Today in Craft Beer and Street Food





Thanks for observing.



Mark The Date – I Defend Jamie Oliver

I am not a fan of Jamie Oliver

And although he is quite easy to ignore on a personal level, his random food campaigns which have such a high influence on government policy, can not be ignored.

The holier than thou one does like to pillor (pillar) the poor with his constant attacking of their choices of food and drink and then the subsequent legislation handed down by government the only way it knows, put taxes on it to nudge people off it.

It is social engineering and its most base; carried out, enforced and cheered on by the snobby elite.

But just because I don’t like the guy doesn’t mean I shouldn’t defend him from even more spurious attacks.

Jamie is currently under tweet attack for cultural appropriation

Rice is the problem.  Microwave rice.  Microwave Jamaican Jerk rice to be precise.

Launching this attack was Dawn Butler. Heiress to the throne of Diane Abbott, David Lammy without the penis (yes, I assume her gender to be female).

White people can’t do Jamaican dishes.  Behind the scenes of every Pizza Hut and Dominoes there are hordes of Italians slaving away.  Yep, even in those kebab houses the pizza’s are only cooked by Italians, the kebabs by the Turks and the burgers are only prepared by Germans, specifically from Hamburg.

Though we can walk this back and away from slurs of racism and just make it about the ingredients.

Gate open.  Horse bolted.  And is now being prepared for consumption by someone who is hopefully French. Or South American. Or whatever.


Thanks for reading.

Northern Ireland – Beer and…Bass

Just a brief write up of a recent trip I had around Northern Ireland, hopefully not mentioning politics (past or current) and with no pictures of The Dark Hedges, Giant’s Causeway, boats, mountains, flags, sectarian gift shops and murals.




Larne is an odd place, eerily quiet on the Saturday night when I visited but the first thing I saw on the high street set the tone for beer (kind of) for the rest of the trip.

If you are ever in Larne, eat at Carriages, they feed you well, the feed you very, very well.


The wondrous thing about many of the bars, pubs and restaurants I went into across the nation was that as well as the usual macro beers that everyone knows and loves the representation from local breweries was very well represented.

To dine (as opposed to takeaway) in Portrush is to seemingly have a choice between 6 restaurants all owned by the same company but the food was great as were the choices of beers but this place came alive when I found a place called Kiwi’s.

All towns (big or small) in Northern Ireland seem to work on some daft one way, pedestrianised system which directs cars on the longest route possible to find the smallest amount of car park spaces, not good if you are there for a few hours, makes sense if you are staying overnight.

Lacada brewery is the community brewery based in Portrush (community brewing seems to be big across all of NI) and to their credit, and that of many of the other businesses in Portrush, their beers were to be found in most outlets.  Kiwis itself has a wide selection of beers micro and macro plus the obligatory gin selection too.


People here can not drive and that is all I have to say, they also don’t like working late either so just stay in Portrush.

Derry (LondonDerry)

For my sins I only passed through Derry, on the way to the north part of Southern Ireland, it looked like quite a nice place to stop off, maybe next time.



The Stoke of Northern Ireland, a place simultaneously bustling and run-down. Welcoming and hostile. Where the Tesco sells a fine mix of many local breweries.

3.7% – who knew?

Mourne Mountains / Warrenpoint

Visit the Silent Valley – take insect repellent and a few beers.

Comber / Newtownards

Again many nice pubs and restaurants, quite a few carrying local beers from Bullhouse and Farmageddon.  Lots of ancient ruins and scary locals off the beaten tracks so lock your doors when you drive around Ballydrain.


Driving into Belfast I could smell beer being brewed.  It is the exact smell you get as you drive into Cheetham Hill (Holt’s) or back down the Irk Valley (Blackjack & Runaway).  Sometimes I even mistake it for the smell of cooked liver.

Lovely pub.  And the only cask pint I found (Hilden Brewery, take a bow and the pub, it was a great pint).

Obviously a capital city has many pubs to choose from and also a wide choice of beers.  Apart from The Sunflower I was very taken by the John Hewitt and of course, The Crown

I’d take pictures of the inside but I’m more interested in the drinking, quite ethereal in here.


Bass (keg) was prevalent in many of the places I visited.  There seems to be some tie in to Tennents, possibly when both were on by InBev.

So there you have it.  Northern Ireland; a place of fine natural scenery, good hostelries, many, many flags, red triangles, big red T’s, fake retro Guinness pumps, potatoes, so many potatoes and me trying not to sing out loud lyrics to Stiff Little Fingers songs.

One final thing…


Public signs for dog fouling seem to all have to display the actual mess, either falling out or a steaming pile of it next to the cartoon dog…it is the small things in life…


Thanks for reading.

Hipster Racism! This Explains Craft Beer Racism

Wandering through the internet last week I was pointed to an article about “how to know if you are a hipster racist”

I didn’t give it a read at the time but came back to it today and reading it made me realise how this totally connected to the piece in Thrillist that pointed out that there are few black people in craft beer, that got a hell of a lot of beer people in a tizz back in 2015.

Couple this with a further story from 2015 about how barbecue food is racist and it now all becomes clear.

When you go to any craft beer bar, food hall, or street food gathering you seldom see any faces that are any colour other than white.

Its full of young hipsters, old hipsters, hipster parents; all strongly in the IC1 category, loving the diversity of their food but not of their company.

Sure, there might be some BAMEies cooking and serving the food but luckily they wear gloves because who wants to eat something that has come into contact with non-Caucasian hands, which they probably haven’t washed anyway.

No, so long as the Chinks, the Wogs and the Negros know that their place is hemmed in behind a counter, shackled to a hot grill and waiting on their fair-skinned masters then every one can enjoy some jolly good grub.

In fact, better yet, just get some whites to set up their own food stalls and culturally appropriate the food of the lower castes and then we never need to feel even slight pangs of guilty as we tuck into to our food in our monochromatic atmosphere.


This is of course all complete bollocks.

There is something rotten at the core of this craft movement but it isn’t racism.

This is a nod to the collectivists, the neo-segregationists, the social justice warriors and the painfully illiberal liberals.

These fuckers will eventually eat themselves.

And probably set up a street food stall and charge £10 a plate for the experience.


Thanks for reading.

Life – Its Just Space Between Chippy Teas

There is nothing so great a the Friday night chippy tea, a sign that the working week has ended and the weekend starts now.

This assumes that most people still work a standard 9-5, Monday to Friday week. Oh and that you know that tea is the evening meal in this instance, not the drink.

Breakfast, dinner, tea – that is how it goes, with supper being a post bed snack. You can throw in elevenses if you wish.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner – that is how some others refer to it but these are the type of people that probably order “lightly- battered” fish and they deserve to never be indulged.

Fun fact, the more batter the healthier the fish is as the less oil that gets to it, so if you don’t want too much batter in your diet just eat less of it.  Don’t order it with less and then became a bit distressed that you have to wait while 5 normal people are served before you because “we’re still waiting on your fish.”

I’m blessed with an inordinate amount of chip outlets near me, even all the Chinese takeaways do a fairly good stab at it and whereas the chips and peas are good, the fish is pants but that is OK because I’m a pie, pudding and/or sausage person at this time of the week.

I’m not going to bore you with a load of local slang terms for the food you can get a chip shops, it serves no one in the long run and it just cultural appropriation.

The closest chippy to me did the most wondrous thing recently and decided to open in the evenings every day (except Sundays), I’ve yet to have chippy every day yet but I will build up to that.  I’ve not attempted it yet, not because of some health reason but because the Friday night chippy tea is still a special event for me.

The amount of cars parked outside the chip shop is a usually a fair indication of the queuing status.  As is watching people parking up, leaving and walking.  Each act done with an misplaced, increased level of stress that chips should not really cause as each character tries desperately to get into the chip shop, get home to eat, or beat the other foot soldiers who also valiantly increase their walking pace to get higher up in the queue.

One thing I’ve never learnt, how you wrap up left over chips they way they were presented to you originally.  The wrapping style associated with chip shop paper is like unfolded origami, it makes little sense with just a creased, 2-D piece of slightly fatty paper looking back at you.

The good thing is its now the weekend, which means dinner time chippy.


Thanks for reading.

Street Food, with added Chlorinated Chicken

It is quite understandable, the faux hysteria that surrounds Liam Fox and his chlorinated chickens.

The Tory and Trump’s America are the big bads of the world, the EU super state the glorious saviour of civilisation as we know it.  Well it is if your world is filled only with the BBC, Guardian, Independent, Buzzfeed and Twitter.

We know this truth to be self-evident: chlorine on chickens = bad; chlorine washed pre-packed salads and veg = oh, we forgot about that.

Anecdotally and to compliment my recent straw man pieces I have recently started doing always done I seem to recall a piece of news about what counted as organic eggs.  So long as they reached you covered in feathers and shit they could be classed as organic (among an obvious litany of other regulations they must meet).  However if one were to wash that shit off them, then they couldn’t be classed as such. Meh, who cares an egg is an egg.

The Co-Operative food store you to love to say how all the egg containing products contained free-range eggs.  It’s great to pick up a pre-packed Chicken Mayonnaise sandwich to find that the chickens laying the eggs were free range.  The chickens that provided the meat however, no mention of their freedom. Meh, who cares a chicken is a chicken.

Which brings me on to Street Food. Or rather the culturally appropriated and probably whole-heartedly racist version that the UK gets treated to.

We all love a bit of street food; small, start-up businesses selling good quality, wholesome products using local ingredients to produce a wide range of cuisines from around the world. It’s all so wonderfully inclusive.

If you are one of those that can afford street food at restaurant prices.  We’re going to charge you the earth but not even have the good grace to give you a seat.  Still I suppose if you can afford to fly to and holiday in the Far East and have real and cheap and proper street food there, then I suppose it all evens out.

In all this clamour for street food one thing I have noticed that has got lost is the origin of all the ingredients.  In a country where regulations have put a greater emphasis on what allergens foodstuffs contain, former buzz words like organic, and free-range have fallen by the wayside.

I suppose if you’re paying top whack for a triple bacon, double burger with 3 types of cheese and harissa mayo you’d just assume everything ticked all the clear conscience boxes. I mean, why would anyone wish to increase their profit margin by using cheaper products to bring you a more expensive item.

But it’s OK, this burger is the best burger you’ve ever had.

Now all we need is to find meat replacements and we can leave all the sheep, cows, pigs and chickens to roam freely in peace and to become extinct naturally with no one to tend and care for them.

Thanks for reading.

Indy Man Beer Con IMBC 2013

This event took place over the 10th – 13th October 2013.

I attended the ‘late’ session on the Friday.

Entry was £11 – bought some 7 months in advance.

The Indy Man Beer Con or IMBC or Independent Manchester Beer Convention (beer the only word not abbreviated) is now 2 years old. Held at Victoria Baths, this was my second time attending – only do one session per year, cost being most prevailing.

This is from last year, this became Room 1 in 2013 as I’m pretty sure their were only the 3 rooms last year, as I don’t recall a ‘Room 3’ (room with live music) being there last year.

IMCB 2012
IMCB 2012

Maybe it was – but the fact is when you get to Victoria Baths you can’t help but walk around and then sit down and admire the place.

Not just the building and the renovation, but the actual effort gone into hosting the event itself.

IMBC 2012 Later On
IMBC 2012 Later On

Why am I posting 2012 pictures with no comparison to this years event?

Because my pictures are crap and can not do this place justice.

To be honest, the place seemed quieter this year – I base this on two rather big things :

1) Very little waiting time to use the loo.

2) Very little waiting time to get some food.

Whether this was a facet of more rooms or more days, or less people per session I don’t know. It isn’t really important.

Ah yes, the food – as much a part of IMBC as the alcohol itself.  Street food if wish to call it by its current trendy incarnation, overly expensive certainly, but nothing can be faulted in this place as regards being a most welcome change to burgers and chips.

Even if the pretentiousness of the occasion is always in your face, I suppose it is trying to find a niche in amongst a plethora of self-conscious, self-regarding dandies that currently pass for youth these days. But the clientele that make up the current ‘craft’ beer ‘revolution’ is a massive subject I’m currently lazing over.

This review is about the food, the beer, the event.

I had the Great Northern Pie Co. Ox cheek pie (with a lot more ingredients inside) with potato gravy (blitzed mash) and pea vinegar.  You have to taste it because I can’t explain it, it just worked.

The Moocher also busted out some kind of chilli rabbit wrap. The cold salad off setting the wonderful and nicely spiced meat.

So much on offer, so little time, so little room in the digestive tract – this counts double for the beer.

To digress a while more – what really does set the festival apart from the rest is the chance to go to one of the events, tasting with brewers themselves, meeting them, debating with others. I went to the Sour Seminar hosted by the Lovibonds one man army that is Jeff Rosenmeier.

My review of that event and Sour Beers (Henley Gold (not sour), Sour Grapes, Magic Rock Dark Arts) in general can be found here

IMBC 2013 - The Pencil
IMBC 2013 – The Pencil

Look, you get a pencil on entry – a writing implement is always very important.

The glass is for 1/3 only – the beer to be honest is expensive for some on the things considering you only get 1/3, but square it with how often you are likely to get to drink it anywhere else.

Thornbridge Brewery had brought along a very, very good Barrel Aged Beadeca’s Well (5.3%). Rich and smoky.

I too also fell foul of the Quantum Brewery Imperial Treacle Stout (8.6%). There appears to be a lot of treacle stout around at the moment. Its a flavour that works well any dark brew and this was no exception. The taste and feel belies the strength of the drink.

Marble Brewery had brought along their 125 Barley Wine (10.7%). Sweet and delicious, this was a nice birthday treat for the Marble Arch’s 125th birthday this year.

Northern Monk Brewery Co. had collaborated with Allgates to produce the 8.2% (though curiously advertised as 9.7%) Northern Gates.  This tasted every bit as strong as it was, but in that good way that makes you drink it slower and appreciate the depths of its flavours more.

Italian beers were represented in my tasting by Birra Del Borgo and their Genziana (6.2%) and ReAle (6.4%) – both were sweet, with the former tasting of apples but the later had the more rounded flavours for my palate.

Also from Italy was Ambrosia (4.5%) by Toccalmatto – Italians must like their beers sweet, this was very nice, very similar to a white beer.

Arbour Ales seemed to have created a bit of a fuss with their Breakfast Stout (7.4%), even the bar staff kept raving on about it.  Oats, coffee, full and wholesome.  Someone remarked it was a meal in a glass, and even at a 1/3 it was most filling and satisfying.

Liverpool Craft Beer Co. treated my to a taste of their Black Fox (6.5%). This was a very good beer, but sadly this feel foul of the keg cold syndrome that I feel can negate a dark beer’s characteristics more than it does for the lighter ones. Something to find on cask to enjoy fully I feel.

This brings me to my two favourite beers of the night.

Black Jack Brewery and their Blackberry King of Clubs (7.2%) – and if ever I could lovingly punch someone for making such a nice beer so strong it would be this one. Indeed a King of brews.

Wild Beer Co. and their offering of Ninkasi (9%) my also await the same fate as the brewers of Black Jack. This was too smooth, too drinkable, too fucking dangerous.

I leave IMBC always with a sense of never having tried enough.  Not enough food, not enough beer, not enough of the venue, not enough of the chatter.

This place really does beg you to go for more than one session.

And that was IMBC – a place that is trying to be a different beer festival, and in many, many obvious ways it is.  But in many, many ways it is also the same and this is to do with how people are when they get together with like-minded people and share a massive common bond. Generations may separate the drinking cultures of Britain, but the goal is roughly the same.

Like Kirk and Picard.

Thanks to all involve in the set-up, bar service, food service, talks, etc.

Same time next year, for more than one session.