The legendary Mercer’s Meat Stout returns after 75 years

There is not a lot will make me drop everything and rush 200 miles north to Blackburn, but a message saying that the recipe for the legendary Mercer’s Meat Stout had been discovered in an attic and the beer was being brewed again got me on the first available train out of Euston. Mercer’s Meat… Read More The legendary Mercer’s Meat Stout returns after 75 years

Malt geezers: in which we look at everything from an Anglo-Saxon maltings to the most modern bit of malting kit in the country

That’s another one crossed off the bucket list … standing in a “live” floor maltings, watching the chemical magic that is barley enzymes turning starch into sugar in many millions of little seeds, all spread in a carpet four inches deep and probably 60 yards long and 15 yards wide. I grew up in Hertfordshire,… Read More Malt geezers: in which we look at everything from an Anglo-Saxon maltings to the most modern bit of malting kit in the country

AB Inbev’s new 1840 London porter and the hornbeam question

I am green – viridian. Ron Pattinson has been dropping hints every time I see him about his secret big new project with Goose Island in Chicago, and it’s now been revealed: a reproduction of a London porter from 1840, including authentic heritage barley, properly “blown” brown malt, and blending a long-vatted beer with a… Read More AB Inbev’s new 1840 London porter and the hornbeam question

Fjord fiesta: the Norwegian farmhouse ales festival 2017

In Hornindal, in beautiful remotest Western Norway, if you tried to explain to the locals the fuss being made about cloudy New England IPAs, they would laugh, or look bemused. There are around a hundred or so people in the area who make beer, in a tradition going back hundreds of years. All of it… Read More Fjord fiesta: the Norwegian farmhouse ales festival 2017

Red beer, green lager, immature barley beer: the innovations I drank on a ‘jolly’ to Carlsberg

Beer made from immature “green” barley – who knew such a thing was possible? Or “red lager” made from actual red-coloured barley? And what does a beer taste like made with barley so controversial it caused a protest led by a marching band through the streets of Munich back in June? If you’re one of… Read More Red beer, green lager, immature barley beer: the innovations I drank on a ‘jolly’ to Carlsberg

Going wild (yeast) in Amsterdam

If there is a more international, more fascinating, more illuminating, more must-not-be-missed beer celebration on the planet right now than Carnivale Brettanomyces in Amsterdam, let me know immediately, because it must be marvellous. Carnivale Brettanomyces, now on its sixth year, calls itself a beer festival, but it’s more a three-day massively parallel series of dozens… Read More Going wild (yeast) in Amsterdam

A short history of spruce beer part two: the North American connection

Early European explorers in North America had to be shown the healthy properties of the spruce tree by the existing inhabitants. When the Breton explorer Jacques Cartier overwintered in Quebec in 1535-36 on his second visit to the land he had named Canada, almost all his men fell ill with scurvy through lack of fresh… Read More A short history of spruce beer part two: the North American connection

A short history of spruce beer part one: the Danzig connection

Spruce beer is made from the tips of spruce trees. Except that the connection is not as simple as it appears: it is pretty much a coincidence that spruce beer and spruce trees have the same name. There are actually two traditions of spruce beer in Britain: the older, the Danzig or Black Beer tradition,… Read More A short history of spruce beer part one: the Danzig connection

Place-based beer, a world-wide local movement

I gave a presentation in Denmark to a conference called to discuss “Ny Nordisk Øl” – “New Nordic Beer” – on “Beer and terroir from an international perspective” on Friday November 7. This, slightly tweaked, expanded in a couple of places and cut in a couple more, is that presentation. The brewers of Denmark, Sweden… Read More Place-based beer, a world-wide local movement