Posts Tagged ‘real ale’

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.

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.

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

Calling all foodies, chocoholics and craft beer lovers! This Saturday May 31st I will be holding one hell of a gourmet tasting… Craft beer and ethically sourced chocolate pairing in partnership with Co&Co Chocolates.

We haven’t quite hit our minimum ticket sales for this event yet, so I want to urge you to follow the link below and come join us for a very special and unique tasting event.

Connor from Co&Co is an expert chocolatier specialising in ethically sourced chocolate from around the world.  We have a mind-blowing craft beer and chocolate pairing menu to share with you for the ultimate saturday indulgence.

Perfect for guys and girls, we will share tit bits and stories behind each product and why we think beer and chocolate make such great bedfellows.

Please join us this Saturday (31st May) from 4-6pm where we have the run of the place at The Coach and Horses in Clerkenwell

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/craft-beer-and-gourmet-chocolate-tasting-tickets-11355132507

 

More info on Connor and Co&Co here

 

29 Cornwall Road

London SE1 8TJ

The White Heart, Waterloo.  Boozer worth seeking out

The White Hart, Waterloo. Boozer worth seeking out

I’m unsure which emotion to use when describing this place… Part of me is ‘ahh, this place is so cosy, warm, inviting, historic I want this to be my local!’ kind of way, or ‘ahh! How have I never discovered this place before, it is aweseome!’.

I was brought here by a friend as we were looking for a place to dive in for a drink after a wander along the South Bank.  Located conveniently close to Waterloo as well as the The South Bank, this is your perfect destination pub.  It’s in spitting distance of Waterloo, convenient for when trains are cancelled and easily walkable if you want a decent beverage and can’t face the tourist traps along the South Bank.

The pub itself is a Mitchells and Butlers’ owned establishment nestled in a cute back road amongst neat and pretty terraced cottages.  You can feel the history of the place even before you enter.  It skilfully toes the line between Oldy Worldy Dickensian character but is light and airy enough that you don’t need night goggles to see the person opposite.  I liked the traditional central bar despite it taking up 80% of the potential seating space but it adds character and breaks up the room so every table feels like it is in its own little space.

The beer is also very good.  It has a large selection of taps (up to 20) serving a variety of good European pilsners and wheat beers alongside some of the larger London breweries like Camden and Meantime.  Mainstream craft beers from UK, Belgium and USA are attractive enough to bring in a younger crowd and satisfy most beer geeks. They also serve 3 Cask Marque real ales on rotation.  There was also some decent nosh available and I am told it’s a great place to graze on a hearty roast whilst absorbing the Sunday paper.

It’s a gem of a pub, heaps of character without being full of old codgers and completely unbeknownst to 95% of the commuters passing right by its door each day.  So now you know.

Not an example of drinking responsibly

Not an example of drinking responsibly

 

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to remind you that the 15% discount for the St George’s Day, English craft beer tasting runs out on FRIDAY (thats the 11th April).

This year St George’s day falls on Wednesday 23rd April and we will be celebrating this momentous occasion at The Phoenix Pub in Clapham North / Stockwell.  This discount is exclusive to you brilliantly intelligent people who subscribe to my blog!

Ticket sales have been going strong this week, I have almost sold 50% already, I’m sure being mentioned in The Londonist’s Top 10 Foodie Popups in April on the homepage may have helped 🙂

Thumbs up Londonist.com

Thumbs up Londonist.com

 

Remember this tasting is all about fantastic English beer.  I will will be walking you through six of the best beers being brewed right now here in England and we will be enjoying it with some hearty, traditional, English food.  Match made in heaven, imho.  This will be great if you are just starting out on your journey of beer discovery or you are  looking to get your hands on some darn tasty beverages and raise a few drinks to our Patron Saint.  Educational, sure… fun, absolutely!

The direct link to the 15% discount is Here, if you were in any doubt.

Keep well and hopefully see you for a beer on the 23rd!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lighthouse, Battersea

Good for: Sunday lunch, newspapers, board games and great beer

The Lighthouse, Battersea

The Lighthouse, Battersea

Predictably, I chose to take my parents here for Sunday lunch since I saw they had fantastic beer. Surprisingly, it was the food which stole the show. I was utterly blown away by the quality of their Sunday lunch. Great thick slabs of mouthwatering beef, piles of fresh vegetables and a headline grabbing Yorkshire pudding. The pork belly was also beautiful and the soup thick, creamy and delicious. Based off the quality of the main courses it also proved difficult to avoid having a pudding. Sign of a good restaurant when you just HAVE to try it!

Ok, so back to the beer… The Lighthouse also is not tied, so it also boasts a great beer selection. Around 5 cask ales, alongside a great bottle selection including beers from USA (Odell), Australia (Little Creatures), numerous Belgium beer and some good local brews from Camden and Beavertown.

The Sunday we were there, it was full of young Battersists, kicking back absorbing the newspapers, playing board games or celebrating with a pint after a hockey match. They had a pianist tinkling some jazzy tunes in the background which all combined to create a fun, friendly but chilled Sunday vibe.

Come for the Sunday lunch, try the beer and if you can’t manage the whole meal, it’s a dog friendly pub so you can always slip it to Rex under the table.

check it out here http://www.thelighthousebattersea.com

Started by two home brewers, Chris and Alex who followed their dream and started their own small scale brewery in Earlsfield South West London. They aim to take the brewing scene by the proverbial horns by making beer that ‘is far superior in taste, flavour, mouth-feel, aroma and appearance’.

Since starting out, they have expanded their operation with additional tanks, taking on Nic the brewer and constructing a pretty awesome brewery tap. The bar itself serves beer from 3 cask hand pumps and 6 keg taps from Thursday to Saturdays.

By the Horns brewery tap. Good times

By the Horns brewery tap. Good times

I escaped the horrendous London weather last weekend to catch the start of this years Six Nations rugby at the brewery tap. Huge big screen projector, a passionate crowd and free flowing great beer, what’s not to like. I enjoy the way these guys are opening up their brewery to the public, introducing small scale brewing to a new audience. It was packed, so their strategy is clearly working.

I particularly enjoyed the Mayor of Garratt English bitter. Deep and flavoursome, fruity with liquorice notes on the nose. A few of those was enough to ease the pain of an England loss to the French!

I’m running a tour and tasting in conjunction with By The Horns on 27th February, so if you want to get a real insight from passionate small scale breweries then come on down. £15 including 4 beers.

http://www.bythehorns.co.uk/shop/events/brewery-tour-beer-tasting-thur-27th-feb-2014/

The other weekend a friend persuaded me to venture up the Northern Line for a few crafty ales at The Southampton Arms in Kentish Town.  Not really knowing what to expect, I dully made my way there, beer tokens at the ready (no cards accepted).

I was greeted by a quirky local drinking establishment with a friendly friday night buzz in the air.  The place was busy without being packed, but we were lucky to grab a pew (literally a church pew) tucked in the corner.  The folky style music and shabby wooden interiors creates a lively cosy atmosphere which successfully treads the line for a place to enjoy a few Friday night beverages whilst also being a good place to load up on good beer before heading on somewhere more lively.

The Southampton Arms.  A real English pub

The Southampton Arms. A real English pub

The beer itself is only sourced from independent breweries constantly rotated and served by knowledgeable staff, happy to let you to take a sample before diving into an unknown ale.  I had a Redemption Hopspur Bitter and the Belleville Battersea Brownstone, which were both delicious.

The unpretentious yet eclectic mix of genuine local drinkers and trendy younger crowd together with the great beers and ciders and epic meat snacks make it a worthy pub to visit if you are a beer hunter or looking for great London pubs.

If you are in the area, please do check out The Bull and Last, which is a cosy gastropub just up the road. More of a foodie pub than a drinking venue but nevertheless, the beer offering is fantastic.  Beers at the time were from Tiny Rebel, Bristol Beer Factory and Five Points on keg and bottle.

The Southampton Arms

139 Highgate Road, London N5 1LE