Tag Archives: CRAFT BEER

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 :-)

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!)

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.

Describe your Fantasy TV Beer Show! #beerontv [VIDEOS]

It’s been brewing for ages, this one (geddit??) But today is the day. With beer appearing not once, but TWICE on the tellybox today, I couldn’t resist. And to hell with my book-keeping. I’ve been distracted by This Morning doing beer cocktails with mixologist Oskar Kinberg (Calm down all you beer purists out there!) and then tonight hit show, The Apprentice has the candidates making beer (and having some serious issues!). I hear Tring Brewery, Banks’s and Brewdog all feature somewhere tonight!

My wonderful beer blogging chums Leigh and Phil have gone down this road too (thanks to them for mentioning me and my forays into championing beer on the TV). So your homework over the next few days is to conjure up and tell me what your Fantasy TV Beer Show is. I don’t mean YouTube channels, I mean Freeview or subscription channels. And no, it can’t feature David Beckham presenting in his skimpy keks or Louise Redknap in a bikini (!) You heard me. I said ‘NO!’

Your guide to the fab pubs near Birmingham’s new-look train station [MAP]

The second city to me has always been grand. It’s my home. It’s the city of my birth and I love it. And Birmingham is about to get even more grand with the revelation of the first half of our brand spanking new train station. It’s 150 years old and hasn’t seen so much as a lick of paint since it was redeveloped back in 1967. Well, no, that’s a fib. Of course it has. But for years for many people Birmingham New Street station has been dark, tired and resembled something akin to a rather sinister underground mortuary. As of Sunday 28th April 2013, it’s all change! The old concourse and entrance closes for good and it moves aspect to Stephenson Street where we get a new bright, light concourse and lots of lovely shiny-ness to greet us whenever we head off on our journeys. What has this got to do with pubs?? Well,  the change of entrance to what will  eventually be called ‘Grand Central Birmingham’ (eh?!?? who thought that one up?) means you’re even closer to some of my fair city’s superb pubs and beer bars! So I thought I’d draw up my personal list of the finest hostelries in walking distance from the train station.

Innis & Gunn’s new lager #LoveBeer

It’s such a beautiful city, that every time I go up there I want to emigrate. I’ve been back and forth to Edinburgh for at least the last seven years, primarily for the Fringe. Always either with a girlfriend (or more recently with The Hubz) to spend 5 days indulging in the finest stand-up comedy shows and to get more than a few beers down us. Nightclubs and dancing the night away also used to be the order for the week, but my legs do that well anymore. But on Wednesday I headed to Glasgow to snoop around Wellpark Brewery where Innis & Gunn beer is brewed, then back over to Edinburgh to get my first taste of Innis and Gunn’s first ever lager and get the low-down on the new brew from Founder and CEO of Innis & Gunn, Dougal Sharp. Check it all out here.

Beer & Restoration: Save The Ivy House! #LoveBeer [VIDEO]

Picture your average pub champion. You know, the man most likely to corral his beer-drinking fraternity to fight to save his local if it was under threat from a predatory property developer. Well scrap that picture, and let me show you a new one. There’s a new breed of pub crusader in town. Young mum, Tessa Blunden is heading up a fight to establish London’s first ever community, co-operative pub. In a battle reminiscent more of ‘Damsel versus Goliath’ than David, Tessa called on local people to ‘Save The Ivy House’. And luckily for me, Tessa gave me an exclusive interview…..!

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’.