Belgian Beer Fete

Belgian  Beer Fete



The Dovetail on Tuesday 17th 2012 July and at

The Dove Freehouse and Kitchen on 18th July 2012

Prize Draw on Belgian National Day Saturday 21 July

Why do we want to do it?

We love the products we sell; our collection of Belgian beers is the finest available in the UK. We stock over 101 bottle Belgian Beers with 14 on draught at The Dovetail and 12 on draught at The Dove Freehouse and Kitchen. We want to help our customers to learn to love our different beers as much as we do. In the funnest manner possible we want to educate our customers to understand the taste and range of styles available and how to pair the different styles with our delicious food.

Belgian Beer Fete

So following on from the huge success and popularity of our previous Belgian Beer fetes Dove Pubs in association with Cave Direct, the specialist beer importer, are delighted to announce two events on 17th and 18th July at the Dovetail in Clerkenwell and The Dove Freehouse and Kitchen in Broadway Market, Hackney.

Win a trip for Two to the home of the Delirium Brewery Ghent

On a run up to the two big days there is an opportunity to win the star prize and a chance for those who cannot attend on the days to win. For one lucky pair we have teamed up with the lovely people from Huyghe Brewery to offer a trip on Eurostar to Ghent on 14/15th of September 2012 staying in a four star hotel, with a private tour of the Delirium brewery on Friday afternoon. From 1st July to 20th July on the purchase of any Delirium; Tremens, Nocturnum or Red entrants will be given a Dove card and will be directed to our website to enter into the draw which will take place on Belgian National Day 21st July

What happens at Fete?

On 17th the whole of the Dovetail will be taken over and on 18th the dining rooms of The Dove Freehouse and Kitchen with decorated market stalls and will feature the following:

Exotic Beer Stall

Manned by Jan Fleurkens of the Mongozo Brewery

Featuring the wonderful Fair-trade and organic beers of the Mongozo brewery.

Old beer-making traditions and new brewing methods have been combined by Mongozo to produce new and exotic beers. At The Dove we stock: coconut, banana and mango along with the Award winning Pilsner the first gluten free organic and fair trade beer. Ingredients, recipes and drinking customs from all corners of the world, including Ghana, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Costa Rica and Brazil, are brought together in the different flavours of Mongozo beer. The exotic fruit beers and the pilsner beer are entitled to display the Max Havelaar–Fairtrade logo. Max Havelaar is the independent certification organisation behind the Fairtrade Mark. Fairtrade means just that: a fair trade. This means that Mongozo uses ingredients purchased from farmers in developing countries for a fair price. This enables the farmers and their families to take control of their businesses and to work towards a brighter future. More information can also be found at:

Trappist Beer Stall

Manned by Alain De Loecker from the Westmalle Trappist Brewery

Out of all the beers in the world, only seven of them can use the name ‘Trappist’: Achel, Chimay, La Trappe, Orval, Rochefort, Westvleteren and Westmalle. You can recognize them from the “Authentic Trappist Product” logo. A Trappist beer is only given this name if it satisfies a number of strict criteria: the beer is brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey, by the monks themselves or under their supervision, The brewery must be controlled by the monastery and have a business culture compatible with the monastic project and the purpose of the brewery is not to make a profit. The income takes care of the livelihood of the monks and the upkeep of the abbey site. What is left over is used for charitable purposes, social work and people in need. The Trappist breweries produce beers of an impeccable quality that is permanently controlled. Westmalle Trappist contains 100% natural ingredients.

Draught Beer Stall

Featuring Bruges Zot and Bruges Zot Bruin

Since 1856, six generations of the same family have steered the brewery with one single goal in mind: offer superior beer both in quality and in taste while respecting the traditional brewery art. The De Halve Mann (Half Moon) brewery is the only remaining brewery to make beer in Bruges.

The legend behind Brugse Zot (silver award winner at BISA Bira Tel Aviv 2011) was to welcome Maximilian of Austria to their proud town. The people of Bruges organised a colourful parade of merrymakers and fools. When they asked him at the end of the day to provide money for a new madhouse he replied: ‘Today I have seen nothing but fools. Bruges is already one large madhouse!’ Since then the people of Bruges are called ‘Brugse Zotten’ (fools of Bruges). Hence the brewery uses the symbol of a jester. A darker version of the town beer Bruges Zot Dubbel (gold award winner at BISA Bira Tel Aviv 2011) has been created. It is brewed with 6 special kinds of malt, which give the beer a rich taste. The world renowned Czech Saaz hop from Zatec has been chosen to give the beer this unique bitter note. Brugse Zot double is a full and stronger beer, highly appreciated by the beer lovers.

West Flanders Beer Stall

A collection of beers to showcase the different styles of excellent beers from the region; wit, sour red, gueuze, rose beer, amber beer, dark beer, strong blonde and triple.

The Dove Food Stall

Food to pair with the beers will be available from The Dove Food stall. All our food is made with fresh, tasty ingredients on the premises. Specialist products will be available such as Westmalle cheese – not readily available in the UK.

Staff from the breweries, The Dove and Cave Direct will be on hand to talk and answer questions about the breweries, the history of the brewing processes, the production processes and tasting suggestions and notes.

Finer Details

We do not charge for this event. We ask all participants to make a minimum £10.00 contribution to our local charity, St Joseph’s Hospice whose excellent work has helped and continues to help terminally ill patients in East London for over 100 years,

Booking in advance is not required and entry will be on a first come first served basis.

On entering the market you will “buy” a book of coupons for beer and food, the customer chooses which products they would like to use the coupons on. Each customer will also receive a raffle ticket for entry into the tombola prizes. There will be a cornucopia of Belgian beer goodies to give away to the lucky winners.


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:

5 years time…

Here’s one for you… 

Greene King Brewery plaque on the side of Nort...

Image via Wikipedia

Greene King will be a significant player in the craft beer market in 4 years time. 

Yes, they have a whole cotchell of brewery brands, their track record shows that they buy and close and like many big brewing concerns they are stuck in their ways with brands.

but, crazy times we are living in…


maybe I just got out of the wrong side of the bed?

Ma Pardoes

Ma Pardoes 

There are few things that I enjoy more than a really good brewpub.

A brew pub is defined, in Wikipedia, as a “pub or restaurant that brews beer on the premises”.   Some brewpubs, such as The Blue Anchor in Helston, Cornwall and those in Germany, have been brewing traditionally on the premises for hundreds of years.   Others, such as the Les 3 Brasseurs chain in France,and the various chains in North America, are modern restaurants.

Before the development of large commercial breweries, beer would have been brewed on the premises from which it was sold.   Alewives would put out a sign such as an ale-wand to show when their beer was ready. Gradually men became involved in brewing and organized themselves into guilds such as the Brewers Guild in London of 1342 and the Edinburgh Society of Brewers in 1598; as brewing became more organized and reliable many inns and taverns ceased brewing for themselves and bought beer from these early commercial breweries.

However, there were some brewpubs which continued to brew their own beer, such as the Blue Anchor in Helston, Cornwall, England, which was established in 1400 and is regarded as the oldest brewpub in the British Isles.In Britain during the 20th century most of the traditional pubs which brewed their own beer in the brewhouse round the back of the pub, were bought out by larger breweries and ceased brewing on the premises. By the mid-1970s only four remained, All Nations, The Old Swan, the Three Tuns and the Blue Anchor.

The Old Swan, Netherton


The 148-year-old pub, in a small industrial village about a mile out of Dudley town centre, takes its nickname from former matriarch Dorothy Pardoe, who was landlady for more than half a century. Today it is run by the superb Tim Newey, who can usually be seen in full morning dress, who restored it to its former glory eight years ago.

While its lovingly restored Victorian frontage is the view on all the postcards, the chances are you will miss this if you visit by car.  There is a modern car park to the rear, which @terry_tibbs and I missed, having to park further up the road.

An ivy-covered brick archway leads into a small beer garden, decorated with colourful hanging baskets, and a small foyer containing an upright piano takes you to the lounge.

If  the longevity of this place is not credit enough check out the array of awards on show in the corridor – more certificates than a doctor’s waiting room – and in 2005 it was listed as one of Britain’s top 16 pubs by the Campaign for Real Ale. The lounge was buzzing when we arrived – with a large antique mirror complimenting the many pieces of period artwork on display. The large organ in the rear of the lounge gives a clue to the owner’s love of organ music.

Two flights of stairs take you the Granary Loft restaurant, a short walk that takes you back into the world of genteel Victorian society. At one end of the room is an immaculate cast iron fireplace, a dark wood dado rail separating the brown textured finish of the lower walls from the soft pink floral wallpaper above. Napkins are arranged in an elaborate fan shape on the tables, which are each laid with an impressive set of intricately laid cutlery. Sepia pictures of local scenes adorn the walls, while a young gentleman in a black tie stands at the head of the room to check everybody’s needs are being attended to. It is hard not to wonder if this is how the well-heeled members of 19th Century society, the foundry owners, the chain shop magnates, would have spent their evenings.

Of course, it would be a crime not to sample any of the delightful home-brewed ales. My tipple of choice was Old Swan Original, a wonderful light mild.  There were three other beers on tap that day, one that shall remain nameless too!

I had a quick visit around the brew house, the amazing teak mashtun that tim had brought back to life!

I went for a rather good Roast Beef, washed down with a second pint of something with a bit more kick and more hops.  @terry_tibbs went for a gammon, I think.  The already large mains were accompanied by sizeable bowls of vegetables, baby roasts, chips and mashed potato, all of the highest quality, and eventually I had to concede defeat and leave some food on my plate.

If you do pay a visit, make sure you check out all the different rooms, each having their own unique character. If the upstairs restaurant typifies the genteel side of Victorian life, the more modest rooms at the back are probably something like the sort of place where the ordinary folk might have hung out.  Most spectacular of all, though, is the front bar, which has its own separate door leading out onto the street: It is like a licensed museum, with a glittering array of bottles lining the wrought iron shelves, painted in a vivid signal red, cast iron tables, and an antique weighing machine in the corner. Most striking of all, though, is the huge enamel mural of a swan on the ceiling.

Pardoe’s takes great pride in the fact that its food is all home-made, right down to the ice cream, and the staff really do go the extra mile to make every meal special. But it is not a place to visit if you are in a hurry, though; you have to wait for each meal to be cooked, and it is really the sort of place where you have to make a night of it, soaking up the atmosphere, and savouring the superb range of food and drink on offer.

Whisper it quietly, but I think it’s the bee’s knees.

The Old Swan
89 Halesowen Road, Netherton, Dudley DY2 9PY
Phone: 01384 253075

the listed roof, enamelled, of the main bar.

one of three deep open square fermenters.

yes, these are a BARREL of beer, real ones, that get used, everyday.

Tim, genius of many years dedicated service to this amazing place.