Second, Boak and/or Bailey visited a BrewDog pub in Bristol. I want to quote from their visit to this "shiny, new, and in the ‘organic corporate’ style pioneered by sandwich-chain Pret a Manger" which they say "certainly isn’t a pub." Already you can see how things differ in the US and UK: that sounds exactly like a US pub. Now consider what they found on their visit:
Beer was priced as we expected, with our favourite Punk IPA at (if we remember rightly) £4.20 for two halves, and tasted just as delicious as it does from the bottle....See if you can spot the differences to your average pub-going experience in Portland.
Around us were students who’d ordered ‘whatever lager you have’, drawn, we guess, by the coolness of the bar rather than the beer; middle-aged men who wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Wenlock Arms; and parties of thirtysomethings not yet especially into beer apparently there for an experience. In case you were wondering, they’re the people who buy the super-strong beers in spirit measures at £6 a pop. From where we were sitting, they got their money’s worth, talking animatedly, swapping glasses, and finding much to marvel at: ‘It tastes just like sherry — I wouldn’t think it was beer if I didn’t know.’
Finally, I take you to the story of how Portland Center Stage, owing to reviews the found insufficiently sycophantic, have cut off the Portland Mercury. Alison Hallett comments:
(Wee backgrounder: Portland Center Stage is the big dog of theater in Portland, but has a the reputation of putting onartistically cautious, middlebrow productions.) This is just a momentary reminder of the appropriately distant role journalists should have with the subjects they cover. It obviously applies to beer, too. The situation is a quarter-turn different when people covering beer don't also receive money from the breweries, but the dynamic is similar. I will say that no brewery has ever behaved this badly to me for unfavorable reviews (which I do hand out from time to time, or did, when I was reliably doing reviews).
Good for the Merc. They are consistently the most transparent and reliable news source in the city.