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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?



Want to lose weight? Swap the wine for beer

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Some years back I was in Bass Brewing Museum, in Burton on Trent, though it might have been called the Coors Visitor Centre by this time. A group of women on the next table were from the local Weightwatchers group. And when it came to lunch, in the spiritual home of British brewing and one of the most important town’s in the world story of beer, they all ordered…….glasses of white wine.

A great pity they didn’t know that people can drink beer without putting on weight. In fact, swapping from wine to beer for just one week would save as many calories as a half-hour jog so some scientists have told me. Research shows that around one-third of men and women wrongly believe that beer has more calories than other alcoholic drinks. In fact, the opposite is true and, when drunk in moderation, beer people lose weight, cut their alcohol consumption and, more generally, supplement a healthy lifestyle.

So cut out the pies and kebabs and eat salad with a drizzle of olive oil instead. Now a takeaway green salad might not sound as exciting as the queue for a burger and chips, but perhaps this research could herald a new trend in late night eateries? According to the boffins half pint of 3.8% bitter contains 85 calories, a 175ml of 12% red plonk has 119 calories, the same size glass of a vino blanc has a tummy expanding 131 calories and a 5 per cent alcopop has 179.

And the good news for alcohol unit counter (yes there are some) is that they should shun wine too and turn to beer. Because beer is the drinks category with the lowest average alcohol content. Beer also contains no fat or cholesterol and very few free sugars. So for someone looking to lose weight, swapping their glass of wine for a beer every day would not only reduce their weekly alcohol intake by seven units – but also cut out more calories than are burned off during a typical 30 minute jog.

So no more beer bellies, but what should our expanding girths? Wine-waisters? Ideas welcome.

The research was published in Beer, the natural choice? http://www.beeracademy.co.uk/about-us/what-does-it-do

Written by timhampson

August 11, 2010 at 4:54 pm