Tag Archives: fuller’s
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.
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.
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!
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’
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.
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.
What can I say? The GBBF – The Great British Beer Festival – otherwise know as Christmas in the beer world – was the week long festival of beer held at Earl’s Court in London last week. Of course, I was there with The Main Man. And of course, it was epic. We met tons of great people. And I also MISSED meeting tons of great people because I got waylaid so much on Tues afternoon that my glass was empty for much of the time :-(. So I made that second visit on Friday afternoon, and even that was curtailed. I’m already planning 2 afternoons there for next year so I DO get through my beer list.
Some of you might already know that The Main Man and I have been tinkering around the fringes of home brewing for some time. Our inaugural brew wasn’t much to speak of. But last weekend we set up to crack on with our next brew on the hottest weekend of the year so far. After a few technical hitches (swiftly solved by The Main Man whose levels of uber-geekness know no bounds!) we were ready for the off!
I’m not going to yap on about how to make beer (I might do that another time) but essentially we love Fuller’s ESB and we set about perfecting our own version as per the recipe from this book. Then we woke up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to begin our crazy process. We ended the day collapsed in a heap at around 8pm with a nice 19ltr tub of beer in our fermenting cupboard. Check it out.