|Andy 'Partizan' Smith|
|Trust me, it's brewing kit...|
|Exclusive! Look For The Partizan Label...|
|Andy 'Partizan' Smith|
|Trust me, it's brewing kit...|
|Exclusive! Look For The Partizan Label...|
|Don Burgess - Half Man, Half Badger|
|Peter Hates Camera, Camera Loves Emma|
...host of television shows "Three Sheets”, “Drinking Made Easy”, and “Have Fork, Will Travel” [and] has made a career out of traveling and drinking. So he's more than qualified to come up with a list of the world's best beer-drinking cities.My mate who sent me Dzen's piece sent an accompanying note along the lines that he wasn't sure about London being worth a Top Ten place. I decided to dig a bit further and went to Lamprey's site, where each of his 25 selections gets a couple of paragraphs.
Having a pint in a pub is just as much a part of the English lifestyle as much as caring about the goings on of the Royal Family. The city is home to some of the oldest pubs in the world, where beer has always been present. Finding a pub in London with ale on draft is easier than finding a a red phone booth. There are dozens of breweries in London too. At the turn of the millennia, there were not as many options for local beer, but in the last decade that has changed. But it’s not all about large companies like it has been in recent years.I have a theory about Americans and British Beer. I think that, generally speaking, they're fascinated by our pubs and traditions, less so by our beer, and have a bit of a sanitised Disney view of our beer culture. Lamprey's piece doesn't really disabuse that. It's curious. Little kernels of understanding mixed up with some Mary Poppins nostalgia about telephone boxes, the Royal Family (bless 'em) and Shakespeare, and I imagine some CAMRA die-hards would be spluttering into their mild over his view of their role in the craft brew scene, although he's not entirely wrong. Like I said, kernels of understanding.
The craft brewing scene has gotten a nice boost from CAMRA, a growing group of revolutionaries pushing their Campaign for Real Ales (beers that have not been filtered or pasteurized), who celebrate and educate along the way. Although they appreciate their imports as well, there is a growing beer community and some sizable beer festivals which have garnered more interest in local beers. In the city where Shakespeare would once write and drink, then write about drinking, the only thing that’s changed is the quill.
It is the Dubliner’s love for beer, their strong culture around beer, and the sheer number of beer drinking songs that have come out of Dublin that have pushed it towards the top of this list.So, London as a Top Ten World Beer City, eh? Good news? Right or wrong? Whaddaya think..?
Off sales of alcohol were being sought in order that sealed 3-4 pint jugs of real ales could be sold to members of CamraSo, if there's any street drinking problems around Kennington Park Road, it'll be down to Kevin. At least, according to the KA. I wonder if buyers will have to produce their membership card to get a jug?
THE MANSION HOUSE, 48 KENNINGTON PARK ROAD,They don't say why, but I can imagine somebody at Oaka got jittery, considering the depth of opposition to their proposed opening hours.
LONDON SE11 4RS (PRINCE'S WARD)
This application was deferred to a future meeting at the request of the applicant’s representative.
At a time when the British Beer Blogosphere is engaged in sporadic but intense efforts to decode that seemingly innocuous description, here's a new book that promises to take us 'Behind The Beers And Brewers Leading The World's Craft Brewing Revolution'. Being it's an American book, and seeing how we seem to have imported the term from there, along with some of their fine beer, perhaps the key lies within.
Brewed Awakening is written by Joshua Bernstein, a resident of Brooklyn, NY. This, his first book, is The Ultimate Beer Geek's Journal. Bernstein eschews a chronological narrative in favour of a non-linear exploration of themes and trends around craft beer and brewing in the US today, gathering perspective and insight from the stories of brewers, bar owners and other industry figures representing every facet of the current US brewing scene. What you get is a series of fascinating conversations about beer and brewing which don't draw any conclusions. After all, the story of American Craft Beer is still being written. I could see some of these conversations being carried on elsewhere, over a pint or online.
If you aren't acquainted with the US scene, don't worry. Familiar names and themes pop up all over the book. Commentator Lew Bryson takes up the cudgels on behalf of session-strength beers, our own Englishman In New York Alex Hall educates and opines on cask ale, Ron Pattinson considers revival of styles, even Hardknott Dave gets a name-check, as Brewers' Union Local 180 owner Ted Sobel relates his first experience of David's “warm, flavourful bitters” during a trip to the UK. (Tee hee). Russian River's Vinnie Cilurzo discusses sour beers, Mitch Steele from Stone relates his first experience of Black IPA in the section on hops.
Bernstein covers developments such as concepts of terroir and perceived snobbery in producing 'Estate' beers; the development of organic and gluten-free beer; the nanobrewing phenomenon; the limited-release hoo-hah thing (he's a fan, I still think it's bad for beer)... The breadth of the subject matter is as vast as the country itself, but you never feel overwhelmed. It's an easy story to engage with. Some of it is creepy, though. Remember this? Bernstein knows who made that film, and speaks to him and other fans of beer ageing, and includes information on building your own beer mausoleum. Everybody has a stash, I expect (including me) but this seems a new form of 'extreme'. “Dr.” Bill Sysak from Stone is pictured looking as if he's washing down a liver with fava beans. Throughout the book, Bernstein's themes and trends are illustrated with suggestions of beer to try from across the US and, sometimes, elsewhere.
The cover blurb claims for an international outlook are a little spurious. Of course, you could argue that most of the beer and brewers leading this revolution are in the US, so for international perspective Bernstein appears to have identified brewers outside the US who export to there, and who display a clear American influence in their beers and ethos. Luke Nicholas of Epic in New Zealand, Kjetil Jikiun of Nøgne Ø (pictured in the back room at Mug's Ale House in Brooklyn, I think), gypsy brewer Mikkel Borg Bergsø, Mexico's Cucapa and the Dieu Du Ciel team in Montreal all get profiled, while batting for Beautiful British Brewing we get, once again, Brewdog.
Typically, the reader learns “most British breweries make boring, thoughtless, insipid and lacklustre beer blablabla raising the bar of beer produced in the UK yadda yadda drinkers not accept what multinationals or lazy brewers term beer gabble gabble zzzzz”. I know Brewdog have an American business to grow, but do they have to do down every other UK brewer in the process? It's more than boring now, it's just bollocks. Still, mustn't get sidetracked...
The book has some memorable soundbites from various interviewees and the author. Here are a few of my favourites...
“In America, you still sell beer through T&A” Mike Cadoux, Peak Organic Brewing (on the challenges facing brewers of organic beer)
“Craft beer enhances our time together; session beer extends it. Who doesn't want to extend the good times?” Chris Lohring, Notch Brewing (on session-strength beer)
“For many serious beer quaffers, can is a four-letter word.” the author (on canning beer)
“We're willing to take a knock on the pretentious scale so we can get people to start thinking about beer as an agricultural product again.” Bill Manley, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co (on the idea of terroir in beer and criticism of SN's 'Estate' beers)
“Cask's most tireless cheerleader...” the author (describing Alex Hall)
“They ask, 'Do you have this? Do you have that?' They just run down a list of what we make. They seem to know nothing about beer. They just want to buy it, so they can sell it on eBay and make $150.” Ben Weiss, The Bruery (on filthy traders and hoarders)
So, a journey in the company of a Beer Geek. I'm never sure if I'm a geek or not. Maybe that's another heated debate to be had. It does seem to me that the Beer Geek vibrates at a different frequency to me, but maybe I'm just a little out of tune right now. Perhaps this book is the start of a trend in beer writing. Maybe we'll see more geeks decoding their changing beer culture. Consider how much the UK scene is changing. Who writes that book*?
Brewed Awakening is a handy size with a nice embossed front cover and a dust jacket that folds out to reveal a beer map on the flip side. The layout, designed to resemble a diary with faux inserts, pics and doodles, is easy to navigate.
Finally, and gratifyingly perhaps, a definition of craft appears to be as elusive in the US as it is here. So the quest must goes on. But in the meantime, if you're interested in the US beer scene, this is well worth picking up. And I'd love to see a similar tome updating today's UK scene. Dredgie? You there?
*Not Roger Protz
'Brewed Awakening: Behind The Beers And Brewers Leading The World's Craft Beer Revolution'
By Joshua M Bernstein
Published by Sterling Epicure
ISBN 9781402778643, RRP £16.99
Available from Amazon.co.uk
(thanks to The GMC Group for the review copy)
Alcohol Concern calls for specific inclusion of alcohol policy in the Corporate Governance Code. Partnership with BreathScan announced to tackle workplace drinking culture and improve employee wellbeing and productivity.They continue:
Under the Corporate Governance Code, listed companies must provide a framework for risk to be assessed and managed and ensure the necessary human resources are in place to meet business objectives and obligations to shareholders. Alcohol Concern argues that an effective alcohol policy is a material component of business strategy and that, as employees are a key business asset, Boards should have a formal responsibility to address financial losses incurred through their reduced performance caused by alcohol. By failing to do this, and in many cases to even recognise the impact of alcohol misuse, Boards are neither complying with the spirit or the letter of the Code.How do they know all this? Here's the research methodology used by BreathScan:
BreathScan looked at published materials such as annual reports and websites for each company, as well as contacting their HR departments to ask whether they had an alcohol policy. Out of the 250 companies, six actually stated that they have no plans to implement such a policy in the future and another two said they would only do so if forced by law to do so.Impressive, eh? Read some websites, make a few calls. Frowning in print, Eric Appleby commented:
Companies simply have to address attitudes to alcohol and drinking behaviours - it is costing the economy billions every year. The evidence is that Boards are not taking the issue seriously and that’s why we are calling on the Government to include alcohol policy as a specific requirement under the Corporate Governance Code...(my bold emphasis there)
I would rather quit beer than work for an evil multinational, faceless, generic corporation pedalling insipid liquid cardboard like MC."Craft beer credibility"? Eh? What's that? James appears to know, and so presumably there's a list somewhere at Brewdog. If you want to know if you're credible, write to James, c/o 'Craft Beer', 15 Credibility Street.
Good luck with that. However, you should realise, that by working for them, you have zero craft beer credibility whatsoever. That must suck. I would almost be sorry for you if you were not so mean about BrewDog. Jealous? probably.
Still I guess for some people being paid well and comfortable beats putting absolutely everything on the line for something they believe in.
Oh and Mr Howe, as for the fact that we don't make great beer, how many World Beer Cup Gold Medals do you have? We have 2. Are you on the ratebeer top 100 list? Thought not. And we also don't work for Satan.
The beers on show in Parliament demonstrated the speedy commitment of brewers large and small in taking up the Government’s challenge to offer customers lower alcohol alternatives to what is anyway a low alcohol drink.Robert Humphreys, secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, had this to say:
"Members from all parties were amazed and greatly impressed by the variety of styles and characters of the nineteen beers on show. The response of UK brewers large and small to the tough challenge of brewing exciting and saleable beers at this strength hugely impressed our members and demonstrates what a small change in the taxation regime can achieve"
That bold is my emphasis. The Pub Curmudgeon has speculated that, given an inch, then the likelihood is that it will be tough to stop the neo-prohibitionists and their fellow travellers from attempting to take a mile.
Andy Tighe from BBPA, didn't appear to be drawn on the issue of taxation, but the press release noted that "with considerable retail interest in this burgeoning but nascent sector, the BBPA is looking to do more to highlight this growing category of beers in the coming months."
All very jolly. But at least one brewer with a beer on the list decided not to participate in the event, stating that they
...dropped out over the super tax on strong craft beers. They were using the event to make it look like brewers supported them. I don't.
With the Irish looking to develop a cross-border initiative for minimum pricing of alcohol (the Department of Health notes alcohol is Ulster's "favourite drug" according to the 'facts' on the BBC website), and Parliament yet again dragging its feet over reining in the unfair business practices of the pubcos (report back from Independent Commission in the autumn, equals what? Another 600 pubs lost?), how long before the health argument is used to tighten the squeeze on stronger beers.