Thursday 21 May 2015

News in Brief #20

Finely crafted artisan lager (left) and macro fizzy filth (right)

Huge Lager Brewery Buys Small Lager Brewery

In massively surprising business news this week, a massive company has taken over a smaller one.

The Huge Lager Company Inc. purchased a controlling interest in the Small Lager Company in order to gain a couple of tenths of a percent of market share for £60 million. CEO of HLC Bill Rapacious Jr. exclaimed yesterday "This purchase will help the HLC gain much needed expertise. And of course Crafty Points, as we haven't actually increased sales since 2002. Nobody wants to be seen drinking tasteless yellow fizz water any more. Adding SLC to our portfolio will give us added fashionability. Even though our flagship products are basically the same."

Small Lager Company head brewer Sam Kegwasher rambled as if trying to convince himself "It was an easy decision to make. The additional investment that comes from our takeov...I mean, partnership with HLC will mean our future here is secured"

"At least until 6 months time when they order me to start using rice and hop extract in my beer. I'll leave then."

" 'Ere mate, need someone doin' in, reet?"

Sophisticate Bloggers Visit Flat Roof Pub

Didsbury residents and Craft Beer Bloggers Natasha Inglenook and Tarquin Laminate-Flooring continued their survey of Manchester's pubs last week with a visit to The Star and Sawnoff, Moss Side.

"We could tell we were welcome when we walked in," enthused Tarquin "as every eye in the pub was turned our way. I presume this was some kind of local greeting custom."

Natasha continued "Surprisingly, we found the Craft Keg was off. The barman affected not to know what it was when I ordered two pints of Cloudwater. What a card! We were glad to see a sense of humour prevails in such unpromising surroundings. We said two Stellas would be fine"

"After something called 'Karaoke Nite' finished," blathered Tarquin " We entered and even won some competition and won a platter of raw meat. One of the locals even offered to cut it up for us in the car park."

"Or at least that's what I think the brandished knife meant."

Even the Smiths only has three months life on it

Wetherspoons to Keep Out Undesirables

JD Wetherspoon today announced an amendment to their door policy to reduce the risk of "alcohol-fuelled disorder" in provincial town centres.

"Basically," announced cheap grog and fodder honcho Timbo Martin "we've empowered our door staff to refuse entry to, well, anyone whom they don't like the look of really. Travellers, drunks, desperate alcoholics, shuffling old men, people in shorts, CAMRA members, hipsters, women dressed in clothes twenty years too young for them, Trotskyists, neo-Trotskyists, crypto-Trotskyists. The lot. Yeah."

Asked about the effect on business on the new policy, Timbo lamented "To be honest, our entire pub estate is deserted now. Except for me drinking Abbot in Watford. And even I had to wear a suit and tie to get in."

"By the way, know anyone who wants 2000 casks of real ale with one day left before it's expiry date?"

Monday 11 May 2015

News in Brief #19

"We don't like you. Go away"

New Craft Beer Alliance Formed

In the latest attempt for Big Craft to seem big (but yet smaller and somehow better than the MegaBrewers), several of the top Craft breweries have formed The Craft Brewers Alliance.

BrewDog, Camden, Beavertown and Magic Rock announced the Alliance to a sceptical trade audience yesterday.  "We've formed our own club and you're not allowed in." blathered BrewDog's James Watt.

"So, you want to join our secret club?" sneered Beavertown's Logan Plant "Well, your smelly boring brown beer is rubbish. You can go and sit in dog poo."

Camden's Jasper Cuppaidge added pertinently "Ner Net Ner Ner-Ner!" and blew a raspberry.

CAMRA Members Ponder New Beer Style

Middle aged bearded men were thrown into confusion at the beginning of this month by a communique from CAMRA. "May is Mild Month" it said "Make sure you drink Mild in May"

South East Grizedale Branch Treasurer Greg Steakbake was bemused "I read the email from St. Albans, and was utterly confused. I'd never heard of Mild Beer, to be honest."

"I looked it up, and apparently it was popular donkey's years ago. Mild hasn't been seen in my branch since 1962." muttered Steakbake, sadly.

"You may as well ask us to go and eat Tasmanian Tiger pies."
Copyright Timbo

Meal Deal Customer Disappointed

Last Wednesday afternoon, commercial traveller and casual pubgoer Bob Unwary needed to find some food in Oswestry, a town unfamiliar to him.

"I was walking down the high street, and saw an A-board outside a pub advertising 'Curry Club'. Well, Wetherspoons is as good as any, I thought, at least I know what I'll be getting."

"I went in and ordered my meal and pint of lager. It wasn't until I got halfway through when I realised it was I surprisingly edible." he continued  "I checked the signage properly and found I was in an independent pub rather than a Spoons. This wasn't what I wanted. I wanted dry and scorchingly hot microwave 'food' "

The pub in question has been informed that 'Curry Club' is copyright JD Wetherspoon inc. and has been closed down on the orders of Timbo Martin until further notice.

Saturday 9 May 2015

I'm Free

Just don't expect variety

Recently, one of my local pubs has been undergoing a "refurbishment". Now, I can see the Mudgie Signal being illuminated across Preston upon me saying that. But, having been in the place both before and after, I'm struggling to see what they spent £500k on.

The Black Bull is a Mitchell's & Butler's house, under their " Ember Inns" concept, as it happens. M&B own thousands of pubs, what with being the main inheritor of the Bass Estate. The unwary would not know this, however. The Black Bull has a big brick pillar just outside, on which is prominently painted the words "Free House".

If there is a more debased term in the pub industry in recent times as " Free House" , I have yet to hear or see it.  Originally, I assume, it was a declaration of independence from the notorious Big Six brewers. But since their demise, what does it really mean? There are certain places that depict themselves as a "JD Wetherspoon Free House".

It may be true that the alleged Free House is not tied to a single supplier, but is it a guarantor of choice? The Black Bull (to take the easiest example) usually has 6 handpumps on. But these have the Big Brewery Bitters you can see anywhere - Thwaites Original, Marston's Pedigree, Brakspear Bitter, Moorhouses Pendle Witches, etc.

" Free House" may have meant something in the past, but in 2015 it's a particularly despicable form of Beard Bait.