Posts tagged ‘beer’

February 19, 2014

Recently Published: The Guardian, Tastes of home in Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth is something I’ve been reading for quite a few years. With the move to Australia it’s been a link back to the UK and great food and drink writing. So, I was pretty chuffed to write about my tastes of home as I was headed back to the UK. There’s no better place to think and write than hotels, departure lounges and planes, To be honest (and slightly vain) I’m chuffed that it seemed to strike a chord with those in the same position. I’ve not yet read all the 1000+ comments but what I get from the ones that I have is the fact that the tastes that we crave are simple, homely and linked to memory, which is where I was coming from. You can read it here.

 

February 2, 2014

#FREOCRAFTBEER

Ok folks, turn away now if you’re irritated by trumpet blowing, gloating and oh how great is this type posts… in equal measures this may be it. To the rest of you, check this out it’s great. I’ve written here qute a bit about the journey I’ve taken over the past 4 or 5 years. I started writing as a way to flex my brain in more than corporate thoughts. It worked, as all these years later I’m writing for a living and beyond that working with great people to produce things like the Perth series I’ve been posting over the last week or so. This one you may have guessed is quite close to my heart… it’s about BEER!

Hope it made you thirsty, or craving a trip to W.A. If it did and you love craft beer, do me a favour and share this one… you know it makes sense.

September 5, 2013

Confessions of a beer snob

OK, bit of truth for you all. I am… a bit of a beer snob. I know, who’d have thought!

I turn my nose up at the mere sight of Stella, Carling, Fosters, Tooheys New, XXXX, Bud, Miller…. the list goes on, and on, and on. I’ve walked out of pubs after standing for a good minute looking at what they’ve got. A thin smile to the barkeep, turn heels and I’m outta there.

Some with good reason but others because percieved craft beer wisdom tells me that I should shun them. It maybe that the brewer is of epic proportions, seen to have dubious practices, or simply that their beard quota isn’t high enough or that they’ve never used a sweaty monks sock in one of their brews.

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Anyway, I found myself this morning confessing my ownership of a Tap King. If there’s a 12 step program for beer snobs this maybe the first step? Not monumental in confessional terms I know. It’s not like I mentioned the incident with the… anyway, yeah I own one, from which I pour James Squires, Golden Ale. And I like it. While we are on the subject I’m partial to a drop of Tooheys Old and for those of you in the UK, a John Smiths Smooth. All for various reasons but I think the point is that we drink for various reasons and we have different tastes and budgets. Not everyone wants to savour and ruminate. The majority of punters like their usual pint, whatever it maybe and who am I to talk down to them? I think it’s put perfectly above. Who cares what other people drink.

Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people, so said Eleanor Roosevelt (yes, another Roosevelt reference). To repurpose that: small minds discuss what other people drink.

June 10, 2013

Craft Beer, A Hopumentary

It’s always great coming across beer in film. Craft Beer, A Hopumentary from Jeremy Williams and Phil Shutz is a look at the San Francisco beer scene and proof that beer people are good people.

May 30, 2013

Recently Published: Australian Brews News

In my first contribution to Australian Brews News I whipped up a beery Bara Brith. A Welsh “mottled bread” or fruit cake. It uses that most British of staples – tea – in the standard recipe but true to form I decided to chuck some beer in it. Why not? It is if i do say so myself the best beer Bara Brith I’ve ever tasted. The only, but the best.

It’s great to be able to contribute to a website that I’ve been reading for a while now. With Crafty Pint, I’m of the opinion that there’s not much out there to match it for regular and upto date info on what’s happening in Aussie brewing. Added to which I find the curious position of contributing on food amongst the likes of Paul Mercurio. For the non Aussies reading this think, Strictly Ballroom – yes that Paul Mercurio! It just shows that the beer world is full of surprises.

May 22, 2013

Unofficial Good Beer Week & GABS, Night of the Afflicted: Thursday 23rd May, Five Bar, Mount Lawley

As the beer flows over East for Good Beer Week and GABS, those unable to travel find themselves in that place between envy and jealousy. Twitter, Instagram, Crafty Pint and a number of blogs just feed that thought of: why am I here, why am I not over there, why do they get to have all the f****** beer and I’m covered in enough blue paint to pull off a convincing impression of Papa Smurf. Taunts and teases even come via old school means. A GABS programme posted with a handwritten note. The thought of whether I can forego the paint brush and the thousand or so parquetry tiles that with a heavy work schedule are my foreseeable future. The answer is no. There’s always next year.

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But, I’m a firm believer in making the best of what you’ve got and also a believer that if there’s an excuse to get people together for a beer then you should do it. So with the help of Twitter, Justin (@therealgornstar) and Scott (@sbbrew) a plan was hatched. One of those beautiful online plans where you just say yeah let’s do it. It’s a night for the afflicted… the affliction being that we aren’t amongst those lucky bastards in Melbourne (*shakes fist at the sky*). Yes, Perth is great, yada, yada, yada, but the beer action is over there.

So, Night of the Afflicted, tomorrow Thursday 23rd May at Five in Mount Lawley, from 5.30pm. You can choose to go for a drop of the East, keep it West or foriegn shores. It could just be a few middle aged geezers propping up the bar bemoaning our stupid decision not to go to Melbourne, it may be more. In fact you may not give a toss about what is going on in Melbourne, but hey it’s an excuse for a beer. No RSVP required, just bring yer drinking boots.

May 12, 2013

Recently Published: The Jellied Eel, The West Australian & London Street Foodie

Ok, another rundown on pieces making it into the press and online over the last week or so. A mix of beer and food in London, Florence and here in Australia.

The Jellied Eel is something I’ve been reading for a good couple of years now. Usually with a pint at hand. For a great view on sustainable food and drink culture in London there’s no better. I was really pleased to get a piece about Portobello Brewing Co. in the most recent issue which you can pick up across London now or view online here. Added to which, comment from Jeff Bell from The Gunmakers, one of London’s best pubs bar none was a bonus. Everyone knows how Jeff hates to give his opinion (*cough*).

Back over this side, a piece in The West with Kiwi chef Justin North who some will know from his previous restuarant Becasse, numerous appreanaces on shows like Australian Masterchef and cook books. There’s a part of the piece here.

For lovers of street food and travel there’s a short piece on London Street Foodie and the first of an on tour series. Florentine tripe roll is the subject. It makes me dream of Italy everytime I think of it!

More to come soon, with some great commissions that I can’t talk about just yet.

May 2, 2013

One gallon at a time

The love of beer has a strange progression. You make your first forays into good beer and gradually or abruptly eschew the bland beer of your past. Then comes the ever growing fundamentalism. You try to convert those around you to your hoppy doctrine. To join the revolution. Easily the most annoying part of the process for those around you.

Then in time comes the dream of brewing. You’ve drunk the work of others and it creeps into your addled brain that brewing your own wouldn’t be a bad idea. In fact hey, maybe even a brewery of my own one day. I’m not quite at this stage yet but I’ve been reading pieces recently about folk at those stages in the road to a brewery. The guys at Boatrocker talking about it with Crafty in Australia and a new series of posts from Broadford Brewer on his move from homebrew to pro as he sets up the Northern Monk Brewing Co., in the UK.  For now I can idly dream. That’s the dream that doesn’t involve hours and hours of cleaning, scrubbing and sanatising.

As I write I’m taking a break for scrubbing, scraping, painting, wrenching and banging. Renovating is thirsty work but in the absence of beer I’m working out where my next step on the beer path will fit into our small apartment. Yes you’ve guessed it, I’m finally taking a crack at some homebrew. I’ve had books on the shelf for years, trawled the internet for blogs and even interviewed a few homebrewers but now it seems like the time has come. There’s no garage, spare room, under the stairs or cellar… so for now it’ll be one gallon at a time in the Brew Cupboard.

April 26, 2013

Shit Beer Geeks Say

Shit Beer Geeks Say, from the team behind Melbourne’s Good Beer Week had me cringeing and laughing in equal measure. The odd guffaw and piggy snort even crept in. I think most of us will see a bit of our own ingrained beer bullshittery in this. If you don’t then you could be in denial or not quite reached the level of geekdom. Don’t worry it’ll come. A sterling job by all but I think the Oscar goes to Miro Bellini “i’ve been stinging for some Kiwi hops“… I see a career on the stage beckoning.

Is there any Shit they missed? Insert bullsit in the comments below.

April 14, 2013

Q&A: Leigh Linley, The Good Stuff

The great thing for me about the Q&A is that i’m able to delve into the experiences, likes, dislikes and tips of those that I respect in the brewing, writing, blogging world and beyond. Leigh Linley is someone i’ve followed for quite a while now and is one of my must reads. As his blog drops into my inbox, it’s the cue to pop the kettle on and stop for a couple of minutes. His mix of good food and good beer appeals to my own sensibilities. I urge you to read on and then check it out…

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Blurb…

I’ve been blogging about beer and food since 2007 – and enjoying every minute of it. Since then, I’ve done a little freelance work with stories featured in BEER Magazine, Leeds Guide and Food and Drink Digital. Last year, I was involved in the process to choose Leeds as the location for the European Beer Bloggers Conference and led the delegates on a ‘Best of Leeds’ crawl that weekend. My main interests are exploring beer and food – be it linking brewers and food producers and supporting each other in that wa, or recommending matches and pairings for others – and pub life. It’s not all just about beer tasting! I live in Leeds.

First pub experience…

Both my parents worked in a pub when I was born; a notorious one in Leeds called The Fforde Grene. It’s not there now (its a supermarket), but I remember it being smoky, dark and cavernous, with a large guard dog. It was a little scary at the time, to be honest, but now I’m older I can understand the relationship it had with the locals. First hand, I saw it fall into disrepute in the 90′s and eventually close. That was probably my first experience of how a publican and clientele affect a pub and a community, both adversely and positively.
In terms of Beer, I recall bravely ordering a pint of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in North Bar circa 2005/6…and the first taste was like the scene in Alice in Wonderland when it goes technicolour. Being a self-confessed lager drinker, it was unbelievable.

Best pub finds…

We stayed at The Watermill Inn in Cumbria at the end of last summer, using it a base to explore some of the lakes. It’s completely dog-friendly and brews its own beer and we spent a lovely evening in the last rays of summer warmth drinking really good, clean, tasty beers brewed all of 10 yards away. That was a great weekend.

Jukebox…

At the moment: Seven Wonders by Fleetwood Mac, Gimme Shelter by The Stones and Private Eyes by Hall and Oates.

Pub heaven…

A friendly welcome, staff who can tell you a little about the beer, and a little pride in appearance. Not difficult, is it?

Pub hell…

Rude and indifferent staff, bad toilets and bad beer – and by that I mean kept poorly, not range.

Favourite local…

I’m lucky enough to have four really good, ale-serving pubs on my dog walk route along Leeds Liverpool Canal: The Abbey, The Owl, The Rodley Barge and The Railway. All have good beer gardens in the summer, serve well-kept, local real ales and are dog-friendly in the main. Those dog walks in the summer do tend to be long ones!

Favourite non local…

There’s so many, but a perennial favourite is The Grove in Huddersfield. It gets everything right; a staggeringly varied beer range, good staff, well-priced and a lovely space to drink in. The varied clientele it attracts reflects the pub’s range on the pumps, and there’s no pretention at all – you want a pint of Landlord? You got it. And a bottle of De Molen? Fine. That sort of thing. I really like The Rutland Arms in Sheffield, The York Tap and The Maltings in York, The Marble Arch in Manchester…wonderful pubs, wonderful.

Beer and food…

My all-time favourite would have to be simply a plate of Calamari and Whitebait, dusted in flour and deep-fried, doused in lemon and served with either a cold lager or what beer. I’ve been known to knock that up even in the depths of winter! I’m a sucker for Blue Cheese and Stout (the stronger the cheese and beer the better!), Pepperoni Pizza and Anchor Steam…all the classics, really. We eat a lot of fish at home; pan-seared served with Black Pudding and Minted Pea puree sounds odd, but it’s delicious with a crisp IPA such as Oakham’s Green Devil.

Blogging…

It’s all about participation, for me. If you become of a community, you’ll find blogging both interesting and rewarding. I think you’ve also got to work prolifically to maintain a semi-successful blog; people have short attention spans and if you don’t blog for a long time, often, people will drift away, no doubt. Saying that, bloggings what you make it; that’s the beauty of it – if you just want it to be a notebook of thoughts, then so be it. I’m proud to be a blogger.

Yorkshire beer is…

Incredibly varied and vibrant Yes, we have the traditional Yorkshire beer that we do so well…but hidden amongst that we have smaller brewers producing every style you can want. We have Yorkshire lagers, saisons and barrell-aged stouts. We have international award-winners. We have brewers forging strong links with communities and other independent food producers to bring great food and drink to your table. We have some of the countries best pubs, run by amazingly devoted publicans, for you to enjoy these amazing beers in. We have brewers pushing Yorkshire beer across the world and setting up links in Spain, Italy, America and Australia.

What’s on the horizon…

Well…Great Yorkshire Beer! The book’s out in May, and we are launching it on the 30th at The York Tap. I’m currently spending a lot of time working with the brewers involved to get the book promoted. Blog-wise, The Good Stuff will be focussed on beer from the UK, and my new year’s resolution was to see more of the country; so now on our little drinking jaunts we are getting on the train instead of the bus, and seeing more of what’s on offer around me. I’m also looking forward to more collaboration with Food bloggers this year, and trying to bring some fresh ideas to my own blog from outside the ‘beer bubble’.

How did you choose the breweries to feature in Great Yorkshire Beer…

It was difficult, to be honest. I clearly couldn’t interview every brewer in the region – the book would have been like the Yellow Pages otherwise. So, first and foremost, the book is about modern beer in Yorkshire; the brewers that have been the catalyst to amazing growth and interest that has then rippled out across Yorkshire beer as a whole. So brewers over ten years old were out in terms of specific features. Then I looked at the geographical area, and tried to get a selection from north to south, east to west. I looked at availability; the book had to be useful in terms of interested parties simply getting to your beer – the beer had to be widely available across Yorkshire and the UK, and also, in most cases, bottled. And of course, the beer had to be good!

That last part is obviously subjective, but I believe the line-up I’ve chosen to represent the region, overall, are incredibly highly -regarded – and the book being successful will be good for every brewer out there. The book mentions (such as in the food section) many breweries that don’t fit into that criteria, so hopefully I’ve been able to highlight as many in there as I can!

If you want to get hold of a copy check out this link

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