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Brews & Beers Joint Social with Birdhouse Tea Co

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Thanks to everyone who made it out to our joint social with Birdhouse Tea Co on Thursday 28th May. A great social night of talking beer and tea, pairing, experimenting infusing tea in beer and indulging in chai spiced chocolate cake with a rich smoky beer to finish. Hurrah!

Beer & Brews Menu:

Dragon's Tears@Blackjackbeers
Saison Motueka & Lime @BrewByNumbers
Smoked Porter @RunawayBrewery

Teas / Birdhouse >
Iced Jasmine Tea
Rhubarb infusion
Chai spiced chocolate cake

Hop Hideout City Guide: Amsterdam

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Amsterdam is a capital city of many wonders; cheese, weed, late night clubbing, picturesque canals, classic brown cafes, windmills, darts and of course beer, more than just your Heineken and Amstel too. I've been going to Amsterdam since the mid-90s, it used to be a yearly trip around Queen/King's Day, the national royal holiday (Koninginnedag in Dutch), where basically everyone transcends on the Dam to party, with sound systems out on the streets and all sorts going on. Then again in July for the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, always ensuring a stop over in the capital. But it's been three years since our last visit and there's been an explosion in Dutch breweries and beer bars since then. Here's our guide to a few beery spots to hit if you're visiting anytime soon:

Brouwerij T'ij

You'll spot the windmill a mile off, helps greatly when you're out of the city centre and everything looks very similar! Those repeating rows of classic Dutch canal houses. Brouwerij T'ij (pronounced eye) produces a range of quality, flavoursome beers and this tap room boasts a beautiful outside terrace area to enjoy them in.

The Beer Temple

An American inspired craft beer bar not far from Central station. An impressive tap list with a meat and cheese board offering to accompany those big US IPAs. (I managed to find and drink the Belgian lambic on tap though!). 


Craft & Draft

Owned by the same person as The Beer Temple and Arendsnest, Craft & Draft opened in 2014, in a neighbourhood spot near Vondel park. Over 30 taps, plus a mini bottle shop situated in the venue's entrance. This was one of the friendliest bars we visited on our trip and we visited a number of times, as we loved the atmosphere. The bar manager was welcoming, informative and helpful in letting you sample before buying. If you time it right, there's a mid-week free tasting session showcasing a particular brewery each time. 

The Beer Tree

A neighbourhood beer shop with a US and Dutch focus plus beer on tap for growler fills. Not far from Craft & Draft and worth a visit if you're in the area. 


I was smitten by the beer choice in this classic Dutch venue, with its long, thin, brown bar as it's the only place I found with a dedicated Dutch focus on the taps. Over 30 taps, plus a detailed bottled menu. Table service on offer here, so just sit down and peruse the menu at your leisure. I'd put a couple of hours aside for this bar, so you can discover the diversity of the Dutch brewing scene. 

In De Wildeman

One of Amsterdam's classic brown cafes - dark wood interiors, different hues of brown covering the walls (it use to be a distillery). We discovered a cask of Weird Beard on the bar which was a big surprise (in a good way as it was a big dark beast). Varied selection of beers from across the world and just off one of the main shopping streets, so a great place to seek refuge from the central madness. 


Oedipus Brewing

A short trip on a ferry from the back of Amsterdam central station takes you to the northern part of the city, where young experimental brewery Oedipus have taken up base in a warehouse. We called in on the open Sunday session with a welcoming atmosphere and party vibe - Redlight Radio DJs were set up playing a mix of jazz, funk, soul and house. The taps mainly featured their own beers such as the delicious saison Mannenliefde; they did have one guest tap, which was a nice addition. 

De Prael

From the quite unassuming exterior in the main redlight area near central station,  De Prael hides an expansive space once inside. Housing a shop, brewery and a connection to the street behind which hosts their bar venue. An impressive use of space and inter connections of different areas. Sign up for the brewery tour where you end up with a tasting paddle at the main bar. 

Butcher's Tears

A little on the outskirts past Vondel park way lies Butchers Tears. Its worth the trip and the Proeflokaal (tasting room) is a low key, white tiled, pristine wonder. Very laid back and you could easily loose a few hours here working your way through Butcher's Tears beers. Make sure you ask about any one-off specials in bottle, as we found a few available on our visit. 

De Bierkoning

A specialist beer shop since 1985 and it's just around the corner from The Beer Temple. Stocking over 1500 different beers, the Dutch section is mightily impressive, let alone the beers from all over the world - I spotted some Cascade Brewing and tasty gueuzes in the lambic cellar on the lower floor. 

Food Hallen

Situated in the west of the city this food hall opened in 2014 in a huge converted building. Inside is an array of food vendors, each with their own space, with group seating and bar areas dotted between. We visited a few times on our stay trying Vietnamese banh mi and Dutch specialty bitterballen (a savoury deep fried meaty snack usually containing minced beef of veal).  The beer choice was a mix of macro Amstel and indie Dutch - I tried a Oedipus' Gandalf The Pink - a tart cherry sour bomb. 

Salon Serpent

As a lover of tattoos I had to visit Angelique Houtkamp's beautiful tattoo parlour Salon Serpent. It's very near Food Hallen. Even if you're not up for a bit of ink, I'd highly recommend a visit to buy her artwork prints and posters. 

Haarlem is  just a 15 minute train ride from central station. Head over for the day or afternoon and make sure you visit these two beery places whilst you're there......

Het Ulitje

Loved this small and welcoming neighbourhood bar. 25 plus taps with one of the most interesting selections we spotted on our holiday. We tried beers from the brewery itself plus Italian White Pony, Spanish La Quince Brewery and Cervesa La Pirata. The bar has taps US style on the back wall, nice exposed brick interior and a bar cat which mooches around looking for friendly strangers to become friends with. Het Ulitje are brewing some of wildest, tastiest beers in the new wave of the Dutch brewing scene, in my humble opinion. 


The panoramic photo I took of this converted church doesn't even touch the impressive space of Jopen. A copper shining BrauKon brewkit lies to the back in front of a set of stained glass windows, inside is a long thin bar, with lots of seating and a restaurant on the mezzanine level. A very slick, grown up beer venue. I sipped a small glass of Harlem Shake (an Oedipus/Jopen collab - big dark stout wth raspberry and black pepper) and took in the view.  

Indy Man Beer Con 2015

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Monday 1st June (TODAY!) tickets for the 4th Independent Manchester Beer Convention go on sale. SEE YOU THERE!


"Once again held in the stunning Victoria Baths, IMBC is an exciting and dynamic celebration of excellent beer from the UK and beyond, and for 2015 this year's event welcomes more beers, more space and more fun."



Tickets prices start at just £8, available here: http://www.indymanbeercon.co.uk/tickets/ 





Beer & Cheese Pairing at Sheffield Food Festival

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Ahead of our Beer and cheese pairing session on the 2nd day of Sheffield Food Festival  I'm enjoying a beer back at home, reflecting, after a full day chatting to a whole bunch of lovely people who came by our stall today. We brought a varied cross section of different beer styles and breweries to the festival; from local favourites (Bradfield and Thornbridge), to Sheffield newbies (North Union), Trappist classics, Danish sour - an Evil Twin Berliner Weisse to hopped up American IPAs from Firestone Walker AND more. I've loved the response, it's been great - from people looking to try something new or just partaking in a familiar favourite. Yet, what I've appreciated the most is the huge enjoyment beer brings. It puts a big warm smile on your face. Let's raise a glass to that!

Another dimension to notch up that enjoyment of beer is pairing it with food and Sunday's session is all about trying it with cheese. If you think about it there's a natural affinity there. Both have a common starting source - with beer, barley and wheat (both members of the grass family) and cheese - milk producing animals feed on grass. You often find farmer's collecting spent grains from breweries to feed their livestock too -  the cycle keeps going round. 

On a personal level, I often find that due to the breadth and complexity of beer styles it makes it easier (and more satisfying) to find a partner to your meal. I've included a table below featured in a blog post from beer writer Mark Dredge - take a look at his beer blog HERE, and I'd hugely recommend picking up his books on beer and food. 

Everyone's palate is different and each individual has a preference whether it's a rich dark imperial stout or a tart mouth-puckering gueuze or a malt driven pale ale. So as an individual you'll naturally sway to your tastes. But one way to really help develop what flavours you're picking up and explore what your taste buds are telling you is the ability to describe what your experiencing. I've included a copy of Mark's 'Beer Flavour Wheel' below - take a sip of your next beer and start in the middle - if you've a US hopped beer what aromas and flavours are you discovering (herbal? pine?). Once you begin to pinpoint some of these flavours it'll really help you start to match a tasty food pairing. 

After all that reading - I bet you're dying to just drink a beer and eat some cheese!

So after many weeks of 'research' myself and Anchorage finally settled on this little selection of 5 beer and cheese pairings. Give them a try in the demo, and let us know what you think:

1. Starnachas (Swiss) cheese & Anchorage 'Session IPA' (4.8%)

2. Chevre (France) goats cheese & Kyuichi Brewery 'Hitachino Nest White Ale' (5.5%)

3. Truffle noir (Holland) Gouda & Abbeydale 'Midnight Special' Porter (4.8%)

4.  Fourme D'ambert (French) blue cheese & Mad Hatter Brewing 'Liverpool Tart' (4.2%)

5.  Picos de Europa (Spanish) blue cheese & Trappistes Rochefort 'Rochefort 10' (11.3%)

Here's 3 from the above explained in a little more detail: 

Chevre with Kiuchi Brewery - Hitachino Nest White Ale

Type: Semi-soft

Age: 4 months

Produced: Northern France, produced by Soignon, Generic area of production

Milk: Pasteurised Goats cheese

Flavour: Tangy, Earthy, lightly tart

This is a classic example of Chevre – younger, fresh Goats Cheese.  Lower in fat and often used by dieters.  Production is seasonal from March – October.  We chose this as it had a very creamy texture, blending well with the carbonation of the Wheat beer

Wheat beer and Goats cheese is one of the best known cheese and beer matches and with very good reason.  The soft and creamy texture Goats cheese combines brilliantly with the wheat flavour and lift each other.  


Brewery               Kiuchi Brewery

Beer       White Ale

Beer Style            Belgian style white ale

abv         5.5%

Origin    Kounosu, Japan


Tasting Notes:     Hitachino Nest White Ale is brewed in the tradition of a Belgian style white beer with coriander, nutmeg, orange peel and orange juice. Malts: Lager, Wheat  Hops: Perle, Styrian Golding  Adjuncts: Flaked Wheat, Flaked Barley, Coriander, Nutmeg, Orange peel. Refreshing, mildly hopped with a complex flavour it is one of Hitachino's top-selling beers.

About:    The Kiuchi Brewery was established in 1823 by Kiuchi Gihei, the headman of Kounosu village. His family was collecting rice from farmers as land taxes for the Mito Tokugawa family and began his brewery with the idea of using the remaining rice stocks from the warehouse. In the 1950's, Mikio Kiuchi inherited the brewery legacy. It was the time when the sake industry flourished as the rapid growth of Japan's economy after the World War II. Although many sake breweries started mass producing low quality sake due to increased demand, Kiuchi Brewery maintained their policy of pursuing the best quality of sake with the optimum ingredients and craftsmanship.In 1996, Kiuchi started brewing HITACHINO NEST BEER and, in subsequent years, has gained international acclaim and winning numerous awards. Kounosu is about 1 hours drive north of Tokyo.


Truffle Noir and Abbeydale Brewery - Midnight Special

Type: Semi Hard

Produced: Northern Holland

Milk: Pasteurised cows Milk

Aged: 12 months

Flavour: Creamy, slight caramel sweetness, light – medium body.  Strong intense flavour of Truffles coming through in part as well

Texture: firm, not crumbly

Truffle Noir is a very special Cheese, it’s a Dutch Gouda style, but is specked with Italian Summer Truffle making it a very luxurious experience.  Gouda cheese is named after the Dutch town of Gouda as this is where it was traditionally traded.  Gouda can be quite a light inexpensive cheese but when aged like this is becomes deeper with a distinct umami character. 

The Gouda offers a rich and creamy body that combines well with the wheat and roasted malt in the porter with the intensity of the truffle really lifting the combination.  It’s the two notes of nature that match making it really pop. 


Brewery               Abbeydale

Beer       Midnight Special

Beer Style            Porter

abv         4.8%

Origin    Sheffield, UK

Tasting Notes: After a recent trip to Founders Brewery in Michigan in the US, Patrick & Sue (co-directors) witnessed a lot of American brewers using roasted wheat malt to add lots of dark colour to beers without imparting an intense bitterness often associated with using black malt. The use of Midnight Wheat gives a subtle roasted flavour without the intense bitterness of black malt. The late addition of Cascade and Amarillo hops from America adds a pleasing dimension to this porter.

About:  Patrick, Abbeydale's co-Director, started his working life in his father's Scissor works. He used to make beer at home using full mash brews. In the early nineties he was offered a job as a brewer at Kelham Island Brewery where he stayed until leaving to start up Abbeydale - in 1996. Their identity is inspired by their location - being named after the district that runs along the Sheaf Valley towards the old abbey at Beauchief. The logo of the brewery itself being inspired by the frontage of the Beachief Abbey.


Fourme D’Ambert cheese with Mad Hatter Brewing -  Liverpool Tart

Type: Semi-Hard Blue Cheese

Milk: Unpasteurised Cows Milk

Aged: 4 months

Flavour: Rich, intense + salty

Texture: Supple and dense (unusually for a blue Cheese)

One of the oldest cheeses in France and still produced using traditional methods in Auvergne, France.  This is an excellent example and comes from a small

tisanal producer for an excellen cheese. A Blue Cheese with the distinctive flavours of the Roquefort Mold which gives it enough power to match with stronger and more distinctive beer. Here we've matched it with the unusual and interesting Liverpool Tart a Gose style, where the tart character of the beer blends in well with the intense flavours and saltiness of the chees. Making the flavours last longer together on the palate.  


Brewery               Mad Hatter Brewing

Beer       Liverpool Tart

Beer Style            Gose

abv         4.2%

Origin    Liverpool, UK


Tasting Note: A perfectly balanced Gose based on the traditional Scouse sweet treat. Pale in look, aromas of peaches and apricot with a sharp, crisp and zesty flavour profile. The tang of salt halts the sweetness and gives a satisfying finish. Medium effervescence and mouthfeel, aroma  with focus on fruity note plus Citra hops and coriander adding to lemon note. No bitterness on the palate just sour spiciness overlaid by complex array of banana, green apple, dried apricot and zest. Finish crisp, dry, mouth-puckering and very refreshing - the saline characteristics particularly prominent in the dry finis and body of the bee. Often see recipes (particularly pasta dishes) using blue cheese and lemon - as the zingy lemon really matches up to the salty cheese. For simple starter try grilled asparagus sprinkled with fresh lemon juice and crumbled blue cheese. Refreshing light carbonation lifts the dense nature of the cheese - both complex flavours working in unison.

About: Gareth Matthews and his partner Sue Starling founded the Mad Hatter Brewing Company in February 2013. Constantly experimenting with flavours and combinations making this an extremely exciting brewery to follow. Liverpool tart recipe - earliest known mention from 1897, a pastry tart with lemon & dark muscavado sugar filling. Gose traditional beer style from Leipzig in Germany made with salty water.

Gose is an ancient, sour and saline tasting ale, made from more than half malted wheat and the rest malted barley. The brew is fermented with both yeast and lactic bacteria and is spiced with coriander and hop It is brewed with slightly salted water. Gose is a 1000-year old top-fermented beer style that is now most closely associated with Leipzi. Gose takes its name from the river Gose which flows through the town of Goslar, about 100 miles west of Leipzig. Goslar rose to prominence in the 11th century, not only as one of the wealthiest and most important copper, lead, zinc, salt, and silver mining towns in the German Empire, but also as a brew center.


Brooklyn BrewShop Kits

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We're extremely happy to be a stockist for Brooklyn BrewShop homebrew kits.


We think they've pulled together a selection of great recipes and offer the whole package in terms of information too with home brew videos and recipe ideas constantly being added. 

Check out their website brooklynbrewshop.com


We offer a range of their Beer Making Kits such as Everyday IPA and Chocolate Maple Porter AND their Beer Making Mixes. 

BIG NEWS *Klaxon*

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OK so here goes....BIG NEWS *Klaxon*

We are moving....NEXT DOOR - 448 Abbeydale Road into a beautiful corner location with our own front door and everything.

We are currently closed Mon 6th to Thurs 9th April, whilst we refurb the new location.

We will then be back open in the new corner spot on Fri 10th April 11am to 8pm.

Everything may not be completely [ermmm] finished but most importantly we will have lots of beer including draught take out available - with our swingtop 1L growlers OR fill your own. Poured from our top notch Kontakt 40 draught machine.

Draught Beer Menu for launch:
*Dugges (Sweden) High Five IPA (7.5%)

In addition we're part of the Buxton Brewery Company simultaneous launch of Two Ton IPA (11%) the same day!

With the bigger space we'll also be stocking more breweries and beers....I'll start to announce new additions from Monday all through the week.

Come say beery hello to your friendly neighbourhood beer shop in it's new space.

New opening hours will be:
Mon: closed
Tues to Thurs: 11am to 7pm
Fri & Sat : 11am to 8pm
Sun: 11am - 5pm