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Austerity! (Book Review)

Published on February 18th, 2019

Austerity! cover

One of my Christmas presents this year was Austerity! by Ronald Pattinson. If you’ve never heard of Ron you might want to go check his blog out at Shut Up About Barklay Perkins and watch the BeerSmith podcast #176 where Ron is interviewed about this book. And what’s the book about? Well, British beer. That is… British beer from 1945-1965 in the post-War period of Austerity. He’s an interesting beer history nerd with a lot of tabular information packed through the first half that lets you get your head around what beers they were actually making in that time period.

And I don’t mean in a general sense. Ron is a man of specifics (where he can inform) and educated information (where there are gaps in the record). Which is about the best we’re going to get on the subject if you’re looking to make these old recipes. People exactly like me who have a thing for history and making booze are the perfect market for his books.

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The Land Before Avocado (Book Review)

Published on January 31st, 2019

Front cover of The Land Before Avocado

My Christmas included the thoughtful gift of The Land Before Avocado by Richard Glover. A book, I should explain, I had considered buying on the odd occasion and never quite justified the purchase. So it was a perfect present by definition – something I wanted but wouldn’t buy for myself. And, yes, I’m known to seek a warm nostalgia from my youth of the 1960s-1970s… and this is a book aimed at the foreheads of every human like me with that delusion. Because was it better back then? Honestly? And, if so, why don’t the statistics support this argument?

Glover paints a great picture of the abysmal food. Pre-1960 you could count the people from non-European countries in the hundreds (or merely tens, or less). We had been a British bastion on the edge of the World and under the White Australia Policy that pretty much meant there were us, the other Europeans we let come here and the indigenous population. We treated people appropriate to that order, too. Even as a heterosexual male there was a fine path to be trodden. Difference wasn’t what Australia tolerated – enshrined in Law were ideals of sexism, homophobia and racism. I’d even forgotten how bad these laws had been, partly because as a child/youth it’s really the only culture you know.

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My Biggest Beer Brewing Lessons from 2018

Published on January 9th, 2019

For about a decade I’ve been brewing various concoctions from mead to cider and fruit wine (and, yes, beer extract and wort kits). About a year ago, I received a grain mill for Christmas from my generous and loving partner and I almost immediately bought a BIAB (Brew in a Bag) set up for my move into all grain brewing. This year I have learned that making consistently good beer has it’s challenges.

Some 2018 Beer Lessons Worth Heeding

Beyond the rudimentary truth of obsessive cleaning and sanitisation of all brewing equipment the biggest tip I’d give anybody starting out is to ramp up the temperature of the brewing beer right at the end of secondary fermentation. Just when that airlock appears to be slowing right down to nothing. Why? Well, the yeast is struggling. Simple. It’s been making some heat of it’s own during fermentation and as it gets sleepier it therefore gets a little colder. And you need it not to go to sleep before it finishes the job of cleaning up all the bad stuff.

To that end, I have an electric blanket that helps just ramp the beer up a little right at the end. Makes a lot of difference to the final product. If you’ve got money for temperature control I’d highly recommend going down that road.

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More Articles on StevenClark.com.au

  1. Viking Blod Mead & Flavour Profile
  2. Town Lore, Memory & the Bullshit of Time
  3. Austerity! (Book Review)
  4. The Land Before Avocado (Book Review)
  5. My Biggest Beer Brewing Lessons from 2018

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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