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Sunday, 6 April 2008

What's going on at The Guardian?

It's galling when the newspaper you read is one of the very worst of a bad bunch for beer (and Barnsley FC) coverage. Since Roger Protz's column was axed a few years ago they've carried no regular beer coverage. I've soke to Matthew Fort, the Weekend Magazine's food and drink editor and a passionate cask ale fan, several times about it, and he says he's simply not allowed to feature beer by his wine-drinking bosses.

But now this seems to be changing.

Two weeks ago, there was a full page feature on Thornbridge, one of my favourite breweries. Now, two weeks later, here's Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall with the lead food article, saying "Forget wine - beer is our national drink, and it's time we used it more often in our cooking", giving recipes including beef in ale stew and Guinness and walnut chocolate brownies, plus a separate supplementary piece on sourcing great beers.

There's probably nothing here that's new to hardcore beer bloggers - that's not the point. The point is one of the most notoriously anti-beer newspapers in the country (ask any freelance beer writer on that one) seems to be having a Damascene conversion to the cause.

All this, and they fronted the sports section with a full-length, intelligent, non-patronising feature on Barnsley that only mentioned Dickie Bird once.


Paul Garrard said...

As a Guardian reader I know what you mean. Things do seem to be changing just a little bit. Next someone there will twig that London isn't the centre of the universe!

Anonymous said...

perhaps you should rename your blog "gizajob"

that's how it reads

Pete said...

Jesus Christ.

How can any sane fan of beer possibly have a problem with the fact that a national newspaper is significantly increasing its beer coverage, or with a beer writer drawing attention to that fact?

The main reason I write about beer is to celebrate it (what can I say? The market for embittered cynics seemed a little crowded), to do whatever I can to encourage more people to drink better beer. Consistently I write about beer in its broadest sense, actively looking for instances where beer is making its mark in the broader drinking world.

If you have a problem with that, there's always the option to stop reading blogs you dislike and get a life instead.

Bailey said...

I wrote a nice letter to the Guardian about three months ago asking why on earth they didn't have more articles about beer. All the middle class lefties I know drink beer rather than wine, if given the choice. The Guardian don't always seem to understand their core market.

Paul Garrard said...

Bailey, the same goes for the Labour party on that one!

Zythophile said...

It was a bit cheeky of the Guardian to say how well Stinger beer went with food without mentioning that Stinger is a JV between the Badger brewery and Hughie Fearlessly Eastsitall himself.

Oh, and "anonymous" - only a sad and unpleasant billy-no-mates would be making snide comments at 1am without the courage to leave a name. Away and back to the land of Onan with you!

Sid Boggle said...

Didn't/doesn't Malcolm Gluck write for the Grauniad? He's allegedly legendarily anti-beer...

-- Boggle

BLTP said...

I think it's good a sign we'll see if blooms into a tasty brew (mixed metaphor alert). I thought the zinger thing was a bit cheeky, has any had any what's it like? I like badger beers alot so it should be good.
As for anon "troll" post this sort of thing is just tedious, I am not some happy clappy touchy feely type but random abuse is just sad particularly done undercover.

Anonymous said...

my problem is that this blog never says much about beer, more about the process of trying to make money writing about it

BLTP said...

anon: Ahh the old critising a cow for not being more like a fish line of argument always a useful form of debate. I think there are plenty of sites that have long lists of new beer all rated and over analysed that you can visit or you could always set one up yourself. The wonders of blogs is people can write about things they are interested in and if other people find them of interest so much the better. Anonymously slagging off people for not meeting your own self imposed criteria is rather self defeating.

Pete said...

Anon, I'm a professional writer and writers make shit money. This blog is, in part, a way of publicising what I do and hopefully even selling a few more books. I make absolutely no apologies for that, and if it breaks the rules of blogging, please refer me to where those rules are written down.

But publicity is only one strand of it. To say there's not much about beer on here is utter, utter nonsense. It's so wrong, I don't even know how to argue against it.

I find beer culture the most interesting part of the whole scene, and that's what I have to say the most about. If what you mean is there aren't endless tasting notes of different beers - tough. I never set out to do that. Look at my links page, or just go back to the hundreds of other beer blogs and rating sites you obviously frequent. There are many people there who do it better than I ever could.

And if I want to get something published in the Guardian, I approach the fucking Guardian and ask them to publish it. I'm not arrogant enough to think that commissioning editors are trawling beer blogs desperate for new talent.

I'm still at a loss as to why you even bother reading my blog if it's so deficient. I wanted it to be light-hearted and irreverent, the way beer should be, but guys like you who see a conspiracy in every brew house and ulterior motives behind every beer recommendation simply leech the joy out of what should be oe of life's greatest pleasures.

And I'm really pissed off that I allow myself to get wound up my such bullshit. I'll never censor comments on my blog, no matter how fatuaoius, infantile or moronic. But it's probably high time I censored myself and started writing about things that actually matter.

BLTP said...

PB: has tha found any of that Stones IPA yet?

Pete said...

BLTP, I can't walk past a Wetherspoons pub wihtout going inside and checking out the bar. Sometimes I even ask. They look at me sorrowfully, and tell me it's just gone off, but if I come back in a couple of days they might have it on again.

So this is what it feels like to be an elderly Irish alcoholic: I'm JD Wetherspoons's bitch.

Sid Boggle said...

Anon, if you want to tick beers, head on to Ratebeer or Beer Advocate. You won't find much insightful commentary or new perspectives on beer, but you don't sound like you want that. Leave this stuff to the grown-ups.

Stone DIPA - latest sightings in Brighton & Hove.

-- Boggle

Mr G. said...

bltp - I've tried Hugh's Stinger beer and its actually quite good. It does have a slight zingyness on the tongue as the name suggests - and certainly doesn't let Badgers down.

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