News, Nuggets & Longreads 13/12/2014

Here are some links to enjoy with your breakfast, or perhaps when you’re sat in a pub this afternoon surrounded by shopping bags, shaking and pale, vowing never to leave your Christmas shopping this late again.

Joe Stange’s survey of Bamberg’s breweries and pubs for All About Beer is an evocative piece of travel writing and a useful practical guide for first-time visitors. One to save for future reference.

→ In case you missed it, the Wetherspoon chain and Heineken are having a falling out, ostensibly over supply to a pub in growing JDW’s Irish estate. (Commentary from Tandleman here.)

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News, Nuggets & Longreads 06/12/2014

It’s Saturday morning so here’s our usual round-up of links, this week including tax and VAT (woo-hoo!), barmaids, beer for women, Panamanian craft beer, and gastropubs.

→ A thought from Richard Taylor at the Beercast: could more small breweries be taking advantage of tax breaks for research and development?

I got in touch with Kian Coertze at JC, and he expanded on Peter’s thinking. “Under the SME (Small or Medium Enterprise) scheme the tax relief on allowable R&D costs is 225%. This means if an SME spends £40,000 on R&D, they will receive an additional £50,000 of tax relief, saving them £10,000 on their tax bill.”

→ Martyn Cornell has written at length about the history of (mostly pink) ‘smoking wrecks of attempts to get females to drink more beer, dating back to the 1980s.’

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News, Nuggets and #Beerylongreads 28/11/2014

Don’t be alarmed: you haven’t lost track of the day of the week or time of day. Because tomorrow has been set aside for our #Beerylongreads post about Adnams, we’re springing our weekly round-up of news a day early.

→ Hop merchants Charles Faram have published their 2014 hop report for the northern hemisphere: ‘The crop has not been bad this year and although we will have shortages with certain varieties things could have been a lot worse.’ Phew!

→ After an off-hand Tweet got shared fairly widely (sorry!) Lars Marius Garshol has written at greater length about why he was troubled by a Barcelona bar with no local beer:

In one way it’s perfectly understandable that Latvians and Catalans want to drink foreign beers. I often do, too, in Oslo. But why should visiting foreigners seemingly prefer these beers? If their ratings are anything to go by, that’s what they do. And why should it be exactly the same breweries all over Europe? It’s always the same 3-4 Norwegian, Danish and UK brewers. The world of craft beer is a lot bigger than that.

→ Mark Hailwood’s series of blog posts on alehouse characters, tied into the publication of his book Alehouses and Good Fellowship in Early Modern England, has reached its third instalment with ‘The Wastrel Husband’.

→ We’re not sure we agree with the overall generalisation that the brewing industry is friendly but Pete Brissenden (aka the Beer Soaked Boy) continues his run of great form with a post that gives some concrete evidence to support the claim:

I got put in charge of the dispense installation, troubleshooting, budgeting, maintenance and training people to lineclean at the brewery I was working at. I knew a little, but not all that much about it. I sent a quick email off to Derek Prentice at Fullers explaining my situation and the next week I spent four days shadowing one of their install engineers and one of their cellar inspection guys. They didn’t have to do that for me, Fullers had nothing to directly gain from it, but they did it and it helped immeasurably.

→ From New Scientist (via @JamesBSumner) news of important research which has shown that a good head of foam helps prevent beer from splashing out of the glass.

→ To mark Movember, Glasgow University Archives dug out this corking image of a brewery founder and his facial adornment (via @robsterowski):

→ On Facebook, we’ve been wondering about a format for talking about beer.

News, Nuggets & Longreads 22/11/2014

It’s Saturday, so here’s a gurt load of links for ‘ee.

→ Jack Highberger doesn’t hate pumpkin beers, and he tasted a lot of them to come up with his Pumpkin Beer Flavor Map. An interesting exercise we’re tempted to imitate with another niche style.

→ Saved to Pocket (that is, we haven’t read it yet) this week is Jim Vorel’s piece for Paste magazine on Anheuser-Busch’s pilot brewery. There is a judgement suggested in the title: ‘The Belly of the Beast’.

→ Martyn Cornell has published a transcript of a talk he gave in Copenhagen on ‘place-based beer‘. This is a topic we’ve been thinking about a lot recently — what would be in a really Cornish ale, as opposed to an English-style ale that just happens to be brewed in Cornwall?

→ And the opposite of beers from a place:

→ Stan Hieronymus knows about hops so his comments on the espresso-style Randall-esque hop infuser recently launched in the UK are especially interesting:

In addition, yeast becomes a key player in dry hopping, because of the biotransformations that occur when yeast and hop hang out together — another area where much more research is needed. Those aren’t going to occur in the seconds it takes beer to pass through the “Hoppier.”

→ We can’t possibly know whether the motives are cynical or pure, but Left Hand Brewing’s response to a trademark dispute is a great example of how to turn bad PR to your advantage.

→ The big news of the week has been the success of the Fair Deal 4 Your Local campaign in getting the government to make it compulsory for pub companies to offer tenants the right to pay a market rent for their pubs and thus remove themselves from the obligation to buy from a limited range of beer at an inflated price. Jeff ‘Stonch’ Bell wrote an off-the-cuff response which struck us as perceptive and balanced, and Pete Brown’s thoughts are also worth a read.

→ And if you’re in London, why not come and say hello at Tap East this afternoon? We’ll be signing books, having a few beers, and chatting from 2-4 pm.

News, Nuggets & Longreads 15/11/2014

As we hurtle into the weekend like Dave Bowman into the Star Child’s wondrous light show, here are some links for you to read with your breakfast.

→ For Wired, Greg Miller considers why it’s so hard for most humans to meaningfully describe smells:

The people who have the best olfactory vocabularies are those who use their nose to make a living: wine critics, perfume designers, and the like. These experts, too, tend to name odors by connecting them to things with a similar smell (perhaps that Bordeaux was redolent of graphite, black currents, and camphor?). Their descriptions don’t always translate for the rest of us, especially when they reach for abstract terms. When Parker identifies a wine as “austere,” “brawny,” or “decadent,” do you know what he means? (If you think you do, try a blind taste test).

→ Knut Albert Solem is troubled by the fact that the Norwegian craft brewing boom is, at least in part, founded on some laxity with the truth: “The uncompromised nature of Norway in a bottle is their slogan. The problem? The beers are brewed in England.”

→ Listening, not reading, via @RogerProtzBeer: those with access to BBC iPlayer should listen to Evan Davis’s Radio 4 show The Bottom Line which includes Paul Theakston talking about how he came to found Black Sheep. (Theakston has a supporting role in chapter 7 of Brew Britannia.)

→ Saved to Pocket (that is, not yet read): Paste  magazine’s complete history of craft beer vs. industrial faux-craft in America and this 1998 companion piece Stan Hieronymus has unearthed from his archives.

→ One of this week’s flashpoints in the blogoshire was Ed’s post about picking a side in the war between posh craft vs. everyman trad which has prompted, at the time of writing, almost 100 comments.

→ We can’t link to the other flashpoint because it got taken down: a blogger who happens to work for a brewery wrote a rather flourishing critique of Ratebeer and the people that use the site; someone complained to his employers; and he self-censored. Lots to think about there but, on the whole, boo to the snitch!

→ If you have an obsession with beer talk to your doctor to see if Pintiptor™ might be right for you.

→ We want this on a poster:

→ And, finally, a plug for the Kindle book we released this week: it’s c.60 pages, 90 minutes of reading, 13,000 words of history, lager, London and nostalgia, for a mere £2.