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Graduation Gift Etiquette

A level results day is Thursday 17th August 2017, and university graduations continue in to the coming months! For some that means finding the perfect gift for the students in our lives. For upcoming graduates the last few years will have flown by, for some perhaps in a haze of late nights and early morning lectures, yet the next few weeks will be nail bitingly slow awaiting results of assignments and final exams. The pressure will be immense! Pass the beer!

It is traditional to give a gift after graduation, a tradition which seems to have originated in America, starting with the graduation of high school students-signalling the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. Traditionally in the states money or cars are given away to graduates, and like with other American traditions like proms and baby showers, the tradition to give graduation gifts seems to have migrated over to the UK. Whilst a brand-new car would be an amazing gift to give we can reason that other people may be a tad more budget sensitive than that!

So what does the former student really want as a gift?

It would be impossible to know what every graduate wants as a gift to celebrate the end of their time at college or university, however,  we provide a range of personalised alcohol and other beery gifts to suit every type of graduate. Unfortunately, we don’t sell personalised car’s, but never say never! However, what better way to say ‘We’re proud!’ or ‘Well done’ than a personalised bottle of champagne or beer as a graduation gift?

Personalised alcohol is becoming more popular since households seem to spend their disposable income on luxury items and household gadgets to open cupboards and make the tea (Imagine that?).  For family and friends, it can create what is known as the ‘gaga gift’ syndrome, which can be translated in to ‘what the heck am I mean to buy them this time??’.

A personalised gift is a thoughtful gift, and a  lovely  sentimental way to say that you are thinking about someone. So to help you out,  we’ve put together our top products to help you say ‘congratulations!’

1- Personalised Champagne 

[caption id="attachment_440" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo or text options available for personalised items[/caption]

A bottle of fizz will surely go down well after graduation. These bottles can be personalised with either a photo or some text.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2- Personalised beer or cider



You can select to personalise cider, golden ale, pale ale or bitter or a mix!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3- Personalised wine

[caption id="attachment_442" align="alignleft" width="202"] Choose from red or white wine- whatever the preference![/caption]

Choose from a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to personalise. A great drink for college leavers or university graduates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4- 4 pack Craft Beer

[caption id="attachment_443" align="alignleft" width="300"] A craft gift pack[/caption]

For the beer loving graduates. A craft box with 4 specially selected craft beers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5- Thirst Aid box

For Thirsty graduatesOne of our best sellers! 6 bottles of beer in an easy to carry case. Perfect for post graduation parties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So if any of these products look like the perfect one- simply head over to our site for more information!

Cheers!

Easy to carry beery summer-essentials. Because not everyone has a wheelbarrow!

The season of open-air concerts, camping, BBQ’s and festivals is upon us. Plans to spend long weekends in a field soaking up the atmosphere and sunshine (If you’re lucky), listening to music and watching live bands or socialising at BBQ’s with friends means you will already be thinking about what you need to take along with you.

Best of British checklist

  • Tent

  • Clean clothes

  • Food essentials

  • BEER!


At Best of British Beer we know how difficult it is to carry essential items from the car to a field, and since most people don’t have a wheel barrow on hand, we’ve put together our summer essentials line up- easy to carry products and a great variety to choose from that will suit everyone’s tastes.

First up- The Pail of Ales.



A retro inspired ice bucket and 5 craft beers, with a couple of bags of popcorn to satisfy when the nibbles take hold. Perfect for summer days and BBQ’s and super easy to carry!

 

 

 

 

Is there a DR in the house? Then pass me the Thirst Aid box!

6 Bottles of craft beer in a handy carry case that creates a great talking point between friends. Comprising of 2 pale ales, 2 golden beers and 2 best bitters – all perfect for quenching your thirst in the summer heat.

 

 

 

The Thirst Aid box was so popular we just had to make a Rustic Cider Crate!



 

6 bottles of quality British pressed cider in a mix of dry, medium or sweet – and if you prefer one or the other just tell us and we can vary the contents! Another great carry case that can be carried about with ease.

 

 

No half measures here- the Best of British Yard of Ale 8 cans of craft beer in a straight tube that could fit perfectly under your arm whilst you carry your bags! An alternative to a great beery classic as craft beer cans are becoming increasingly popular this season.

 

 

 

Lager has always been a boozy favourite, and whilst there is currently a great range of Best of British lager, this is one of our favourites for the summer season.

The Craft Lager case comprises 500 and 330ml bottles of top-quality and hard to find lager and Pilsner from various British breweries. Definitely one to satisfy all preferences. Our sturdy branded cardboard boxes make this easy to carry with no fear of dropping.

 

 

 

And finally- the Best of British Beer Festival Box is a festival of craft delights and a really great way to try some unusual beers from those hard to find breweries. 18 bottles and a pub quiz will keep you entertained through the evening when the music has stopped and the beer is still flowing!

 

 

 

So whatever your preference this summer- we have you covered.

Best of British Tip- Check your tent for holes before your weekend away!

Cheers!

BBQ Beer-Can Chicken- No BBQ required!

Summer has landed and although the sun seems to have disappeared behind a few clouds we are never one to grumble at the oh- so- British weather so we decided to make a summer BBQ favourite this weekend- Beer-Can chicken.

On inspection, we sadly discovered that the BBQ gas wouldn’t have gone the distance so the chicken, and the beer can both ended up in the oven instead. This is a great alternative to the BBQ since the weather can never be 100% guaranteed meaning you don’t need to change meal plans at the last minute.

If you’ve never made, or even heard of Beer-Can (or Beer-Butt) chicken then this is how it is done…

What you’ll need

  • One chicken- small, medium or large depending on family size (we went with small)

  • One can of beer- size dependent on size of chicken. For this we used Allendale Vienna- a light a fruity pale ale. (Featured in our Best of British Yard of Ale)

  • A few herbs- Paprika, thyme, coriander (whatever your preference). We used paprika and olive oil to rub the chicken, and popped some fresh coriander leaves in the beer can prior to it ending up at the business end of the chicken

  • A baking tray

  • Oven or BBQ


[caption id="attachment_381" align="alignleft" width="225"] The chicken should fit neatly on top of your beer can with some room at the top for it to breath[/caption]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Method

  • Pre heat the oven to gas mark 180

  • Rub chicken with olive oil and herbs of choice (we went with paprika)

  • Add herbs to beer can- you could use thyme, or lemongrass but we went with coriander as the Allendale beer we used was a light, fruity beer and felt this was a great accompaniment

  • Sit the chicken on top of the beer can (you need the can to go as far in as possible to allow the beer to permeate the chicken, but not too far in that the beer doesn't have room to breathe)

  • Cook chicken according to weight- instructions are usually found on the chicken- This one said 45 mins per kg plus 25 mins and was 1.25kg so it went in for 1.5 hours


[caption id="attachment_382" align="alignleft" width="225"] A Paprika rub was used to coat the chicken prior to it going in to the oven[/caption]

 

Whilst the chicken was in the oven, we set about our usual Sunday chores- lawn mowing, washing etc and after 30 mins checked on the chicken to find it had fallen over in the oven with the beer now covering the bottom of pan.

Oh dear.

Plan B- The chicken will now be fully roasted in the beer, which actually turned out to be a great alternative since we used the chicken juices and beer to make a great boozy gravy to accompany our meal!

 

So after 1.5 hours the chicken looked deliciously  like this:

[caption id="attachment_383" align="alignright" width="225"] The chicken smelled amazingly beery![/caption]

 

 

 

And after adding some lovely herby potatoes and garden pea’s our beer-butt chicken was ready to be served with our impromptu and delicious boozy gravy! Alternatively you could enjoy an Al fresco meal in place of the BBQ and serve with a garden salad and fresh bread and butter.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could we taste the beer?

Definitely. The chicken was very moist, with a hint of fruit, coriander and definite subtle undertones of beer. The gravy gave a real beery boost to the meal which we will definitely consider making again in place of the beer-but chicken which (hopefully) might stand up-right on a BBQ!

Next week- Honey and Beer glazed pork.

Cheers!

Lynne

There's nothing 'little' about Little Ox Brewery

Setting up a brewery is always going to be a tricky job – choosing recipes, designing imagery, finding premises etc. It can also be a lengthy process, growing steadily from home brewing to your first proper kit. I’ve known some brewers take at least a couple of years to get established, so the achievement of Ian Hemingway is pretty astonishing.

I met Ian at his Little Ox brewery nestling near the beautiful Oxfordshire town of Woodstock and the magnificent Blenheim Palace. The plain industrial unit with no signage doesn’t give a hint on the outside of the magic that happens on the inside. In just nine months though Ian has created a perfectly formed brewery complete with beer shop and bottling line.



The imagery on his three main bottle lines is eye catching with a striking ox’s head standing out front and centre. I particularly like the look of Odd Bod as it reminds me of Kenneth Williams and Fenella Fielding in the classic movie Carry on Screaming. The beers are excellent too, my personal favourite is Wipeout, a bold pale ale full of US hops with loads of flavour for a lowish ABV. We’re also looking forward to trying his new summer beer Goldilox, a 3.9% refresher.

Ian keeps the entire brewing and bottling inhouse, so he has 100% control of the entire process from start to finish. All the brewery equipment has come to Ian via Allendale in Northumberland, another one of our brewery partners. With a background in plumbing, Ian was more than useful when it came to setting up and commissioning everything, he now has to turn his hand to assembling the bigger bottling line he recently purchased.

 

 

We’re delighted to feature Little Ox’s Wipeout in our Beer for a Year selection in July, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

Cheers!

Will



 

Our business runs smoothly because APC's does too.

We’ve been working with The APC for over a year now, sending up to 900 parcels a day at our peak times of Father’s Day and Christmas.

One of the biggest worries for any online retailer is ensuring that their products are delivered quickly and efficiently. When the majority of your parcels are sent as gifts, the need for a reliable courier is even greater.

Before we set up Best of British Beer in 2011, we hadn’t stopped to think how the courier business worked and how parcels were moved from one end of the country to the other in less than 24 hours. Six years on and 100,000 parcels later, we thought we’d grasped the basics, that was until we were invited down to the APC hub in Cannock to see how our beer is transported.

APC has 114 depots throughout Britain and each one covers a specific postcode area. Once every local delivery van has returned to base with their collections, the parcels are put into cages and loaded onto line haul trucks, which then drive to the hub. We prefer APC to other couriers as they minimise the use of conveyor belts and pallets, preferring to put all of our fragile parcels in these moveable cages; keeping our boxes safe and secure.

You cannot fail to be impressed by the sheer size of the operation at the hub, with the main warehouse covering the size of 3 football pitches and over 300 staff working across the site. The trucks start to arrive from the local depots around 9pm, with the Aberdeen and Plymouth lorries last in at 1am. A team of forklifts empty each truck in just 4 minutes and every cage is then emptied by hand, the parcels scanned and placed in a different cage, ready to be loaded onto the wagon and driven back to the depot. By 2am, every wagon has left and the operation starts to wind down and prepare for the following day.

With over 150,000 parcels processed through the APC network every day, it’s no wonder that the whole operation is so slick. We’re delighted to be working with the UK’s largest independent delivery network and we trust them to get our beers to our customers quickly and efficiently.

 

[caption id="attachment_363" align="alignleft" width="300"] Picture by www.edwardmoss.co.uk
All rights reserved
APC[/caption]

Pygmy goats, a new British beer and Hornes Brewery

To men of a certain age, boys’ toys can be things like fast cars, speed boats or race horses. For Ryan Hornes, it’s all about the beer and making his dream come true after 20 years in the construction industry. Literally 30 feet from his kitchen door he’s created a small, but perfectly formed brewery.



Ryan and his goats



 

Celebrating his 40th birthday this month, Ryan has built this fantastic business from what used to be his garage. He’s extended it upwards and outwards, built a cold store for conditioning and doubled his storage space for bottles and casks. Although technically still working on his own, Ryan is ‘helped’ by his 5 year old son and three pygmy goats; Herby, Dusty and Sooty who live in the field next to the brewery.



The garage brewery



 

Success has come quickly for Ryan and his hard work has been recognised by Milton Keynes Chamber of Trade as a new Start Up Business and by The Labologists’ Society for the design of his bottles. As if creating your own award winning isn’t enough, instead of settling down with a bottle after a hard day’s brewing, Ryan can pop round the corner and he’s drinking his own beer in his village local, the beautiful Wheatsheaf Hotel.

Ryan has already built up a strong following for his beers in the Milton Keynes and greater Buckinghamshire area and his next challenge is to see his ales enjoyed by a wider audience. Best of British Beer is doing its bit to help by showcasing Ryan’s Featherstone Amber Ale in the June selection for our Beer For A Year members. Named after a local WWI fighter pilot, this is a perfect beer to enjoy in the summer sun – crystal clear, not too strong and perfectly balanced.

I’m sure you’ll enjoy Captain Gerald Featherstone Knight’s beer from Hornes Brewery and all the other selections in the Best of British Beer.

Happy 40th birthday Ryan!

Cheers!

Will

[caption id="attachment_354" align="alignleft" width="300"] Ryan's hard work has been recognised by Milton Keynes Chamber of Trade[/caption]

Try the Best of British



With the RBS 6 Nations rugby kicking off in early February it’s another sign that spring is in the air, but will it be the English rose, Welsh daffodil or Flower of Scotland that will be in bloom come 18th March?

This year’s tournament looks closer than ever with at least four teams having a genuine chance of silverware. Closer games means more excitement and more nail biting, but never fear, we’ve come up with the ideal solution. The Best of British Beer stress ball is the perfect drinking buddy to see you through the tightest of matches.

To keep you and your stress ball (and your mates) happy, we’ve put together a terrific selection of beers from all corners of Britain to enjoy while watching the action. There are 12 different breweries represented, 4 from each of the Home Countries and there’s a great mix of ales from mega hoppy IPAs through to dark stouts.  Throughout the duration of the tournament, we are offering a FREE stress ball with every 3 Nations case ordered. We only work with quality independent breweries, so not only are you guaranteed amazing beer, the chances are we’ll introduce you to some new producers too.

Like all Best of British Beer curated cases, the 3 Nations selection has been approved by our own independent tasting panel. This is a group of like-minded people who take their roles very seriously (maybe too seriously) it’s a simple mantra - if they don’t like the beer, we won’t send the beer out to you.

If you think you have what it takes to join our committed and happy band of tasters, just drop me a line will@bestofbritishbeer.co.uk and we’ll add you to our waiting list.

 

Cheers

 

 

Will

Monthly Beer Club Update: February 2017

February – The Month For Beer Lovers



With Valentine’s Day falling in February, we’ve chosen some great new beers for our Craft Beer Club we hope you fall in love with. There are a couple of new brews from old favourites like the brilliant Zephyr from Kiwi Shane and the team at Stonehouse and Pop from the Sheffield based Brew Foundation. We also welcome a clutch of new breweries from the length and breadth of England.

Home of the 12th century castle used as the backdrop to Blackadder and the seat of The Duke of Northumberland, the beautiful market town of Alnwick hosts England’s most northerly beer producer. Set up and run by local lad Phil Bell, the range of brews is continually growing and we’ve featured Village Gossip – an easy drinking pale ale. What it lacks in ABV, it certainly makes up for in refreshment.

At the opposite end of the country is Harbour Brewing in beautiful Dartmoor. Surprisingly these Cornish beer magicians aren’t based on the coast, but on a farm right in the middle of the National Park. Founded by Eddie Lofthouse just 5 years ago, they have already built up an enviable reputation as progressive brewers who respect traditional production methods. We’ve featured their middle of the range Amber Ale; a 4.4% malt forward ale with a nose and mouthfeel of caramel and toffee.

Making up our delightful dozen for February are a truly eclectic mix of brews from some of the finest independent brewers in Britain. We’re especially fond of Brimstone 10, a new brew to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Cheddar Ales. It’s a break from the norm by Head Brewer Jem Ham and he’s promised to do more ‘one off’ brews… watch this space. We also loved the Magg’s Mild from West Berkshire Brewery. While this particular style of beer has pretty much passed the craft beer revolution by, the sweet nuttiness is brilliant.

All the beers chosen for our Beer of the Month Club selection have been approved by our independent tasting panel. These are a committed bunch of beer lovers (some might say too committed) who know a thing a two about beers. We always feature 12 different British beers every month, they are always in 500ml bottles and you always have the option to choose delivery dates and change the styles of beers you receive.

We’re sure you’ll enjoy the craft beer selections for February – happy drinking!

 

Will

5 Reasons You Should Never Buy British Beer.

We spend a great deal of our time pioneering the ethos that British beer is brilliant. The genuine love we have for our beer (shown by the amount we drink ourselves) means that sometimes we're so busy revelling in the rise of the British brewer, we don't hear the naysayers.

Here at Best of British Beer HQ, we're always trying to stay on the ball. So in this latest blog post its time to finally address them. We’re going to set up, and then knock down, some of the most common misconceptions we hear about the beer being brewed here in Blighty.

 

“All the best beer is imported.”

After experiencing two years of continued growth, Britain now has more breweries per person than anywhere in the World. There are a massive 1,424 breweries across the UK, after 204 opened in the past year, according to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

According to Community Pubs Minister Marcus Jones, the recent growth in the British market means that we’ve returned to our rightful role as a global brewing powerhouse. All those breweries don’t exist for no reason, we brew some World renowned beer right here in Britain!

 

“British beer all tastes the same.”

Actually, British brewers produce over 6,000 different ales on a regular basis. There are many different styles of real ale, varying from fresh, crisp pale and golden ales to rich, dark stouts and porters. With so many beers on offer it is almost impossible to find something that doesn’t match your taste preferences, there’s something to suit almost everyone!

British ale is an incredible diverse market, but if you’re not sure which type you like, why not let someone else do the hard work for you and order a mixed case of real ales handpicked from across the UK? http://goo.gl/diwReq

 

It’s far too expensive compared to imported beers.”

Whilst some of the high end and more sought after beers can be quite pricey, not all British beer will leave you penniless. You can find cases for a steal at £25 for 12 bottles, that’s as little as £2 a beer!

That said, sometimes it’s important to consider the quality of the beer instead of the price. Whilst popular imported brands may be cheaper, they’re catered to appeal to the masses. This usually means a more generic, subtle taste. On the other hand, proper British beer is carefully crafted to achieve the right flavours and finish, producing some really rewarding results. Spending those extra few pounds doesn’t sound so bad now does it?

 

“Drinking beer is just for old men, it isn’t cool!”'

Whilst alcohol consumption in the UK is generally on a downward spiral, in 2015 the beer industry experienced its largest growth in 20 years. In fact, we’re currently experiencing an 80-year high in the amount of active breweries that are producing beer. Real ale’s and craft beers are definitely on trend right now, even celebrities such as Alexa Chung have been spotted drinking a pint in venue’s like London’s Camden Town Brewery!

If you’d like to sample some of Camden Town Brewery’s signature beers for yourself, you can order some here: http://goo.gl/mx1sAO

 

“You have to choose between beer and food, it’s no good for a meal.”

Wrong. Leading beer sommeliers agree that beer can be paired with food just as well as wine can due to the sheer variety available. Whether it’s for a summer barbecue (New World IPA), a hearty roast beef (Ruby Ale) or a drink to be served at the end of a meal with a cheeseboard (Imperial Stout), beer and food go hand in hand.

Check out this handy tool for pairing the perfect drink for your food: http://goo.gl/dyyG8P

 

So there you have it, we’ve conclusively proved once again that British beer is brilliant. Its affordable, there’s a pint to suit any taste, and you can even drink it with your evening meal.

Our products are all specifically selected to become part of our range after rigorous research and testing. As a result, we can proudly say that each one stands testament to the premium quality and dexterity of the beer our little nation produces.

We’d say that’s another point to us, naysayers!

Spotlight Brewery: The Brew Foundation

The Brew Foundation is a father and son team obsessed with creating the most drinkable beers on the planet. What started as an idea (after many years researching) soon became a reality when the opportunity to cuckoo brew out of a great existing microbrewery in Wincle.

With James living in Sheffield and Robert living in Cheshire the location of the brewery allows them to distribute their craft beer throughout Sheffield, Cheshire, Manchester and Leeds. Here at Best of British Beer, we’ve taken it one step further. We pride ourselves on being able to take brilliant independent breweries, such as The Brew Foundation, from being purely local to supplying the length and breadth of the UK.

Both Father and Son share a love for pale and interesting beers, whether it be a craft session IPA or a tradition golden ale. When you try their beers, you can see that this love has been at the very forefront of their minds whilst brewing. Let’s take a closer look at what these guys are producing.

“Hop and Glory” is a punchy IPA which is crammed full of hops. Lots of flavour and more aroma than the average beer, but still the great balanced taste you’d expect from a Brew Foundation beer. This brew has more flavour hops (Magnum), with double the amount of aroma hops (Cascade) and double the amount of dry hopping (Rakau). It really is all about the hops!

Despite the bold flavour, the brewers still wanted to make it a great session beer, so it’s just a touch below the 5% mark at 4.9% ABV. The tropical fruit flavours and aromas from the Rakau really come into their own in this one. Combine this with the floral, citrus aromas from the Cascade and you get a clean, fresh IPA that’s incredibly moreish.

“Little Bitter That” is made from five English hops: Target, Challenger, Progress, East Kent Goldings and Bramling Cross to give it a satisfying fruity hop taste and aroma, balanced against a strong malt backbone.

The guys at The Brew Foundation have been toying with the idea of doing a session strength copper coloured ale for a while now so when the guys at the Little Tap in Tarporley got in touch wanting a 3.8% bitter for their new bar they just couldn’t resist!

We love these two brews especially, but the full range of bottled beers The Brew Foundation offer are all brilliant. Not only do they all taste great, the bottles also look fantastic too. Proud members of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) they’re championing the ethos of the independent brewer.

You can find the full range of The Brew Foundation beers on our website, including a mixed case if you can’t decide which you want to try first. Check out their page under the “Beers by Brewery” tab for more.