Amid all the dodgy news that has hit the American craft beer scene over the past month or so – Founders Brewing Co, the largest in Michigan, having to settle a racial discrimination suit, AB-Inbev stealing the slogan a small brewer has been using for nearly ten years, Lagunitas dumping all over community groups that… Read More Barrel-aged stout and my own egregious selling-out
My local little Tesco supermarket – and probably your local Tesco as well – is currently selling for 89p a 50cl bottle of 3.8 per cent abv amber ale made with Fuggles and Goldings hops at a 140-year-old Midlands brewery. What is worse, or better, depending on which direction you wish to drive in from,… Read More Is it morally wrong to drink an 89p bottle of good beer?
Two years ago I helped plant what was Surrey’s first new hop garden for more than half a century, and this week I went down and helped harvest hops from that same hop garden. Of course, “helped plant” is a wild and self-aggrandising exaggeration: I dug out and popped hop rootstock into fewer than a… Read More Hopping down in Surrey
Wandering around the Festival of Good Beer outside the football stadium in Wrocław, southern Poland last weekend with the Welsh beer blogger Simon Martin, it was quickly clear I was in the presence of a genuine superstar. A stream of young Poles – mostly male, but including the occasional female – were rushing up to… Read More Why Welsh beer blogger Simon Martin is a superstar in Poland
I have a new “magic beer moment” to savour: drinking 13-year-old Carlsberg Special Brew in the cellars of the Jacobsen brewery in Copenhagen. Actually, that was just one of a number of great moments during my trip to Denmark earlier this month to talk about “beer and terroir from an international perspective” to a bunch… Read More Place-based beers and 13-year-old Special Brew
Is Fuller’s Imperial Stout the most misunderstood beer of the past 12 months? It didn’t stir a lot of enthusiasm when it appeared last autumn: much muttering about the beer being too sweet, very little character, “a bit anonymous”, not drinking to its 10.7 per cent abv, not worth its £7-plus a bottle, not worth… Read More Fuller’s Imperial Stout – the most misunderstood beer of the past 12 months?
Some British beer bloggers get invited to be judges at the Great American Beer Festival. Well, poot to them: I’ve just had a much more exclusive gig. Only 12 people are invited to judge in the Hong Kong International Beer Awards, and this year I was one of them. If you’re thinking: “Yeah, man, tough… Read More Thirty-nine lagers in 40 minutes
The occasional free beer is, of course, one of the benefits of writing a blog about hopped alcoholic refreshment: but it doesn’t usually come to me via random interactions in the road. Strictly, I wasn’t actually on the public highway. I was standing in what used to be Black Eagle Street, a turning off Brick… Read More Unexpected free beer and other adventures
Legendary: it’s an overused word. But some beers literally are legendary, in the sense that far more people will have heard of them than will ever see them or taste them. One indisputably legendary beer is Allsopp’s Arctic Ale, the powerful, rich Burton Ale, original gravity 1130, north of 11 per cent alcohol, brewed in… Read More An 1875 Arctic Ale tasting
Very few beer brands survive today that have modern examples to put into a worthwhile four-decade vertical tasting. That’s simply because forty years ago there were hardly any beers being brewed that had the longevity to be still drinkable when even the most junior brewer involved in their production is now at or approaching retirement… Read More Courage IRS: a 40-year vertical tasting