I had a run-in with a clown on Quora recently who was repeating the myth that medieval peasants never drank water, only ale. After I smacked him hard with actual statistics, strangely, he never came back. Pity, really, I’d have appreciated at least an apology. The usual argument for debunking the Great Medieval Water Myth… Read More So how much ale did a medieval peasant actually drink? Much, much less than you think
It’s not necessarily a great idea to start arguing with an actual professor of history over matters historical when one is, let’s be frank, an amateur with no actual qualifications in the subject. Still, here we go: Richard Unger, distinguished scholar, professor of medieval history at the University of British Columbia, former president of the… Read More The one where I start an argument with a professor
I’ve never met Larry Hatch, but I’m sure he’s a great guy: kind to small animals, regularly helps old ladies cross the road safely, buys great bagloads of girl guide cookies. However, he’s written some dumb nonsense about porter, and I’m feeling grumpy, so he’s going to get a kicking. I bought his publication Hatch’s… Read More Believing the name porter comes from the Dutch word ‘Poorter’ is only a short step from QAnon
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
I had a small Twitter spat yesterday with Duration Brewing after they said they were installing a coolship and foeders at their brewery in Norfolk. A wave of grumpy old mannishness washed across me, and I tweeted that we don’t have coolships and foeders in Britain, we have coolers and vats. Why use a foreign… Read More Do you gyle your ale after it leaves the cooler and finishes fermenting in the vat or krausen your beer post-coolship when it’s run out of the foeder?
Rule number one in the history writing biz is: don’t just copy-and-paste stuff off the internet (or from anywhere else), because the chances are high that what you have copied is wrong, and some fecker (me, in this case) will come along and hold you up to ridicule and abuse. I’m talking about you, today,… Read More How even giant multi-national brewing corporations can screw it up by lazily copying and pasting
I apologise for greeting the new edition of Camra’s Good Beer Guide, with a spittle-flecked rant. A little. But not much. Because SIX YEARS after I pointed out that the “British beer styles” section of “the UK’s best-selling beer and pub guide” was choked with errors, the 2020 edition of the guide, just out, is… Read More Why oh why is the Good Beer Guide STILL getting British beer styles so totally, shambolically wrong?
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’
Exactly when it started happening I’m not sure, but bitter, once the glory of the British beer scene, is disappearing. In the place of all those marvellously hoppy, complex bitters and best bitters we once sank by the pottle and quart, we now have brews sold under the same brand names, made by the same… Read More When did ‘bitter’ become the beer style that dare not speak its name?
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