Posts tagged ‘blogger’

December 22, 2012

Q&A: Hannah, From Desk Til Dawn

Pub Diaries Q&A returns after too long away with a favourite blogger. In fact the blog that I most eagerly await each week, always finding the odd gem in From Desk Til Dawn’s Mixtape series or Sunday Swoon. It’s honest, funny and unabashedly heart on sleeve… I implore you to check it out. You won’t be sorry.



I’m Hannah, daughter of John from Hoxton and Sue from Gypsy Hill. They eloped from London when we pesky children came along, to raise us in the fresh air of Devon. However, country living is highly overrated. Give me the smog of London any day. This city is the boom and the lick!

First pub experience…

Where I grew up, in Brixham, the entire town would go out in fancy dress on New Year’s Eve. When I was 13 my big sister allowed me out with her group of friends under strict instruction that she looked after me. I went out as a St Trinian’s girl in my actual school uniform, all sorts of wrong. My sister got me horrendously drunk on White Lightening and then dragged me on a pub crawl from there. She abandoned me on the statue of Prince William of Orange on the harbour. Taken home by a policeman after he asked me how old I was and I answered by throwing up. My mum didn’t speak to my sister for weeks but she maintains she did me a favour by introducing me to the perils of drink so early.

Best finds…

Where to even start! I’ve developed a huge crush on Princi on Wardour Street for Italian roasted aubergines and wedges of salty pizza. Then there’s the Kennington Tandoori, hands down my favourite curry house. Try the Nilgiri Murgh if you ever visit. Best drink had to be at the Hackney Wicked festival the other summer. Feet covered in dust while we danced to steel pan drumming while drinking Caipirinha’s, swigged unceremoniously out of plastic cups. Looking back it was one of the rare times when you’re just in that exact moment, not thinking about the past or worrying about the future. It’s the first time I’d had Brazil’s most famous cocktail. It will always be associated with a very happy day.

Your Jukebox Trio…

This is an utterly impossible question so I’m just going to come out with the first three tracks that spring to mind and move on otherwise I’ll be on this question, prattling on about music, for a very long time. I write a blog, mainly about music, so if you ever stop by my site you’ll see I’m a huge music nerd.

Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place

Van Morrison – Moondance

Maccabees – Love You Better

Pub heaven…

I know I should probably care about the wine, whether they stock Sailor Jerry’s, but quite honestly you’ll always find something you want to glug behind a bar. For me it’s all about being with people that keep me engaged, interested and chatting. As long as I have that I’d drink Lambrini if it was the only thing on offer.

Pub hell…

Massively loud euro trash/pop playing at ungodly levels. If that makes me sound terribly middle-aged then I stand proud. There’s a difference to always be respected between pubs and bars versus clubs.

Favourite local…

The Good Ship in Kilburn. Many a brilliant night in there since moving to London. Seems to have the knack of moving seemingly from a decent place to have a quiet pint in the afternoon to a late night boozer with great live music, DJ’s and comedy. Very fond of this place.

Favourite non local…

The Stag in Hampstead springs to mind. BBQ’s in the beer garden in the summer always with a great soundtrack, then in the winter you can see cosily indoors amongst dark oak, chopped wood and cosy fires.

What’s on the horizon…

I literally have no idea right now and I can’t work out if the unknown is massively exciting or something to panic about. Time will tell. I do know that it will continue to involve my most committed and successful relationship to date. That relationship being with this brilliant, grumpy, nocturnal and surprising city.

January 10, 2012

Q&A: Ghost Drinker

Pub Diaries Q&A returned for 2012 with Brewer, Duncan Sambrook. We change tack this week with the lowdown coming from Beer Ritz’s Will, better known as Ghost Drinker.


Your blurb…
The name’s Ghost Drinker, but most people just call me Will. I’ve been working for Beer Ritz in Leeds for over 5 years now, serving the good people of the city and customers from further afield with a range of over 600 hundred beers. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. If I ever get into a suit and tie behind a desk, I’ll go fully mental. Eventually I’d like to work for a brewery, but now I’m pretty happy to talk to all the beer geeks we get in the shop about the ‘new beers in’ at any particular time.

First beer experience, beer epiphany…
I never really touched beer till I was 17, and I’m pretty sure the first pint I ever had was Timmy Taylors Landlord. After that, for a few years I drank Tetleys and crap lager. It wasn’t untill I had a pint of Golden Salamander in Arcadia at 19/20 that I discovered what good beer actually could be. At the time I had just started working for Beer Ritz. After a few more good pints I started to really get into the world of different beers, and after that a true beer geek was born.

Best beer find of the last year…
It probably has to be The Kernel Brewery. I got to take a little trip round the Brewery last year with Evin one on one, and really got to know the guys, what they’re doing and we sampled quite a bit of their beers. Since then I’ve never had a bad Kernel beer, and they continue to impress and push the boundaries of beer.

What sounds are to be heard while blogging…
If it’s a question of music, then my tastes range as far and wide as my tastes in beer, my motto is if it sounds good I’ll listen to it. I do have a soft spot for metal like Metallica and bands like Aerosmith to blare out while I drink and write about beer though.

What brought you to blogging…
A couple of years back Zak (Boss man of Beer Ritz) got a lap top for the back of the shop. I started reading his blog from this and after a while thought it would be pretty cool if I could do my own. (Don’t worry Zak, we don’t spend all our time on the lap top, the cellar’s always ship shape).

What have you taken from blogging…
Whats really been great is the like minded people I’ve got to meet and chat too through blogging. I love this industry and blogging has really been a way to get much more involved in it.

Are beer bloggers frustrated brewers…
Well I know of a couple who are, but I’m not naming any names… Truth be told, quite a lot of the people I follow brew their own beer, and they do it pretty damn well, so I’d call quite a lot of them successful brewers.

Which brewers / breweries would you hold up as the way it should be done…
Off the top of my head; Buxton, Thornbridge, Saltaire, Kernel, Williams Bros, Harviestoun, Durham, Sierra Nevada, Anchor, Stone, Brooklyn and Odells to name just a few.

Pub heaven…
The quiet country pub feel, but Arcadia fits my pub heaven criteria – No music, no large groups of students, just great cask ale and a really friendly warm atmosphere.

Pub hell…
Having to stand in an overcrowded “pub” with sky sports blaring out whilst drinking the only beer option available; John Smiths Smoothflow or Carlsberg.

Favourite local pub…

Favourite non local pub…
North Bar + Mr Foleys

What advice would you give any aspiring blogger…
Try to be unique, and don’t just post up tasting notes about hundreds of different beers. Sure, put up tasting notes – there’s nothing wrong with that, just don’t do it all the time. Post about different things, mix it up, be engaging. People say don’t just post for the sake of it but I do it all the time, just make something interesting out of it – it’s your passion, share it with the world as often as you can.

What’s on the horizon…
It’s all about British Beer at the moment, the next couple of years is going to see some great things to come out of this country. We don’t know exactly what but it’s going to be one hell of a ride. If I had to make a guess I think India Red Ale is going to be pretty big next year.

Up next week… its back to the Brewers and a hop across the pond with Brent Cordle from Odell Brewing Company.

June 14, 2011

Q&A with Gem: Eat, Drink & Stagger

Pub Diaries Q&A again travels to Australia for the lowdown from Melbourne blogger, poet and viola de gamba player (we beer drinkers have many talents), Gem Mahadeo. Gem is a contributor at Eat, Drink and Stagger, a blog that should not be read if thirsty or hungry.

Source: Tristan Kenney

What’s most likely to be heard down the pub or when writing?

At a pub… lots of good cheer and the sound of folks enjoying a drink or two with good mates over some good pub grub. When writing… the clatter of keys on what is my apparently very loud laptop keyboard, music on in the background with me occasionally ejaculating the odd expletive due to my own writing-related idiocy.

Favourite place to enjoy a beer?

I can’t really narrow it down locally but here’s a few places I really love to visit for some of the good amber (and its brethren) ale – Biero Bar in Melbourne’s CBD, The Local Taphouse in St Kilda and The Terminus in Clifton Hill.

Further afield, one of my favourite breweries to visit would be Red Hill Brewery in the Mornington Peninsula – I love Karen who’s extremely social media savvy and loves to chat to patrons on and offline and it’s the first place I went to that really made me fall in love with craft beer. It’s relaxed and the food and beer are both worth the travel and hoping to get down there really soon.

If I weren’t writing i’d be…

…still very miserable about writing poetry and cajoling the few friends I know who could put up with it to read them, knowing all the while that they would only really be reading out of the kindness of their non-poet-wanker hearts. I don’t know many folks who really love to read poetry, let alone write it so it’s not conducive to writing more. Blogging about food and beer has been different – a lot more folks can identify with having to eat, or wanting to enjoy a good drop, and so read willingly, which encourages me to write more about it.

I also wouldn’t be learning as much about beer and food as I am now, though of course have still so damn much to learn. Blogging has put me in touch with a lot of others who help me learn more through their own writing or their comments on the blog posts.

The perfect pub?

Ooh, possibly contentious, but I think a perfect pub still has to have some of the brews on tap that I won’t necessarily drink (by which I mean the macros). At least one or two local microbrews on tap, a sizeable bottled beer and cider selection and some great food – the pub staples like a parma, risotto, good gourmet pizza or steak but higher end dishes on offer too. Ideally to have the noise balance where it’s not deathly quiet but noisy enough and still be able to hear your companion when you’re having a conversation. Lots of tables and chairs so that when you enter, you can still get a table. Comfy couches and armchairs an absolute bonus! It’s also got to be dim enough so you can’t see how haggard the day’s made me.

Beer / Pub hell?

Still running into it – usually having to interact with a man who isn’t at all open to the possibility that I might actually know stuff about beer and then will talk over the top of me forcing me to be tight-lipped, looking for an exit. I don’t generally volunteer information when conversing with folks about beer unless they are good friends of mine (read: epic beer wankers I know and love) so I kind of hate it when guys try to ‘educate’ me and won’t let me get a word in about what little I do know, or discount it altogether due to my having boobs. The irony being that most of the ‘educators’ are the ones who don’t know anywhere near as much as they think they do…it’s like the universe’s idea of a joke!

What was the last thing you got excited about – beer or otherwise?

Good Beer Week in Melbourne. It worked. So many people came, saw, conquered, got conquered. Had a terrific time attending all the events I went to and it got me all excited not just about the state of beer and its acceptance as a beverage of fine enjoyment as opposed to one you binge drink on and regret the next day but I also just found it personally inspiring; writing up nearly every event I went to and posted about it on the blog.

Unrelated, I am also excited about poetry again. I’ve been writing a lot of poetry this year as a lot of the blog writing’s enjoyment is starting to fuel that and am very slowly starting to have poems accepted in publications.

What’s happening?

Again, a lot of the blog and the enthusiasm I feel for it is starting to fuel other things. While ideally, I’d love blogging lead to some related paid writing but that might not end up happening as writing means visiting and visiting means spending and I’ve taken the year off work due to some long-term health issues, so yeah, that’s going to be a very long-term dream…

So oddly enough, I’ve decided to hit up my backburner goals which include trying to get more poetry published and start taking my musical instrument, the viola da gamba, seriously. With the gamba, I’d love to get to the stage again where I can be considered a professional consort player (read: perpetual second violin, figuratively speaking) and while I’m getting well, that leaves me with lots of time to practise and play.

Obviously, I do hope to keep drinking more ace beer and eating as much ace food as my budget will allow – that is totally a given!


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