News, Nuggets & Longreads 10/05/2014

Bloke drinking beer.

Live from Penzance… it’s Saturday Morning! Which means it’s time for some links to go with your Fruit’n’Fibre.

→ Vice’s Ali Gour­ley spent a day at the new ‘Pound­Pub’ in Ather­ton, Man­ches­ter, ques­tion­ing whether the bar­gain booz­er is real­ly, as per the media moral pan­ic, a recipe for binge-drink­ing dis­as­ter. The con­clu­sion (spoil­er…) is elo­quent­ly expressed: “Pound­Pub is not an exem­plar of Bro­ken Britain – it’s a rare and wel­come boon for broke Britain.” (1500 words; via @RoryElsome.)

Bob at Anchor Brew­ing grap­ples with the ques­tion of which ‘style’ cat­e­go­ry Lib­er­ty Ale belongs in – it’s not called an IPA, but every­one has decid­ed it is one.

→ Pete Brown’s extend­ed polemic on the sub­ject of poor han­dling of ‘craft beer’ in pubs and bars makes some good points:

The sit­u­a­tion is often lit­tle bet­ter with craft keg: beers pour cloudy, flat and life­less, and because it’s ‘craft’, most bar­tenders and drinkers, for whom this is a new expe­ri­ence, assume it’s meant to be like that… At six quid a pint, this sim­ply won’t do.

→ Bel­gian Beer and Food mag­a­zine has pro­vid­ed a trans­la­tion of an open let­ter from Bel­gian brew­ers on the sub­ject of con­tract brew­ing:

In con­crete terms, the clear and vis­i­ble men­tion on each label of the brew­ery where the beer in ques­tion was actu­al­ly made. Along sim­i­lar lines, only those enter­pris­es who pos­sess their own equip­ment for the brew­ing of beer, which is used to man­u­fac­ture the entire­ty of their pro­duc­tion, should be per­mit­ted to use the term “brew­ery”.

(Via @RobSterowski whose com­men­tary on it is here.)

→ For obvi­ous rea­sons, this was our favourite Tweet of the week:

→ In oth­er Brew Bri­tan­nia news, the first (par­tial) review has land­ed, and our pro­mo­tion­al tour is almost upon us, start­ing at the Port Street Beer House in Man­ches­ter next Sun­day after­noon (18 May).

→ Final­ly, after a three-month hia­tus caused by tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties, vet­er­an Liv­er­pool-based beer and music blog­ger Red­Nev is back online. Phew! Though there are always plen­ty of inter­est­ing new blog­gers around, it makes us feel a bit lone­ly when oth­er vet­er­ans aban­don ship, so we’re glad Nev’s not gone for good.

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: