James Beeson’s blog piece, An Ode to the Great British Pub, is not, as he says, “a weepy-eyed, rose-tinted spectacled elegy to the public house”, but it does make a number of points about the institution with which it is hard not to disagree, least of all that “not all pubs have a divine right to stay open”. Among other things it makes the very pertinent point that a lot of brewers, such as modernists Cloudwater and Verdant, are doing most of their business either through their own bars or by selling packed beer direct to drinkers.
There’s always going to be a space for the pub, though. The well-run pub with great beer variety, cask and keg, and the chance to put the world to rights with both friends and strangers (the latter being friends we haven’t met yet, to slightly paraphrase WB Yeats). My local preserves my sanity and is a place where I would far rather drink if the alternative is at home on my own.
Finally, let me recommend the James Beeson piece for its extraordinarily good photographs. Like Matt Curtis, he knows how to take a picture that tells a story, a remarkably rare talent in an era when most of carry good quality cameras with us all the time in our phones.
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You only have to look at this GoPro video to realise the amount of work dray horses get through. The beasts in question belong to Harvey’s Brewery and have been filmed on a series of drops around Brighton towards the end of last year. I find driving bad enough these days, what with all the nutters on the roads, so how these even-tempered beauties negotiate the city streets is admirable. Click the still to view the video
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If you end up in a Life on Mars scenario and suddenly find yourself time travelling back to 1973, there is some good news. According to Ron Pattinson’s blog, you’ll only need to find an average 13p for a pint of bitter. The bad news, of course: 1973 bitter. And flared jeans.
The point of the blog, however, was to highlight the difference in pricing between beers and lagers, on average, between 1973 and the present day. It started out at just over 30%, hit a low of 8.06% when I first took an interest in a pint glass in 1983, and now stands at just over 17%. The sad news, naturally, is that the 13p pint is now yours for an average £3.05p. Not in St Ives, it isn’t…
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The Wolf bar, in Birmingham, is celebrating its first anniversary with a line-up of three collaboration birthday beers and a Beavertown tap takeover. It doesn’t seem that long ago since Lone Wolf, to give the premises the name it was launched under, incurred the wrath of BrewDog by taking the same name as the latter’s nascent spirits division. Aware that we were all drinking in the irony of the situation (see Elvis Juice for details), BrewDog hastily apologised, saying its lawyers “got a bit trigger happy”, but by then the bar had settled on The Wolf moniker. Still, all’s well that ends well, hands were shaken and the two Wolves collaborated on a limited edition spirit.
A year on, The Wolf appears to be a howling success and has teamed up with Blackjack, Burning Soul and Twisted Barrel for collaborations which will be launched at a party on January 19. The following day will see the Beavertown takeover, with eight of the London brewers beers making the trip to the Midlands.