‘Gluten Free For All’ – Beer Magazine – Winter 2019

With more and more people needing – or choosing – to exclude gluten from their diets, I set out to investigate gluten free beer and suggest a few good brews to try.

Given the numbers of people now having to – or choosing to – consume more gluten free products, it’s not surprising that the number of British brewers producing beer without gluten is growing. But brewing gluten free beer comes with its own challenges.

Amongst the breweries offering great gluten free choices are Burnt Mill, Westerham Brewery and Autumn Brewing Co.

Beer Magazine is free to CAMRA members.

‘The Usual’ – CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2020

My piece in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2020 tackled diversity in all its many guises.

We lose nothing by embracing this diversity. In the same way that my cocoa nib Belgian-style sour doesn’t make your pint of bitter taste any less appealing, the diversity of people now actively involved in the UK beer scene in no way undermines the brewing and drinking traditions of the past couple of hundred years. On the contrary, it serves to strengthen it. Just like British beer itself, that blending of tradition and modernity, art and science, the past and the future, will propel us forward far more than looking backwards. We lose nothing by welcoming difference. And we have absolutely everything to gain. Without it, beer and the pubs that are so inextricably caught up in its well-being, will fail.

You can purchase the Good Beer Guide 2020 from the CAMRA bookshop.

‘Craft Ales in Wales’ – Visit Wales website – September 2019

There are some fantastic Welsh breweries and I featured as many as I could in my guide to Welsh breweries for the Visit Wales website.

From Ceridwen the enchantress who cooked up magic in her cauldron of transformation, to the new microbreweries creating equally charmed drinks, Wales has a long and proud history of brewing.

From Purple Moose in the north to Monty’s Brewery on the English border, and from Swansea’s Boss Brewing to Cardiff’s Tiny Rebel, plus everything else in between, if you’re visiting Wales and fancy a beer, this website is a great starting point.

Thornbridge Peakender – August 2019

In August I braved the summer rain and mud (oh, that mud!) at Thornbridge Brewery‘s Peakender Festival. In between falling face first into a puddle and trying to keep the tent dry, I interviewed the wonderful Dominic Driscoll about his work as head brewer at Thornbridge. We took the audience through a tasting of Thornbridge beers and I was very happy to get my hands on one of my all-time favourite beers – the legendary Serpent (a Thornbridge x Brooklyn Brewery x Oliver’s Cider collaboration).

Peakender is a magical festival and I will definitely go again. I’ll just be praying for a bit more sunshine next time!

‘The Call of the Siren’ – Beer Magazine – Summer 2019

I was lucky enough to visit one of my favourite breweries – and write about one of my all-time favourite beers – for the Summer 2019 edition of Beer Magazine.

I interviewed Darron Anley, founder of Siren Craft Brew, about Broken Dream, winner of CAMRA’s 2018 Champion Beer of Britain award.

Broken Dream, falls somewhere between an orchestral symphony and a hands-in-the-air, stay-up-all night dance track. It’s boozy black with a rich viscosity built on the oats and lactose that swell to fill the mouth.

Beer Magazine is free to CAMRA members.

Cambridge Beer Festival – Learning & Discovery Pavilion – May 2019

The Cambridge Beer Festival (organised by CAMRA) is one of the biggest dates on the beer calendar with over 40,000 people visiting during the week-long festival.

In 2019, I curated and chaired a series of events in the Discovery Pavilion. There were talks, tastings, discussions and debates on a range of topics including wild and mixed fermentation, sustainability, the contemporary cider scene and the future of British beer.

My guests included:

The events were recorded and you can hear some of them on Fermentation Beer & Brewing Radio.

Barcelona Beer Festival – live podcast – March 2019

I left a rainy England behind for a few days in mid-March and caught a little spring sunshine in Barcelona. Whilst there, I recorded an episode of Fermentation Beer & Brewing Radio in front of a live audience at the wonderful Barcelona Beer Festival.

My guests were:

You can download and listen to the episode via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or by visiting the Fermentation Beer & Brewing Radio website.

SIBA Beer X – Keynote Speech – 13 March 2019

In March 2019 I travelled up to Liverpool to deliver the keynote speech at SIBA‘s Beer X conference.

We need to throw open the doors of our echo chamber and have conversations not only with people who do buy craft beer, but also with those people who might be persuaded to – the young people, the people who aren’t drinking so much, the women, the people who drink beer made by multinational, global brewers.

I spoke about the beer ‘echo chamber’. Despite the fact that those of us who inhabit the beer world share many of the same values with people who do not, we sometimes alienate or dismiss them, rather than welcoming them in. I also spoke about the strengths that many independent brewers have to attract new groups of drinkers. The beer world has changed. We need to make sure we are changed too.

(photo by Alex Metcalfe on Twitter)

St Austell Proper Job – Flagship February – February 2019

Flagship February is an international project designed to celebrate those ‘beers that got us here’, the beers that can sometimes get lost in the constant stream of special releases. I was very honoured to be invited to contribute in the project’s inaugural year.

And now, on that same beach in Cornwall I stand with someone different. I step over the footprints I once left behind and make an entirely new path. My hands touch other hands, hands I hope to hold forever. And though the pub may be different, the beer is the same. Because a beer is not an ex-lover. It’s not unfaithful to return to it from time to time. And it will never, ever break your heart.

I chose to write about a beer that meant a lot to me, and was something of a game-changer in terms of British beer. You can read my essay on St Austell Brewery’s Proper Job right here.

‘Aces High’ – Beer Magazine – January 2019

I interviewed head brewer at Wild Card Brewery, Jaega Wise, for a profile in the Spring 2019 edition of CAMRA‘s Beer Magazine.

Jaega is a well-known figure in the British beer scene. Not only is she a talented brewer, she is also a chemical engineering graduate, singer, TV presenter, campaigner for diversity in the brewing industry and an elected director of SIBA.

“I’ve always said I’m a brewer before I’m a female brewer, before I’m a mixed-race brewer. But I will always do my part to support women, ethnic diversity, lots of different types of people getting into the brewing industry. The goal isn’t reached at all. We’re not even close. Equality is 50 per cent. Why should we be satisfied with anything less?” (Jaega Wise)

Jaega Wise (left) and me at Wild Card Brewery, Walthamstow, London

Beer Magazine is free to CAMRA members.