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The most triumphant INAUGURAL Birmingham Beer Bash 2013! [VIDEO]

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.

Join me at the Birmingham Beer Bash this Saturday afternoon!!!!!!!!

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 :-)

European Beer Bloggers Conference – Edinburgh #EBBC13

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.

Q: What do you call a gaggle of beer bloggers?*

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.

More sights and sounds of Copenhagen #dkblogger [VIDEOS]

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.

A visit to Copenhagen #dkblogger [VIDEOS]

A love of Mikkeller beer is a deep one. That love won me a trip to Copenhagen, courtesy of Visit Denmark for a Scavenger Hunt! I am here. Now. And I’m blogging and tweeting my experience as I go along as much as I can too. My love drives me a bit scatty sometimes, so sooner I jumped off the plane with my fellow winners (and new mates) Macca, Jen and Emma, I vanished into the summer sunshine. Having never visited a Mikkeller bar before, I headed off to meet James at Mikkeller & Friends. And have a beer and just hang out for a while. Check out the video of our chat

Madness launch Gladness

Another celebrity beer hits the pubs. But this one is actually tasty!!! I met some of the boys from Madness tonight in London. The band name says it all: the boys are nuts. And they launched their new beer, ‘Gladness’ with the kind of madcap humour you’d expect. The Q&A session hosted by Pete Brown started the evening off like a scene out of a Laurel & Hardy movie. The beer is brewed by Growler Brewery in Essex. Gladness is 4.2%, brewed like an ale but with Tettnang & Saaz hops which are traditionally the fave hops of lager producers. I got a subtle blueberry aroma and flavour in the beer, it was also beautifully sweet and ludicrously drinkable. Available now in bottle and cask in all Nicholson’s pubs FROM FRIDAY 14th JUNE. Though it’s at The Walrus & Carpenter at Monument NOW! Check out my video from the night, including Suggs whose voice was dampened by the noisy pub! (I might add subtitles next week!)

Norwich – City of Ale

Norwich has more pubs and religious buildings in its city centre than anywhere else I’ve ever been. It feels like there are at least three pubs squeezed onto every street corner. The fourth annual City of Ale party last Thursday night at St Gregory Church was a fitting launch an 10-day long shindig celebrating the city’s beer and pub heritage. Right the way through until June 2nd, as many pubs in Norwich as you can shake a stick at seem to be involved. Mini-beer festivals and other events are all on the agenda, and you’ll quite probably be patting yourself on the back, if you manage to get yourself over there at some point this week!

My beer haul from a visit to Greene King brewery, Suffolk

‘What would you like?’ John asked me. Those words were music to my ears. I was standing in the Greene King brewery visitor centre shop. And John isn’t just any old John. He is in fact John Bexon, Head Brewer. 37 years experience in brewing, a good ten years plus of those with the biggest brewery & pub chain in Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk. I dropped by to check out their annual Food & Drink festival last weekend. A foodie paradise over two days, packed out with local independent food and drink producers, and local bands on stage in Westbury Gardens within the brewery grounds. I’d screwed my timings up, but abfab PR & Events Manager, Claire stepped into the breach to see if John could find some time for me in his busy morning for us. We had a good old natter and I had a quick mooch around!

Fuller’s & Chimay – a match made in heritage? [VIDEO]

There’s been some brewery canoodling going on. Again! I’ve just had a sip of a new love child: a beer that’s come about from a bit of a love-in between esteemed London brewery, Fuller’s, and Belgian trappist brewery, Chimay . It’s a story of two breweries  –  steeped in heritage and quality  – colliding to make something that works well for the tastebuds for both of their fans. And something that might well draw in new fans too! Chimay Doree (Doree meaning Golden) is 4.8%, with a distinct coriander nose. It’s smooth and sweet – a hint of honey I feel along with something of juicy seedless green grapes too! It’s totally drinkable and delicious. It was an extra-special treat to meet some of the directors from both Fuller’s and Chimay in the wonderfully spooky and pretty (if a venue can be the same thing at once!) Crypt of St Etheldreda’s in Holborn. Go get yourself some. And report back to me. List of Fuller’s pubs it’s where it’s on sale below.