News, Nuggets and Long Reads 01/02/2014

Marston's revisionist keg range.

It’s Saturday! But wait – before you rush off to bomb around the town centre on your BMX and buy Pick’n’Mix at Woolworths, here are a few things we’ve spotted during the week.

→ The pic­ture above shows Marston’s new range of keg beers brand­ed and sold under the ‘Revi­sion­ist’ label. Though some will inevitably groan at a big play­er with a poor rep­u­ta­tion among beer geeks ‘jump­ing on the band­wag­on’, we can’t deny that we’re intrigued.

→ Mean­while, we also hear that the same brew­ery is putting some beers that have been pack­aged, to their detri­ment, in clear glass, back into amber (brown) bot­tles. They are also plan­ning to do more bot­tle-con­di­tion­ing. Good news, we think.

Amer­i­can brew­ery North Coast is to begin dis­tri­b­u­tion in the UK via Left Coast. We’ve nev­er tried their beer so have no idea if this is good news, but Old Rasputin is in The Sacred Book, so we’ll be keep­ing an eye out for it.

A nugget of triv­ia from Brew­dog

Long reads

→ This week’s tips for sav­ing to Pock­et: a piece from Punch on ‘the art of drink­ing alone’ by Brad Thomas Par­sons (via @allesioleone) and anoth­er excel­lent piece from Good Beer Hunt­ing with some time­ly com­men­tary on con­tract brew­ing.

BBC News Online seems to be run­ning a sto­ry about beer once a week at the moment. Last week, it was women in beer; this week, some pon­der­ing on the Rhein­heits­ge­bot. Next week: what does ‘craft beer’ real­ly mean?

Around the Blo­goshire

Stephen Beau­mont has named the well estab­lished Alla­gash his Amer­i­can brew­ery of the year. He makes the case well and we have added their beers to our hit list.

→ David ‘Broad­ford Brew­er’ Bish­op has this week’s most inspir­ing home brew recipe. Well, not a recipe – just a germ of an idea, but a good one: the dank­est beer ever. (Would 1001 Inspir­ing Ideas for Home Brew­ers be a good book?)

News, Nuggets & Longreads 25/01/2014

Bloke drinking beer.

It’s Saturday, no school today, so what you gonna do?

Why, read some of the fol­low­ing inter­est­ing items we’ve spot­ted around the Blo­goshire and beyond, of course.

But first…

→ Some con­sumer intel­li­gence: we haven’t come across any our­selves, but the word on the street is that some Tesco super­mar­kets are sell­ing the incred­i­ble Courage Russ­ian Impe­r­i­al Stout for £1 a bot­tle. If you see it at this price, BUY IT ALL.

News and nuggets

A new blog by David Turn­er looks set to be an inter­est­ing read: in a series of data-dri­ven posts, he intends to set out ‘how the mod­ern brew­ing indus­try oper­ates, if it makes prof­it and its future’, i.e. is the boom going to end soon and, if so, how?

→ It has already prompt­ed this bit of plain talk­ing from Den­zil Val­lance of Great Heck Brew­ing:

I can’t imag­ine too many con­ver­sa­tions went like this: Q. “Why do you think your brew­ery failed?” A. “Because i am a use­less toss­er.” It’s in most people’s nature to blame out­side fac­tors for their own fail­ures so hey ho.

→ On a relat­ed note, Derek Dellinger, author of the blog Bear Fla­vored, draws this dis­tinc­tion between two types of brew­ery fuelling the US ‘craft beer’ boom:

[It] seems dis­cour­ag­ing­ly easy to spot which brew­eries are dri­ven by the love of invest­ment (by peo­ple who see it as a smart, fun ven­ture in a hot mar­ket), and those which are dri­ven by the love of beer (by peo­ple who are will­ing to take on a huge amount of risk for some­thing they believe in).

A ‘longish read’

→ We’re not quite sure what to make of Good Beer Hunt­ing, a very slick, mag­a­zine-style web­site by Michael Kiser, ‘writer, pho­tog­ra­ph­er and indus­try strate­gist’, but this arti­cle about Hill Farm­stead Brew­ery is an engross­ing char­ac­ter study, and accom­pa­nied by gor­geous pho­tog­ra­phy.

And a cou­ple of online mag­a­zines

The lat­est edi­tion of the Lon­don Drinker is out (PDF link), one of the most read­able and pro­fes­sion­al CAMRA region­al pub­li­ca­tions around.

The first issue of Craft Beer Ris­ing mag­a­zine (flip­py-flap­py skeu­mor­phic inter­face) con­tains arti­cles by Melis­sa Cole, Mark Dredge, Will Hawkes and Ben McFar­land.

News, Nuggets and Longreads 18/01/2014

Bloke drinking beer.

Before we sit down to watch Going Live! it’s time to round-up links to beer-related writings that have caught our interest this week.

→ Con­tin­u­ing the dis­cus­sion on sex­ism in the world of beer, Yvan Seth (a ‘pro­gres­sive’ active CAMRA mem­ber) sug­gest­ed some ways in which the Cam­paign might be more active in mak­ing women feel wel­come. As always, there’s a risk of impos­ing too many rules, but his ideas seem very prac­ti­cal to us. Are there real­ly any blokes who would come away from a beer fes­ti­val say­ing, ‘Well, it was OK, but I’d have enjoyed it more if there’d been a few more pump-clips with tits on’?

→ This week’s inspir­ing home brew recipe is from Ron Pat­tin­son and Kris­ten England’s series of ‘Let’s Brew Wednes­day’ posts: Tetley’s Mild, 1945. It’s inter­est­ing to see flaked bar­ley among the ingre­di­ents – a hang­over from wartime restric­tions, Ron reck­ons. We’re def­i­nite­ly going to make this at some point.

Saved to Pock­et this week: Rebec­ca Lemon’s lengthy essay on drunk­en­ness in Shake­speare, and booz­ing in Eliz­a­bethan the­atres, from the Lapham Quar­ter­ly:

But more than snack­ing, this audi­ence joins Fal­staff in drink­ing heav­i­ly, order­ing up their ale and wine straight through the per­for­mance and the inter­mis­sion… As Thomas Plat­ter, a Swiss vis­i­tor to Lon­don, not­ed in his diary in 1599, “Dur­ing the per­for­mance food and drink are car­ried round the audi­ence, so that for what one cares to pay one may also have refresh­ment.” The dis­trac­tions were many, not only from drunk patrons them­selves: ale pro­duced a hiss­ing noise when tapped, and those open­ing it were shout­ed down by audi­ence mem­bers annoyed by the sound.

For the sec­ond time in a year, Hol­ly­wood actor Shia LaBoeouf has been involved in a fra­cas at the Hob­gob­lin pub in New Cross, South Lon­don. What next – Chan­ning Tatum in a dust-up at a for­mer Firkin in Lewisham? (This sto­ry brought to our atten­tion by Bailey’s for­mer flat­mate, with whom he used to drink at the Hob­gob­lin c.2001, while liv­ing near­by.)

→ Nick Wheat of Dron­field CAMRA kind­ly emailed to tip us off to the immi­nent release on DVD of an obscure pro­to-Eal­ing Com­e­dy, Cheer Boys Cheer:

Two young lovers are caught on either side of a dis­pute over the ter­ri­to­r­i­al ambi­tions of the mono­lith­ic Iron­side brew­ery against an ‘olde-worlde’, tra­di­tion­al fam­i­ly-run con­cern, Green­leaf.

News, Nuggets and Longreads 11/01/2014

Bloke drinking beer.

It’s Saturday morning and time to highlight a few interesting items we’ve spotted around the Blogoshire, and beyond.

→ Emma at Crema’s Beer Odyssey took a deep breath and explained why it is a bad idea for blog­gers (and espe­cial­ly brew­ers who blog) to glibly wade into the issue of gen­der. The now-delet­ed posts by Dave Bai­ley which trig­gered this brouha­ha were more David Brent-style clum­si­ness than mean-spir­it­ed, but they did leave us bang­ing our heads on the table.

→ Alan at a Good Beer Blog has post­ed some ‘new beer res­o­lu­tions’, includ­ing ‘explore crafty’ – that is, self-con­scious­ly ‘craft’ beer made by big brew­ers. That, in turn, elicit­ed some inter­est­ing state­ments of intent from read­ers: drink more lager, more Bel­gian beer, more ses­sion bit­ters. Is it John Wes­ley Hard­ing, White Album, Beg­gars Ban­quet back-to-acoustic-basics time?

Jeff Alworth at Beer­vana attempt­ed to ask two dis­tinct ques­tions about Goose Island: (a) are their beers any good; and (b) have they ‘dumb­ed down’ since the takeover by AB InBev in 2011? His con­clu­sion seems to be that, for his part, he’d like them a lit­tle more if they were ‘dumb­er’, but that beer geeks are let­ting prej­u­dice inter­fere with the facts if they think GI has been neutered.


→ Last Sat­ur­day, we Tweet­ed a link to Fiz, a new game for iOS and Android tablets and phones which chal­lenges you to man­age a brew­ery. Some peo­ple, it turned out, were already addict­ed. Oth­ers have spent the last week, with us, bor­ing every­one else sick by curs­ing the name of evil neme­sis Gary Blau. We wrote a review but decid­ed against post­ing it (we’re not games writ­ers, it turns out), but you can read what Steve at Beers I’ve Known thought.

→ Inspir­ing home brew recipe of the week: Andy Parker’s Beet­root Sorachi Ace Sai­son, which sounds like more of a Satan­ic Majesty’s Request of a beer than a Beggar’s Ban­quet. If you’re going to brew crazy beer, make it real­ly crazy, right?

→ We learned from Tast­ing Nitch that Sci­ence-fic­tion writer Neal Stephen­son likes ‘craft beer’ but is angry that a lot of it is ‘over-hopped’.

→ A ‘long read’: Hot Rum Cow have a piece on Bel­gian Lam­bic beer, and Frank Boon in par­tic­u­lar, by Liz Long­den. We’ve only skimmed it, but it’s this week’s pick for sav­ing to Pock­et.

→ And on the sub­ject of ‘long reads’, we’re writ­ing one for 1 March. JOIN US!

News, Nuggets and Longreads 04/01/2014

Bloke drinking beer.

This is what we’re using Saturday mornings for now: round-ups, snippets, and things that don’t warrant full blog posts of their own. First, some news.

Weird Beard Brew­ing revealed that anoth­er Lon­don brew­ery, Cam­den Town, had threat­ened legal action over a per­ceived trade­mark infringe­ment. We’re not trade­mark lawyers and don’t know the full sto­ry, so we keep our nose out of these things, but we can see Camden’s point – what if a small Cor­nish brew­ery launched a beer called St Austell? Camden’s heavy-hand­ed approach, how­ev­er, is undoubt­ed­ly very bad for their image.

A long read

The Voice of Amer­i­ca web­site has a long arti­cle on craft brew­ing in South Africa (via @beerhasahistory on Twit­ter). If you can ignore its off­hand attempts to define craft beer, and the assump­tion that ‘craft beer’ is nec­es­sar­i­ly ‘good’, it’s an inter­est­ing glimpse into yet anoth­er bur­geon­ing brew­ing scene. High­light? This Afrikaans idiom:

I think peo­ple think I’m a spoilt brat. I think that’s what a big part of it comes down to. You know: ‘Dad­dy gave her a brew­ery; sy’t met haar gat in die bot­ter geval…’” [She fell with her bot­tom in the but­ter]

Around the Blogoshire

If you’ve spot­ted any oth­er inter­est­ing blog posts (oth­er than those you’ve writ­ten your­self…) let us know in the com­ments below.