A Beer Burka

The Seasonal CAMRA Festival Must-Have

Pirate performer ‘mortified’ after she is told to cover up her cleavage at beer festival

When Wigan CAMRA host their “treat adults like adults” annual beer festival they usually have a theme night where you can get free entry if you are dressed as that year’s festival theme.

Being Wigan, everything is generally related to pies and rather laboured puns.  Puns which would probably turn the stomach of the puritans gleefully filling the pages of pumpclip parade

This year, 2018, it was a PIE-lot.There has been a PIE-King (that’s a pun on Viking, clearly cultural appropriation) and a whole host of other that despite searching for images and being to lazy to walk to my glass cabinet to check the artwork, I can’t be bothered to delve in to only to point out that there was once, of course, a PIE-Rate.

So where as modern feminists leap with joy as young women lose jobs as walk-on girls in darts and grid girls in motor sports, because, you know, women should have choices just not 100% there own, so too it would seem that CAMRA, as they try and “revitalise” and after a few recent to-dos and as they succumb to the inevitable supersessionism that is spreading through the beer world like a virulent yeast infection they have now gone full circle and over to the other side.

A side inhabited by the virtuous, the puritanical, the zealots.  Those against choice or even actual equality.

Whether future CAMRA festivals will feature dress codes for women, remains to be seen.  Perhaps it might depend if the festival is held in a place of worship where alcohol is acceptable but what a woman wears is subject to patrols by their approved modesty police.

Or maybe everyone can take a breath, behave like adults, so trying to feed into an “us vs them” mentality and actual approach life and all its aspects with rationality and clear thinking.

It can happen.

Maybe.

 

Thanks for reading.

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One in the Pink, Brewdog in the Stink

 

I feel cheap linking to Brewdog, I feel cheap writing about it

It is quite simple to grab attention these days but the relative shit storm that greeted this huge virtue signal warms my cockles.

It appears I have to be kept in all beer/twitter related rages via my mates on Whatsapp, then like prodding a sore tooth I step foot onto said social media platform and then disappear down a rabbit hole of shit for an hour.

Of course in this wonderful age of mainly faux outrage, trying to look like you’re at the forefront of equality and not just using it as a cheap marketing tool is always going to be difficult but as with anything Brewdog related, it is just being talked about that is enough, positive or negative in unimportant.

Of course what needs to be clarified, when parody is not enough is this…

THE GENDER PAY GAP IS FUCKING BULLSHIT

Terrible maths built on top of agendas of rage built on foundations of shit of every kind.

But I suppose if I genuinely had a liking for Punk IPA I might stroll into their Manchester bar and simply demand my 20% off Pink IPA as, at least for that day, I will identify as a female.

The politicising of the most banal things infests everything these days.

Black Panther was made out to be something greater than just a super hero film with black actors in it, when everyone fawning over it seemed to forget about previous heroes films like Hancock (Will Smith) or the good, great and dog-shit Blade Trilogy (Wesley Snipes) to name a few.

Same goes with Wonder Woman the previous year. In fact one cinema in the US hosted “women only” showings of it.  Then had to append it to “identify as women” to full assuage the temper tantrum brats out there.

Wonder Woman and Black Panther were/are successes because the general public want to see a good, entertaining film; gender and race seldom enter into it.  If everyone was so pumped for Wonder Woman then perhaps Justice League wouldn’t have been a major flop.

Why am I talking films?  Because if I may suggest that all beer is also actually a craft (and not craft, if that makes sense), then like films and music people are injecting segregation.

It is not about equality or finding a balance, it is becoming an unnecessary need to find and sew division when there needn’t be any.  The “with us or against us” diatribe is a nonsense but it is playing up big time both in the entertainment industry and it would seem, the beer world.

And like I don’t care who stars or directs or writes the films I go and see, I just want to see something good, nor do I care about the gender behind the mash paddle; it could be a 3-headed elephant like creature with 5 breasts, 3 vaginas, 2 penises and a plethora of gonads and I would not care a jot as long as the beer was good.

One final thought on this subject of segregation, while swimming through twitter shit I saw this…

Now I can firstly assume that the women only tasting is also open to those who “identify as a woman” too but either way after being told that beer has to be more inclusive it seems a sad indictment that, private entity or not, the wonderful Rutland Arms, the organiser(s) of Sheffield Beer Week and Ladies that Beer would think this was a good direction to go in.

I know the theory behind it, I understand it, I simply don’t agree with it and if equality is supposed to be some kind of virtuous and moral stance then this, well it’s discrimination isn’t it?

Plus I’m wondering if the staff at the Rutland Arms will all be female for the 2pm tasting too?

Meh.  In the end I obviously cared enough to write this piece about it but this is just a distillation of events that lead to disillusionment.  The above are genuine questions, so if anyone reading this wants to point this piece in the direction of those involved then the comments are always open (pending spam block) for replies.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

 

An Interesting Beer Interview

Despite being out of the beer loop it was quite a surprise that I had an interview, perhaps a none broadcast pod-cast, fall in my lap quite recently.

I’m not one for conspiracy theories but it does seem a bit odd that I was never made aware of it whilst I was part of that most exclusive of clubs.

Anyway, I present it to you for your own delectation; transcribed as best as I can, all spelling and grammatical errors are mine, as you’d expect.

 

Interviewer (I): Hello, its everyone’s favourite blue-haired beer communicator Simon Jessica Wrighton, here for another episode of “Beer, its a really fucking serious business” and I’ve yet again braved not only stepping outside of London but also, being in the North of England, outside of Manchester and Leeds, to bring you this interview with John, brewer and owner of Common Sense Brewing, here in [remember to add which backwater town this actually is].  So John, as most of our readers and listeners might not know about you and your beer please tell us a bit about yourself.

John (J): Well, my background was in science and I home-brewed for a number of years and then, following a small lottery win I thought I’d see how well a hobby could grow into a business and if I could make enough to leave science and hopefully earn a living doing something I preferred, while being my own boss and hoping that I didn’t end up hating it.  8 years on, so far all 3 of those criteria have been met.

(I): And tell us a bit about the beer.

(J): Well, we brew a variety of beers, your pales mainly, we have a bitter, a mild, a stout and sometimes I try and dabble in what seems to be on trend in the beer world.

(I): So would you say you’re more of a traditional style of brewer or a more modern, forward thinking brewery?

(J): I brew what sells really.  Obviously my main market is my local area and it has a more of what you probably call a traditional feel to it but they all seem willing to try anything.  Likewise I can sell to wholesalers who can ship it around areas it isn’t really practical for us to reach.

(I): Give us an insight into the set-up of the brewery.

(J): Well it is a one man operation, I…

(I): Person.

(J): Sorry…

(I): One person operation.

(J): Er, OK.  So I’m the sole person handling the brewing, sales, admin, accounts, marketing and everything else in between.

(I): So you don’t have anyone else on your staff.

(J): Not at the moment no, I’m handling things quite well as I’ve have done since I started.

(I): But in the future you may need to employ some other people to help, possibly from other ethnic or gender backgrounds?

(J): What?

(I): You’ll be an equal opportunity employer?

(J): Well, yes, because I think it is the law.

(I): So you might end up getting a woman to help out.

(J): I suppose so, but if the time ever comes I’ll get whoever is best qualified or suited to whatever role I need filling.

(I): So what you’re saying is that you wouldn’t employ a woman?

(J): Where are we going with this, I thought I was here to talk beer and brewing?

(I): Yes, of course, but I’m sure our fans want to know that they won’t possibly be buying your beer knowing they are funding someone who doesn’t believe in equality.

(J): Sorry? You’ve lost me, but look, if the time comes I’ll advertise a role, interview whoever applies for it and then make a decision based on what information I’ve gleamed from them and their CVs, but this seems to be a hypothetical discussion so perhaps we should just talk about the present?

(I) Yes, of course. Tell us a bit about your most popular beer.

(J): Right, it is a very simple 4% pale ale.

(I):  What is the grist make-up?

(J): Just pale malt with a bit of wheat for head retention.

(I): So you don’t use any black malt?

(J): Er, not is this particular beer as it is a pale.

(I): But you do use black malts?

(J): Well yes, in my more amber and red beers and I of course use chocolate malts in my mild and stout.

(I): So what you’re saying is you’ve not yet brewed using all black malts yet?

(J): Er, no because I wouldn’t get beer, at least beer as we know it, out of that.

(I): Don’t you think you should at least try?

(J): I could try but experience and the general science behind brewing says that I won’t get beer from it.  If we are still talking about beer that is?

(I): Yes, of course we are.  What is the hop profile?

(J): I use Admiral hops for bittering, I use Admiral for bittering the vast majority of my beers just to keep it simple and cost effective.  The aroma comes from liberal use of Mosaic hops.

(I): Do you use more Admiral or more Mosaic?

(J): Erm, Mosaic but that is because of the nature of the beer.

(I): So why not use more Admiral?

(J): Because that isn’t what this beer requires.

(I): So you’re saying that Admiral and Mosaic aren’t of equal value?

(J): Eh? They both do important jobs but both are quite different in the jobs that they do.  Seriously pal, are we still talking about beer?

(I): Touched a nerve have I?

(J): No, you’re just confusing me with this line of questioning.  Is there anything else I can answer for you.

(I): Yes, of course.

(J): Is it about beer or brewing?

(I): Of course it is.

(J): Ask away then.

(I):  Why don’t you maintain quotas for how much hops and malts you use?

(J): What do you mean by quotas, I record all the weights I take on my brew sheets if that is what you’re getting at?

(I): Good.  So you’re saying we could look through you’re brew sheets and see how equally you spread your use of hops and malts.

(J): What do you mean equally?

(I): To make sure you use everything equally.

(J): What?  I can’t use everything equally, that isn’t the nature of the beer I make.

(I): So you’re saying you don’t use hops and malts equally?

(J): Well, they do completely different jobs.

(I): So they aren’t equal?

(J): What, hops and malt, are we talking by weight?

(I): Yes.

(J): Well, no, as I just said, they do different jobs and they can’t be compared as being equal.  There is no like for like comparison.

(I): Not even as an average?

(J): What? Especially not as an average.  Honestly, are we still talking about beer here?

(I): Thank you John, thank you for your time and a highly revealing insight into the brewing practices up here in [remember to add name of this rainy backwater].

(J): Er, thank you.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Chatting in Micro Pubs/Bars – A Guide

Inspired by this post from Richard Coldwell and the initial comment from “Dave”

First of all we need to define the difference between what is a Micro Pub and what is a Micro Bar

“All pubs have a bar but no bar has a pub”

Note: this guide assumes the location of said micro outlet is in a small-to-medium sized town, not a city or tourist trap/destination.

Micro Pub

The Drinks

The emphasis is on cask beer and generally session strength at that.  If there is any keg dispense it is usually a lager because the founder understood who his core clientèle would want to drink.  There will also be a red wine, a white wine, a Prosecco and some spirits (usually gin or whatever is on trend) all in order to increase footfall over the weekends.  Cider may also exist in known bottled varieties or boxed “real” ones.  Soft drinks will be dispensed from 2 litre plastic bottles blatantly purchased from the closest supermarket.

The Drinkers

What you’d find in most macro pubs, with slight variation depending on how close the nearest bookies is.

They are the kind of people who’ll walk into a micro bar and complain about the prices.

The Décor

All wood but that is because it was the cheapest material, a lick of paint here and there but pretty much like a macro pub, only it looks like your 50 year old twice-divorced uncle has simply converted his spare room.  Has one toilet.

The Landlord

Your 50 year old twice-divorced uncle who wanted to do something different.

The Wildlife

No cats. Cats are not found in micro pubs.  Dogs are allowed; they will be hulking beasts curled at the owners feet and fed occasional crisps or hog lumps.  Drool will be present.

 

Micro Bar

The Drinks

The emphasis is on keg beer and generally bastard strength at that.  If there is any cask dispense it is usually one pale and one bitter because the founder understood what his day trip visitors would want to drink.  There will also be a plethora of red wine, white wine, Prosecco and a massive choice of spirits, at least 25 gins. Soft drinks will be dispensed from 100mL glass bottles.  Lager may also exist but in bottle form, from some obscure German brewery, this is in order to increase footfall over the weekend and then hope they never return.  Probably also doubles as a bottle shop for retail purposes.

The Drinkers

Beer bloggers, overly-agitated graphic designers and those who’ve wandered in on the recommendation of some lifestyle journalist who wrote that piece by plagiarising what the aforementioned beer bloggers wrote about the place.

They are the kind of people who’ll walk into a micro pub and complain about the lack of choice.

The Décor

All wood but is was massively over priced because of the patina effect, a lick of paint here and there but pretty much like the railway arch the beer was brewed in.  Has one toilet.

The Landlord

Your 50 year old uncle who has always had that funky beard.

The Wildlife

No cats. Cats are not found in micro bars.  Dogs are allowed; they will be small, fluffy, lap-based things brought along by the owner in order to kick start an interaction.

How To Have A Conversation

Close proximity and bench seating demands conversation be had however this still depends on where you are.

In a micro pub, assuming most of the people aren’t doing all they can to avoid eye contact, let alone conversation because they most likely lie on the autism scale somewhere, you are in for a simple and quiet drink.  Talking may occur over the clarity of the pint in front of you.  You will only drink a pint (568mL), a half is acceptable if you’ve kept your coat on because you’re going to be racing to catch a bus/train/you are driving.

In a micro bar, you will get talked at, those doing the talking even know the brewer, they are on first name terms, or at least have over heard them talking to someone else, once.  You will drink a pint as your first session ale and loosener but then progress on to halves and then thirds inversely proportional to the ABV of the drink.

Talking in the micro pub may stray on to politics, you might get offended with the frankness of the views expressed and the terms used.

Talking in the micro bar may stray on to politics, the overly-agitated graphic designers will sulk off in tears or demand you leave their safe space.

Talking in micro pubs is a rare thing, generally kept between those who recognise each other.

Talking in micro bars because massive ABV’s plus immense egos results in verbal diarrhoea.

 

Use these pointers wisely; know your surroundings, know your adversaries and your conversations, or lack thereof, in micros up and down the UK will be blissfully symphonic or wonderfully, silently golden.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Tryanuary and Dry January – A Virtual Signal Coin

It’s January, it is officially the start of a whole new year of stupid and it always starts the same way, with News Year’s Resolutions.

Most are always about abstinence from some form of entertainment that has been deemed (or proved) to be harmful when taken to excess, yes excess, and then to replace the gaping hole that this lack of entertainment creates it is now worthy to do something else, to an equal excess.

Newton’s third law of motion holds true even in a human’s stunted mind.

Dry January is a registered trademark of Alcohol Concern – I do love that name, very soft-power paternalism, we aren’t worried, or apoplectic or in a rage about alcohol, we are merely concerned about it.

Alcohol consumption and by logical connection visiting to pubs, bars and clubs, falls in January.  In part due to the aforementioned resolutions and in part due to natural churn and a balance as more people visit the pub in the run up and over the Christmas period.

More people visiting the pub leads to a whole other level of beer signalling as “once-a-year” visitors get berated by those that see themselves as regulars.

Not actual regulars of course but those that love chatting about it, that think the whole beer world hangs on their every word and would fall over if they stopped going to the pub.

In the way that those who go on health kicks in January, try new diets, change their lives for some perceived better can come off as pious and smugly virtuous, mainly because they will take any opportunity to tell you about what they are doing, especially when not even prompted, so the Tryanuary (or Try January) movement bounces back in the opposite direction but equally trite reasoning.

It is much like Small Business Saturday or Record Store Day, if fact it much like everything that now has “a day” or “a week” – a narcissistic “raise awareness” industry, where everything can be reduced to a hashtag and a trend and people can jump on a bandwagon and feel they are special and are doing something before simply hopping back off the wagon (an inverse pun) and hailing a taxi (or probably an Uber) to the next hot topic to raise their profile.

Each of them have their own form of subtle compulsion and hardcore acolytes, they are two versions of the the same pint (568mL) only one insists yours should be empty and one wants it to always be full.

 

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.

 

Hipster Racism! This Explains Craft Beer Racism

Wandering through the internet last week I was pointed to an article about “how to know if you are a hipster racist”

I didn’t give it a read at the time but came back to it today and reading it made me realise how this totally connected to the piece in Thrillist that pointed out that there are few black people in craft beer, that got a hell of a lot of beer people in a tizz back in 2015.

Couple this with a further story from 2015 about how barbecue food is racist and it now all becomes clear.

When you go to any craft beer bar, food hall, or street food gathering you seldom see any faces that are any colour other than white.

Its full of young hipsters, old hipsters, hipster parents; all strongly in the IC1 category, loving the diversity of their food but not of their company.

Sure, there might be some BAMEies cooking and serving the food but luckily they wear gloves because who wants to eat something that has come into contact with non-Caucasian hands, which they probably haven’t washed anyway.

No, so long as the Chinks, the Wogs and the Negros know that their place is hemmed in behind a counter, shackled to a hot grill and waiting on their fair-skinned masters then every one can enjoy some jolly good grub.

In fact, better yet, just get some whites to set up their own food stalls and culturally appropriate the food of the lower castes and then we never need to feel even slight pangs of guilty as we tuck into to our food in our monochromatic atmosphere.

 

This is of course all complete bollocks.

There is something rotten at the core of this craft movement but it isn’t racism.

This is a nod to the collectivists, the neo-segregationists, the social justice warriors and the painfully illiberal liberals.

These fuckers will eventually eat themselves.

And probably set up a street food stall and charge £10 a plate for the experience.

 

Thanks for reading.