Friday, 17 July 2009

A Year of Blogging

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of this blog. I don't know why I started. Possibly jumping on a band wagon, possibly keen to share the experiences and news of a CAMRA Regional Director, perhaps just vain and pretentious enough to want to see my views published, maybe to see whether I was as good at writing about beer as I am at drinking the stuff - probably all of the above.

Over the year, I have written 189 posts, an average of every other day or so. Over 5,000 readers have dropped in. Most never return which says a lot about the content but there are a steady 600-700 of you who are regular visitors.

This is nothing compared to the most successful blogs that are getting hundreds of thousands of hits each day, and even the best beer blogs do way better than my humble statistics. But I am thrilled with those numbers and from nothing they are beyond my expectations.

Over the year, to my face, I have been called precious, anal, indiscreet, biased, geeky and boring - all things that I have never previously felt to be among my best qualities. I have also met plenty on my travels who appreciate these efforts and have shared many a splendid time in their company.

I hope I have shared stuff that you may not have come across anywhere else and I hope I have led you towards some great beer over the year.

I feel as though I have run out of steam a little lately but hopefully GBBF will invigorate the blog as I share again with you my experience of the event from the press office.

Cheers All


Gizza Job, I can do that (2)

Continuing a theme, I came across this on my travels :

Fuller's Brewery - PR Executive

This is an exciting opportunity to join the press and public relations office, which handles both internal, and high profile external communications and events. Responsibilities include providing an information service to both the media and general public and producing the award-winning Griffin magazine.

Key responsibilities include: -

· Providing a professional information service to the media and general public
· Assist with creating and implementing media relations campaigns
· Maintaining customer facing output including award-winning Griffin magazine and corporate website
· Maximising opportunities to promote Brewery Tours
· Be responsible for high profile internal and external events

The ideal candidate will have: -

· Excellent communication skills at all levels
· Good understanding of media landscape
· Good levels of demonstrable numeric and literacy skills
· Strong initiative, creative approach and be a team player
· Previous PR or event organising experience
· Strong IT skills

For a full copy of the job outline please contact the Personnel Department. If you are interested in this position, please submit your CV and a covering letter explaining how you meet the requirements of the role, to Recruitment, Griffin Brewery, Chiswick Lane South, Chiswick, W4 2QB or Email to If you feel you would like to discuss any points prior to applying, please feel free to contact Tony Johnson, PR Manager via the Griffin Brewery switchboard

Friday, 10 July 2009

Gizza Job, I can do that

The Campaign for Real Ale are seeking to fill the position of Campaigns Officer. The full job spec can be found here.

Purpose of role
To support CAMRA's work to influence the decisions taken by Government, Government Agencies, Pub Companies and Brewers and to promote real ale and well-run community pubs.

Key responsibilities
Providing support and advice to CAMRA's active network of volunteers

Drafting responses to Government consultations which accurately reflect CAMRA policy and are supported by evidence gained from extensive independent research

Lobbying political parties to develop General Election manifesto policies aimed at supporting well-run community pubs and beer choice

Lobbying Prospective Parliamentary Candidates

Building CAMRA's contacts with MPs, MEPs, AMs and Scottish MPs

Providing briefing papers and reports as required

Parliamentary monitoring

Assisting CAMRA's press team to respond to media enquiries

Representing CAMRA at meetings with external stakeholders, civil servants and MPs

Representing CAMRA at receptions and conferences

Undertaking research projects to support public affairs campaigning

Monday, 6 July 2009

Ealing Beer Festival

This week see the 20th Ealing Beer Festival hosted by West Middlesex CAMRA at Walpole Park, a short stroll from Ealing Broadway station.

Aside from the Great British Beer Festival, I guess Ealing is the largest festival in London running from Wednesday 8th to Saturday 11th and showcasing 160 odd cask beers together with the usual ciders and perries and a well-stocked foreign beer bar which always has some rarities together with the usual favourites.

Since the festival outgrew Ealing Town Hall, it is now a tented event in the local park which brings the opportunity to spread out in the larger space and also invite a wider circle of food, games, stalls etc. If blessed with fine weather (which at the moment is in the balance), there will be no better place for the beer drinker to hang out this week.

That is unless you like jazz as the Greenwich Beer and Jazz Festival will be at the Royal Naval College this week. This is not a CAMRA organised event but CAMRA in South East London is responsible for the cask ale sold there.

You pays your money, you takes your choice.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Great American Beer Festival

I have just had to give my top 20 choices of which beer style categories I would like to judge at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver in September.

There are 78 categories to choose from but my first choice was easy : Classic English Style Pale Ale. This is what I know and love, it is the beer I was weaned on, it is what drove my love of beer as a teenager and continues to tickle my taste buds, it is my first choice on the bar, my number one.

But what actually is it ? The competition style descriptions and specifications manual (yes, it exists) describes it thus :

43. Classic English pale ales are golden to copper colored and display earthy, herbal English-variety hop character. Note that “earthy, herbal English-variety hop character” is the perceived end, but may be a result of the skillful use of hops of other national origins. Medium to high hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma should be evident. This medium-bodied pale ale has low to medium malt flavor and aroma. Low caramel character is allowable. Fruity-ester flavors and aromas are moderate to strong. Chill haze may be in evidence only at very cold temperatures. The absence of diacetyl is desirable, though, diacetyl (butterscotch character) is acceptable and characteristic when at very low levels.

Original Gravity (ºPlato) 1.044-1.056 (11-14 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato) 1.008-1.016 (2-4 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.5-4.2% (4.5-5.5%)
Bitterness (IBU) 20-40
Color SRM (EBC) 5-14 (10-28 EBC)

Get yer laughing gear 'round that. I can't wait.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Twickenham Brewery

There are so few London breweries that I should write about them all more often. Fuller's is the biggest and most available and I am CAMRA's Brewery Liaison Officer for Sambrook's so both of those have been well represented among my musings on this site over the last year.

Meantime, Twickenham and Brodies have been covered less than comprehensively which is an oversight because all of their beers are generally excellent. The handful of London's brew pubs have not been mentioned at all. Perhaps I should get out more.

Twickenham Fine Ales started brewing in 2004 and became quickly established in local pubs and beer festivals and has won a number of awards for their beers including a silver medal in the Bitter category at Great British Beer Festival in 2007 for Sundancer - a 3.7% hoppy, session bitter.

Every beer - in my opinion - has been a winner. They are all brewed without any use of adjuncts by expert brewer, Tom Madeiros.

The beer that I tasted most recently is London Gold 4.9%, a well balanced strong(er) hoppy beer that has a malty backbone with a long bitter finish. Using four varieties of American hops combined with two British ones it is described as a Normandy invasion on your tongue. On a warm day, it was both refreshing and satisfying - another winner.

Beers from Twickenham will always be a reliable choice if you ever see any among the pumps and casks.