A 1977 Watneys Calendar (NSFW?)

Disclaimer 1: These images are used as part of fair use, with thanks to the original providers.

Disclaimer 2: Due to me suspecting that nude images will be flagged, I have edited the photographs in order for them to be “acceptable”

 

So, without getting into any kind of political rants at all, I simple present some pictures I found of the way beer was advertised in the 70s.  These are presented only for historical record, they may be of interest to anyone that likes charting beer marketing throughout the ages.  All comments are welcome below.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading.

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Portman Group Prohibitionists

Newport brewery Tiny Rebel must change beer can design

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Tiny Rebel brewery at all, in fact apart from the brewery the only other thing that previously made me aware of Newport, Wales with the TV show Dirty Sanchez

Portman Group Report

The first thing that sprang to mind is that does the supermarket in question, Budgens, not separate out it alcoholic beverages from it’s non-alcoholic ones?

If it does, which I’m pretty sure it has to by way of legal requirements, then this would quite obviously suggest that the person, ONE person, who made this complaint is…to use a beer analogy, from the sadly departed Bill Paxton…

 

Secondly, Sunkist is orange, not yellow.

Thirdly, if you are going to buy alcohol from any outlet, you must be over the age of 18. A kid would not be able to buy this product thinking it was “fizzy pop.”

 

Full marks to Tiny Rebel for responding in a cordial and professional manner, certainly more mature than those twats from Ellon, Scotland.

Finally, far be it from me to suspect or imply that an “independent group” made up of large multinational (alcoholic) drinks manufacturers might have something to gain from throwing it’s weight around against a far smaller, though rapidly expanding brewery and would actually go to the length to manufacture ONE COMPLAINT in order to appear that it was being conscientious when it comes to alcohol consumption.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

VineHop – Poynton, Cheshire

…and then from Stockport...

You can get the train (very rarely but it does happen) to Poynton and visit…

Vine Hop

 

The annoying thing about train travel to Poynton is that it happens to be the first stop outside the Greater Manchester travel boundary, so anyone with a season ticket will need to pay extra…

…or just sit in the carriage furtherest from the conductor and hope they don’t reach you until you disembark.

A swift 10 minute walk into the town centre from the station, this is the latest addition to the growing beer/bottle bar sector but with the emphasis less on beer (only slightly) and more for wine, because Cheshire is properly middle-class and hasn’t fully dumped wine for craft beer just yet.

As you may be able to tell, this new venture’s previous building identity was a butchers, inside the only things hanging are the 6 keg lines…

 

And the 8 (4 white, 4 red) wine lines that you buy a special card for (and top-up I expect)…

 

Its like looking into the future with this set-up, I was more struck by this than the very large range of bottle/cans of beer that were available, very reasonably priced, though to drink in you did have the additional £1.20 charge…

 

Spirits, heavy emphasis on gins, are also available…oh and a box of cider (along with a choice of bottles too)…when you aren’t lost between all the wine…

 

Look…coat hangers…

It is a nice place for a few quiet drinks but then again Poynton has a drinking establishment for everybody’s tastes and maybe a full on blog is required.

Warning: You may well get to meet Stanley at this venue…

 

Which would be fantastic…if he wasn’t accompanied by his entourage of hangers-on owner.

 

Thanks for reading.

Burnage to The Heatons – A Crawl of MicroBar Bottle Shops

Burnage (Pronounced: Bur-ni-d-g; or Bur-n-arrr-ge if you want to sound posh) always registered in my young mind as one of those places you don’t want to get caught out being in after dark.  Not quite as ominous of Longsight, Broughton or the infamous Moss Side but still just an “avoid” place.

All titles are links.

So you get the train out of Piccadilly for 2 stops, about 10 minutes, get off at Burnage Station and walk 1 minute to…

Reasons To Be Cheerful (@R2BCBeerCafe)

 

Of course I never had any reason to go to Burnage until the news was announced that this place was opening (it opened in January 2017) and I needed to do a recce to gauge roughly where it would be located and what this crawl would be like.

There is cider, 6 keg fonts and 3 casks (cellared) and most importantly…coat hooks on the bar…

 

Lovely little venue with a guy serving the beer, at the time of calling, called Dave who was very friendly and talkative.

The only odd thing about the place is its frontage is kind of subdued next to the ramp way of the take-away next door.

 

You then walk back passed the train station and continue over Kingsways in a straight line for about a quarter of an hour, passed the sign the lets you know you’re entering Stockport, you can tell this too because they’ve still got Co-Op stores, and you’ll end up at…

The Beer Shop

Which was closed on this occasion…but I had been before…

 

Beer Shop opened in 2011, and the place acts more like an off-license with a great range of beer bottle AND that happens to have a couple of casks (jacket chillers) that an actual micro boozery.  With its TV usually showing sports and its location in the middle of a housing estate it also feels more like someone’s front room, so overall it is a bit of a unique experience in the realms of drinking in Greater Manchester.

It is a bit of a windy 15 minute walk (that’s wind as in the movement that isn’t of the bowels) to Shaw Road which it the venue of the next place, which is…

Bottle Stockport

 

Opened in 2015, recently extended opening hours make this place more likely to be open when visiting these days, it is all keg and bottles and the seating and tables are those high, posing ones but its a nice little place with a good and varied range of beers.

 

Beers Manchester wrote a more detailed blog about Bottle here.

Then all you have to do is get up and take a left on to Heaton Moor Road which merges into School Lane when it crosses the A6 and you have reached…

Heaton Hops

There isn’t much more to be said about this place seeing as since its opening in 2015 it won award after award and the only time I’ve been able to get a seat is if I get there just as the shutters open.

2 cask, 8 keg, loads of bottles, a downstairs I’ve still never visited and the 70% chance you’ll get ranted at (and can join in with) by Jimmy from Malay Street Food  which is always good fun, though not as much fun as his food.

Once again, Beers Manchester writes more on this place, here.

After you’ve sampled the delights of Heaton Hops you can then walk back on yourself to Heaton Chapel train station and take the train back the Manchester (passé) or go via Stockport way and onward to where the drinking delights of Cheshire await.

Of course, other beer outlets are available

 

Thanks for reading.

Untappd Tapped

Note – All artwork in this post is in the public domain and as such used under fair use in the piece.

Note 2 – apologies for the formatting, it just won’t sort itself out.

It is worth pointing out in advance that this post may contain a…

140ji6

It has been a strange few hours in the world of the gamification of drinking beer, especially if you are on Untappd.

In the endless drive for equality among the sexes, the people behind the site have listened to feedback and change a couple of badges:

What was “Brewnettes have more fun”

bdg_BrewnettesHaveMoreFun_lg

Is now “Bravo for Brown”

bdg_BravoForBrown_lg

 

 

 

 

 

Likewise “Blondes do it Better”

a9660c83c48776adf2886ebd8b5b0b1a

 

 

 

 

 

Has changed to “Fields of Gold” – which should immediately cause offence to those who hate the musician known as Sting.

bdg_FieldsOfGold_lg

 

 

 

 

 

But these aren’t the only badges that are offensive and I will detail some of those that still exist “for fun” for which Untappd should consider a rename and/or redesign.

The “Heavyweight” badge is offensive to fat people.

Heavy Weight

 

 

 

 

 

Next are the following badges with apply a male gender to what should be an androgynous beer bottle:


bdg_AltBier_lgbdg_saison_lgbdg_ConcertVenue_lg lagerjack


 

 

 

 

The presence of men in these badges

bdg_traveller_lg

bdg_weekdayWarrior_lg

 

 

 

 

 

Next up are the most offensive of cultural appropriations

bdg_CincoDeMayo2014_lg bdg_italy_lg Rising Sun

bdg_LaCremedelaCreme_lg

 

 

 

 

 

bdg_Highlander_lg

bdg_canada_lg

 

 

 

 

 

The Matador badge, which is not only cultural appropriation but also promotes a bloodsport

Matador


 

 

 

The Flamenco badge, more cultural appropriation along with pushing gender stereotypes while enforcing the view that women dance for the pleasure of men.

bdg_spain_lg

 

 

 

 

 

The “Hey Honey” badge, which promotes unwanted advances against women.

heyhoney

The “Iron Man” badge, no representation of women at all.
bdg_IronMan_lg

 

 

 

 

“I’ll Be Bock” which is offensive to all cybernetic organisms with neural net processors that have the capability to learn, become more human and strive to help prevent Judgement Day.

bdg_IllBeBox_lg

 

 

 

 

 

This is not an exhaustive list and much like Pumpclip Parade it can only be changed for the better by people seeking out badges that are likely to cause offence of any kind and shame the makers into making their site and app a more inclusive and sensitive experience.

 

Thanks for reading.

Brewdog – If a dog barks in a forest and no-one is around…

…do only foolish sycophants easily parted from their money hear it?

 

So the obvious nature of this blog is “pointless, small-time beer blogger tries to make name for himself by having a go at THE ‘craft’ brewer in the UK.”

I’ve been loathed to write articles about said brewery in the past due to the fact that their Modus Operandi is to create controversy and any kind of mention, good or bad, is extra advertising and recognition for their brand.

I have nothing against the beer that they make.  I’ve had a lot of it in the past, I’ve got glassware and even a t-shirt.  I’ve got quite a few emails from a lovely woman called Angela who apologised every time I placed an order because it was always delivered incorrectly.  They were professional and went above and beyond in correcting the order and even providing additional beer by way of an apology.

I stopped buying their beer around the time they started shoving bottles up the backsides of taxidermal animals.

It wasn’t because of that, it was because around that time Brewdog apparently fell foul of the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) for using naughty swear words.

Which enable them to generate more “punk” advertising.

Only the ASA had receive one complaint and that was from Brewdog themselves.

There are few things I like more than beer but one that stands clearly above the booze is freedom of speech.

So by all means do market you product however you feel and use whatever language you want I’ll support you in that quest, I just won’t necessarily contribute financially.

The problem I have is it freedom of speech (and more worryingly, freedom of thought) is under attack from all quarters.

The crusade for morality that I grew up with in the 1980s led by Mary Whitehouse and her merry band of religious and conservative (politically & morally) nut-jobs that lead to the banning of films and stickers on albums has now been flipped on its head that now it is generally the politically liberal who seek to curb any speech or thought that anyone may get offended at.

One term is called micro-aggression.  Look it up, to have a mind-set like that is not only closed to ideas is not only unevolved but is also just plain dangerous.

What does this have to do with Brewdog you might ask?

Well to me complaining about your own language to generate more hype and then to use this to play the victim is not only just typical of spoilt bullies who are used to getting their own way but slowly chips away at free speech, a speech that the marketing department at Brewdog rely on heavily.

This was brought into stark reality a few weeks ago when the article below appeared in the Guardian.

UK craft beer: taking over the world one pint at a time

It featured a quote from the well-respected blogger Melissa Cole who said of Brewdog:

“A lot of their stuff is disingenuous, dull or mildly offensive…”

Which it is.  They are indeed disingenuous and dull but offence is up to each individual, I personally don’t find anything they do offensive other than chipping away at free speech…

…so on cue, James Watt plays his victim card with the bullying tone…

He then witters on about something completely unrelated…

Good use of advertising a new beer launch…

If you read the full conversation you can clearly see Miss/Ms/Mrs Cole defends (not that she has to) her position very well, in clear and simplistic terms that even the most dull and disingenuous fuckwit could understand, addressing both Watt and some of the more insalubrious adherents to the Brewdog cult fanclub crowdfunding shareholding.

What is actually most gratifying is that most of the comments of Watt’s tweets about this incident do point out that the emperor does indeed have no clothes but squeaky wheels do get the grease and boy are they greased well.

The problem with Brewdog and their marketing MO is that their prime audience is composed of the easily offended (as well as the easily pleased) and they are the exact people who chip, chip, chip away at the foundations of free speech and I’m less bothered about them not buying Brewdog products or starting up po-faced petitions as am I about the impact it has on everyone else’s ability to think and speak how they so wish.

Long may they continue to brew the good beers they generally produce and long may they be called out on their bullshit which, like the boy who cried wolf is every time they open their pie-holes.  This may seem like bit of an over reaction and it may well give Brewdog too much credit, but like water dripping on concrete, every little whine about things that offend someone erodes these freedoms I and many others hold dear.

 

Please whine below if you need to, I’ll field all (or most likely only the 2 I’ll receive) of your comments.

 

Thanks for reading.

Squawk Brewing Co – Meet The Brewer

This meet the brewer (MTB) took place at Kosmonaut (@KosmonautMCR) on the 7th of March 2015.

Hosted by head brewer and general one-man-band Oli, Squawk Brewing Co (@SQUAWKBrewingCo) are one of the breweries on what is rapidly being touted as Manchester Brewery Mile (yes, blog still being written).

The Stonecutters in the Simpsons got drunk and then played ping-pong…

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…for this MTB the ping-pong was played first.

So for the princely sum of £10 you got plenty of beers and a pizza…

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The pizza was very welcome because a lot of beer (Manchester brewed too) was drunk this day.  The above is spicy sausage.

The beers were served by the half or by the bottle, so when you look at it that way, it was 3 (closer to 4) hours, spending less than you would only on beer in the equivalent time in a pub – quality entertainment.

For reference, I don’t really tend to heavily review the beers for these MTB, I don’t take notes for a start, unless something is really special, it is just the event that I try to give a glimpse of.

But Oli is one very honest, direct and amiable host – it looks like Manchester managed to nick one of Yorkshire’s best brewers.

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So we started off with a 4.6% Pale – enjoyable enough, but Oli admitted that he’d used a different yeast and it wasn’t one he’d probably use again, he wasn’t a fan of his own aftertaste (the beer’s aftertaste, perverts).

This event started with Oli holding court at the ping-pong table, telling us the general ingredients used in the Pale, standard – however this technique quickly fell apart and it corrupted completely upon delivery of the pizza and the second drink, a 6.3% IPA, which the brewer then merely decided to prowl around each table of punters fielding questions as and when they cropped up.

The IPA was lovely, really went with the pizza too #theresabeerforthat

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Floating Pints came next, a 4.5% pale and a collaboration that came with a tale about the perils and joys of brewing.  I’d already raised a keg/cask question, “either” was the reply, most is casked, but a bit of everything is kegged.  By now Oli was just shooting the breeze with anyone, referring to his actually brew notes and spreadsheets if anyone wanted details of the actual beer.

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Next out was the Hop Rocket (or home brewer porn as it was put) – a quick straw poll and the 6.3% pale was chosen as the beer that would be infused with chili, coriander and strawberries and a ball load more citra hops (losing out were oranges and its peel, cucumber and maybe some other things).

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It was certainly a different experience to other MTB, mixes things up a bit.  The resulting beer was good too, initial pressings(?) were heavy on the coriander and the chili did hang around on the lips.  Later servings (with added second sieving technique) did indeed smell of strawberries.

The other cask of the night was the 6.5% Espresso Stout made in collaboration with Bean Brothers of Huddersfield.  In short, this is what every coffee stout should be like.  You don’t need any more superlatives about it from me, just go and find some.

During this time I was quizzing Oli about fourth-coming plans.  There does indeed seem to be a strong co-operative bent to the brewers of Manchester, those especially close to each other around the Ardwick area (Beer Mile) – where ideas, ingredients and even deliveries are shared around.

The Liquorice Porter, a collaboration with Ad Hop Brewing of Liverpool was next.  Now I love my porters, I’m used to them having hints and light aromas of liquorice – I had this first off at the 2015 Manchester Beer Festival and I described it on twitter as something stolen from Bertie Bassett’s bank vault – it is a beast, something that you feel is really cleaning you out.  If I recall correctly the brew featured 8kg of liquorice, so if there are shortages anywhere, you know who to blame.

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At this stage even the bar manager got in on the act, going around talking to people in attendance, keeping people out of the room who’d ignored the note on the wall outside and started ranting something in as many long words as possible so as not to appear drunk – seriously, when could you ever use a word like contextualise in a normal everyday sentence?

Listening to the bar manager (no names given, none taken) he was telling the story of changing drinking habits, trying to get in the right crowd, keep out certain types, but the irony that having spent many of the past few years getting tired of making 6 Old Fashioned cocktails per order, he is now struck dumb that the main drink of choice if vodka and soda; but he was always trying to get in a big range of beers and for that Kosmonaut can only be commended.

This tied in with my discussion with Oli about cask/keg and the general schism in CAMRA about said topic.  Of course the schism isn’t just in CAMRA but also in the more outspoken newer brewers, who are really just a different side of the same coin.

So in the end a meet the brewer event turned in to an eye-opening journey about the future of not only Manchester brewing but of pubs/bars in general by the people actually involved in their running.

With all the negativity that surround beer, alcohol and pubs this event, at least for a while even put a very hopeful glint to the future of beer.

Thanks to all the staff at Kosmonaut and of course to Mr Squawk Brewing Co.