An evening with Eric Toft, Reinheitsgebot iconoclast

Eric Toft – middle-aged, handsome, seldom seen out of lederhosen despite being born in the United States, passionate about beer in all its varieties – is an American with a mission: to drag German brewing kicking and screaming out of the 16th century. After a career that would be the envy of – well, me,… Read More An evening with Eric Toft, Reinheitsgebot iconoclast

Cooking with Stella – no, no, come back …

Where I come from, if you suggested cooking with Stella Artois, you’d be comprehensively jeered, by both the many fans of what is probably the fourth or fifth best-selling beer in Britain, for being a pretentious twat, and by Stella’s many haters, for promoting a mega-lager seen as, at best, bland and pointless. But where… Read More Cooking with Stella – no, no, come back …

Matching Chinese food and beer

One of the opportunities I was looking forward to in Hong Kong was the chance to match beer with Chinese food, a surprisingly under-explored area. I believe strongly that most beers go with most foods: but that doesn’t mean some pairings cannot be particularly felicitous, and that’s especially true with Chinese cuisine. China is easily… Read More Matching Chinese food and beer

Roast beef, plum pudding and ale

I blame Charles Dickens. If he hadn’t ended A Christmas Carol with the by-then thoroughly reformed Scrooge ordering the prize turkey to be delivered to the Cratchits’ home in Camden, perhaps we wouldn’t now be persuaded in Britain that a tasteless, monstrous bird should be the centre of the December 25 dinner, and we would… Read More Roast beef, plum pudding and ale

Cooking with beer helps prevent cancer

Cooking with beer helps prevent cancer – well, it’s in New Scientist magazine, so it must be true. Normally I’m deeply sceptical of “eating/drinking X gives you/prevents Y” stories but this one was so wonderful I had to repeat it. A lady called Isabel Ferreira, an assistant professor at the Department of Bromatology* at the… Read More Cooking with beer helps prevent cancer

What ale will you be leaving out for Santa?

We don’t leave sherry out by the fireplace for Santa on December 24 in our house: not that I dislike an Oloroso or Amontillado myself under the right circumstances, but this is a beer-oriented home, and anyway I reckon the old boy would like something refreshingly hoppy after several tens of million glasses of sweet-and-sticky… Read More What ale will you be leaving out for Santa?

A religious experience in a restaurant

To be “intoxicated” means, literally, to have been shot with a poisoned arrow, thanks to a roundabout philological journey involving the old Greek word for bow, toxon. The same root led to the made-up word “toxophilite” for people who practice archery for sport. Early in the 19th century the Royal Toxophilite Society used butts (that… Read More A religious experience in a restaurant