POMPOUS, PRETENTIOUS NONESENSE – My review of your reaction to the Beavertown developments.

POMPOUS, PRETENTIOUS NONESENSE – My review of your reaction to the Beavertown developments.

I haven’t written anything for a while but, like Spiderman, I know when I need to get involved. So to start I would like to begin with a disclaimer. I truly enjoy the cavalcade of variance and creative beauty to be found within the craft beer scene. From the incredible liquid we are capable of producing as an industry and a community to the artistic prowess shown off in the packaging and marketing material. That said, I am beginning to dislike the poisonous attitude of some craft beer drinkers.

The majority of craft beer drinkers sneer at the mention of CAMRA and their £25 fee to pretend to be an expert and criticise peoples beer openly while flashing their purple CAMRA polo shirt, however when you stand back and look that is exactly where this scene is going. Instead of all enjoying beer and discussing your likes/ dislikes amongst your friends, we have begun to spit bile across the vast chasm of the internet and split into a segregated group of near insufferable pricks intent on demanding everyone stay ‘small’ to say they make ‘true’ craft beer and throwing shade at everyone outside of the minority group to a point where it can only be described as militant.

For anybody who is confused by what I am saying I implore you to take a minute and think about the following statement:

What is craft beer?

….

….

….

Right, so hopefully now you have a rough statement in mind. I’m sure phrases like ‘small’ ‘small batch’ ‘Independent’ and ‘under a certain amount of barrels’ came to mind. I have no problem in telling you that I believe all of those to be complete bollocks. In the 1970’s when Bass was in the ascendancy and seen as the big bad of the time, the traditional cask ale brewers were known as craft. Now you all look at them as old hat and I have even heard the ‘cask can’t be craft’ argument far too many times to count, which again is bollocks. See Tiny Rebel’s range for details… So if those kind of brews were craft back then… what is craft now? I’ll tell you exactly what it is in my opinion:

Craft beer is not a bubble, trend or phase. Craft beer is a modern beer made to push the boundaries more than brewers were comfortable doing prior to now. Craft beer is exciting, craft beer is progress and craft beer represents the next generation of brewing at any given time.

Bringing me to my point. Stop being ridiculous about Beavertown agreeing to have investment from Heineken.

The key frustration with this is reading comments about them not being independent or selling out, when in actuality they are enjoying the opportunity to grow and bring their beer to more people, while also representing a tidal change in the industry where mega brewers such as Heineken see the value in a beer range such as Beavertown’s. Up until now they have been a much loved brewery because they make some incredible beers and will still do that even after Heinekens involvement. Boycotting them when you like the liquid that comes out of their cans and kegs only leaves you looking like a spanner. I couldn’t give a little shiny cat shit who brews a beer if it is of great quality and represents that progress and creativity we have come to love from our beer in 2018… If you can tell me one time Beavertown has made a beer that was generic and made just to sell volume alone, I will eat my own kneecaps. Their creativity and ability to brew a beer that makes a real impact on you still exists.

My main message is that if you are one of the people that loved their beer prior to this deal, be it smog rocket (my favourite), Gamma Ray, Neck Oil or Lupuloid… next time you see one just pick it up and buy it, then what I want you to do is sit down and take a few sips. If you still enjoy the beer you loved 3/4 weeks ago, enjoy that moment of perspective and please continue to enjoy them…

However, when drinking the beer, if all you can taste is a sense of betrayal and a feeling of anger, denial… or even disgust… You need to have a day off. There are 13 people stuck in a cave in Thailand with rising water levels, 2 people in hospital from another bloody nerve agent issue down south AND some woman just climbed up the statue of liberty to denounce the president of the United Sates Of America and the first thing you want to do is complain on Facebook about a brewery investment and ask for a refund to a beer festival.

and I close with this:

Beavertown have made some incredible beers in their short time on this earth as a brewery. I will continue to support, drink and talk about them for as long as the good beer continues to pour from their cans and kegs. I want to let Logan and his entire team know that the negative noise is always the loudest but they do have plenty of normal people still willing to appreciate what they do. Growth is good for everybody in a very challenging market place and if ‘small’ independent brewers are important to you that’s FINE… but if you had the opportunity to exponentially grow the business you have built, your baby, your reason for getting up in the morning… and didn’t just because of what other people might think, you are living your life wrong.

 

Big up B-Town.

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The Crafty Colt – Craft beer on wheels

The Crafty Colt – Craft beer on wheels

No matter what you end up doing in life there comes a time when you may feel like you could do something else. Maybe it is something you have always wanted to do but never really known how, maybe it’s something more recent that you have developed a passion for that has steered your attention away from what your doing or lets be fair, maybe you just hate your current path and want to be happy.

Not many of us are brave enough to take that step and jump into the unknown as security and comfort feels way better than being outside of your comfort zone, not knowing when the next pay day will be or hoping for that big opportunity that takes your passion to the next level. This is true of most of us and no matter what our ideas are we will always have our detractors and doubters, however that shouldn’t stop us making the jump. Every single one of us within employment are working within something that started out as a similar idea, the money you earn every month is from the wider account of a company that was birthed through calculated personal risk, blind faith, dismissal of doubters, will power and I like to think a certain measure of passion. No matter where you are in life these thoughts come to us but few consider these will come to someone involved in professional sport.

It is so easy to sit in your seat at your local stadium and think everyone who picks up a ball will have an endless supply of financing and are above ambition outside of that arena, simply because you have their number and name on your back doesn’t mean they are removed from wanting different things. After all is said and done not everyone can go into punditry or after dinner speaking, some people have their own ideas and need to branch out outside of their usual lane to give them something to nurture for the future. Take Sam and Wayland’s Yard as an example here, a recently retired rugby professional now doubling down on his passion (literally. Second store now open in Birmingham!) and making a real go of it and killing it. I love the idea of supporting projects such as this one by using my blog to give them exposure and I caught wind of a new project swelling within Worcestershire from a player that is still on the books at Worcester Warriors.

Put aside his professional sporting prowess and Max Stelling is simply a 24 year old guy who has caught onto the unrelenting swathe of amazing craft beer being produced in the UK. This amazing beer revolution has touched a lot of our lives and there have been a few amazing businesses birthed as a result such as Bison Beer in Brighton, Honest brew and multiple new breweries being opened all the time. Today I would like to bring to your attention what Max is bringing to the table. The Crafty Colt.

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To tell us a bit more about The Crafty Colt I caught up with Max to ask a few questions on what is was all about:

So Max what is the Crafty Colt?

The Crafty Colt is a mobile craft beer bar in a converted horse trailer. The difference between us and every other bar is two fold; 1. Our beer is better. We serve the very best of British craft beer from breweries such as Tiny rebel, Verdant, Deya, Cloudwater etc… 2. Our bar is unique… We have a 90 degree bar which gives a more open feel and improves our service!
 
You have picked a pretty good time to start. The craft scene is booming right now. It’s a big change from rugby at Worcester. Anything in particular that made you take plunge?
The craft beer boom is exactly why we started! I had wanted something other than rugby in my life for a long time and my interest in craft along with the business potential made it an easy decision! I may well carry on playing Rugby but its nice to have something else to do, especially when it involves beer!
 
So you must be really into your beer! When did you start really getting into craft beer?
I love beer and once you get involved its such an enjoyable journey. There are so many great breweries in the UK and so many varieties of beer… It’s great fun! My first experience of craft, or close to, was Sierra Nevada’s pale ale which most super markets do now. I bought a few from Tesco and from there did some research and ended up at Cotteridge Wines in Birmingham. They have an unbelievable selection as well as a tap room with some keg only specials… It was there and then that my obsession with craft began!
 
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Is it just keg beer you will be serving?
We currently have capacity for two beers on tap and up to eight more in our fridges. We tend to serve a session pale and an IPA on tap and everything from Sour to Stout in cans and bottles.
 
So I know you did your first event last weekend, what’s next for you? Anything lined up?
We did, we were at Fews Marquees open weekend. It was a great experience and we met a lot of great contacts in the events world! We have a number of events lined up and more and more being booked all the while! We will be involved at some of the Johnny Arr testimonial events coming up…
 
Being mobile presents some interesting challenges and equally some really good opportunities, are you aiming at anybody specifically or can anybody sign you up for an event?
Being mobile is a challenge with beer, however, we think that the opportunity to travel nationwide and sell brilliant products is worth the challenge. Ultimately we want to give the public access to great British craft beer that they otherwise would not taste. Anybody can book us for both public and private events. 
 
Where can people find you?
Instagram; TheCraftyColt
Facebook; The Crafty Colt
Twitter; thecraftycolt
Alternatively you can call me any time on 07972306909.
 
Right man, Last thing – Give me you top 3 favourite beers and we like to be a bit different on here so can you match them to a film or a song that best describes the beer!?
My top 3 beers:
1. Deya – Steady Rolling Man – 5.2%
Good Will Hunting – Its a great Story, gets pretty deep and interesting in the middle and finishes strong!
2. Verdant – Pulp – 8%
Fences – You have no idea how strong this films message is…
3. Beavertown – Gamma Ray – 5.4%
The Other Guys – It doesnt matter how many times you watch it, it never gets old!
Show them some love online and get involved. If you have a party and want some amazing drinks on tap give the guys a shout, I wish The Crafty Colt all the success in the world and hope that 2018 is the start of something special!
…and for the record, strong choice on Fences. Cried …like, twice. Go watch it.

 

 

FLASH BACK FRIDAY: Bayeux Burger

FLASH BACK FRIDAY: Bayeux Burger

 

Happy Friday all – Being as the majority of my domestic readers will be snowed in, here is something for you to chew on and warm your cockles… a few years ago I wrote this recipe and to this day stands as my favourite burger design I have ever come up with. Go to your local co-op and get some bits in, give it a go this weekend and I’m sure it will cheer you right up. Serve with fat wedges of roasted sweet potato or just go mad with a pile of fries, just don’t forget the Dijon mustard.

Beer matches: A cold Camden Helles, a bold Belgian such as La Chouffe or a beast of an IPA like ‘Go to IPA’ by Stone.

 

To make four burgers….

Ingredients:

  • 350G ground beef
  • 2 95% pork Sausages, removed from skins
  • 1 teaspoon dried Tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon herb de provence
  • A jar of large sliced pickles
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 150g wedge of Pont l’eveque cheese (or Brie) sliced into thick pieces
  • 2 finely sliced red onions
  • 1 single measure of Calvados (or good brandy if you cant get it)
  • 4 brioche burger buns
  • 4 teaspoons of Aioli or just add minced garlic to your favourite mayonnaise
  • Olive oil for frying

Method:

  1. Add the beef and sausage meat to a bowl with the Tarragon, Herb de provence and season well with the salt and pepper. Mix well to form a patty mix with an even consistency.
  2. Split into four even balls of meat mix. Roll, pat and press them into four burgers. (Quick tip: Size them to the buns!) Cover with some cling film and leave them in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove them from the fridge and preheat a griddle pan on a medium heat, lightly oil both sides of the burgers and place onto the pan. Cook for 3 minutes.
  4. In a preheated frying pan on a medium heat, add a tablespoon of oil and the onions. Season well and stir regularly until translucent and soft. Should take roughly the same time as the one side of the burger.
  5. Turn the burgers in the griddle and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  6. Turn the heat up on the onions and add the Calvados. This will simmer down really quickly, lower the heat again and leave them ticking over on a low heat stirring regularly.
  7. Turn the burger once again and add at least two large slices of cheese across the top of the burger, cover if you can and add a touch of water to create some steam. Don’t cook for longer than another minute or so as the cheese wont take much melting. Rest the burgers in a warm place for a few minutes.
  8. On the bottom part of each bun, spread the aioli and place onto the bun, cross two of the pickle halves across the cheese and top with a spoonful of the onions.
  9. Cap with the other half of the bun and serve with herby roast potatoes or sweet potato fries for a treat.

There we have it… the Bayeux burger. An oral tapestry of contrasting flavours and my own little dedication to a great part of the world.

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Tiny Rebel Peaches and Cream IPA.

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First of all, Tiny Rebel. Just stop. Your breaking my brain.

Every time I think they have done another number on me and raised the bar for craft beer and given me something to hang my hat on they hit me with a crossed left and leave me sitting in front of a pint thinking about how I can ever do better than what I am drinking. It’s really annoying when you try and come at a beer from a neutral perspective and end up sounded like a gushing little fan boy. If anything though, those kind of reactions are rarely  undeserved and this beer is one such product. Take a bow TR and Urban Brewhouse.

The pint was served to me at the Hogs Head in Wolverhampton from their craft rotational keg boards. The pub is run by Stonegate pub company who, to be fair, are probably becoming one of the key proponents of great craft beer in the managed retail sector in the UK, especially by providing Wolverhampton with the best pub in the city. It comes at no surprise to me that they are working with Tiny Rebel on a tap takeover, as they are both the shit.

  • Look: The beer pours golden with a slight haze, adding to my intrigue. A short head that dispersed fairly quickly but not really fussed by head retention on keg beer as don’t want to sound like some pompous CAMRA lifer. Plus the average customer wouldn’t take into consideration the pain in the arse changing 10 rotational dispense systems from CO2 to mixed gas every time there is a new product coming in. Fact is – looked inviting.
  • Nose: Citrus fruit, sweetness and almost a vanilla scent.
  • Taste: No surprises here… Peaches. Was a gorgeously smooth beer with a velvety peach note and a hoppy punch from the Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic used with a light creamy finish from the added lactose. Yes mate.
  • ABV: 5.5%. Not shy. Not apparent on the taste, dangerously drinkable.
  • RATING:

4.5/5

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Hop gear #1: Tiny Rebel, Brew Dog, Wayland’s Yard, Ale By Mail.

Hop gear #1: Tiny Rebel, Brew Dog, Wayland’s Yard, Ale By Mail.

In the now near legendary words of a certain Mr.Scroobius pip from his equally revered podcast, Welcome, Welcome, Welcome!

Officially the first fully fledged article from the new #BSB blog. Hop Gear will be a medium of delivering a regular round up of all the most interesting and up to date goings on in the beer scene, picked up from social media and the deepest darkest reaches of the internet, podcasts and all the media I manage to consume between posts.

Going forward I will probably look to recruit contributors to this area to allow me to stay up to date with more than my scrolling thumb can deal with alone, so keep your eyes peeled for new faces and names throwing content your way. But for now, lets get started on that good shit…

The prince of all Saisons

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Tiny Rebel have officially tugged on my nostalgic heartstrings by releasing their newest beer ‘Super Saison’. The draw of the Dragon Ball Z inspired artwork and one of my favourite beer styles is simply too much for my little brain to cope with. Take my money. Take all the money.

An intriguing combination of Kaffir lime leaf and Lemon Verbena, layered among the powerfully unique characteristics of the Wallonian Saison yeast will surely be something everybody will want to get on board with, however it will not be for the faint hearted at 7.4%. This bad boy will be available at Tiny Rebel Newport and Cardiff from the 20th April and looks as if it will also end up in a bottle shop or bar near you very soon. I have high hopes for this one! Read more @ Tiny Rebel

I’m sorry… it’s terminal

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By now I am sure if you are familiar with craft beer you will be familiar with Brew Dogs ‘BORN TO DIE’ range, beer with a limited life span delivering bold flavours, usually with a hefty ABV and the ability to leave a big impression on you. A very good mark for the craft beer trophy hunters among us, so if you want to join the BTD club you can read more and most importantly buy it, here @ Beer Hawk

Wayland goes to B-town

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My favourite coffee shop and friend of the blog Wayland’s Yard in Worcester, had some great news this week as they have welcomed a brand new arrival to their already great WY family…beer! They have had a brand new delivery of Beavertown beers which include stand out brews from the Tottenham brewer such as the widely adored Gamma Ray, The easy drinking Neck Oil and the punchy blood orange flavours of the newest wave of Bloody ‘Ell, Sam and the team truly do have you covered, from the beautifully crafted coffee to the hearty and soul fulfilling food, finish off with a (responsibly enjoyed) craft beer and you are sure to have a pretty good day on your hands. Give them a visit next time you are in Worcester! http://www.waylandsyard.com

Discount from Ales By Mail

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The picture says it all really, any discount on your beer bill is a saving grace. Visit www.alesbymail.co.uk and enter the code ‘highfive’ at checkout for £5 off.

In other news…

Brew Dog £213m equity deal NOT a sell out say’s James Watt: Full story

American brewers association get all PC: Full story

London craft beer festival tickets still available: Find them here

#BSB BREW SHACK BBQ

#BSB BREW SHACK BBQ

Today I have finally completed work on the rebranding, reimagining and repurposing of my long time love affair with food and drink, my blog. I have spent weeks trying to get everything to feel right and making sure it fits everything that I wanted it to be. I mean, the site is an outlet for my own culinary designs, my experiences and a platform for other people who have a likeminded approach when it comes to food and drink.

Why change?

After and unfortunate mishap in renewing my domain name for Hungry Buck, I took it as a sign that things needed to change. My tastes had changed since I started HB and I felt like it didn’t reflect where I was coming from anymore, it needed to be more of a representation of the food I was eating and the things I was doing day to day.

Reasoning:

  1. BEER. I work with beer, I’m incredibly passionate about it and what is happening in the industry and the creative, incredible beers that exist today as opposed to 10 years ago.
  2. BBQ. I am obsessed with the concept of true BBQ. Whether it is coming from my smoker or from someone else’s grill, the process and the art of being able to smoke or cook meat over coals awakens something primal within me. There is nothing better.
  3. CULTURE. Lets be fair whether its new age craft beer bars, passion project coffee shops driven by people who deliver something truly unique and special such as friend of the blog Wayland’s Yard or fun and unapologetically obtuse food from the likes of our other close friends at Rub Smokehouse… it is all about the culture. Bringing people together for the love of doing things the right way, you have all inspired this new look and it is people like you guys that continue to drive the culinary transformation that the UK has been in for the last 5 years.

 

What’s next?

No spoilers… but the weather is getting better. Prime smoking weather. Plenty of beer to get through and some exciting work coming up with Wayland’s Yard, Rub Smokehouse on their new menu and a brilliant new Donut project coming out of Birmingham… that is just a taste. There is PLENTY on the horizon so stay tuned. Content will be coming your way soon. Bigger and better than ever,

 

I can’t wait to get stuck in and build BSB up from the ashes of a great run with Hungry Buck and into something totally new, fun and interesting. It is the beginning of a new chapter this year for me, my work and this site. Time to embrace the change and make some waves!

In the meantime… here’s to a fresh start.


Bore off Bourdain.

Bore off Bourdain.

I have wanted to put something together about this since I read it last week but I haven’t had the time. So now I have a spare few minutes I would like to draw your attention to the following article:


 Clickety click…

Right, now I am assuming you have read the article in full and have assertained that Anthony Bourdain is talking utter bollocks. 

I understand that if something in society doesn’t click with you that naturally you won’t be a fan. However when it’s clear you don’t understand that paricular thing at all I would advise keeping your opinion to yourself until such a time when you know enough about it to comment. I am a strong believer in ‘You aren’t entitled to an opinion. You are entitled to an informed opinion’.

With this in mind it’s worth noting that craft beer is not going away and whether you like it or not it is making huge waves globally. As a broader concept craft beer is a complex sensory experience based on your individual perception of a beer that has been designed to deliver certain things. This means some people will take different things away from the same beer and there is no right or wrong answer, naturally that then leads to conversations between people about these particular experiences. Beers using unique blends of hops, malt, barley etc (sometimes with the addition of more adventurous ingredients) are catering for people who want more than a pint of mild or a pint of gassy keg lager. Why is this a negative thing?

Food is a mainstream sensory experience that almost everyone partakes in, craft beer is more niche than food by its very nature but I am failing to see the problem with this in comparison. Bourdain spends his life telling us his opinion on food so whats different? He must have an issue with one of two things:

1) Brewers getting excited about being able to innovate and offer us something new.

Or

2) People enjoying it…

I find it frustrating as he is pretty decent at what he does and he knows his stuff. Beer links so well into food it seems very short sighted to write off craft beer in general just because it’s too interesting to people! This has made me realise something though. I am going to do more writing about craft beer as it is something I am very passionate about occupationally and personally, but for now I will just say this to Mr. Bourdain: 

For somebody who was part of a show that took single spoonfuls of a chefs dish and critiqued them to call people who love and review craft beer ‘Zombies’ is total hypocrisy. Jump off your high horse buddy boy. Your famous for talking about an equally valid sensory experience… but I will raise a glass of wonderfully crafted amber nectar to your health nonetheless. I might even take notes and show my friends.