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When Matt Jackson and Phil Simpson met at University, little did they know that the stars of the beer world had aligned. The pair founded C2 Investment in 2002 and amongst other pub and beer related pursuits, set up Lancaster Brewery in 2005.

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Monthly Beer Club Update: August 2019

Based in Northumberland, near the borders of Cumbria and Durham, Allendale Brew Co was founded in 2006 and is run from a renovated Victorian Smelt Mill in the rugged North Pennines AONB, also known as England’s Last Wilderness.  During the industrial revolution the mill would have formed the centre of the mining industry in the area and this heritage is reflected in the identities of the beers.

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What is an IPA and why is it called that?

Just like in the 18th Century, IPA has many names and guises from session IPA to imperial IPA. English breweries were sending beer to not just India but several warmer climates for the ex pats who lived their as either civil servants or the upper middle classes. Brewers soon realised that they needed the preservative qualities of hops to maintain the beers condition on the several months long journey.

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Siren Craft Brew: Visit to Tap Yard

Arriving at Siren Craft Tap Yard on Saturday, you get a little buzz of excitement that you just don't get walking into a pub. I don't know if it's because it's where the beer is brewed or the fact you're on an industrial estate on a Saturday morning and that's not usually where you're to be found drinking. More likely it's just because everyone else is a little buzzed up and excited about what beery delights they're going to find.

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Top 3 Summer Beers : What Gill's Drinking Now

When we get visitors to the warehouse we’re often asked which beers are our favourite. It’s such a hard question to answer and I never take for granted how lucky I am to have access to all of this amazing stock.

With so many great brewers that I admire it is impossible to choose a favourite but there are those I come back to time and time again. I like the ethos of all our brewers, we wouldn’t partner with them otherwise, and they’ve all got great stories to tell.

What I do find though is there are just some beers I gravitate towards and it’s a bit of a seasonal thing so I’ve highlighted my current go to beers. Maybe it’s because the sun is shining but these are the ones that I’ve been most excited about when we’ve had a beer delivery in. I’m just loving all the fruit at the moment and I didn’t realise how much of a theme that was til I selected these.

So, I’ll stop rambling and in no particular order:

Shindigger Brewing; Everythings’ Peachy

A gorgeously fruity, peach infused session IPA. At just 4.2% this is perfect. I’m not a big drinker of DIPA’s and strong beers, especially on a school night. Often, I don’t want anything too complicated and this along with my next fits the bill.

I’m a big fan of all of Shindigger’s brews and I love the fact that when they’ve perfected a recipe they then brew it on a larger scale in a local brewery with capacity. This is a great way to support other breweries and makes economic scale. Until I had Best of British Beer you don’t realise that few breweries brew every single day so there’s often some capacity.

First Chop Jam, Mango Pale

Another Manchester brewery. There are some amazing beers coming out of Manchester at the moment. We’ve been fans of Rik’s work for many years and just like Shindigger, I think I like every single one of his brews and that’s not something you can say about many.

He’s much better at brewing beer than coffee ( he’ll know what I mean! ) This pale ale with added mango is just yummy. Gluten Free and Vegan too.

Salopian Brewery & Polly’s Brew Co: Marches

Ignoring what I said earlier about loving uncomplicated, session IPA’s. This is a complex, multi layered tropical IPA, brewed with fresh grapefruit, mango and pineapple. There s so much going on and I love it. Totally blown away by it. Limited edition and sold quickly. We have a handful of cans left and I’ve  hidden them!

Monthly Beer Club: July 2019: Tasting Notes and Pub Quiz

Great things happen when you mix the right ingredients. Although their beer is made
using the finest malts, hops, water, and yeast - it’s the people at Little Valley
brewery that are the most vital
ingredient of all. When Wim van der Spek - a qualified master brewer - crossed paths in Nepal with Sue Cooper - a community development practitioner - they discovered that although they were taking different routes, their journeys were very similar.

Wim had reached the end of a seven month cycling trip from Holland to Kathmandu. Meanwhile, Sue was to soon cycle home to England after working for two years with an NGO. Since they first met they have followed a path that has lead to the creation of Little Valley Brewery; considering Wim used to run a beer appreciation club back in his school days, you could say this was fate.

Situated high on the hillside above the beautiful town of Hebden Bridge, Little Valley has developed an enviable reputation for the quality, variety and authenticity of their beers.
Their green credentials are first class and any spent grain from the brewing process is sent to local farmers as cattle feed.

As keen cyclists, Sue and Wim were delighted when the Tour de France went right past their brewery in 2014. They even produced a special beer to commemorate this event and their ‘Stage Winner’ has gone on to be a firm favourite within the two wheel community.

Planning a Father's Day Lunch at Home?

Here are our top tips....

If, like us you like to avoid the crowds in the pub at Father's Day, then why not plan a special day at home. We always do this and then go out for lunch the weekend after so we're still supporting our local pub.

Here are our top tips for enjoying a chilled Father's Day at home. To be fair, it's pretty similar to most of our Sundays. It's just Dad gets to choose his favourite food.

    1. Make some edible gifts. This is always a great activity to do with the kids before Father's Day.


Microwave fudge ( recipe below) is our favourite as it not only tastes great but you get to lick the condensed milk spoon afterwards! We made ours with Titanic Chocolate and Vanilla stout and it was delicious.


2. Go for a walk


Just like Christmas Day, you're probably having a big lunch so we always go for a decent walk to build up an appetite. The National Trust website has a list of the best walks with a pub at the end so even if you're not having lunch out, we find a Sunday is always improved with a quick pint at a quality pub.


3. A special lunch


What constitutes a treat is different for everyone and the weather will dictate what you do to some extent. Who wants a roast dinner when it's 25 degrees outside? We tend to play it by ear and keep it simple. Our Beery mac n cheese (recipe below) is always a winner as it can be done in advance, popped in the oven and served with a nice big salad. Think about what Dad really enjoys to eat and make a special version of it. We sometimes pop along to our local farm shop and splurge on a posh ploughmans with quality pork pies, artisan cheeses and delicious rustic breads. All washed own with some cracking ales of course. Which leads me on to...


4. A case of fine ales


With the plethora of quality, independent craft beers on the market there is no need to subject Dad to some bland, mass market beer. We recommend choosing a case of his favourite style from our curated collections or going for a Taster Pack which has 12 different styles. We find that if you're having beer with food, you might want to change the styles as you move through the courses or if you've got a few people round you can cater for all their preferences. Making you the host with the most!


5. Introduce an element of competition


We're pretty competitive and enjoy a pub quiz so often our Sundays often include a few beers and a pub quiz. The Daily Telegraph on a Saturday has an excellent pub quiz that we save and do as a family. They are quite difficult so if we get 15/20 we're delighted. If quizzing isn't dad's thing, maybe get out the old board games.


So, that's our perfect Father's Day at home with a shameless plug for a case of our beers!

Microwave Beer Fudge 

Line a 20cm tin with baking parchment

Combine 400g caster sugar with 397g can of condensed milk and 140g salted butter in a large heatproof bowl.

Heat on high for 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.

Add 2 tbsp of Chocolate and Vanilla stout, whisk in and heat for another 2 minutes.

Pour into the baking tin, allow to set for 1 hour. Cut into pieces and pop in a pretty box or tin.

Beery Mac n Cheese

50g butter

2 cloves of garlic

50g Spinach

500ml Milk

250ml pale ale

300g cheese- we used a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar.

Melt butter, fry garlic and add milk and pale ale. Bring to a gentle bubble.

Add pasta and stir occasionally until cooked

Throw in the cheese and spinach, stir til melted and then pop in the oven until nicely browned on top. 

Monthly Beer Club: June 2019: Tasting Notes and Pub Quiz

The Oxford Living Dictionary describes a shindig as a ‘large, lively party, especially one celebrating something’. We think it’s a brilliant name, as it really catches the
essence of what the brewery are trying to achieve.
Shindigger was born in
Manchester in 2012, when
University pals Paul and George thought they’d try to generate some much needed funds by selling home brew to their mates. After some initial early success, the guys invested in some brewing equipment and before long, it had taken over their
kitchen. The first seeds of Shindigger had been sown.
Armed with a small loan from the government and shed loads of ideas and
ambitions, Paul and George were soon
delivering kegs around the city from the back of their battered hatchback.
Fast forward to 2019 and the two mates have seriously outgrown their kitchen and the hatchback has long since been scrapped. Shindigger now brew 80,000 pints per month and their beers are enjoyed all over Britain; from
Brighton to Aberdeen.

The company operates on a ‘
shadow brewing’ concept, meaning that recipes are developed on the high tech kit at Shindigger HQ, then produced in big batches in one of three partner breweries across the North West. This not only cuts down on buying expensive equipment, it also utilises ‘
downtime’ in breweries.

We’re big fans of the Shindigger ethos and we feel their beers are great examples of the current trend towards a naturally hazy, hop forward style of brewing.

Beer Subscription Club

My first memory of subscription schemes was in 1974 when mum won a year’s supply of comics for me and Sara, my big sister. Sara understandably went for Twinkle (the picture paper specially for little girls) while I couldn’t decide between ‘Shoot’ or The Beano. Imagine my disappointment when mum told me she’d chosen for me and I was going to get 52 editions of World of Wonder magazine to broaden my horizons!

I’m not 100% sure if this salutary tale inspired me to launch the original Best of British Beer subscription scheme in 2011 with a really simple philosophy – to give our customers the ultimate flexibility on their choice of beers and delivery options.

We’re an established craft beer retailer who caters for a variety of beer drinkers. At one end of the scale we work with ‘go ahead’ brewers like Wiper & True, Mobberley Brewhouse and Thornbridge. While a bigger part of our customer base don’t drink on the crest of the craft beer wave, preferring a 4.2% Best Bitter to an off the scale Triple Hopped Raspberry Gose. This is the rationale behind the choices in our beer clubs; we know we can be cool, but our customers don’t necessarily appreciate flashiness.

We normally send 500ml bottles, occasionally we’ll use a 330ml bottle or can if we think the beer deserves to be included. We only ever use independent British breweries. We haven't got anything against European or American beers, in fact we love a beery trip to Brussels, it's just we know a lot about British Beer and not so expert at the rest.

To date we’ve partnered with over 400 different producers from Orkney to the Isle of Wight and everywhere in between. We’re constantly scouring the country for new and exciting brews that our customers want to try, we never feature the same beer twice and we’ve sent out well over 1,500 different bottles.

Our ‘Beer for a Year’ subscription has proven really popular as a beer gift because we give the flexibility of choosing which day the beer arrives. This means that birthdays, anniversaries, Valentines, Christmas or Father’s Day can all be sorted at the click of a button and we also include a free gift card with every delivery.

We offer a variety of different craft beer clubs and give the recipient the opportunity to personalise their beer selections. You can choose to receive the standard mixed case which features a huge variety of styles and strengths. If stouts and porters are your thing, we’ve got that covered, or if you prefer golden or IPAs, you’re sorted too. Some customers even change their preferences during their subscription as their tastes change with the seasons. Even our payment methods are flexible with upfront or pay as you go packages.

Whether you opt for a 6 or 12 bottle plan, you will receive a copy of our ‘On the Hop’ brochure with tasting notes, a pub quiz and a feature on a particular brewery. The first box has a card explaining the beer club, when the next cases will arrive and how to gt in touch with us to change anything.

When you join the scheme you also get a branded Best of British Beer glass as a welcome gift.