Saturday 30 July 2011

A Bit of Brewing History.

I was in the Stagger Inn, Stainton a few days ago for a family do, making use of Monday's happy hour and two-for-one deals.

The food is remarkably good given the low prices. Coniston Bluebird could have been a little fresher and cooler. The coloured lightbulbs add nothing to the place except to make it look a bit of a tart's boudoir. Nonetheless, it should be on your radar for a reasonable pub feed if you're visiting South Cumbria. It's a couple of miles from Cumbria's biggest tourist attraction – the South Lakes Wildlife Park – where the food offering is abysmal, so it's worth making a note of.

Hidden away on the wall of the gents' toilets are two old photographs. They aren't dated but in the corner of each is the inscription "Bass, Burton."

I managed to get a snap of one of the pics, but loitering in toilets with a camera isn't my preferred occupation, so I left the second one.

I might be mistaken, but these pictures looked like very old, possibly original, prints. Does anyone know if this picture has appeared anywhere else? Have I discovered a significant snapshot of Britain's brewing heritage, or did they pick it up at Athena?

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Beer Festival Fun

It's that time of year again. The GBBF is nigh.

No doubt I'll be bumping into many of you at Earls Court next week.  If I haven't made your acquaintance before, please do introduce yourself. You'll find me not unadjacent to the Bières Sans Frontières bar.

I usually gravitate toward the foreign bars at the big festivals. So it was at South West London CAMRA's Battersea Beer Festival in 2003. The venue was Battersea Arts Centre, a short walk up Lavender Hill from legendary craft beer bar "Microbar".

I was there with my friends Alex (who later went on to run Microbar) and Sarah, a regular customer.

We spied some unfamiliar weiss beers which obviously needed testing. We ordered three different ones. The chap serving ticked many of the CAMRA cliche boxes – scruffy, straggly hair and beard, keys and gadgets attached to his belt etc. I used to know his name but it escapes me now. I'll point him a out at Earls Court if you like.

Anyway, he opened the three bottles. He handed Alex and me our bottles to pour ourselves. He took Sarah's glass and was about to start pouring.

"It's OK thanks, I'll do it myself"

"But it's a German weiss bier"

"Yes, I know. I'll..."

"It's meant to be poured in a particular ..."

"I do know how to pour it. Just give me the bottle"

"You know it 's brewed with wheat malt and special yeast that imparts..."

"Yes I know"

"You have to pour it very caref..."

"Yes, I do know. Please could you give me the bottle"

By now Sarah was reaching across the bar. Her hands were on top his on the bottle and glass and they were sliding backwards and forwards across the bar.

But you don't understand, It's a German weiss bier, You need to...

Sarah could stand no more. Her voice raised to a "don't mess with me" level she met his gaze and said:


He let go of the bottle pretty sharpish.