Myth 1: Ralph Harwood invented porter as a substitute for three-threads

No he didn’t, and no it wasn’t. In 1802 one of the most influential articles in the history of beer was published. It appeared in a guidebook called The Picture of London, written by John Feltham, and the myths and inaccuracies Feltham recorded about the birth of porter, then by far the most popular drink … Continue reading Myth 1: Ralph Harwood invented porter as a substitute for three-threads

What if Michael Jackson had never lived?

Back in May I was asked by Johan Holm, editor of the Swedish beer magazine c/o Hops, if I would like to write 2,500 words for the 10th anniversary of the death of the beer writer Michael Jackson, to explain to young Swedish beer drinkers who might never have heard of him who he was … Continue reading What if Michael Jackson had never lived?

Czeched out at last

Sitting 30 feet below the surface at a table in a workmen’s refuge dug out of the soft Bohemian sandstone, drinking unfiltered, unpasteurised lager made in 80-year-old open wooden fermenting vessels and poured from big copper jugs, I reflected on how long it had taken me to make this journey. Being a beer writer who … Continue reading Czeched out at last

What’s a brewer’s bucket? No, you’re wrong …

“He shall charge you, and discharge you, with the motion of a pewterer’s hammer, come off and on swifter than he that gibbets on the brewer’s bucket.” Sir John Falstaff, Henry IV part 2, Act III, Scene 3, by William Shakespeare Better brains that yours or mine have failed to identify what Falstaff meant by … Continue reading What’s a brewer’s bucket? No, you’re wrong …

Fanboy investors put £50m into UK craft breweries: but is that money down the drain?

A total of £50m has been raised in the UK over the past four years in crowdfunding efforts by more than 40 different craft breweries, and half a dozen craft beer retail operators who have tapped tens of thousands of – overwhelmingly male – investors. More than half the money raised went to just one … Continue reading Fanboy investors put £50m into UK craft breweries: but is that money down the drain?

Going wild (yeast) in Amsterdam

If there is a more international, more fascinating, more illuminating, more must-not-be-missed beer celebration on the planet right now than Carnivale Brettanomyces in Amsterdam, let me know immediately, because it must be marvellous. Carnivale Brettanomyces, now on its sixth year, calls itself a beer festival, but it’s more a three-day massively parallel series of dozens … Continue reading Going wild (yeast) in Amsterdam

Albert Le Coq is NOT a famous Belgian

It’s a small error, as they go, but it has been around for at least 40 years, and it appears everywhere from Michael Jackson’s World Guide to Beer to the labels on bottles of Harvey’s Imperial Extra Double Stout, so let’s try to stamp it to death: Albert Le Coq was NOT a Belgian. Le … Continue reading Albert Le Coq is NOT a famous Belgian

Goose Island hopes it’s laid a golden egg in Balham

BAL-HAM, gateway, if the guys from Chicago’s Goose Island Beer Co are correct, to a new form of gastropub/craft beer bar: yummy grub combined with rare brews. The very first Goose Island Vintage Ale House had a goosedown-soft opening in a former Be At One cocktail bar in Ramsden Road, SW12 a week before Christmas, … Continue reading Goose Island hopes it’s laid a golden egg in Balham

Your handy cut-out-and-keep instant rebuttal guide to countering neo-prohibitionist lies

In the 40-plus years I have worked as a journalist, I never wrote anything I knew to be an actual lie. I’ll admit, though, that, very rarely, I span a story to leave the reader with an impression that, while not actively untrue, did not present a totally balanced narrative: generally because the balanced narrative … Continue reading Your handy cut-out-and-keep instant rebuttal guide to countering neo-prohibitionist lies

How a 12-year-old brewery is having to show it’s not too old to be down with the kids …

Quick: what’s the oldest microbrewery in London? The answer, to stop you looking it up, is Twickenham, which despite not even being a teenager yet, today, after the sale of Meantime, bears the mantle of the capital’s currently longest surviving independent new brewery. Which is more of a burden than you might at first reckon. … Continue reading How a 12-year-old brewery is having to show it’s not too old to be down with the kids …