Thursday 25 March 2010

Be Afraid

Right, we all know that the Chancellor & the current Government seem to think that the booze industry and pub trade is their bitch, to do with and destroy at will but I warn you now, the Conservative Party is looking to tax ALL high ABV alcohol on a blanket basis, which I have outlined in a letter from my MP.

I'll be asking my local Lib Dem candidate what their policy is and will be posting all the parties proposed policies in detail on here soon.

I'm not saying it's what you should wholly base your vote on but, if you follow this blog, then beer & the pub is probably quite close to your heart and therefore I presume it has some sort of influence!

There will be a more cheery post on some sublime American brews I had last night very shortly!

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Fuller's Cask Ale Week News

Just leaving for a meeting so don't have much more time than to quickly say keep a look out for Fuller's 1845 and London Porter specially on cask for Cask Ale Week next week.

If you see 1845 also try and get yourself some cheese at the same time - it takes it from sublime to transcendent as a beer (although Golden Pride is still my fave strong Fuller's beer!).

Bad news is, it's only in Fuller's pubs - sorry about that.

Monday 22 March 2010

A Few Things of Importance to the Pub

Just a few things if you're a UK publican or a punter who has a good enough relationship with your local landlord that you can point these things out to them without getting barred!

Poker nights are finally being cracked down on in pubs, it was only a matter of time and a lot of guidance has been issued on this matter but some licensees either chose to ignore it or haven't seen it; the long and short of the news is that you can only have very low stakes of £5 per head or £100 per premises per day (so you may as well just play for matchsticks!).

The other thing that licensees and restaurateurs may have missed is that it's now illegal not to offer 125ml glasses of wine for sale in the on trade, irresponsible drinks promotions have also been banned - but it would appear the legislation has some serious holes in it and has been rushed through.

That annoys me because I'm firmly behind everything in this amendment to the laws and if they've buggered it up then it just creates further uncertainty for licensees who have more than enough to worry about already.

Thursday 18 March 2010

Wandsworth Beer Festival

When I was looking for somewhere to hold our wedding reception it quickly became clear to me that I was fighting an uphill battle with places that I was going to see.

Even the venue in Putney where the caterers used to do the Beer Writer's Dinner were about as much help as a chocolate teapot (particularly loved that they sent me emails with the wrong name at the top and then repeated the mistake repeatedly - that's personal service for you!).

So, when I finally gave up going places, sat at my computer and typed an email outlining what I wanted to achieve from the event I got one response back and it was like being greeted by the world's most enthusiastic puppy at the idea of running a beer and food wedding reception from the owner of Le Gothique Mark Justin.

The day was fantastic, the beer and food matches were glorious and the service impeccable - I loved it.

Shortly after our wedding they ran their very first beer festival - sadly we were still on honeymoon for most of it but we made the last day and it was a genuinely jolly affair, with well-kept ales and a nice variety.

So, this year, I heartily encourage to head on down to Le Gothique in the beautiful Royal Victoria Patriotic Building and bag yourself a couple of lovely beers.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Bits & Bobs

Just a few observations on what's going on in the beery world and also a question for you my knowledgeable and lovely readers!

Firstly, the new Marston's fast cask seems to have raised a stink, I'm only going to make one comment on this for the time being because I've got some so-far unanswered questions about the technical aspects of this product BUT what I will caution is everyone thinking that this is a panacea for lack of cask distribution - it's not.

Lazy, poorly trained or ill-informed licensees will still cock cask up - this will not change that.

Nor can I see any reason why it would survive any longer or be okay in a crappy cellar BUT I do hope that this will work well for outdoor events and that it will mean that I can finally get a pint of ale at a cricket match without having to walk half the length of the ground to do so/be utterly disappointed that there isn't any (the picture is my attempt at humour, these casks must have been going very fast - geddit?! Geddit?! - okay, I'm sorry...)

In other news, word on the grapevine has it that Mikkeller is opening a beer bar - is anyone else of the opinion that they could easily drink themselves into an early grave and die happy in such a place? I have been a huge fan of Mikkeller beers since Phil Lowry forced me to drink one at 10.30 in the morning once, it was of course Beer Geek Breakfast, been hooked ever since (hmm, don't they say the first step to overcoming a problem is admitting it? Problem is I can't see what the problem is with that sentence!!).

Anyway, my issues aside, Knut Albert's Blog informs me that it will be open on April 29 and  it's in Viktoriagade, Copenhagen (I think!) halfway between the Central Station and Hotel Sct Thomas with 15 beers on tap.

And finally, does anyone know of any SW/London-based cask beer-loving celebrities? If so hit me back on the comments section (that means metaphorically people - no happy slapping if you see me in the street please!).

Saturday 13 March 2010

Looking for Inspiration this Weekend?

  1. Visit Bar Pepito in King's Cross, Camino's sherry-serving little cousin is yet another triumph from my favourite bar impresario - Richard Bigg - it's tiny and cute and delightful
  2. And whilst we're on the subject of the capital and the sun is out, why not go for a row on the Serpentine, then head to Ye Grapes in Shepherd Market for a pint, and if you're peckish give one of the Lebanese restaurants in the area a whirl
  3. Staying in? Get online and order some beer from Bitter End Brewery - these Cockermouth brewers have produced a refined and technically excellent range of beers that gently lead you by the hand through a fabulous array of flavours - I started with the elegantly refined and aromatic Honey and ended up at the bolshy but bloody marvellous IPA
  4. Once you've done that why not try and make Brian Laugh? If you can hear the Blessed's great burst of guffaws and not at least turn the corners of your mouth up then there's something wrong with you!
  5. Sit down to the rugby with a selection plate of samosas, bhajis and pakoras and enjoy a few bottles of Bengal Lancer from Fuller's from your local supermarket or off licence (or better still in the pub!)

Thursday 11 March 2010

Dark Deeds Down Under

Who knew that Woolworth's had interest in a microbrewery or two in Australia - and how sad I've only found out because they are closing it.

Sorry for the brevity of the posting but I'm a bit up against again today I'm afraid (decorators coming round, again, why oh why, oh why, can't they just get it right first time???!!!!)

Still in the back pocket are reviews of Bitter End Brewing in Cockermouth (if you see them in the meantime buy them, bloody lovely stuff!) some news on what's coming up at lovebeer@borough over the next few months and some other exciting stuff which I can't tell you about just yet, but it's cool people, it's cool!

See ya! x

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Home Brewer Makes Jolly Good Beer Shocker

All right, I know I'm going to get strung up for that headline but the last three home brews I've been daft enough to accept have (in order) made me vomit, made me gag at the smell and have not even made it across my threshold before exploding! So, forgive me if I'm a little wary of people giving me homebrew.

Fortunately, the last one that was handed to me was from Sean Ayling, who is an ex-hack and keen homebrewer, whom I caught up with in the Brown Dog in Barnes, .

He bought me a Cooper's kit beer brewed with Amarillo hops and it was delightful! Luscious lychee and tangerine aroma, a jaunty effervescence and a good grapefruity finish with a hint of kaffir lime peel all vied for my attention along with a lingering tropical fruit-yoghurt creaminess.

Not only does the man brew well, he also writes entertainingly about it - well worth checking out his blog and if he ever thinks of taking this up full time I can see a much bigger shed in his future!

Monday 8 March 2010

WEBrew with Purity

I am so incredibly excited about the fact that there is a new brewery launching called Windsor & Eton Brewery! Given that it's in my old neck of the woods I hope it's going to be fabulous. I was hoping to meet with them this evening but life got in the way so meeting with them next week with luck - really looking forward to it!

However, in the meantime, I must report that a while back I had the most fabulous day brewing with Florent from Purity. We brewed UBU and I have to say I learnt a lot and was made to feel exceptionally welcome and enjoyed every minute of the brewing day and had even more fun in the pub afterwards - even if the journey home was hell!

The Purity brewery is set in some of the most stunning West Mids countryside and I adore the ethic of all involved - not only do they know the pub game they are working very hard to raise the profile of beer and how transcendent it can be with food.

They brew great beers, Gold, Mad Goose & UBU - so if you haven't tried any of them yet give them a whirl, I bet you'll find a favourite in that tight portfolio.

Friday 5 March 2010

Return of the Shire

Sorry I haven't got time to re-write the below but thought it was a cute story to put a smile on your Friday faces! I'm going to enter Fuggles as the horses name personally - that way people will have to ask what it means and will get some beer education at the same time.

I thought about offering up Saccharomyces cerevisiae but thought that would just be a bit sad! Have a great weekend all.

Shire Horses to return to the National Brewery Centre
Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, UK – 5th March 2010 – In readiness for the 1st May 2010 opening of the new National Brewery Centre, Burton upon Trent, staff are busily preparing to welcome back the much-missed Shire horses to the Horninglow Road site.

The iconic breed is well-known for its work in the brewing industry and Planning Solutions Ltd, the company behind the new National Brewery Centre, has secured two young local Shire horses that will be at the site during weekends, school and bank holidays.

The first, a two year old gelding, born in Ramsor, near Ashbourne, is called Major and currently stands at 16.3 hands high.

 The younger of the pair is yearling colt, born in Sutton on the Hill and currently stands at around 15.2 hands high. The National Brewery Centre is launching a competition to name him and the lucky winner will receive a Family Annual Ticket for the centre.

To enter the naming competition, entrants will simply need to email their suggestion of a name for the yearling colt, along with their name and contact details to: 

The competition closes at midnight on the 31st March 2010 and the winner will be contacted shortly afterwards.

The new National Brewery Centre will be open by the 1st May 2010 and further details can be found at the website 

Tuesday 2 March 2010

This Could Have Big Ramifications...

I apologise in advance to Cooking Lager who may be waking up to this potential disaster story for cheap booze which reports a licensee could be successful in challenging the fitness of some supermarkets in his area to hold licences due to their pricing policies on commodity alcohol brands.

I will be keeping close tabs on this - and yes I know it's a different licensing system but it's still bound to have a knock-on effect to the rest of the UK if publican Jeff Ellis is successful.

Next Time I Whinge About...

the overly macho marketing of beer in the UK, just remind me that at least I don't live in Brazil and didn't have to put up with Paris Hilton having some faux foreplay with a can of cold beer before the ad got banned.

As my mother always says, you can have all the money in the world but you can't buy class...