Camden Town Brewery

Camden Town BreweryCamden Town Brewery.

London now has it’s very own craft beer and as the name suggests, it’s being brewed in Camden. Using only the freshest ingredients and no brain aching chemicals, Camden Town Brewery have been making beer beneath railway arches in Camden since 2010. Inspired by the great beers of Germany and America, they make a lager, wheat beer and US-style pale ale, plus a hoppy nitro stout, called Camden Ink. Watch out for regular single-release beers. The best city in the world deserves the best beer and now it’s right here.

buy Camden Town Brewery Beers here

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New Beermerchants.com site.

We are proud to announce the launch of our new website. We feel we have radically improved the layout, design and functionality of this new website with many new features! This will be the first time you’ll see the all new Beermerchants.com site.

Built from the ground up, the third incarnation of Beermerchants.com, We’ve gone out and put it all your suggestions in place with the new site.  It’s been a long, big job.   We really wanted to bring something special to the online beer retail world, I really hope you’ll appreciate what we have acheived.    Something simple, clean and easy to find the beers you want, and might like.

Here’s a few new things that I think you’ll appreciate.

NEW THINGS

We think the best thing is that you can browse by the breweries like Huyghe Brewery, Kernel Brewery and Fruli and more… you can find beers by style and by country at the click of one little icon.

You can now: Add to your wishlist, Review every beer, Buy Cider, Buy Genever, Buy Mixed Cases, Bottled Beers, many many different Beer Glasses for every occasion. View more than 300 products per page, quick search and many more little features.. with more to come…

IN STOCK? OUT OF STOCK? – Now, it’s always fatal to make promises, especially when it comes to technology – but, the new system has full stock control, so if it’s there, available and not saying “out of stock”, it should be there!

WISHLISTS? You can now add all the great beers to a wishlist! Yes, just like Amazon, so you don’t have to keep it in your cart! If you do like to add things to your cart and come back, they have a five day “shelf life”… so you have 5 days to grab what you want!

ALL THE GOOD BITS – Be assured, all the good bits are still there: the favourite Mixed Cases, all the classic Belgian beers, Trappist Beers, but now with a range of awesome German brews and many great beers from the rest of the world! All delivered straight to your door for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own home, by our normal couriers.

BEER GLASSES – We have added more Glassware! You’ll find a whole load of new shapes, styles and even some older ones that are oh so collectible.

BEER GIFTS – We have extended the range of Gifts slightly into: Gift cases, Soaps, Books and more coming, under the heading “Gifts”.

Registering is even easier on the new site, but you’ll have to re-register on the new site, but it’s now even easier. If you want more info – click here.

We sincerely hope you like it!

New beers are very much easier to add to the site now as well as bring technology improvements over time, we really have to work constantly keeping the site fresh and always offering something new. We sincerely hope you enjoy your time on the new site and we cant wait to grow and improve it further through 2012.

Thanks for reading! Use Twitter? Say hi, @beermerchants. Use facebook to kill time at work? Yes, we’re on there too…Facebook.com/Beermerchants

beer: a cure for the common cold

I bloody hate colds.   I know, in reality, not many people do, but I really hate being ill.

So, here’s my thinking,  Beer is the cure for the common cold.   Why? Because, if you’re like me, being offered Paracetamol and caffiene laced juice with more sacharine in them than nasty pop – leaving you with a mouth that makes you want to talk like those damn Meerkats.

What to cure yourself with?    Sitting here, drinking poke-your-eye-out hoppy IPA‘s really do hit the spot.   Not so much that you might normally recoil at the hoppiness, but I can actually taste them.   Washing down IPA’s with Jewish chicken soup, is a great combo.   I think IPA’s when you’re ikky, can rejuvenate you back to a state of health equivalent to Ron Jeremy in his prime.

Ok, so what if it’s not the actual cure,  for man-flu?   Who cares?     Watching child-hood reruns on Gold, a spot of Rugby and a bit of footie and some cricket, a case of IPA’s and a do not move order, on the eve of heavy snow fall, doesn’t suck.

have you got any beer-y excuse days?

Education and Beer – Learn and Share

Education

I was out delivering a talk recently, on beer; you know the usual stuff: how beer is made, how long it’s been made, what makes it “beer” and a loose intro to beer styles and the differences between.

I really love getting out and about, meeting all sorts of people – and thankfully that lovely phrase crosses over, Different Strokes for Different Folks. I am sure some of you have serious qualifications in your chosen career or prior career before you fell into Beer, so you might have the insight in to what a Stroke is. Well, I can start by saying it’s not the brain injury we’re talking about. It’s what some have referred to as an approach to different people that should be individualized. The proverb also means that different people have different tastes. Nobody knows exactly where the saying comes from. Wolfgang Mieder thinks it originated in the United States.

Anyway, why all the psycho-philosopy… well, I think it’s important that we understand where we stand in the world of beer. I think EVERYONE who has a personal or professional interest in beer has an obligation to help those who don’t know about beer, but with the caveat that we mustn’t judge people by their tastes, by what they drink or otherwise.

My toughest tasting from memory, was a bunch of bankers (I have used other terms) certified Industrial Fizzy Lager drinkers, and proud of it. Did I berate them for doing so… no. Did I find an angle with them, exploring their other food intake to seek parallel toward drinking better beer… yes. I had to work very hard on these chaps, one by one, they slowly came around to thinking that perhaps they could do better – and I learned something: their motivations weren’t flavour or the like – it was getting where they wanted to be, in a controlled amount of time – hence drinking Weak Industrial Fizzy Lager. Also, Price was a factor – these better off, financially, people were hung up on the price of Artisan Lager vs Industrial Lager. They also came with the mindset of Last Man Standing – a game of dare to who falls over first; a challenge if there ever was one from my stand point.

The funny thing, even with all the bravado and bullshit spouting forth, once I had done my gig a few of them were keen to talk to me at the bar. Why? I think it was, so not to be under the gaze of the group bullies. What did they ask? Great questions about the history, locale and what does X beer drink well with on the table; not the how much, how much and how much they were involved with when in the formal presentation.

There was my chance to grab a couple from the heard and change their ideals toward the fuller flavoured smaller brewery brewed beers; why beers were sour, why there are 10%+ abv beers etc.

I am in a fortunate position to be able to travel and learn about beer, many people can’t. Relying on friends and mates down the pub – maybe they were bought a box of beers for Christmas Beer, maybe they have a of a 1000 beers to drink before you end up in a wooden box. There are all tiers of tastes, levels of awareness toward beer.

This is where you come in.

I want you to go out, learn as much as you can about beer, learn from those who write, talk and video blog about Beer, and take it to those that aren’t beer-aware. Er, that really sounds like taking a faith to the uninitiated; so you don’t want to sound like a missionary. Ok, how about disruption: Getting out there and flyering for your next local beer festival. Invite all your friends on Facebook, email them. Become an advocate for your good local brewery! Having a party? Take some good, but accessible beers – if no one drinks them, so what!? You’ll have something good to drink all night. Instead of Alcopops try some fruit beers.

It’s all well and good having 1000’s of followers on Twitter, and they’re all beer people, all the people you socialise with are beer people etc… But, I make a concerted effort on corrupting my Fishing and every day mates ideals toward beer – even my gluten intolerant mate who had resorted to cider and corona (his words; they kinda taste the same) to Mongozo GF Pils, “it actually tastes like a lager”.

Why do I say this?

Well, if you as a beer lover, on my Beermerchants twitter numbers, say 3000 people – turn one of your friends onto artisan beer, or just beer (away from wines or ciders – or god forbid Alcopops – a double word score) you immediately double the numbers of people who might buy or the chance that people may find the beers we love.

I am not talking about Militancy – ok, “Occupy The Pub” or “Occupy Supermarket Isles” sounds great, just a gentle nudge here and there. Take a friend to a beer festival – much like Teach a Friend to Homebrew.

Remember – No one likes a Know it all.

Why can’t this be done via marketing or advertising:  You have the trust, you know these people, you know what they want, like and their tastes.  You know their social schedules and you speak to them when they are either making a choice at the bar or in the supermarket isle.   You can of course, should you so wish to, help them with recomendations from Beermerchants.com.   You can hit that totally indivualised experience for the newby beer lover.   Do it!  Tell them, This is why I love beer.

Go for it!

I would love to see this taken on… not in some sort “you must” – just a little softly softly approach. I am sure many of you do anyway.

2012

It’s been a long year for me, little travel and no brewing, but I have seen some amazing sights when I have been out and about. I have pondered a few things, hopes, aspirations and even an “if I win the lottery” type thing…

2011 was a year of great challenges, shifting sands and more choice when it comes to great beers. It was great to see British breweries stepping up and increasing the quality and diversity of their beers. It’s been a lagery year for me, but UK brewed memorably:  Windsor & Eton Republika, Buxton Axe Edge, Dark Star numerous, Magic Rock Human Canonball, Brodies Kiwi, Redemption Big Chief.  Great work chaps! 

Things I would like to see in 2012

  1. I really want to see more collaboration, city wide, or just two local breweries.      Sometimes I think UK brewers look at the US brewerying social schema out of the corner of their eye.   Maybe it’s just a British thing, something we’re expected to leave at primary school, the idea of playing/working together.    Get over it, invite people in, homebrewers, pro-brewers, your favourite brewer in France, Italy, Germany or the US.  Do it! now… get on the phone, internet and do something about it!         (BrewWharf Collab with Toccalmatto and Redemption with Mikkeller, I hope is just the start of it!)
  2. Getting rid of the High Strength Beer Duty. Nuff said.
  3. UK small brewery Keg: I am really hoping that keg or one-way keg, be that KeyKeg or EcoKeg presents chance for brewers then bars to present stronger, hoppier, richer brews. Getting the general drinking populous comfortable with bigger beers and non-cask dispense, but still artisan beer, is a mountain that needs to be climbed. I want to wave bye bye to the tied keg dispense that so many pubs and bars get wrapped up in, for the sake of a cooler?
  4. More and more quality beer bars.    Beer centric bars, with a not-too-geeky-a-leaning are a massive change in the way that we might access quality beer.   Of course, then comes the onus of quality HR needs, good supply and favourable rents and leases… but they can all be worked around.   Applaud those that have taken that leap and make great new beer venues open in 2011. Congrats to Emma J Cole and Tony Leonard on the opening of the Spotted Dog, and Mark with the Powder Keg Diplomacy.
  5. Open a MicroPub: The best thing to have happened in Kent, ever. Very few things come from Kent that can have significant influence out there in BeerLand. The “MicroPub”, probably started in it’s modern guise by the legendary Martin Hillier of the Butchers Arm in Herne. Out here in deepest Kent – the Just Reproach, The Conqueror and the Bake and Alehouse are 5, part of something larger.
  6. More diversification: greater experimentation or investment in away from the norm as well as historical brewing. Where have all the Old Ales gone? IPA’s?
  7. PR Freebies: Dear beerwriter-y types, if you get freebies please – I don’t care if you don’t tell on your blog – but, please don’t look like a soft touch.  Please think about your personal brand.
  8. Being Unreasonable. When ever you feel like complaining about something, consider this:  Creating an alternative.   If you’re not happy with the status quo, do something about it.   Work with a local brewery, help promote their efforts. Work with a local beer bar, help set up a micro pub.    Get beer into your work place, arrange tastings.   Start little tasting circle.    Help spread the word! But, don’t suffer the status quo
  9. Homebrew. Do it.  It’s the best thing ever.   If you love beer, great food and find cooking easy.  And, have good cleaning routines… DO IT!     You’ll take a greater appreciation for the beers that you drink in the pub, or buy from beermerchants.com, than from any book, blog or tweet.     Remember, support your local homebrew shop.
  10. Celebrating. We really need to better celebrate the true industry heroes. We need to better celebrate the brewers, landlords and out and out beer passionate people.   Everyone loves a “nice job” pat on the back, so can we not bring it to ourselves?  Hell, if it takes sponsors, energy etc: I’ll throw my hat in the ring? C’mon people! I asked this last year!
  11. Play well with others: I hope for the long term that everyone learns to play well together. For the sake of the beer….
  12. Websites and e-presence: If you’re business in craft beer, please please get your website straight and keep it up! There are so many out of date and just useless sites out there. We’re so connected these days and so many people just jump on the web to find out. These are your main calling card? Want justification on ROI or something? There are loads of beer savvy techies who’ll help! Email me…
  13. Have fun. I think I work in the greatest industry in the world.    I am surrounded by amazing, passionate and committed people.   We have to remain focused on what reason we got into this crazy crazy game, out and out love for the greatest beverage known to man.   I want it to remain fun, exciting and always leave me with a smile on my face at the end of the day.  With out you all, this would not be possible, let’s keep it that way!

A quick note; Simon Johnson, you rock!

Technology vs Beer

My working week, I guess contrary to what you might think, isn’t beer beer beer… It’d kill me if it was…

This past few months has been a test of willpower dealing with HTML tags instead of iBU’s, category and attribute vs abv, CSV vs IPA.

It’s a whole nuther world, excusing the bad inglish.

I take myself to be fairly fortunate being able to converse in different european languages, recently being in Germany – long lost memories of GCSE German and trips their, plus a few beers brought the basics back. Just enough to get myself into trouble, as the saying goes.

Learning all the words of a techie, the language of languages, code is a good word… Whoah, It’s mind boggling… Php, HTML, MySQL…. Yes dear techie people, we may speaky inglish, but you can easily baffle people.

I suppose what I am driving at is we, those on the beer wagon, need to be very aware of the language we construct about beer, not that I fear The wrath of Robsterowski, but just intimidating the hell out of the neophyte. Then again, lame descriptions of generic blond beers don’t help either. I for one get exponentially bored writing another description about 6% belgian blond ales, knowing full well I wonder if people actually care if it’s hoppy or not.

I am really grateful of all the active people out there who direct tastings, share and educate the incomers to our sport… But I think all the effort we put in has to be with a big chunk of reality… Of not geeking out.

Beyond that, since I’ve been engrossed in tech stuff, I know my beer knowledge has slipped… So much it worries me.
I was recently giving a talk at a digital media meet, realized I was on the cutting edge of things, but the same evening a beer talk – I was struggling for the vocabulary that was alway on the tip of my tongue.

I guess too much of one thing makes jack a dull boy…

Time for a beer me thinks.

Oh, regards all the tech stuff – we have news on the way! 🙂 have a great week!

I wonder…

I am just heading into my second evening beer presentation of the week, as well as helping a few chefs earlier in the week, but I saw this last night:

20111027-181558.jpg

This was in a pub, just a general, everyday normal boozer. I was with a bunch of mates, normal non-beery folk. I just had to take that pic.

I hope the day that great beer, bars and venues that over writes this chapter of pubs and beer comes soon.

And yes, that guy was asleep.

today my job changed

Today, in offices much like ours, Louise and Colin – people like Zak and his team,  Nigel and Ian, Andreas or Steve, Bart Verhaege,  then people like Nick and Duff, then Martin and Tom will all have dramatic tiered changes to make to their presentation, er, Offering.

Oddly, I guess there might be conversations in offices in Denmark or Northampton, perhaps wherever Tennents is made, but more so in Cheshunt – life will carry on as normal.

The simple reason specialist beer importers, retailers and beer specialist venues will have to charge more, is because of a simple multiplier High Strength Beer Tax that comes into place today.  Yes, that’s a tax for beers over and above 7.5% ABV – capturing in the same net dolphins and tuna – Chimay and Tennents Super;  Stone Arrogant Bastard and Carlsbery Special.   Beers with different origins and space on the shelves of various Retailers.

Why am I concerned, surely the reassuring tones of governmental research showed that you dear beer lover is less price senstive when purchasing High Strength Beer?

Ok, picture this: say a bottle of Chimay will go up 25p perhaps more. 75p at least by the time that hits the shelves of bars.   25p when in retail space, is the difference between two bottle buy and one.    75p, is the difference between a buy and no buy.

I believe the tax system that has been applied is a Pigovian taxThe tax is intended to correct the market outcome. In the presence of negative externalities, the social cost of a market activity is not covered by the private cost of the activity.” – now as you know, I am not the strongest writer in the camp; nor the most erudite – but the way I see it the simple reasoning behind the tax levy was to inhibit the purchase of super strength beer because of their links to antisocial behavior etc.   What the papers would have called a Sin Tax.

Walking through Canterbury last night, after a tasting with some 80 people, students and academics and everyday folk all mixed together – tasting beers from 3.5% thru 11%.    No issues, no trouble – save for a dodgy comedian; long story.  Out in the town, many people drinking “continental style” – cafe sat, coffee, beer or wine all being consumed conscientiously.    I saw a quite few people walking along with Tall Cans of “Mystery Lager”.   I saw one pub with a raucous kick out happening – attended by a brand new Range Rover, unmarked with blue lights appearing from below the grills.    Who were they “attending to”, middle-aged men.     Sad.  Thankfully they didn’t look like Craft Beer people.  More statistics.

You’ll see from the opening paragraph that it was easy to name the family of beer-importer-retailers. There isn’t many of us.   Specialist beer, be that  Artisan, Craft, Craft Keg, Imported Bottle, Cask beer, Real Ale – what ever church you follow, it affects us all.    It’s just more pronounced when your business, livelihood, wellbeing is tied to the sale of over – 7.5% beer.      The internal effects of this,  I know of at least 6 beers that are going to be capped at 7.4%.  I know beers that will not be brewed again.   I know of beers that will not be imported.    I know that considerations have been very clearly stated to continental brewers that beers of 7.4% and above will not be given much push. Times are a changing.   When was the last time you had a breadth of strong, rich, full flavoured massive beers in front of you…  I look forward to seeing Dover Beer Festival this year, “the festival of 5% and above beers” – I don’t hold much hope for the range of biggest of the big beers.

So, if something is taken, something must be given?    2.8% and below, now are 50% off the Duty rate.      As someone who championed 3% beer in cask, and has had long conversations with Eddie Gadd (who if you don’t know does a lot behind the scenes with SIBA); then brewed 2.8% called Low and Behold. (Although, I now know that in fact small brewers aren’t entitled to that lower tax offering, only brewers who are abvove the small brewers discount PBD)   it’s expensive brewing beers at 3%, ingredients that we don’t fully use, massive amounts of hops that compensate for the lack of body – few have mastered the style – perhaps Redemption Trinity is a master of this very small band of beers.  Without checking Ratebeer or something, I would think there were more over 7.4% beers than sub 3% on the market in the UK

All price rises do not reflect the rise in the cost of life, expectations of wage increases and simple business costs.    It’s going to be harder to sell 2 bottles of beer, rather than the one.   Considering the cost of travel is always rising – when you get to the bottle shop, are you then going to have 1 or 2 bottles?   you know the answer.

What were alternatives. Direct regulation?  Did you know that Governments can choose to directly regulate things?   Speed Limits?  (oh noes that’s up for debate too) – wouldn’t have something like “you cannot sell alcohol below cost”  although one wonders if invoices are easily fudged when selling to TESBURAS Or that TESBURAS political weight was just powerful enough to shift the onus from them?

See, we elect people in suits to go and do their best for the UK, both home and abroad.  Make choices and decisions based on heartfelt instincts and research, insight, experience and knowledge…

Did they do the right thing?

have they fuck.

Welcome to Utah.

Other Blog Posts on the same subject:

http://broadfordbrewer.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/point-break-duty-on-high-strength-beers/
 http://hardknott.blogspot.com/2011/10/low-abv-low-duty-low-iq.html
 http://www.magicrockbrewing.com/blog/new-tax-on-high-strength-beers/
 http://ghostdrinker.blogspot.com/2011/09/1-week-till-judgement-day.html
 https://beermerchants.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/today-my-job-changed/
 http://beersay.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/7point5/
 http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2011/10/07/beer-the-bitter-taste-of-bad-legislation/
 http://thebeerboy.blogspot.com/2011/10/higher-strength-beer-duty-my-view.html
 http://thebeercast.com/2011/10/big-beer-month.html
 http://pdtnc.wordpress.com/2011/10/08/an-open-letter-to-my-mp-meps-on-beer-tax/
 http://blog.buntingfordbrewery.co.uk/?p=202
 http://wortnall.blogspot.com/2011/10/what-high-strength-beer-duty-actually.html
 http://gaddsbeershop.blogspot.com/2011/10/brewing-betrayed.html
 http://www.jamesclay.co.uk/beer-suppliers/news/562-highabv
 http://moorbeer.co.uk/news/you-can-make-a-difference
 http://real-ale-reviews.com/high-strength-beer-idiotry/2011/10/
 http://raisethebeerbar.blogspot.com/2011/10/high-strength-beer-duty-why-government.html