Pubpaper 590 – Purity and Health

Posted: 20th January 2011 by admin in Pub Paper, Writing

We all know that the number of pubs in the area has declined markedly over the last 5 years, however statistics from Fleurets, who deal in commercial property sales, showed that last year over 50% of pubs sold were no longer used for that purpose. The main new use was for residential with retail, restaurants and offices a long way behind. We’ve lost two pubs in my local village, with one becoming a housing complex and the other still shuttered (for over 5 years now) deigned to become a curry house. I’ve touched on the fact that certain PubCo’s sell their pubs with the condition that it does not re-open as a licensed premise. Once its use is changed, there is often not the space to build a new pub building (if the financial situation allows), and the facility is lost to the community for the foreseeable future.

You know its been a quiet week in the ale world when a mainstream trade magazine was leading its website with the news that Copper Dragon are to bring out new look bottles which are 20% lighter. While they may not make the most distinctive beers, they do make some excellent session ales, with my choice normally being Golden Pippin and Best Bitter. If you are ever in the vicinity of Skipton its well worth a stop at their complex, with a brew tap, shop and bistro all on site as well as tours of the facilities and you know you aren’t going to get the beer much fresher. Recently they brewed a beer which conforms to the Reinheitsgebot rules for export to Germany. It takes a lot of confidence to take them on at their own game.

You know that I’m not a fan of government intervention, however there is one law I will make an exception for, and that is the “Reinheitsgebot” which translates as “Purity” in english according to Google. The original law of 1516 states that the beer can only contain water, barley and hops, although yeast is now accepted under the modern interpretation of the law. The original law has been replaced more recently with the Provisional German Beer Law (1993) which is far more liberal with its list of ingredients, but brewers seem keen to maintain the standards under the traditional rules.

It was introduced in Bavaria to ensure that more expensive wheat and rye were reserved for baking at an affordable price. When the German states unified in 1871 it was a condition that the law was adopted across the whole nation, much to the anger of brewers from other states, many of which folded following the laws enactment. The law was continued when Germany was split on both sides of the Berlin Wall and into re-unification until 1993 when the the European Courts of Justice decided it was an anti competitive law.

This week hasn’t seen many pub visits due to someone deciding my car was a better brake that the ones on his car. However a visit to the Sportsman at Ploughcroft saw two nice pints sampled, the first was York Brewery Guzzler (3.6%), a golden beer which is dry, slightly fruity, undemanding, but very pleasant to drink. The second is Old Spot “Spot Light” (4.2%), another beer in the same vein, but on the paler side. This is the first Old Spot beer I have drank and liked what was in the glass. Looking at their website, they seem to be consistently winning awards as well, which is always a good sign. My last recommendation this week is Purity Brewing’s Pure UBU, which you can pick up from Sainsburys. An amber ale with a nice bitter / sweet balance, at a strength of 4.5% which goes down rather nicely.

It been announced that officially(ish), drinking a pint of beer a day is good for you. The study in Spain found in a study of 1250 people those who supplemented their Mediterranean diet with up to a pint of beer “not only did not put on weight, but in some cases lost weight”. However, the flaw in this logic is that we don’t have a Mediterranean diet (or climate sadly, both of which I could take up very easily). Beer is blamed for causing health problems, but it is the amount of alcohol drank which causes the problem, like anything in excess will. The post pub food can’t help either though. So I’ll raise my “up to a pint”, and wish you good health until next week.