News, nuggets and longreads 15 June 2019: Beavertown, Bristol, Boozeless Beer

Here’s all the writing about beer and pubs from the past week that struck as interesting, thought-provoking or otherwise noteworthy, from The Crumpled Horn to craft beer.

First, some bits of news.

> It used to be that if you want­ed to buy West­vleteren beer you had to vis­it the monastery at pre­scribed times and pur­chase a lim­it­ed amount under strict rules. (Or go into almost any beer shop, it seems, and pay over the odds.) Then, a few years ago, a tele­phone order­ing line was intro­duced. Now, though, you can order it online. (But you still have to pick up your order in per­son.)

> Last year, five post-war pubs were list­ed, includ­ing The Crum­pled Horn in Swin­don. Now, accord­ing to the Swin­don Adver­tis­er, it has closed. Wor­ry­ing news.

> When we vis­it­ed the Fel­low­ship at Belling­ham, South Lon­don, dur­ing research on 20th Cen­tu­ry Pub it was a near-wreck with only one decrepit room still oper­at­ing as a pub. Now, final­ly, its rein­ven­tion as a ‘com­mu­ni­ty pub’ is com­plete. We look for­ward to vis­it­ing.

It’s always worth read­ing Pete Brown on the state of the nation. For Imbibe he’s writ­ten a sub­stan­tial overview of where craft beer is at in 2019, reflect­ing in par­tic­u­lar on the takeover fever of the last cou­ple of years:

Fourpure’s beers are broad­ly sim­i­lar in style and qual­i­ty to Beavertown’s, and are avail­able about as wide­ly. Yet some­how, Fourpure’s 100% acqui­si­tion was not greet­ed with any­thing like the out­rage prompt­ed by Beavertown’s minor­i­ty sale. The rules of accept­able behav­iour among craft brew­ers, it seems, are flex­i­ble, depend­ing on who we’re talk­ing about.

Cranes on the waterside in Bristol.

Lydia and Lor­na at Liquor­Trips offer a review of the recent Bris­tol Craft Beer Fes­ti­val which might help you decide whether to attend next year:

With more than 35 brew­eries offer­ing their wares, it was dif­fi­cult to pace your­self too much with so much to try. We man­aged to get round the major­i­ty, even if it was just for tasters from some. Locals Wiper and True and Wild Beer Co were there, among oth­er nation­al and inter­na­tion­al names in beer such as The Ker­nel, To Øl, Mikkeller, Ver­dant, Lervig, Left Hand­ed Giant, Lost and Ground­ed and North­ern Monk to name a few… Some of the sours on offer were among our absolute best beers of the day – Gip­sy Hill’s Peo­ple Like Us fruit­ed sour, Wiper and True’s Bar­rel Age­ing Car­di­nal Sour and the Pome­lo Palo­ma by Com­mon­wealth Brew­ing Com­pa­ny stay in our minds.

The Waggon & Horses.

From The New Wipers Times, a blog about 1930s archi­tec­ture, comes an inter­est­ing note on an inter-war pub, the Wag­gon & Hors­es, in Lon­don N14:

With the open­ing of South­gate Tube sta­tion on 13 March 1933, as part of the Pic­cadil­ly line exten­sion to Cock­fos­ters, and the com­ple­tion of the near­by North Cir­cu­lar Road, the sur­round­ing area was heav­i­ly devel­oped dur­ing the 1930s and so South­gate became one of many new sub­urbs in Lon­don where Watney’s required larg­er, more suit­able premis­es… The North Lon­don build­ing was designed by the group’s Chief Archi­tect, A. W. Blom­field, F.R.I.B.A., (Alfred William Blom­field, 1879–1949), who also over­saw the design of “The Giraffe” in Ken­ning­ton, S.E.17. Both build­ings would like­ly now be described as Neo-Geor­gian in their exter­nal appear­ance.

Non alcoholic beer: 0,0

A pro­vok­ing thought from the Pub Cur­mud­geon: has the recent dri­ve to mar­ket non-alco­holic beers been a tac­ti­cal deci­sion in response to the threat of a ban on booze adver­tis­ing? Maybe. (Jess remem­bers TV adverts for vod­ka in Poland that weren’t for vod­ka – weird, but effec­tive.)

Scales and balance.

The ever-per­cep­tive Kate Bernot makes some inter­est­ing obser­va­tions about writ­ing about alco­hol in a piece for The Take­out, con­clud­ing with this zinger:

I think drinkers owe it to them­selves to under­stand the risks inher­ent in over­con­sump­tion, and to savor and appre­ci­ate respon­si­ble drink­ing all the more so. Per­haps those sen­ti­ments can coex­ist, and per­haps an aware­ness of the dual­i­ty makes the sub­ject of alco­hol even more fas­ci­nat­ing to cov­er.

Final­ly, we’re fin­ish­ing with one of our own Tweets:

For more select­ed links check out Alan McLeod on Thurs­days and Stan Hierony­mus on Mon­day (prob­a­bly).

Motel #1, 1953

This isn’t about pubs, or maybe it is: in June 1953 Britain gained its first American-style motel, The Royal Oak, at Newingreen outside Dover, Kent.

The Roy­al Oak was, as the name sug­gests, an old inn, appar­ent­ly estab­lished in 1560 and rebuilt in the 18th cen­tu­ry. It was around this core that the new motel was con­struct­ed by entre­pre­neur Gra­ham Lyon.

Lyon was born in Lon­don in 1889 and worked with ear­ly auto­mo­biles as a youth. In the 1920s he was a pio­neer of coach trips to the Con­ti­nent, dri­ving tourists around in a 10-seater Ford Mod­el T chara­banc. After World War II he entered the hotel busi­ness, start­ing with The White Cliffs in Dover. Some­thing of an Ameri­cophile, his deal­ings with Amer­i­cans dur­ing and after the war gave him the idea that Britain was defi­cient in hotels designed specif­i­cal­ly for motorists and so, in 1952, approach­ing pen­sion­able age, he set off to tour the US vis­it­ing more than 2,000 motels on an epic road-trip. He picked the brains of Amer­i­can mote­liers and came back ready to imple­ment his own take in the British mar­ket.

Aerial view of the Inn and Motel.

Each room in The Roy­al Oak motel had its own pri­vate garage and en suite bath­room. The larg­er suites had their own sit­ting rooms. For between 21s and 27s 6d per per­son (about £30 in today’s mon­ey) you got a Con­ti­nen­tal break­fast, a radio, a tea-mak­ing machine, tele­phone, a water dis­penser, and your car washed and valet­ed.

Sitting room at the motel.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Motel #1, 1953”

GALLERY: Malt, 1955–1969

The Other Fellow’s Job No. 10: The Maltster’ by Richard HiltonHouse of Whitbread, Spring 1955, with photographs by P.M. Goodchild.

In these mod­ern times, when machin­ery has large­ly replaced the hands of the crafts­man, one might think that the ingre­di­ents of beer are large­ly sub­ject­ed to numer­ous mechan­i­cal process­es in the course of their evo­lu­tion. And many of them are – but the malt­ing process is one that has stood the test of time, and remains the secret of the crafts­man who trans­forms the corns of bar­ley into that most valu­able ingre­di­ent of all – malt.”

A man with a specially designed wheelbarrow.
“C. McCabe car­ries the bar­ley in a spe­cial­ly designed malt bar­row.”

When a new load of bar­ley arrives at the malt­ings, the first men to han­dle it are the gra­nary hands. It is their job to dry the bar­ley to about 12 per cent of mois­ture so that it can be kept in bulk with­out dete­rio­r­i­a­tion; next, they clean and ‘screen’ it to extract the small or bro­ken grains… Typ­i­cal of the gra­nary hand at the Whit­bread malt­ings in East Dere­ham in Nor­folk is Chris McCabe. An Irish­man, 64-year-old McCabe start­ed with Whit­bread­’s eleven years ago, and takes great pride in his work.… Before he came to East Dere­ham he worked in large malt­ings in Ire­land.”

A man in flat cap and overalls.
“As fore­man of the East side of the Dere­ham malt­ings, Wal­ter Lam­bert has many respon­si­bil­i­ties. Here, he is adjust­ing the oil burn­er on one of the bar­ley kilns.”

Con­tin­ue read­ingGALLERY: Malt, 1955–1969”

News, Nuggets & Longreads 30 December 2017: Helensburgh, Hammers, Home-brewing

Here’s everything that grabbed our attention in the world of beer and pubs in this final week of 2017.

It’s been slim pick­ings with the Christ­mas break and the ubiq­ui­ty of Gold­en Pints (check out the hash­tag on Twit­ter) but we found a few things to chew on. First, there’s this stream of rec­ol­lec­tion by Peter McK­er­ry at Brew Geek­ery which amounts to a tour of pubs that have meant the most to him over the years:

Then it was the Clyde Bar in Helens­burgh, a well-healed town on the Clyde coast, dur­ing a pro­longed peri­od of unem­ploy­ment in my ear­ly 20s. I’d drop in for a few Tennent’s on ‘Giro Day’, and it was here that I wit­nessed taxi dri­ver and reg­u­lar, Der­mot, res­cue eight pence from the trough WHILE I WAS URINATING IN IT. While that event is imprint­ed onto my mind (it was a 5p, 2p and a 1p), it gives a false impres­sion of the pub. It was a great live music venue, and fea­tured in a video from pur­vey­ors of beige jock rock, Travis, if such triv­ia inter­ests you.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “News, Nuggets & Lon­greads 30 Decem­ber 2017: Helens­burgh, Ham­mers, Home-brew­ing”

British Beer Exports in Pictures

Ron Pattinson at Shut Up About Barclay Perkins has recently been mining data to tell the story of British beer exports in the 20th century. We thought we’d compliment that with some pictures from our collection of in-house magazines.

The pic­tures come from edi­tions of The Red Bar­relThe House of Whit­bread and Guin­ness Time, most­ly from the 1960s and 70s. (Yes, Guin­ness is Irish, but had it’s cor­po­rate HQ and a huge brew­ery in Lon­don from 1932.) It’s pret­ty well con­tent free but we have plans to write some­thing more sub­stan­tial about all this at some point in the future.

A Belgian pub.
Whit­bread­’s Tav­erne Nord, Boule­vard Adolphe Max, Brus­sels, c.1933.
A portrait of a man in an office.
C. De Keyser, Whit­bread­’s Bel­gian sales man­ag­er from 1937.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “British Beer Exports in Pic­tures”