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Search for best beer writer competition – entries close 8 October

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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*. http://www.beerwriters.co.uk/news.php?x=1&showarticle=1609

Cound you follow in the footsteps of Michael Jackson - the Beer Hunter and become beer writer of the year

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.

Winners to be announced at prestige beer banquet

The winners will be announced at the British Guild of Beer Writers annual awards dinner. The event is being held on 25 November at the Radisson Bloomsbury with the meal prepared by Michelin starred chef, Sriram Aylur, from the Quilon Restaurant in London – www.quilon.co.uk.

Sriram will showcase the food of India’s south-west coast and his passion for beer.  The cuisine is light and fragrant offering flavours that will complement and contrast a selection of beer pairings.

Sriram, who first made his name in India as executive chef of the Karavali restaurant in Bangalore, was ranked one of India’s top five chefs; he has since brought his enthusiasm for home-style, south Indian cuisine to London.

Sriram’s menu features a modern and stylish take on traditional flavours with a fabulous beer list to match. Sriram also stands tall on the global stage, each year preparing banquets for delegates at the Davos World Economic Forum.

The judges

Current Beer Writer of the Year Pete Brown has agreed to be chairman of the judges. Pete Brown is author of Man Walks into a Pub, Three Sheets to the Wind and Hops and Glory, and the annual Cask Report.

He will be supported by:

Niki Segnit – Author of this year’s breakthrough cook book The Flavour Thesaurus, a compendium of flavours with recommendations on how to pair them. Heston Blumenthal calls it ‘An original and inspiring resource’ and it’s basically selling copies as fast as Bloomsbury can reprint them.

Harry White – A brewer of thirty years standing, formerly Global Director for Technical Compliance with Molson Coors, recently retired, past president of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, author of several papers covering technical aspects of brewing.

Sarah Bridge – Leisure correspondent at the Mail on Sunday, has written extensively about business issues in leisure retail including the beer and pub industry.

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.

Pictured from left: Budweiser Budvar’s Ian Moss presents current Beer Writer of the Year Pete Brown with the Budweiser Budvar John White Travel Bursary.

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 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

September 24, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Places I’d like to be – Hotel Purkmistr, Pilsen for the third Sun beer festival

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Purkmistr - one of the Czech Republic's new wave of breweries

On the outskirts of Pilsen in the Czech Republic is the Hotel Purkmistr, where a brewery opened in 2007. On a visit last weekend it was a marvel to try their beers. The range includes an unfiltered pale lager, a cherry beer and an interesting Cappuccino flavoured beer.

The hotel's bar is large, spacious and dominated by two copper kettles,

The restaurant food is particularly good with many Czech speciality dishes on the menu. In the English translation one is described as “breast of a brewery shepherdess”. It comprised chicken, cranberries and blue cheese. Now using the word “breast” is as guaranteed to make an Englishman laugh as the word “bottom”. “No that is no mistranslation” said our host – Jan Mlcak from, Czech Tourism and revealing a Rabelaisian streak he said, “In the Czech menu we use the word “tits”. And the dish will look like its description.” So guess where the cranberries will go?

However, I would love to be back there on 18 September as it is to host what Czech beer expert Evan Rail http://www.facebook.com/evanrail, tells me is the best beer festival in the Czech Republic.

There is plenty of space in the garden

More than 140 beers, many from the new wave of Czech brewing will be there as will the innovative Scottish brewer Brew Dog. But interestingly, perhaps the sleeping giant of German brewing could be waking up, as several brewers from the Bamberg area will be making the trip across the border.

For years most of Germany’s brewing industry has been an enigma – for a country with more than 1,000 breweries it is deeply conservative. Yes there are some marvellous regional specialities – Raunchier, alt, the bitter sweet brews from Berlin. But while brewers in America, Italy, Denmark, the UK and now the Czech Republic (just to name some of the countries involved) have embarked on a journey to push beer to new heights. German breweries have stuck with what they know best. Undoubtedly good, but sometimes one yearns for something more – something which assails and caresses the taste buds. Evan tells me that increasingly brewers from Czech Republic and Germany are beginning to swap ideas and develop new brews.

Petr Mic, in front of the brewery's four open fermenters, he says "Euro-Beer tastes all the same"- he wants to do something different.

Sadly I cannot make the 18 September, but next year’s event takes place on 17 September. I might just write it in my diary now.

Hotel Purkmistr, Selská náves 21/2,326 00 Plzeň – Černice

http://www.purkmistr.cz/

Written by timhampson

September 3, 2010 at 11:03 am

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

Three year’s ago, the beer world lost its most influential and passionate advocate – Michael Jackson – the Beer Hunter.

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Michael Jackson - the Beer Hunter

It is hard to believe that it is three years since the death of the world’s greatest beer writer, Michael Jackson. Known as the Beer Hunter, he almost singlehandedly transformed the world of beer, bringing it out of brewers’ tasting rooms into people’s front rooms.

Who would have thought that a train ride from Amsterdam to the Roman Catholic south of the Netherlands would forever change the world of beer, beer writing and brewing? It was 1969 and Michael Jackson a tyro journalist, who had trained on the Huddersfield Examiner and worked in London and Edinburgh, was enjoying his first foreign posting. The sixties were in full swing, and Michael revelled in the city’s sex, rock and roll and jazz cafes with beer and whiskey his drugs of choice. As John Lennon and Yoko Ono enjoyed a bed in the Amsterdam Hilton, Jackson decided to travel to the southern Dutch border to write an article on the uninhibited enjoyment he had been told took place at the region’s pre-lent carnivals.

Jackson throughout his life soon tired of uniformity and he was bored with drinking the city’s ubiquitous Pils beers. He wanted to experience the wider range of beers a friend had said was available. And in an unnamed town, where revellers danced to the sounds of the Beatles, a man in a John Lennon mask handed him a chalice with a darker beer. It was a Trappist beer from Belgium, and in a gulp his life changed. Beer was suddenly much more than an alcoholic liquid in a glass. The following day he travelled to Belgium for the first time – sampling the marvels of De Konnick, Westmalle Dubbel and Tripel and an unidentified Gueuze. John Barleycorn had grabbed his heart and soul. And as the beer flowed, so did the words. He dedicated more than 30 years to discovering, recording and then sharing the world’s finest beers and whiskeys in his many books, articles and TV programmes. It was a journey that took him from Alaska to Patagonia and on to Sri Lanka.

He developed a classification system for the world’s classic beers styles and in doing so created consumer interest that saved many beers from extinction. His writing set the standard for beer enthusiasts and brewers alike. He wrote in depth about different brewing techniques, ingredients, flavour profiles, cultural differences, and food parings.

His writing style was wonderfully erudite and bubbled with humanity and humour. His knowledge of beer was unsurpassable. His genius was to be able to write simply and beautifully about beer and the lives of the people who created them. He was an inspiration to hundreds of brewers worldwide. Jackson knew he would never be as famous as Michael Jackson, the rock star, and that was reflected in his many talks. “Hello, my name is Michael Jackson. No, not that Michael Jackson, but I am on a world tour. My tour is in pursuit of exceptional beer. That’s why they call me the Beer Hunter.”

Michael Jackson, Beer Hunter, was born on March 27 1942. He died on August 30 2007.

So what are your memories of Michael, I’d love to know?

Written by timhampson

August 30, 2010 at 4:04 pm