BrewDogging #85: Dublin Outpost

Surprisingly popular despite only apparently being open for 2 hours 24 minutes a day.It's late August 2023, and it's my first time in Dublin in several years. It's a visit that's been on the cards for quite some time, because among other things it gives The Belated Birthday Girl and I the chance to visit our first overseas BrewDog bar in over a year. More than a BrewDog bar, in fact: it's an Outpost, the name they give to bars that are effectively brewpubs. (See also Tower Hill, Manchester, and possibly Itaewon although still nobody at BrewDog wants to admit that it's been dead since mid-pandemic.)

It's the 85th one of these reports I've had to write, and every time I arrive in a new place I'm always trying to find a different angle. So: we're in Dublin. Are there any other breweries in town that we could compare this one against? Anyone?

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Edinburgh Festival 1989-2023: An Index

A hair salon, Edinburgh, 2005. Do you see what they did there? I admit it, the Edinburgh Festival coverage on this site is all over the place - a combination of REPOST pages written for the old site and ported over to here, SPANK GOLD pages written years after the event, and pages that were actually blogged live from Edinburgh as they happened. Anyone just diving into the Edinburgh folder will probably have a hard time working out where to find stuff.

Until now!

What follows is a set of links to the writeups of all the Edinburgh Festivals I've attended since 1989, plus a couple where Spank's Pals went up without me. (Which means nowt for 1993, 1997 or 2000, so don't look for them.) For each year I've included a vaguely chronological list of all the shows that are mentioned in the entry by name. I'm now having a minor freakout at just how many shows that is, but that's not your problem.

The plan is to update this index after every Festival, so this page will mostly remain at the top of the Edinburgh folder. If that's how you got here in the first place, welcome: feel free to browse through the pages linked to below. And if you like the reviews, maybe you'd like to pay me some money to own them in book form? See bottom of page for links.

(Updated November 22nd 2023 to include 2023 reviews)

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Simian Substitute Site for November 2023: Spunky Monkey


Comedy: Yes, there's a lot of stuff that's late on this site at the moment. Look on the bright side, at least it's being updated more regularly than our Bermondsey Beer Mile site. It's been a year of turbulent change on the Mile, but The BBG and I can never quite find the time to document all the bar closures and openings: more often than not, we're relying on the people who leave comments on the site to update us with the latest happenings. One of our recent commenters was Ben Clover, who runs a monthly Bermondsey Beer Mile Comedy night at the London City Runners clubhouse on Druid Street, on the first major stretch of the Mile. It's an enjoyable night out: on our visit we saw decent sets by Dan Fardell, Sam Golin, Ed Mulvey and headliner Maria Shehata, with Ben himself doing excellent work as the compere. We really should be bigging this up on the Beer Mile site, but the problem is that it's let down by, ironically, its beer: with only Camden, Beavertown and Brooklyn available on tap, it's by far the least interesting collection of brews on Druid Street. Presumably running and nice beer are considered incompatible, which is a shame for Ben and his clubnight. But if you're not so much of a Craft Beer Wanker as we are, maybe give it a visit.

Food and Drink: Meanwhile, over on my Moblog - which is somehow still going, even though I suspect the site owners abandoned it many years ago - we've still been keeping up the once-a-year traditional of literal real-time updates for BrewDog's Collabfest. In previous years, these have been four-day epics in which we've run frantically between a dozen or so of BrewDog's bars in London, trying to sample as many of the 70-80 beers their bars worldwide have made in collaboration with local breweries. Times are hard, though, and this year the event's been cut way back: only 31 beers, and only 4 of the London bars serving them. As such, the Moblog entries - written in the bars as we were drinking - don't deteriorate over time as much as they have done in previous years. But not as many people are getting to read the Collabfest reviews since I stopped promoting them on Twitter, so here they are for your entertainment. Over nine bar visits, we drank the beers from Shepherds Bush, Hull, Brighton and Edinburgh Cowgate: Dundee, Goteborg, Dublin and Aberdeen Castlegate: Reading, Newcastle, Oxford and Stockholm: Rotterdam, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester: Tallin, Frankfurt, Canary Wharf and Grunnerloka: Norwich, Bristol and Nottingham: Camden and Glasgow: Shoreditch: and finally Exeter and Bournemouth. This means we got to try at least 1/6 pint of 28 of the 31 beers, which is an acceptable strike rate. There should be another page on Moblog where we say which were the best of those beers, but I'm afraid that's late too...

Travel: "No. No no. No no no no no no." Not my words, but the words of a young woman in front of us who'd just discovered that the almost naked Japanese man standing in the middle of Trafalgar Square was about to be joined by thirty schoolchildren. After a few years off the scene for inevitable reasons, it was a warm welcome back to Japan Matsuri, central London's annual festival of Japanese culture, looking like it had never been away. Too much like it had never been away, to be honest. In the past, you could be reliably surprised by the acts on offer - for me, the absolute peak was the year when the festival was invaded by mascot characters, including the legendary Kumamon. But in the years leading up to the pandemic hiatus, it started getting into a bit of a rut, with the same people appearing time after time. And it's still the same people in 2023. Yes, Joji Hirota and his taiko drummers are great, but they've been the headliners for several years in a row now. We also get the usual martial arts schools, Radio Taiso demonstrations, traditional tunes from the SOAS Min'yo Group, more traditional tunes from Okinawa, and an artist I refuse to name who pops up several times throughout the day and really, really shouldn't. There's one act here who couldn't have appeared before this year, and it's the aforementioned Tonikaku Akarui ‘Tony’ Yasumura of Britain's Got Talent infamy, posing for a solid twelve minutes in his undercrackers while pretending to be naked. The poor kids didn't know what hit them. Anyway, Matsuri is still a fine afternoon out, but a few more food stalls without massive queues wouldn't hurt, and neither would a few new faces on the stage.

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