Posts Tagged ‘beer’

Hi pals

I’m really excited about this weeks tasting at Jenius Social. I’ve been brushing up my skills in Belgium this week, tasting some of the world’s greatest brews. I’m suitably energised and inspired to share some stories and feed you some great beer. It’s going to be awesome.

Please join me and bring any of your friends who you think need some inspiration about what beer is really all about!

Hit the link below to take you to Jenius Social website to purchase tickets 🙂
http://www.jeniussocial.co.uk/shop/jenius-social/m17-beer-tasting-101-an-introduction-to-craft-beer

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Sorry its been so long… haven’t you missed me? (ok don’t answer that).

September has been a quiet month on the tasting events side, since I’ve been concentrating on other things, but more of that later.

Never fear though, roll on October 16th when I am going back to basics for “Beer Tasting 101 – Introduction to Craft Beer”.  This will be accompanied by a tapas tasting menu prepared by the chefs at Jenius Social:

Tortilla
Ham & salami
Bruschetta with salsa
Guacamole
Olives
Manchego cheese
If you’ve not been to Jenius Social before check it out here.  It is a beautiful spot, perfectly geared up towards foodies! I’d love you to join, bring WAG’s, friends, work colleagues etc and join the fun! Tickets available from their website, grab them while they last! http://www.jeniussocial.co.uk/shop/jenius-social/m17-beer-tasting-101-an-introduction-to-craft-beer
I’ll round up with a quick few things:
Saturday is the official launch party for The London Beer Factory… get down to check out London’s newest and  coolest brewery!
If you want to know what i’ve been working on here is a sneak peak: http://bottleandbean.com/bb-holding/

August went down in a jiffy.  Like a swift, gloriously satisfying cold beer after an uncomfortably sweaty walk on a summer day.

 

Like many of my fellow beer bloggers and enthusiasts, it was a hectic month with tastings, trips, tours and festivals to fit in and similarly, we all seemed determined to make the most of all the incredible opportunities to taste some great beer and mingle with like-minded individuals… or just drink as much beer as possible!

 

What I managed to squeeze into just over 2 hectic weeks:

  • Pete Brown Music and Beer Pairing
  • James Watt (Founder of Brewdog) beer tasting
  • Great British Beer Festival
  • London Beer Factory Tour and Tasting – by Indie Ales
  • Beer and Brewery Tour of East London – given by Indie Ales
  • Dress Down Thursday – Bar Takeover of Paper Dress Vintage by Indie Ales

 

I’m still not convinced of the decision to launch London Beer City in the same week as the Great British Beer Festival AND the London Craft Beer Festival but I can say it was a great occasion and a privilege to be involved.  The variety of events on offer all around London was a fantastic tribute to our beer scene which now must be considered one of the most exciting and influential in Europe.  Events were staged for all levels of interests and experience was from educational tasting sessions, to historical walking tours to the more traditional real ale events and the more hip and progressive.

 

I do love the GBBF.  I’m a big fan of real ale and love trying all the beers from smaller breweries around the country.  I spoke to a few people who were disappointed by the quality of some of the beer this year but this wasn’t obvious to me.  What really annoyed me was even by 7pm on the first day, many of the award winning or recognisable beers had gone, including 90% of all the cask ale over from the US.  I’m not sure if they were holding some back for visitors later in the week?

 

The busy schedule meant I had to bypass something this August, which was unfortunately the London Craft Beer Festival.  The feedback seems to have been hugely positive with the organisers stepping up the food offer, demonstrating beer’s awesome capacity to be paired with gourmet food and by all accounts the brewers really upped their game as well with fruit infused and barrel aged beers. These demonstrate the real leaps and bounds the beer scene is undertaking with experimentation and collaboration… pushing the boundaries of what we perceive as ‘beer’.  Gutted to miss these!

 

I read an interesting article from a food blog (http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/community/london-craft-beer-fest-review) highlighting the rightful appreciation of beer as an alternative to wine which I completely agree with:

‘People are almost looking and talking about beer like they do wine, looking at colour, smell, texture, everything. And the fact is, they want to know the story behind the beer. With the ever-increasing access to information, people want to know what goes into their food and drink, they are aware of what goes into the average can of lager and they are not prepared to put that in their bodies anymore.’

 

All these events can only help heighten the appreciation of your average beer drinker which means growing the market to encourage the great breweries we have in this country to brew even more outstanding beer.  All this fun and games is also bringing great beer to more people.  That why I initially started Indie Ales; to inspire and help people discover fantastic beer, so it’s great to see.  To steal a line from Chris Hall ‘ If you think London’s ‘beer ego’ is already so big it can be seen from space, then I’ve got bad news for you. We’re only just getting started’.

 

Charlie

 

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Next week London will be awash with beer! In an intriguing twist of fate it appears that London’s three biggest beer events have all (deliberately or not) contrived to supply us with huge quantities of great beer within a 10 day period.

I’m not totally sure how wise this will turn out to be in practice, but I guess the theory was solid. Stack the events close enough to one another to ensure that nobody will be able to leave London over the course of the period, such is the draw of fantastic beer. Or because of their hangovers. It has inevitably left me a little disappointed as I’d have liked to attend more events but there is only so much my wallet and my liver can take!

This weekend sees the start of the strangely named London Beer City, errr week. There are some great events occurring which should not be missed. I’m especially looking forward to a coffee and beer tasting on Saturday 9th August and the intriguing Beer and Music Matching evening run by legend beer writer Rick Brown on Sunday. On Monday there is the opportunity to hear James Watt give his views on the craft beer market. As the founder of Brewdog, he should have some pretty interesting things to say, possibly not all polite and well mannered.

I was also asked to help run an event at London Beer Factory on Friday evening 15th August. For £25 you get a welcome drink, tour of the brewery by the founders, a 6 beer tasting (by me), a BBQ on their outdoor terrace and a beer to enjoy it with. Sounds like a no brainer to me!

Tuesday sees the start of the worlds largest real ale festival at Olympia. The Great British Beer Festival was started in 1977 and there is no better time to attend. For only £10 entry you can taste some of the best looked after ale on the planet (you still have to pay for your drinks).

We are not stopping there either, on Thursday London Craft Beer Festival returns to the Oval Space in East London. I seriously urge you to check this out. I couldn’t make the event last year, but by all accounts they are pretty generous on the tokens and you can literally ‘try before you buy’ on all beers available. They have some pretty nifty breweries there too. The event lasts until Sunday and gives you the opportunity to really explore the best of what the London brewing scene has to offer.

I urge you too try to attend a few of the events if you can, even if you are not really a beer festival type of person. You’ll be blown away by the beer, but not only that, it is the obvious passion of the people in the industry, the collaboration amongst all the breweries with one another and the willingness and enthusiasm of everyone to help you discover new beer which makes for such a unique environment to be a part of. Please remember to follow these golden rules

It is fantastic for the industry and the consumer that all these events are happening together. It will be exhausting but I’m looking forward to learning a thing or two and hopefully making some new friends along the way.

Gipsy Hill is rapidly becoming the latest craft beer hangout on the London scene. The newest kid on the block, London Beer Factory joins nearby establishments such as Clarkshaws (Peckham Rye), The Florence Brewpub and the Late Knights tap room opposite Gipsy Hill station. Even as I drafted this blog post a new brewery has opened right next door in the form of Gipsy Hill Brewery. The London Beer Factory was born in Spring this year and has been slowly applying the finishing touches to their core London themed beers, Chelsea Blonde and London Session and also to their Industrial England inspired brewery. Make no mistake, despite the industrial sounding name and spacious ex-food production unit, they are very much craft at heart.

A reclaimed bar made from scaffolding poles stands out against the shiny polished brewing kit, the walls are decorated with murals and spray painted logos, the pilot kit bubbles away containing their latest brew (a double IPA on last visit) and enough boys toys around to make this the ultimate adult playground (mini basketball hoop, cross-bow darts board, outside terrace with BBQ, pull down projector screen and fat leather sofa. Sound fun…Did I mention they have beer?). The brewery has a warm, homely feel, like a pimped out barn but with a few thousand litres of great beer chilling in the corner.

To celebrate London Beer Week I’m running a brewery tour, beer tasting and BBQ right in the belly of the brewery at The London Beer Factory. For £25 you get a tour by the owners Sim and Ed (who are brothers) a 6 beer tasting including a selection of LBF’s new range and other London breweries followed by a BBQ on the terrace. We’ll be hanging out until 10pm so you get the opportunity to talk beer and brewing, or just drink the stuff from the bar. Sounds like my perfect Friday night!

You can purchase your Earlybird ticket with 15% off before this Friday here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/brewery-tour-beer-tasting-and-bbq-the-london-beer-factory-tickets-12302365707?aff=es2&rank=1

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If you like pizza and love beer (and who doesn’t) then I strongly suggest you snap up your tickets for the Supperclub I am running on Thursday.

Argentinian Pizza and Beer Supperclub

Argentinian Pizza and Beer Supperclub

This takes your standard Pizza Express margarita to a totally new level… all individually hand made, packed with flavour and served with an Argentinean flair! Think of Oli as the Messi of the culinary world.  And he can sing!

3 courses and 3 beers for £30 with the option to ‘go large’ for an additional course and beer for £40.

You will be treated to a tutored beer tasting with each course where we can really get our lips round the tastiest beer and pizza combinations followed by a  sing-song with Oli as he whips out his guitar to bring down the curtain.

For tickets and more info check out the event here.

Howdie guys.

If you missed the Independence Day tasting on 4th July or the incredible Rooftop Brewing event on 5th July then never fear as I have a feast of events coming up!

Argentinian Pizza and craft beer Supper Club
Speaking of feasts, I am shaking with excitement and incredibly lucky to be running an Argentinian Pizza and Craft Beer pairing on Thursday 24th July with Olly the singing pizza chef extraordinaire.

Say Ole to Oli from the critically acclaimed Argentinian Pizza Supper Club! This event will introduce you to some of London’s Best Craft Beers & Argentinian Empanadas, Original Pizza Recipes hand made right here in London.

The format for the evening will be as follows:
-Three (3) different Craft Beers to taste (330ml bottle)
-Three (3) different Courses
Optional Ticket Upgrade: Four (4) Craft Beers & Three (3) different Courses Plus Dessert.

http://www.edibleexperiences.com/p/17752057/Indie-Ales/320001/Argentinian-pizza-supper-club-and-craft-beer-tasting

August – London will be the beer capital of the world

In August this year, there are some mind-blowingly cool events happening in the name of celebrating beer. The countdown begins.

London Beer City August 9-16th August
Some great events this week including talks and tastings. I’m running a special event at London’s newest brewery, London Beer Factory where we will have a tour and tasting of their beer right in the belly of their beautiful brewery. Booking details to follow.
http://www.londonbeercity.com/schedule/

Great British Beer Festival 12-16th August
Established in 1977 and still going strong
http://gbbf.org.uk

Indie Ales presents “Dress Down Thursday” Thursday 21st August.
Let loose at Paper Dress Vintage in Shoreditch with craft beer and craft cocktails. So on trend. Booking details to follow.

Hi beer fans.

Here’s 9 crazy facts about beer which I put together for Twentysomethinglondon ahead of our upcoming Rooftop Brewing beer party!

1. In 1814, 8 people in London died by drowning in beer when one of the huge vats of ale gave way sending 1.4 million litres into the streets.

2. The oldest recipe for beer is 4000 years old, made by Sumerians.

3. Hops are a very close cousin of the marijuana plant.

4. Beer is higher in protein and vitamin B than vino and also contains iron, calcium, phosphates and fibre. Vitamin B particularly folic acid helps prevents heart attacks.

5. In the Middle Ages beer was consumed more than water since it was healthier and safer to drink than water (boiled water is used in the brewing process).

6. The geometry of a beer glass affects how it looks, tastes and feels

  • A narrower top than the middle traps the aroma inside the glass
  • An outward taper helps maintain the size of the foamy head
  • A wide rim or flared glass delivers the beer into your whole mouth not just to the    tongue which changes the way flavours are perceived

7. Cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty beer glass.

8. Oatmeal stouts were the advised drink of lactating mothers due to the nutritious benefits of drinking it.

9. The Czech Republic drinks the most beer per person in the world.

– See more at: http://twentysomethinglondon.com/9-weird-facts-about-beer-to-whip-out-at-the-pub/#sthash.sCNCBYgu.dpuf

British summertime… Aren’t they great? The first glimmer of sunlight and flip flops are dusted off, retro sunglasses emerge and on the first sunny day of the year everyone forgoes the suncream and is walking around like a microwaved albino bunny, sunburnt to a crisp. Once we regain the feeling to our shoulder and scalps there is serious beer drinking to be done in beer gardens, parks and balconies. Here’s what I’ve got coming up:

4th July Independence Day Tasting

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In an ironic role reversal, we are seeing a US invasion of our shores…. epic US beer that is! On 4th July I’m holding a cool and refreshing American themed tasting where we will be giving a big high five and a hearty back slap to our American cousins on the day of their independence.

‘Craft’ beer is already a popular phenomenon in the USA with brewers in all 52 States ripping up the classic old-world brewing play book. These guys have risen the bar in terms of adventure, creativity and down right in-your-face flavours and we love them for it.

Subtlety is not always their strong point, but is big always best? Does ‘if it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it’ still apply? We will answer these questions and more by working our way through six of the best beers to come out of The Land of the Free. Price includes mini sliders and buffalo wings paired with each yankee beer.

Get your ticket here: http://www.jeniussocial.co.uk/shop/jenius-social/m08-independence-day-craft-beer-tasting?utm_content=bufferc8b2c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Rooftop Brewing – 5th July

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What better place to quaff some excellent craft beer than on a rooftop overlooking London? I couldn’t think of one and so that’s why I approached the guys at Netil360 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2kCfwXXx68) to host Rooftop Brewing on 5th July. The guys at TwentySomethingLondon and I have put together this awesome celebration of London Craft Beer, street food and beer infused cocktails. Choose a boozy brunch or alfresco disco to suit your style… All to the soundtrack of live DJ’s under the London sun. This is something you definitely do not want to miss!

Meet these breweries:
Hop Stuff
London Fields Brewery
Signature Brewing
Beer Boutique Cider Bar
London Beer Factory

Enjoy beer cocktails from:
Bar Chick

Munch great street food from:
Yolk
Hot Skillet
Turner & Roast

Chill out to DJ’s:
Danglo
Alfresco Disco

http://twentysomethinglondon.com/tsl-presents-rooftop-brewing-netil-360/?utm_content=buffer8955f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Charlie

Craft Beer in Cans

I’m a steadfast believer in canned beer. Don’t be shocked, I’m not about to replace my reassuringly expensive craft brewed beer with cheaper-than-water-piss-in-a-can. Oh no.

What you are about to experience over the coming months, first here in London, then latterly all over the UK is the next big trend in craft beer. Craft beer in cans.

What’s with the trend?

When it comes to beer, we are still taking the lead from the 2800 or so craft breweries in the United States. Back in ’02 Dale’s Pale Ale from Oskar Blues Brewery turned the beer industry upside down when it became the first U.S. microbrewery to bring craft beer to market in aluminium cans only. Back then people still frowned upon cans as a cheap way to deliver lager-style cheap beer and still associated cans with college kids, hipsters, and… other cheap beer. Today, over 300 US breweries sell beer in cans and canned beer is now the biggest growth area in the US beer market.

Why cans?

The arguments in favour of canned beer are overwhelming. Here are a few:

  • Cans are lighter and cheaper for the brewery and distributor to ship. Since breweries pay distributors by the palate, you can fit 30% more cans per palate than bottles. This means we get great beer, cheaper.
  • They are recyclable. This is good for the planet.
  • Cans don’t break.
  • Cans are easier and more convenient to bring along on outdoor activities such as BBQ’s, festivals, picnics in the park, beach trip or any type of outdoor pursuit where good beer is required!
  • Cans get cold quicker and take up less space in your fridge! This means you can have lovely cold beer quicker and put more beer in your fridge!

The overwhelming argument in favour of cans though is taste. Beer cans have a micro thin water-based polymer lining that eliminates any metallic contamination or flavours. Nobody wants a mouthful of nails. The seal is better than bottle caps at preventing air from getting in. Oxygen is a big enemy of beer, causing oxygenisation which can happen over time if there is not a perfect seal on your craft beer. Cans are 100% opaque which means no nasty sunlight can attack your beer.  Sunlight can cause it to become ‘lightstruck’ or have a ‘skunked’ flavour. This makes it taste like Heineken, definitely a big no no.

Cans are cool

Canned beer is cool

The only thing cooler than a craft beer is a craft beer that looks fantastic. Cans certainly achieve this with their sometimes outrageous designs, bright colours and attractive packaging.

Cans are also a more relaxed alternative to bottles which fit well with the relaxed dining, street food and popups vibe. You can find wicked canned beer at Byron burgers for instance. As Chris Hall also mentions in his excellent blog post on cans (https://thebeerdiary.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/yes-we-can/) a movement of craft beer towards cans may even provide an opportunity for bottled beer to stand out as a more rare or specialist product, maintaining the important tradition of bottle fermentation which emphasises fuller flavours, natural carbonation and successful aging of beers.

Nobody should drink quality beer directly from the can or bottle. Since 70% of the flavour is said to come from the aroma, great beer should always be consumed from a vessel where you can appreciate the beautiful aroma by getting your nose stuck in there. This is clearly impossible from a can or bottle. Never fear… new technology is the States is enabling ‘topless’ canned drinking where the whole top of the can is removable! I cant wait to see this over here.

innovative beer can

Early adopters

You have probably seen canned beer by Camden Brewery and Brew Dog in bars or at the supermarket already. They have realised the benefits and got the ball rolling. Fourpure in Bermondsey recently started selling cans from their own canning line and this week Beavertown in Hackney canned their first beers.

Even premium purveyors of fine beer such as Pilsner Urquell are moving towards the canning line. Budwiser Budwar commissioned a canning line for its original lager and dark lager this year.

Apart from the obvious benefits I mentioned above, the cost of canning beer has also reduced over the years. The canning companies have reduced their minimum order size and the makers of the canning plants have developed smaller, cheaper lines. This all means that it is more accessible for niche craft breweries to get their fantastic beer into cans.

So there is my looking glass into the future… I believe cans are coming and for me this is good news as they look great and keep the beer at in prime condition for our drinking satisfaction. Weatherspoon’s have recently started selling cans across their 900 pub estate but I’m yet to venture into one to confirm this. On the flipside, I have also read that the Sixpoint beer (from the US) they are serving has not exactly been welcomed by the Weatherspoon’s faithful (you can read the debate here: http://tandlemanbeerblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/the-can-canned.html) so perhaps the speed of the can-invasion I am envisaging is a little way off yet. Time will tell.

What do you think about canned beer? Are there any other craft breweries doing cans that I have not mentioned?