Archive for the ‘UK’ Category

Time I summed up my London impressions from last month, right?

In Kentish Town, easily accessible by Tube, though you have to walk for ten minutes if you don’t want to figure out the bus routes, lies a small but charming pub, the Southampton Arms.

Their aim is to sell only beer and ciders from small UK breweries, so you’ll be sure to find something interesting here. A dozen cask ales, almost as many ciders. Keg beers from Camden, too, a pils and a wheat.

It is a small one room pub, with additional seating out back. Laugher and friendly conversation. I did not make a real estimate of how many customers it can seat, but with 30 it would be rather full.

Cash only, no phone, no nonsense. The menu is a range of pork pies and other snacks, though I find the notion of a vegetarian Scotch eggs a bit weird.

On offer when I visited: Thai-Bo, a lemongrass beer from Otley. Hardknott Atomic Narcissus ( a fairly conventional bitter, despite the name), Titanic Last Porter Call and Buxton Black Rock.  There is even a “Suggest an ale” scheme, where you may nominate your favourites.

My favourite of the day was the Dark Star Saison. Fantastic flavour, apricots and oranges, some funky yeast character, dusty hops.

Despite the stiff competetion nowadays, this is firmly in the Top Ten of London pubs. Don’t miss it!

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The Publican reports on Brains of Cardiff, who have stopped brewing their  45 lager because of dwindling sales. 

Arfur Daley of CAMRA Wales has an explanation:“It is not really a surprise – it wasn’t a very good beer.”

What if other breweries did the same and focused on their good beers instead?  Some of them do – Fuller’s don’t bother brewing their own lager for example.

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This is everywhere now, but I want to join in the chorus. For any beer lover, it is worth a few minutes of your time!

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Circumstances beyond my control has prevented me from visiting London for a year or so, meaning I have missed out on some of the new breweries popping up all over. Pete Brown has an enthusiastic overview in the Publican.

Maybe towards the end of the year.

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A guest post from my friend the Ulster Scot again:

There are quite a few breweries in Shropshire.  Being in Ludlow for the weekend it seemed right to try the very local from The Ludlow Brewing Company.  
On offer at The Church pub close to the market was Gold, one of four beers from the Brewery. The Ludlow Brewery says it keeps its ingredients simple, and this beer certainly provided a clean and hoppy ale, not at all sharp.  At 4.2% ABV it is a sensible lunchtime drink that doesn’t compete with food for attention. It has a pale golden colour and a delayed and pleasant not sharply bitter aftertaste.
Made with: Maris Otter pale malt, Fuggles & Goldings hops. The other beers from the Brewery are: The Boiling Well, Ludlow Best and the most recent Black Knight.  Some happy lunchtimes ahead on the occasional visits to this charming and very English town. 

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Sometimes you read press releases, reprinted by trade publications, that show you

a) why the macro brewers still haven’t got a clue about what to do about declining sales


b) that the professional paid for media often are there for unintended amusement rather than for critical journalism.

It is a short piece, so I’m happy to reprint it in full:

Molson Coors is set to launch a new range of beers in the middle of 2011 aimed at the female market.

 Molson Coors is hoping to bring more female drinkers into the beer category
In a briefing today Molson Coors chief executive Mark Hunter said the new range would be available in both the on and off trade from mid 2011. The UK business is “trailblazing” the range for the company as a whole.

He will be unveiling details of the range early in 2011 and admitted “we are talking to a number of major on-trade players”.

The company has been researching the female market for 18 months though its BitterSweet Partnership initative.

The new range of beers will be made from a recipe which fights the concerns women have around drinking beer such as bloating, weight gain and taste.

Wow. We are talking about true revolutionaries here.

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Of course beer festivals are about beer. But they are also very social events, and they are very pleasant opportunities to catch up with people you seldom meet outside of cyberspace. A very friendly and generous bunch.

Two years ago there were lots of bloggers present, this year I think the Beer Nut and I were the only English language bloggers present. There were probably Swedish bloggers around, but I don’t know them by sight. Perhaps a blogger meetup is something to consider next year.

Then there are , of course, the brewers. James from BrewDog was there with a merry crew, and they seemed to do a brisk trade. No special beers for the festival, but I think this was the Danish launch of both the Penguin and the Bismarck. Here the roles were reversed, as I was the one being interviewed for their video blog.

There are probably some photos of me with the BrewDog crew taken at the Mikkeller bar as well. I’ll get back to that.

The importers of Brooklyn beer had Garrett Oliver, no less, manning their stand, where he happily dispensed samples of some of their more innovative beers. No time for any long conversation, of course, but at least I could give my appreciation for him mingling with us mortals.

Another legend was als there, Anders Kissmeyer of Nørrebro Bryghus. As was reported recently, he has been forced to step down as manager of the brewery. They have been sensible enough to keep him as an adviser and ambassador of the brewery, and it was nice to be able to pay tribute to one of the founders of the Scandinavian craft beer movement.

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