Three Bullet Tuesday

successTuesday 6 December, 2016

  • Celebrating success: last week saw the British Guild of Beer Writers Awards in London – you can find the full list of winners here. Pete Brown was recognised with the top award taking home the Michael Jackson Gold Tankard for Beer Writer of the Year. Podcast guests Mark Dredge and Jonny Garrett were award winners and you can hear my interviews with them on the website. Both of a fascinating insight into what it takes to do what they do. Awards are a big way the industry celebrates success. It’s important to remember that every award ceremony usually has a nomination or entry process, criteria to assess the nominations and will likely will involve the subjective views of (hopefully well qualified) judges in determining the winners. Some will say there are too many awards in beer, others not enough, or that the process outlined above is not robust enough, judges are qualified or are too subjective or the people organising the awards have less than pure intentions. Nevertheless, given the success of the industry, the effort and energy people put into their craft, there is much to celebrate and we should and are right to celebrate the success of others, through awards or otherwise. Thanks to Matt Curtis for reminding me of this.
  • Odell IPA: I stumbled across Odell IPA on the taps at the Big Easy in Canary Wharf last week. For those unfamiliar, the Big Easy position themselves as an American-style BBQ eatery complete with an extensive drinks list and bar adorned with oversized tap handles, like the ones you find state-side. The beer poured a lovely orange / amber colour with a slightly hazy appearance and a nice thick 1-inch head. It smelt and tasted spectacular. I’ve drank more IPA this year than in any other year and the standard and availability IPAs being produced in the UK is on the up. This however was a reminder that the US still sets the benchmark for this style. For now.
  • Wylam Brewery: is this the most amazing brewery building in the UK? Pictures from The Beer O’Clock Show #CrimboCrawl re-enforced this view. It looks like the most incredible site although I can only comment based on second hand information as sadly I’ve not been there in person. In trying to find out more about the details of it I stumbled across their website, and little else. According to their website:

“Our new home at the Palace of Art in Exhibition Park is the last remaining building from the 1929 North East Exhibition. The Exhibition was an ambitious project built to celebrate and encourage Craft, Art and Industry at the start of the Great Depression. Having remained almost derelict for nearly a decade the building has now sprung back to life as a fully operational working Brewery.”

Surely there is a lot more to the story than this? If there are any stories, posts, podcasts or otherwise about the why, the how, the what and the when of Wylam and the Palace of Art I would love to hear it!

Introducing Three Bullet Tuesday

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Inspired by the GoodBeerHunting Read.Look.Drink and Tim Ferris’s 5-Bullet Friday, I wanted a forum to get across things I am pondering, enjoying or not enjoying that is shorter than a blog post and longer than a tweet. So here is my first Three Bullet Tuesday.

  • Podcasting: you will have noticed a hiatus in my podcasting. This is partly based on a busy time in my life including a job, a wife and two young boys. But, to be fair, it’s a deliberate pause. When I started podcasting, I did it because I felt there was a gap – there was no long form interview style beer podcasts in the UK – and I wanted to speak to people in the industry to hear their stories. Now there are plenty of others doing it, which is fantastic – more voices, more stories. I am currently re-thinking whether or not to continue and if so what changes should I make to the podcast to keep it relevant in a crowded market. Stay tuned.
  • Fullers – friend or foe?: West London is often the laughing stock of the craft beer scene in London. Why is that? As I continue my search for an answer, it often comes back to Fullers. Fullers are more than a brewery – they are a publicity listed PubCo with almost 400 pubs. Many of these are within a few miles of the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick West London. They all invariably stock vast amounts of Fullers beer and little else (with the odd exception). Are they to blame for the dearth of craft beer in West London? Are they even a craft brewery? Perhaps this needs more investigation…
Griffin Brewery, Chiswick West London
Griffin Brewery, Chiswick West London
  • Chris Hall: Chris spoke with Matthew Curtis on episode 83 of the Good Beer Hunting podcast and, ever the wordsmith, produced a great quote that I constantly reflect on. The thread starts at 1h25m into the podcast. He talks about the way craft breweries should leverage peoples other hobbies to grow into new areas. It’s summarised in this quote:

“There is so much overlap between our world and loads of other sub-cultures that we would be utterly, utterly stupid to waste these opportunities to involve others in what we do. We have got nothing to gain by only talking about beer to people interested in beer” 

I tried to imagine this graphically using the much-favoured Venn diagram and I am keen to explore this in a future post.


“This is my friend Pete, he’s a Sagittarius” #BeerTwitterIRL

I had a marvellous time at the London Craft Beer Festival last Saturday. I had a spare ticket and I had no hesitation in reaching out to Pete McKerry (@PJMcKerry) to see if he was keen and luckily enough he was so I had a drinking buddy for the night.

Now I’ve only met Pete a few times and really enjoyed his company but haven’t really known him that long. How did I know to ask Pete?

In short, Beer Twitter.

When you first get into beer and blogging its not too difficult to find interesting people to follow on twitter (all roads lead to @totalcurtis). I discovered Pete on twitter and met him for the first time over a few drinks organised by Steve (@beerolockshow) at the DraftHouse in Old Street. I’d interviewed Steve and Mark for my podcast after meeting them through beer twitter where I discovered their podcast.

During the podcast Steve said, “I now have a bigger group of friends than I’ve ever had as a result of doing the podcast”. I didn’t really know what he meant at the time, until the weekend.

It was great to have a few beers with Pete and have a chat and we also met up with loads of other people from Beer Twitter in London. One of things we did talk about that got me thinking was what happens when you meet people from Beer Twitter In Real Life?

Is there an etiquette to it? What are the different scenarios and how do you react? Have you ever noticed someone you interact with on Twitter and thought about introducing yourself? All questions we pondered.

When you recognised someone from Twitter IRL

At a beer event there is no doubt going to be someone from BeerTwitter there that you’ve never met before. Do you introduce yourself? How? Do you shake hands? Mention your twitter handle?

For me, this really depends on the situation and what type of mood I’m in. I first introduced myself to Matt (@totalcurtis) at a beer event a while ago referenced I followed him and that was the start of our IRL interaction.

Sometimes I’ll recongnised someone but not make the formal introduction, either because the stuation doesn’t allow or I simply get the fear.

I don’t think I’ve ever had someone come up to me, sadly.

When someone from BeerTwitter that you’ve never met IRL invites you to something

This can be a tricky one. You don’t know the person, you’ve never met then, they could be using an anonymous name. I met a Luke McGlynn (@mcglynn784) at BrewDog Shepherds Bush for a Cloudwater Tap Takeover after he’d gotten in touch via twitter as a fellow West London. Since then we’ve met a few times and I’d definitely consider him a beer buddy.

When you meet someone then start following them on twitter.

This is something I’ve done loads. You meet someone, introduce yourself and have a chat and then follow it up with a tweet later. This is nice way for the person to link the name to a face to a twitter handle.

I’m sure there’s plenty of other scenarios and other stories for people to share on their Beer Twitter IRL experiences. I’ve now met plenty of people from BeerTwitter IRL, some I would consider friends, and will hopefully meet loads more (looking at you @thabearded1).

Either way I think connecting through social media and in person is great and should be encouraged, especially over beer!

I’d love to know your BeerTwitterIRL stories.

Picture taken by @gingerdaniels13

Episode 11- Evin O’Riordain

The Kernel Brewery sits at the heart of the Bermondsey beer community alongside a number of other producers including cheese makers, bakers, butchers, coffee roasters and honey makers. Evin O’Riordain, the founder of The Kernel, has not only built a great brewery but a sense of community amongst these local producers.

I sat down with Evin over a few of their amazing beers to hear his story and came away with a better understanding of the philosophy of the man behind The Kernel.

Episode 10 – Tom Palmer

Welcome to Episode 10, with Tom Palmer from Mondo Brewing Company.

One of things I love about doing this podcast is hearing the story of how people got into beer. I am lucky to sit down and talk, usually over a few beers, about how people began their beer journey. For some it’s a pub idea that they just run with. For others its more considered. They make a conscious, deliberate decision to do it differently, exactly the way they want to do it.

Tom and Todd at Mondo Brewing Company took the considered approach. Two Americans, they ended up in London for personal reasons, started working together in a brewery and began talking about how they would it differently.

This is the story of Mondo Brewing Company as told by Tom.

Episode 9 – Sam McGregor

Welcome to Episode 9 with Sam McGregor, Co-Founder of Signature Brew.

Beer and music are a great match. But they aren’t often presented well together – why is the beer always terrible at gigs and festivals?

This was a question that Sam was trying to answer when exploring the concept of their brewery. We explored this and more in a very candid chat.

Sam was honest, philosophical, engaging and not afraid to give his opinion, which makes for a great conversation. Listen in.

SouthWestLondon BottleShare | #ShareTheRare

Beer is the most social drink in the world. Fact.

And a BottleShare is one of the best ways to bring this to life. The concept is simple, you all put in a tenner, which goes towards buying some great beers for you to all share.

I’ve been fascinated by this idea ever since I uncovered these events existed for a few reasons. One is that is defied modern beer drinking trends which is either pints at the pub or beer at home, which is increasingly shared online. The concept of sharing the good stuff in person sounded magical.

There was a catch, however, in that none of the great events were anywhere close to where I live. So I decided to start my own, with a little help from my friends. Charlie Pountney, Beer Sommelier and alround nice guy, who I met recording Episode 2 of my podcast, was also keen on the idea. So together we created the SouthWestLondon BottleShare and we want you to join us.

Its being held at Out of Office in Battersea on Wednesday 8th June.

You can find all the details here. 

Hope to see you there to #ShareTheRare