Category Archives: News

Katy Perry loves Banks’s Mild beer!!!

Another superstar beer-loving woman can be added to an ever-growing list. The other night whilst performing on the Birmingham leg of her Prismatic World tour, multi-award winning popstar, Katy Perry stopped to chat with the audience and take a sip from a pint glass branded with the beer from Wolverhampton brewery, Banks’s. And the fans and people in the Midlands got a bit excited to say the least. Hubby and I affectionately call it ‘Bonkses’ (!), but one thing’s for sure katy looked like she loved it. So much so she had it snapped for posterity on her Instagram account for the world to see. Turning on its head the thought that ale is not a drink that ladies can enjoy.

Apparently Katy told fans at the gig the other night: ‘This is what they told me you drink here,’ taking a long gulp before handing the pint glass to a thirsty fan. The PR team from Marston’s, which owns the Banks’s brewery, told me today that an extra delivery of Banks’s Mild was made to Katy in time for her second night performance in Birmingham. The guys and gals at the brewery were chuffed to bits that the California Girl has such great taste. I like to imagine she quaffed a few bottles after the gig, and shared the rest out with her entourage that night. What a lovely way to celebrate a successful stop in Britain’s second city, eh? And I’ll bet you a quid that she didn’t have a massive hangover in the morning:  Banks’s Mild being a mere, relaxing, gently thirst quenchingly tasty 3.5% ABV strength!

I’ve always said that Mild is a terrific beer to set people who are new to beer on their beer journey. Because a Mild is just that – the clue is in the name – it’s traditionally a beer that’s milder in flavour: lower in alcoholic strength and less bitter, a lot less ‘hoppy’. It’s a beer style that was mega-popular in the  heartlands of heavy industries of 19th Century England (the West Midlands in particular and the North) Thirsty labourers and factory workers would be rewarded by their employers with pints of ale after a hard morning or day’s work. It began to fall out of favour in the 1950s as those industries declined and more rigorous laws came to pass where it was against Health and Safety to drink alcohol during a working day.

I love Banks’s Mild and once had my husband drive me around Birmingham for somewhere I could get it on draught because I woke up one morning craving the taste of it!


Banks’s cask ale is brewed using only natural, local ingredients from the Midlands and I toured the brewery, which is a few miles away from my home, a while back – check out my write up. And why not book a tour for yourself??

Cheer Katy!!!!

Beer on the telly – Annabel Smith!!

Super excited to get a link in my inbox of my pal, fellow beer sommelier and Cask Marque assessor, Annabel Smith, revealing that she made her inaugural appearance on This Morning yesterday on ITV. A stout masterclass with food. How cool is this. Click here to watch it fast before the ITV Player link disappears…

Discover the perfect Valentine’s Day Beer Gift

What would you call a bouquet of flowers, which wasn’t actually made of flowers, but which consisted of bottles of beer? A Bro-quet, of course!! What is Bro-quet, I hear you cry? Well it’s definitely not a business I have ANY financial associations with whatsoever. It’s just a cool idea that I like and wanted to tell you about. Check this out:


Beer gets dragged into the sugar debate….

Thanks to the British Beer and Pub Association who’ve set the record straight about a wild headline in one of the tabloids today. The Daily Mail screamed about there being ‘Nine teaspoons of sugar in a pint of real ale’ #yawn

My Top Five Beery Tipples for Christmas 2013

So these are the cheeky little lads and lasses I’ll be enjoying this Christmas. Have a go at finding them in the larger supermarkets, otherwise I’ve linked to where you can buy direct. I’ll be up front and say IMO Sainsbury’s is the winner on the beer front with a much more eclectic selection than other supermarkets you can try. OK so the majors aren’t quite your friendly, know-it-all craft beer store, but they’re a good halfway house if you can’t order online in time for Christmas delivery. So here goes….

British Guild of Beer Writers Annual Dinner 2013

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.

Are you an MPA competition winner? [VIDEOS]

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


***Win MPA beer & goodies!**** COMPETITION!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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!!


The British Guild of Beer Writers turns 25 / #GBBF 2013 Britain’s BEST BEER!!

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!!!

London’s St Pancras Renaissance Hotel loves beer!!

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!