Posts tagged ‘q&a’

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

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.

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Blurb…

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.

July 18, 2012

Q&A: Marky Market

This week we speak to Marky Market – a link between Londoners and the twilight world of the meat and fish markets.

 


Blurb…

My name’s Mark and I started markymarket a couple of years ago. Basically, people get hold of me by hotmail, phone, text or twitter. They tell me what they’d like from Smithfield and Billingsgate and I’ll get up at 2am to get it for them; I don’t hold any stock, I buy to order. I just get the freshest meat, fish and shellfish I can find, then deliver it to you around town using my trolley, chiller boxes and the tube. I’m your man at the market.

First pub experience…

First time I went into a pub was when I started college in Liverpool, I was maybe 16. I didn’t have a clue about what I should drink or any sort of pub etiquette, so when the barman asked me what I wanted, I panicked and asked for “the usual”. My first pub experience lasted precisely thirty seconds.

Best pub find if the last year…

The Euston Tap stands out because of the variety of proper beer and the enthusiasm of the staff. Markymarket deliveries take me all over town though, so I’m always discovering new places.

Sounds to be heard as you work…
The terrible MOR 1960s music from the radio that is always on in the Blue Posts.

Tell us about your office…
My Soho office is the Blue Posts on Berwick Street, at the end of the market. It’s where I gravitate towards after I’ve done my deliveries and has become my office because it’s a great old boozer that makes the minimum of concessions to the 21st century. Bill, the landlord, won’t even do food, just maybe a grudging pack of pork scratchings. The Adnams is good though, and it’s pretty central too, so any markymarket customers who need to meet me to collect their orders can get there easily.

Pub heaven…
Proper beer, from a pump. I’m not particularly fussed about any particular one, but I do like Bass, and Adnams, and Ubu, and, IPA, and Doombar, and Pride, and Speckled Hen… I also like a pub where I can get a seat, barstaff that remember me and they don’t mind my trolley shoved in the corner.

Pub hell…
Barstaff who think beer is just fizzy draught lager.
Favourite local…
The Hemingford Arms on Hemingford Road in Islington. It’s run by Una, the best landlady you will ever find. I don’t want to analyse why it’s the best pub in the world, it just is. Once you go there, you’ll realise that it’s very difficult to leave without promising yourself that you’ll be back.

Favourite non local…

Probably the Blue Posts, but the Cross Keys on Endell St in Covent Garden is good. Then there’s the Globe on Bow St or the Kings Head on Upper St; it’s difficult to choose one.

What’s on the horizon…
I want to carry on with the balance of customers that I have, so I can still get all this fantastic food for individuals and a few independent restaurateurs. Hopefully markymarket will become increasingly successful. I’ll still go to the markets to choose and buy the things that customers order, but I’ll have a few minions to take care of some of the deliveries. Which will give me more time to enjoy a beer.
July 1, 2012

Q&A: Ian Rankin

This weeks Q&A is a departure for Pub Diaries, as we hear from bestselling writer of the Rebus novels, Ian Rankin.

Blurb…

My name is Ian Rankin and I’m a novelist. My attitudes towards writing, beer and pubs are broadly the same: keep it simple, unfussy, entertaining.

Beginnings…

On my 18th birthday, my dad took me to his local to have a drink with some of his pals – that was a rite of passage, right there.

Best recent beer find…

Cromarty Brewing Company – delicious ales!

Are drinking & writing a good mix…

I’ve tried writing after a few drinks – never turns out useable. But I do a lot of research in pubs – I find characters, anecdotes, stories there.

Favourite beer writing…

Not sure. But my favourite quote may come from Martin Amis: ‘Without women, life is a pub’. I’m not sure if he sees that as a good thing or not…

Advice to aspiring writers…

Read lots, write lots, accept the criticism/advice of those you respect, get lucky and then stay lucky.

Sounds while I write…

instrumental music almost always, playing softly in the background to block out the everyday world. Jazz, new age, bands like Mogwai and Errors and Boards of Canada.

Favourite pub writing…

Probably my own, if I’m honest. I use the Oxford Bar a lot, which is a real pub in Edinburgh. Fans come there from time to time.

If I wasn’t a writer I’d be…

An unsuccessful writer with a job as a journalist or teacher.

Pub heaven…

Good conversation, with few distractions.

Pub hell…

Loud ugly music; slot machines; TV blaring; people who are only there to get lashed up prior to or during a night out.

Favourite local…

The Oxford Bar, but Edinburgh has a fair number of traditional watering-holes, all of which I’ve visited from time to time. Honorary shout out to the likes of Bow Bar, Cafe Royal, Kay’s, Blue Blazer, Bennets, Golden Rule, Royal Oak, Abbotsford….

Favourite Non-Local

Chez Lucien in Ottawa; Crown in Belfast.

On the horizon…

New book out November, followed by UK, New Zealand and Australia tours.

Next week we are heading to the markets of London. Billingsgate and Smithfields that is, as we hear from Marky Market

May 30, 2012

Q&A: Greg Avola, Untappd

The Q&A comes this week from Greg Avola, the NYC based coder and beer geek behind Untappd

 Blurb…

Living in the craft beer haven of New York City, I’m the backend developer for Untappd. After experiencing Rare Vos for the first time, I instantly fell in love with craft beer. While some people enjoy reading books or watching movies, my passion is to coding.

Your ethos…

Passionate, Funny, Controlled, Outgoing, Humble

Beer epiphany…

The truth of the matter is that I, nor my co-founder Tim Mather, were ever in to beer before Untappd was made. We saw a potential with the social media industry to connect the dots on something that is very socially, but never had that represented in a social network. I first tried Rare Vos about 2 years ago and fell in love with Belgian and craft beer. Once I did that – I never looked back.

Best beer find of the last year…

My favorite beer is Pliny the Elder and I had a chance to have it draft when I was last in San Francisco, CA. It’s an amazing beer that tastes 100% different on tap than in the bottle.

What sounds are to be heard as you work…

Typically I listen to a lot of techno music when I’m working on Untappd. When coding, I like the repetition of the beats which helps me code better, believe it or not. Most of the time I use Spotify to deliver that music.

If I wasn’t coding I’d be…

Great question – because coding is my hobby and my passion. If I’m not coding, I’m most likely sleeping, eating or hanging out with family. I would say I code about 75% of the time.

Before I was coding I was…

I was in school studying how to code and build computers. I used to build a lot of custom computers for friends and family and was really into all the technology specifications of motherboards, video cards, and hard drives.

Favourite thing about what I do…

My favorite thing about what I did is the ability to help people solve problems. Nothing gives me greater joy to hear feedback from a user about how they used and liked the service. At the end of the day, we’re not really saving lives, but we are making lives easier for some people and that’s what it’s all about.

Brewers you look up to…

For me – it’s Shane Welch from SIxpoint in New York. I think his vision and direction for the brewery and industry as a whole is very fresh and new. He has passion for beer and making a quality product is something that I strive for in my work with Untappd.

The app I wish I’d come up with…

I think the logical answer is Instagram, because I love photography and the app allows anyone to fill that void. Of course the fact that it was just bought for 1 billion dollars helps too.

Pub heaven…

A pub that has a great beer selection with tie integration with Untappd, meaning that when someone check-ins to a beer at that bar, their face would appear next to the beer. That would be an great interactive element for a beer list.

Pub hell…

My biggest peev is incorrect beer names, as it causes people to create beers on Untappd. For example if a bar calls Nugget Necter, Troeges Necter Red, that causes issues with your Database.

Favourite local pub…

It’s a tough one but I would have to say The Pony Bar in NYC. $5 craft beers all day / night long is something you can’t beat.

Favourite non local pub…

The Stone Bistro Gardens in CA was my favorite in the country so far. Amazing beer, food and views.

Advice any aspiring brewer / app developer / tech startup…

Never give up and keep pushing yourself. Users want to be part of something that they feel part of, so always interact with your users and make sure they feel welcome. I love meeting Untappd users because I want to thank them for being part of the community.

What’s on the horizon…

We have a lot of great stuff coming up soon as we try to make Untappd the best product for beer and bar discovery. We also want to focus our efforts on making a better recommendation engine. If I told you – where would the fun be in that?

 

 

 

May 24, 2012

Q&A: Tom Byng of Byron

We mix beer and burgers this week as we have a chat with London’s true Burger King, Tom Byng.

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What is the Byng – Byron ethos…

Do a simple thing properly

First beer experience…

Nicking a couple of Double Diamonds out of my Dad’s fridge as a 10 year old and drinking them with my brother behind a bush in the garden. Terrible beer, but it tasted pretty good at the time.

Best beer find of the last year…

SKA beers, we managed to get True Blonde and Steel Toe Stout on to our latest list pretty much exclusive to us

What sounds are to be heard in the office…

I spend quite a lot of time in the restaurants so the sizzling of grills, bubbling of fryers and gentle tapping of ketchup bottles is ever present. In a nice way obviously.

If I wasn’t running Byron I’d be…

About 10kg lighter for sure

Before Byron…

I had a couple of restaurants in Notting Hill for 10 years. The rents doubled so I sold up and started Byron

Favourite thing about what I do…

Getting paid to eat burgers and drink beer is tough to beat.

What drew you to Camden Town Brewery to brew Byron Pale…

Camden not only supply Hells but act as a quasi consultant for the whole list. We have a great relationship, so having them brew our own beer was a no brainer. We wouldn’t have had anybody else do it to be honest.
What have you learnt from working with CTB and vice versa… They’ve pretty much taught us everything we know. We started out as enthusiasts with a relatively low knowledge base and in a year they’ve turned us into something approaching experts. From their perspective, they certainly know a lot more about hamburgers than a year ago! I think also having a big volume customer has been a good test for them in terms of how they set up their infrastructure to support growth.

Greatest achievement to date…

Byron Pale Ale becoming our top seller within 2 weeks of launch. For it to outsell Peroni in a chain restaurant environment was as satisfying as it was unexpected. For Byron generally I think we’ve been instrumental in instigating the burger revolution which has swept London in the last 5 years, the result being that if you like hamburgers there is a now plenty of quality options available irrespective of taste and budget

Brewers I look up to…

Camden Town Brewery, Kernel and Brewdog in the UK. Sierra Nevada, Bear Republic and Lagunitas in the US

Pub heaven…

Big range of craft beer on tap and in bottles with some decent food coming out of the kitchen

Pub hell…

Wetherspoons

Favourite local pub…

Anglesea Arms, Wingate Rd, W6

Favourite non local pub…

Craft Beer Co, Hatton Garden

Advice for an aspiring startup…

If you’re not shitting yourself you’re not being brave enough. Back yourself and go for it.

What’s on the horizon…

We have 5 more restaurants to open this year (including our first out of London in Oxford), a new burger van for street food events, a full summer festival season for our Shack, a Chilli Queen burger special for the Jubilee and a new beer list for September.

Next week the Q&A takes a techie turn with Greg Avola, the beer brain behine Untappd

April 18, 2012

Q&A: Kelly Ryan

I think that this weeks Q&A will be a firm favourite across the beer world, as we catch up with possibly the busiest man in beer. Formerly of Thornbridge, Fyne Ales and Epic; and now moving onto new prospects, we hear from Kelly Ryan.

 

Your brewing ethos…

Passion, Pride, Fun, Flavour, Quality

Beer epiphany…

I don’t think I’ve had just one beer epiphany, but sitting in a Flavour Chemistry class with my old professor, Jean-Pierre Dufour (who was instrumental in the development of the brewing division of the Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium) here in NZ and tasting through Duvel, Chimay Red, Chimay White and Chimay Blue was definitely a big part of it. JP was ridiculously passionate and taught me loads about beer, brewing and fermentation science. It was his palate, however, that never ceased to amaze me. He inspired me to taste everything I could and to describe as much as I could. I still remember that first sip of Duvel. The effervescence and that Champagne-like mousse coupled with the delicate spice of the yeast. So damn good!

Best beer find of the last year…

Anchorage Love Buzz Saison – A heady mix of peppery goodness, the delightful tartness of the Saison yeast, a hint of Brettanomyces for good measure all tied together with an undercurrent of light oakiness from the French oak Pinot Noir barrels that it’s aged in. An elegant and fascinating beer and the type that should be served up to beer and wine lovers alike.

Sounds heard in the brewery…

If I’m mucking about doing trial brews, it could be anything from some good NZ reggae (Katchafire), Fat Freddy’s Drop (NZ Reggae/Dub/Jazz/Roots) or something a bit more out there like some crazy industrial Skinny Puppy or KMFDM or even some Tool, A Perfect Circle or Pink Floyd. A bit of everything really! The Beatles often pop up on the playlist.

If I wasn’t brewing I’d be…

Dead! Either that or teaching brewing :)

Before I was brewing I was…

A student on the road to being a brewer… I was studying Microbiology and Food Science degrees and got into a trainee brewer programme with a big brewery straight out of university. It was meant to be!

Favourite thing about what I do …

I think it’s probably similar to most brewers… I love recipe development. Envisaging a beer and a culmination of flavours and aromas. That mixing together of diverse and interesting ingredients and that point when it all comes to fruition and you taste the finished product. I love that.

Greatest brewing achievement to date…

A tough question! I enjoy the fact that people have had enjoyment out of what I do for a living. The odd award here and there is always exciting as well.

Things you miss about the UK…

This could be a long list! I miss being able to go to a local market or supermarket and get incredible cheeses for a decent price. I miss the snow. I miss foraging. I miss the pub we used to run and live in, The Coach and Horses in Dronfield. I miss Mark Taylor’s incredible food (the ex-chef of the Coach). I miss Loch Fyne up in Scotland where I started my UK brewing experience. I miss the Peak District. I miss our great friends. I miss the huge choice of beers that are available in the pubs of Sheffield. I miss Thornbridge Kipling. I miss the friendliness of the Yorkshire and Derbyshire folk.

What could we learn from NZ…

Be more proud of your local fare. It’s fantastic. I think the cuisine of the UK is awesome, so many interesting dishes and flavours beyond the usual roast meat and fish n’ chips.

Which brewers do you look up to…

Thornbridge (of course!), Dark Star, Hawkshead, Brewdog, Lovibonds, Fyne Ales, William Bros, Fullers, Adnams, Sharp’s, Brooklyn (US), Odell (US), Dogfish Head (US), Sierra Nevada (US), Russian River (US) Sprig and Fern (NZ), Feral (AUS), De Molen (NED), Birrificio Italiano (ITA)… in fact this list could go on forever!

Pub heaven…

That’s easy! The Coach and Horses in Dronfield. Surrounding by the hum of conversation by the locals and sitting down to a leg of rabbit done in a cider and mustard sauce and matched with a bottle of Maredsous 10 from the fridge. It would have to be snowing just a bit as well.

Pub hell…

A cold, empty pub with nothing good on tap, a menu from a freezer bag and bar staff that spend all their time on their phones and glare at you icily when you order a drink.

Favourite local pub…

I’ve just moved from Auckland and am currently working out of a great craft beer pub in Hamilton called House on Hood. A good beer selection on tap and friendly staff, so it’s an easy one!

Favourite non local pub…

I’m a big fan of The Malthouse in Wellington. Awesome beer selection, knowledgeable staff and it’s nice and relaxed. The pizzas are pretty tasty as well!

What advice would you give any aspiring brewer…

Work hard, be prepared to start at the bottom, work even harder, clean everything that you can see or reach in the brewery and then work hard some more. When you’re not working hard, read everything you can on brewing, expand your horizons and taste as many foods and beverages as you can, build up your palate and your understanding of flavour and aroma combinations and never be afraid to innovate. Have fun along the way and talk to as many brewers as you can!

What’s on the horizon…

In New Zealand, usually the ocean (see what I did there!). Doing some brewery consultancy work at the moment which sees my go from NZ to Canada to NZ to Fiji, then off to judge at the World Beer Cup in San Diego and check out the awesome Craft Brewer’s Conference there. After that it’s back to NZ to install and commission a new brewpub in Hamilton that I’m going to be plying my trade as a head brewer. Exciting times ahead!!

Finally, can you tell us a joke about beer…

Did you hear about that brewer who didn’t like Brettanomyces in his beer? He said it tasted Orval! Yeah, I’m pretty crap at beer jokes.

March 30, 2012

Q&A: Johanna Basford, Inky Evangelist

This weeks Q&A takes a different angle as we focus on Illustrator, Johanna Basford. For many of us, a great beer find isn’t just the beer itself but the label design, pumpclip and brewery branding. Johanna’s work can be seen on Brewdog special editions.

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copyright: Johanna Basford

 

Blurb…

I’m an illustrator and ink evangelist who prefers pens and pencils to pixels.
I create intricate, hand drawn illustrations predominately, although not exclusively, in black and white.

Your design ethos…

Inky Monochrome Magic

First beer experience & beer epiphany…

First beer experience was helping my dad bottle his home brew when I was 3. He always had a big bucket of yeasty smelling beer fermenting in the airing cupboard.

A beer epiphany has to be meeting James Watt in 2007, a few weeks after BrewDog brewed their first batch of beer. Up until then I though beer was something old men drunk in tankards and young men drank with a wedge of lime. Let’s just say I’ve learned a lot in 5 years. In the interest of clarity, I should also mention that the aforementioned scamp is also my boyfriend.

copyright Brewdog / Johanna Basford

Best beer find of the last year…

Cantillon Framboise on tap at BrewDog Camden – I like a 1/3 pint in a Teku glass.

Does alcohol have any place in the creative process…

I don’t drink and draw, but I’m sure plenty of my best ideas have percolated during a tasting session.

Sounds to be heard in the studio…

Radio 4. I like listening to the shipping forecast. What I lack in cool, I make up for in nautical geek.

If I wasn’t a designer I’d be…

A florist or the proprietor of a boutique tea shop called Teacup.

Favourite thing about what you do…

Drawing every day.

Pub heaven…

Connect 4

Pub hell…

Hen Parties. They scare me.

Favourite local pub…

BrewDog Aberdeen.

Favourite non local pub…

Mikeller, Copenhagen.

What makes for a great beer logo…

Owls. Pretty much love anything with an Owl on it.

Design you admire…

Hitachino Nest Beers, Pukka Teas, Wallpaper* City Guides, Apple products.

What’s on the horizon…

Battle Owl for BrewDog, my first book and lots of other inky bits and bobs.

March 21, 2012

Q&A: Sara Carter, Brewer, Triple fff Brewing Company

Pub Diaries Q&A this week comes from Sara Carter of Triple fff Brewing in Hampshire.

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Which 5 words sum up your brewing ethos…

Fun, Creative, Local, Excellence, Value

First beer experience…

I grew up in a pub in Yorkshire so beer flows through the veins! My first beer memory was helping my Dad check the beer after he had cleaned the lines from when I was about 10 years old

Best beer find of the last year…

Williams Bros – Profanity Stout
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What sounds are to be heard in the brewery…

The steam boiler, pumps, Rammstein and baa baa black sheep… don’t ask.

If I wasn’t brewing I’d be…

Drinking too much, seriously!

Before I was brewing I was…

A live music sound engineer for BBC Radio 1 & 2

Favourite thing about what I do…

Developing new recipes, using ingredients that I haven’t used before, then the anticipation of the first taste.

Greatest brewing achievement to date…

From a personal point of view it would be winning Overall Champion at a London and South East homebrewing competition in 2008 with my Bombay IPA

Which brewers do you look up to…

Derek Prentice of Fuller Smith & Turner, who has such passion for the craft and is a fantastic brewer.

Pub heaven…

Warm and welcoming with a decent selection of hand pulled ales in top condition and there’s always a seat next to the open log fire. Beautiful view of our superb countryside. Oh and an old man smoking a pipe in the corner. I like a pipe.

Pub hell…

Loud music, loud locals, fruit machines, mass produced tasteless ales, no loo paper, hand dryer doesn’t work – oh and it’s Karaoke night.

What advice would you give any aspiring brewer…

Learn as much from the internet and books as you can then brew at home and enter competitions. Prepare yourself for more cleaning than brewing!

What’s on the horizon…

Triple fff ales finally in bottles and five new recipes planned for 2012

March 12, 2012

Q&A: Tiffany Waldron, Beer Girl Bites

This weeks Q&A catches up with Melbourne’s Tiff Waldron of Beer Girl Bites. Don’t get on the wrong side of her or you may witness #beergirlrage.

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Your blurb…

I’m originally from Pennsylvania, but I’ve been living in Melbourne for 4+ years. Ever since getting into wheat beers when I was out of college (and could therefore afford to drink beers that weren’t being sold for $1), I’ve been on the lookout for better beers. Trips to Colorado, where my brother went to school, really cemented this journey – with all the brewery tours and craft beer in Boulder and Denver, it’s hard not to take notice. Moving to Australia was a bit of a culture shock – 4 years ago any microbrewed beer was hard to find – even the ‘craft’ beers from the big breweries weren’t easy to get your hands on. Then I found a few places I could get local beers, and it’s been all uphilll from there.

Beer epiphany…

In college, we had a local pub with a pretty incredible beer list. The ceiling was covered in mugs with people’s names on them – and the only way to get one was to drink one of every beer on the beer list. They had this ancient PC in the back of the bar that documented each one – so you couldn’t cheat. And we only turned 21 with (at most) 4 semesters to finish the list. It was a badge of honour to get one of those mugs…bI never even came close to finishing, but it was the first time I tried beers because other people had been talking about them. There was the ‘bacon beer’ Schlenkerla Rauchbier and the ‘chocolate milkshake beer’ Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. It was the latter that got me drinking dark beers, and thus evenutally inspiring #beergirlrage (but that’s a whole other story)*.

Best beer find of the year…

It would be a toss up between Bridge Road and Nogne O collaboration India Saison, the Feral Barrel Fermented Hop Hog and the special ‘Women of Australian Beer’ Ninkasi’s Angel (which I suppose is the closest I’ve ever gotten to brewing).

Which brewers do you look up to…
Jayne Lewis from Two Birds — she left her job as head brewer at Mountain Goat to start her own brewery. A beer made by all women, that markets to women without being feminist or offensive – plus, it’s good beer.

Pub heaven…

All craft beer taps, live music, and a beer garden where it’s always sunny.

Pub hell…

Dance music, girls in glitter, and light macro beers

Favourite local pub…

The Local Taphouse in St. Kilda – the obvious answer, really.

Favourite non local pub…

Every pub in Boulder, CO? But since I remember so few of them, The Brew Works is the local brewpub where I grew up – it’s the first place I really did tasting paddles and tried seasonal beers, so it holds a special place in my heart.

What advice would you give any new brewer…

Don’t underestimate the power of engaging with your customers. These are the people who will go out and get all their friends, and their friends’ friends, to drink your beer. People are going to buy beer they know — and if they’re talking with you on Twitter, Facebook, etc – they’re going to be far more inclined to drink your beer.
Plus, who doesn’t love talking about beer?

What’s on the horizon…

Helping local breweries realize how much using social media can help raise their profile and increase sales – and hopefully finding a place where I can do this full time soon.

*#beergirlrage is a term used by the girls in Melbourne who drink good beer. It is often brought on by stereotyping, uneducated men who make comments like: ‘girls don’t like dark beer’ or ‘did you want a cider?’ or ‘are you sure you want that super hoppy double ipa?’

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