Wednesday, 25 August 2010

London Brewers Brew Day in Pictures (6)

Not a great photo but at least it proves that the exhaustive hop debate was not wasted. The aroma hops going in at the end of the boil

Coming to the end of the day now. A final wash down of the equipment.

and running off the boiled wort into fermenting vessel. Just need to add yeast now and wait. be continued.......

London Brewers Brew Day in Pictures (5)

Much debate about hop varieties and when to introduce them to the copper - the others are joined by Evin O'Riordain (Kernel Brewery) [right]

It's dirty work but someone has to do it. Phil (Brew Wharf), Derek (Fullers) and Paddy (Windson & Eton) show they are not afraid to get their hands dirty as they shovel out the mash tun.

Let it not be said that I did not contribute. I tied up the bags of spent grains so that they could be transported safely to the local garden centre for compost.

London Brewers Brew Day in Pictures (4)

Phil (Brew Wharf) agrees that it's all going well.

and Paddy (Windsor & Eton) agrees with Derek and Phil that it's time for some hops.

London Brewers Brew Day in Pictures (3)

I include this photo solely for completeness. I have no idea what is going on. Personally I think it is an elaborate excuse as to why a pair of lady's tights were found in the brewery. Must have some basis in fact though because the boys from Fullers said that being a more traditional brewery they prefer to use stockings and suspenders.

The wort is now in the copper and a vigourous boil was needed. Perhaps not this vigourously though as the kettle was quickly bubbling over.

Derek (Fullers) says its ok though.

London Brewers Brew Day in Pictures (2)

Andy (Redemption) is in charge of filling the mash tun.

Derek Prentice (Fullers) and Andy (Redemption) agree that the mash is in good shape.

It's starting to look like beer now and demands a taste of the warm, sweet wort. Derek (Fullers) gets his nose in while Brent (Meantime) and the Zero Degrees brewer (whose name I have unforgiveably forgotten) watch on and wait to give their considered opinion.

London Brewers Brew Day in Pictures (1)

Phil Lowry (Brew Wharf), Andy Moffatt and Andy (surname ?) (Redemption) select the finest malts.

Tom Madeiros (Twickenham) pours the malt into the grist case.

Just time for a team photo as the mash tun fills.

London Brewers Collaborative Porter

Yesterday, I spent the day in the company of the London Brewers Alliance as they brewed a special beer for their first collaborative event being held at Brew Wharf in Borough Market on 17th September. (Ticket news is coming soon on

10 brewers from 8 of London's breweries gathered at Redemption Brewery in Tottenham and spent the day brewing a traditional London Porter with five malts and four hops with a strength of 5.3%.

Sometimes words are too little to describe such an enjoyable day and I will post the photos here over the course of today - they tell the real story of a day of collaboration, friendship, mutual respect, ambition and a willingness to share, to teach and to learn.

One day, ten brewers, eight breweries, one beer, one city .....

Oh, and one journalist, one blogger/London Ale Taster and one CAMRA brewery liaison officer to make sure it was all done properly.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Woodies or Egham ?

Choices, choices, choices. This week sees two of my favourite events that both deserve a shout-out.

Firstly Woodies in New Malden are hosting their 6th Beer Festival and Gala Weekend from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd with 60 or so beers set up in a marquee on the field in front of the pub. Details and beer list can be found at

The highlights on the list for me include four beers from both Ascot and Brodies Breweries including Ascot Triple Trouble 7%, a Belgian style beer and Brodies Superior London Porter 7.2%.

The Egham United Services Club is having another beer festival over the same weekend, starting on Thursday 19th and running until Sunday 22nd. The details and beer list can be found at

Highlights for me here are beers from the Windsor & Eton Brewery and five beers from Pitstop Brewery including Hop, the bitterest beer in the world at over 500 EBUs.

My mission is to get out to both but realistically I may have to choose one or the other.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Lagerboy at GBBF

I have always been a bit coy when asked about lager at the Great British Beer Festival. Firstly I don't know much about what is on offer and secondly I don't like taking the focus away from the main issue being the real ale there.

In the last week I have overcome the first issue. After a "toys out of pram" moment in the press office, I set off to find alternative employment quickly bumping into the foreign bar manager (that's the manager of the foreign bar) and asked him if he needed help for a couple of hours. "We can always use a spare pair of hands on the German/Czech bar on a Friday night" he grinned and off I went to learn more about lagerboys (and girls) at GBBF.

It was the hardest I worked all week. With about 30 draft beers from Germany and Czech Republic on offer, I had to quickly learn the system for finding out where each one was as the customers were coming thick and fast. I know Friday is probably the busiest night but this was unrelenting. I poured beer after beer for just over two hours. Long queues of customers forming for the best that Germany and CR has to offer at £4.20 a pint or £3.50 for bottles, the preference being more for Budvar or Jever than the other fifty German regionals in the fridge. People were thirsty and we were doing our best to accommodate them as quickly as possible.

So this is where that lager-heads hang out; just as friendly as the beer tickers but probably an average of a generation younger and all happy to pay a pound a pint more than those enjoying the real ales.

A most enjoyable and eye-opening session and I had lost my Bieres Sans Frontieres virginity but I was relieved to be relieved and set off to the auction at the stage where further help was needed taking and counting the money - much more my style.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Green Man

A long week at Great British Beer Festival with much to share over the coming days.

Long time readers of this blog may remember that one of the first themes I wrote about some two years ago was the current trend to modernise pub signs.

I wrote a small piece here about this sign which had appeared at the Green Man in Putney Heath.
At the time it was clear that the regular drinkers at the pub were none too impressed with this illustration of the pub's historic name and there were moves afoot to make their dissatisfaction known to the pub's owners, Young's.

I passed the pub each night last week on my ride home from the Great British Beer Festival and noticed that the old sign, the one that was in situ before the gingerbread man, had reappeared.

In my CAMRA life, I have always been a fan of local campaigning, beer drinkers making their views known. If there is little to be gained by keeping the status quo, the pub operating companies can get a little more respect by bending their views a little in the face of customer concerns.

Bravo to the beer drinkers in the Green Man for making noise and bravo to Young's for accommodating their request.

Personally I am not sure which one I prefer but that is another story.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

London Ale Taster

My efforts on this blog this week are going to be directed towards the Great British Beer Festival but this post is to let people know that I have also started my official duties as The London Ale Taster and have kicked off a year long walk around London's pubs which I will be blogging about at

I would really eppreciate it if you would take a look at the new blog and give me some direction, let me know if I am on the right track and generally support my efforts.

If you don't like it, stay tuned here, where I will be continuing with the usual news, views and general beery stuff through the coming year.