It’s not that they’re chanting my name in the favelas of Rio, or painting my portrait on walls in Salvador. But I don’t get dozens of people at a time in Britain queueing up to get me to sign a copy of my latest book, and have a selfie taken with me, Britons by the… Read More Why am I so much more popular in Brazil than I am in Britain?
There are many dozens – probably hundreds – of brewing traditions around the world, from the umqombothi of South Africa to the tiswin of the Apache, the kveik beers of Western Norway to the chicha of Latin America. Most are pretty much unknown to the barley beer drinkers of the Western European tradition. Few are… Read More Traditional brewing in Myanmar: an amazing heritage
Beer poetry is pretty much always rubbish. Books-full of fine prose have been written about beer, and a fair few excellent aley folk-songs still survive, but plain versifiers seem only to produce dull, plodding rhyming tedium on the subject of malt and hops. I was delighted, then, to stumble serendipitously (I was looking for examples… Read More A marvellous and stirring long-lost Scots ode to ale from the 18th century
In October 1736, Jonathan Swift, dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, and the foremost satirist of his age, published an attack on English porter, which was made, he said, of “the worst Malt, which is sent from all parts of the Country for that Use, and consequently nothing but Gin exceeds it for Badness.”… Read More Why Jonathan Swift said English porter was only fit for swine
Today, November 8, marks 150 years since the Fuggle hop first went on sale, in a field in Paddock Wood, Kent, after Richard Fuggle and his brothers Jack and Harry had spent ten years propagating the variety until they had enough, 100,000 sets, to sell commercially. Their hop, found growing in a flower garden around… Read More Happy Fuggleversary, 150 years since the birth of a classic hop
It’s a clickbait beer, of course, a meme ale, designed at least in part to get as many mentions on social media as possible. And yet … perhaps because I’m a big fan of Marmite, I rather liked Camden Town Brewery’s Marmite Ale, made with actual Marmite as one of the ingredients. You wouldn’t want… Read More Ma might like it but pa might not …
This is a fascinating picture, and not just because of the cats: it depicts the sort of labour-intensive cellar practice that the Burton union system was invented in the 1830s to eliminate, though this engraving dates from 1875. It illustrates the scene in the cellar at Thomas Aitken’s Victoria Parade brewery in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia,… Read More How many cats can YOU spot in the brewery cellar?
If a mediumweight French brewery had not been looking for another beer to add to its portfolio in the early 1970s, and if the owner of a drinks distribution company in County Wexford had not also owned a striking ginger beard, we probably would not now have that totally fake beer style, Irish Red Ale.… Read More How one Irishman’s ginger beard helped launch an entirely bogus style of beer
The canard that brewers in London did not brew with water from the Thames because the river was, supposedly, full of sewage and dead dogs quacked up on Beer Twitter last week, so I thought it would be useful to run an extract from the (long-overdue) Great Porter History Book to try to squash this… Read More Yes, London’s big brewers happily used Thames water to make beer from
Descriptions of London’s big porter breweries in the 19th century by an actual brewer are exceedingly rare. One of the few such reports was made by a young Canadian named William Helliwell, who visited four of the capital’s big breweries in the summer of 1832, and left his impressions in a diary. William’s father, Thomas… Read More A Canadian visits four of London’s biggest porter breweries in the reign of William IV