News, Nuggets & Longreads 28 April 2018: Training, Tadcaster, Telemark

Here’s everything on the subject of beer that piqued our interest in the past week from apprentices to diversity ambassadors, via one or two pubs.

If you like mess­ing around with your beer at the point of con­sump­tion – blend­ing it, adding strange ingre­di­ents – then you might want to try “roar­ing” your beer, Nor­we­gian-styleLars Mar­ius Garshol explains:

The first time I heard about it was in Tele­mark (south­ern Nor­way), where Halvor Nordal said that one of his neigh­bours used to some­times heat the beer very briefly in a saucepan before serv­ing it. His neigh­bour thought it made the beer taste fresh­er… Then, the year after, I vis­it­ed Ras­mus Kjøs Otterdal in Hornin­dal, 300km to the north­west, and he… explained what peo­ple did was to take an emp­ty saucepan and heat it quite well on the stove. Then you took it off the stove and poured the beer straight into the saucepan. The beer would give off a fierce fizzing sound and a thick head would instant­ly form on it. It tastes great if you drink it right away, but doesn’t last long, he said.


For Imbibe Will Hawkes has writ­ten about a new appren­tice­ship scheme for brew­ers ini­ti­at­ed by the peo­ple behind the Brew­house & Kitchen chain but with 25 oth­er brew­eries rang­ing from very big (Heineken) to tiny (Igni­tion) also signed up:

[Simon] Bunn and his team [at B&K] did con­sid­er run­ning the scheme inter­nal­ly, but decid­ed that it was an inno­va­tion that the whole brew­ing indus­try need­ed. There are lots of brew­eries in the UK, but not enough prop­er­ly-trained British brew­ers.… He acknowl­edges, too, that for­mer appren­tices will often seek to move on once they’ve demon­strat­ed their skills.… “They tend to go into jobs at big­ger brew­eries, or as head brew­er at a small start-up,” he says. “We don’t have too much turnover; I think we lose four brew­ers a year.”

Detail from a 1929 German beer advertisement.

For Vine­pair Evan Rail explains why you should be inter­est­ed in Andreas Krenmair’s new book His­toric Ger­man and Aus­tri­an Beers for the Home­brew­er – that is, because it’s already hav­ing an impact in the real world, among brew­ers eager to find new ter­ri­to­ry to explore:

Though his book has only been out for a cou­ple of weeks, its recipes have already start­ed attract­ing atten­tion from both pro­fes­sion­al and ama­teur brew­ers. Home­brew­ers have reached out to Kren­n­mair with feed­back after brew­ing his 1818-era Bam­berg­er Lager­bier. Lon­don micro­brew­ery The Owl & The Pussy­cat is cur­rent­ly serv­ing its own Merse­burg­er from Krennmair’s recipe, which he cal­cu­lates at a tongue-numb­ing 125 IBUs.

(Dis­clo­sure: Mr Kren­mair is one of our Patre­on sup­port­ers.)

Humphrey Smith

Sam Smith news: the UK Pen­sions Reg­u­la­tor is pros­e­cut­ing the Samuel Smith Old Brew­ery of Tad­cast­er and its chair­man, Humphrey Smith, for “fail­ing to pro­vide infor­ma­tion and doc­u­ments required for an ongo­ing… inves­ti­ga­tion”. Refus­ing to respond to cor­re­spon­dence from jour­nal­ists is one thing but ignor­ing agen­cies of HM Gov­ern­ment is quite anoth­er. We watch with inter­est.

Dr Jackson-Beckham

Progress: the Amer­i­can Brew­ers’ Asso­ci­a­tion (BA) has appoint­ed an aca­d­e­m­ic, Dr J. Nikol Jack­son-Beck­ham, as its first Diver­si­ty Ambas­sador. Dr Jack­son-Beck­ham “will trav­el around the coun­try to state guild and oth­er craft brew­ing com­mu­ni­ty events to speak on best prac­tices for diver­si­fy­ing both cus­tomer bases and staff and to lis­ten to cur­rent chal­lenges in this area.” There’s com­men­tary from Cat Wolin­s­ki and more quotes from Dr Jack­son-Beck­ham in this arti­cle at Vine­pair.

Portman Group logo.

Fur­ther progress, pos­si­bly, depend­ing on your point of view: the Port­man Group, which reg­u­lates pack­ag­ing and adver­tis­ing on behalf of the UK alco­hol indus­try, has launched a con­sul­ta­tion on its code of prac­tice and is keen to hear your views, includ­ing plans to intro­duce “a new rule with sup­port­ing guid­ance address­ing seri­ous and wide­spread offence, such as sex­ism in mar­ket­ing”.

Handpumps at a Bristol pub.

While we strong­ly dis­agree with his asser­tion that “peo­ple have nev­er heard of… Boak & Bai­ley” – we are, in fact, extreme­ly famous, prac­ti­cal­ly house­hold names  – this piece by Mark John­son reflect­ing on the chasm between the so-called beer bub­ble and the wider world of beer drinkers in the con­text of the CAMRA Revi­tal­i­sa­tion vote is a good read. He writes:

Peo­ple like cask beer.

Peo­ple pre­fer cask beer.

There are a large num­ber of peo­ple that are still drawn to pubs that serve a good pint of ale. For them, the fonts (or wick­ets, oh yeah) are where the eyes are pulled. The choic­es are sin­gled out based on colour, strength, famil­iar­i­ty. They know what they like and they know what is good. They don’t always agree upon bit­ter­ness, hazi­ness, adjunct flavour­ings or even sil­ly names but they could pick out off flavours bet­ter than most with­out know­ing their names.

Page spread from the booklet.

Those who enjoy wan­der­ing the streets of Lon­don will want to check out a new pub­li­ca­tion called Beer Bar­rels and Brew­hous­es: explor­ing the brew­ing her­itage of the East End. It’s been put togeth­er by not-for-prof­it organ­i­sa­tion Walk East work­ing with locals, using a Her­itage Lot­tery Fund grant. It is avail­able online as a flip­py-flap­py inter­ac­tive book­let and, we think, in hard copy at Tow­er Ham­lets Archives.

(Via Tim Holt @BeerHasAHistory.)

And final­ly, a chance to buy an heir­loom your fam­i­ly will trea­sure for decades to come…

News, Nuggets & Longreads 17 December 2016: Revitalisation, Raw Ale, Rebel

For this final news and links round-up before Christmas we’ve got stories about CAMRA, Indian street food and historic pubs from around the beer blogs and beyond.

First, some very sub­stan­tial read­ing, though not nec­es­sar­i­ly ter­ri­bly enter­tain­ing – the Cam­paign for Real Ale’s Revi­tal­i­sa­tion Project has report­ed, with rec­om­men­da­tions for how CAMRA can, might and should change:

There is no doubt that, on the mar­ket today, there exist some keg and oth­er non-cask beers that are high-qual­i­ty prod­ucts – brewed with first-class ingre­di­ents, often matured over long peri­ods, unfil­tered and unpas­teurised. In some cas­es, keg beer con­tains live yeast and is sub­ject to sec­ondary fer­men­ta­tion in the con­tain­er. It is, to all intents and pur­pos­es, real ale up to the point that car­bon diox­ide pres­sure is applied in the cel­lar… Some of these prod­ucts, by most mea­sures, are far supe­ri­or to some of the low­er-qual­i­ty, mass pro­duced cask beer com­mon in pubs – some of which, it is alleged, may be sub­ject to very min­i­mal, if any, sec­ondary fer­men­ta­tion despite being mar­ket­ed as real ale. Yet today, in accor­dance with its poli­cies, CAMRA cham­pi­ons the lat­ter over the for­mer.

We’re still digest­ing it but, as we expect­ed, it is a care­ful com­pro­mise designed to appeal to mod­er­ates on both sides of the keg/cask divide. Some will bri­dle at the sug­ges­tion that, even while per­mit­ting qual­i­ty keg beer at fes­ti­vals, CAMRA should make sure to com­mu­ni­cate the inher­ent supe­ri­or­i­ty of cask, but we get it. Cask is the jew­el in the crown, the USP, the quirk that sets us apart.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “News, Nuggets & Lon­greads 17 Decem­ber 2016: Revi­tal­i­sa­tion, Raw Ale, Rebel”

News, Nuggets & Longreads 29 October 2016: Bud, Trond, Home-Brew Snark

Here’s everything around the beer blogs and beyond that’s grabbed our attention in the last week, from Budweiser to hypothetical travelling salesmen.

Do you remem­ber those hap­py days when there was no ambi­gu­i­ty and every­one just hat­ed Bud­weis­er the minute they tast­ed their first micro­brew­ery beer? Well, Bud­weis­er seems keen to bring that back by bor­row­ing the idea for its lat­est ad cam­paign from its under­dog Czech rival Bud­weis­er Bud­var, as report­ed by Pete Brown:

Come on, Bud­weis­er. You’ve already stolen your name from the town in which Bud­weis­er Bud­var is brewed. You’ve copied their adver­tis­ing idea (albi­et in a fine exe­cu­tion) and now even their copy, word for word. You employ some of the best and most expen­sive adver­tis­ing agen­cies in the world (even if you do try to shaft them on costs.) Is this the best those agen­cies can do?

A man in check shirt holding two bottles.
A reluc­tant Trond with his beers. SOURCE: Knut Albert Solem.

Knut Albert Solem has a sto­ry from research­ing his book about Nor­we­gian beer which goes in our file on ‘The Qui­et Ones’:

Trond makes it per­fect­ly clear that he is in no way ready to present his beers in any book project in the fore­see­able future. There is no point in stretch­ing out my vis­it, he makes no ges­ture of putting the ket­tle on. He is in no way com­fort­able about my vis­it. But he allows me to take a few pho­tos for web use. And I per­suade him to trade a few bot­tles for a copy of last year’s book.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “News, Nuggets & Lon­greads 29 Octo­ber 2016: Bud, Trond, Home-Brew Snark”

News, Nuggets & Longreads 20/02/2016

Here are all the articles and blog posts about beer and pubs that have caught our attention in the last week, from Rheinheitsgebot to rejigging recipes to cope with limited hop supply.

→ Andreas Kren­mair, one of the win­ners in our #Beery­Lon­greads con­test before Christ­mas, pro­vides some point­ed crit­i­cism of the Ger­man beer puri­ty law as cel­e­bra­tions for its 500th birth­day gath­er momen­tum:

Brew­ing with oth­er ingre­di­ents, such as juniper, mar­jo­ram, thyme, oregano, elder­flow­ers, fir tips, birch tips, rose hips, cream of tar­tar, hon­ey, gin­ger, gen­tian roots, bit­ter oranges, lemons, car­damom, rice, and salt, was com­mon all over Ger­many. That was the under­stand­ing of beer in much of Ger­many from the 16th to the end of the 19th cen­tu­ry. And it’s a sign of a rich and diverse brew­ing cul­ture.

Film poster: 'And Now The Screaming Starts', 1973.

→ We’ve already shared links to Lars Mar­ius Garshol’s lat­est post about Nor­we­gian home brew tast­ing and feed­back rit­u­als but it’s too good not to include here:

Some places, the vis­i­tors would make no com­ment on the beer while in the brew­house. Late that night, leav­ing the brew­house, they would stop on the way home and scream. The loud­er the screams, the bet­ter the beer. In some areas peo­ple had fixed places where they’d always stop to do the scream­ing. If the beer was poor the scream­ing would be half-heart­ed at best.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “News, Nuggets & Lon­greads 20/02/2016”

Homage to the white bits on the map

Announc­ing the arrival of an Ice­landic blog­ger to the scene the oth­er day, Knut used the catch-all term ‘the white areas on the map’. As any­one who saw this satel­lite image in the papers this week will know, Britain has tem­porar­i­ly joined the club, and so it seemed the per­fect oppor­tu­ni­ty to get into the spir­it of things.

Here’s what we did yes­ter­day:

  1. Put Johan Johans­son on the stereo.
  2. Had a hot bath.
  3. Rolled in the snow.
  4. Got back in the hot bath.
  5. Ate a sal­ad of pick­led her­ring, pota­toes, beet­root, apple, onion and sour cream.
  6. Drank the bot­tle of Nøgne ø God Jul we were giv­en by Knut before Christ­mas.

We enjoyed the beer a lot. It’s a classy, com­plex drop which is nonethe­less eas­i­er going than Harvey’s Impe­r­i­al Stout. We got some­thing dif­fer­ent with every mouth­ful but the over­all pic­ture was of trea­cle with a hint of wood smoke. We liked the fact that, although very dark, it was deep brown rather than black. The head was so far off white that, for a moment, we won­dered if there might be saf­fron in the beer.

Addi­tion­al notes: We didn’t roll in the snow for very long because we felt like a right pair of twats. The music even­tu­al­ly proved too pre­ten­tious for us and we put ABBA on instead. The table we ate off was bought from IKEA. After this bizarre inter­lude, we went to the pub for a bot­tle of Fuller’s 1845.

Update: here are Beer Sagas’ reviews of Nogne ø beers, and here’s the Beer Nut on Nogne ø God Jul Islay Cask edi­tion.