Oppskåka: the true meaning of beer

There were eight or ten of us sitting on benches and chairs around the walls of the smokehouse on Jon Gjerde’s farm at Ringheim, mostly middle-aged Norwegians, drinking cool, citrussy, lightly conditioned farmhouse beer, telling jokes and stories, talking about brewing and the creating of ale, and the local district’s long line of skiing champions,… Read More Oppskåka: the true meaning of beer

Mani hands make light beer

I’ve been going on holiday with my family to the Mani, in the middle “finger” of the Peloponnese, pretty regularly since 2006: it’s a beautiful, almost entirely unspoilt place, the beaches are broad and sandy, the sun almost continuous, the people are friendly, the food is excellent, locally sourced and cheap. The beer, until now,… Read More Mani hands make light beer

If you want craft beer in Munich, it’s pure Helles

Should you wish to know the differences between the craft beer scenes in London and Munich, Burchard Stock is a good man to ask. For two years he was a brewer with the pub brewery chain Brewhouse & Kitchen in Britain’s capital, ending up in charge of the Islington branch, close by the Angel: indeed,… Read More If you want craft beer in Munich, it’s pure Helles

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

The world’s quickest brewery tour

There ARE smaller breweries that Poppyland, but not very many: the room that the 2½-barrel brewkit sits in measures about 160 square feet. Your living room is probably larger. So the “brewery tour” consists of standing in a corner and pivoting on one heel through 180 degrees. That’s it: you have now done the Poppyland… Read More The world’s quickest brewery tour

How I helped brew a black gose in the backstreets of Shenzhen

Beer can take you to some strange and unexpected places. On Sunday I was in the sweaty backstreets of Baishizou, a faintly dodgy suburb in Shenzhen, southern China, visiting a cramped and not necessarily fully legal microbrewery on the ground floor of a somewhat scrubby apartment building. My mission: to help the brewery’s owner, a… Read More How I helped brew a black gose in the backstreets of Shenzhen

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