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Furlough Diaries

Furlough Diaries: Hannah Davidson

This is our second “Furlough Diaries” email… if you missed it, last week’s was: Justin, our sales manager.

This week meet Hannah, our procurement manager, I’ll let Hannah introduce herself…

I’m Hannah and I joined JGB in October, shortly after trying all the barleywines at Indy Man (the two things are unrelated). I live up in Manchester out towards the Peak District, meaning I get the glorious combination of great restaurants and city bars, and country pubs with incredible views. 

I work in procurement, which basically means that I chat to breweries about what beers they’re brewing that we would like to buy. I chat to the sales team about any customer needs, beer for any events we have coming up, and generally making sure that we’re getting in a range of great beers in cask, can, keg and bottle for Justin and The Dans to sell to all our lovely customers. Professional beer buying is exactly as fun as it sounds!

Before coming to the procurement side I worked in sales and communications for Marble Beers, and before that for East London Brewing Company, after several years in pub slinging cask ales: The Harp, Covent Garden, and The Old Red Cow, Barbican, with some time at Fuller’s press office in between those. I’ve chatted on panels at beer festivals, poured at a lot of them, and even had a go at brewing once or twice: generally been knocking around beer for a while now!

During lockdown I have mostly been… 

Cooking.

I cook a lot, I find it restful and I’ll try my hand at pretty much anything. I have made:

Nettle pasta, wild garlic pesto, cherry blossom jam – I’ve been foraging a lot in the woods near my house, as it’s a nice way to get out for some exercise without pressuring yourself to travel a certain distance but still with a goal in mind. Only pick things you are 100% certain about, and if they’re wild garlic flowers take them home and make gram flour fritters with them sprinkled with sea salt. 

Pig faces – Lechon ulo ng baboy: Filipino marinated & roasted pig’s head. The Decent Company in Abergavenny raise their Old Spot pigs outdoors and the meat that comes from these animals is phenomenal. We’re trying to eat less but better meat, and I work on the principle of nose to tail because I was raised by offal people (and pig face is delicious.) Porchetta di testa – more pig face, but this time fennel & citrus zest sweet cure then rolled into a sausage and cooked sous vide for 10 hours.

Beige – I love baking and beige food, and in times of high anxiety and stress I tend to reset to beige. Pies with glossy golden crusts, maybe with cheesy leek & potato filling or sausage and onion; roast butternut squash mac & cheese; bread, lots of bread; a bizarre celeriac gnocchi & leek bake; Vada Pav; Flapjacks from my grandma’s cookbook. 

I’m sad that Carnivale Brettanomyces is cancelled this year, so I was inspired to make a dinner in the style of Wilde Chutney. Several courses featuring fermented, pickled, and foraged ingredients, purely with what was already in my house, and paired with some of the special beers from our stash. Oud Beersel Green Walnut and babaganoush; Dugges & Hunter and Sons Kii and buffalo milk blue cheese; Kernel Biere de saison Crab Apple and wild garlic blossom fritters. It was a ridiculous Wednesday and it made me so happy to experiment. 

Drinking.

Beer mostly, and lots of tea. Currently in our fridge we have:

Lager – Donzoko Big Foam and Northern Helles were fresh in this week, and some Lost & Grounded Keller Pils. Burnt Mill & Donzoko collab Dark Second is lovely. 

Hackney Brewery – Millions of Peaches. I buy and drink this by the case. 4%, fruity, tart, fresh and summery. It’s frigging lush. 

Schofferhofer – it’s not cool, sexy or craft, but it is refreshing and low ABV.

Kernel Brewery – we ordered a selection of everything on their list a few weeks ago, so our Biere de Saisons stash range is off the charts atm. The Crab Apple is a particular favourite of mine when paired with the wild garlic blossom fritters I mentioned earlier.

Mint Julep – retro minimal effort cocktails should feature on more home drink menus. I never worked as a cocktail bartender, so my skill set is limited. Luckily I have good friends who are cocktail bartenders who Whatsapp guide me through any recipes I want to try.

(All beer was purchased from independent retailers or direct from breweries)

Practical things.

I started gardening when I moved North and got a garden that I could dig up. I found that if I stick to things that require minimal intervention I’m great at growing things, except tomatoes which I obsess over purely so I can make panzanella every day in the summer. 

I weeded the patio, which was a great idea until I realised that to lay it all flat again I would need more sand and a trip to B&Q is not an essential trip at this time. My patio is now basically a giant wobble board so I should maybe incorporate it into my yoga Tree Pose practice.  

I’ve been redecorating my house over the last 3 years: from a yellow and brown textured wallpaper post-apocalyptic pub aesthetic via crack den to a bit less crack den, I’m down to only the box room left to do. From the awful ceiling tiles to the black and dark purple painted anaglypta wallpaper, the boxes I never unpacked and the piles of crap that have been relocated there from literally everywhere else in the house, my goal is that the room can become my office, but I may need to burn it down first. 

As a distraction tactic I have been making little crafts, things like felt flowers for a door wreath because why should we only put up pretty decorations at Christmas, and I’ve been crocheting doughnuts and ice creams from my sister’s toddlers to play with. 

Things I can’t wait to enjoy again.

Fyne Fest and Brett Fest. Definitely my 2 favourite beer events purely for locations and who I get to hang out with there. I’m sad I can’t be in a glen with everyone this summer, but I recently read Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain and that helped my sadness a bit. Brett Fest is with a beautiful bunch of people and we go and drink silly beer and eat amazing food and giggle our way around Amsterdam for 4 days in ubers, boats and (sometimes) bicycles. 

Boardgames at Beatnikz Republic bar. 

Dropping into a pub and seeing loads of people you know and being silly and loud and laughing a lot.

Three Little Words cocktail bar. 

Women’s Institute. I joined the WI last year and I miss our physical meet ups. The last one we could all go to in March we learned a Syrian party dance, I made baklava, and we giggled a lot about general fitness/coordination levels. 

Swimming. I only started going regularly again this year, but since lockdown I have been getting back on my bike instead and going for a little potter. 

Bundobust. 

The Archers 6 days a week (it’s rationed at the moment) 

Hugging friends. 

Hanging out with my family for Mum’s Sunday breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner. Just think of a group of tall, loud, laughing people eating a lot near each other and you’re pretty much there.

Picnics.

A pint of immaculate cask beer, possibly with a pickled egg and some crisps.

The train journey from Manchester to Sheffield.

The sound of a pub on a Saturday afternoon. 

Hot pies and cups of tea at the football. 

Working again, because that will mean that the world has righted itself once more. 

I’m off to go start going through the boxroom to see if anything in there brings me joy. See you all soon! 

Hannah

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