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

The ‘I was a teenage under-aged drinker’ 50th anniversary pub crawl

How many people in Britain ever waited until their 18th birthday before they ordered their first alcoholic drink in a pub? Not you, I bet, and not me, certainly. In fact this year marks half a century since I started regularly drinking in pubs, and as I’m still a little shy of 68, you may… Read More The ‘I was a teenage under-aged drinker’ 50th anniversary pub crawl

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

The Great Manchester Beer Flood of 1831

Anything they do in That London, Manchester can do as well, including the catastrophic collapse of a giant vat full of maturing porter. Admittedly the Great London Beer Flood of 1814 was rather bigger than the event in Lancashire 17 years later, with the vat that burst at Meux’s brewery, off Tottenham Court Road, containing… Read More The Great Manchester Beer Flood of 1831

The land where working-class men drink milk stout from quart bottles, and the curious case of Mackeson porter

It’s a beer fact guaranteed to make British drinkers boggle in disbelief: one of the biggest selling beer styles among black working-class South African men is milk stout While milk stout has seen a tiny renaissance in the UK, with craft beer brewers producing examples of the style, it is still mostly thought of, if… Read More The land where working-class men drink milk stout from quart bottles, and the curious case of Mackeson porter

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

Carlsberg’s new lager: the verdict is in and it’s ‘This is NOT the future of beer’

A few years back, when I was still involved in hospitality trade journalism, I would get occasional invites from Carlsberg to  PR gigs. One was to Wembley to see England play San Marino. The match itself was the predictable turkey-stuffing (5-0) but it was the entertainment beforehand we were particularly supposed to appreciate: Northampton’s Danes… Read More Carlsberg’s new lager: the verdict is in and it’s ‘This is NOT the future of beer’

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

When did ‘bitter’ become the beer style that dare not speak its name?

Exactly when it started happening I’m not sure, but bitter, once the glory of the British beer scene, is disappearing. In the place of all those marvellously hoppy, complex bitters and best bitters we once sank by the pottle and quart, we now have brews sold under the same brand names, made by the same… Read More When did ‘bitter’ become the beer style that dare not speak its name?