A local Wolverhampton group are celebrating visiting their 21,000th pub at Bilston’s local following a 35 year journey!
A local group aptly called the ‘Black Country Ale Tairsters’, originating from West Bromwich have spent the last 35 years on a continuous pub crawl, ensuring that they have at least a pint in every single pub in the UK. Originally the group of dedicated Banks’s ale drinkers started off visiting pubs all owned by Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries [now Marston’s] owned pubs, however they have since widened their pints and celebratrf their 21,000th pub on Friday 18th January at their old stomping ground at the White Rabbit in Bilston.
Since 1984 the group, made up of a core of five original ale ‘tairsters’ have visited every corner of the UK, including The Old Forge pub in Inverie, Lochaber, the most remote pub in the UK. Led by West Bromwich man, Pete Hill, Pete has continually bought the group together on these expeditions following a vow to his father, who was part of the group for 30 years but sadly passed away in 2014, to complete their mission of a pint in every UK pub. Along with every pub visit the group’s co-founder Peter Hill asks each landlord for a £1 donation to charity and over the years has managed to raise over £30,000 for various charities, with the most recent fundraising being for West Midlands Air Ambulance.
“We never thought we would get to 21,000 pubs, but what better way to enjoy yourself than with your mates having a pint or two of your favourite ales all over the UK, as you can imagine, we’ve had some fun.” Said Pete Hill.
Karl Osmond, area operations manager for the White Rabbit added: “You couldn’t meet a nicer bunch of guys doing this. There is an obvious charity aspect to their work, raising money whilst having a good time is a testament to them and to celebrate their 21,000th pub with us here at the White Rabbit was an honour and great to have them back in the area they know so well.”
With an estimation of over 40,000 pubs in the UK the adventure will continue for the Black Country Ale Tairsters.
For a bit of background on Pete and his Black Country Ale Taster, you can watch their documentary here. All credit and copyright to Director, Ross Harrison (firstname.lastname@example.org)–
Siobhan McGinn (Mrs Podge), writes to Guild members:
“Firstly, 2019 sees Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours celebrating its 25th anniversary. Podge would have been pleased and I am very proud of this on behalf of both of us.
“Secondly, we got a mention in a Daily Telegraph article last August entitled “Beer Tourism: an idea whose time has come” which stated that amongst beer tour operators “the most well-respected is Podge’s Belgian Beer Tours…” . That was nice.
“Thirdly, spring is not far away, and as we know “In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of a proper thirst-quenching Geuze” (Locksley Hall, Alfred, Lord Tennyson). Working on the next Tour, our LambicLand Tour, is certainly making me thirsty and here is an update of where I have got to so far on this brilliant Tour which explores the world’s most complex beers:
Tour 96 / LambicLand Revisited – Toer de Geuze
Wednesday 1 May 2019 – Monday 6 May 2019
This is our classic lambic beer tour in the area for which Podge invented the name ‘LambicLand’. We are staying at the comfy Hotel Keizershof in Aalst and will take in the bi-annual Toer de Geuze and the best of lambic brewers, blenders, beer restaurants and cafes. We’ll be picking up at 06.15hr at Chelmsford, followed by Dartford, Ashford and Stop24 Folkestone. We are booked on the 09.20hr Eurotunnel Train crossing from Folkestone and on the 19.36hr Eurotunnel return train crossing from Calais with an arrival time of 19.30hr in Folkestone. Over the two days of the Toer de Gueuze, when the lambic brewers and blenders of the Payottenland open their premises to the public we will be visiting the following:
Hanssens in Dworp
Timmermans in Itterbeek
Mort Subite in Kobbegem
De Cam in Gooik
Oud Beersel, Beersel
De Troch at Wambeek
Lindemans Brewery in Vlezenbeek
Boon Brewery in Lembeek
Tilquin in Bierghes (Rebecq)
We will also visit the fantastic, world’s greatest lambic café, In de Verzekering Tegen de Grote Dorst (The Insurance Against Thirst) in Eizeringen which is opening especially for us. We have group meals arranged at the beautiful restaurant-bar Au Nouveau Saint Eloi in Watou (with a beer card of 150 choices), also at De Heeren van Liedekercke, another Lambicland institution. We are working on a meal at 3Fonteinen Restaurant in Beersel, a visit to Armand deBelder’s Lambic-O-Droom in Lot and many other visits to classic bars. I have a special treat for those on tour and have found in our cellars (actually the back bedroom) some bottles of twenty-year-old HORAL Mega Blend from 2009, the first time it was ever blended for the Toer de Geuze from a melange of all the lambics of the extant breweries. We can have a taste of this rarity on Tour!
The Tour cost is £885 per person sharing a twin or double room. The Single Supplement is £225. If you are travelling alone and want to share a room with another traveller please contact me as we are regularly able to pair up travellers in twin rooms to avoid the need for payments of Single Supplements. If you want to join us on this Tour please send the deposit of £120 per person to secure your place. Read More.<http://www.podgebeer.co.uk/tour-96-lambicland-revisited-2019.html>
Here is the latest on our other 2019 Tours:
Tour 97 / The Waterloo Tour: Breweries, Beer and Battlefields of Brabant
Thursday 8 August – Tuesday 13 August 2019
The Tour cost is £895 per person based on sharing in a twin or double room. The Single Supplement is £225. If you are travelling alone and want to share a room with another traveller please contact us as we are regularly able to pair up travellers in twin rooms to avoid the need for payments of Single Supplements. I’m aiming to include a visit to Hougoumont Farm, the key to the battlefield. I’ve also just found a Salamanca Eagle carved from wood from the gates of Hougoumont nestled within the Essex regiment Museum down the road here in Chelmsford, find out more on Tour! If you want to join us on this Tour please send a deposit of £130 per person to secure your place. Read More.<http://www.podgebeer.co.uk/tour-97-the-waterloo-tour-brabants-breweries-beer-battlefields.html>
!! NEW TOUR!! Tour 98 / The In Flanders (Hop) Fields Tour
Friday 27 September – Tuesday 1 October 2019
This Tour is a four-night Tour staying at the pretty Oude Abdij Hotel in Lo at a beautiful time of year. It will explore the beers and hops of West Flanders at the end of the hop picking season, but will also include a unique chance to find out what was going on with beer 100 years ago in this area. More particularly, what British soldiers were drinking in Flanders which caused so many courts martials for drunkenness to take place, making it one of the top ‘crimes’ in the British Army. Siobhan will give a couple of evening lectures revealing new information coming to light in her researches into alcohol and the British army in the Great War from findings at The National Archives in Kew. Let me know if you want to go on the interested list for this one- price to be set later in 2019!
!! NEW TOUR!! Tour 99 / Christmas in Antwerp
Sunday 22 December – Friday 27 December 2019
We will once again be spending Christmas in Antwerp in 2019. I have plans for a meal at a restaurant in the grounds of a beautiful East Flanders castle with the oldest wrought iron suspension bridge in Europe and as if that were not exciting enough, the restaurant is in the brick tower dove-cot with room for 700 pigeons. I can’t wait. Read More.
For those of you who travel to Belgium independently, or if you just want to know more about beer cafes and beer tourism in Belgium, check out Podge’s Belgian City Bar Guide online maps which cover the whole country. Read More.
The Four Elms, Cardiff, scooped the inaugural Parliamentary Pub of the Year award at a ceremony in the House of Commons last night (15th Jan). The pub was picked from fourteen regional winners and was highlighted as an exceptional community pub that represents the important role pubs play within their locality.
The competition was launched in the summer of 2018 by Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Pub Group, Toby Perkins, MP and attracted over 100 entries as MPs across the country took to social media encouraging constituents to vote for their favourite local.
Fourteen finalists gathered in the Terrace Pavilion with media and industry leaders as one of the most important parliamentary votes took place in the nearby chamber. Fresh from the Brexit vote MPs gathered to make an equally meaningful live vote to decide the Parliamentary Pub of the Year. Tension built during the broadcast of each of the finalists videos and votes flooded in revealing the winner by a strong lead.
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, commented:
“It was a tremendous pleasure to be involved in the judging process of the inaugural Parliamentary Pub of the Year Competition. From family friendly pubs and sports pubs that sponsor their local teams, to pubs who do great fundraising work and charitable work such as Meet Up Mondays; all the entries showcased how pubs are at the heart of their community. The quality of the beer and food on offer at all the pubs who entered was also second to none. Although the standard of the competition was so high, The Four Elms produced a fantastic entry and thoroughly deserved to be crowned the Parliamentary Pub of the Year.”
Manager of the Four Elms, Gareth Morgan said, “It is such an honour to receive this national award, and to have it presented to us on such a historic day in the House of Commons.”
Nominated by Labour MP Jo Stevens, Jo said, “I am really proud that the Four Elms have received this top accolade. They represent everything that is best about Cardiff Central. They have a brilliant team in place with a host of loyal customers and are as equally welcoming to new visitors to the pub. It was a pleasure to be part of the competition and I would like to thank my constituents for nominating the many great pubs we have in the area.”
Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Pub Group, Toby Perkins, MP, who launched the competition said: “Tonight was a momentous night for Parliament and a memorable night for all our finalists. The quality of the entries was outstanding and we have a very worth winner in the Four Elms – a business that had the edge in a strong field. The friendly staff, great food and a wide range of beers on offer, coupled with the support given to local sports teams sets this pub apart.”
A major grants fund for scientific research and education in the brewing industry has begun inviting applications for funding in 2019/20.
Under the Brewers’ Research & Education Fund (BREF), applicants have just under two months to submit their bids, with a deadline for funding applications of 31st March 2019. Full details of the applications process can be obtained via the British Beer & Pub Association website.
The BREF supports vital research into projects of potential benefit to the brewing industry, such as improving brewery environmental footprint, dispense hygiene surveys and developing new hop varieties, as well as a range of educational activities.
The fund was created through proceeds from the sale of the BBPA’s original headquarters in Portman Square, central London. The Worshipful Company of Brewers acts as Trustee and administers the fund, with the BBPA promoting the fund and providing the secretariat.
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments:
“The Brewers’ Research & Education Fund has supported many important projects over the years and is an important legacy from the Brewers’ Society and the Institute of Brewing. I’m delighted the fund is open for another year and look forward to receiving applications.”
Michael O’Dwyer, The Clerk to the Brewers’ Company, comments:
“The Brewers’ Research & Education Fund is a great example of the Brewers’ Company’s focus on investing in the future of the brewing industry. As the Trustee of the fund, the Brewers’ Company looks forward to awarding grants to another selection of valuable industry research projects and the opportunity to further education in beer and brewing.”
For further information, please contact:
Nick Lawrie, Digital Communications Manager: 020 7627 9156/ 07824 359 013
David Wilson, Director of Public Affairs: 020 7627 9151/ 07557 405 815
Fully completed application forms (available on the BBPA website) should be sent to Stephen Livens at the British Beer & Pub Association, preferably by e-mail to email@example.com.
The BREF Advisory Committee will review all applications before making a recommendation to the Trustee. Therefore, applicants should ensure that they provide sufficient information for the Committee to fully understand the scope of the proposed project, including details of specific outcomes and how these will benefit the UK brewing sector.
The outcomes of the project should also be clearly supported with details not only of the particular fund objective(s) that are satisfied but also on the anticipated importance, scale and impact of such outcomes.
Applications which are not fully completed or do not contain sufficient detail or clarity will be at a disadvantage in the decision-making process.
As well as taking full account of the BREF terms & conditions (available here), applicants must also ensure that each submitted application fully articulates how the project will satisfy at least one of the Fund objectives:
To promote brewing education, training and research.
To research and educate the public about beer consumption.
To research the composition and nutritional value of beer in relation to diet and wellbeing.
To promote research relating to the environmental and economic sustainability of the brewing sector.
Applications must be received by March 31st 2019. The Fund Advisory Committee will not consider applications received thereafter.
To visit the applications page on the BBPA website, which contains all the details needed to apply for BREF funding, see here.
Germany’s number one premium beer brand Krombacher has kickstarted the year with the launch of #Pourfection2019, its annual competition to win an all-expenses paid, 3-day trip to visit the brewery in Krombach for the annual Reinheitsgebot celebrations in April.
The competition, which aims to teach consumers about the importance of and skill behind perfectly poured beer, is open to both bar staff and consumers around the UK.
Entrants are required to make a video of themselves pouring a Krombacher from a can, bottle or draught tap. They are then asked to share the video via the Krombacher Facebook Fanpage with the hashtags #Krombacher #Pourfection2019.
The entries will be marked on pour quality, originality and consistency in the use of the Krombacher brand and the closing date for entries is February 28th 2019.
The winners, which will be announced on March 22nd 2019, will be then be flown to Germany for Krombacher’s International Party at the brewery over the weekend of April 26-28th2019.
To showcase the knowledge, skills and technique needed to pull off the perfect Krombacher pour, a series of videos have been produced by the brewery and along with full terms and conditions can be found at www.krombacher.com/pourfection.
Stephan Kofler, UK & Italy Sales & Marketing Director for Krombacher, said:
“We’re delighted to relaunch our Pourfection competition for 2019 which gets bigger and receives more entries every year. It’s a great way to teach bar staff and consumers about the perfect way to pour our beer and always generate some excitement on our growing social media channels. Our Master Brewers work hard to produce the perfect beer so when it reaches a customer’s lips, we want it to be served in the best possible way. Hopefully this fun competition will continue to raise pouring standards around the UK.”
Krombacher beers have been produced exclusively in the small town of Krombach, nestling in the beautiful Siegerland Hills of Westfalia, central Germany since 1803, adhering to the German Beer Purity Law of 1516 (Reinheitsgebot).
Relying on artistry, experience and above all passion, Krombacher’s 55 Master Brewers ensure no corners are cut in their pursuit of perfection.
Combining time-consuming methods of the traditional German brewers with state-of-the art technology, the brewery only uses the best, 100% natural and wholesome ingredients including the finest two-row summer barley, Siegel hops from Hallertau and its own specially cultivated yeast.
For the precious water, Krombacher beers benefit from the local Felsquellwasser® found in 48 wells within 3km of the brewery. The special water is especially soft and low in mineral content making it perfect for brewing.
The proudly independent, family-run brewery has achieved consecutive year on year double digit UK sales growth since 2012 with over 300 draught taps now in operation in the UK.
Success in the ON-trade for its comprehensive draught, bottle and can offering plus it’s low/no alcohol range, has also bolstered OFF-trade sales with the brand now listed in Booths, Majestic, Morrisons, Ocado and Tesco.
Krombacher is imported into the UK by Morgenrot and Oakham Ales.
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today commented on the findings of a survey by the Portman Group, which found that there has been a boom in the popularity of low and no alcohol alternatives.
Figures from the survey show that nearly a quarter (24%) of British drinkers have either already switched some of their drinking to low alcohol alternatives or would consider doing so in the next six months.
The findings follow ongoing investment and innovation in low and no alcohol beers by UK brewers, which has been key to the low and no alcohol boom, says the BBPA.
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, comments:
“The boom in the popularity of low and no alcohol products, as shown by the Portman Group’s survey, is very encouraging. With the significant investment and innovation in low and no alcohol beers by UK brewers, beer has been a key part of this growth.
“The skill and craft needed to brew low and no alcohol beers is no different to normal strength beers, meaning they taste great and quality is not compromised. With a bigger range of low and no alcohol beers than ever before, there has never been a better time to give them a go!
“Although we are experiencing a boom in the low and no alcohol part of the category, there is a real need for the Government to engage and help our industry to promote these products and bring the guidance on alcohol descriptors in line with that of our European neighbours. There is growing interest in moderate alcohol consumption as the survey by the Portman Group shows and we need everyone to work together to make it easier for consumers to understand what is on offer and create real choice.”
For further information, please contact:
Nick Lawrie, Digital Communications Manager: 020 7627 9156/ 07824 359 013
 Figure from YouGov PLC. Total sample size was 2004 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th – 20th December 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
Drinkers heading for the North’s biggest beer and cider celebration are also heading for a problem. The choice of beers – real ales & modern keg may overwhelm them.
The festival, now in its sixth year, has revealed the full list of beers and ciders which will feature at Manchester Central in just over a week’s time – a massive choice of 745 different drinks for drinkers participating in the national Tryanuary campaign to sample. With ciders, perrys, fruit wines, mead and even a gin bar, there’s sure to be a drink for every taste.
Beers from a whopping total of 218 different breweries will be featured at the festival which runs from Thursday 24th to Saturday 26th January at Manchester Central’ This massive selection of beers will be spread over 20 bars including the new Beers From the Wood Bar and an expanded Irish Bar.
Building on last year’s sell-out tasting sessions, Manchester Beer and Cider Festival will give drinkers the chance to hear from three of the country’s leading beer experts. They will be running tutored tastings, suitably accompanied by generous samples of some of the 600+ ales on offer.
Kirsty Walker, Roger Protz and John Clarke will be talking about some of their favourite beer styles, showcasing the breadth of taste and history of real ale in the UK and further afield. All three have gathered reputations as entertaining writers and presenters. Their combined expertise will be available to selected audiences on two of the three days the festival opens to the public. Their subjects will range from the story of Belgian beers, the tradition of serving ales from wooden barrels, the mystique of lambic beers from mainland Europe and how beer can best be matched with biscuits.
Kirsty Walker is a North West-based beer writer, blogging as ladysinksthebooze. It is her first appearance at the Manchester Central venue. Kirsty has readily taken the challenge laid down by festival organisers to pair biscuits with some of the tremendous selection of beers from the UK and beyond.
She said: “Obviously the big question is – to dunk or not to dunk? I am confident that following this talk, cheese and wine evenings will be a thing of the past, and Beer and Biscuit evenings will reign supreme.”
Guild member Roger Protz is probably Britain’s best known beer writer. He edited more than 20 editions of the annual CAMRA Good Beer Guide before retiring after the 2018 edition. He is an experienced broadcaster and author with prolific output both here and in the USA. He will be talking about the history and practice of serving beer from wooden casks.
John Clarke is well-known in Greater Manchester beer circles, contributing newspaper columns as well as editing the popular “Opening Times” magazine. Currently chair of the Stockport and South Manchester branch of CAMRA, John has an easy-going, witty and expert presenting style. He’ll be sharing his passion for some of the stronger beers available at the festival including Belgian and spontaneously fermented lambic styles.
Deputy Organiser and Guild member Peter Alexander said: “We are delighted three nationally-recognised experts will be dispensing wisdom and wit as well as drinks. Each speaker is selecting five beers for the enjoyment of their audiences.”
Guild members are entitled as Press to enter the Trade and Press Session- to be held on Wednesday 23rd January between 3pm and 9pm – free of charge. Just let Peter know you will attend on organiser.deputy@mancbeerfestbefore the event and your name will be on the door.
With no and low alcohol beers growing by 150% over the last four years (CGA), it was no surprise that the Guild’s recent seminar on the subject was a sellout, as individual and corporate members packed the Commercial Tavern in Shoreditch to hear from a handful of experts and sample a range of beers.
The speakers were:
Laura Willoughby, who founded Club Soda in 2015. Describing the club as ‘Weightwatchers for drinkers’, Laura outlined its achievements and ambitions. Club Soda’s Mindful Drinking Festival took place last weekend (12 + 13 January).
Gemma Catlin, buyer at City Pub Group, whose non alcoholic beer offer grew from 4% to 6% of PPL between 2017 and 2018 and has been an important part of the group’s policy of inclusivity.
Becky Keane, founder of FitBeer, who explained their approach of creating a great beer that happens to be alcohol free. FitBeer highlight the beer’s positive qualities rather than the ‘without’ : all natural, vitamins, isotonic and low calorie.
Rob Fink of Big Drop Brewery, who have one of the biggest ranges in the low/no sector. Rob explained that he created Big Drop after giving up alcohol himself and despairing of the non-alcoholic drinks offer. He highlighted how no/low beers were helping to keep pubs alive as a growing number of people choose not to drink alcohol, and finished by asking writers in the audience to ‘call out’ the bad beers in the sector and praise the good ones to improve its overall quality as it grows.
Finally, Fergus Fitzgerald, Adnams head brewer, talked about the development of low/no alcohol beers at the brewery, in particular Ghost Ship no alcohol, produced through the reverse osmosis process. The beer has been a huge success and is the biggest seller on the Adnams website.
After the presentations and discussion, Guild members enjoyed sampling beers from several brewers.
Adnams: Ghost Ship
GreeneKing: Old Speckled Hen
St Peter’s Without
Thanks to Guild director Natalya Watson who organised the event, to all speakers and brewers.
“A Hoppy Pilsner Played Through a Distortion Pedal”
Metallica and Arrogant Consortia (a Stone Brewing imprint) have announced Enter Night Pilsner. Launching in the US now, and internationally this spring, Enter Night Pilsner is a unique expression of the shared values that have helped define Metallica and Stone Brewing: fiercely independent, transcending genres, shattering preconceptions and challenging convention.
Enter Night Pilsner is the outcome of a genuine creative spark between two entities that grew to become international forces of nature in their respective worlds, yet came from the fringes. An intensity of vision combined with a shared middle finger to the status quo makes Enter Night Pilsner a chorus of collaboration worth celebrating. The members of Metallica and the leadership of Stone participated at every step alongside their talented brewing team. From Metallica’s Bay Area HQ and the brewery HQ in San Diego, to many beers backstage at shows, the spirit of collaboration was powerful. Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and Stone co-founder Greg Koch even enjoyed multiple occasions at Lars’ home ‘discussing’ (industry-speak for ‘drinking’) beers. After all, there was only one chance to get this right, and anything less than an incredible result was not an option.
“The amount of ideals and outlooks that Metallica and Stone Brewing share are endless,” says Lars. “I’m always blown away about how similar our paths forward have been. Our view of the worlds that we each inhabit, of creativity and process, and sense of place in relation to our peers and ‘The Man’ are almost identical. This collaboration is beyond effortless and pure, and we can’t wait to share this incredible beverage with everyone out there.”
“I remember seeing Metallica on the cover of a magazine just after the Black Album was released,” recalls Greg. “On the cover was a quote that resonated with me to this day: ‘Metallica didn’t go to number one, number one came to them.’ I loved what that meant. Do it your way and never compromise your art. If you’re great at what you do people will come. I view that simple quote as one of the founding philosophical elements of Stone Brewing.”
Aside from its intense drinkability, craft enthusiasts will note Enter Night’s remarkable flavor and aroma which artfully combine the beauty of a traditional Northern German Pilsner with Arrogant Consortia’s modern overtones of aggression. The resulting genre-defying pilsner is hop forward with sound bitterness on the finish. It first appeared for the most worthy few in exclusive releases at Metallica’s shows this past fall. The beer will gain full US distribution in the first quarter 2019, and its global domination will roll out this spring covering Europe, Australia, China and beyond.
Arrogant Consortia is a wholly owned imprint of Stone Brewing. Its often aggressive and always self-righteous lineup of beers includes Arrogant Bastard Ale and Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard Ale, among others. The world-renowned brewery is well-known for waving the proud flag of independent craft brewing, while rallying against the bland, boring nature of industrialized, commoditized ‘fizzy yellow beer.’ Enter Night Pilsner is brewed to be enjoyed fresh and is best enjoyed with your friends… be it in bars, backyards, or tailgates… with your favorite music.
Arrogant Consortia and Metallica make the perfect collaboration: A fiercely independent band hooks up with a rebellious craft brewery. Both have been able to innovate and remain on the cutting edge while pushing boundaries of their respective genres. This is a bold Pilsner that has all the elegance of a traditional Pilsner, but as if it was played through a distortion pedal.