I’ve just arrived home from Leeds, where I have been attending the European Beer Bloggers’ Conference. It’s been a fascinating and entertaining weekend hearing peoples’ stories, learning about things I don’t know much about, such as the hop business, and making some discoveries. The session run by glassware maker Spiegelau was probably the highlight of the conference proper for me. Tasting the same beer in four or five different-shaped glasses, and finding it was different in each, challenged my own sense ofhow we taste beers, and whether we are doing them justice. Most of all though, the weekend has been about mixing with a great bunch of people, all with different levels of experience and knowledge of beer and brewing, but sharing a passion for writing and talking about this diverse, and often misunderstood drink.
When I was a kid BMX bikes were a new thing. I really wanted one, but instead I had my mother’s Raleigh Shopper, which weighed fourteen tonnes, had three gears, a bell, and a basket. It was punished severely, but turned out to be much tougher than it looked. The only real drawback with it was that it was a folding bike and it sometimes decided to fold of its own accord, usually on impact. Anyway, things are different now. I took these pictures on Southport pier on Sunday afternoon. The rail of the pier as it passes the skate park is usually packed with people watching while kids on bikes do things like this: