Big Beer – Keep On Punching

I don’t watch much television these days but I did catch the latest beer advert by Foster’s.

As it is advertising alcohol you may well have to sign in to view it, a stick that our nanny betters in government beat us with regardless of our age or how big the multinational behind the campaign is, as we are all equally worthless in the eyes of our masters.

Anyway, having seen this advert I was reminded about a post by Steve at Beer Nouveau about the “Dilly Dilly” adverts that Bud-Lite ran (and still are) and whereas I understand the point(s) he makes I think it is a general symptom of the love of victim hood that smaller brewers feel.

A mentality that moves less from the brewers; who are just doing a job, but more from the movers and shakers, the influencers, the high-profile bloggers and authors who didn’t yet land cushy jobs at bigger end craft breweries.  This then permeates other similar artisan producers; the over priced food hawkers, the impressively expensive coffee houses (of which McDonald’s, a company I still boycott, beautifully trolled), the fiercely independent beer shops, etcetera

Individuality is lost and the herd takes over and it is us versus the big guns and a sense of humour and reason is lost.

 

Eventually it metastasises into the type of straw man group think that is bread and butter to a cynical blog like this.

 

So; to anyone, keep on punching, with words only obviously, at anyone and everyone.  Take the piss and fuck them if they can’t take a joke.

 

Thanks for reading.

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My non-Usual Drinking History…So Far

As I make my way through yet another Bent & Bongs Beer Bash a wave of nostalgia hit me that I feel best to recount, perhaps to realign this blog briefly into a less political state.

I started drinking at around 13 on the fields near mine and my mates houses (parents houses obviously).  Back then it started on stupidly strong stuff like Kestrel Super and Ice Dragon cider, the former of which should never really be drank by anyone with functioning taste buds so as a starting point it could poison your idea of beer from the very start.

We were away from the public, actually quite quiet and respectable of our surroundings.  It took me a long summer of finding the right cans before I first got drunk; two cans of Strongbow did the trick back then, my mates were may ahead having spent each weekend seemingly trying to increase their tolerance a can at a time.

That I’m still mates with most of them, or rather they are still mates with me, highlights that the only evolution on that scale has been that we now go out drinking together in the pub, or around each others houses (our actually own houses because we’re all sensible and grown up and have responsibilities now).

We moved into drinking in pubs at around 16-17, after all there is only a certain amount of time your growing body can get used to drinking alcohol while playing football.

I’m tempted to suggest that my pub experience started in the 2nd wave of keg beer.  After Red Barrel and Double Diamond, I drank up in the Smooth Flow era.  A time of a seemingly Irish beer invasion, where it wasn’t just Guinness of off but Murphy’s, Beamish (red and black), Kilkenny and Caffrey’s, which back then started out at 4.8%.  This went along side Boddington’s launching a “Gold” version, while you could also get Thwaites Smooth, Tetley’s Smooth, John Smith’s Smooth and the personally missed Calder’s Cream Ale.

Can drinking was awash with cans with “widgets” in them; for an authentic creamy pub head in your own home, or in the case of Carling Premier, then need to mop the floor each time one was opened.

I honestly don’t recall much, if any cask at all, nothing of note anyway, that phase only entered my life when I went to university in Bradford.  A place of Flowers IPA for £1 a pint, or the premium offering of Directors (when it didn’t just taste of syrup).

Bradford had the Biko Bar, at the time it was sold as “the only student bar in the Good Beer Guide” – they regularly served cask Moorhouses’ Witches Brew (again before it tasted of syrup) and Younger’s No. 3.

Fun smoking fact about the Biko Bar; it had a no smoking section that was on a raised platform to the rest of the pub.  The pub was basically a rectangle, the platform near the windows and opposite the door, so naturally all the smoke from the rest of the pub went over the non-smoking area and out through the windows. Genius idea.

In fact back then they did a pub quiz on a Sunday, where once a team name was called “What kind of crap pub has a no smoking section” – how times change.

A pub near my halls called The Shearbridge (now a curry house I believe) had regular beer festivals and always sold Skull Splitter and Dogs Bollocks as part of them.

This brings us up to starting going to beer festivals (Bent & Bongs I’d been aware of since my dad started going from its inception) and the fact that I still didn’t really care what I drink, style wise.  Back then it was – oh what’s this 14% beer, Sam-something-or-other.

I write this piece because I’ve realised only necessity has made me “have” a preferred drink. Cans as a kid was lager or cider.  Pubs at the beginning was generally lager, sometimes Guinness.  Cost as a student meant it was Flowers or some random lager.

Going into pubs now, with the choice far more varied than it was, I still don’t have a drink, I’ve never got to hear the bar tender ask “the usual” and I’m wondering if anyone does any more.

Though I think I’m just happy that my usual is the places I go and the people I go with.

 

Thanks for reading.

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.

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.