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.’

Con­tin­ue read­ing “News, Nuggets & Lon­greads 06/12/2014”

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.

News, Nuggets & Longreads 08/11/2014

It’s Saturday morning again, so here, as per, are links to some things that have caught our eye in the past week.

→ ‘Hard­knott’ Dave Bai­ley explains some of the nit­ty-grit­ty behind get­ting his beer into super­mar­kets, and ago­nis­es over the ethics of doing so.

→ There have been many posts in the last week about the relaunched Let There Be Beer cam­paign, aka There’s a Beer For That, but we thought Ruari O’Toole’s was most use­ful, as it actu­al­ly helps to explain why the TV ad is so bland:

This isn’t just ten mil­lion bad­ly spent… The deck in the UK is stacked against beer adver­tis­ers. Stacked heav­i­ly. The Adver­tis­ing Stan­dards Agency makes a point to say that the UK has some of the strictest alco­hol adver­tis­ing rulesin the world…

→ Barm explains how three dif­fer­ent tribes regards Tennent’s Lager and how their atti­tudes have pre­vent­ed the suc­cess of a pre­mi­um prod­uct under the same brand.

→ For Draft mag­a­zine, Joshua M. Bern­stein writes about Jeff Mello’s mis­sion to broad­en the hori­zons of brew­ers by cap­tur­ing and cul­ti­vat­ing entire­ly new strains of yeast, and get­ting them to join the fun. (Via @thirstypilgrim.)

→ Bob Arnott’s epic 3000 word post about his first attempt at mak­ing cider is def­i­nite­ly one for Pock­et. (And this is only part one…)

David ‘Broad­ford Brew­er’ Bish­op wrote some­thing tran­quil and poet­ic, inspired by the idea of the ‘firm favourite’. Its mean­ing isn’t imme­di­ate­ly obvi­ous, and is open to inter­pre­ta­tion, which makes rather a nice change from what peo­ple reck­on about stuff.

→ Who wants pop­corn?

Not (directly) about beer

→ This long piece from Medi­um on how US pas­ta chain Olive Gar­den oper­ates isn’t about beer, but it’s a good read any­way, and this par­tic­u­lar point did bring to mind big brew­eries:

The report attacked Dar­d­en for throw­ing away mon­ey on inef­fec­tive ad cam­paigns, wast­ing food, and try­ing to rebrand shod­dy dish­es in favor of scrap­ping or refor­mu­lat­ing them.

→ Mean­while, John DeVore’s piece for Eater’s Life in Chains series con­tains a reminder for food and drink snobs that fast food might be ‘devoid of nutri­tion­al val­ue’ but that doesn’t mean it can’t be ‘rich­ly emo­tion­al­ly sat­is­fy­ing’.