Curry and beer

The British Guild of Beer Writ­ers reports on a recent “tast­ing event” at the Bom­bay Brasserie in Lon­don. Emi­nent beer experts got togeth­er for a cur­ry and tried to work out which beers went best with spicy foods. Their rec­om­men­da­tions are here.

Rupert Pon­son­by, co-founder of the Beer Acad­e­my com­ments:
What this tast­ing hope­ful­ly shows is the poten­tial for Britain’s 8,500 cur­ry restau­rants to look seri­ous­ly at devel­op­ing beer lists to inspire their cus­tomers and to match with their cui­sine. This is a fan­tas­tic com­mer­cial and mar­ket­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty for them. Top Miche­lin-starred restau­rants such as Le Gavroche, Le Manoir aux Qua­tre Saisons and Aubergine have already tak­en the lead in cre­at­ing inspired beer lists, and it will be won­der­ful to see top Indi­an restau­rants doing the same.

On a vis­it to the Cin­na­mon Club last year, I was appalled to find that the only beer they had avail­able was Cobra lager. Cobra’s OK – nicer than you’d expect, is what I mean, for a mass-pro­duced lager made in Bed­ford – but sure­ly not any­where near as posh as the food, the wine or the wait­ers? Ms. Boak vis­it­ed one of Gary Rhodes’ restau­rants in the City of Lon­don last year, too, and was sim­i­lar­ly dis­ap­point­ed by the lack of any beer, nev­er mind a beer list.

Of course, my local cur­ry­house, which is very cheap and cheer­ful, is run by Sri Lankans, and they sell won­der­ful Lion Stout. It’s not a per­fect beer to drink with a cur­ry, but it’s a great one to have as a dessert. So, posh­er isn’t always bet­ter for beer lovers.

Keeping a head on your pint – here comes the science

Sci­en­tists have car­ried out research into how a pint keeps (or los­es) its head (BBC News Online). One of the sci­en­tists involves spec­u­lates that the long-last­ing creamy head on Guin­ness might be the result of “a lit­tle sur­fac­tant”. Eugh.

Ochsenfurter Kauzen

The arti­cle also asserts that “the foam on a pint of lager quick­ly dis­ap­pears”. Well, per­haps on a pint of Fos­ters in a dirty glass, but the head on a glass of lager in Ger­many sticks around for quite some time. And they’re not using “sur­fac­tant” – the sin­is­ter and secre­tive arbiters of the Ger­man Beer Puri­ty Law would­n’t stand for it.

The Anglo-Bavarian Brewery

William Hen­ry Hud­son’s Afoot in Eng­land (1909) is a memoir/guide book, which takes a snooty tone in places. This pas­sage (from the Project Guten­berg etext) caught my eye because it men­tions the Anglo-Bavar­i­an brew­ery in Shep­ton Mal­let, Som­er­set:

I went on a Sat­ur­day to Shep­ton Mal­let. A small, squalid town, a “man­u­fac­tur­ing town” the guide-book calls it. Well, yes; it man­u­fac­tures Anglo-Bavar­i­an beer in a gigan­tic brew­ery which looks big­ger than all the oth­er build­ings togeth­er, the church and a dozen or twen­ty pub­lic-hous­es includ­ed. To get some food I went to the only eat­ing-house in the place, and saw a pleas­ant-look­ing woman, plump and high-coloured, with black hair, with an expres­sion of good humour and good­ness of every descrip­tion in her come­ly coun­te­nance. She promised to have a chop ready by the time I had fin­ished look­ing at the church, and I said I would have it with a small Guin­ness. She could not pro­vide that, the house, she said, was strict­ly tem­per­ance. “My doc­tor has ordered me to take it,” said I, “and if you are reli­gious, remem­ber that St. Paul tells us to take a lit­tle stout when we find it ben­e­fi­cial.”

Yes, I know that’s what St. Paul says,” she returned, with a height­ened colour and a vicious empha­sis on the sain­t’s name,“but we go on a dif­fer­ent prin­ci­ple.”

The Anglo-Bavar­i­an brew­ery opened in 1864, mak­ing pale ale, but is real­ly notable as the first brew­ery in Britain to make lager. It employed Ger­man brew­ers from 1873 onward, and won awards world­wide for it’s Ger­man-style beer. Of course, when World War I kicked off in 1914, they changed the name to “The Anglo”, but it was too late: the Bavar­i­an flags and sym­bols all over the build­ing led to it being trashed. It closed in 1920. The build­ing is still there, but in bad shape (read more at Eng­lish Her­itage).

Nowa­days, the most famous drink being made in Shep­ton Mal­let is Baby­cham.

Design your own beer label

Big Dan­ish brew­ery Tuborg now offer a ser­vice where, as long as you order more than 30 bot­tles, you can design your own label.

Din Tuborg

I won­der if Tuborg are just par­tic­u­lar­ly con­fi­dent about their brand, or if we’ll see more brew­eries fol­low­ing suit, giv­en how easy it is to man­age this kind of thing online now?

At any rate, I’d love to cus­tomise the labels on Fuller’s Lon­don Pride for my Dad’s birth­day present.

Via Cher­ryfla­va.