up for sale in 1990… Stralsunder was different. Having paid 1 million Deutschmarks (about £815,000 in modern pounds Sterling), [new owners] the Nordmanns were confronted with dozens of suppliers demanding back payment, coal-powered brewery equipment in terrible shape, lagering cellars not cold enough to do their job, and a supply chain in ruins coughing up awful ingredients.

Converted warehouses in Bermondsey.

Let’s stick with Will Hawkes: the December edition of his excellent newsletter is now free to read online and includes what amounts to an oral history of the London brewing scene in the 2010s. That’s a period that’s starting to feel like history, and in need of documentation. Will highlights various instances of people learning the ropes in London then shooting off around the UK, and the world, to found their own breweries:

“The brewers in East London were a tight bunch. There was zero competition, everyone was super open to sharing ideas and excitement about beers. Friday after work in the Cock Tavern you couldn’t move for brewers! I still brew like those early days at the Kernel: I make quite different styles now, but they are made in the same spirit.”

The Lower Turk's Head, Manchester.

We’ve already linked to this in a full-on response post earlier in the week but, for completeness, do check out Ross Cummins on his top 5 Manchester pints (at the moment):

Now herein lies the first problem with this list. Holt’s Black is not available in every Holt’s pub in Manchester City centre. On a previous occasion I had tried to get Dave to try a pint of the black stuff in The Hare & Hounds and Lower Turks Head, both of which serve Holt’s beer (the latter being an actual Holt’s pub, and the former just serving Holt’s Bitter it seems). Yet neither had Black on draft… See I had first tried Black only a few months ago at The Ostrich in Prestwich, thanks to Cafe Beermoth‘s very own bar manager, Big Cal. He had harped on about it a few times, and so when I got the chance I tried it, and loved it. It became my go to at my local, The Cleveland, another Holt’s pub just down the round from my house. Thus I had assumed every Holt’s pub did it. Unfortunately not.

Finally, from Liam K on BlueSky

A screengrab of a social media post by BeerFoodTravel.BSky.Social showing O'Hara's Leann Folláin stout blended with Saison Dupont: “I'm doing a bit more blending tonight, top league stuff…”

For more good reading check out Stan Hieronymus’s round-up from Monday and Alan McLeod’s from Thursday.


News, nuggets and longreads 20 January 2024: Wintermute

Here are all the blog posts and articles we bookmarked in the past week, from cosy pubs in Dublin to chilly ones in Manchester.

First, some news. North Brewing of Leeds has appointed administrators and is looking for “additional investment” to stay afloat. This is significant because North Bar, from which North Brewing is a spin-off, was arguably the UK’s first craft beer bar (see Brew Britannia for more on that). Its expansion into brewing and multiple bars was very much a sign of the craft beer boom of the 2000s and 2010s. And that it is struggling in 2024 perhaps confirms that boom is well and truly over.

The exterior of the Ivy House, a grand-looking pub advertising food and brunches.
SOURCE: Lisa Grimm/

It’s exciting to see that Lisa Grimm’s Weirdo Guide to Dublin Pubs has broken free from her blog onto its own website at The first post on the new site is about The Ivy House in Drumcondra:

The Ivy House is in a lovely three-storey building (with the date ‘1809’ above the pediment…we’ll get back to that), so it’s quite a substantial place, but it could easily be argued that it’s two pubs in one. Although most visual interest is drawn by the frontage, the smaller, one-storey structure to the side could almost be overlooked, were it not for the arresting image of an older man – one Patrick Carthy, formerly of Carthy’s Bar, painted on the wall, and this part of the business is still known by his name… the Carthy’s Bar side of The Ivy House… has an entirely separate entrance around the corner, complete with its own frontage. And, once inside, it’s quite the contrast from the other side of The Ivy House – it’s every bit the old-man-pub…

Lager illustration.

How long is long enough when it comes to lagering? For Craft Beer & Brewing Michael Stein explores the myths, the rules-of-thumb and the facts of the matter:

While four to six months was proudly advertised as a great deal of time in 1904, two to three months seems like a long time today. It might even feel like forever… In recent years, as more small breweries have dabbled in lager, many have been mentioning the lagering times on their packaging or social media. After all, if it’s expensive to keep beer in tanks for that long, you might as well get some marketing benefit out of it… Back in 1907, Christian Heurich Brewing in Washington, D.C., was advertising two beers, Maerzen and Senate, as being six to 10 months old. Heurich, however, was a large brewery with a massive footprint, able to produce 200,000 barrels a year.

A bottle of Corona Mega with a wrinkled brown label next to two jars of golden beer, a wedge of lime and a bottle of hot sauce.

Like Jeff Alworth we’re always fascinated by the strange beers you sometimes find in unexpected places. For us, it’s things like Bass Mild in a social club in Penzance. For Jeff it’s an off-brand bottle of Corona lager in a Mexican restaurant:

En Route to Oceanside, an unincorporated town of 361, we stopped in Tillamook for dinner, selecting a Mexican restaurant I will not name in case it is on the fringes of an international beer-smuggling ring. Our server, who also seemed to be the owner, offered us a choice of one beer: Corona. He gestured at a cooler, but instead of seeing the familiar blue and white, it was filled with 1.2 liter bombers with labels the color of a paper bag. I write about beer for a living, and I spend a fair amount of time in Mexican restaurants, and I have never seen a bottle like that. Mystified, I asked about it, and he told us (paraphrasing here), “That’s the kind we get in Mexico.” He said it encouragingly, as if inviting me to sample a local delicacy.

Black Sheep pump clips on the bar of a Yorkshire pub.

What is Breal Capital’s gameplan as it snaps up one troubled UK brewery after another? At Beer Insider Glynn Davis offers some insight with his business journalist hat on:

Beyond the tap rooms of the breweries it has bought there appears to be only modest tied profitable sales for Breal. It closed three of the four Black Sheep pubs having deemed them unviable. It has suggested that its brewing sales team across the UK can expand the market for the breweries in its ever-expanding portfolio. This is fair enough but it’s a tough market out there as the acquired breweries know all too well… What Breal can also tap into is its growing presence in the restaurant and bars sector as it is also on a mission to hoover up distressed assets in this area. It has so far bought Vinoteca, D&D London and a couple of bars that it has brought into its growing Andrea chain.

Illustration: a quiet corner in a quiet pub, with table and stools.

Visiting one outer Bristol pub before Christmas we took note of a chill in the air and damp on the seats. Now Tandleman has similar observations from Manchester:

Yesterday in Manchester, two out of the three pubs I was in… were actually cold.  So cold in one that my wife refused to allow a further drink, as she was perishing. In this case, it was not helped by a door at the rear to the courtyard that was left open by smokers as they nipped in and out. With a door at the other end admitting customers, it made for an icy through draught from the sub-zero temperatures outside. While the radiators were feebly doing their best, it was a losing battle, and in any case they didn’t seem to be that hot anyway. Our earlier experience in a very large venue wasn’t much better, though they did have a huge space to heat, nor was the small restaurant where we tried to enjoy a meal. I’d call that a trend.

There’s a sharp observation from the Pub Curmudgeon in the comments, too, that “the tendency to remove small rooms and convert pubs into one large single space has stored up a problem for the future”. See also: private houses.

Finally, from Mastodon

User Veedems posts:

While I don’t love that Pabst beer is owned by a Russian company now, I do love that they’ve stuck to their key selling points.

What kind of beer is it? 

Pabst: Who cares? It’s 90 cents a can. 

Yeah but how many carbs does it have?

Pabst: enough to charge 90 cents a can. 

What kind of flavor notes should I expect? 

Pabst: You should expect to give us a dollar and we’ll give you 10 cents back.

For more good reading check out Stan Hieronymus’s round-up from Monday and Alan McLeod’s from Thursday.


News, nuggets and longreads 13 January 2024: Light Cycles

January’s a great time for writing about beer and pubs as dormant blogs spring back to life and New Year’s resolutions kick in. Here’s our pick of the week.

First, a few items of news:

A canvas sign advertising a beer festival car park.

The longread of the week really is long: it’s Steve Dunkley on the problem of beer festivals. How can they be made to work for drinkers and for the people and organisations lumbered with organising them?

At the more traditional festivals fun entailed tombola, drinking horns, silly hats and suspect t-shirts. At the craft festivals it was DJs and stickers and serving beer from slushie machines. There really was a generational divide… But even the newer craft festivals could be accused of getting stuck in their ways. Where once they hosted a range of brewers not usually seen, they have often settled into an annual showcase of the same breweries and beers, which like the CAMRA festivals before them are now available in the surrounding pubs throughout the year… I think CAMRA can learn a lot from the newer festivals, and they already have. But I also think that these newer festivals can learn a lot from CAMRA.

A painted sign on a pub wall: real ale and real food.

For the Morning Advertiser (you get two free articles before you have to register) Victoria Wells, Professor of Sustainable Management at the School for Business and Society at the University of York, has written about her analysis of some old pub guides and what it tells us about the ways pubs have changed to survive:

My 12-year-old niece… [gave] me a 1992 copy of Pub Walks in the Yorkshire Dales​ by Clive Price… It’s perhaps a sign of the times, with so many pubs at risk or closing, that my first thought was not “great, I can plan a few nice days out walking and visiting pubs” but was instead “how many of these pubs are still going to be there?”… My first response as I worked my way through the pubs was surprise. Of the 31 pubs listed in the guide, 29 still existed – although I would say only 26 of these could be defined as a pub (defining pubs in itself is a problematic endeavour) – with three becoming restaurants or hotels.

Someone in orange boots on an orange brewery floor transferring beer from a fermenting vessel, we think.
SOURCE: Matt Curtis/Pellicle.

At Pellicle editor Matt Curtis has himself put together a profile of RedWillow Brewery in Macclesfield. If you have your brewery profile bingo cards out you’ll get an immediate tick against ‘Owner left a successful career in IT’. But, snark aside, it’s good to have a detailed record of a brewery founded as a cask ale brewery during the keg-focused UK craft beer boom, which has outlived many of its peers:

RedWillow’s first commercially released beer was a 4.2% cask golden ale called Directionless… Directionless gradually became less popular as RedWillow’s audience developed their palates and began to demand more up-to-date flavours in their beer. An evolution that ran in parallel with the arrival of modern North American hop varieties such as Citra and Mosaic. Wreckless, a 4.8% ABV pale ale, and Weightless, a 4.2% ‘session’ IPA gradually filled the space Directionless previously occupied in its core range. These were bookended by the 3.9% Headless, an accessible cask pale for traditionalists, and Contactless, a distinctively modern, hazy, 5.2% pale ale aimed squarely at the growing number of younger beer enthusiasts.

Closed sign

It makes total sense for pubs to limit their opening hours and match them to demand… doesn’t it? Maybe it doesn’t. Tandleman, who spends plenty of time on the front line chatting to publicans, has been grappling with this question:

Concentrating efforts and resources on peak business hours, can – or here I’ll say should  – ensure that the service, atmosphere, and offerings are of the optimal standard. It does not work at all if you simply take the same sad old offering and simply spread it over a shorter period. If you are going to open less, greater efforts have to be made to make the pub attractive when you do.  And above all, you need to ensure that potential customers know when you will be open. Even now, far too many pubs seem to think that opening hours are some kind of state secret that should jealously be guarded. Telling potential customers about opening hours and what’s happening in the pub is not a bothersome extra. It is an essential part of the business.

A pitcher of dark beer on a pub table with someone making 'ta-da!' hands behind.
SOURCE: Jeff Alworth.

We’re enjoying Jeff Alworth’s reports from a January he’s spending in the pub, especially because the experience he has in Portland, Oregon, is similar to ours in England in some ways, but different in others. This account of a momentary connection with strangers sounds exactly like something that might happen in The Drapers Arms here in Bristol:

On that particular night, my friend and I got our beers, rejoined our group and fell into the flow of conversation. Some time later—could have been a few minutes or two hours, in the manner of bar time—we looked up to see the two women from the line. They were proffering a pitcher of Scottish Holiday, a full, malty winter ale. I tuned into this development late and the pitcher was being deposited on the table by the time I noticed what has happening. Their group was breaking up and donning coats, and I missed why they had this spare pitcher of beer. But we had spoken, and our table wasn’t far from theirs, so they decided to leave us with the extra ale. We took pleasure in this unexpected generosity, and they took pleasure in our wonder. It was one of those things that happens sometimes, if you’re living right, in bars.

Finally, from Facebook, via BlueSky, an invitation to a rabbit hole we hope we have time to go down…

A photo of what looks like a typical English ‘brewer’s Tudor’ interwar pub only it’s actually in New Zealand, shared on a local Facebook group and then shared with us by Kieran Haslett-Moore.

For more good reading check out Stan Hieronymus’s round-up from Monday and Alan McLeod’s from Thursday. We put no effort at all into making sure our links are different to theirs; if a piece appears in more than one round-up then you know it must be good. But there’s usually plenty of stuff they’ve highlighted that we haven’t.


News, nuggets and longreads 6 January 2024: Innsmouth Look

Here’s all the writing about beer that grabbed our attention in this wet, gloomy first week of January 2024, from stats to smoked beer.

Let’s start with a collection of notes on the health of the UK hospitality and brewing industries:

We’re under no illusion that 2024 is going to be a boom year for beer, and January is often a particularly rocky time, but things do seem to be gently ebbing rather than collapsing. Maybe we’ll do a full on predictions post but, for now, what we said last year probably still applies.

A glass of Tribute on a pub table, with 'Cornish Pale Ale' on the glass.

You know our fascination with the weaselly ways breweries avoid telling consumers where a given beer is actually being produced. For some time we’ve been eyeing St. Austell Korev with suspicion – “Born in Cornwall” is it? Now it turns out bottled St. Austell Tribute is no longer described as Cornish on the label because it’s sometimes produced at the Bath Ales facility near Bristol. It’s still in the West Country, just about, rather than Burton for Sharp’s Doom Bar, but it does feel as if they might have underestimated the appeal of beer from a place. Although they’re very keen to underline that the cask version is still brewed in its hometown.

The window of Mort Subite in Brussels.

Your mileage may vary, of course. In Brussels, as Eoghan Walsh reports, there’s a sense of impending doom:

50%. That’s the number of hospitality businesses Moeder Lambic co-owner Jean Hummler thought would close from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hummler made his prediction in the Spring of 2021, speaking to me in his living in the middle of another national lockdown. A little over two years later and Hummler’s apocalyptic prognosis has not quite come to pass. Though the number of new openings has slowed, as of the end of 2023, only one brewery has closed and the wholesale collapse of the industry has yet to materialise… But that isn’t much cause for optimism. in a widely-shared article earlier in the year, Le Fooding Magazine editor Elisabeth Debourse drew attention to the overlapping challenges bar and restaurant owners have struggled to overcome this year in the wake of the pandemic and the impact of the war in Ukraine. The acute impact of inflation. Rising energy prices and raw material costs. Debt. Increased fiscal oversight. A burnt-out workforce. Declining customer numbers.

A pumpclip for Torrside Bugbear American Brown Ale.

For Pellicle Katie Mather has written about Torrside Brewery from Derbyshire, which has a cult following partly built around its smoke barleywines:

The owners of Torrside – a brewery founded here in Derbyshire’s High Peak in 2015 – are also its brewers, a team of best friends and their partners. Chris Clough, Peter Sidwell and Nick Rothko-Wright have brewed together since finding each other at Manchester Homebrew Club in 2013, sharing their delight in subverting classic and historic styles – or simply making them up… “I’m glad we don’t have a business manager,” Chris tells me. “Because they wouldn’t let us make smoked barleywines that might only sell a few bottles. But that’s what we want to do.”

The historic interior of a pub with beams, benches and fireplace.
The historic Bell at Aldworth. SOURCE: Dermot Kennedy/Pub Gallery.

At Pub Gallery Dermot Kennedy has taken a break from his usual programming to provide a run down of the top 5 pub discoveries he made in 2023. If this doesn’t get you looking forward to exploring when the weather becomes bright and drier, there’s no hope for you:

All the pub is like a time warp but the star of the show from a heritage point of view is the Tap Room on the left with its red quarry tiled floor, huge inglenook fireplace and Victorian furniture. The bar has a serving hatch on each of its three sides and I started with a pint of Arkell’s 3B. Three generations of the family were around on our visit, including the landlady, now in her 90s, and full of tales from the past. Her son, effectively the landlord, was full of questions, and her grandson who brews in the small barn at the back allowed us a pint each of his Five Giants, not due to go on until the next day. We were welcome to park our camper van on the field above the car park, so we were able to dine on the famous pub rolls and have a few more pints before we headed off to bed.

A pint of golden ale.

Though the tradition is dwindling, along with the number of beer blogs, a few people joined in with producing Golden Pints posts this year:

You might find more; these are just the ones we noticed.

And in the world of social media we want to highlight once again the Instagram feed of Brasserie de l’Union in Brussels, which provides a constant stream of images that, together, evoke what this particular bar feels like:

For more good reading check out Alan McLeod’s round-up from Thursday.


News, nuggets and longreads 16 December 2023: Rare Exports

This is the last news, nuggets and longreads of 2023, featuring Edwardian pubs, beer tourism and American cask.

First, some big news: there won’t be a CAMRA Great British Beer Festival in 2024. The Campaign promises it will be back “with a bang” in 2025 and says the reason is that its usual venue, Olympia London, isn’t available this year. It feels like a big deal, though, especially coming so soon after the two years lost to COVID in 2020 and 2021. Perhaps this will also be an opportunity to rethink the festival and reinvent it somewhat for the 2020s.

The ornate exterior of the Warrington Hotel with decorative fired tiles, columns and mosaics.

Dermot Kennedy’s excellent blog Pub Gallery is back with a beautifully illustrated post about the pubs of Maida Vale in West London:

Maida Vale is a well off residential area in north west London known for its streets of mansion blocks. It’s also home to Little Venice, the canal basin on the Regents Canal famous for multiple narrowboats and waterside cafes and pubs. BBC’s Maida Vale Studios are possibly best known for being the home of the John Peel Sessions which were recorded here for his influential radio show from 1967 to 2004. What the area is less well known for is its collection of exceptional Victorian heritage pubs. This short walk takes in four pubs, all well worth a visit to see the extravagant steps brewers and entrepreneurs took to ensure their pub outdid their neighbours in style and elegance.

Casks in a pub yard.

For Pellicle Courtney Iseman explores the history and culture of the cask ale revival in New York City, focusing on Strong Rope Brewery:

While nearly every neighbourhood had at least a couple of options, these places—an eclectic array of traditional-ish pubs, divier bare-bones spots, polished brewpubs, Belgian-inspired cellars, and sports-bar facsimiles—were destinations for which beer lovers would schlep across three train lines. I remember breathing deeply into bready, biscuity, pie-crusty, floral, woody, earthy, spicy, herbal aromas as I clutched my glass in the creaky wooden Blind Tiger Ale House, the warm and pubby David Copperfield’s House of Beer (RIP), the well-appointed and spacious Ginger Man (also RIP), and the rowdier Hop Devil Grill (oh, yes, RIP), and savouring smaller pours to suss out malt or hop differences at cask festivals at Chelsea Brewing Company (yep…RIP) and the Brooklyn location of d.b.a. (also closed; happily its original East Village space soldiers on).

Detail of Mark Dredge's book Craft Beer World.

David Elphick of the Brighton Beer Blog has interviewed beer writer Mark Dredge on a pub crawl around the city. We tend to avoid writing about beer writing these days but it’s interesting to see Mark’s reflections on actually making a living at it, which required (a) taking some risks; (b) making some compromises (working for breweries); and (c) nailing the art of pitching to publishers:

I timed it quite well. In 2008 I was about 24, everyone else in the scene was like 40, so I was coming into this as the young person, just as Punk IPA was being released. Just as Thornbridge was out there. Just when these modern beers came along… Many people were talking about heritage beers, trying to keep the classics going. Whereas I didn’t have a clue about all that. I just know this modern stuff is really interesting, I didn’t know any better… I got lucky, right place, right person, right time. But I worked hard for it. I would get up at 5am and write about beer, which as a 24 year old is an unusual thing to do.

Ahem… We were about 30 at the time. But people are always surprised that we’re not ancient.

Stu Stuart, with neat grey hair and goatee, in a very American flying jacket with badges, contemplates a glass of Orval.
SOURCE: Ashley Joanna/Belgian Smaak.

At Belgian Smaak Ashley Joanna has another entry in her series of ‘Humans of Belgian Beer’. This time, it’s Stu Stuart, an American who leads Belgian beer tours:

In 2007, he began teaching a “Belgian Beer Me! Beer Appreciation Class” at the ASUW Experimental College at the University of Washington in Seattle. Some of his students suggested he should lead a beer tour in Belgium… When he first started, he was giving tours to just 3 people at a time. Now, his tour groups are generally numbered at 24 people… In 2018, Stu became an Honorary Knight of the Knighthood of the Brewers Mash Staff, an honour handed out by the Federation of Belgian Brewers in an enthronement ceremony in the Brewers Guild House in Brussels’ Grand Place.

Here’s some more news, via Tim Burford: The Eagle & Child in Oxford has been shuttered for three years but has now been bought by the Ellison Institute of Technology (EIT), founded by Larry Ellison of Oracle. EIT’s interest in the pub is down to its historic importance with links to Tolkien and C.S. Lewis:

Dr David Agus, EIT Founding Director and CEO, told BBC Radio Oxford that the Institute will re-open the pub as a pub… He said that the kitchen would be totally overhauled with a view to serving top notch food, while Norman Foster’s architectural agency Foster + Partners has been hired to work on a master plan that will see the second and third floors renovated into meeting spaces to discuss global problems, in effect a cosy and congenial extension of EIT’s recently announced state-of-the-art new campus in Oxford.

Finally, from Instagram, another of Niall McDiarmid’s beautiful pub photos:

For more good reading check out Stan Hieronymus’s round-up from Monday and Alan McLeod’s from Thursday.