Our next meet-the-brewer event will be at Burwash Manor’s “Sizzling Sunday” on March 17th. The “Sizzling Sunday” is a celebration of Burwash Manor Farm’s own delicious Rare Breed Pork. As well as the farm Burwash Manor is home to a collection of interesting shops located on a farm in Barton, just a hop skip and a jump from Cambridge town centre.
We will have three Pig & Porter(@PigAndPorter) beers on draught, andCozzi & Boffa (@CozziBoffaWines) will have three in bottle to enjoy on the day or take-away. Not only that but we’ll have Sean Ayling, the Pig & Porter founder-brewer, in attendance to chat about beer and how this relatively-new brewery got up and running. Pig & Porter is an up-and-coming new brewery in the UK scene, which has already made a good impression in craft beer venues across the country – with their first splash into the scene that we noticed being at IndyManBeerCon last year . IMBC is a young yet already prestigious craft beer event where they take their beer selection very seriously.
The three Pig & Porter beers have been chosen with tasty pork products in mind*, although we think Pig & Porter fit the theme of the day quite well in name alone. Additionally we’ll have three other beers on draught that also feature in Cozzi & Boffa’s bottle/can range.
Pig & Porter, Honey Hill Wit – 5.0% – a flavoursome hazy wheat beer loaded up with honey. Perfect complement to a honey glazed ham, or any slab of pig for that matter.
Pig & Porter, Neither Nor – 5.0% – British pale malts fermented with a lager yeast. Quaffing beer, great for washing down a pork feast.
Pig & Porter, Red Spider Rye – 5.5% – a robust rye-driven beer, full of berry fruits and woody spiciness. I reckon you could cure a very tasty bacon with it.
Beavertown, Gamma Ray – 5.4% – A hop-driven American Pale Ale – much loved, Beavertown just can’t brew enough of this stuff!
Hammerton, Pentonville – 5.3% – An unctuous Oyster Stout – yes, with real Colchester oysters in the brew.
Moor, Nor’Hop – 4.1% – Moor’s classic hoppy quaffer featuring the freshest of new-season Northern American hops.
That should be enough to keep most beer lovers happy! However… the bar shall be located just outside the Cozzi & Boffa shop, where they will additionally have a range of beers in bottle and can chilled and ready to drink. As well as their usual shelves full of awesome British craft beers which you can buy and take away to enjoy at home.
* Now, if you’re vegetarian then don’t fret – all beers selected except the oyster stout are veggie-friendly, and aside from the Honey Hill vegan-friendly too. That said I’m not sure the overall celebration of rare breed pork will be quite up your alley.
Weird Beard is a London microbrewery founded by two beer lovers in 2013. In a short time they’ve taken the British craft beer scene by storm – brewing a range of fun beers spanning a multitude of styles. Co-founder, brewer, and faceless-spreadsheet-ninja Gregg Irwin will lead a tasting of a set of the brewery’s beers, including some core beers plus also some special stuff.
This is a ticketed beer tasting. However if you’d like to just pop along and meet Gregg from Weird Beard that is perfectly OK! Gregg will hang around to chat with folk interested beers, brewing, and breweries!
The exact set of beers is TBC – we’ll publish some highlights as they’re confirmed over the next few days.
This event is kindly hosted by The Blue Moon pub on Norfolk Street. Sister-pub to the Cambridge Blue, the Blue Moon’s focus is on interesting keg beers – with 10 taps, many of which feature great beers from British micros. But they also have cask lines, bottled beers, and a variety of interesting spirits.
We’re only a week into February and it has been a crazy month already. We’re very excited to have got Beavertown out to customers for the first time this month, and also to be getting hold of the first cans from Weird Beard tomorrow.
But in other really exciting news it is time again for more awesome beer from New Zealand!
We already have pre-orders for a pretty extensive selection of the wonderful antipodean beer goodness that the New Wave folk up in Scotland have imported. It has floated its way over via refrigerated shipping and will be good to go out to pubs, bars, and shops by the end of the month. The previous shipment all went out and was very well received, so they’ve brought even more over this time and we all benefit from the cost reductions of scale and experience.
These beers make for one hell of a special offering. Totally worth importing, imported well, stored cool all across the chain to our coldstore and then your cellar.
The breweries we have the pleasure to offer you are:
We’ll be taking pre-orders for beers from all of these for the next week or so and expect to have them handy to go out to folk in two weeks. We’ve also speculatively pre-booked a load of Renaissance and Yeastie Boys kegs (they were the scarcest stocked of the 6 breweries) to ensure a decent selection of them makes it to our patch and southern parts more generally.
Our current delivery area is marked below – but we’re willing to go further afield by request and will be able to deliver into London for the sake of getting you this beery goodness from New Zealand.
In the meantime there’s some great events coming up featuring these New Zealand beers.
February 15th – Spit/Fire in Edinburgh (not many tickets left for the Yeastie Boys Meet the Brewer but beers will be pouring!) [See link for more of the story behind New Wave getting NZ goodies to our shores.]
February 19th-22nd – Kiwi breweries will be present atCraft Beer Rising in London from the 19th to 22nd, so pop in there to sample their beers and have a chat!
We’re pretty much happy to deliver anywhere within a 100 mile radius of Cambridge – the area shown below just bounds our existing regular delivery routes. We don’t normally do London but in this case we can do by request, hey and why not anywhere in theSouth East! Always looking for new markets to which we can bring fantastic beer.
Our bar will be popping-up at Rhode Island again for New Year Beer to welcome in 2015. This is a casual non-ticketed event open to all comers. Beer starts pouring at 6pm!
How about welcoming in January 2015 trying a variety of interesting and fun British micro-brewed beers? Across keg and bottle we’ll have at least 20 different things you can try! Do this in support of #tryanuary – a counter-movement to the extremity of #dryjanuary. Rather than abstain and add to the January woes of a great British industry that employs many thousands of people (hop & barley farmers, brewery supplies, breweries, logistics, pubs!) drink in moderation, enjoy new beers, and support our beer industry.
Also – there is going to be HOG ROAST 🙂 plus other foodie goodies, and live music.
The bar will be a simple setup – 6 or 7 beers, perhaps others rotated in, and a selection of bottles. Cash bar. Beer served in your choice of measure. (Plastic pints or curvy twirds…)
Take-Away NYE Beer? If you want to grab some fun stuff ‘n’ go then we can do that too! We’ll have 3-pint take-home pouches for draught beers (charged for 3 pints, no extra, and the pouches can be rinsed and re-used at your local) as well at the bottle selection for take-out. Have a sneaky pint at the bar while you’re there!
Here’s the tap-list, the green highlighted items should be on the bar to start with (if all goes well – nowt guaranteed!), the others are back-ups that will be rotated in if people are thirsty enough. (Sorry about the scrolly-frames… it’s all I have time to get sorted!)
And here’s the bottle list. Very limited stock for some of these!
Simcoe Sour – 3.2% – tart refreshing lacto-sour lightly dry-hopped with Simcoe hops. Sour beers are no new thing and quite popular (and traditional) in some parts of Europe. Refreshing, cleansing – drink this if you like sharp ciders, or citrus juices!
Out of Office – 7% – Ethiopian Coffee IPA brewed with Hasbean Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Konga Sedie Natural beans. This is our “special crazy beer” for the day. We hope you like it as much as we do! Coffee in beer… yum.
If something runs out, we’ll put something else on in place… so drink up on the day! The food fair, and bar, is open from 10.30AM to 4.30PM.
Thurs: 17:00 – 22.30 (Rhode Island is open from 11am as usual however.)
Fri: 11:00 – 23:00
Sat: 11:00 – 23:00
Sun: 11:00 – 17:00
From Emmanuel Street Rhode Island is a 15 minute taxi ride, 25 minute bus journey on the Citi3 , a 2.8 mile wander on foot – or the best way, is only 16 minutes on your bike!
We only discovered Rhode Island very recently. The idea is to bring a modern American bar/diner style of establishment to Cambridge. Good burgers, steaks, dogs, milkshakes and more. They also have a good bottled beer collection, borrowing from the styles of the American craft beer scene. So you can see where our attraction to the place comes in?
We shall be helping Rhode Island celebrate their 1st year with a pop-up bar/festival over the 1st weekend of December. This kicks off to a soft-start on the evening of Thursday December 4th and runs through until Sunday evening.
The idea is to make this a true celebration of “craft beer”! Everything is from independent microbreweries – and covers keg, cask, and bottle formats. (And if this works then we’ll look to doing it bigger and better in future!)
As well as the festival line-up (see below) we will be holding a couple of special bottle tasting sessions.
Kiwi Invasion! £15 per head – Thursday Dec 4th @ 7.30pm
Ten different beers all the way from New Zealand – reflecting the excellent craft beer scene that has popped up on the other side of the planet. Featuring beers from Renaissance, Tuatara, and the indomitable Yeastie Boys! We’ve tried some of these in the past and were very impressed, others will be as new to us at the tasting as they are to you! It’s all very exciting!
There are 9 beers provided in approx 80ml samples.
Weird Beard Big Beers! £10 per head – Sunday Dec 7th @ 2.30pm
One of London’s many new breweries – but one that stands out from the crowd (and not just because of their beards). The Weird Beard chaps are only interested in brewing bold beers – even their 3.7% Black Perle packs the body and flavour of something immense. This selection includes 8 of their beers and mostly special 1-off brews with a few crazy twists.
There are 8 beers provided in approx 80ml samples. Explore the Weird Beard!
Lord Nelson – 6.8% – Nelson Sauvin hopped saison (Ellusive Brew collab)
Hacienda – 6.9% – Orange zested black saison
Out of Office – 7.0% – Coffee IPA using HasBean Yirgacheffe
The list is yet to be finalised, but we’re talking 9 or 10 keg lines and up to 4 cask ales on gravity. Over the weekend we’re specifically “featuring” a couple of breweries both at Rhode Island and Mill Rd Winter Fair. These are Five Points Brewing from London and Outstanding Beers from Bury near Manchester.
Here’s our current initial keg list:
Wolfscote – 3.3% – A black sour ale – too crazy? A “full roast, mild, black sour”.
Five Points (London)
IPA – 7.1% – A lush IPA flooded with strong flavours of pineapple, mango and passionfruit.
Confidence – 4.6% – The malt character is quite strong, with generous helpings of toffee, which is overlayed with a bitter and citric hop hit.
Stout – 5.0% – Nitro-stout that kicks that other stout’s a… smooth, jet black, dry and bitter. Balanced roasted barley flavours with a hint of liquorice leave you eager for more.
Four – 4.0% – An unpasteurised lager with a crisp clean herbal hop flavour and refreshing dry finish. Brewed using Perle & Hersbrucker hops.
White– 5.0% – A witbier brewed with a continental weisse yeast (think Hoegaarden). Complex aromas and flavours of clove, coriander and vanilla interwoven with earthy undernotes.
Pale Ale – 4.7% – A light, crisp, dry-bodied, clean-flavoured pale ale.
Summer Wine (Yorkshire)
Pacer – 4.1% – “Session IPA” – Vienna Malt adds the poise and sweet mouthfeel to Pacer that is complemented by Cascade, Citra, Chinook & Centennial hops to deliver a rich, tropical fruit aroma that develops into a pleasantly intense forest fruit berry flavour with a very subtle bitterness.
Yeastie Boys (New Zealand)
Gunnamatta – 6.5% – Earl Grey tea infused IPA from NZ! A hugely floral India Pale Ale that is “dry-leafed” with a massive load of Earl Grey Blue Flower tea. Loaded with Pacific Jade, Motueka, Pacifica, and Southern Cross hops.
But wait… there’s more! Or there could be. We have a great array of beers from several breweries on hand. Should Cambridge be thirsty we’ll bring other exciting selections into the line-up. It’s up to you 😉
Cask beer is just as ‘craft-worthy’ as keg and to reflect this we’ll have some local brews from BlackBar and Bexar County Brewery in cask. The cask list currently stands at:
Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte – 3.7% – Dark lactose-sweet milk-stout style beer with added cherries and a big flavour for 3.7%.
S’Hop – 4.1% – a hoppy pale beer full of Kiwi and Aussie hops. Unfined and vegetarian friendly!
As with the keg we’ll have a bit more in reserve. Two casks on stillage ready to be tapped on Friday if needed. This will include a Bexar CountySacred (pumpkin and sweet potato stout!) and Moncada Ruby Rye – both unfined and vegetarian friendly!
And bottles too. We will especially be featuring the full range from London brewery Five Points:
Pale Ale – 4.5% – fresh zesty pale ale hopped with Amarillo, Centennial and Citra
Railway Porter – 4.8% – rich black porter hopped with East Kent Goldings
Hook Island Red – 6.0% – hoppy red rye ale hopped with Chinook, Columbus and Simcoe
IPA – 7.1% – Five Point’s shiny new IPA!
Bottles strictly “while stocks last”, we don’t have a lot.
There may also be a small selection of Weird Beard, NZ beers, and a few others available on the day as well as Rhode Island’s usual excellent bottled beer selection.
See you there?!
This isn’t a huge festival. But it packs in the variety of beer styles and fun. The great thing with the keg setup is that if Cambridge proves thirsty for more I’ve got a whole stock of kegs in my coldstore to sub in. This is one festival where the beer is not going to run out.
See you there! I’ll be behind the bar much of the time myself, as I love serving and talking about great beer (if I talk too much just tell me to shut up, I’m Australian so it’s allowed).
I’m neither a vegan or a vegetarian – so it was with some trepidation that I decided “yes” to Jolly Good Beer being invited to the London Vegan Beer Festival. I respect people who choose the option to forgo meat in their diet, doubly so if it is meat and all other animal products as vegans do. I even sometimes wish I had the resolve to make the same sacrifice, but cheese would be my downfall, and probably seafood. So I do my best to eat ethically – but whilst knowing there will always be ethical compromise in participating in the animal products supply chain.
One area where there need be no compromise is with good beer. Use of animal products in good beer production is, in my opinion, non-essential. The non-vegan nature of a lot of beer is a result of a market that “drinks with its eyes” to create a demand for an ideal of beer that is “pin bright”. And a fine technical achievement that is too… however my experience of side-by-side tastings of fined and unfined beers shows no real advantage to using finings. (It is, of course, far more complex than this in reality… feel free to have a chat about it if you’re interested.)
Anyway – enough technicalities. Vegans can celebrate the new wave “craft beer movement” with everyone else as, for the most part, it is a world of vegan friendly beers. We also have more and more breweries going 100% unfined for everything including cask. Of the breweries Jolly Good Beer deals with we have three that are 100% unfined: Bexar County Brewery (Peterborough), Moor Beer (Somerset), and Weird Beard Brew Co (London). Moor is a strong proponent of unfined beer – arguing that it reliably tastes better than the fined alternative. This is widely debated – but with Moor beers being amongst the most highly rated in the British craft brewing scene there seems to be some substance to Moor’s argument. Then there is the growing keg market, nearly all progressive flavourful keg beer is vegan friendly. We have several examples of vegan-friendly keg beers from breweries who fine the cask equivalents due to market demand for cask beers to be bright, or rather the perception that hazy beer is “off”. (Beer being vegan-friendly is not only about finings of course, and some of these breweries will produce things like lacto/milk stouts and beers with things like chocolate in them that may not be vegan friendly.)
Anyway – on to the important stuff: the beer -our main strategy for the beer we’re bringing to LVBF is: bring far too much (we hope), and the more people drink the more different beers we will be able to present… *hint*hint*! Additionally there is a focus on providing a diversity of styles; lager, nitro stout, hoppy pale beer, hoppy red beer, hoppy dark beer, wheat beer, farmhouse ale… The confirmed beer lineup, including “backups”, is as follows. But please note that as some beers benefit from settling time we cannot guarantee the order they’ll be on nor that they’ll be on at all. We won’t serve anything we don’t think is 100% fantastic to drink.
Infra Red (6.2%) There are Black IPAs all over the place these days, so why not a Red IPA? “Some people like beers that are pale and hoppy. Some people like beers that are darker and sweeter. Some people just see red whenever they hear the words “crystal malt” We’ll be honest in saying that not only is there a huge amount of hops in this beer, but also a healthy chug of crystal malt.” Deep ruby red, earthy orange and caramel nose, sweet toffee start, peppery dark roast parsnips and a long bitter finish.
backup: Azimuth (5.8%) A clean flavoured IPA made with a mix of hops from around the Pacific rim, Some West Coast USA C hops, but rounded off with a balance of NZ hops just for the hell of it. At 5.8% it’s a perfect beer geek’s session beer.
All Hardknott beers in bottle and keg are vegan friendly.
Illusion(4.5%) Illusion is inspired by the awesome beer style created in the States known as Imperial Black Ale (or Black IPA, or whatever you want to argue it should be called). Moor source the special malt required from Germany and the hops from America to create a beer of stunning depth and complexity. The result is a beer that wraps all the wonderful hop profiles of a pale ale inside a silky black exterior. It is truly an Illusion that deceives your eyes and dazzles your taste buds. Initially brewed as a special release, we love drinking this beer so much that we keep it on year-round. It is great on its own or with food – particularly at BBQs, including vegan ones!
backup: Radiance (5.0%) “This is the one I love to enjoy with friends on warm summer evenings. On cold winter nights it takes me back to those great times. Radiating a beautiful golden hue, the fresh herbal aroma invites you in and insists that you stay. Lovely cereal flavours give way to a clean, dry finish. As good by the fire pit as by the fireplace.” – Justin, Brewer/Owner Moor Beer
All Moor beers (keg, cask, and bottle) are vegan friendly. * Moor beers are keg conditioned – which means they have a lot of sediment in the keg. If we treat them carefully in transit they may be good to go on the day. If we are not happy with them we will switch in some of the other backups instead. We shall try our best!
Wit Marie (4.5%) Originally brewed for the inaugural IndyManBeerCon in 2012, it became a firm favourite nationwide and is now a recurring special from Ilkley Brewery. Wit Marie is a naturally hazy Belgian Wit Bier, brewed using specially sourced yeast. Ilkley also add orange peel and coriander seeds to compliment the floral aroma and to give the beer added depth of flavour. Delicately delightful.
backup: Siberia (5.9%) Brewed in collaboration with Melissa Cole, we have used world famous Yorkshire Rhubarb to add a hint of sourness. There is earthy spice, and fresh vanilla from this naturally hazy Saison. Refreshing on the palate, with a long, satisfying bittersweet finish. Proving a big hit in the USA, this version is brewed specifically for keg dispense, and the carbonation lifts all of the composite flavours beautifully.
Ilkley’s bottled beers are all vegan friendly, and of their keg the Wit Marie and Siberia are as well.
Lanterne Rouge (4.0%) – Tour de France Special! It is a red farmhouse ale – a classic French beer style more commonly known as “saison”, this is brewed using French Aramis hops. I have no brewery notes for this but I’d expect typical saison richness, slight funky fruit, and spicy tones from the Aramis.
All Summer Wine beers in bottle and keg are vegan friendly.
Axe Edge (6.8%) Full flavoured, strong India Pale Ale. Now hopped with Amarillo, Citra and Nelson Sauvin. This beer has a pale straw-amber body, and pours with a full creamy head. Its complex flavours include mandarin orange, schnapps, pineapple, and juicy tropical fruits. It is warmingly alcoholic with a dry finish. [It will take all my willpower not to drink all of this one myself!]
backup:Wild Boar (5.7%) Wild Boar pours a pale straw colour with a fluffy white head. It has aromas of spicy lime and mango, with distinct flavours of honey malt and fruit punch, followed by a dry bitter finish.
All Buxton beers in bottle and keg are vegan friendly.
[Some pointless spacer text to make images line up! You shouldn’t see this – except in an RSS reader perhaps.]
We have three cask ales supplied “bright” by Peterborough’s Bexar County Brewery, huge thanks to owner-brewer Steve for sorting this out for us! Bexar produces a lot of fun beers that are usually a bit different and exciting – and our three beers from him certainly shows this I think. Bexar is a 100% unfined brewery – so all beers they produce are vegan friendly aside from some specialities that should be obvious (i.e. lacto/milk stouts that use lactose).
San Antonio de Bejar (4.1%) Bexar’s take on the “pale and hoppy” style. With a silent “j” in the name. Like the brewery name it is pronounced “bear”… what is it with Texans…?! 😉
Texas Pecan Coffee Mild (3.9%) Non-traditional mild with a hint of pecan coffee imported from San Antonio specially for this brew. Dark and delicious with the taste of coffee. A hint of pecan to finish.
Vegan Vampire Juice (Blueberry) (6.0%) A refreshing wheat beer with a fruity twist, this is the blueberry version – made by adding real blueberries to the cask! Not a special just for this event, Bexar has been doing various editions of VVJ for a while. A regular find at East Anglian beer festivals. We only have a “pin” of this, that’s 4.5 gallons, so get in quick!
Last, but not least, and also not beer… we have some fun vegan-friendly ciders from my friends at Apple Cottage. A pint of cider – one of your 5-a-day, right? Maybe your doctor wouldn’t agree, however it makes for a fantastic drinking option for people with gluten, wheat, and barley related allergies. We only have 20 litres of each of these – enjoy them while they last!
Apple Crumble (Med Dry)
This cider has been made with apples from local orchards from around Baldock using a blend of different varieties with no chemical additives. This is a medium dry cider that has a distinct flavour.
Ginger Whinger (Sweet)
This cider is made from local orchards around Baldock using a variety of apples with no chemical additives. slow fermentation keeps all the natural flavours to this fruity cider, smooth, sweet with plenty of flavour, matured in ginger storage containers giving it an extra ginger taste. The first barrel out went to Hitchin Beer Festival 2013 and won Cider of the Festival.
KT (Medium/Sweet)Made from a blend of Katy apples, fruity, appley aroma, well balanced finish, very light straw in colour with exceptional taste easy to drink.
Rumble – rum cask cider (Sweet)
This cider has been made from local orchards from around Baldock using a blend of apple varieties, made without any chemicals or additives. Similar to Swish Cider, this Cider has been matured in Oak Rum Casks for a number of months giving it a blackcurrant sweet and fruity flavour.
Now, I’ve got to finish building the bar for this event…
I just popped my weekly stock update out to the mailing list and thought I’d post a bit of it here! [Edited a bit, but mostly as sent.]
Some of the beers I want to source come at low prices, others have to travel further and/or come from breweries who’re selling their beers so successfully that they have no need to compete with lowest-common-denominator pricing. My stance on this is that you should price beers appropriately to their cost and not based on ABV. Some beers are simply worth more than others. This won’t work for everyone, I know – I think the beers are worth it but it is up to you to make your own decision on that.
Anyway, wow… the stock list is properly making me want a pint right now. It doesn’t help that this is a rather long email – they’ll be shorter usually! Feel free to scroll past my gumph straight to the list below.
Michelle at Offbeat is one of my favourite brewers, the brewery slogan is simply “great beer brewed by a chick” – and the beer really is great. If you ever have a reason to be in Crewe on the 1st Friday of a month do attend “Firsty Friday“… a proper “piss up in a brewery” featuring a range of beers from Offbeat and friends, plus live music and good food.
The superstar of the list this week however is Moor… a phenomenal brewery down in Somerset producing beers often described as “rare as hen’s teeth” in cask and keg form. Every Moor beer on my list has a RateBeer score over 90 for its style, four of them are 99 and 100 scorers. The Moor cask and keg beers are all secondary-conditioned in the container (yes, even the keg) and they all taste fantastic. In the case of the keg this does mean the kegs are best given a few days to settle before going on.
Now: UNFINED beer? Everything from Moor, Moncada, and Weird Beard is unfined. This is good news for vegetarians, not to mention vegans. But there’s more to it than that – Justin at Moor is probably the UK’s strongest proponent of unfined beers and has written this about them: What is Natural Beer?Justin has also written some details on the cellaring of his unfined beers: Cellar Management Tips– all good advice. The primary item of importance is that “unfined” isn’t meant to mean “murky”, with appropriate cellaring there should be no more than a light haze or cast – and some will drop totally bright given time.
The other great breweries in the list have been discussed in previous emails. The Great Heck arrived at the coldstore yesterday and is ready and waiting to go out. Their Treasure IPA is a luscious 4.8% well hopped golden ale with a 98 on RateBeer – but I also have a more traditional beer from these guys in the form of Navigator. Sadly there was a problem with the Powermouse brew so that will not be available but the Treasure, Yakima, and Citra should keep the hopheads happy!
The stock list now includes RateBeer scores in the beer descriptions. I find RateBeer a good positive indicator of quality with everything above 50 for style being above average and anything above 80 being pretty damn good. It isn’t infallible but it is a useful yardstick. The colour “guestimations” remain, I’ll continue to do these.
To fill in the gaps in the above here’s the current stock-list table. I hope it makes you as thirsty as it makes me:
I love a good beer festival – they’re excellent ways to explore a greater range of beers than are normally available. Part of the inspiration behind Jolly Good Beer is to help beer festivals out – in both expanding their range, supplying special requests where possible, and for those new to festivals we can also lend a hand and technical knowledge.
No need for the latter in the following cases however, three excellent festivals run by some of the most knowledgeable cellar folk in North Hertfordshire. Jolly Good Beer is helping out with all of them to varying degrees – from simply filling in the Coniston gaps in the Half Moon’s “every CBoB winner since 1996” list through to supplying a majority of the Our Mutual Friend’s list.
The Our Mutual Friend is an excellent pub on the edge of Stevenage – a multiple North Herts CAMRA “Pub of the Year” winner owned and run by beer lovers. They seek variety in their festivals lists and have asked Jolly Good Beer to help out with their festival that starts next weekThursday April 24th. Here’s what we have going to them:
Coniston Bluebird (3.6%) – 1998 Champion Beer of Britain & still going strong
Mallinsons Indulgence (3.7%) – pale with loads of the 4 classic “C” hops
Mallinsons Kiwi Classic (4.4%) – pale with loads of NZ hops: Pacific Gem, Motueka, Nelson Sauvin
Weird Beard, Black Perle (3.8%) – milk coffee stout brewed with real coffee and Perle hops
Weird Beard, K*ntish Town Beard (5.6%) – hoppy “American Wheat Beer” brewed in collaboration with BrewDog’s Camden bar staff.
Moving a little north of Stevenage we have the Half Moon in Hitchin, another repeat PotY winner who’re regaining the trophy for 2014. This is Howard and Wendy’s “10th Anniversary Beer Festival” – celebrating a decade running the pub – and it’ll feature an amazing 60 different beers. This festival also starts next Thursday April 24th! (A good time for a train trip to North Herts?) A highlight of this festival is that Howard has collected together EVERY “CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain” since 1996. Jolly Good Beer helped out here by running all the way to Coniston to fetch:
Coniston Bluebird (3.6%) – 1998 Champion Beer of Britain and even now, 16 years later, it maintains a “99-for-style” in RateBeer. Fantastic.
Coniston No.9 Barley Wine(8.5%) – 2012 Champion Beer of Britain
That’s all we’re doing for the fest… but we’re very happy to have helped out and think the full list is absolutely fantastic. It was an excellent excuse for a bit of hillwalking followed by refreshments in Coniston Brewery’s own Black Bull pub.
Finally, a little further north again, we have the Baldock Independent Beer Festival starting on Friday May 2nd and running through Saturday and Sunday. This excellent festival is run by local enthusiasts to raise funds for charity. We haven’t finalised the list but it’ll feature many of the breweries already mentioned plus Summer Wine Brewery and Redemption Brewing Co beers will be making an appearance. Perhaps some other goodies from London as well if we get our hands on them in time. The photo below shows a selection of what we have lined up for Baldock.
Currently we also have beers at or destined for the Bank (Willingham), Mill (Cambridge), Maypole (Cambridge), Orange Tree (Baldock), Strathmore Arms (St. Paul’s Walden). And we’re working on getting the good stuff out further and wider and continuing to vary the range… as mentioned Summer Wine already teed up, we have an eye on Great Heck too, and Bristol Beer Factory down south – plus a wide-roving set of eyes focused on London. We’re always open to your suggestions… don’t hesitate to send your requests to @JollyGoodBeer on Twitter or via email to email@example.com – or just use the comment form below!
We use the term “craft” – be it “craft beer”, “craft brewery”, and sometimes “craft bar”. But what does it mean?
That’s a very emotive & much-debated question in the British beer scene. The simple fact is that, whilst many have been proposed, we simply do not have a definition. Most arguments seem to boil down to “I know it when I taste it”… the utility of which isn’t really going to get us very far. The cynics (us, quite often) say it is a meaningless marketing term – to be used, and undoubtedly much-abused, by office-dwelling marketeers. Then there’s the nitty-gritty – folk who think it basically just means “keg” as opposed to “cask”, others who go by American definitions based on brewery size and ownership, and even those who will point out specific styles of beer as craft and not-craft. Basically, it’s all a bit of a damn mess.
But – if us Jolly Good Beer folk use the term – what do we mean by it? We’re a little hazy about this I’m afraid… but we think of it in fairly simple terms: good beer. We’re happy with an inclusive view of craft… and think that even if there was some industry definition a majority of savvy drinkers wouldn’t really pay it much heed and would stick with their own “know it when I see it” worldview.
So, what is “good beer”? In our idealised view it is beer that has been produced primarily for its own sake – not based on corporate budgets, market research, focus groups, and produced to the lowest-common-denominators. This doesn’t mean it is beer blindly brewed for love and not money! Brewers have to feed themselves and pay their rents and mortgages just like the rest of us.
We aren’t claiming this is “a definition of craft beer”… because how do you really measure any of that, and besides, even “good beer” is a subject of debate.
We regard all the beer we source and sell as bring “craft” – aka “good beer”. But we do believe that for a pub or bar to truly be a “craft” venue it has to embrace beer in all forms. The craft beer utopia is a pub where variety and excitement are available cask, keg, and bottle – no holds barred.