Vegan Haze and the Murky Zealots

I hate waste.

It is one of my pet peeves the amount of food that is wasted and a lot of this waste is down to not only confusion but an unnecessarily strict adherence to use-by/sell-by/best-before dates on food items.

We humans evolved (no apologies, creationists) a fair few senses to recognise when something that was edible probably wasn’t really edible any longer.  Sadly in this day and age the one sense that should have precedence over the others, common sense, has been for gone in an age of comfort and easy.

When it comes to beer the dominant sense would clearly be; what does it smell like, what does it look like and what does it taste like, though I’m sure there must be some Cicerone tweedle or CAMRA twaddle who reckons that can hear the beer as if it was some sentient being.

If you’re reading this that it probably goes without saying that anything you drink that is cloudy really does have to be appraised fully before its complete imbibing, milk based drinks aside.  And beer was no exception, a cloudy pint would, decades ago, indicate that it would be pointless to even continue with the purchase of the pint.

And so, finings of various nature but mainly the fish-orientated, vegetarian repelling Isinglass, was added to beer in order to draw all the murky causing bits out of it (yeast, proteins, etc) to give a nice pin bright pint.

As an aside, a sealed cask of nothing but beer will last a good few months in correct conditions, it is the addition of said Isinglass which shortens the longevity of it.

Beer is funny in the alcohol world in that respect.  You don’t expect to see a completely clear cider or perry and these days everyone loves a gin with all manner of things floating in it.

But this is about beer and its appearance and in my opinion I don’t care that much what it looks like as my other sense will tell me about its suitability to actually consume.

Though I will admit that adding Isinglass to a beer (an addition other finings) is not my most favourite part of brewing.  Adding anything to a beer at the casking stage, even additional hops, will always slightly increase the possibility of an infection.

Fruit puree, lactose (not suitable for vegans), spices, liquid flavourings and syrups; all manner of things added to a beer that isn’t during the boil will always heighten my science brain that whatever can go wrong, probably will and no manner of sterilising will stop it.

Having said that, beer is actually quite hardy too, especially given the state of some of the containers I’ve seen it delivered in.

This is off point though.  I don’t mind a hazy pint.  I don’t mind a cloudy pint.  I don’t really mind a murky point.  The chicken soup pint is pushing it but I’ll still drink it if it meets the standards of my other senses.

What I feel has happened with the boom in breweries is the accompanying arms race to brew all matter of things under the sun.

And another facet of the schism between “older” (experienced) and younger (modern) was opened in what a beer could look like.

Maybe I’m creating another straw man for the sake of writing this piece but what appears to be happening now is that the zeal that the older drinkers have for having a clear pint, and clear pint = good, hazy = bad, has been met with a 3rd law of motion in modern drinking circles in that murky = natural, clear = chemicals.

Of course the murk debate is, erm, clouded by what the beer “is supposed to look like” as the brewer intended verses the reality of what is actually served and yet again, no amount of brewing integrity to get a beer that is as clear as possible and as suitable for vegetarians is going to survive poor cellaring practices.

 

Use all your senses and drink what you like.

 

To provide a public service and for the fussy drinkers out there is your beer vegan?

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Budget 2018 – Keg Beer Survives

Quick one…

If you put aside tax freezes on beer (meh) then this could have really screwed things up.

Budget 2018: Philip Hammond announces new tax on plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled material

 

KeyKeg, who I’d wager are the main producer/supplier of keg storage for beer that isn’t metallic (rental or otherwise), and whose design allows CAMRA to call it “real ale” fortunately …consist of over 30% recycled materials meaning that keg beer can continue it craft domination over cask beer.

 

Thanks for reading.

A Brewery Gets Woke…Now Going Broke…

In writing this piece I will probably expose who I was talking about in the quoted piece below, meh, so be it.  In fact if you didn’t know who I was writing about back then, you will pretty much gather who it is if you’d have paid enough attention to Manchester’s brewing/twitter bollocks over the last few years.

 

2014

Start brewery in a Piccadilly archway brewing a very niche style of beers.  Employ one renowned blogger to handle PR (twitter) while you brew.

2015

Get Woke.

Complain about offensive t-shirt at Manchester Beer Festival.  Take over PR of brewery.

Employ and release a few people for various reasons.

Try and control “Piccadilly Beer Mile” and in effect Manchester beer scene but run up against both sensible people/brewers and someone who can be an even bigger virtue signalling fool than you can be.

Get into a spat with a bloke from London who is in Manchester for a while.  Maybe police were involved, maybe they weren’t.  What larks, eh Pip?

2016

Warn that offensive t-shirts should not be at Manchester Beer Festival (they aren’t but you’ve set a precedent to virtue signal so you’ve got to play the game).

Employ and release a few people for various reasons.

Hint that Tesco has approached you to sell your cans, simply so you can signal how you won’t be signing up.

Continue beer sexism rants on twitter.

Further alienate customer base and others within the brewing world.

Call for the assassination of Trump

2017

Employ and release a few people for various reasons.

Continue beer sexism rants on twitter.

Further alienate customer base and others within the brewing world.

2018

Continue beer sexism rants on twitter.

Harass all stockists of Robinson’s Dizzy Blonde.

Employ and release a few people for various reasons but mainly because they are men.  Then employ women with now proven experience of commercial brewing.

Slag off lager.

Slag off local newspaper in a battle of the brain-trusts.

Launch crowd funder. Always a sure sign.

2019

If you make it this far, I’ll be surprised.

Go Broke.

 

Disclaimer: All time lines are non-specific and everything else is gossip.  None of this is personal, this piece is merely a warning.  If you aren’t of a significant business size to be woke, you are in no sensible financial position to draw your lines so deep in the sand as to not be able to come out the other side with your business still intact.

 

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.

 

Part 2: If Beer Was…

(originally published on February 7th 2017 – reposted to make a point about Article 13)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

 

Bill the beer communicator starts the hysteria even though he too is getting jaded but its OK because the adoring crowd only hear what they want to…

 

Who can take a mango
Add it to a brew
Mix in some more chocolate
and pray for a miracle or two?
The brewery man can
 candyman
Who can take some fruit pulp
Making beer drinkers sigh
Under carb it too
and make a lemon meringue pie?
The brewery man
The brewery man can
The brewery man can cause he mixes it with lactose and makes beer taste a dud
And the beer doesn’t taste like beer cause the brewery man doesn’t think it should

 

After a while the lucky few are led into a magical world of beer production and can’t believe some of the shenanigans that take place but they are enthralled, even hypnotised…

1inlzl

Come with me, and you’ll be in a world of pure Humulonation.
Take a look and you’ll see into your imagination

We’ll begin, with a spin
Travelling in a world of intrepid beer creation
What we’ll see will defy taste explanation

We don’t really brew beer right
We just throw some shoes into it

Grapefruit juice, passion fruit
Our new DIPA
Taste like raw sewage

1inmam

 

Then some odd looking beings appear and begin to sing words of warning, little attention is paid to them…
lookofit

 

Oompa Loompa dump in some glue
I’ve got another beer for you
Omni Pollo get in the fucking sea
If you are wise you’ll listen to me
What do you get from a glut of fad brews?
A massive beer gut and bad Untappd reviews
Why don’t you try simply drinking a mild?
Or would you just run hide?
F.O.M.O.
F.O.M.O.
F.O.M.O.
F.O.M.O.
Just throw in more Dextrose
dextrose

 

Oompa Loompa Doompadee Dah
If you vary your drinking you will go far
You will live in happiness too
Like the Old blokes
In a pub do

 

By now those that remain wish are getting a bit narked, they were expecting one off launches, the hype wasn’t paying off, one poor minion snaps…
verucatantrum
No, now!!
I want a brew tap
I want a party
Craft beer bottle hauls and a million food stalls
And performing for the lols and …
Give it to me

Now!

I want the latest
I want the real scope
I’ve got the fear
It’s my freelance career
Give it to me
Now!

verucanow

 

Willy Wonka knows how volatile the brewery industry can be, he laments the trouble that is possible ahead…
There’s no earthly way of knowing
Which direction beer is going
There’s no knowing where we’re rowing
Or which way the market’s flowing
wwchicken
Is it raining, is it snowing
Is it Willamete or Goldings?
Not a speck of light is showing
So the heavy murk is growing
Are the fires of Hell a-glowing
Is the Galena reaper mowing
Yes, the danger must be growing
My hop contract is surely slowing
But they’re certainly not showing
Any signs that business is growing

 

Then, only a few could reach maximum velocity and so the rest were cut to pieces trying to get through the great glass ceiling.

 

wonka

 

 

Thanks for reading.