FANCY trying the competition????????? More »
Celebrating 25 years of British Guild of Beer Writers and Britain's BEST BEER!!!!!!!!!!!! More »
Last night in London was pretty marvellous. Not least because I was asked to help collect the Beer and Pub Association’s prize for CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS at the Annual Beer Writers shindig. As an avid beer blogger and all-round beer evangelist I’ve been a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers for over 3 years now. I guess you’d call me one of the ‘new breed’: a female writer, a black writer and someone who writes online and appears on TV to champion beer. I don’t write for national newspapers or write beer books. Others do that way better than me. It’s not my thang! My main career is a Broadcast Journalist and Television Newsreader & Producer (though I’ve recently ‘changed lanes’ and am presenting on Britain’s Biggest Shopping Channel, QVC)
I’m more a talker and a tapper than a ‘scribe’, I’d say. The Guild’s aims are to promote beer as far and as wide as possible. To that end, this time last year I was asked by the BBPA to present a video which formed part of the BBPA’s Annual Budget submission to the Chancellor, George Osborne. It urged him to stop the beer duty escalator – a tax which hurts the industry and reduces its ability to offer more jobs across the industry (did you know 46% of all jobs in the beer and pub industry are taken by 16-24yr olds). Osborne DID axe the tax in the March budget – just weeks after the video was released. We’d like to say that the video pushed him to make the decision – but it was a massive lobbying effort on all sides and other beer and pub supporting organisations and individuals too! Osborne even turned up at a pub near Westminster where the BBPA, SIBA and CAMRA together were celebrating the good news. At any rate, the BBPA won an award (sponsored by Thwaites Brewery) and I got to go up and collect the award with the wonderful David Wilson, the Director of Policy Affairs.
Hundreds of you got the right answer, but there are only 5 winners of the Manchester Pale Ale (MPA) beer and goody bag. Click READ MORE to see if you’re one of them. Meanwhile here’s a reminder of the question
Which indie rock band was formed in the same city as MPA? Is it 1.Foals, 2. The Courteeners or 3. Two Door Cinema Club
Remember I brought you the highlights of the launch of JW Lees’ new Manchester Pale Ale (MPA) a few months back??? Don’t tell me you forgot how the legendary Bez from the Happy Mondays and I tripped the light fantastic? Well check out this article and video again here to refresh your memory. And speaking of refreshing, keep reading to find out how you could be in with the chance of winning some MPA beer and some groovy little MPA goodies to boot!!
Beer writers know how to party! Monday night was no exception. A whole bunch of us crammed into the superb upper function room of The Parcel Yard (Fuller’s) Pub inside Kings Cross station in London. We were celebrating the 25th anniversary of the existence of the British Guild of Beer Writers, of which I am a member. I was asked to say a few words and I thought it was really important to doff my cap to the future of beer writing. I think I’m part of the new era, in terms of representing the fact that beer drinkers come in all colours, shapes, sizes, races, genders and creeds. No longer can a beer drinker be defined as a portly middle-aged white male, with a beard! I’m also a blogger, who shoots and edits videos about beer! And I’m a qualified broadcast journalist, who’s never worked in newspapers and who’s never written a book about beer. There are many variations of beer writer in the UK. I’m proof of that, AND there are tons more out there who at the moment write well, and make videos but think the Guild might not want them or that they are not the right ‘type’ of writer for the Guild! NOT TRUE, say I!!!
One of the capital’s finest luxury hotels loves beer. It’s OFFICIAL. And the team there have asked me to launch their new Beer & Bites menu on the roof terrace - which will be open every evening throughout August. My menu will contain some very special offerings of a beer-shaped variety! As well as THAT, this luxurious hotel, above St Pancras station, is believed to be one of the first of its ilk to have commissioned its very own beer!! Kathy Britton from Oldershaw Brewery in Grantham, Lincolnshire has brewed a brand spanking new one for them called, of course, St Pancras Beer – a refreshingly tasty lager which the hotel is already on sale in its Booking Office bar. I’ll be on the roof terrace, behind Hansom Hall, tomorrow evening (Wed 31st July) from 630pm until about 9pm to talk you through samples of a few of the lovely niblets of bar food on offer, alongside the St Pancras beer, and some of the other craft beers too! Ultra-cool, chic and glamorous – how beer can be! Come along! I can’t wait!
I started without help. Then I got the dictionary. Then I got my thesaurus. But there really truly aren’t enough positive adjectives and superlatives in the entire world to describe how fabulous the Birmingham Beer Bash was this weekend. So I thought I’d leave you to come up with your own and insert as many as you can into this space. What can I say? The team, led by David Shipman, Dan Brown and Stewart Sandilands had vision, and in my opinion they didn’t disappoint. They exceeded expectations!! Watch my video (coming soon!) and check out my Facebook pictures to see the awesomeness that ensued and see how many brewers t-shirts you can spot!! All it leaves me to say is I was overwhelmed and ever so slightly emotional that the guys pulled it off. A bunch of Brummie beer fans who decided to link up after various chats and socials over damn fine beer, and put on a new breed of festival – beers dispensed all manner of ways – all just bloody brilliant beer!!! I’m sure it will be back next year even bigger and better and so if you missed out, then you better make sure you make room in your diary for next year’s Bash. PS My fab pal & beer writer, Phil, whom I hold in extremely high regard, also thought the event was super cool.
Excited doesn’t really even cover it. A group of cool Birmingham beer fans (namely Dan Brown and Dave Shipman + others) have bitten the bullet and organised the second city’s INAUGURAL craft beer festival. It’s Friday 26th & Saturday 27th July at The Bond Warehouse, 11am – 430pm & then 530pm – 11pm. You’d do well to make sure you bag yourself your tickets RIGHT NOW!!!! When I say ‘craft beer’ I mean beer which is loving produced in small batches by passionate brewers up and down the UK. The curators have done a sterling job and the beer list looks awesome. They had the wisdom to bring me in to host a beer-tasting session on Saturday afternoon (ROFL! Well I am the city’s first ever accredited Beer Sommelier and I’m an ultra-proud Brummie born and bred!) So at 1300 hrs on Saturday afternoon, I’m going to recommend my chosen favourites of the fest, which you can then toddle off and enjoy quaffing after I’ve given your ears a rest! As you can see from the picture – I’m deft at recommending beers to the likes of Holly and Phil on This Morning too, so you’ll be in very good hands
This time last week I was heading home from an exhaustingly hot Edinburgh and what was Day 1 of an amazing #EBBC13 conference (organised by Zephyr Adventures) Yes, just like other writers, beer bloggers get together to discuss beer-related topics, discuss writing techniques, get tips on how to improve the quality of our writing, as well as discover new breweries, and re-acquaint themselves with old faves! It was fabulous to see some old friends and make some new ones. Plus a chance to catch up with awesome peeps like Chris & Craig from Williams, Chris from Fyne Ales, Bruno from Italian craft brewery, Toccalmatto, John from Shepherd Neame and Anna & Rachel from Badger Ales. We were also in the esteemed company of world renowed beer guru, Garrett Oliver, who was our keynote speaker. He hung out with us all afternoon and well into the evening. So read more to get a run down of what happened and my link to all the fab pictures from the event.
Last year it was Leeds. This year it’s Edinburgh! The European Beer Bloggers conference, of course! I can’t wait – and although I’m only going for one day (tomorrow/Friday), I know it’s gonna be ace. Ace because I will get to see and catch up with some of the wonderful bloggers from across the UK I met last year, snog old friends and track down some new friends to snog: all in the name of beer. I’m not sure if I’ll be live blogging on the Friday, I’ve only just glanced at the itinerary but it’s an opportunity for like-minded individuals to come together, talk, learn and sup. The learning part is great, and – to me – incredibly important. Learning about new beers from breweries I l already know and love, and hearing from people I’ve never met is all part of being a beer lover and developing my skills as a Beer Sommelier. It means I can communicate those experiences to you, my lovely readers!! So you can see what I’m up to on the #ebbc13 hashtag on Twitter. I’ll post a video of various afternoon shenanigans at some stage too, no doubt. And may the sun continue to shine heavily on the gorgeous city of Edinburgh.
We were bathed in sunshine this time last weekend on an amazing trip to Copenhagen. I’d won a trip courtesy of Visit Denmark, along with 3 other travel bloggers. You’ll see from my last article that I scrambled straight to Mikkeller & Friends bar in Norrebro district. And then after dinner, we headed to Tivoli Gardens. A stunning theme park in the middle of the city. And boy what a night – after the sun went down the gardens came alive with the awesome sounds of free music. This time we were lucky enough to witness top Danish rock band, Kashmir on stage. That was it. I was even more in love with the country and the city.