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Archive for November 2013

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When I had a car which was mechanical rather than electronic, my Haynes Manuals were essential companions.

With one I was able to change an engine on my much-loved Ford 105E and another helped me keep a knackered Triumph Acclaim on the road, way past its scrap by date.

And it wasn’t until I was commissioned to write the Haynes Beer Manual, that I truly realised how iconic the Haynes name is to so many people.

So the Beer Manual is my humble attempt to apply the unique Haynes Manual practical treatment to the world of beer and introduce people to the wonderful range of beers and the drink’s rich social past, which is entwined throughout our history and culture.

Case studies chart the journeys of brewers who have turned the rewarding hobby of home brewing into viable businesses. And I attempted to describe the huge variety of aromas, tastes, colours and strengths that can be created by brewers, whether professionals working for large international brewers or amateur enthusiasts in their kitchens at home.

According to my publishers “this is the essential guide for new and experienced home brewers, and for readers wishing to learn a little more about beer’s journey from the hop fields to the glass.”

I hope people enjoy it.

Beer Manual

The Practical Guide to Beer and Brewing

Published by Haynes

ISBN: 9780857331304

RRP: £21.99


Written by timhampson

November 30, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

You know they know best, don’t they?

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Having just returned from being a chair of one of the judging panels for this year’s World Cheese Awards – it makes a change from beer – I’ve certainly found a way of upping my cholesterol count.

Sampling 45 cheeses in two hours is quite a task. But someone had to do it!

More than 3,000 top cheeses were expected at the competition, which is a centrepiece of the BBC Good Food Show, NEC Birmingham.

However, the hopes of the organisers were totally cheesed off (No more cheese jokes please – Ed) when the organisers claimed a new Brussels directive prevented Japan, South Africa and Brazil from competing in the Olympics of cheese.

“Is this the thin end of the wedge?” asked one of the organisers who was appealing to the to the Food Standards Agency to help overturn an EU ruling that prevents Japan, South Africa and several countries from South America, including Brazil, importing samples of cheese for judging.

A recent change to EU legislation over concerns about animal health rules and the safe handling of milk means that a number of countries have been denied permission by DEFRA, which is following the strict letter of the law of the EU directive, to enter the world’s largest international cheese competition.

Top cheese Bob Farrand, chairman of the World Cheese Awards, was completely pissed off.

The grand fromage said: “This is extremely sad for several hundred artisan cheese makers around the world. The World Cheese Awards is their global event but these EU regulations are preventing them from entering.

“Many small rural businesses benefit enormously from winning at the Awards and this country benefits from much needed overseas revenue.”

For more than 10 years Farrand has applied for, and have been granted, permission by DEFRA to import artisan cheeses from outside the EU.

And he follows the importation rules to the letter – which means the imported cheeses, have to be incinerated after the event.

Farrand continued: “The ruling prohibits entry of cheeses from Japan into the EU and yet last June I judged at the Mondiale du Fromage in France and tasted several Japanese cheeses.

“Clearly other countries don’t kowtow to Brussels in quite the same way we do. It means we’ll have to think seriously about taking the World Cheese Awards abroad in future.”

It would be shame if the awards did move to another country. Still, one cheese maker from Germany did have plenty to shout about at the end of the day.

Celebrations were the order of the day in Bavaria as a cheese made by a family dairy Kaserei Champignon has taken not just the top World Champion spot, but second place too with the same cheese.

The Montagnolo Affiné, pictured above, a creamy blue cheese, impressed the world’s top cheese judges The cheese had been entered into two different classes in the World Cheese Awards and when judges re-judged, tasted and voted the final 15 Super Golds, the cheese came both first and second.

It’s the first time a German cheese has won the top honour.

Hopefully, next year, cheeses from the banned countries will once again be able to take part in this competition, and those who control the importation of cheese into the UK will allow them in  – for they really do know best.


Written by timhampson

November 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift?

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“Encyclopedic in scope, this book is a craft-beer lover’s dream, with details about more than 800 breweries and 1,000 beers from Europe, the Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa.” – The Tampa Tribune


“This is the kind of book to drink a beer over. The photography is top-notch, particularly the hundreds of bottle labels reproduced in high quality throughout. Verdict: Recommended to budding craft beer enthusiasts seeking a broader…understanding of world beer culture delivered in package that’s easy on the eyes.” – Library Journal


This is a great book for anyone who enjoys craft beer. The beginning of the book provides a history of beer and the craft beer revolution as well as an explanation of the brewing process. It also explains different beer styles and flavor pairings and explains how to pour and taste beer for ultimate enjoyment. The majority of the book lists breweries around the world as well as some of the beers they’re known for. As you would expect with a DK book the write-ups are top notch and the photographs are outstanding. This hefty coffee table book would make an excellent addition to any beer drinker’s library.

Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program


DK Publishing does not disappoint with “World Beer”. The content, however, is even more compelling. As a Diplom Bier Sommelier, German Beer is my area of expertise and the chapter on Germany drew my immediate attention. Most beer books discuss the major German breweries and their offerings in detail. World Beer, however, sifts through the “noise” of the big brew houses and focuses instead on the smaller tier of producers who are making some very special beers. Seeing Camba Bavaria, Schönram, Riegele, and Pyraser profiled next to the more famous Schlenkerla, Schneider, and Ürige made me take notice that this isn’t just another beer atlas with pretty pictures. In some ways this book could better be called “World Craft Beer,” but it also discusses some, but not all, of the larger producers who would not fit into the “Craft” category.

Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program




Written by timhampson

November 29, 2013 at 10:33 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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