Tuesday, and we’re off travelling again, 20 miles south to Roeselare, and the Rodenbach brewery. To me, as a historian of beer and brewing, Rodenbach is a fascinating operation, since it brews well-aged ales in what is almost certainly the same way that English brewers did 150 years ago, vatted for months, or years, and… Read More If it’s Tuesday, this must be Kölsch – Part Four
One of the problems of trying to be a beer tourist in Belgium in July is that many places shut for their annual break. This was the case with Cantillon, Brussels’s oldest surviving lambic brewery, a real working museum of beer, which is why we had to squeeze in a visit as we were leaving… Read More If it’s Tuesday, this must be Kölsch – Part Three
Some of the best beer tourism happens in places that are already centres for “ordinary” tourism, with plenty of stuff to see that is nothing to do with beer. That’s what makes Brussels a great place to be a beer tourist. There are many attractions apart from breweries and bars .You can wander about checking… Read More If it’s Tuesday, this must be Kölsch – Part Two
How we sophisticated Europeans laughed at American tourists in the 1960s as they raced around our continent on whirlwind holidays in cramped coaches: the Eiffel Tower one day, the canals of Venice the next, Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin the day after. They were mocked without mercy in a film made in 1969 called If It’s… Read More If it’s Tuesday, this must be Kölsch
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?
This is probably the toughest time the breweries of Britain have ever faced, tougher than the restrictions of the First World War, tougher than the fight against the temperance fanatics of the 19th century. Cut off from their customers because of the lockdown caused by the covid-19 pandemic, brewers are having to find innovative ways… Read More Brewers of Britain: hugely tough though this is, you’re making history right now – so if you have a moment when it’s all over, do please try to find time to record for posterity how you coped
The pub: centre of conviviality, the place to meet old friends and new friends, an open, welcoming, warm, communal space free from the stresses of work and the confines of home, where people gather to relax, mingle, talk, laugh, enjoy companionship, exchange news, views and jokes, revive, support and celebrate. But what about that fellow… Read More In defence of sitting in a pub on your own
How many people in Britain ever waited until their 18th birthday before they ordered their first alcoholic drink in a pub? Not you, I bet, and not me, certainly. In fact this year marks half a century since I started regularly drinking in pubs, and as I’m still a little shy of 68, you may… Read More The ‘I was a teenage under-aged drinker’ 50th anniversary pub crawl
This is a glass of something called Herr Axolotl, from Ale Browar of Poland, bought in a bar in the charming city of Wrocław. It is described as a Berliner Weisse with guava. I struggled very hard to find anything at all about it that might deserve the name “beer”. It looked like cloudy apple… Read More Old Man Yells at Cloudy Beers
Man walks into a pub – or is it a bar? Is there a difference? Can you walk into any outlet for the retail of alcoholic refreshment on the premises and declare immediately, without discussion, disagreement or deviation: “This is a pub, not a bar!” or, conversely and contrariwise, “This is a bar, not a… Read More So what IS the difference between a pub and a bar?