Tag Archives: beer

Top Tips For Planning A Beer Tasting

Check it out. I wrote a feature for the Publican’s Morning Advertiser. It’s packed full of tips for licensees who want to organise a beer tasting. In the article I explain the things I personally take into consideration when planning my events. By no means exhaustive, but a few pointers for the adventurous landladies and landlords out there who might want to have a go at getting customers all fired up about beer! Woohooooo!!!

New USA-UK beer unleashed: Dogfish Head brewery + Wells & Young’s [VIDEO]

When the pub you choose to launch a new beer is packed to the rafters with an inordinate number of highly-respected beer writers, then you better have something good up your sleeve because expectations will be high. And tonight Charles Wells brewery (Bedford) was most definitely wearing its game face. They even brought out Sam Calagione (Founder & President of revered East Coast US brewery, Dogfish Head, Delaware) as their ace quarterback, so I knew things were set to get serious. A relationship that blossomed between Wells & Young’s International Brewmaster, Jim Robertson, and Sam, when they kept bumping into each other in the US over the years, gave birth to aptly named ‘DNA New World IPA’.

SIBA – BeerX – Sheffield 2013 #LoveBeer [VIDEO]

Beer industry conferences are wondrous events. No, seriously, they are. I can say that now because I went to the biggest one in Britain the other week:  the Society of Independent Brewers (which represents a truckload of British microbreweries) held Beer X in Sheffield. I shuffled myself along to the ‘Industry Day’. And boy, was I verbally assaulted by various fabulous members of the industry that day: Nigel Sadler kept promising to take me down to the cellar…to show me the mammoth beer festival operation that was taking place over the four days, of course. Sara Carter, Brewster at Triple FFF brewery revealed the secrets of her newest beer. Global mega-star,  Brooklyn Brewery Master Brewer, Garrett Oliver held me and 200 others captive, and plied us with free (dammit, yes, I said FREE!) Sorachi Ace. And celebrity chef, Simon Rimmer (he of Sunday Brunch  on Channel 4 every Sunday morning) regaled us with a tale of how he’s just launched his own range of beers designed to complement certain foods. (Check out my video which captured the moment both Garrett and Simon vied for the top spot in the Brightest, Shiniest Teeth comp – proceed with caution)

It’s my latest instalment of #LoveBeer! WOO!!

George and The Spitfire!

Like it or not, he appeared. As if by magic. Like the shop-keeper.  I was minding my own business, chewing the fat with my beer pal, Kimberley , in a tight corner of a compact & bijoux downstairs room of The Westminster Arms near Parliament the other night. We’d not long arrived. We were being regaled with tales of Westminster life, by two rather lively MPs at a drinks party held by the British Beer and Pub Association. We, and around 50 others, were there to rejoice in the news that the beer duty escalator had been scrapped and there’d been a penny reduction on a pint. Then The Architect of the mirth in which we were indulging appeared. Kimberley poked me in the ribs. I turned around and almost splurted out my mouthful of beer, as I did a double-take. Classy.com. The strident figure in the dark suit was holding a pint of Shepheard Neame’s Spitfire Ale. Camera flashes ignited the room. It was a moment in history: the first ever snaps of The Chancellor, George Osborne actually holding a pint of beer. 

Why I’m going to buy George Osborne a beer

‘Thanks, George! You’re a star!’ I secretly hoped I could say those words one day, and I’d rarely dared to dream. But now, I can let my feelings flow. Because I’m a woman who drinks beer, and The Chancellor has pleased me much! For most mainstream media, and non-beer drinkers, women like me are a bit odd. Female beer drinkers are pretty much dumped into the same category as that elderly lady you see on the news. You know the one? The one her concerned neighbour’s anonymously called the RSPCA about. The pensioner peeps her head forlornly around the small gap in her front door. Squinting at the animal officer in his smart peaked cap, she croaks ‘Good Morning’, as he spies what looks like dried soup on her cardigan collar. Mushroom or French Onion? Smack. A waft of ammonia darts out from inside the house and shoots up his nose, and as the lady steps back to let him inside the door reveals a hallway crammed chock full. Full of purring, playful cats of all shapes, sizes and colours wandering around her itty-bitty house, all dying to get out and greet their new beau. Who’s hopefully brought dinner.

Time to meet a Beer Sommelier!

So yesterday I took a really tough exam in London and I passed. I’m now a Beer Sommelier. You’ve heard of Wine Sommeliers who know an awful lot about wine? So I’m the equivalent when it comes to talking your head off about beer.

I’m chuffed to bits again, especially after sitting in front of Dr George Philliskirk, the Director of The Beer Academy (who has a PHD in Yeast Research from Birmingham University) for an hour and a half proving my beer knowledge and beery tastebuds. It was scary and he pulled no punches. It wasn’t easy to even get to the exam: I had to attend a couple of courses and apply to actually take the exam, proving my out-and-out passion for beer.

Great British Beer Festival 2012 [VIDEOS]

An army marches on its stomach and I was a beer soldier going into battle yesterday, so what better way than to tool up with a massive Bacon and Egg sarnie and a huge cup of coffee courtesy of Frank’s Sandwich SHop – just across the road from the front doors of the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) venue of Kensington Olympia.

There were crowds waiting outside at 1130am (!) so I waited patiently. I saw loads of old friends, made lots of new ones and recorded some videos too, the highlights of which are below. And, of course, I drank beer. So click on MORE to see the full SP. And make sure you get to this wonderful festival celebrating the brilliance of British (and others) beers and much much more.  800 different real ales, ciders and foreign beers and CAMRA, who’ve organised it all, is expecting around 50,000 people across the week with the last day being THIS SATURDAY! Be there, or be ever so slightly unhinged!

The Post Office Vaults, Birmingham [REVIEW]

By the end of 2012 the beer scene in Birmingham will have changed beyond recognition. Word on the street is that not one, not two but three new craft beer bars will be open for business by Christmas. Properly exciting for my hometown, cos we have a few (but not many) hip beer bars a la North Bar, Leeds, for example. I dream of a craft beer bar in Brum where I can listen to some Hot Chip in the background, and eat some fabulous food, without having to endure the smell of musty old carpets under my nose the whole time, where the bar staff are hyped about the drinks offering and can recommend all manner of wondrous beverages to you, where there’s something exciting happening every week for me and my mates to get to (Meet The Brewer, Beer & Food matching dinner, Live Comedy, Live Acoustic music, say). Basically where the all-consuming vibe is ‘Come in, chill out with a few beers and your mates, have a bite to eat and stay a while’

Taking Badger Ales to #BritmumsLive 2012

Friday was pretty brilliant! Rachel Burleigh from Badger Ales and I pitched up at the first EVER Britmums Live conference to hand out FREE beer samples and wax lyrical about how cool a drink beer is! My blog tagline is ‘There is beauty in beer’ and I think everyone who came to our stand agreed!

It was extraordinary to meet some of the amazing Mum bloggers who I’ve been twitter friends with for the last year to 18months. And apart from the blogging extravaganza, I asked my fab chums from Badgers Ales to come along with me to host a beer tasting for thirsty Mums on the afternoon of the first day! Badgers Ales are a terrific brewery from Dorset who’ve been brewing in Britain since 1777!!!! I love many of the beers they make, and they even make a couple of ciders (shock, horror!! Lol!) If you’ve not heard of them yet then check them out – you can pick up some of their beers in most of the big supermarkets!

A Tale of Two East London Pubs

You might know I’ve been doing some journalism work these last few months in London and I’ve got a bolt hole over in Leytonstone. So when I was forced to do a 2-week stint there, I was more than relieved when The Hubz came down from Brum to save me from self-destruction.

We’ve been to a few of the pubs in the town before. And we were also a bus ride away on the 257 (to Walthamstow) which stops in Leyton right outside the King William The Fourth pub which is also where Brodie’s microbrewery is. I’ve lost count of how many times people have said to me ‘Oh you gotta go to Brodie’s’ and – as I’m still recovering from a nasty chest infection – I wasn’t at all in the mood to venture much further afield that day. But within an hour and one half pint later, we were back on the bus and sitting in The Red Lion to while away the afternoon there instead. Do you want to know why?