Posts Tagged ‘craft 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 ūüôā
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/
Offered the opportunity to spend a week working in Poland, I naturally jumped at the chance to escape the monotony of office life in London. My prior research into the city consisted of Googling the location of the hotel and so I arrived armed with the misconception that Krakow is a bit grim and is mostly is a city favoured by large groups of English men out to get as lathered as possible on stag do’s. I¬†vaguely hoped to¬†track down a few tasty beers.
Luckily for me, I found that Krakow is currently experiencing a revolution in¬†the Polish craft beer scene. ¬†On the first¬†night, according to a¬†barman I got speaking to, I was drinking¬†the first ever IPA brewed in Krakow. ¬†I’m not sure how accurate this is or if the fact was somehow lost in translation but either way, I believe it’s¬†a¬†clear sign that new and exciting beer styles are now becoming more visible at the bar alongside the mass produced lager/pilsner styles which have which have traditionally been commonplace.
perfect pour

perfect pour

Krakow is a beautiful city and a fantastic place to discover some new beer. The Old Town is a easily navigated, surrounded by a city wall and centred around an impressive open Main Square.  The Main Square is the focus of the Old Town and is dominated by a huge Church, meeting hall/market hall and Clock Tower which act as an ideal compass point when you are wandering round the medieval streets of the walled city.
Like many other European cities, the square also acts as a central destination for cultural events and gatherings of tourists and is unsurprisingly flanked by hundreds of bars and restaurants.  Unlike other European cities you thankfully do not get hounded by waiters bullishly ushering you into their establishment.  There are four fantastic beer bars within the walled city (Multi Qlti, The Tap House, The House of Beer and Viva La Pinta) two just on the outskirts (Brewpub C.K. Browar and TEA Time) and a further two which I visited in the Jewish District (Omerta and Beer Gallery).  The Jewish district, favoured by the young of Krakow is only a short walk from the old town and here you will find a high density of eateries, drinking spots and some quirky beer bars.
The price also helps. ¬†Beer tasting is extremely affordable pastime with benefit of the exchange rate. ¬†A half pint of local micro brewed beer costs around 4-6 Zloty (80p-¬£1.20) with pints ranging from 9-12 Zloty (¬£1.80 – ¬£2.40). ¬†In one bar it was only 1 Zloty (20p) to ‘upgrade’ from a half to a pint! No Brainer.
I asked around and did a little research at my desk to I seek out the best beer bars in the city and I was delighted by what I found.  The RateBeer website was helpful, as was talking to locals since it seems some of these bars have literally only been open a month or two.  The language barrier and the fact the bar websites are pretty much non-existent does makes beer-discovery a bit of a tricky task.
Here is my list of bars in order of favourite:
Multi Qlti
Opened in August 2014
The newest and coolest. It’s a trendy urban hangout so naturally I got the vibe immediately. ¬†Up a set of stairs onto the first floor which is unlike other bars in Krakow which which are predominantly ground or basement. The huge floor to ceiling windows are flown open so you can people watch and snigger at the people below who are clearly not as cool as you. Decked out with comfy retro chairs, an orange and grey colour scheme and 20 taps serving local beers, Lindemann’s Kriek and Brewdog and groovy chill out music, you can hang out there all evening.
The beer list at Multi Qlti

The beer list at Multi Qlti

Omertà
Very good choice. 2 bars serving local and foreign pints. Good vibe and clearly a place where people come if they enjoy good beer. Nothing stuck or hung up about this place, just rock up and discover some great beer. Served Arbor and Brewdog from UK).
Viva la pinta
Tap room for the Pinta brewery. The space is cave like, with arched curving white washed walls. Decent tap selection, spacious outdoor area, nice staff who speak good English and are happy to recommend beer and give (multiple) samples. Really laid back and friendly place. Arbor Ales from England on tap and Brewdog bottles (noticing a theme developing here?).
The House of Beer
This literally does feel like a house or your front room, with sofas, carpets and ¬†wooden coffee tables scattered about and The Beatles playing on repeat. Lovely friendly staff as well as an impressive ‘wall of beer’ proudly displaying their current bottle list.
C.K. Browar
This is a Brewpub with beautiful copper Kettles built into the back of the bar and lots of fermenters lined up neatly just visible behind the bar. Basic but tasty food. Great atmosphere once it gets going (world Volleyball champs on TV), nice range and good quality beer served in sample sizes or up to 5000ml tubes. Classic fun, great for groups and bit of novelty with the beer tubes towering over the tables.
scarily tall

scarily tall

disceptively small

disceptively small

The Tap House
Also opened in August 2014
Uber cool, minimal, Scandinavian and hipster. White washed walls with clear, wooden tables. It reminds me of a Mikkeller bar in Copenhagen. Couldn’t stay for long to taste all the beer but it has about 15 I think from memory. This probably deserves more of a mention and should potentially rank higher but I just didn’t have the opportunity to give this one more of a chance.
Beer Gallery
Bit of a strange one, dark and gothic feel on the inside, we were the only people there on a Thursday evening. Was recommended an 8% Sahti, a style I’ve not encountered before which was a collaboration between local brewery Pinta and¬†Pracawonia Piwa.
Tea Time.
By the time we arrived at Tea Time we had already been to numerous establishments, reviewing my notes on this place, they seemed very harsh! I’ll say It’s a nice little spot with communal style tables and exposed brickwork. It’s got a great atmosphere to drink in but I was a little disappointed by the beer which they brew on site.
Look out for beers from:
Brouwar Lwowek Slaski (Jankes American Pale ale is incredible)
Brouwar Amber (tasted their Bock which was superb)
Pinta (the most available local brewery, Imperium Atakuje [imperial IPA] was brilliant)
Pracawonia Piwa (their collaboration with the above brewery called Happy Crack was the first Sahti style I’ve tasted)
Mango, pine nose with gorgeous sweet mouth with pleasant hint of hops bitterness.  Sharp carbonation balances the sweetness and ends clean.

Mango, pine nose with gorgeous sweet mouth with pleasant hint of hops bitterness. Sharp carbonation balances the sweetness and ends clean.

What, I hear you ask, is the best drink pairing for Mexican food? Surely the categorical answer is beer!

 

Mexican food is all about comfort, satisfying big flavours, rich melt-in-your-mouth slow cooked meats, spices that blow your skirt up, varieties of textures from crispy tacos to sloppy guacamole and getting messy!  Meat juice running down your chin, messy.  I wouldn’t fancy a glass of pinot blush with my tacos.

 

The great thing about beer with food is the variety of flavours, colours, textures and aromas that can complement as well as stand up to seriously flavoursome food.  Dark, caramel flavours with spice or meaty dishes. Light, delicate beers to make the food sing and a bubbly texture to cleanse your palate ready for the next bite.

 

On 15/16/17th September I’m partnering with YaDa Chef for a 3 day residency where we are presenting a delicious 10 course Mexican tapas menu paired with 4 superb beers chosen by myself (naturally).¬† There are only 30 tickets for each night so I really hope you can join us. Tickets ¬£40 (including drinks) here.

 

Joseph from YaDa chef is offering some amazing discounts such as

  • Buy 4 tickets get one completely FREE
  • Buy 10 tickets and he will donate 50% of the ticket price to a charity of your choice

 

Have a look at YaDa Chef online and see some of the super yachts he has worked on, catering for the rich and famous in glamorous locations all over the world! http://www.yadachef.com/

 

 

Menu below

  • Cold Avocado Soup (gluten free)
  • Fresh Made Mexican Flour Tortilla (slightly thicker than
  • store bought)
  • Mexican Fish Tacos with Cabbage/Jicama Slaw
  • Pork Carnitas with Mole Sauce (gluten free)
  • Chicken Mole (gluten free)
  • Braised Short Ribs with Posole Pasilla (gluten free)
  • Mexican Sliders
  • Empanadas
  • Tamales
  • Concha/Mexican Wedding Cakes (a sweet bread sort of thing)

Tickets available here: http://www.edibleexperiences.com/p/164502077/YaDa-Chef

yada

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 ‚Äď by Indie Ales
  • Beer and Brewery Tour of East London ‚Äď given by Indie Ales
  • Dress Down Thursday ‚Äď 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‚Ķ 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:

‚ÄėPeople 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.‚Äô

 

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‚Äôs ‚Äėbeer ego‚Äô is already so big it can be seen from space, then I‚Äôve got bad news for you. We‚Äôre 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 ‚Äėgo large‚Äô 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