QUICK POST: Bourdain Isn’t a Beer Guy

Anthony Bourdain with Nigella Lawson.
SOURCE: CNN, via Eater.com.

Celebrity chef and food opiner Anthony Bourdain has given an interview to Thrillist in which he has harsh words to say about craft beer and its culture:

I would say that the angri­est cri­tiques I get from peo­ple about shows are when I’m drink­ing what­ev­er con­ve­nient cold beer is avail­able in a par­tic­u­lar place, and not drink­ing the best beer out there. You know, I haven’t made the effort to walk down the street 10 blocks to the micro­brew­ery where they’re mak­ing some fuck­ing Mum­ford and Sons IPA

Now, Thril­list is a fright­ful den of click­bait, and craft beer types are eas­i­ly bait­ed, but Mr. Bour­dain often has inter­est­ing thoughts and in this case, he makes some good points. For exam­ple, this…

[The] entire place was filled with peo­ple sit­ting there with five small glass­es in front of them, filled with dif­fer­ent beers, tak­ing notes. This is not a bar. This is fuck­ing Inva­sion of the Body Snatch­ers. This is wrong. This is not what a bar is about.

…is prob­a­bly fair com­ment if you accept that the ide­al bar or pub is a live­ly, even rau­cous place, which we do, on the whole. He prob­a­bly would­n’t like us much – we do enjoy over-think­ing beer – but some places are too church-like and ster­ile even for us.

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Hancock at the Off Licence, 1960

Hancock talks to Harry at the off-licence.

Pin your ears back, this is going to be a big ‘un, this’ll prob­a­bly clear you right out. Now then… I want ten crates of stout win­ter brew, five crates of best brown, twelve quarts of Drag­on’s Breath, two bar­rels of bit­ter, two crates of Dan­ish lager, and a bar­rel of rough cider.

Cor, blimey! Are you going to have a par­ty?


No, me grand­moth­er’s com­ing over.


From Han­cock­’s Half Hour, ‘The Reunion Par­ty’, BBC Tele­vi­sion, first broad­cast 25 March 1960.

The Apprentices organise a piss-up in a brewery (sort of)

big_simonsmith.jpgThe Appren­tice has been a guilty plea­sure of mine ever since it start­ed. Bai­ley does­n’t share my inter­est, so he missed out on watch­ing the two teams attempt to lay on a themed food evening in a dif­fer­ent Lon­don booz­er.

The girls organ­ised a “Bol­ly­wood night” – cur­ry, music, danc­ing – in the King’s Head on Upper Street, Isling­ton, which is a place I used to haunt back in the day. The boys put on a more for­mal Ital­ian food evening in the Duke of Hamil­ton, Hamp­stead, a pub I haven’t been to, but it looked like it had some nice ales on. And did I catch a glimpse of Bar­clay Perkins liv­ery?

Any­way, lest you think this is just an excuse to blog about my favourite TV pro­gramme, it got me think­ing about themed nights in pubs. The idea in gen­er­al sounds a bit tacky, and I’m not sure either of these were par­tic­u­lar­ly good exam­ples – though I do love a bit of Bol­ly­wood.

But the right theme, ide­al­ly but not nec­es­sar­i­ly focused on the beer, is poten­tial­ly an excel­lent way for pubs to get new pun­ters in. Tan­dle­man wrote about a Welsh-themed night for St David’s day, which shows that you don’t have to have a par­tic­u­lar­ly exot­ic theme. Some new beers, some dif­fer­ent food, and dare I say it, some music, and you’ve sud­den­ly giv­en some­one a rea­son to choose your pub that night. And maybe once they’re there, they’ll dis­cov­er how nice and friend­ly you are, and how great your ales taste.

Pho­to: ex-sol­dier Simon is one of the con­tes­tants on The Appren­tice. I’ve picked him because it’s about time a beer blog had some tot­ty for the ladies…


Don’t let the bastards grind you down

saturday-night-sunday-morning.jpgThe more I think about so-called binge drink­ing, the more I think it is a result of the North­ern Euro­pean atti­tude to work – the week­end feels like the only time peo­ple can real­ly relax, after slog­ging through five or six days of bore­dom, stress and aggra­va­tion, and they want it to be some­thing spe­cial, mem­o­rable and over­whelm­ing.

It’s not a new thing. In the 1958 social real­ist nov­el Sat­ur­day Night and Sun­day Morn­ing, Alan Sil­li­toe described a Sat­ur­day night in Britain like this:

For it was Sat­ur­day night, the best and bingi­est glad-time of the week, one of the fifty-two hol­i­days in the slow-turn­ing Big Wheel of the year, a vio­lent pre­am­ble to a pros­trate Sab­bath. Piled up pas­sions were explod­ed on Sat­ur­day night, and the effect of a week’s monot­o­nous graft in the fac­to­ry was swilled out of your sys­tem in a burst of good­will. You fol­lowed the mot­to of ‘be drunk and be hap­py’, kept your crafty arms around female waists, and felt the beer going ben­e­fi­cial­ly down into the elas­tic capac­i­ty of your guts.

Peo­ple always talk about the sen­si­ble Span­ish and French atti­tude to drink­ing, but could it have any­thing to do with the tra­di­tion­al long lunch breaks and 35 hour work­ing weeks in those coun­tries?

Binge drink­ing is not the prob­lem – it’s a symp­tom.


You can’t give booze to a baby!”

Kei­th Brainard’s daugh­ter is bet­ter at beer tast­ing than most of us. This video of a recent beer tast­ing was crashed by his fam­i­ly, with amus­ing and frankly rather endear­ing results:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmc8I2n-fPc]

Kei­th’s blog is one of our favourites – lots of great tips for home brew­ers, mixed in with a lit­tle domes­tic detail.


For the source of the title of this post, see this Reeves and Mor­timer clip which some­one has kind­ly stuck up on Youtube.