News, Nuggets and Longreads 03/05/2014

Bloke drinking beer.

Happy day, brothers and sisters! Here’s your Saturday morning reading sorted.

Thornbridge has been declared the best drinks producer in the UK by BBC Radio 4 Food Programme‘s Food and Farming awards. BrewDog came third. (The stories of both breweries are covered in some detail in Brew Britannia.)

→ Yvan Seth (who is now running a beer distribution business) has given some thought to how the cost of a pint breaks down.

(We’ve been brewing a post for while on a related subject: what impact might the introduction of the minimum wage and statutory holiday entitlement have had on the price of beer in the pub?)

→ News from Nick Mitchell of more single-hop ales from Marks & Spencer:

It did seem that the craft beer revolution had stopped being able to squeeze into its tight girl jeans and instead had pulled a nice comfy Blue Harbour rugby shirt over its growing paunch when Marks and Spencer started selling single-hopped beers…

Ushers sign

→ Saved to Pocket this week: Simon Usborne’s piece for the Independent on how the old Usher’s brewery ended up in North Korea.

→ Our new favourite blog is The Quest for Edelstoff in which a German living in the UK attempts to perfect the home brewing of Bavarian-style beers through perseverance and precision.

→ We’re looking forward to trying this historically-inspired beer at North Bar in Leeds when we make our appearance on 19 May:

→ And, finally, we’re no experts, doesn’t Jim Koch’s magic anti-drunkenness yeast goop only work, if and when it does, because of the placebo effect? Decide you’re not going to get drunk and you won’t? (Which goes the other way, too.)

News, Nuggets and Longreads 26/04/2014

Father Ted: careful now.
Anti-hazy beer campaigners pictured outside the CAMRA AGM in Scarborough this morning.

We’re off up country to investigate a couple of interesting-sounding pubs but, as always, we’ve found time to put together a few links to accompany your coffee and bacon.

→ Julian Healey, the founder of Australia-based website Hopslist.com, emailed us a few weeks ago. Having now had a chance to look at this comprehensive catalogue of hop varieties and their characteristics, we’ve bookmarked it, because it’s good. (What’s in it for him? Advertising revenue, as far as we can tell — nothing sinister.)

The Guardian‘s Tony Naylor is back on beer with two articles in the last week: one listing central London’s best craft beer pubs, and another on the rise of the ‘craft’ bottle shop.

Will Hawkes writes about smoked beers for the Independent.

This by the Beer Nut got us thinking:

Wrasslers XXXX [is] a beer I’m coming increasingly to believe would be badged as a black IPA if it were brewed today for the first time.

→ It seems that, at long last, brewers might be realising that the marketing edge of using clear and green glass is outweighed by the potential for damage to the beer and to their reputations. Marston’s have made a commitment to using brown (‘amber’) glass and are, in fact, now being a bit sneery about clear bottles; while Pilsner Urquell are bringing back brown bottles in the UK from next year.

→ The nearest we’ve found to a ‘long read’ this week is this 1000-word piece by Daniel Riley for GQ which is about compulsively ‘ticking’ hipster restaurants, but might make uncomfortable reading for craft beer fans:

This attentiveness to these lists—the fact that I keep a list of lists—is proof of something. That I know about food? Nope. That I’m a little bit compulsive? Probably. That I have bought into a system in which part of my value—the part that says whether I’m worth my salt in small talk—can be measured by the restaurants where I’ve stuffed my face?

→ And, finally, you can now read samples of Brew Britannia using Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature. This is rather a nerve-wracking moment for us. We hope you like it, especially if you’ve been holding off ordering a copy until you could handle the goods.

News, Nuggets and Longreads 19/04/2014

Detail from Watney's Brown Ale advertisement c.1960.

Here are a few things we’ve spotted around the blogoshire and beyond for you to enjoy with your hangover.

→ There’s a real sense of place evoked through small details in this piece on a Sam Smith’s pub in Cardiff from Craig Heap, and it made us want to drink their beer.

→ Is it time for breweries to indicate a recommend retail price for their beer?

→ Old wooden brewery crates are practical and attractive, but they go at a premium on Ebay, but Bob Arnott has a solution.

→ Saved to Pocket this week: a piece on the new Oregon Hops & Brewing archive at Oregon State University. (Via @brewingarchives)

→ We wrote a not entirely serious piece explaining why you should order a copy of Brew Britannia. (If you don’t like Amazon or Waterstones, you could ask your local independent bookshop to get a copy on order.)

→ We’re fascinated by the question of whether ‘golden ale’ is really a 1980s invention so this example of a notably pale beer with the brand name Golden Ale from the 1930s has us intrigued.

→ Here’s a piece we were asked to write for the Guardian’s Comment is Free blog section, on big brewery mergers. (Annoyingly, we got the brewery number statistic wrong – we’ve asked for it to be corrected.)

News, Nuggets and Longreads 12/04/2014

Bloke drinking beer.

Before we head off to conduct earnest research into Cornish beer for our now annual ‘best beers‘ blog post, some bits and pieces of interest.

→ If you don’t follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you might have missed that, yesterday, instead of a blog post, we added a new page: “So you’re thinking about getting seriously into beer?

→ News just in: the esteemed judges of the World Beer Cup (PDF link) agree with us about Magic Rock Salty Kiss. (Albeit in the weirdly specific category of fruit wheat beers.)

→ Here’s Phil Mellows on Marston’s programme of pub building. (In Somerset last weekend, we saw that they built a brand new plastick Olde Worlde country inn two doors down from an actually old country inn. Hmmmm.)

→ This from Adnams is a great example of how to respond to frequently asked questions from customers: what exactly is the difference between cask and bottled Broadside?

→ Saved to Pocket this week:

→ And, finally, we agree with Richard:

News, Nuggets and Longreads 05/04/2014

Detail from Watney's Brown Ale advertisement c.1960.

Before you get your boozing trousers on and head to the pub, here are a few things we’ve spotted around and about in the last week.

→ Following on from last autumn’s Craft Beer 365 ‘bookazine’, Craig Heap and Chris Hall are back with another, this time aided by Matt Curtis, Leigh Linley and Ruari O’Toole. The 100 Best Breweries in the World is available online and will also probably be turning up in newsagents and on iTunes fairly shortly.

→ Saved to Pocket this week: a long piece by Terry Foster and Bob Hansen which originally appeared in Brew Your Own Magazine and is now on the website of US maltster Briess: what exactly is the difference between crystal and caramel malts? (Via @BeerWineHobby and @richardmackney on Twitter.)

→ There’s a piece about Wetherspoon’s on the Guardian blog (by @maxbrearley):

There’s a sharp intake of breath and I fear a heart attack when I tell him that in London you can pay £4 a half. His response? Not printable.

→ For the first time ever, the London Wine Fair is to have a beer section.

→ And a bit of news from us relating to the launch of Brew Britannia: it might come to nothing, but there is a possibility that, in and around June, several beers might be on sale around the country which haven’t been tasted for 20 years or more. We’ll keep you posted!