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Archive for the ‘beer health’ Category

Hooky Gold touches the sole

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A Hooky golden pedicure?

Rocco Forte’s Brown’s Hotel in London has taken beer and health to a new level.

The swish hotel has added beer treatment its menu of luxurious spa treatments

Guests can indulge in a blissful barley body wrap, a pale ale pedicure or a honey and barley facial at quintessential British hotel

Shareen Stokes, spa manager at Rocco Forte’s Brown’s Hotel, spills the suds saying: “The treatments will blend grists of Maris Otter barley with East Kent Goldings hops, Hook Norton’s Hooky Gold Ale from Oxfordshire, and St Austell’s Tribute beer from Cornwall.

Barley has countless health benefits, and is deeply nourishing, healing and comforting. It’s also high in vitamins such as B1, B3 as well as selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and copper all of which help to keep the skin and body healthy, so it makes sense to use it in our treatments.

The three treatments begin with a hot malt drink that’s rich in barley, which is high in fibre and has a low glycaemic index which works to stabilise blood sugar levels. Brown’s Hotel’s Pastry Chef, Theo Ndeh also treats guest to a barley snack.

Whilst guests enjoy a hot malt drink and barley snack, a blend of Epsom salts, hop flowers and sesame seed oil exfoliate the feet before they are soaked in a stimulating beer bath (using Hooky Gold Ale).

Guests will then experience a pressure point foot massage with Ninkasi lotion and a barley and sesame seed foot wrap, making the feet feel super soft. The nails are shaped and painted with a colour of choice. (Dont’ ask).

The facial begins with a hot malt drink and a thorough cleanse using Lagoon Gelee before the area is toned with Lagoon Water.  Following the facial, guests are invited to relax with a glass of refreshing St Austell Tribute ale – made from the same Maris Otter barley – and a barley snack before they leave the spa.

And if this not enough it people can then move on to a 90-minute Blissful Barley Body Wrap.

The treatments are available to view online, click on the following link to see them in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFg0K4dRwCg.

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Written by timhampson

August 31, 2011 at 7:33 pm

So what came first beer or bread? According to a couple of Irish archaeologists it was beer not bread which civilized the savage beast.

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Billy Quinn and Declan Moore get mashing bronze ale style

Many ancient historians will have you believe that it was farming and bread making which tamed nomadic man and turned hunter gatherers into people who lived in a stable community.

Not so say archaeologists Billy Quinn and Declan Moore. A few years ago they did some research which they believe shows that one of the most common archaeological monuments in the Irish landscape was used for brewing a Bronze Age beer.

If it is true that we are what we eat, then it is also true that we are what we drink, and Bronze age man was probably little different from modern man or woman – if given the choice of what to do on a cold wet winter’s night – drink a beer and party or eat a slice of bread which  would you choose?

Ireland has many well preserved Bronze Age sites where it is possible to see the enigmatic fulacht fiadh. These monuments, of which there are more than 4,500, can be seen as small, horseshoe shaped grass covered mounds. Conventionally archaeologists have described them as ancient cooking spots.

However, Quinn and Moore believe that they were used as breweries.

The equipment was kept simple

According to Quinn: “The tradition of brewing in Ireland has a long history, we think that the fulacht may have been used as a kitchen sink, for cooking, dyeing and indeed many other uses, but a primary use was the brewing of ale.

“It became clear to us that the making of beer was one of the first steps in turning man into civilised man and that beer making came before bread making.”

To prove their theory, Quinn & Moore set out to recreate the process.

The experiment was carried at Billy Quinn’s home in Cordarragh, Headford, Co Galway.

“Seeking authenticity in replicating our Bronze Age ale we decided that our equipment should be as basic as possible,” said Quinn.

They used an old wooden trough filled with water and added heated stones. After achieving an optimum temperature of 60-70°C they began to add milled barley and after approx 45 minutes simply baled the final product into fermentation vessels. They added natural wild flavourings – and wisely took care to avoid anything toxic or hallucinogenic – and then added yeast from the Galway Brewery, after cooling the vessels in a bath of cold water for several hours.

Whatever the age the prinicples of brewing remain the same

According to Moore “including the leftover liquid we could easily have produced up to 300 litres of this most basic ale”. Through their experiments, they discovered that the process of brewing ale in a fulacht using hot rock technology is a simple process. To produce the ale took only a few hours, followed by a three-day wait to allow for fermentation.

Quinn and Moore point out that although their theory is based solely on circumstantial and experimental evidence, they believe that, although probably multifunctional in nature, a primary use of the fulacht fiadh was for brewing beer.

Billy Quinn and Declan Moore prepare their ancient brew

“Beer is liquid bread, and if our theory is correct it is the making of beer that turned the savage beast into the civilised man,” said Quinn.

Written by timhampson

September 10, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Wadworth goes green

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Fresh, green, plump and full of citrus zest, fresh green hops.

For the last 18 years, at the start of England’s hop harvesting season, a van has left the Wadworth brewery in Devizes to drive to a hop garden in Herefordshire. Its mission is to collect a vital ingredient for the Wiltshire brewery’s Malt & Hops seasonal beer– fresh green hops. The quest means an early start for someone from the brewery, as the hops have to be harvested and transported back to the brewery in time to be put into the first brew of the day.

Wadworth head brewer Brian Yorston has been making the run for the last three years, continuing a tradition started by his predecessor Trevor Holmes. “We think we were the first brewery in Britain, to produce a green-hopped beer,” said Brian.

Hops are normally dried before use – reducing the water content from 70 per cent to 10 – importantly they are analysed so the brewer knows more about their aromatic or bittering characteristics.

Brian Yorton assesses the hops as they grow on the bine.
But fresh hops beer are undried, crisp and full of the season’s flavours and are something of a flavour lottery when added to a beer.

This year I had the privilege of travelling with him to collect the hops – an aroma variety called Early Choice a member of the Fuggles family of hops. Brian is looking for enough hops to brew 270 barrels of beer –some were picked yesterday and lightly dried, while the rest was picked this morning as the dew lay heavy on the hills, which surrounds the Newham Farm hop garden, owned by Ian Ibbotson. Suddenly summer seems to be ending and autumn is rushing in. “We use the same mash each year, and the same quantity of hops but what the beer will be like will be a complete surprise,” said Brian.

Inside the hop back, the ripe hops are spread out before they are covered by boiling wort. Brewing beer in this way is hard physical work.

“I have no idea what the beer will taste like,” confides Brian. I do not know what the alpha content of the hops is.”

The amount of alpha present in a hop is what contributes aroma to the hops. Analysis of the hops to find its alpha levels will take five days, but waiting for an analysis of the hops to return from the laboratory, will be too late for the hops to be used and still be fresh and green.

“You can look at it, you can smell it, but that only hints at the surprise to come,” says Brian.

And what of this year’s harvest – as I smell it I am assailed by wonderful fresh citrus aromas and a zesty tangerine flavours. To brew the beer he uses 500lb of the hops together with 6,500kg of Optic malt – comprising 98.5 per cent pale ale and 1.5 per cent crystal. We taste the hot, sweet wort as it runs out of the mash tun. It is sweet and sticky, with an overwhelming nose of rich Horlicks. Then we try the hopped wort as it comes from the cooler. The tart bitterness of the hops has subdued much of the sweeter flavours.

But what will the beer taste like? I will find out on 16 September, when this year’s Malt & Hops is tasted for the first time.

“Last year’s was very bitter – said Brian, “It is quite different every year he says as he promises to see if he has any previous brews left so we will be able to do a comparison.

But with rich, ripe barley delivering sweet malt, hopefully balanced by the tart, zesty hops it should be a winner.

Malt & Hops, at 4.5 per cent ABV, is available in bottle and on draught.

www.wadworth.co.uk

Written by timhampson

September 2, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Dwink, Dwink and be merry

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Cheeky chappies Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham

In the firmament of the current group of people doing beer talks two of the shining stars are Ben McFarland and Tom Sandhan.

The cheeky, chappy Dwink duo, which I caught yesterday at a Foodies Festival in Oxford, took an irreverent and sometime bawdy journey through the world of beer and cider. “We do corporate events and consumer tastings, stag events, hen nights and children’s parties, but prefer hen nights,” confides Tom with a mischievous grin and a sparkle in his eye.

Forget the notion that beer tastings are an extravagance of technical terms and facts about hop varieties, international bitterness units and measurements for the colour of malt. In triple quick time, well they had to make way for a Portuguese wine tasting, and a testy stage manager behind the scenes was giving a stern look, the pair took an entranced audience though five beers and an organic cider.

Most loved the Hall & Woodhouse elderflower flavoured Champion. The opening of a flip top bottle of Grolsch became a piece of crowd theatre. The flavour of a Molson Coors Blue Moon, a wheat beer, was enhanced by being poured over a piece of orange. Coopers Pale Ale confused several people as it was cloudy, giving the pair a chance to talk about bottle conditioned beers. The Westons Organic Cider showed there is more to alcoholic apple drinks than Magners or Bulmers. And the tasting ended with a glass of Innis & Gunn, which introduced people to the idea of wood aging beer in whisky barrels. And on the way they took in beer and food pairings, the health benefits of sensible drinking and told everyone that the beer belly was a myth.

The choice of drinks by the Dwink’s pair was clever. All easily available, all approachable and all a marvellous entry into the world of beers. The audience left with smiles on their faces, a greater knowledge about beer and that marvellous of feeling contentment from having had a good beer.

So who have you seen recently who has given a good beer talk?

www.dwink.com

Dove flies to new heights

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The Dove - a must visit pub for any beer lover

Favourite pubs – Dove Street Inn, Ipswich

I discovered my satellite navigation system couldn’t cope with Ipswich’s one-way system as I looked for this street corner pub. Eventually, I had to shun the technology and find someone to ask the way. Why do men so reluctantly ask for directions? “You’ll like it there,” said my guide, “I’ve never known a pub sell so many real ales.”

Quantity doesn’t normally equate to quality when it comes to the selling of beers. However, if the serving of good cask beer marks the very best pubs from those that are just good then the Dove Street Inn is quality personified. Ten hand pumps vie for space on the bar and at least another 10 real ales are served straight from the barrel. Many of the beers are from local brewers, reflecting the vibrancy of Britain’s brewers big and small. So far this year 388 different beers have been served. And if this is not enough there is a fabulous range of bottled beers and craft ciders.

This is a friendly place, run by Karen and Ady, which is staffed by people with welcoming smiles and a confident knowledge about the beers they sell and how they should be served. The Dove Inn is comfortable, well lit by the natural light that floods through the large windows and dances on the wooden floor. The food is simple, the homemade sausage rolls and chilli con carne are to be recommended. “I wish this were my local,” said one customer as he sipped a pint of Old Speckled Hen.

One of Britain’s best ever writers Eric Blair took his nom de plume from the River Orwell, which runs through Ipswich. On his favourite, but mythical pub he wrote ‘The Moon under Water’, is only two minutes from a bus stop, but it is on a side-street, and drunks and rowdies never seem to find their way there, even on Saturday nights.” George Orwell could have been writing about the Dove Street Inn. Good beer served by people who care about what they serve and drunk by those who like good company. Things do not get much better than this.

The pub’s next beer festival starts 12 noon Wednesday 1 September to Sunday 5 September 2010.

76 St Helens Street, Ipswich

01473 211270

www.dovestreetinn.co.uk

Written by timhampson

August 20, 2010 at 9:39 am

Search for best beer writer begins

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Pictured from left - Budweiser Budvar's Ian Moss and Beer Writer of the Year Pete Brown

Search for best beer writer launched –

Have you got the words to be Beer Writer of the Year 2010 and win £1,000?

The British Guild of Beer Writers is giving beer communicators the chance to enter their work in six different categories, with one of the category winners to be named as the Beer Writer of the Year and receive the coveted Michael Jackson Gold Tankard Award*.

The competition is open to writers, broadcasters, photographers, poets, illustrators, designers, webmasters and bloggers whose work has broadened the public’s knowledge of beer and pubs. Nominations and entries are being sought for six categories:

Molson Coors’ Award for Best Writing in National Publications – prize £1,000 & £500

For the very best writing or broadcasting aimed at a general audience, published in the national (and international) press, consumer magazines, books, national television and radio.

Adnams Award for Best Writing in Regional Publications – prize £1,000 & £500

For the very best writing or broadcasting aimed at a specific local or regional audience, published in local and regional newspapers, magazines, radio, television and CAMRA newsletters.

Wells & Young’s Awards for Best Writing for the Beer and Pub Trade – prize £1,000 & £500

For the very best writing or broadcasting aimed at the brewing and pub industry, published in trade and company newspapers, newsletters, magazines, reports and websites.

Brains SA Gold Award for Best Online Communication – £1,000 & £500

For the very best use of blogs, websites and social media, whether that be writing or use of other tools such as video or social networking.

Budweiser Budvar John White Travel Bursary – prize £1,000 plus trip to Czech Republic

For the very best travel-themed beer writing (or beer-themed travel writing) or broadcasting. Entries can be from national, local or regional media, books, trade publications or online.

Bishop’s Finger Award for Beer and Food Writing – prize £1,000

For the very best writing or broadcasting on the subject of matching beer with food (an area formerly dominated by wine). Entries can be from national, local or regional media, books, trade publications or online.

How to enter

To enter the British Guild of Beer Writers Annual Awards send four copies (photocopies or printouts from PDFs accepted) of each entry, published or broadcast in the last 12 months up to 30 September 2010 – stating where it has been published. Authors of books need to send four copies of the book.

Website and bloggers entries – please send web address and URLs of the pages you want the judges to read.

Entrants can enter as many categories as they want, but they are limited to a maximum of six entries within each category. Remember, quality is more important than quantity so send one good entry in a category rather than six mediocre ones.

The entry should be accompanied by a letter stating which category or categories are being entered.

Entries should be sent by 8 October to – Beer Writers Competition, c/o  Seal Communications, Commercial Street, Birmingham, B1 1RH

Contact Seal: Nigel Pipkin 0121 616 5800 E: Birmingham@seal.uk.com

Entrants are asked to nominate which category they would like their work to be entered into but the judges reserve the right to consider work for other categories.

Editors, publishers and other third parties can nominate entrants to the competition.

Entrants do not have to be members of the British Guild of Beer Writers – they just have to communicate about beer or beer culture, new products or the ingredients and brewing of beer.

There is no limitation on the number of categories that an individual may enter.

Entries can only be returned if accompanied with a self-addressed, stamped envelope or packaging.

*Michael Jackson (27 March 1942 – 30 August 2007) who was also known as the beer hunter, dedicated more than 30 years to discovering, recording and then sharing the world’s finest beers in his many books, articles and TV programmes. He was the first Chairman of the British Guild of Beer Writers.

Guidelines for entrants can be found at http://www.beerwriters.co.uk/news.php?awards=1&showarticle=23

To book a place at the awards dinner – ticket price is £70 per person or £56 for BGBW individual members. For more information booking at the dinner contact Angie Armitage, at angie@cask-marque.co.uk or on 01206 752212

For more information on the British Guild of Beer Writers Awards contact Tim Hampson Tel: 07768 614283 – Email: tim@infopub.co.uk. Blog: https://beerandpubs.wordpress.com

www.beerwriters.co.uk

Written by timhampson

August 19, 2010 at 9:29 am

Honey – have you got the beer?

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Honey can add luxurious almost magical qualities to beer

And talking of competitions Britain’s bee keepers have launched this year’s competition to find the best honey beer in the world. International tennis players long to have a Wimbledon title to their names. For beekeepers, Britain’s National Honey Show, now in its 79th year, has the same appeal. The show benches are packed with nearly 250 classes showcasing the very best examples of the beekeepers’ craft. A walk around them is an instant education.

Last year saw the introduction of a new class for Honey Beer. It attracted entrants from Cornwall to Scotland. Now the search is on to find the best honey beer for 2010. And it is very easy to enter.

The requirement is for three bottles or cans in any style. It should be commercially available and of course honey must be an ingredient. Gold, silver and bronze medals are the prizes, plus the kudos of success at the world’s largest honey show.

The NHS attracts a good deal of media attention.  Last year several TV crews were present and BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme devoted an entire edition to the show. Already one major BBC TV programme has asked to film this year.

Last year’s worth winner was the highly drinkable Fairtrade Bumble Bee Honey Ale. Brewed by Freeminer, the honey came from wild flowers growing on a Chilean hillside.

Silver went to the distinctive Thornbridge’s Bracia, which was infused with a generous amount of dark and bitter Chestnut Honey. The bronze was won by the exquisite Lovibonds Gold Reserve.

So do you know anyone who produces a packaged beer which uses honey as an ingredient? Sweeten them up and encourage them to enter the competition. And what is your favourite honey beer?

The 2010 National Honey Show will be held at St Georges College, Weybridge, Surrey from 28 to 30 October.

Further information about the Honey Beer class can be obtained from the General Secretary, The Rev H F Capener  showsec@zbee.com

General information about the show and entry forms are available on the NHS website www.honeyshow.co.uk

Written by timhampson

August 18, 2010 at 7:23 am