Tag Archives: beer

New BBC2 series puts British ale & breweries in the spotlight!

Matching beer and food is a really exciting challenge, there’s no right or wrong answer but I’ve really enjoyed having a go lately. Not to give the whole game away, but last night at The Rocket in Canary Wharf I had to try persuade the totally amazing Michelin-rated, celebrity chef, Angela Hartnett, on it all. Not only that but it was all in front of TV cameras for a BBC2 programme. Before I sat her down in front of our mini-feast she told me she wasn’t convinced. But by the time I’d finished with her, she was. And she was thrilled!! RESULT!

Then after my one-to-one tasting of 3 dishes with 3 separate beers (plus a surprise from Angela into the bargain, which totally WOWED ME!) We invited 30 ladies into the bar downstairs, plied them with beer and nibbles and doled out tips on how they could all start their own beer and food matching adventures.

Pilsner Urquell Brewery celebrates 170th birthday

You should know Pilsner Urquell and I have history! So it was a thrill to see the team again after 7 months. And what better way than when they hosted a party to close the European Beer Bloggers conference in Leeds and celebrate the 170th since Josef Groll brewed the first batch of PU back in 1842. Brewed on October 5th, tapped on 11th November.

So the Brand Team treated us all to dinner and the most wonderful unpasteurised, unfiltered PU flown in that day from their brewery in Pilsen, and our host was the head brewer himself Vaclav! Mouth-watering pics alert: onion soup, salmon, and beef goulash are on their way!

Speed Tasting Beer at the Beer Bloggers Conf #EBBC12

Perhaps the best session of all was the live speed tasting of ten, yes 10, beers!! I think we them in 3minutes bursts with someone from each brewery giving us the spiel, us tasting and musing on each one and making notes as fast as we could (whichever way we wanted: I tweeted each one) It was no mean feat, I just about glimpsed all the brewers in the eye cos I was so busy looking at each beer, tasting and weighing up what I wanted to (and could) type in 140 characters 😉

Tops for me though was Rooster’s Brewing Co’s brilliantly name Baby-Faced Assassin IPA (6%). It’s a cunning beer by the twin brothers in the business, Oli & Tom Fozard. Apparently they came up with the homebrew receipe in the back office of Beer Ritz (a hot little beer boutique in Leeds, run by my ultra-fabulous friend & ace-tastic award-winning beer writer & author, Zak Avery)

The Big Brewday!

So we’ve only gone and done it! It’s been eight months in the planning. My wonderful beer girlfriends, Shea Luke (aka Real Ale Girl Shea) and Jane Peyton (from School of Booze) enjoyed a wonderful day last year enjoying beer in my native West Midlands. And on that day, amidst sampling some incredible ales, we had a brainwave…a NO-BRAINER of a brainwave!! We love beer so much we decided to make our own concoction. For me that was an even more amazing prospect. You’ll remember that The Hubz and I are into homebrewing and we brewed our own Wedding Ale.

An ab fab cocktail party – with beer (of course!)

Twenty girls enjoyed a night of fun and frolics the other week at my special Beer Cocktail party at Banks’s Brewery. It was a Christmas treat for some of the brewery’s female staff, and so when I suggested beer cocktails, Rachel from Marston’s and Kimberley from Vital PR stepped up to the plate, humoured me (!) and we all sat down to think about how we could do it. It was the first time I’ve ever created beer cocktails and –  I’m not saying they’re going to set the world alight  –  the verdict from the girls on the night was an overwhelming THUMBS UP. I’ve attached a link to the fab photos from the night courtesy of the very lovely Lee Allen.  We had gorgeous Stephen Kerr (from Coventry’s Inspire Cafe Bar) as our mixologist on the night, with help from Alice, Fern, Rachel and Kim. A big thank-you to them all

Holy Smoke! I won a Beer Writers award!

Wow. I mean seriously. WOW. I won an award. Not just any old award.  A GOLD award at the most prestigious annual gatherings of beer writers in Britain. For that I am overwhelmingly honoured. And humbled.

The 2011 British Guild of Beer Writers dinner and awards ceremony took place at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel in London, our dining room overlooking the Thames. You might find it hard to believe there’s such a guild, but it’s so important to have an organisation like this. It was set up in 1988 to help spread the word and improve the general standards of beer writing. Now the Guild has over 150 members.

The event brought together more than 230 people rings together people who write about beer for a living, who write for national newspapers, regional newspapers and magazines, who write books and who, like me, write about beer for fun, cos they love beer with a passion and truly believe in the beauty of beer.

My ‘Winter Warmers’

Just thought I’d drop a few pics of a small selection of some of the beers The Hubz and I will be enjoying this Christmas. Believe you me, there are many more bottles and cases of beer wedged under our dining table bursting to get out.

These are the kind of beers that – if they were a person – you’d ask them to tuck you in at night. They give you that warm, loving, fuzzy and Christmassy feeling. Some of them are quite strong, so designed to be sipped gently or shared with a beer-loving friend. Imagine a satisfying beery bear hug, if you will.

Beer Beauty & The Main Man only went & got married!

This very day last week was an incredibly special day for me and The Main Man. Because we got married, and the date was the 5th anniversary of our very first date. It was as wonderful as a day could get.

The Main Man looked stunning, my two nieces  – Natalie and Nadine – were bridesmaids; led by Miranda, my bezzie mate of 35 years as my Chief Bridesmaid; Carl, the Main Man’s bezzie mate of some 30 odd years was his Best Man; our brothers were ushers and our Mothers looked knock-out with full-on hats with feathers and everything! Cilla Black’s chest would have been puffed up with pride 😉

Anyone for a beer cocktail?!?

Time has been running away with me. Chiefly because I’m getting married soon. But  – in true Beer Beauty style –  I’ve been trying to do too much stuff before The Big Day! One of the brilliant things I just had to tell you about was a crazy session in a bar with Rachel (from the Banks’ Brewery brand team) and Kim (Marston’s PR firm, Vital). They recently asked me to host a fun (when are they not?!?) Beer Beauty party for their female staff.

No sooner did I suggest throwing in some beer cocktails than – HEY PRESTO  – a week later Rachel, Kim and I had commandeered a corner of  Bluu Bar, and surrounded ourselves with lots of Marston’s beers and all sorts of cocktail-making paraphernalia!

Beer-eautiful Brussels – Part 1

If you haven’t visited Brussels then I order you to get on the internet and sort yourself a city break right NOW. Why? Cos I’ve just come back from my very first adventure there and – not wanting to exaggerate – it was totally and utterly, stonkingly amazing! A fair bit of hugging and kissing went on and the weekend’s exploits were exciting not least because I was like an eager little puppy the whole time, because of the brilliant company I was with, because of the unexpected and scorching hot sunshine, but also because of the beer culture there. Belgium is serious about beer. No, I mean deathly serious. So if you want to investigate Belgian beers to their fullest, then Brussels is one of the coolest places to do it 😉