Ferment Issue 54 // The Netherlands


Meet the amazing brewers building their own national craft beer traditions.







772397 696005


Richard Croasdale


Ashley Johnston





Windmills of your mind, p12

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This issue of Ferment was first

printed in June 2020 in Poland, by Elanders.

All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole

or in part without written permission is

strictly prohibited. All prices are correct at

the time of going to press but are subject

to change.

We’re just coming out of the hottest Spring on record as

we finish this issue so, apart from being in the midst of a

once-in-a-century health crisis and the free world burning

with unchecked inequality and racism, there’s at least that.

Staying firmly on the bright side, we’re back in the Netherlands

this issue, confirming why it’s one of our favourite craft beer spots

in Europe. Not only do you have that awesome Belgian influence,

but there’s also a real and growing thirst for US/UK craft styles.

Throw in some of the most inventive and least encumbered brewers

anywhere in the world, and you get something pretty damn exciting.

Matt Curtis and Mark Dredge give us the old one-two, in praise of

punchy beer styles and, in particular, the ever-divisive New England

IPA, while Katie Mather speaks to the experts about how to throw a

non-boring pub quiz. We also have a glorious return for our regular

homebrew section (which would have been more glorious if we’d

been able to get some ingredients together for an actual brew, but

these are exceptional times).

We also take you on a virtual road trip around the craft beer

hidden gem that is Queensland, Australia, discovering how great

breweries can lead to unforgettable adventures in some of Earth’s

most extraordinary environments.

We hope you enjoy this issue in the sunshine, hanging out with

family and friends, circumstances permitting. And, however weird

things have been, let’s all try to be conscious of and grateful for the

privileges we have.



Got a Beer52 customer service query? Call 0131 285 2684,

email support@beer52.com, or on social media @beer52hq




Matthew Curtis is an award-winning

freelance beer writer, photographer

and podcaster based in London, UK.




Mark Dredge is an award-winning beer

and food expert based in London. He has

written four books including The Best Beer

in the World, where he travelled the world

looking for the perfect pint.







Katie is a beer blogger and part-time

goth who loves writing essays about pub

culture. She’s also a monthly guest on BBC

Radio Lancashire where she speaks about

local beer. @Shinybiscuit



Anthony is an accredited Beer Sommelier

and freelance writer based in London.

When he’s not writing about beer he runs

tastings and beer tours. @agladman



We’re back in one of our favourite beer


Certified Cicerone® and beer & food writer,

Melissa Cole is one of the UK’s leading beer

experts. Author of Let Me Tell You About Beer,

international beer judge, collaboration brewer,

sommALEier and regular festival presenter.

Jonny is a London-based beer writer, author

and film maker. As well as being founder

of Youtube’s Craft Beer Channel, he works

as head of marketing at Cave Direct Beer

merchants. @jonnygarrett


Meet one of the most recognisable breweries in

the world






Four brothers who helped shape Dutch craft

As founder of Dead Hungry, Alexandre has

been creating incredible recipes for Ferment.


Host of “The Zeitgeist” on The Modern Mann

Podcast, Ollie keeps his finger on the pulse so

we don’t have to. @Ollieep


The story of a beer geek who made his dreams

come true

By Craig Collins @CraigComicsEtc & Mark Brady @HolidayPirate


There’s nothing small about this little owl


Love it or loathe it, haze is now part of the



Sick of online pub quizzes? Here’s how to do it



How the lockdown created a new generation of



The BeerTube stars you need to follow


We find a little bit of paradise in north-eastern Australia


Alex Paganelli gets weird with some Dutch classics

84 BeeR school

Get in touch with your beer heritage

90 beer guide

All the beers in your box

WORDS: Richard Croasdale

t’s great to be back in the

Netherlands, even if the ongoing

lockdown has made this more a of

virtual tour than we’d like. It’s such

a creative market, where brewers

feel liberated to pick their favourite

traditions from all over the world and run

with them in creative ways.

It wasn’t always like this though. Bart

van Kleef from Uiltje brewery trains

would-be beer sommeliers in the history of

Dutch brewing, and has studied its decline

and the corresponding rise in German and

Belgian styles in his home market.

“At the end of the 19th century, the

Netherlands were known for some

distinct regional styles; lots of little

regions here would bring out their own

type of beer. But that all fell apart after

the introduction of Bavarian-style lagers.

By the time we’d been through the

First and Second World Wars, with the

shortages of ingredients they brought,

pretty much our whole brewing heritage

was gone. That left the field wide open

for brewers with capital to step in with

mass-produced lagers that spoke to






“That remained the case until the 1980s,

when a handful of smaller breweries

popped up in response to the dominance

of lager and started making top-fermenting

beers in the Belgian tradition. At the high

point of that decade, we had around 25

breweries in the country, but most on a

very small scale.”

This all changed between 2005 and

2010 though, with an explosion of new

brewers inspired by what they saw in other

nations and by the home-grown success of

De Molen, which led the charge in 2004.

Today, there are over 700 breweries in

The Netherlands, which, considering its

relatively small population, makes it one of

the most brewery-dense countries in the


As the scene has grown, of course, it’s

also continued to evolve, as Pim Zomerdijk

from De Moersleutel brewery observes:

“Dutch drinkers have really come round

to exploring other styles over the past few

years. When everyone just drank pilsners

or the easy Belgian styles, craft breweries

were under a lot of pressure to do the

same. But tastes really are changing, and

with better routes to export markets you

can build a good business on more ‘craft’

styles these days.”

Menno Olivier, founder of De Molen,

agrees. And he should know, having

watched this transformation play out in his

own business.

“Especially when you’re the first one

pushing at that door with unfamiliar beer

styles, you really see the change. A lot of

people made a turn to craft, but it’s still

less than 5% of the total market, so there

are still a lot of people still to turn, because

they’re still larger boys.

“A lot of the time it’s just about

opportunity though; I’m rebuilding a

house, and the guys here after work,

they all get a beer. It’s my beer, because

Heineken doesn’t come into my house. So,

they have a choice. One of the oldest guys

is 61, and he loves our New England IPA!

People try it, they love it, they tell their

friends; that’s how you start a fire.”

While we in the UK may have a slightly

blinkered view that the Netherlands

consists almost solely of Amsterdam,

the breweries in this month’s box are

testament to the fact that it pays to

widen your net. There’s a real sense of

camaraderie and respect among the better

craft brewers across the nation. “We’ll

regularly get together and talk about

trends, even though there’s obviously

some competition between us; we’re all

still pushing to make craft beer a greater

We’re all still pushing to make

craft beer a greater proportion

of the total Dutch market

proportion of the total Dutch market,” says


Yet there’s also a hint of unease that the

market may be oversaturated in terms of

the sheer number of breweries, and that

a good many may not be strong enough –

either commercially or in terms of their

quality – to survive the current difficulties.

“We have so many breweries here

now,” says Menno. “Even with export, it’s

too many for a population of our size, all

fighting for the same draft points. We’ll

manage, because we have some flesh on

our bones, but I think some of them won’t

survive the drop in sales from this corona


This danger could be exacerbated by the

fact that, in recent years, many Dutch craft

brewers have moved away from contract

brewing – which has been almost the norm

in this part of the world – in favour of their

own bricks and mortar.

Menno continues: “When you rent a

brewery, you’re in less danger than if you

just invested in a lot of kit. Some of them

opened just a couple of weeks before we

got the lockdown, so I don’t how it’s looking

for them. We’ll all just have to wait and see

how things look after this is all over, but

I’m sure it will reshape things, yes.”

There is undoubtedly still room for

the best breweries to steal market share

from the macro players though, and as the

Dutch craft scene grows in confidence and

world standing, excellent new brewers will

inevitably rise up to join the ranks, with

their own fresh ideas. As they forge a new

brewing heritage for the Netherlands, I’m

curious as to whether it will simply be an

evolution of global trends, or whether we

might see a resurgence in those traditional

regional styles that were killed off more

than a century ago. I asked Uiltje’s Bart.

“You can go to the archives in cities that

were historically known as brew cities, and

find clues of these older recipes,” he says.

“People have been recreating ghost beers!

For example, Kuit is now recognised as a

style by the Brewer’s Association, though

that’s pretty much the only traditional style

being brewed now. So, sure, we all brew

IPAs and barley wines because that’s what

the market wants today, but these things

come and go, so why not traditional Dutch





With its iconic windmill home

on the banks of the ‘Oude

Rijn’ river, in the village

of Bodegraven, Brouwerij de Molen

(meaning ‘the mill’) is one of the world’s

most instantly recognisable breweries,

and has been a driving force behind

Dutch craft beer since the day it

opened its doors in 2004.

With a hugely varied roster of beers,

ranging from strong English barley

wines to stouts, lagers and saisons, it

has over the years managed to achieve

the magic combination of consistently

nailing everything it’s turned its hand

to, yet remaining as experimental and

ground-breaking as it ever was.

At the centre of De Molen’s story

is its founder, the gruff but charming

Menno Olivier. After 12 years of

brewing experience, Menno decided

the time was right to start his own

brewery, initially in the slightly less


There is no dispute where the Netherlands craft

beer revolution began. Richard Croasdale meets

Menno Olivier, the man behind De Molen

glamorous setting of his garage. Luckily

for everyone, just as he was thinking

about his next steps in 2004, the

local windmill ‘De Arkduif’ became

available, and he saw it was a perfect


The brewery was renamed Brouwerij

de Molen, for obvious reasons, and

joined by the Brouwcafé de Molen, a

beer-focused restaurant, tasting room

and beer shop. Five years later, in 2009

John Brus arrived on the scene as

Menno’s partner in crime and, together,

the pair planned their path through

what they already identified as The

Netherland’s nascent craft beer scene.

A key part of this plan was a serious

bump in capacity, which meant moving

De Molen’s production brewing in

2011 to a new brewhouse just 60

metres down the road, while keeping

DeArkduif on for the Brouwcafé and as

the brewery’s spiritual home.

“When I started, I was doing crazy

things and people thought I was some

sort of Neanderthal or something,

because there was nothing else

like this,” says Menno. “It took me a

couple of years to get known, but then,

especially when we could have people

come to the brewery and see all the

shiny stainless steel, we finally began to

get some acceptance.”

These early years weren’t easy though,

in a market dominated by imported

lager, says Menno; there was simply no

domestic demand for the kind of quality,

flavoursome beers that were already

gouging big lager’s hegemony in America

and other parts of Europe.

“It was either lager at that time, or

The Brouwcafé




Belgian beer. Some of those Belgian

guys still think they make the best beer

in the world!” he says with a laugh.

“So initially we hardly sold anything at

home, to be honest, because that door

was shut. At one time, around 80% of

our sales were export, but gradually

people here began to discover what

was happening in the rest of the

world, and found they already had

an experimental brewery in The

Netherlands; that’s when things started

to take off here.”

Fast forward to 2020, and export

is down to around 25%, overtaken by

surging domestic demand, though it’s

still an important part of the business,

with beers going to markets including

Japan, Brazil, Norway, Spain, India,

Canada, the US, Denmark, Poland and,

yes, even to Belgium. The brewhouse

is now home to a team of 18, including

Menno and John, working hard to meet

demand for the old favourites while

still pushing in exciting new directions.

Menno’s view of this continuing

evolution is interesting; I put it to him

that there’s a restlessness in many

creative brewers – a constant rolling

excitement for the next brew – but this

doesn’t quite ring true.

“Restlessness is I think not the

right word for me,” he says. “I’m not

impatient like that. We’re driven

more by wanting to always get better

at brewing, even now. When we’re

developing a new recipe, it will often

be because of something we’ve tried

before, but feel we can improve upon.

“I used to believe you could only

make great beer in a small brewery,

but I’ve changed my mind about that. If

you can put in the equipment you need

and invest in a proper lab, you have so


much more control; you can get a core

range that’s completely consistent, which

then allows you to experiment with the

other hand. Sure, we could just say our

beers are as good as they can possibly

be and probably still grow the business,

but that’s not why we do this. The day I

stop thinking of new recipes I think will

be the day I die.”

This approach sees Menno and John

release a new, unique beer every six

weeks or so, alongside the steady range

of around 20 year-round beers and a

programme of prolific collaborations

with international breweries.

De Molen is such a global ambassador

for Dutch brewing that I’m curious

Brouwerij de Molen has an internal workshop for mentally

disabled people. In close cooperation with the Philadelphia

foundation and accompanied by their own monitor, they

support the production process of Molenbeers. An average

of about 14 of these colleagues assist with labelling the

bottles, folding the boxes, cleaning up and other useful work.

whether Menno feels any kind of

pressure or responsibility for setting the

direction and pace for the hundreds of

breweries that have followed directly in

its wake.

“Nope,” he answers, candidly. “I

mean, everybody’s responsible for

their own brewing and is entitled to

their own opinion. It’s enough to feel

responsible for what I’m doing, without

worrying about anyone else. Well… okay,

I can be rude to another brewery if I

think their beer is not okay, but that’s

only because if people start saying

Dutch beer is crap that will hurt my

sales too!”

John Brus and Menno Olivier




Richard Croasdale meets the Dutch brewery whose

dedication to doing its own thing has made it an icon

It’s surprisingly rare to find a craft

brewery that will acknowledge

that its beer isn’t for everyone, let

alone make it a marketing point. Yet,

considering De Moersleutel’s launch

beer was a blended imperial stout,

it’s already clear we’re dealing with a

pretty rare craft brewery. “Why would

you do that,” I ask co-founder Pim

Zomerdijk, perhaps a little rudely.

“Were you trying to make a big splash

with a challenging, unfamiliar beer?”

“No,” replies Pim in his usual measured

tone, “it’s just what we felt like


Fundamentally, De Moersleutel

has built its considerable success on

unselfconsciously ploughing its own

furrow, seemingly without expectations

or heed for what its potential

customers might want to drink. It’s the

kind of self-belief that has propelled

the brewery from hobby to one of

the most respected names in Dutch

craft; in fact, it’s probably not too

controversial to say that, alongside De

Molen, De Moersleutel has contributed

the most to driving the nation’s beery


“I don’t see anything wrong with

brewing crowd-pleasers, and a lot of

really good Dutch craft brewers do

have great Trippels, for example. Those

just aren’t the styles we’d choose to

drink, so we’ve never been interested

brewing them. It was never part of

some great strategy; we’ve always just

brewed what we wanted, and if enough

people enjoyed it then we’ve brewed


Another unusual thing: the brewery

was founded by four brothers (who

look eerily similar), from a family of

brilliant brewer/engineers. In a sense,

Pim is the black sheep of the quartet

in the sense that he studied business,

whereas his siblings – Tom, Rob and

Max – are all mechanical engineers.

Perhaps less surprisingly then, De

Moersleutel means “the wrench”.

“It’s certainly interesting working

with family, but there are definitely

more positives for us I think,” says Pim.

The answer is that everyone has their




own role, so we’re not all treading on

each other. And it means we can have

far more… honest conversations with

each other than we could have outside

the family, because we know it will be

okay after.”

The brewery started out while

the brothers were still studying,

and originally consisted of a single

fermentation vessel in a back room of

their father’s brewery. On their free

evenings and weekends, they would

brew on the commercial kit and fill

the fermenter one batch at a time.




Gradually, extra fermentation vessels

were added, then a brewkit, followed

by a larger brewkit, and eventually the

move to its own dedicated site.

Even as De Moersleutel has grown

though, its ethos doesn’t seem to have

been compromised at all. Even the big

business decisions have been driven

by the need to brew beer the brothers

could be completely happy with, as

Pim explains: “We started off with a

manual hand bottling line, which was a

real pain in the ass and caused us a lot

of problems with oxidation, so we had

to stop brewing IPAs for a while, until

we’d got a canning line set up.

“We’re still best known for our

imperial dark beers and barrel ageing,

though we’ve also been doing a lot of

big, punchy IPAs. Kettle sours were

next – we’re doing a lot of those. We

generally try to really nail one broad

category of beer, rather than just going

out with 100 styles right from the start.

The response to our kettle sours has

been great; again, it’s something where

you can really pack in a lot of flavour

and make something that’s quite


The brothers’ father, who was so

supportive in getting them set up, is

still very hands-on, and drops into the

brewery most days after his own work

finishes, to lend a hand and share a

drink. “He really has played such an

important part in this – such a clever

guy,” says Pim. “He’s probably a better

engineer than any of us!”

We’re thrilled to have De Moersleutel

in the box this month, not only as a

pioneer of the Dutch scene, but also

as a brewery that truly embodies the

values of authenticity and faith in their

customers’ good taste.



WORDS: Richard Croasdale

One of the things I’ve really

missed during lockdown is the

opportunity to actually visit

the breweries going into the box – it

really helps get a feel for what makes

them tick (and I usually get a wee

taster from the tanks, which certainly

doesn’t hurt). So I was delighted

when Frontaal’s Jaap van Pruijssen

suggested a Facetime virtual tour

of its facility in Breda, close to the

border with Belgium.

“This site we’re in right now is a

former candy factory,” explains Jaap,

wandering between rows of gleaming

fermentation vessels. “They moved in

2014 to Eastern Europe, and our plan

was to start brewing here in 2016,

but it took a long time to get all the

licenses and other admin in order. So

in 2015 we did a crowdfunding round

and set up initially on a very small

100 litre kit, just to get going.

Then we switched to 200 litres,

then to 650 litres, and then around

April 2017, we switched to doing

gypsy brewing to get enough volume

to start saving for this brewery.

Summer 2018, we did another round

of crowdfunding – each of our

investors holds real equity in the

brewery through something called a

C Certificate – and we finally opened

in March last year.”

Frontaal is the brainchild of founder

Roel Buckens, and is the result of his

personal odyssey through different

beer styles and cultures in search of

unfamiliar flavours. Over a number

of years, before he’d even considered

opening a brewery of his own, Roel

soaked up as much knowledge as

he could lay his hands on, through

brewery visits and a mountain of

brewing literature. This journey is

reflected in the ethos of the brewery

and the style of the beers it produces;

its mantra is “beer for thought” and

it seeks to “create tastes, colours and

smells in the beer which stimulates the

drinker to wonder about what those

elements are caused by.”

In top-line terms, Frontaal’s focus

is on hoppy beers, which makes

sense given Roel’s international craft

education. It’s what the brewers drink

and enjoy, and what gives the brewery

an edge among Dutch craft aficionados.

Of its four core beers though, two are

brewed for a more general market that

still demands Belgian styles: a wheat

beer and a blonde.

The beers that are probably closest

to our DNA are Bulldog, our IPA and

Rhodesian, which is our barley wine,”

continues Jaap. “The wheat and the

blonde are there because the Dutch

market is really into those kind of

beers – if you’re not selling those

beers, you’re just stupid, like a British

brewer not making a pale ale. So

that’s how we built up our core range

grade; one half is because the mass

market wants it, and the other half it’s

because that’s who we are.”

Recipe creation is very much

a team effort, with the sales guys

feeding back to the brewers on

what is working well in the market,

while the four brewers inject their

own creativity and invention. The

result is beers – particularly the





brewery’s many specials – that are

supremely drinkable, on-track with

current trends, and also distinctively

flavoured. In short, the best of all


Frontaal’s sophisticated label art is

a cut above the usual craft fare, and

I’m not surprised to hear the artist

Jenna is a highly regarded illustrator

in the Netherlands, working for

national newspapers and magazines.

“We’ve worked with Jenna from

the beginning, so she’s a huge part

of the brand and we’re very lucky

to have her. For the core range, we

try to build in a line so people can

see the black and white labels. Then

we have a certain setup for one offs,

and another for collaborations and

our barrel-aged beers. I know this

is something that divides opinion in

the craft world, but we really believe

the label artwork is very important,

because like it or not you are

competing for attention.”

At the same time as Frontaal made

its long-awaited move to the candy

factory, it also took the opportunity

to open a particularly good looking

taproom, with 31 taps of its own and

curated guest beers. I watch jealously

from my spare room, as Jaap lounges

at the bar.

“When we first started brewing, it

was out of an old shipping container;

now, as you can see, that container

forms the structure of our bar here,

with 31 taps including some guest

beers. Business picked up in a very

nice, natural way, but unfortunately

of course we’ve had to close the bar

because of Coronavirus,” says Jaap.

“But this is an important place. It’s

important from a cash flow perspective,

because we can sell our beers in our

own bar, but also from an experience

perspective. We believe in the end to

end experience; people come here to

the brewery because they want to see

the brewers and they want to taste

fresh beer. And we really believe that

there is no brewery who can survive

without their own taproom.

“So, our regular customers are more

We really believe that

there is no brewery who

can survive without

their own taproom

locals of course. But the train station

is 500 metres away, which is one of

the reasons we wanted to move here.

It’s very easy to travel to here and get

home at the end of the night, so our

‘local’ area is effectively much bigger

than it would be otherwise. We get a lot

of beer geeks coming over all around

The Netherlands and even across

the border from Belgium. That said,

we’re not a central location, so we still

have to give people a reason to make

the journey, with events and special


Even over the sometimes unreliable

video call, Frontaal looks better than

any real candy factory I’ve visited,

so I’m confident that by the time you

read this, and the Dutch lockdown

has hopefully ended, beer geeks and

regulars alike will be flocking to the

brewery in their droves.




This unpronounceable Dutch brewery blew us

away in the Beer52 tasting panel, so Richard

Croasdale caught up with Uiltje, to get the

inside track on its punchy, hop-forward ales

Uiltje has been brewing in its current

swanky brewery since 2016, but before

this, like many Dutch breweries,

it contract brewed its beers for the first

four years of its life, at Jopen brewery.

Uiltje’s founder Robert started his journey

working behind the bar at Jopen, but as his

homebrew hobby became more serious,

the owners spotted his talent and moved

him onto the brewery floor. It was a natural

progression for him to move from his garage

onto the commercial kit he was using in his

day job, and Uiltje was born.

With his background in the precise

and technical world of contract

brewing, it’s no surprise that, when

Robert made the decision to strike

out on his own in 2015, he invested

heavily in kit, with the support of

a highly successful crowdfunding

scheme. His four-vessel brewkit and

large fermentation hall were arguably

over-specified for what he needed at

the time, but they’ve allowed Uiltje to

produce excellent beers in technically

challenging styles from day one, as

well as scaling up production to meet

growing demand.

All of which sounds rather sterile

and joyless, yet the brewery and the

beers it produces are anything but.

With a reputation for being hopforward,

in a market still dominated

by lagers and Belgian influenced craft

beers, Uiltje’s IPAs and pale ales are

like hoppy liquid sunshine, as good

as anything you’d find in more hopcentric

beer markets.

There’s still a lot of influence from

our southern neighbours when it

comes to beers and beer styles,” says

the brewery’s Bart van Kleef. “When I

started working professionally in this

industry about, let’s say, 15 years ago,

nobody here ever heard of an IPA. I

remember the first American IPA I

ever had, which was Humming Ale, by

Anchor, I was blown away. How can

you call this a beer? This is something

completely different.”

Trying not to sound like too much

of a fanboy, I remark that tasting

Uiltje’s flagship IPA, Bird of Prey for

the first time reminded me of those

lucky occasions visiting the US, when

I’ve been able to grab a can right off a

brewery’s packaging line.

“That’s great to hear – it’s such an

emotional response! My two dearest

memories when it comes to beer

is years ago in Ellon, at Brewdog,

grabbing a can of Punk IPA from their

canning line, then again at the St.

Arnold brewery in Texas. I’ve been

to hundreds of breweries, but those

are the times I remember being really

blown away by a beer.”

This makes complete sense, given

Uiltje’s borderline obsessive pursuit

of freshness. One of the key reasons

for its success has been its focus on

freshness, perhaps best demonstrated

by its innovative ‘Fresh & Fast’ service,

in which beers are transported cold to

subscribers’ doorsteps within 48 hours

of having been packaged. It’s also




why – aside from a few supermarkets

that still demand bottles – Uiltje

insists on canning all of its beers, even

though this is far from the norm in the

Netherlands. “It’s what the beer would

choose if it would talk,” says Bart.

There’s a growing understanding

here that cans really are best,” he

continues. “Bird of Prey, is now being

served in a famous three-star Michelin

restaurant. There’s a video on YouTube

explaining why they chose an IPA for

a food pairing and why it’s in a can.

And they’ll serve the can at the table;

they’ll put it on ice, with a wine glass,

and pour it at the table. We’re so, so

proud of that.”

But it’s not all about the hop-bomb

IPAs; Robert also has a serious soft spot

for big barrel-aged beauties, as is clear

from Uiltje’s impressively diverse barrel

collection. While they’re aimed more at

the beer geek end of the market, Bart

says many customers will pick up a can

(yes, even the sticky imperial stouts are

canned) along with a summer six-pack

of Bird of Prey.

“We’ve brewed 245 beers in

total, and a lot of those have been

small batches of dark beers and

other specials. Probably the most

commercially successful though has

Uiltje insists on canning all of

its beers, even though this is far

from the norm in The Netherlands

been a barrel-aged imperial stout

flavoured with Stroopwafel – that

caramel sandwich biscuit that

everyone buys at Schiphol Airport.

That one flew off the shelves, people

couldn’t get enough of it!

“Before I started working here, I

visited the brewery and they took

me to the barrel room and it was

completely dark and just had a

glitter ball, with a small spot on it

changing colours, and Johnny Cash

playing in the background. They felt

the beer would come out better if it

listened to Johnny Cash!”

It isn’t until we’re nearing the end

of the interview that I summon the

courage to address the elephant

in the room – how the hell do you

pronounce Uiltje?

“Yes, it’s a very Dutch word – lots

of vowels in all the wrong places!”

says Bart. “We actually set up a video

camera behind a bar one time, and

gave tourists a free pint in exchange for

trying to pronounce the name. There

were some great ones!

“It’s pronounced ‘el-tyur’ and means

‘little owl’. It’s a typical Dutch thing

to make objects sound smaller than

they are. So, for example, if we go to a

restaurant, we would ask if they had a

small table. Right? I wouldn’t mean an

actual small table – that’s just the way

we say it. Likewise, we may ask for a

small beer rather than a beer, even

though we don’t actually want a small

beer! Other countries make fun of us

drinking from small glasses.”

Just as there’s nothing small about

Uiltje’s beers, its titular owl seems

rather fierce, judging by the eyepopping,

cartoonish label art, on

which he stars in guises ranging from

superhero to mad scientist to guntoting

sniper. We’re certainly hugely

impressed by its beers, which embody

the idea that, if a brewery can nail

the essentials of quality and technical

attention to detail, the possibilities for

fun are practically endless.






This month, Ollie asks what

each of us can do to recognise

and combat deep-seated

societal racism

he other day I popped

to the shop. It’s only

fifty metres from my

house, it really isn’t

a chore. I was after

some sugar because lockdown has

for some reason awoken an inner

Mary Berry in me I never knew I

had. As always happens when I pop

to the shop, I clocked the crisps

in my peripheries and loaded up

on as many bags as I could while

clutching two bottles of beer and

balancing the sugar in the fold of

my elbow.

I waddled over to the checkout,

popped it down and engaged

in some pretty typical socially

distanced pleasantries with the

shop keep, tapped my card and

went home.

The thing I noticed though was

that, not once, not even for just

a fleeting moment, did anybody

discriminate against me for the

colour of my skin. Come to think

of it, in the 34 years since plopping

out of my mother’s womb, I’ve

never, not on one single occasion,

in this country or abroad, ever,

EVER been discriminated against

for the colour of my skin.

My nephew on the other hand,

who is half Singaporean, plopped

out of his mother’s womb six years

ago. Since then he HAS been

racially abused. He was playing

on the swings with his mum in the

park. The people that abused him

were his age.

Because I am white, I don’t

have to worry about being racially

abused while playing on the

swings. This is white privilege. If

you’re white and you don’t think

this is a thing, ask yourself this.

Have you ever been rejected

for a job you knew you were

qualified for, and think it might

have something to do with the

colour of your skin? I expect not.

Because for us, this simply isn’t

something we need to think about.

It is something we will never


That’s why as a white man, I

have to actively engage my brain

to work out what the war-like

images on the news flickering into

my living room are really about.

I forcefully quell the attitude

bred into me over the last three

decades, an attitude so heavily

ingrained in western culture it’s

barely visible, an attitude that

makes me jump to the conclusion

that these are just thugs burning

down buildings and stealing TVs’. I

force myself to realise that ‘these

people have faced generations of

racial abuse and discrimination,

they’re pissed. I don’t give a fuck

about stolen TV’s, we have to

listen. I shouldn’t have to force

myself to think this way, I should

automatically think this way, but

that’s what years of institutional

racism does; it’s melted into you

without you even noticing and

without even knowing it, you hold

racist beliefs.

Yup, even you. Deep down,

whether you like it or not, racist

sentiments are pre-loaded

into your subconscious. Artful

manipulators and leaders have

subtly moulded language, social

structures and headlines for

hundreds of years to favour you,

and discriminate against the

BAME community. You will never

admit it, because you’re not a

racist are you? No, but you are

part of a racist society and your

failure to recognise that and to

do something about it, makes you


Deep down,

whether you like

it or not, racist

sentiments are

pre-loaded into

your subconscious

I can say without doubt,

the United Kingdom is an

institutionally racist country. I can

hear some of you physically jarring

at the sentiment. But if you don’t

realise there is a problem, you

ARE the problem. It’s time to do

something about it.

But what? I’m going to start

by listening. I want to better

understand systemic racism and

what I can do to put a fucking lid

on it. I want to use my privilege,

my super power that allows me

to say whatever the fuck I like

without being persecuted just

because I am white to say, fuck

this. Fuck all of you in denial.

Fuck getting upset over some

smashed windows. Fuck this being

a blueprint for prosperity. Fuck

those who capitalise on division.

Fuck this being acceptable.

Fuck leaders that ignore it. Fuck

leaders who encourage it. The

world is changing, get over


As a white man, it pains me

that I haven’t acknowledged

this sooner. I can feel it gnawing

at me that it took a man with a

knee on neck for nine minutes,

his throat crushed until he was

dead for me to publicly voice

my outrage. I feel physically sick

at that thought. WE have been

collectively turning our head away

from the issue as if it doesn’t

exist, but just like the cancer it is,

it’s become too big to ignore. If

we don’t do something about it,

we will all suffer.

Read, learn, listen, shout and

share it wide. Silence is




In memoriam

WORDS: Melissa Cole

The British brewing industry lost

one its most loved and respected

members in Roger Ryman at the

end of May.

Roger, who was brewing director at

St Austell Brewery in Cornwall and

oversaw production at the Bath Ales

Hare Brewery, died of cancer at the age

of 52.

A Yorkshireman with a roving accent

from his years of moving around the

country, Roger grew up in Leeds with

parents in academia, and was a true

outdoorsman and brewer from a young

age, taking a summer job on a farm as

a boy and playing around with Boots

home brew kits in his teens.

After studying Agricultural Science in

Newcastle, he got a job in a brewery lab

there and then, after a year, travelled to

Canada, where he met and fell in love

with his wife Toni, forming a relationship

that remained strong and true.

Upon his return to UK shores, he

took up a masters degree in brewing

in Edinburgh, before joining Maclay’s

brewery in 1996, which sadly didn’t work

out and, in what he often described as “a

leap of faith”, moved to other end of the


In St Austell’s official statement on his

sad passing, James Staughton, president

of St Austell Brewery, who worked with

Roger for 20 years said: “I recruited

Roger in April 1999, and he immediately

wowed all of us with his passion for

beer and brewing within minutes of

his interview starting. The job of head

brewer was already effectively his, right

there and then – we need not have seen

anyone else. He was the breath of fresh

air our brewery so desperately needed

at the time.

“He has left us all with a legacy

that we will nurture and build on, as

a mark of our respect for Roger and

in remembrance of him. A brilliant,

talented brewer and a great friend.”

Personally, I was lucky enough to call

Roger my friend, as well as regarding

him as one of the best brewers in the

country; he was always there if I had

questions, his passion and enthusiasm

shone through everything he did, and it

had become tradition to have a ruinous

pint of Big Job with him upon entering

© St Austell



GBBF every year, there was no arguing

about that, it was happening.

I will never forget the time I spent

brewing with him, interviewing him or

just hanging out and having fun, he will

leave a huge hole in the UK brewing

scene and in my heart too - he was a

gentleman and a scholar, with a very

naughty sense of humour - we have lost

one of the best of us, and my thoughts

and love go to his wife Toni, his wider

family, friends and all at St Austell and

Bath Ales.



How a beer

subgenre flipped

an entire style

on its

WORDS: Matthew



How a beer

subgenre flipped

an entire style

on its head

Picture a glass of hazy, juicy New

England IPA, opaque in its

yellowness. A compact mousse

of off-white foam effuses heady

aromas of tropical fruit, as though from far

away climates, each sip gliding across your

tongue with pillow-soft lusciousness. Such is

its texture and flavour each taste is almost like

biting into a slice of overripe mango.

How does this image make you feel?

Does it have you immediately reaching into

your fridge for yet another can of the latest

hyped-up juice bomb, or heading straight to

the sink to pour its wretched contents down

the plughole? Few beer styles have been as

polarising in recent history as the NEIPA. A

genre that causes traditional beer enthusiasts

to declare it an insult to history, while others

willfully wait in line for hours to get their

clammy hands on the next lauded release.

Meanwhile, a new group of beer drinkers

emerges, having found a style with lower

bitterness, and more direct flavours; suddenly,

craft beer is accessible to them.

A few arguments could be made as to the

true origins of this particular style—sometimes

also referred to as the Vermont IPA. But it’s

widely believed that the groundwork for the

format was laid when breweries from the

northeastern US state, such as The Alchemist,

began packaging intensely aromatic beers

such as the iconic Heady Topper as far back

as 2003.

When Heady Topper became more widely

distributed in cans around 2011, budding

homebrewers with hopes of turning pro

allegedly went as far as cultivating the small

amount of yeast that remained in the can,

to try and replicate the flavours it produced

when combined with judicious amounts

of flavourful American hops. The result of

using this so-called “lazy” yeast—because

the strongest, healthiest yeast would have

dropped out of the beer in its conditioning

tank before being canned—is that it bound

with hop proteins during fermentation. This

remained in suspension in the beer, giving the

style its signature hazy appearance.

Around 2012-2013 an explosion of

breweries emerged in the American

northeast, which began experimenting with

other techniques to make beer hazier and

juicier. Breweries such as Trillium, Treehouse,

Other Half and Bissell Brothers became

pioneers for the style—and given that many

of them were based in New England states

such as Vermont and Massachusetts, so

the style acquired its now almost universal

moniker. Since then rules have continued to

be broken, with double dry hopped (DDH—




meaning an alternate version of an existing

recipe that contains twice the volume of dry

hops), lactose, sour and fruit infused variants

emerging, only to further the ire of the

traditionalists. These styles are now made by

breweries all over the world.

“I personally think [New England IPA] gave

newer drinkers a beer to quickly identify

with, and for more seasoned beer drinkers,

a new experience,” Theo Freyne, founder of

Cheltenham’s DEYA Brewing Company tells

me. And he would know, his brewery creates

some of the most sought after beers within

this category in the United Kingdom. DEYA’s

flagship pale ale Steady Rolling Man has,

for many, come to set the standard of hazy,

juicy pale ales in the country. “I think they’ve

changed the way people perceive modern

beer. Now when you buy an IPA, it is very

likely to be a hazy IPA style,” he says.

Perhaps ironically, at the same time as

the new wave of American producers were

making waves with their boundary stretching

brewers in the

UK selling hazy

beer were being

accused of selling

a faulty product

hazy IPAs, brewers in the UK selling hazy

beer were being accused of selling a faulty

product. South London-based breweries

like the Kernel, Brew by Numbers and

Partizan had their beers labelled with the

slur “London murky”, despite roughly being

on the same track as their New England

counterparts—if perhaps producing a

product with a noticeably more pronounced

bitterness at the time. Ultimately it would

be the US iterations of this style that would

inspire the versions created by breweries like

Cloudwater, Verdant and DEYA within the

UK. This is probably why it’s called NEIPA,

and not Bermondsey IPA.

“I don’t like the term ‘New England’ but I

get that there needs to be some definition

between hazy and non hazy from a consumer

expectation point of view,” Theo says. “We

have always considered our beers DEYA

beers. I think the terms are useful but don’t

explain what we are doing—I don’t consider

our beers New England or West Coast.”

With the rise to prominence of the IPA,

and the subsequent emergence of multiple

subcategories, the meaning of the term has

become as muddied as the most haziest

versions of the style. Times were simpler

when “IPA” meant India Pale Ale, and

referred to a strong beer with chewy, sweet

malts and a pronounced, lingering hop

bitterness. It earned its “West Coast” tag

when California-based breweries such as

Stone, Green Flash and Ballast Point made

them their own, taking inspiration from the

irreplaceable Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and

dialling it up to 11.

With the NEIPA and its variants using

the same label, the IPA has become lost

in a definitionless sea. Especially now it

shares its world with session IPA, black

IPA, fruited sour IPA and many more. Even

Theo at DEYA admits that he has to label

the non-hazy versions as “West Coast.” So

why have brewers sacrificed such an iconic

style’s nomenclature in this way? Well when

you’re aware that you’re catering to a highly

specialised market like London’s Pressure

Drop Brewery, that’s less of a concern than

ensuring you’re brewing a consistently highquality


“I feel like our customer is fairly hardcore,”

Sienna O’Rourke, marketing manager at

North London’s Pressure Drop Brewery

tells me, another of the foremost producers

of the NEIPA style in the UK. “When we

decide how to talk about

styles we come from the

position that the person

we’re talking to has an

understanding of craft beer,

and we purposefully avoid

over-explaining or patronising

because we don’t see ourselves

as that entry level product.”

It’s when this same product

hits the mainstream market—such as

supermarkets—that Sienna does see it

becoming more of an issue. The majority of

beer buyers outside the craft sphere have

been programmed to assume that beers are

clear, and taste like, well… beer: malt and

hops, not mango and lychee, and certainly

not banana milkshake. If this consumer picks

up a can of IPA and it pours hazy, it might

shock them—but I’d wager the majority would

also be surprised at how nice this style of

beer tastes. But is it still an IPA in classical

beer terms? Sophie de Ronde, head brewer

at Suffolk’s Burnt Mill Brewery, brews both

popular West Coast and New England IPA

style beers, and can see how the proliferation

of the IPA term could be sowing confusion

among different types of beer drinker.

“For the modern IPA drinker, I think its

strength and hopping that seems to denote

the IPA term. It’s a simple descriptor for

explaining the basis of the beers you are

looking for. But if you ask a cask ale drinker,

their version of an IPA is very different,” she

says. “For the general market I think it is seen




as very confusing and may well be putting a

lot of people off experimenting by trying new

and different beers.”

How confusing must it be then, for

the IPA to continue splitting into further

categories like milkshake or sour IPAs?

When a definition means one thing, it gives

that item power. Just look at Champagne in

France, or Parmesan in Italy. By giving up

IPA, sure, the British brewers of old helped

plant the seeds that would grow into a global

brewing revolution, but in doing so they gave

that power up. To paraphrase a tweet from

Brooklyn Brewmaster Garrett Oliver: “The

idea of beer style is not ‘true’; it’s an idea—

driving traveling thoughts, an interest in our

tradition and history, and creates a framework

for understanding.”

What, then, is IPA if nobody knows what

it means? In the US state of Colorado,

WeldWerks Brewing Company has become

one of the most exciting producers of IPAs

that seriously skirt the outer reaches of

its definition. The brewery has become

synonymous with its flagship IPA, Juicy Bits,

which honestly feels a little tame compared

to some of its more outlandish offerings. Take

Piña Colada Fruity Bits IPA, for example, or

Double Peach Milkshake IPA. The brewery is

not without a sense of humour either; it once

brewed a DIPA called ‘Evil Haze Factory’ with

a sly nod towards detractors of the NEIPA


“When hops are the primary characteristic

of a beer’s flavour and aroma, especially when

you’re using hops at a rate that meets or

exceeds the hop rate typical for IPA, then it

makes sense to use the term IPA,” Weldwerks

co-founder and head brewer Neil Fisher tells

me. “I don’t think we’re seeing any actual

customer confusion surrounding the use

of the term IPA in the more experimental

versions. Has anyone ever accidentally

purchased a Fruited Sour Milkshake IPA they

had never heard of on the shelf because it

was simply labeled ‘India Pale Ale?’”

In the case of

Weldwerks, the

ingredients are clearly

indicated on the can, so

accidentally picking up

a can of a milkshake

IPA when you were

expecting something

dry and bitter would

certainly be your

own mistake. The

problem comes when

beers labelled as IPA

reach the wider market

and are sold on that premise

alone. I can understand why

someone might be upset if they’d

been drinking West Coast

style IPAs for years,

order something they

think they’re going to

like and instead are served

something very different to what they were


terms like

“West Coast” and

“New England”

have become

incredibly useful

It’s why I feel terms like “West Coast” and

“New England” have become incredibly

useful. Their meaning has grown beyond the

inner circles of beer geekdom and are being

accepted within the public domain. Instead

of seeing them as a problem, I see them as

an opportunity for brewers to easily and

succinctly describe

how their beer will

look and taste.

And, ultimately,

isn’t this exciting?

It might be time

to accept that the

term “IPA” means

something that

isn’t simply “India

Pale Ale”. While

brewers have

lost that particular

nomenclature, the

proliferation of subgenres

might be an opportunity to

regain multiple identities to—

and I must apologise in advance for using this

phrase—take back control.

“Here in Colorado, the harsh criticism

surrounding hazy IPA has mostly ceased

among consumers,” Neil continues. “Most

consumers seem to acknowledge that Hazy

IPA is a style that’s here to stay and not just

a ‘flash in the pan’ trend, as many predicted.

There are plenty of brewers that still deride

the style, but to be honest, that’s mostly

just noise.” Neil finishes his point by saying

that hazy IPA styles can act as a gateway

for drinkers who may have never given

“assertively bitter IPAs a second thought.”

Beer and its success in the modern era

has been built on change. A shift in the

mindset of what beer can be, and if IPA

was the vanguard of modern craft beer

then it shouldn’t be surprising how fluid

this particular genre of beer has become. It

remains utterly crucial that IPA and its history

is preserved—and maybe brewers could have

used better terms other than IPA to describe

their far-out creations—but the name has

stuck, and beer drinkers keep on buying

them, so maybe it’s time to cherish what we

have now, instead of constantly looking for

ways to deride this ever shifting style.

The only detrimental thing to small,

independent breweries is bad beer,” Burnt

Mill’s Sophie de Ronde says. “As times

change and peoples’ palates develop they

may migrate towards more bitter beers. Who

knows, we could even see that race to the

most bitter beer ever (again)!”



lavour. It’s remarkable, isn’t it.

I’d almost forgotten about it,

settled into a long-term thing

with comfortably reliable beers,

with good ol’ golden lagers and

not-so bitter bests, beers I drank pints of while

being dismissive of sticky, slutty stouts and

sloppy hop juice. Not any more. I’m all about

flavour and booze now and I can’t stop drinking

Double IPAs.

Ahhh. There’s that quick-felt livening

comfort, one that comes with a loosening

sensation, a softness yet a new alertness, a

buzz. It’s a sensation that only a strong beer

can bring, a beer drunk quickly, in a few deep

gulps. A beer able to sand down the day’s

splinters, its rough edges, and give a cooling


It feels good. It’s why we drink strong beer.

It’s why Double IPA is one of my favourite

beer styles. An intense beer, not quite

overwhelming, but it fills all the senses: the

hazy yellow swirl; the smell of all the world’s

best fruits; the cold, smooth, spritz; the sweet

Mark Dredge sings

the praises of punchy

beer flavours

alcohol, the bitter finish; the mute button of a

deep and completely relaxing exhale. Ahhh.

I didn’t used to get why people drank so

much Double IPA at home. Was it just to be

cool? Were they just drinking the trendy

brews? Why didn’t they just want good lagers

or pale ales? But I get it now. This new situation

has had its impact on me, and my habits have

changed. I’ve gone from a few pints in the

pub to one can on the sofa; I’m living it down

and drinking it up and I now want every beer

I open to smash into my senses. I want to

be wowed by it. I want to have something

which immediately gratifies, which completely

engages and excites me, surprises me, a beer

which comes at me in high definition and which

also blurs out the background and brings in a

hazy, heady high.

Near the end of the can that first beer

feeling leads to a temptation to have another,

as if this pleasure can be stretched, even

doubled-up, and you feel like you can tiptoe to

the edge because it’s thrilling over there, and

you know it’d be easy to go and jump and fly

delightedly into a second beer, but it doesn’t

work like that (too many times I’ve had the

second one and metaphorically fallen). Instead

I’ve come to understand that one is perfect and

two won’t be. I’ve come to embrace that there’s

something so simple and satisfying about this

feeling and that it came from just one beer. It’s

like magic; it’s probably the magic of why we

drink beer.

But isn’t magic just an illusion? A trick of the

eye and mind in that instance?

After a few weeks on the big DIPAs, I briefly

discovered a newfound joy, a joy that wasn’t

newfound at all, actually, but it found itself

newly rehoused, in my house, and it saw me

drinking a large can of beer, usually a good

and faithful lager, pouring it into a pint glass,

drinking it all quickly, and then opening another

can of the same beer, pouring it into the same

glass, drinking that, then having a third, where

the third one, probably opened within an

hour of the first, gave me that same thrilling

fizzy feeling, that lightness and sharpness and

looseness, and it reminded me of something

not-quite-forgotten but something already

habitually lost, a muscle weakened, a memory

faded, a song I know every word to but can’t

quite hear the tune in my head: the pub

and the pints. That already-nostalgic thing,

that cue for the deeply knowable feeling of

friends and social warmth and other peoples’


But while I could replicate the drinking

motions, and I could get the feeling of a lot

of lager in my stomach, it didn’t come with

those other communal cues, and that way of

drinking psychologically and physically belongs

somewhere else – somewhere that’s not in my

house. I can keep it as an occasional drunken

diversion on this static state, but where I am

right now wants something totally different.

I want intensity and impact and

entertainment from my beer. This isn’t beer

drunk for forgetting or desensitising or

disassociating from the world, and instead

it’s for engaging in it, for thinking about the

beer, for being inspired by it, for seeing it and

seeking it as a pleasure that I want to focus on.

I think that’s the heart of my new excitement:

it’s a reengagement with beer, with what can

be so great about it and with what made me

love it in the first place. There’s no illusion; it is


I’ve actually written most of this in a flash of

night-time inspiration after a can of 8% Double

IPA. It was a remarkable beer, a beer which felt

like it was brewed just for me, like it couldn’t be

improved, not by context, not by the pub, not

by sharing it, and not by drinking more of it.

It was a beer that was made for the version of

me that now loves to sit on my sofa and drink

a beer and feel myself melt downwards and lift

upwards and get that pure, simple, moment of

pleasure that only a strong, flavoursome beer

can bring.



Katie Mather asks

top quizmasters

for their tips on

the perfect

trivia night

The weekly pub quiz is a national

institution. Whether you’re

playing for pints or the entry

fee pot, there’s a comradely rivalry

that exists in the hushed competition

of a friendly quiz that doesn’t seem

to exist elsewhere. This is the time for

our retention of GCSE history and

compulsive viewing of Attenborough

documentaries to shine. Keep your

athletic glories on football fields and

skate parks. Here, around fold-away

tables in sleepy function rooms or in the

main bar of the local, biro in one hand,

answer sheet in the other, is where we

the nerds are kings.

Not able to visit our favourite pubs to

get the quiz team gang together, groups

of quizzers have been amending their

approach, using video conference apps

to test each other’s knowledge. I like

to think that the makers of Zoom are

continually baffled by how necessary

they’ve become in our newly dystopian

world, how something so buggy and

corporate could have become so

suddenly integral to our social lives. It

gives me a lot to consider when I’m lying

awake at odd hours of the night.

That’s the thing about our situation: it’s

boring. So online quizzes have become

the ideal way to break up the monotony

of an arbitrary working-from-home week,

giving us things to look forward to and

a chance to meet up, however distantly,

with people we’d normally see all the

time but perhaps don’t feel close enough

to call or message directly. We’re making

a lot of quizzes for ourselves too, to

break up the awkwardness of videocalls

and give us something to talk about when

there is really, genuinely nothing else to

discuss. But if we’re honest, they aren’t

always as fun as we hope they’ll be, and

when you’ve been pinning your empty

week on it, that can be distressing. So

how does a quizmaster make things

more interesting? What can you do to

make your quizzes fun and engaging and

provide the escapism you so desperately

need? I thought I’d better turn to the

experts for some guidance.

Jay Flynn runs quizzes in pubs in his

hometown of Darwen, East Lancashire,

or at least he did when he could. When

pubs closed around the country for

lockdown, the space in his schedule

normally reserved for quizzing widened,

and he felt like doing something about


“Ours was very much a local quiz for

local people,” Jay explains via Zoom:

what else? “It happened every Thursday

and when the pubs shut I thought, we

need to keep our quiz going somehow.

It’s my night out every week!”

So, encouraged by his mates and the

local community, Jay set up a local quiz

online, patching Facebook, YouTube and

Twitter together to form an interactive

virtual quiz that everyone could enter.

“I made it so that anyone could

take part; I thought it would be fun to

get more people from further afield

involved,” he says. “I had no idea that it

would become so popular.”

Jay’s Virtual Pub Quiz quickly

expanded out of Darwen and into the

wider world. It became a trending

topic. It was on the news. Eight weeks

later (at the time of writing this article),

150-180,000 people are taking part in

it every single week. The quiz is free

to enter, but participants can choose

to donate to the quiz’s chosen charity

if they like, which they do. So far Jay’s

Virtual Pub Quiz has raised £172,000 for

NHS charities, £200,000 for Alzheimer’s

Research UK and is now raising money

for homeless charity The Connection at

St. Martins.

“People just liked the idea of joining

in a global quiz. People are joining in as

teams from around their own cul-desacs…

We’ve got people joining in from

New Zealand who are getting up in the

early morning so they can play against

their family back home in the UK.”

Create your own megaquiz

It’s a daunting task to create a quiz

that works. While there are plenty of

websites online that offer lists of pub

quiz questions for the uninspired and

the stuck, they’re usually filled with the

same sort of trivia. Case in point: if I get

asked what the largest internal organ in

the body is one more time, I’m going to

remove mine.

Professional quizmaster Tommy

McArdle aka. Tommy McTrivia, who

usually runs the Effra Social quiz in

Brixton, has moved his brain-twisting

quiz online. Tommy’s quizzes offer their

prize pots to charities like Shelter, Great

Ormond Street, Code Your Future,

Refuge and CALM, and he’s recently

quizzed Scott Mills and Chris Stark on

BBC Radio 5 Live. As you can imagine,

he has a few essential tips to share.

“My online quiz is still pretty much the

same format, and most of my regular

pub teams are still taking part online,”

he says, explaining why he thinks virtual

quizzes don’t really need to be treated

differently to real life ones. “I’m known

for making fairly difficult quizzes; think

somewhere between 15-1 and University

Challenge. That’s what people enjoy

about them.”

Jay agrees. “The hardest thing is

putting the quizzes together and getting

the difficulty right. My first virtual quiz

started off way too easy, and over time

it’s gradually gone up in difficulty, but it’s

not too hard. You need to remember to

make it fair for everyone.”

“Specialist subject rounds work really

well as separate niche quizzes – I’ve

done a Harry Potter one and a Game Of

Thrones one, for example – but putting

questions about niche subjects into

a general knowledge quiz can throw

people off. It’s not about knowledge






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then, because you’ve either seen the

show, or you haven’t.”

“It’s the same with sports rounds. Not

everybody has a lot of knowledge about

football, for example, so think about

who’s joining in your quiz before you

create your rounds and questions.”

Tommy thinks the difficulty and

creativity of the questions is key to

creating a great quiz.

“Easy quizzes are boring,” he says.

“I try to stop the same people from

winning all the time, bring the smart

alecs down a peg or two. I try to really

encompass a broad spectrum of trivia

and my own interests. If I see, hear or

read anything interesting, I think “that’s

going in the quiz”. Be creative and use

your imagination.”

“Also, personalise it. Think about your

mates and the people who’ll be taking

part and what they’re interested in.

Where are they from? What will they be

happy to answer? Every question I set, I

imagine teams discussing it. You want to

create that level of engagement.”

Dealing with disputes

When a quiz is going well it’s like a fastmoving

river, flowing from one question

to the next, splashing over banter,

sparkling. But what do the experts

suggest when things get a little dammed

with queries and disagreements?

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes,”

says Jay. “It’s not possible that you know

everything. I always think it’s best to

acknowledge and side-step disputed

answers. If a team really wants a point

enough to argue over it, just let them

have the point for the sake of getting

things moving again. It’s not worth the


Tommy has a different approach.

“Make sure to start with that you phrase

your questions clearly. We’ve got no

time for pedants! Treat your disputing

quizzers like you’re a stand-up comedian

and they’re your hecklers. Have a

laugh with it but make sure before you

start that you’ve double-checked your

answers.” Good point. If you’re going to

be fielding disputes, you need to have

solid facts to lean on.

“I don’t bother saying my answers are

Top tips

1. Get the level right. “Low scores equals low

interaction,” says Jay.

final anymore. Other answers sometimes

come up, and often when a person

believes they are right and you are

wrong, it’s because they won a point for

it in another quiz. The best thing to do

is ask for a source (if it’s Wikipedia they

can fuck off) and then decide whether

you want to give them the point. At the

end of it, it’s up to you. It’s your quiz.”

Jay’s final advice is simple, and so

sincere it makes me smile.

“Be yourself! Don’t try to be a quiz

show host,” he says, impersonating a

cheesy quiz host for a moment. “If you’re

a grumpy person, be grumpy. That’s

what your friends who have joined your

quiz want. They want to see you!”

for tremendous

trivia tournaments

2. Use your imagination. “Use variety and avoid

generic pub quiz sites,” Tommy advises.

3. Write questions that interest you. “If you find it

interesting, other people will too,” says Tommy.

4. Mix up your rounds — try using music, sounds,

pictures, quotes and anagrams.

5. Keep niches broad. “Music, sports and film rounds

can be unfair. Think about making a separate

niche quiz if you have some great niche interest

questions,” suggests Jay.




So, here’s a thing, it’s my 21st year of

writing about beer this year.

No, I don’t know how it’s happened either

and it is most certainly not the year I would

have chosen for this landmark but, here we

are… oh, and if you placed a bet on me making

it this far, congratulations on your newfound

riches, they must have been VERY long odds.

I may be older, I am possibly a little wiser,

but what I definitely have is a wealth of

perspective on the expansion and contraction

the beer industry as something I’ve watched

over the years and it is possible to see

patterns emerge, and a lot of them ain’t pretty.

So, please, bear with me, as I take you on

a ramble down memory lane for very good


Not long after I started on, what is now,

the Morning Advertiser, then known as the

WORDS: Melissa Cole

Licensee & Morning Advertiser - a twice

weekly publication run out of the Society

of Licensed Victualler’s offices in sunny

Slough - rumblings started about a shadowy

entity from the continent sniffing around UK


The incredibly connected Mike Bennett -

an astute and kind man who quickly became

my mentor along with the inimitable Garth

Williams and, later, Sally Bairstow - had

suspicions something was up and over the

course of about six months, was slowly

pulling at threads and we broke the story

that Interbrew (as Anheuser Busch Inbev was

then known) was to buy the brewing arm of


Shockwaves pummelled through the

industry in a way that hadn’t been seen

since the Beer Orders of 1989, a mish mash

of Governmental interference

in the industry that saw a brief

purple patch for smaller brewers

but eventually led to the formation of the pub

companies and the arrival into the market of

corporate sharks like Hugh Osmond, founder

of Punch Taverns and Pizza Express, amongst


And before it had even had time to recover,

again, Bennett again broke the story that

Bass’s brewing arm had also been snapped

up by the Stella Artois brewer, followed

hot on the heels by a Government review,

that then saw Molson Coors enter the UK

market, picking up brands that Interbrew

(ABI) discarded, in order to meet competition

requirements and it didn’t stop there.

In a column on his website ProtzonBeer.

co.uk in 2014, titled ‘Tied Hand and Foot’

the inimitable Roger Protz goes into far

more detail if you’d like to know more of the

history, and he also quotes cantankerous beer

historian Martyn Cornell’s book, Beer:the

story of the pint (2003), which lays bare the

incredible shake up these sales begat.

“Seventeen years earlier, six brewers had

...rumblings started about

a shadowy entity from the

continent sniffing around

UK breweries.

owned 77 per cent

of the market: if the

Beer Orders had been intended to increase

competition, they had completely the

opposite effect. In addition, the beer market

has become increasingly dominated by big


“In 1989 the top five best-selling beers had

just under 21 per cent of the total market, the

top 10 31.6 per cent. Over the next 10 years

the independent pub companies increasingly

bought the beers they perceived to be the

most popular, that is, the existing best sellers,

and sales of the big brands rose accordingly.

“In 1999 the top five beer brands in the UK

had 34 per cent of all beer sales, the top 10

just under 50 per cent...Eight out of 10 pints

now come from brewers who do not own any


But, plus ça change as our continental

neighbours say, and here we are, in 2020 and

Heineken has moved into the pub business

in the UK and then new tie-in between

Carlsberg and Marston’s, gives the Danish

brewer a long-term supply and distribution

deal to supply Marston’s 1,700 sites.

And to this, Greene King’s 2,700 pubs,

Heineken’s 2,900 pubs and the plethora of

tied premises around the country (sorry,

there are just too many tangled webs for me

to put a number on), and the ability for small

brewers to access on trade taps and fridges is

looking increasingly bleak.

So, around we go again, and whilst I could

fill the pages of this whole magazine, and



Behind their smiles and slick service hospitality

workers can fall upon hard times just like

anybody else. Ours is a stressful industry,

with long hours, high pressure environments

and physically demanding work.

Injuries, mental health problems and addiction are sadly a feature of modern life in the

hospitality trade. That’s where Hospitality Action steps in. We work to provide hospitality

workers with financial, physical and psychological support to help them overcome adversity

and get back to work as quickly as possible. We help individuals and their families stay afloat

with grants to cover anything from rent payments to school uniform for their children.

And for those who sadly can’t return to the industry they love, we provide ongoing support

to transition them to the next stage of their lives.

For older people who have retired from the industry we

provide grants to help with heating bills, home conversions

or even funeral costs for loved ones. Just as importantly, we

provide a lifeline to prevent loneliness and isolation and our

‘Golden Friends’ enjoy regular contact and local events to help

them stay active and connected to their community.

To find out more about our work and the difference

we make visit www.hospitalityaction.org.uk

then some, on the potential ramifications of

this macro pattern, along with reiterating

another concern I expressed in a column in

this magazine back in 2015, when the ‘beer

tie’ was supposedly expunged in favour of

‘fair market rent’ (give me a moment, I’ll stop

laughing hysterically soon), that opened the

door to breweries being able to simply ‘buy

up’ taps, there is another issue that stems

more from human nature than anything else

that I think the readers of this magazine could

actually impact.

It’s not going to save all the breweries from

this devastating return of vertical integrations

of brewing and pub ownership, but you can

make a grassroots difference.

Resist the FOMO, the need to be

one of the cool kids, deny

the desire to be first

It’s not going to save

all the breweries...

but you can make a

grassroots difference

in line for things and I strongly urge you to

think hard about talking to your local free of

tie pubs, bottle shops and online outlets about

stocking a local or small brewery you think is

great and isn’t just the ‘hype juice’.

Don’t get me wrong, if you want to spend

your lunch hour in a queue for a beer release

that, it turns out, gets sunk by people hitting

refresh so much the website thinks it’s being

attacked, and then spend the rest of your

afternoon giving some poor sod behind a

Twitter account crap, well then, that’s up to


But wouldn’t it be a better idea to, say,

spend that money somewhere else, save that

ire for a Government that DGAF about ‘the

plebs’, expend your anger on causes for social

justice - or just maybe, shout at a tree in the

park if you need to shout at anything - and

then circle back to enjoy that brewery another


I know it sounds simplistic, but if there is

one power we will always hold, it is where we

choose to spend our money and, I don’t know

about you, but I think supping a beer that

might not exist without people power, will

always be a victory sip worth taking.



Your brew day does not have

to go absolutely perfectly in

order to make great beer


the rush?

How to make and drink great quality

homebrew while sitting on your sofa –

a guide for new homebrewers

You have just finished your brew day.

Yeast pitched, fermenter or carboy

placed in a temperature-controlled

cupboard, and equipment washed and

gleaming clean, ready for the next time. Time

to put your feet up, and perhaps crack open a

bottle of something nice to drink to celebrate

a job well done. Now comes the important

part: waiting.

Homebrewing requires patience, not least

once the brew day is over. Once your precious

creation is fermenting away, you might feel

somewhat untethered, as though separated

from a once needy child, now aloof and

independent. If you are anything like me, you

might not be able to resist the temptation of

checking on it first thing each morning, to see

WORDS: Hollie Stephens

the development of a layer of kräusen (the

name for the foamy head atop the wort).

Perhaps you will flick through your ‘lab book’

and make notes about the brew day and check

against your intended process. Be careful

here: ‘Brewer’s Regret’ is a pesky but very real

phenomenon. There will always be one thing

you could have done differently. Maybe the

grain bed got a degree hotter than intended

ten minutes after mashing in, or the chilling

process was interrupted and delayed by

unanticipated toddler or pet wrangling.

Here is the good news; your brew day does

not have to go absolutely perfectly in order

to make great beer. This is a lesson I learned

the hard way, after lots of frustration over a

seemingly disastrous brew, only to discover

a few weeks later that it all turned out fine.

That said, there is one thing that is almost

guaranteed to lead to a sub-par beer when it

finally comes to tasting the spoils: not enough

conditioning time. Luckily, this is the easiest

thing to change. All that is needed is a little bit

of patience and forward planning.

Decide how you will

condition your beer

A simple way to condition your beer when

starting out with homebrewing is by bottling,

especially since it is possible to bottle beer

without racking to a secondary fermentation

vessel. Many new homebrewers prefer

this method of going straight from primary

to bottles, due to the reduced risk of

contamination of the beer by minimising steps.

If you only have limited time to carve out for

your brewing endeavours, this could be the

right method for you.

For tips on the pros and cons of various

homebrewing methods, John Palmer’s book

“How to Brew” is an excellent introduction.

John points out that extending the time in the

primary fermentation vessel can be a benefit.

“Leaving an ale beer in the primary fermenter

for a total of 2-3 weeks [instead of just the

one week most canned kits recommend], will

provide time for the conditioning reactions

and improve the beer. This extra time will also

let more sediment settle out before bottling,

resulting in a clearer beer and easier pouring.”

Match your selected

homebrew recipe to

your desired drinking


Before you set about brewing, decide how

long you will be willing to wait to drink the

beer; this will be a critical factor in helping you

decide which style to brew. As a rule of thumb,

the higher the original gravity reading, the

longer a beer will need to condition. If you are

looking to drink a beer within a month or so,

consider brewing something like a low gravity

pale ale. Keep in mind that heavily hopped

ales are not suitable for aging. The alpha acid

compounds found in hops deteriorate over

time, degrading the flavour and aroma and

causing the beer to taste stale when kept in




You will need a dark and

cool place to age your beer

until it is ready to drink

the cupboard for too long.

Rich, dark, stronger beers might be perfect

for cracking open in front of a roaring fire in

the winter, but you will need to be brewing

them long before the weather turns chilly.

If you have a barley wine or imperial stout

on your brewing wish list, you will need to

plan especially far ahead. Randy Mosher’s

book ‘Radical Brewing’ has a great primer on

brewing ‘big beers’. “It takes a long time for

the yeast to hack its way through all that sugar

under the high-alcohol conditions that quickly

develop”, Randy writes of ‘big beer’ brewing.

“Six months in the carboy in the secondary is

not an unusually long time”.

Remember that you will need a dark and

cool place to age your beer until it is ready to

drink. Bottles of homebrew should be stored

upright and away from any direct sunlight.

Read books and forums,

but ultimately give your

palate the final say

The only person truly qualified to judge when

your beer tastes the best is you. If you type

a question about conditioning times into

a search engine, you’ll be hit with a wall of

advice, from old-school homebrew forums

from the 1990s to Reddit threads from a

month ago. The most common rule of thumb

I’ve seen is to always allow beer between

one and two weeks in primary fermentation,

and an absolute minimum of two weeks

bottle conditioning, though many seasoned

homebrewers claim that aiming for a four week

minimum in bottles is much better.

Once again, it is important to keep in mind

the style you are brewing as you digest this

advice. For example, I mostly brew styles in

the 4% - 6% ABV range, and I’ve found that six

weeks in bottles can make them taste much

better than if I was counting down the clock on

day 28. Eight weeks is sometimes even better

still, but the improvement is more marginal.

By nine or more weeks, there is not a lot of

discernible difference, and by then I might also

need to start thinking about drinking the beer

whilst it is still at its freshest.

Keep detailed notes

There’s a big overlap between avid

homebrewers and spreadsheet nerds for good

reason; one of the best things about brewing

is that you are running your own ongoing (and

delicious) experiment. If you crack open a

bottle that doesn’t taste quite how you hoped,

write down what you taste, and open another

bottle a week later, and then another a week

after that.

The more you brew (and taste!), the

better you will become at judging when a

certain beer will be ready. Brewing the same

style a few times is a good way to build up

consistency. Before you know it, you’ll be

scheduling brew days far ahead of holidays

and parties so that the beer is just right for

drinking by a certain date. And don’t forget,

the most important thing is to have fun!



For many, the biggest danger

posed by lockdown has been

boredom; and we’re past the

panic buying of pasta and bog roll, our

own personal stockpiles as big as the

mountains at the entrance of every

supermarket. Now the panic has passed,

we’re picking-up something far more

useful: self-sufficiency, baking bread and

brewing our own beer.

Until the late 19th century,

homebrewing was commonplace

across the UK, but a law passed in 1880

imposed a tax on all beer and required

you to have a license to brew at home.

The law was abolished in 1963, at

which time there were fewer than 300

licensed homebrewers. By 1978, with the

restriction lifted, that number exploded

to an estimated two million.

The 1970s was a heyday for our

make-do-and-mender, partly due to the


increasing beer duty

and your pint of homebrew

costing about a sixth of what it would

down your local pub. The boom of the

hobbyist was short-lived and, by the

late 80s, the market all but collapsed.

The only thing left of that era was the

memory of beer, ranging in quality from

almost palatable to downright nasty,

and you were doing well to avoid any ill

effects or a life-evaluating hangover.

The global financial crisis of 2007

was the catalyst that once again fired

the appeal for cheap beer. Where

disposable incomes shrank, the desire

for imported and interesting styles

stayed the same, so the hobbyist

experimented with Belgian styles, and

WORDS: Alaster Phillips

drew inspiration from the likes of Sierra

Nevada and Stone who accelerated the

US craft beer revolution.

In recent years a number of

things have had a positive impact on

homebrewing: education, access to

professional standard materials, and

competitions. Competitions took the hit

first, with all major events for 2020 being

cancelled, but it’s the strong community

that will see it through lockdown and


Homebrewing is no longer a solitary

hobby and is much more community

driven. Sarah Pantry, who organises the

Welsh National Homebrew Competition,

reminds us that it’s the flexibility to

experiment and enjoy the process:

“Homebrewers are looking to get

more involved with each other at events

and homebrew clubs, brew together in

person or during the current lockdown

situation, virtually brew together in

livestreams and online groups,” she

says. “There seems to be a burning

desire to share what people have made

with others and look to share advice

and knowledge.”

The logistics of coordinating thousands

of bottles to a single location is a

challenge at the best of times, so Sarah

has already set her mind to finding a

solution to the current problem:

“In place of competitions for this year,

I’ve set up judginghomebrew.com where

we will pair up some homebrewers with

experienced judges so they can get

some qualified feedback on their beer

to help them improve it ready for when

competitions do return. I do not doubt

that next year we will see people even

more eager to enter competitions when

they do start back up.”

Chris Tazewell is Sarah’s counterpart,

and organiser of the UK National

Homebrew Competition, which took

place in February. However, the

competitions have been crucial in

helping to create the community that

won’t see them down for a moment

longer than necessary, because they’re

not just about scoring. Chris and his

judges do what they can to help the

brewers improve:

“People can actually get proper

feedback, not only the feedback of

what’s wrong but suggestions as to why

they’re getting a particular flaw, and

suddenly people start making better

beer because they learn what’s going on

in terms of the chemistry,” he says.

“That’s one of the things we do with

the competition, we give feedback in

a very constructive way, we’re not just

saying this is terrible; if it is terrible, you

have to say it diplomatically, but you’ve

got to say these are the problems with

this beer, this is where something has

gone wrong and this is what you’ve got

to look at. Social media has made things

a lot easier because a lot more people

are using forums and things so they can

actually feed into it.”

Darren Oakley is the Chairman of

the London Amateur Brewers, and he

says that adopting technology

for meetings has been hugely

beneficial, and even when

face-to-face meetings are

possible, will be a part of the

club’s future:

“Recently the Zoom meetings

have worked really well. Traditionally we

meet in Bermondsey in London and the

venues are brilliant but they’re not great

for giving presentations, they’re always

noisy, always crowded. Whereas in

Zoom you are literally sat in your home,

you’ve got it on the screen in front of

you, you can hear everything.

“It doesn’t take away from the good

parts of meeting in person where you

can discuss faults, because that is a big

part of what the club is about, helping

each other improve their beers and

their techniques. We’re definitely

going to continue the online stuff after

we can meet in person as well because

we do have a few members dotted

around the country, some abroad as


The connection that technology

brings has helped members of other

clubs meet where they might never

have done before. The Scottish Craft

Brewers have members all over the

country. According

to Vice President







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Our buyer’s favourites from his

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Buy the Beer52 community’s

highest rated beers

Malcolm Cruickshank the new way of

living for now has benefits:

The one thing that’s positive is that

we’ve had a few folk we’d never normally

get to a meeting because they don’t live

in Edinburgh or whatever, so we’ve had

folk from different parts of the country

that have managed to join in. We’ve

got members in Shetland down to the

Borders, so to be able to contact them,

keep in touch with them, and actually

speak to them and be a club we’ve

got the digital aspects we had

already but now finding ourselves

better at it.”

In the 1970s home brewing was

partly financial necessity and a

substitute for going to the pub,

but today it’s all hobby and

striving to brew the best

possible beer.

Even the brew shops have

not been spared from the

stockpiling frenzy.

Martin Rake, normally the

General Manager at The Malt

Miller in Swindon (job titles are

on hold as all are mucking in with

milling, picking and packing), says

they’ve had a massive increase in

the number and size of orders since

lockdown with a 78% jump in new

customers and nearly 50% more

orders between 23 March and 11 May.

Initially they suspended order

placement for six days to catch up with

the influx, and are now back on track,

and like many other shops have had to

put restrictions on ordering of supplies

like malt - that take time to prepare and

pack - to set times each day.

“Some suppliers have like us risen to

the challenge and made adjustments,

lots of them have been amazing helping

us to manage the increase in demand

and we’ve managed to keep most in

demand products in stock for our

customers. We have however had to

adapt and restrict the sale of certain

items that have more involvement

from ourselves to produce

and finish these as we can only

process so many items per day

whilst keeping our staff safe.”

Business planning has been

key to meeting customer

needs. While weekly imports

of fresh yeast from the US

have continued without

complication, they have had

to adapt, partly due to the

global pandemic but also

due to Brexit on the horizon.

There have been a few

products that we had supply

issues with, those from Italy were

impacted for a few weeks but supply

has resumed as they move out of

lockdown. Importing from the Far

East had some delays which was

understandable but it only added a few

days to those shipments.

The cost of freight has increased,

especially air freight, so some items

we would fly over from the US or from

the Far East, this at the moment is cost

prohibitive to do so we’re having to plan

further and order more in advance to

get them on the slower routes. And of

course currency fluctuations, but thats

something we’ve learnt to deal with

whilst trading through the uncertainty

that Brexit brought. This is something

many companies in many sectors

will be experiencing and it's just a

challenge we have to work within.”

Like in the 1970s and the rising taxes,

so the financial crisis of 2007 turned a

hobby into necessity. But today there is

a difference.

Gone are the days of homebrewing

as a way to have a cheap drink. Now

you have access to equipment and

ingredients on a par with professional


Passion, community and that

“burning desire”. Despite so much

uncertainty the community of brewers,

suppliers and the clubs are taking the

challenge in their stride as it all boils

down to their shared love. It’s tinkering

with a few key ingredients, like a

musical instrument - Django’s guitar,

or Miles’ trumpet - simple tools of the

trade but so unique in another’s hand.

It’s a community of geeks who look

after each other and that tinkering

spirit - the equivalent of nipping

out to the shed, up to loft or just

commandeering the kitchen table -

knocking together a solution to the

problem is what they do, and that’s the

bright future of homebrewing.




How to…






Hear me out for a minute: expressing

your love for beer creatively – whether

through writing, photography, video

or audio – is a wonderful way of

not only learning more about what

makes your favourite beverage so

compelling, but also of connecting

with other like-minded individuals.

When I started my own beer blog,

Total Ales, in January 2012, I did so

because I needed an outlet for my

enthusiasm for beer. Through its

creation not only have I managed to

build a career in a wonderful industry,

but I’ve also made some of my closest

friends. I’m not saying this should be

your aim too (believe it or not, it was

never originally mine) but it’s a good

example of how fulfilling starting a

beer blog can be.

This short guide is based on my own

experiences of creating a successful

beer blog. If you’re still left with more

questions after reading this, come find

me on Twitter. I’m @totalcurtis.








The first piece of doubt you’ll form

when you consider starting out as a

blogger is that there are already loads

of beer blogs in existence, so why does

the world need another? In truth there

really aren’t that many voices in beer,

and there is no such thing as too many

beer bloggers. Sure it might take a few

good posts to earn your stripes from

some of those who’ve been doing it for

a while, but people love reading about

beer, and a new voice providing fresh

content is always welcome.

Don’t worry if writing isn’t your

strong suit either, beer blogging

isn’t restricted to that alone. Perhaps

consider launching a podcast, vlog, or

perhaps even a journal of photography.

Find a format that suits you creatively,

and don’t worry about it being the most

polished content on the internet. This

is your hobby after all, and it’s as much

a process of learning as it is about the

creativity itself.


Finding a good host is an important

factor. You want something that’s easy

to use and helps you create a site that

is both desktop and mobile friendly.

Around three-quarters of people read

articles using their phones these days,

so that last point is crucial. There are

some good free to low-cost services like

Wordpress, and for predominantly textbased

blogs Medium is a strong option.

Sites that offer powerful visuals

such as Wix or Squarespace will come

at a per-monthly cost, but if you are

passionate about your hobby, you should

consider it a worthwhile expense. If

your hobby was running, you’d invest

in good trainers, or if you’re into

photography you’d splash the cash on

good lenses. If beer blogging becomes

your passion, a little investment can

help your site go a long way.



This is the tricky one. What do you

want to actually write about? Before

starting out try and absorb as much

interesting beer content as you can.

You’re already reading Ferment so

that’s a great start. Check out other

beer publications like Good Beer

Hunting, Hop & Barley, Original Gravity

and (shameless plug) Pellicle for more

beer content and dip into classic

beer blogs such as Boak & Bailey, Jeff

Alworth’s Beervana and The Campaign

for Really Good Beer (CAMRGB)

to name a few. Reading other beer

content not only helps inspire and

shape ideas, but will also help you

tighten up those writing chops.

Try not to worry too much about

what other people want to read at this

stage. Want to write short, snappy beer

reviews? Go for it. Want to record epic

travelogues that also show off your

photography? Great! Want to produce

gritty slices of investigative journalism

and bring down The Man? Have at it. If

you’re not too bothered about building

a dedicated audience, write whatever

you want. However, if you’re motivated

by your work building traction then find

a niche and stick to your guns.

Try and post as often as you’re able

to, about once every week or two as

a minimum is a good rate. Not every

post needs to be a 5000 word epic;

keep it snappy. Avoid launching with a

“welcome to my beer blog” post and

before you go live, try drafting four or

five posts so when you launch you can

plough straight into the good stuff. This

will also give you a buffer, should you

not be able to find the time to write

every week.




Get a notepad and (if your budget

allows) a relatively decent camera. The

best ideas come through travel (which

I appreciate is rather difficult during

a global pandemic…). This could be as

simple as a walk to your local pub to soak

in some atmosphere, or somewhere much

further afield. And while beer and travel

go together inspiration can also be drawn

from whatever’s in your glass at the time.

Use your notepad and camera to

capture thoughts immediately as they

come along, as you never know when

they might come in useful. Don’t force

out a blog post just for the sake of it

though. Remember that this is a hobby,

and there is no point continuing with an

idea if you’re not taking any joy from it.



Make sure you sign up to social media

and get involved in the beer conversation.

Share your posts, and if a discussion

emerges make sure you’re actively

involved with it. When starting out your

core audience is likely to be other beer

bloggers, so make sure you engage with

them and make yourself known.

The most important thing to remember

though, is that beer blogging is your

hobby, and you are investing your time

in it because you enjoy it. Keep this in

mind and dig into the topics you’re most

excited about, and share them once

you’re done! Written a beer review about

a beer you love? Drop the brewery an

email to let them know. And make sure

you drop me a line so I can have a read,

look or listen for myself.

Happy beer blogging!




Our very own celebrity YouTuber, Jonny Garrett

gives his recommendations for the beer shows

you can’t afford to miss

YouTube is now the second most-visited

website on the internet, with an estimated

2 billion hits a month. That’s quite a feat

for a business that was famously inspired

by one tech nerd’s inability to find an online

video of Janet Jackson’s Superbowl wardrobe

malfunction in 2003.

Since its creepy beginnings, YouTube has

continued to be a much-loved but controversial

website. Assuring the quality and ethics of

everything that goes live is incredibly difficult,

because around 43,200 hours of video are

uploaded every day. From where I’m sat, a

huge chunk of that content seems to be men

reviewing beers in sheds and kitchens.

I’ve been running YouTube’s Craft Beer


Channel since 2013, almost entirely inspired by

these beer vloggers. Back then, they were a

window into beer scenes I couldn’t have even

imagined: the bold IPAs of the West Coast, the

gipsy brewers of Denmark, the homebrewers of

Norway. Now I’ve had the privilege to visit many

of these places, it’s not the beer knowledge

I visit Beertube for, it’s the rich stories,

catchphrases and inebriated rants that keep me

clicking. It’s like Gogglebox, but with beer nerds

who range from the sublime to the ridiculous, via

plain weird and wonderful.

With lots more time to scrape the barrel of the

internet – and perhaps plenty still to come – it

seemed the right time to give you the lowdown

on the brilliant, bizarre world of Beertube and

the characters who make it. You’ll learn lots

about beer, but lots more about humanity.



Catchphases: “Stone the crows!”

There are now too many beers in the world to

ever try them all, but Simon of Real Ale Guide is

giving it a bloody good go. He is by far the most

committed Beertuber, with over 6,000 videos

so far, and he releases two more every day,

365 days a year. Recently he branched out into

reviewing the spiciest supermarket meals he can

get his hands on, but

he saves his

hottest takes for his industry rants. Most

revolve around Brewdog but he’s also engaged

in a bizarre ritual hanging of a Carling can and,

most memorably of all, a semi-nude carwashing

episode during which he suds himself up in



Subscribers: >29,000

Catchphases: “time to take that walk and see

what’s in the friiiiiiiidge today”

Greg is the Grandaddy of YouTube beer

reviewers, and I’m not just referring to his

advanced years. He wasn’t the first on the scene

– although he is a decade into his Beertube

career – but there is a timeless sense to Greg

and his reviews that makes it feel like he’s been

doing it forever. His soft, deep south lilt reminds

me of Morgan Freeman’s voiceover work in

Shawshank Redemption, and the serious nature

of the content belies the gentle phrasing. He is

the Slow TV of beer reviews, and his considered

approach, good palate and complete lack

of beer geek entitlement is as warming as a

bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout.


Subscribers: >8,000

Catchphrases: “cheerz, later!”

Watching Darwin, you’d be forgiven for thinking

you’d accidentally hit fast forward. Darwin has

a brilliant palate and fantastic beer knowledge,

but you need to be seriously focused to catch

all the breathless detail. If you’re revising for


your Cicerone exams, his videos are like speed

reading. He also seems to have access to some of

the whitest whales out there, which is how I came

across him. If you want the skinny on some of the

best NEIPAs and imperial stouts in the US, then his

is the channel to watch.



One for






were quick on the uptake too. Despite English

being his second language, Peter is eloquent

when it comes to talking about flavour, and like

Darwin he seems to have the world’s rarest

beers on tap, which is especially clear in his

annual round-ups.


Our podcast is now live!

Subscribe to the Beer52 podcast, One for The Road, to

get all the behind-the-scenes gossip and tips from the

latest issue of Ferment. Hosted by Ferment editor Rich and

Accredited Dungeon Master Doug. It’s where we talk about

all the things we were too scared to include in the magazine.










We’ve been all over the world

in search of great beers and

amazing experiences, to most

of the iconic beer destinations on the

planet, but the greatest pleasure comes

from discovering vibrant local scenes

and knock-out breweries in less obvious

locations. Queensland in north-eastern

Australia is one such destination; not

only does it have some stellar breweries

and buzzing beer culture, but also an

abundance of breath-taking landscapes

to explore, from ancient rainforest to lush

countryside, and from rugged outback

to the magical reefs, islands and beaches

of the Coral Sea (including a little thing

called The Great Barrier Reef).

Of course, you can sit back and enjoy

the view, but adventure and exploration

have always been part of Queensland

culture, and every new location offers

some fresh way to get your kicks. Ever

fancied mountain biking in the rainforest?

They’ve got you covered. Or how about

snorkelling among vibrant, living

coral? Paddle this way…











“Queensland has many iconic views

and experiences,” comments Joslyn

Erickson of Hop On Beer Tours. “Each

region highlights unique reasons to

visit their location, with the food and

beverage scene becoming a hot focus.”

For the beer lover, there really is no

better way to explore this natural and

cultural diversity than a state-wide beer

odyssey. In most countries, this would

mostly involve visiting a lot of industrial

estates, but Queensland manages rather

better; it seems that something in the

beer culture here means that breweries

are expected to base themselves in

areas of spectacular natural beauty.

So whether you’re hanging out at Eco

Brewing Co in the Noosa Everglades

National Park, or swimming with

Humpback whales in Mooloolaba before

visiting 10 Toes Brewery, beer is a golden

ticket to adventure in the sunshine state.

But probably the greatest draw

are the people themselves – open

and welcoming, they genuinely treat

visitors like family, and their informal,

adventurous spirit can be infectious.

Whether you’re in a quirky outback town

or a vibrant coastal city, Queenslanders

are proud of where they live, and keen to

share their history and culture.

This is particularly true among the

craft beer community, where there’s an

unspoken understanding that a rising

tide lifts all ships, so the culture is

supportive and collaborative, whether

it’s working with other breweries or

giving local homebrewers the chance

to hone their skills on professional kit.

The overwhelming sense is that of an

industry on the rise, and a collective

desire to constantly improve.

The Queensland beer scene is

an incredible environment to work

in and we are so fortunate to be a

part of it,” continues Joslyn. “Filled

with creative, fun, hard-working,

passionate individuals… there is an

underlying energy and excitement

due to Queensland’s relative

‘newness’ on the Australian beer


David Kitchen, commander in

chief of Ballistic Brewing agrees,

adding: “Queensland, currently,

is a hot-bed of craft brewing in

Australia, with breweries winning

Champion Small, Medium and

Large breweries regularly over

the last two years. Stretching from

the Gold Coast, through Brisbane

and up the Sunshine Coast as well

as other prime tourist spots like

Bundaberg, Townsville and Cairns,

there are breweries wherever you

want to travel in Queensland.”

In the coming pages, we’ll take

a tour through some of the state’s

very best craft breweries, enjoying

the astonishing landscapes,

flora, fauna and culture along

the way. We’ll also discover why

Queensland has become one

of the go-to destinations for

beer and food pairing.
























Balter was started by seven

childhood friends on the Gold

Coast in March 2016. The team

had a simple mission of delivering

“good beer, with enjoyment”. Since

then, it has become one of the most

awarded craft breweries in Australia,

recognised for its quality beer,

honest approach and fun outlook.

Part owned by renowned surfer Mick

Fanning, Balter is famed along the

Gold Coast, and is the perfect place

to kick back after a day’s surfing

against the Miami-like skyline.

“Of all the awards we’ve won,

the People’s Choice awards have

always meant the most to us,

because the belief that ‘good beer

is for everyone’, is at the core of

everything they do, and to get the

thumbs up from ‘everyone’ is the

greatest compliment,” says the

brewery’s Stirling Howland.




Ballistic Beer Co. is one of the largest

independent craft breweries in

Queensland. Based in Brisbane and

operating since 2017, Ballistic has grown

to three venues with a fourth off-site

sour project soon to open. The brewery

has bagged trophies two years in

succession for its Oaked XPA and gold

medals for every one of its core beers,

and it recently took the Champion

Large Brewery trophy at the QLD Beer


The brewery itself has a fascinating

history, and its name is – as well as being

testament to the quality of its beers – a

reference to the building’s former role as

a top-secret munitions factory, supplying

Australian troops during WWII. See

vibrant Brisbane by bicycle, dropping in

at Ballistic, Felons, and the city’s other

great breweries, before dinner on the

waterfront. Not to be missed.



Hemingway’s Brewery is an

independent craft brewery with

two brewpubs situated in tropical

Far North Queensland. It offers

award-winning beers, paired with

food sourced from the local region

that complement its locally-inspired

ales. The setting’s not too shabby

either; both brewpubs have beautiful

waterfront locations in the marina at

Port Douglas and in a heritage-listed

building on Cairns Wharf, and offer

a relaxed vibe where you can share

tales from your days’ adventures on

the reef.



With possibly the most

ostentatiously lovely location for

any brewery in the world, Eco

Brewing Co sits in the heart of

the Noosa Everglades National

Park – one of only two Everglades

in the world. Stay in the Habitat

Noosa Everglades camp – awarded

Australia’s best new tourism

business 2020 – and enjoy a cold

beer and great food, after a day

exploring this unique ecology. Eco

Brewing Co, even draws from the

great sandy mass aquifer, whose

waters are filtered through sand

and gravel for 75 years before

reaching the brewery; combined

with the best malt, yeast and

hops from around the world, Eco

Brewing Co is still worth visiting

for the beers alone.



This social enterprise beer company

is all about harnessing the power

of great beer (and good times) to

help good causes, with 10% of the

income from every beer sold going

to charity partners. In particular, its

flagship Great Barrier beer – a 4.5%

ABV Australian lager, brewed with

all-Aussie ingredients – raises money

for the Australian Marine Conservation

Society, and its vital work protecting

the unique habitats of the Great Barrier

Reef. So sip a beer, then explore the

two World Heritage sites that meet

here: the blues of the Reef, and the

greens of the Daintree Rainforest.

© Brouhaha



Matt Jancauskas opened Brouhaha

Brewery in 2016, in the Sunshine Coast

hinterland town of Maleny, 80 minutes

north of Brisbane. Hidden in a medical

complex, Brouhaha is a hip industrial

brewpub, offering light, bright and

airy dining and a seasonal menu full

of local produce, including beef from

Maleny Wagyu fed on the brewery’s

spent mash. The bar boasts 10 taps to

tempt drinkers on a journey through

craft brewing, from the brewery’s

approachable Maleny Lager to its

punchy and fresh Strawberry Rhubarb


The Queensland craft beer scene

is full of passion, no matter what side

of the brew kit you are on,” says the

brewery’s Toby Stodart. “From brewers

to bartenders and punters, those

who are championing Queensland

craft beer do it with pride. We get

people travelling from all over

Queensland to enjoy a beer from our

Maleny brewpub. While the industry

is still growing in Queensland, the

breweries that we are lucky to have are

producing some world-class beer!”







© Joy

© Copperhead


With so much sunshine

and an abundance of

great, fresh ingredients,

it’s no wonder that Queensland

has developed such a thriving and

distinctive foodie culture. Even as

a hardened beer lover, the impulse

to seek out the next amazing brew

is quickly matched by the hunger

for new culinary experiences.

Fortunately, it’s easy enough here to

scratch both itches wherever you go.

If one had to define a

quintessential Queensland dining

experience, it would almost

definitely be alfresco, where a

relaxed vibe and fusion style is

paired with fine dining quality and a

fierce love of localism.

The unique regional flavours tell

the stories of the landscape, the

lifestyle and the people behind

them, whether you’re eating

meltingly tender Waygu beef in

Maleny on the Sunshine Coast,

‘fossicking’ for sweet and savoury

macadamia nuts outside Brisbane,

or slurping impossibly sweet frozen

mango in Bowen in the Whitsunday



This is one part of Queensland

you won’t want to pass by. The

Whitsundays are home to the

excellent Whitsundays Island

Brewing, giving you the perfect

excuse to join a tour to Whitehaven

beach and explore this spectacular

group of islands, accessible only

by boat. At the end of the day, Fish

D’vine in Airlie Beach is a well-known

foodie highlight, serving up copious,

fresh-from-the-ocean mud crab,

oysters and prawns.

“We are passionate about food

provenance: the best produce is

right on our doorstep with the fertile

lands and Great Barrier Reef,” says

the restaurant’s Rachel Vare. “Our

seafood partners ensure that we

support local fisherman and offer

the best quality at the best price,

for our guests. A fresh catch, along

with signature experiences such as our

Seafood Indulgence, paired with our

unique mojito, leaves you wanting to

come back time and time again.”


Many of the state’s breweries also

offer their own excellent food options,

including Hemingway’s in Tropical

North Queensland. The Port Douglas

brewpub is the perfect staging post for

your North Queensland adventures.

As a gastro-pub, Hemingway’s offers

uncomplicated grub to go with their

selection of beers. Each brew has a

unique story about a local character

who inspired its creation. From the

Prospector pilsner, to the Hard Yards’

dark lager, every drop pays homage to

the people of Port Douglas.


Heading south, Copperhead is a

great craft brewery with a restaurant

attached… Or is it a high-end restaurant

with its own brewery? Such is the quality

of both the beer and the food that’s it’s

rather hard to say. Whether you’re in

the mood for fish or meat though, the

options will have you agonising over

your menu for at least 30 minutes. Don’t

worry – you literally can’t make a bad

choice here.


Continue down the M1 highway and

you’ll quickly reach the state capital

of Brisbane (or “Brissie”, to the locals)

which in recent years has vigorously

shaken off its reputation as a sleepy

country town, exploding with a vibrant

and dynamic culture of food, drink,

shopping and outdoor adventure. As

well as a host of great craft breweries,

including Felon’s, Ballistic, Green

Beacon and local favourite Range

Brewing, you’ll find a flourishing culinary

scene, where fresh local ingredients

meet in an exciting fusion of cooking


Multi-award-winning Stokehouse Q,

perched on the banks of the Brisbane

River and nestled amongst the

mangroves, is a bona-fide institution,

and for good reason. Drawing on

Mediterranean and Asian cuisine,

expect elegant dishes like miso-glazed

barramundi belly, saltbush and labneh

dumplings, and rosella sorbet. In South

Brisbane, Gauge has morphed from a

buzzy daytime brunch spot to a fullyfledged

restaurant, known for its big,

bold and wildly inventive dishes, with

a distinct leaning toward seafood. If

you’re looking for something intensely

personal, Joy on Bakery Lane is a

10-cover restaurant, in which the two

chef-owners, who live on-site, dish

up plates of delicate and exquisitely

crafted food from a tiny galley kitchen.

Booking ahead is, of course, advised.


On the road again, we head south

to the Gold Coast, to Rick Shores in

Burleigh Heads, an alfresco, beach-front

delight, where the surf is practically

lapping at your toes. Come for the vista,

stay for the food. The Asian influence

is clear in Rick’s assured, creative but

un-fussy menu, with each dish given a

signature twist. Everyone orders the

fried bug roll with lettuce and sriracha,

but there’s no shame in following the

pack in this instance. Or, if you’d prefer

to keep it simple, grab a bag of prawns

from Peter’s Fish Market on Main

Beach, then on to The Broadwater, for

fish, chips and a pint of something cold.

Find your own adventure at www.queensland.com or check out the

Queensland blog at www.blog.queensland.com for some itinerary inspiration







Search the shop by style,

region or brewery


Our buyer’s favourites from his

recent travels. When they’re

gone, they’re gone!


Buy the Beer52 community’s

highest rated beers

This month, Alex Paganelli puts his unique twist on a

couple of classic Dutch snacks, for those munchy moments






For the bitterballens:

• 320g mashed potato

• 80g finely chopped carrots

• 80g finely chopped red cabbage

• 10g finely chopped chives

• 1 egg

• 30g breadcrumb

• Salt / pepper to taste

For the crispy crust:

• 2 eggs

• Flour

• Breadcrumbs (I use panko)

To assemble:

• Bread of choice

• Mustard

• A leafy salad: I used purple chicory,

chives, caperberries and a spoon of mayo.

Add all of the bitterballens ingredients to

a bowl and mix until you can form a patty.

Shape in burger rings if you have them, and

refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place the crispy crust ingredients in three

separate bowls.

Once the veggie patties are cold and

solid enough to handle, dip in the flour, then

beaten egg, and then panko breadcrumbs.

Fry for about three to five minutes on

each side until crispy and golden brown.

Dress the leafy salad and spread some

mustard over the bread. Fill the bread with

a freshly fried bitterballen, your choice of

leaf and a little more condiment to taste.





and bee


For the spread:

• 200ml milk (I use coconut)

• 100g cream (I use oat)

• 200g chocolate

• 120g toasted pistachios

• 1 tsp rose water

• 1 tsp vanilla paste

To assemble:

• Milk bread

• Sprinkles

• Bee pollen

• Honey

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. Heat the

milk and cream in a separate saucepan.

Once the chocolate and milk/cream

are both at room temp (but the chocolate

is still melted and ‘liquid’), gradually add

the hot milk to the chocolate and create

an emulsion, just like you would do with a


Add the toasted pistachios, rose water,

vanilla paste and a pinch of salt. Refrigerate

until solid. It will turn into a spreadable


Toast a thick slice of milk bread (I use a

vegan brioche type from my local bakery)

and spread a generous layer of the

chocolate pistachio spread.

Add a spoonful of bee pollen, sprinkles

and finish with a drizzle of honey.

WORDS: Siobhan Hewison

ab Culture, an innovative brewery in

Redditch, just south of Birmingham,

started life just over a year ago. It

was borne from the desire to make use

of the excess heat from the LED lamps

on the primary business, Fresh Heights

farm, which at the time was being

wasted. As an eco-friendly company, this

didn’t fit with its ethos of sustainability.

In his quest to have a sustainable,

energy-friendly and environmentallyconscious

farm, Fresh Heights and Lab

Culture director Michael Capewell

knew there must be some use for the

near-boiling water that results from the

process of cooling the LED lights.

Mulling it over in the pub, he decided

that instead of letting it run down the

drain, he would use it to make beer -

what better way to make use of excess

heat than to use it to brew a tasty


Bathed in purple LED lights, the farm

and brewery is really a sight to behold.

Fresh Heights, a revolutionary vertical

farm, has been going for about three

years now - it’s a pilot facility at the

moment, which Michael and his team

are using to grow a select amount of

produce, in order to test the waters

before a big expansion in the near


This pilot facility allows Fresh

Heights to work out the most efficient

way to grow produce, with regard

to height, light and timings, as well

as being able to keep a close eye on

customer feedback from the restaurants

and local businesses it supplies at the

moment. Once everything is figured

out, it will be time to delve into setting

up a new purpose-built facility, which is

set to be a whopping 50 times the size

of the current one.

At Fresh Heights they grow anything

leafy and below 12 inches tall; their

speciality and most requested plant

is basil (everyone’s favourite herb -

yum). Everything is grown indoors

under LED heater-cooled lights, which

hugely reduces the carbon footprint of

fresh produce like this, as it’s so often

imported from different countries and

even different continents.

These farming practices also use

a fraction of the water that growing

on traditional farms usually does. Plus,

Fresh Heights use no pesticides or

chemicals, making the harvests even

better than organic.

It’s a small site now, but even when

it grows, it’ll have one of the most

efficient uses of space of its kind -

the plants are stacked up as high as

possible, making dozens and dozens of

times more use out of the space than

a normal crop field.

At Fresh Heights they’re extracting

as much as they can from the resources

they have, and that includes the sister

brand Lab Culture Brewery. The wasted

hot water is diverted from the farm to

the mash tun, which provides 80% of

the energy needed for the brewing


In the future,

there’s potential

to grow climbing

plants like

hops as well - this,

if successful, will be another way

to avoid waste from the LED plant

farming, as it would use the residual

light that reflects onto walls.

Now for the good stuff. In terms of

actual beer, when Lab Culture started

out it had a core range - a West Coast

IPA, a pale ale, and a session rye IPA,

and a few experimental beers here

and there. Since then, it has shifted

the focus from solely this core range,

to include more offerings such as a

lime and basil saison, a milk chocolate

stout, a New England IPA, a fruited

gose in collaboration with Droitwich

Salt at Churchfields Saltworks (which

extracts salt from one of the oldest and

purest brine springs in the world). So,

it’s still making the original beers, since

they’ve always been a hit, but it’s adding

more exciting and seasonal beers to its


Once the team returns to brewing

after the Covid 19-induced lockdown,

Lab Culture has plans to make some

extra-special exciting beers on the

smaller of their two brew kits - think

big barleywines, imperial stouts, and

an imperial Berliner Weisse. Also in the

works is an Azacca single-hop pale ale

and a peach and apricot gose, which

are bound to be delicious and perfect

for summer. Plus, there’s talk of a foray

into small-batch cask beers, which is a

new thing for Lab Culture, as well as

some collaborations with other local


We all better keep our eyes peeled

for Lab Culture Brewery in the near

future - these guys are doing exciting

things in more ways than just making

beer, and they’re definitely one of

2020’s breweries to watch in this

humble beer-writer’s opinion.



ologne is Germany’s party town.

It has more bars, pubs and clubs

than Frankfurt, Hamburg or even

Berlin. And it’s famous for carnival,

the annual week-long bacchanal of

beer, Schnapps, and fancy dress that makes

Oktoberfest seem almost demure.

“We’re known to be the happiest people in

Germany,” says Ben Ott, Director of Brewing

at London’s 40FT Brewery. “When you come

to Cologne you come for a laugh.” Ben is a

proud native of Cologne, and calls himself “a

rare-breed Krauser: half Kraut, half Scouser”.

I’m talking to Ben to learn more about

Cologne’s own beer style, Kölsch. It is a little

summer smasher, the sort of beer you can

knock back on a hot afternoon without getting

silly drunk. “All the English people who

come over [to Cologne] absolutely love it,” he

WORDS: Anthony Gladman

says, his accent drifting somewhere between

Henning Wehn and Craig Charles.

The style has been gaining ground in the

UK for years. Already we’ve seen excellent

examples from Thornbridge (Tzara), Orbit

(Nico), and North (Herzog) establish

themselves in our collective beer pantheon.

I want to learn more because COVID could

mean it’s about to become even more popular

once the lockdown is eased. Ben thinks so

too. “Since I’ve moved to the UK, I’ve always

said Kölsch would be the perfect beer for the


A fluid definition

Like Ben, Kölsch is a hybrid. It brews like

an ale but drinks like a lager. It has a lager’s

golden straw colour and fluffy white head.

It is crisp and clean, like a lager, but retains

a light fruitiness through esters that come

from the yeast, like an ale. On top of that you

will get just a touch of hop character but the

bitterness is generally low.

The name Kölsch is reserved for beers

brewed by breweries in and around Cologne.

This is policed by the Kölsch-Konvention, a

charter drawn up by the Cologne Brewery

Association and given teeth through an

EU designation of Protected Geographical

Indication. In practice, however, brewers

beyond the EU’s reach can and do use the

term with impunity. (Brewers in the UK have

typically used phrases like ‘Köln-style’ or

‘Kölsch-style’ to get around the rules. It will

be interesting to see if this changes thanks to


In Cologne people drink it from a 200ml

straight-sided glass called a Stange (or stick).

The rest of Germany takes the piss out of

us Colognians because we drink out of these

very small glasses,” he says. “They say we

drink out of test tubes.”

But drinking like this means you will always

have a fresh, cold beer in your hand. “I know

quite a few people who, when they’ve had

three-quarters of their pint, they start fighting

with it a little bit, you know?” he says. “[In

Cologne] that will never happen.” So who’s

laughing now, I half-expect him to say.

Ben is warm and funny, engaging and open

when I talk to him about the city and the

beer. I find it hard not to be swept away on a

wave of his enthusiasm.

“Everyone in the rest of Germany talks shit

about Kölsch,” he says. “They all call it either





Kölsches to look out for



“Päffgen is absolutely stunning,” says Ben.

Brewed since 1883, this is one of the best

examples of a traditional Kölsch. Definitely

worth a trip to Cologne.


This has a touch more hops than other

Kölsches, and a slightly more rounded malt

note rather than the classic bready profile. “I

think it sits between Kölsch and a Bavarian

pilsner,” says Jimmy.


The new kids on the block. “Duex is a tiny one

that’s literally just opened but it’s gone a bit

more back to the older ways,” says Ben. This is

more golden than straw, with a slightly richer

malt taste.


40FT, Larger

“It’s not really a lager, it’s got more

taste. So it’s larger than a lager, and

that’s where the name came from,” Ben

explains. This is unfiltered and hopped

with Lemon Drop for an extra citrus


Unity Brewing Co, Prinzen

A new addition to the core range, this is

soft and pillowy with a crisp finish. There’s

a touch of honeydew from the Huell Melon

hops that adds to the fruity esters.

Howling Hops, Das Köolsch

Another great UK example that’s been

around for a while. Try it fresh from the

tank at the Howling Hops tank bar for

the ultimate experience.

women’s beer or water beer or piss.” He

laughs this off — he laughs often as we chat.

And thanks to him I find myself picturing

Cologne’s detractors as grumpy Bavarians

in overly-stiff Lederhosen, tangled up in

tradition, or perhaps protestant fun-shunners

from Northern Germany, sour-faced and


Busy with the fizzy

So why will we see more of it in the UK?

When it comes to sales, lager rules the waves.

This is true around the world, and the UK

is no exception. Here lager surpassed the

combined market share of ale and stout back

in 1990 and has been growing steadily ever

since. It accounted for 75% of all British beer

sales in 2017.

Even as the UK’s craft beer sector matures,

and we grow accustomed to finding modern

brews on our supermarket shelves, brewers

know that if you want to sell a lot of beer then

you’d better brew a lager.

During lockdown, with breweries operating

far below capacity if they’re brewing at all,

committing tank space to lagering beers

doesn’t pose any problems. But when a

brewery is working at full tilt, it means

forgoing the profits from one or even two

batches of beer than could have been made

and sold in the time it takes to make a decent


Down in Southampton, Unity Brewing Co.

needed a lager option to keep the weekend

crowds in its taproom happy. “Our taproom

is five minutes away from the local football

stadium,” says Unity’s founder, Jimmy

Hatherley. “We were buying in stuff like

Donzoko Northern Helles and Kellerpils

from Lost and Grounded as a lager option.

And we were like ‘we need to make one


Making a lager isn’t quite the same as

making an ale. It takes longer. It ferments

slower, and colder, and then sits in tanks for

two or three times longer. (It is possible to

make it faster. Carling, for instance, holds its

lager in its conditioning tanks for just three

days. But this option isn’t on craft brewers’


Unity’s solution was to split the difference

and brew Prinzen, a ‘Köln-style lagerbier’

that is the newest addition to the brewery’s

core range. “I chose a Kölsch because we

can knock it out a little bit quicker,” Jimmy

says. “We wanted something nice and clean

and super drinkable that we know could

be really consistent and we wouldn’t have

to have in tank for too long. So it’s three to

four weeks rather than the five to six weeks

that we’d want to do with a pilsner or proper


Jimmy describes Kölsch as a great end-ofthe-shift

beer, a real crowd pleaser. “They’re

a bit fuller bodied than a helles, and less

bitter than a pilsner and a bit less hop

forward, so it has that middle ground pretty

nicely,” he says.

“It’s a very soft, fluffy enjoyable crisp clean

drink,” he says of Prinzen. “You’ve got lovely

bready malt and pretty low bitterness and

some nice yeast esters, bit of fruitiness there,

and it’s just the perfect little tavern beer.”


It’s this ability to please everyone that makes

Kölsch a good candidate for brewing once

the lockdown lifts. It can slake the public’s

thirst for light, lager-style beers while also

keeping brewers happy by not making

them compromise on quality. At the same

time, it doesn’t make an undue dent on the

brewery’s balance sheet at the end of the

month, because it’s cheap to brew and

doesn’t tie up tank space too long.

The final reason we may soon

see more Kölsch-style beers

brewed in the UK is a technical

one. “The big bottleneck always

used to be that no one had

pressurised tanks to ferment and

mature in,” explains Ben. “That

was always the biggest problem

back in the day.”

But increasingly brewers here

have invested in brewhouse

equipment that will allow them

to spund their beers — to brew

them in the same way as German

brewers, and replicate the refined,

delicate carbonation a Kölsch

requires. With that the final quality

barrier has been removed.

“I think the UK has come to a

point that they will definitely

produce really good Kölsch,”

says Ben. Some would say we

have already. But if it’s going

to get better? That can only

be a good thing.



WORDS: Hollie Stephens

Buried treasure

One winter day in 2007, in a field in

near Newport, Wales, a local man was

searching the ground with a metal

detector. Among his findings that day

were two bronze bowls and a bronze

wine strainer dating to the Iron Age,

which were pronounced treasure.

Other objects were buried alongside

these, in what is assumed to have been

a religious offering, including a wooden

tankard deemed to be 2000 years

old, making it the oldest tankard ever


The artefacts are thought to have

been placed in the ground around

the time that the Roman army was

A wooden tankard found on board the 16th century carrack Mary Rose

launching a campaign against the

Silures tribe of the Iron Age, sometime

around AD 50. The tankard (not itself

deemed treasure) seems a particularly

miraculous discovery given the

biodegradable nature of its primary

construction material. It was buried in

soil which had become waterlogged,

helping to prevent any exposure to air

and rendering the item recognisable

as a drinking vessel upon excavation.

The tankard is now displayed in the

National Museum of Wales, located in


‘fill your boots’,

might well have originated

from this tradition, as

drinking mugs resembled old

and worn shoes

Tankards are tall beer mugs with a

handle and a hinged lid. The unlidded

variety may also be referred to as

tankards, or simply ‘mugs’. The phrase

‘getting tanked’ is thought to have

originated from these drinking vessels,

which seem oversized by modern

beer glass standards. For example, the

wooden tankard found in the field in

South Wales would have held around

four pints (rendering a single pour a

noble weeknight effort for any Welsh

drinker). If glugged at anything like

the rate of a modern day serving of

ale, drinking from a traditional tankard

could make for a very merry evening


Why lids?

Today, it might seem odd and a little

awkward to consider drinking out of a

lidded drinking vessel, and yet this was

a standard practice until the second

half the 18th century.

Although it is not known for certain

why tankards were lidded, some

historians have speculated that it was

to prevent debris from falling into

one’s beer, especially when drinking

in establishments which may not have

had roofs designed in accordance

with modern day codes. For example,

thatched roofs were common in rural

areas of the UK until the 18th century,

when other building supplies became

available in greater quantities and at

lower costs thanks to the Industrial

Revolution. Thatched roofs might

be constructed from materials such

as flax, grass, and straw, tied into

bundles, laid upon roof beams, and

fastened into place using rods. The

tankard lids may have been designed

to avoid the unwanted addition of

dirt and insects which might fall

mid-session; surely an experience

that would ruin a perfectly pleasant

afternoon beer.

From wood, to leather,

to pewter

Early tankards, like the one found

in a Langstone field, were typically

constructed from wooden staves and

bronze plate, with a copper alloy handle

attached with rivets. This is similar to the

modern construction of wooden barrels

but on a tiny scale. Later, tankards were

constructed from different materials,

including porcelain, pottery and even


Vessels made from leather have been

used for drinking since Neolithic times,

and were in vogue again during the reign

of the Tudors. Yet another common saying,

‘fill your boots’, might well have originated

from this tradition, as drinking mugs

resembled old and worn shoes. Beeswax

or similar alternatives were used to create

waterproof membranes on the interior of

such vessels to help preserve the life of

the leather.

Precious metals such as silver or pewter

were also commonly used in the UK,

Germany and across Scandinavia. Pewter,

an alloy of tin, was sometimes known as

‘poor man’s silver’, as it resembled silver

closely when polished. Although pewter

was not always the most ubiquitous

material for tankard construction,

examples of pewter exist as far back as

the Roman era. Until the wide availability

of ceramics and pottery, pewter was also

used for domestic wares. The earliest

surviving pewter tankards date to the mid-

17th century. They had straight sides and

raised lids with flat tops.



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I spoke with Carl Ricketts, a former

president of the Pewter Society and

author of the book Early English

Pewter Drinking Vessels, to learn more

about how, when, and why pewter

became a popular choice for beer


“Until the advent of early mass

production in the Staffordshire

potteries, it would have been most

likely to encounter pewter in pubs.

Because of the easier breakage of

pottery, the publicans probably stuck

with pewter mugs and measures for

much longer, especially near centres

of production such as London.”

The malleability of pewter makes

it versatile and easy to care for. Carl

explains this is a benefit for items

which are heavily used. “Pewter has

tended to be used to create objects

whose hardness was not so critical,

and indeed for drinking vessels and

measures, a softer alloy was preferred

as it was easier to reshape when

dented or deformed, which often

happened in pubs!”

Pewter used to be manufactured

using lead, which was later found

to be poisonous. Modern pewter

alloys are lead-free. One such is

Britannia metal, comprised of

tin, antimony, and copper. Early

manufacturing of Britannia metal

centred in Sheffield, and this form

of pewter was most prolific from the

late 18th century until the middle of

the Victorian era.

The personal touch

Today, tankards make popular gifts for

anniversaries, milestone birthdays or

retirements, and are more likely to be

seen displayed on a mantlepiece than

in permanent circulation in the beer

glass cabinet. The sense of ownership

of a tankard or beer mug appears to be

a substantial part of the appeal. It is

more than just any old drinking vessel;

it is a special one bearing the name of

the drinker, or an important message.

Perhaps it was hand-crafted to a design

specified by the owner, as unique as the

person who will sip from it. Drinking

from a tankard bearing someone else’s

name appears to be the equivalent of

taking an evidently personalised mug

from the cupboard in a shared office

space; something of a social faux pas.

In some cases, a single tankard may

be shared by a group. The Union Bar

at Imperial College London maintains

the largest known collection of pewter

tankards in Europe. Each tankard

represents a volunteer position

within the union, and each may only

be used by the people whose names

are engraved upon it, or the student

currently holding the relevant position.

Built to last

Few pubs remain where serving from

metal tankards or mugs is the norm.

Many years ago, I stepped into the

Fox and Anchor pub (now owned by

Youngs) in London. Its proximity to

Smithfields market would likely have

made it an early-afternoon haunt of

hardworking traders in years gone by.

I hadn’t chosen to visit specifically to

drink from a tankard or pewter mug – I

had it on good authority that their goose

fat chips were some of the best in the

city – but once I saw the rows of metal

drinking vessels hanging neatly from a

rail along the back bar, I couldn’t resist.

There was something undeniably

satisfying about drinking from

something that wouldn’t shatter or

smash when dropped. Upon the surface,

clumsy behaviours of raucous and overzealous

drinkers could be fossilised and

preserved for hundreds or thousands

of years. As I sipped at my pint, I ran

my fingers gently over the dimples and

scratches, wondering how and when

they got there, and how many more

would be laid on top of them with the

passage of time.





Living in Edinburgh on a writer’s

wage, I can’t afford a garden.

But I do have two square metres

of gravel and an old fishing chair,

for which I am currently extremely

grateful. It was there that I sat

this past weekend, contemplating

the cloudless sky, when I had a

hankering for this thirst-quenching

summer classic. So simple it’s barely

even a cocktail, a good Tom Collins

– essentially a boozy lemonade –

nonetheless hits the spot like nothing


The origins of the Tom Collins lie in

the murky and disreputable environs

of the ‘coffee house’ at Limmer’s

Hotel in London in the 19th century.

Gin was pretty much the only game

in town at the time, and Limmer’s

gin punch was generally agreed to

be among the best in the city. The

Tom Collins is understood to be an

evolution of this punch, named for

one of the bartenders there, John


It would originally have been made

with ‘Old Tom’ gin; unlike the more

sophisticated London Dry gin, Old

Tom was cheap and poorly distilled,

with heaps of spice and added sugar

to disguise its rough spirit. If you want

to make an authentic Tom Collins,

as we have here, you can purchase

modern Old Tom, which is essentially

slightly sweet, heavily spiced gin,

without the gut-rotting methanol. Yay.

A close relative of the Tom Collins,

made using the scarce (at the time)

Dutch Jenever instead of gin, the

John Collins is pretty much the same,

although most will use half-and-half

fresh lemon and fresh lime.

It’s such a winning basic formula

that the Collins family has expanded

to include almost any kind of white

spirit you might care to think of, from

the Joe Collins (with vodka) to the

Pedro Collins (with white rum).

Just as a side note, I recently

stopped making my own simple syrup,

in favour of just buying bottles of the

stuff from Monin. Honestly, I haven’t

looked back.



• 60ml Old Tom gin

• 30ml fresh lemon juice

• 15ml sugar syrup

• 50ml soda water


Shake the gin, lemon and

syrup with ice, then strain into

an ice-filled glass. Top up with

soda and stir.

Garnish with a slice of

lemon, and a cherry if you're

so inclined.



Everyone is drinking these beers this month

Everyone is drinking these beers this month


Brouwerij Kees




Brouwerij Frontaal

ABV: 5.5% Enjoy at 9°C

Style: Belgian IPA

ABV: 6% Enjoy at 6°C

Style: IPA


A highly rated, refreshing beer which pairs a

subtle sweet character with a rich, fruity hop

aromas. Brewed with pale and cara malts its

dominant flavour is Mosaïc hop.


Life’s too short for boring, middle

of the road beers. Craft Brewery

Keesstands for tasty, fruity, hoppy

flavours and strong dark ales, but

there’ll always be that ‘twist’ . That

special ‘something’ that make his

beers stand out. Never afraid of

trying something new and relying on

his experience as a restaurant chef

he created more than 30 new beers,

including an IPA with Earl Grey tea,

barrel aged porters and stouts and

strong porters and stouts with coffee.


Brouwerij Frontaal is a five year-old

brewery located in Breda in the

Netherlands. In 2019 it moved to a

great new location a new brewery

and its own canning line. It brews

its beers with the philosophy “Beer

for thought”. To brew beer without

any concession to the final taste

of the beer. So you can expect full

taste in a wide range of styles.


Frontaal's hazy core range IPA with lots of

citrus and tropical aromas. Wheat and oats give

this beer body and a smooth character. The

aftertaste is with a piney bitterness from the

used hops.






Brouwerij de Molen

ABV: 5.2% Enjoy at 5-7°C

Style: Juicy pale ale

ABV: 3.5% Enjoy at 6°C

Style: Session IPA-ish


This juicy pale ale lives up to its description,

and then some. Loads of tropical fruits and fruit

juices in the nose, like bathing in a fruit cocktail.

Grapefruit, oranges, pineapple, peach, citrus, all

there in both aroma and flavour.


Fueled by mischief and a

monomaniacal mission to brew

f*cking good beer. Uiltje operates

on the delirious fringes of hop

culture. Not craft but crafty beer

with a sharp, uncompromised

tongue. From its medieval Dutch

brew-town Haarlem, the team

toy with the extremes, decoding

beer with a hacker’s lust for

provocation. Daring beer from a

tiny owl that thumbs his nose at

the mindless masses.


Brouwerij de Molen is a craft beer

brewery located in the village of

Bodegraven in the Netherlands.

About a 30 minute drive from

Amsterdam. It started in 2004 in an

old windmill along the river ‘Oude

Rijn’ Well known for an endlessly

growing and varied collection of

craft beers. The grand international

success started when a legendary

Molen stout won gold at the Great

British Beer Festival in 2005.


Your nose will instantly observe the spicy, grassy and

citrus notes, which will also be evident in the flavour.

The brewers have managed to successfully give the

beer a surprisingly full body, despite the low alcohol

percentage. A bitter finish completes the experience.

This month's light case selection

Switch to light case to get these beers







ABV: 5% Enjoy at 4-6°C

Style: Hefeweizen


A pineapple-infused

Hefeweizen, Piewee is your

best friend during summer.

Aromas of wheat, pineapple

of course, and citrus acidity.

Medium sweetness, light in

bitters, bursting with flavours

like pinepapple and lemon.

Easy to drink, light in body,

extremely refreshing.

ABV: 4.5% Enjoy at 8°C

Style: India pale lager


Eight years ago, four friends started

experimenting with hops, malt and

yeast in a tiny kitchen. Dreams were

shared, recipes were refined and music

blared. Encouraging people to open up

to stereotype-free beer, to share their

love for their mums and to explore

the galaxy of flavours, they makes

colourful beers for colourful people.

The heart of Oedipus is its brewery

and taproom in Amsterdam-Noord;

here it both brews and welcome

guests into our colourful world to

celebrate beer, art, music and food.


Avatar is a hoppy bottom fermented beer inspired by the

American Pale Ale. The beer has the aroma of an IPA in

which the Mandarina Bavaria hop is the most dominant

(citrus, tangerine). The aftertaste is short, similar to a

lager, which gives the beer a high drinkability.


Two Chefs Brewing



Hop & Liefde

Brouwerij de Molen


Hazy and fruity! It has loads of tropical

fruit aroma due to the use of Mosaic

and Chinook hops. The beer has a full

and creamy body, lightly bitter with a

crisp aftertaste. What a delight!

ABV: 5% Enjoy at 6°C

Style: NEIPA


The eponymous Two Chefs came to brewing

by a culinary route, and it shows. With a

beautiful brewery in the west of the city,

these guys are a true success story of the

scene, putting out some of the best and most

exciting beers around. Beers with unusual

flavours taken from their gourmet days.

Visit their fine dining beer restaurant, Bar Alt,

where craft beer and food truly come together

(www.bar-alt.com). And check out the new flagship

bar, Two Chefs Bar, opening June 1.

Pub-food, super fresh craft beer and a cosy

atmosphere (bar.twochefsbrewing.com).

ABV: 4.8% Enjoy at 6°C

Style: American pale ale-ish


The brewers of Brouwerij de

Molen have a lot of love for

hops. One of their favourites is

a hop called Citra. No surprise

that this beer was dry-hopped

with plenty of this hop. Dryhopping

means adding extra

hop just after fermentation.

Refreshing, easy going and lots

of flavour. That’s Hop & Love

This month's mixed case selection

Switch to mixed case to get these beers


Brouwerij Frontaal





ABV: 6% Enjoy at 8-10°C

Style: Coffee porter


Aromas of bitter coffee

and red fruits. Also hints

of chocolate which comes

from the roasted malts. It

has a light silky sweet taste

in the beginning, with a dry

coffee bitter finish.

ABV: 6% Enjoy at 10-12°C

Style: Stout


A dark ale with typical stout

flavours of coffee, chocolate

and a little licorice. These

flavours come from the roasted

and toasted malts (barley,

wheat, oats and rye) and the

hops (Columbus). The beer is

well balanced and modest for

a stout, which makes the beer

very drinkable.

Van vollenhoven extra stout

Poesiat & Kater




De Moersleutel

ABV: 7.1% Enjoy at 8°C

Style: Extra stout

ABV: 8% Enjoy at 9°C

Style: Coconut stout with lactose


Poesiat & Kater’s Van Vollenhoven Extra Stout is based on

a recipe from the original Van Vollenhoven brewery that

existed in Amsterdam during the 18th century. It has a rich

full malt body with roasted flavour notes. This was the

top-selling beer in the Netherlands in the second half of

the 19th century and was shipped all over the world.


With one foot in

Amsterdam's beer history,

and the other firmly in its

future, Poesiat & Kater run

the gamut of character

and style. Like the most

delicious field trip you've

ever tasted. Poesiat &

Kater's Van Vollenhoven

Extra Stout is the brewery's

flagship beer, recreated for

discerning beer lovers.


Brouwerij de Moersleutel (Wrench)

was founded by four brothers Pim,

Tom, Rob and Max. It is always

in search of and creating new

sensations for your tastebuds. When

it's not doing that, the brewers are

perfecting its existing beers. De

Moersleutel's beers are in your face,

without compromise, and complex

while still keeping a balance.


Dark brown to black beer with a thick brown head

with tiny compact bubbles. The smell has some

really intense notes of coconut and chocolate,

smells like a liquid Bounty. The taste has some

roasty bitters, but the coconut smoothens them.

Creamy mouthfeel and a nice roasty finish.

10 pack upgrade beers

12 pack upgrade beers


Brouwerij Kees




Brouwerij Frontaal

ABV: 7.1% Enjoy at 8°C

Style: NEIPA


A very fruity and juicy hazy IPA,

brewed with pure American

hops, like Mosaic, Citra and

Ekuanot. The taste is smooth

and silky and you will enjoy this

beer until the last sip.

ABV: 5.8% Enjoy at 6°C

Style: NEIPA


A NEIPA with loads of

papaya, peach and mango

in the aroma. A full sweet

fruit juice with a smooth

mouthfeel because the high

amount of oats and wheat

that have been used.


De Moersleutel



bird of prey


ABV: 6% Enjoy at 7°C

Style: Dry hopped NEIPA


Yellow, very cloudy beer

with a dense, white compact

head. Smell is extremely dank,

hoppy with loads of citrus. The

mouthfeel is oily and creamy,

you can feel the citra hops

tingling on your toungue. Ends

with a subtle bitter finish. Very

hoppy and refreshing.

ABV: 5.8% Enjoy at 5-7°C

Style: IPA


A superhero IPA chock-full of

citra, chinook and mosaic hops.

Pours slightly hazy, with aromas

of grapefruit, mandarin and

stonefruit. Citrussy taste, sweet,

juicy and fruity, hints of bitter

grapefruit, accompanied by

some bready maltiness.



Amsterdamned (1988)

Amsterdam is no doubt among the

most beautiful cities in the world, but

strangely enough there are few films

taking advantage of its photogenic potential.

In Amsterdamned, Dutch cult film director

Dick Maas portrays the city as a backdrop to a

bizarrely delightful setup: a psychopathic serial

killer, dressed in a black wetsuit, lurks in the

murky waters of the city’s famed canals and hunts

random people with his scuba diving gear.

The film’s opening sequence is particularly

vivid in showcasing that oddly satisfying mix of

the idyllic and the macabre: a tourist barge floats

calmly through the city’s canal network, but the

tour’s appreciation of architectural history is

interrupted by shrieks of children, when a dead

body hanging from a nearby bridge bumps the

boat and drags across its glass ceiling, painting

it with strokes of deep red. The city officials

respond to the shocking event by tasking Eric

Visser, a hard-boiled Grolsch-drinking detective

to find the gruesome killer, but he is pressed with

the lack of evidence as well as the city council’s

mounting concerns in maintaining Amsterdam’s

“clean” reputation as a safe haven.

Eric and his clumsy partner Vermeer, whose

droll self-mockery is just brilliant in a number of

slapstick moments, proceed their investigation

by making their way through the local diving

community. There, among other characters,

Eric meets Laura, a captivating woman who is

simultaneously a distraction from and an eventual

key to solving the grisly murders.

Released at the tail end of the 1980s slasher

trend, Amsterdamned is notable for its use of

location and wonderfully subdued humour, but

at times might feel as if consciously at pains to

bring something new to the recycled conventions

of the genre. Despite its clear inspiration from

Italian Giallo flicks, the film’s underdeveloped

script performs little in the way of explaining the

motivations of its killer antagonist. But what the

film lacks in character psychology, it makes up

for in its production and entertainment value.

Indeed, the film’s dramatic peaks produce two

gratifying high speed chases across the canal

complex, unseen even in the best of actionblockbusters—first

with a motorbike, pursuing

what is predictably a false suspect, and second

with a boat, arguably the film’s most thrilling, nailbiting


Amsterdamned is no masterpiece, but a pure

delight in the realm of horror cinema, which

is somewhat going through a dormant phase.

Beware—punting in long summer days will never

ever be the same once you’ve encountered it.



The humble hop has gifted us with a world of almost limitless

flavour possibilities. In this very special box, we guide you through

a selection of unusual, bold and downright groundbreaking beers

that will make you view hops in a whole new light.

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