Manufactured outrage and the missing facts in the Small Brewers’ Relief debate

There is no subject in the world of beer right now that creates more heat and less light than the issue of reforming Small Brewers’ Relief, with vitriolic attacks, calls for boycotts of old-established family brewers and accusations of attempted bullying after the Treasury responded to calls for reform of the system with a proposed… Read More Manufactured outrage and the missing facts in the Small Brewers’ Relief debate

Catharina Sour, and other beers in Brazil in those long-vanished times six weeks ago

Was it really only six weeks ago that I was posing for selfies with attractive young Brazilians who were telling me how delighted they were to meet me? Apparently, according to the metadata in my own photographs, it really was. What a very different world Mid-March now seems, only 40-something days ago: coronavirus was a… Read More Catharina Sour, and other beers in Brazil in those long-vanished times six weeks ago

Carlsberg’s new lager: the verdict is in and it’s ‘This is NOT the future of beer’

A few years back, when I was still involved in hospitality trade journalism, I would get occasional invites from Carlsberg to  PR gigs. One was to Wembley to see England play San Marino. The match itself was the predictable turkey-stuffing (5-0) but it was the entertainment beforehand we were particularly supposed to appreciate: Northampton’s Danes… Read More Carlsberg’s new lager: the verdict is in and it’s ‘This is NOT the future of beer’

The Portman Group is trying to destroy Britain’s proud history of strong ales

It is as well the Portman Group wasn’t around when Admiral Sir Edward Belcher was fitting out his expedition to the Arctic in 1852 to try to find out what had happened to Sir John Franklin and his gallant men, lost on their voyage in search of the North West Passage seven years earlier. The… Read More The Portman Group is trying to destroy Britain’s proud history of strong ales

The world’s quickest brewery tour

There ARE smaller breweries that Poppyland, but not very many: the room that the 2½-barrel brewkit sits in measures about 160 square feet. Your living room is probably larger. So the “brewery tour” consists of standing in a corner and pivoting on one heel through 180 degrees. That’s it: you have now done the Poppyland… Read More The world’s quickest brewery tour

Picketing Fuller’s EGM is like picketing your ex-girlfriend’s house

I have a huge amount of respect for John Cryne, who had done vastly more for the cause of cask beer than I have, over four decades as an activist in the Campaign for Real Ale that includes a stint as Camra national chairman and a long period as chairman of Camra in London. I’ve… Read More Picketing Fuller’s EGM is like picketing your ex-girlfriend’s house

A short history of Asahi, in which beer gets called ‘bitter horse-piss wine’

In view of recent events, I thought people might be interested in a short history of Asahi Breweries … Beer was introduced into Japan by the Dutch, who were the only Europeans allowed to trade with the country after the expulsion of the Portuguese early in the 17th century, and who would take biiru with… Read More A short history of Asahi, in which beer gets called ‘bitter horse-piss wine’

Asahi makes massive vote of confidence in future of cask ale with £250m purchase of Fullers’ beer business

The Japanese beer giant Asahi has made a massive vote of confidence in the future of the real ale sector in the UK with its £250m purchase of Fullers’ beer business. And if that’s not the angle you took away from the story, you’re not thinking this through properly. The beer business earned Fullers £10.6… Read More Asahi makes massive vote of confidence in future of cask ale with £250m purchase of Fullers’ beer business

Why, nearly 50 years after the birth of Camra, can I still not be guaranteed a decent pint of cask beer in most pubs?

Why is finding a properly kept pint of cask ale such an appalling lottery in Britain’s pubs, despite the existence since 1971 of a consumer organisation dedicated to beer quality – before most pub staff were born – and the existence of a trade organisation dedicated to raising the standards of draught beer, Cask Marque,… Read More Why, nearly 50 years after the birth of Camra, can I still not be guaranteed a decent pint of cask beer in most pubs?

There is no such thing as the ‘craft beer community’

Of all the multiple nonsenses written about the acquisition of a minority stake in Beavertown Brewery by Heineken International, perhaps the stupidest came from someone called Kirk Hilton on Twitter, who declared this week that Logan Plant and his crew had “chosen to turn their back on the craft beer community” and “should know about… Read More There is no such thing as the ‘craft beer community’