Tom’s Occasional Blogging Digest

Sorry guys. I’ve been rubbish at blogging stuff. I make excuses every time, so I’m not going to make any this time. I am going to a small blog post now, complete with sub-headings, pictures, links, and words.

I hope you like it.

Meanwood Developments
Regular readers here will know I live in Meanwood and I love it. Perhaps a little too much. It’s well good. No students, lots of park space and trees, loads of proper Northern folk, and loads of amazing neighbours. And now, we’re only getting a bloody Waitrose. The building works have been annoying, but when I can get 15 different varieties of olives, hummus and sunblushed tomatoes, it’ll be worth it.

A Bloody Waitrose!

A Bloody Waitrose!

But wait, it gets better. Now, anyone who’s read my now very occasional beer blogging will notice me banging on about North Bar regularly. It’s my favourite bar in Leeds, and that’s a fact. AND THEY’RE BUILDING A NORTH BAR IN MEANWOOD!!!!! I’m excited about this. You can probably tell.

The Benefits of Being a Beer Blogger
Sometimes people are daft enough to give you free beer. Amazing. One such mad company is Daas beer. I wrote about their Daas White and Daas Blond and then they sent me their new, dark, bronze coloured Daas Ambre, a 6.5% marmaladey delight, with loads of spice and cinnamon to boot. It’s well good, and it’s organic and soil association certified, so you can drink guilt free. Hurrah!

¡Viva Espana!
I went on holiday  recently to Spain. I love Spain. We stayed in a small mountain village in southern Spain . The views are beautiful, the atmosphere is relaxed and the Spanish just know how to live. What’s not to love? Tapas, good weather, a laidback attitude perfect.

Currently Reading
While abroad, I picked up the reading bug big time, and it’s still with me. I’ve got so much books piled up to read (I went to Meanwood Community Shop and bought 10 books for £8.25, bargain!) that I needed to find some way to track it. So I started using GoodReads.com, it’s pretty smart really. Have a look here.

Probably the best thing I’ve read recently is Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. I’m not much of a runner, and I really don’t like stuff that tries to be self-consciously inspirational (I’m not sure you can deliberately set out be inspirational or motivational, surely it just happens by accident? I hate motivational speakers too, more on that later), but this book, about extreme long distance running, a South American tribe who are awesome at it, and the damage padded trainers do to your feet is excellent. I’ve taken up running, and I’m doing it using shitty flat trainers. Go me.

Bettakultcha
This thing is great. A dead simple premise, 20 presentations occcur at Temple Works in Leeds, the presentation have to be 5 minutes long, and be based around 20 power point slides. Beyond that, that are new rules (well there are few about not using it for self-promotion). I’ve been to two now and seen some great stuff – Web Comics, Sex With Robots (yep, really), Leeds Hack Space, Test Space Leeds, an anti-enviromental rant – and some bad stuff (the last Bettakultcha had the worst and least motivational motivational speaker I’ve ever seen. I hate motivational speaking, and this idea of bettering yourself, achieving goals and climbing the ladder. People should be more happy with what they’ve got, and anyone just chucking quotes at me and trying to make me want to achieve and be all I can be can fuck off, frankly – rant over). The fact that I can get through the motivational speakers and still recommend this event should speak volumes about it’s quality. It’s just good fun. Go. http://bettakultcha.blogspot.com/

STAGGING!!!

A train

A train

It’s my stag do this weekend. I’m doing the Transpennine Real Ale Trail. Which I’ve written about before here. I did a small test run with my dad last weekend and he drank me under the table. Which is impressive. Wish me luck!

I’m done now. Bye!

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Book Review: Pete Brown’s ‘Hops & Glory’

Hops and Glory

Hops and Glory

I’ve been quite a fan of Pete Brown’s writing for sometime. A friend recommended that I buy Man Walks Into A Pub, so I did.  Before I’d finished that, I ordered Three Sheets To The Wind and halfway through that, I decided to go for the hattrick and order Hops & Glory before it sold out. It has now sold out.

Why do I like Brown’s writing? Easy. It’s funny. It’s informative. It’s chatty. It’s witty. He teaches you stuff about beer’s history, about drinking cultures throughout time and across the world, but it’s hardly ever dry, it’s never too tedious in its detail, but also never skims over things at such a pace that you feel you need to learn more to get at what he’s talking about.

Obviously as a beer writer and lover I’m pretty much the target audience of this book, but I believe that it could be appreciated by anyone who enjoys historic or travel books. I’ve never met Pete (although I have spoken to him over the phone before), but you can’t help but feel from his books that he’d be a great man to have a pint with. I bet everyone who reads his books feels the same way. That’s probably part of what he’s going for.

Oh yeah, in a book review you’re meant to say a  bit about what the book’s about, aren’t you? In short, it’s a travel book that sees Pete try to recreate an original IPA, down to the recipe and the journey it takes from Burton to India. It’s also a well-researched history of IPA and the East India Company. It’s also very entertaining, packed with great, well written characters, funny asides. It also makes you want to drink loads of IPAs (hence the recent IPA reviews on this blog, and the pile of bottles in my cellar).

I’d wager at least half the people who read this blog will own and will have read this book.  The other half of you should get it too. Although you’ll have to wait till it comes out in paperback in the summer.

Pete Brown‘s blog is here, and very good it is too.