Kim Jong-ale: How did Ushers brewery of Trowbridge end up in North Korea producing Pyongyang’s number one beer – and what did it take to set up a taste test back in Wiltshire?
Gary Todd remembers the day they came to take away his brewery: ‘Some of them had never seen plastic cups. And toilet seats were like gold. They took everything’.
Gary Todd remembers well the day the North Koreans came to take away his brewery. It was late summer in 2000 and the Scot, who has beer in his blood, had been made redundant as head brewer at Ushers of Trowbridge. After 175 years of production, the brewery, which dominated the centre of the Wiltshire county town, had gone bust. As developers circled for valuable land, every pipe, vessel and keg was put up for sale. Soon, a preferred bidder emerged: Kim Jong-il, the late Supreme Leader of North Korea.
Ex-Microsoft engineer invents a new machine to help you brew the perfect batch of beer
Home brewing is rewarding but it’s also often fraught with peril — if you don’t thoroughly sterilize all of your equipment or if you drop in the yeast while your wort is still hot, it can ruin hours of hard work. Bloomberg Businessweek has written a profile on former Windows engineer Bill Mitchell, who left Microsoft in 2010 to work full-time on PicoBrew, a startup that’s dedicated to take away as many potential pain points as possible for home brewers. Last fall, PicoBrew launched a Kickstarter for Zymatic, its own automatic beer brewing appliance that raised more than $660,000, or more than four times its original goal of $150,000. PicoBrew’s pitch is very appealing to anyone who’s ever tried their hand at making beer before: It wants to help you “make your own great craft beer at home with about the effort you put into pressing the button on your esspresso maker.”
JustAnotherBeerBlog’s Favorite Beer Podcasts
Finding a good, well-produced beer podcast in the iTunes or Google Play store is like finding a good beer at the corner stop and shop; you’re going to have to wade through a lot of crap to find one or two golden nuggets. Below is a list of my favorites, many of which I’ve been listening to for several years, and some I’ve just discovered. Hopefully you’ll like my choices and find something new to enjoy. Don’t see your favorite on this list? Add it in the comments.
A Song of Malt and Hops
Since August 2013 I have been working on this project starting with House Mormont. The concept is if the houses from A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) had a house brewery (which was common through out the middle ages up until the industrial revolution) what would their house beer taste like? I then develop a recipe for each house, find the ingredients, and brew up these fantasy beers. Each brew is very unique, as unique as the family that inspires it. The project is ongoing and this page will be updated as new brews arrive.
Spring Beers, Ranked
Good news: No matter how you do your seasonal accounting, it’s definitely spring now. You’re already kinda bored with baseball, you’ve got mud in previously undiscovered orifices, and your favorite fair-weather hot dog stand will come and go before Dick Vitale screams at you again. Furthermore, I solemnly swear not to let another flake of snow hit your driveway before the pumpkin beers hit the shelves. “But wait, handsome weather guarantor,” you say. “Of course there won’t be snow by then, for pumpkin beers come out in July, ha ha, bitch bitch, your plot is busted, just like my soul, because the only thing that truly brings me joy is complaining about the premature release of seasonal beers.” And I get it. You’re right. I am handsome, and spring beers started showing up about 18 inches of snow ago. And I’ll do you one worse and point out that a lot of seasonal releases are gimmicky nonsense. But regardless of my personal preferences and handsomeness, the issue’s moot, because I’ve missed the window of spring beer relevance by now. It’s high time we start grousing about this year’s crop of summer beers, too many of which are shandies and radlers and whatever other words they use to mean “two-thirds of a light beer topped with shitty citrus soda.”
10 WAYS TO COOK WITH BEER!
It’s no surprise that I love to cook with beer. My recent interview with the fine folks of the Ohio Beercast inspired me to think about all the various ways you can use beer in cooking. I was amazed at all of the options I came up with – practically limitless. To get us thinking, here are 10 Ways to Cook with Beer…