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-style. Lars 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.”
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.)
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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…