Breakfast Beverages

Oats, chocolate and coffee, a proper breakfast, but why waste time and dirty the pots when you could consume a delicious and nutritious drink instead?!  Screw the taboo of drinking alcohol in the morning, it’s a social construct.  Instead, have a hearty supper, set the table with a glass, bottle opener and a good book, and get a reasonably early night.  Come the morning and at your leisure, amble downstairs and fill your boots/slippers!

Breakfast Stouts are just that, they’re a not-so-petit-dejeuner.  I haven’t tried too many myself and have never drunk one in accordance with the blatant and literal beer style guidance.  If it wasn’t for their imperial abv they would have it all, however unless you commute to your job at the mattress testing factory by foot, it’s not recommended that you kick-start the day with a glass of massive booze.

Google “breakfast stout” and you’ll see a top twenty made up almost entirely of  links related to Founders Brewing Company.  I can only assume this is due to them brewing two fine examples in Kentucky Breakfast Stout and Canadian Breakfast Stout (note to self, don’t try referring to Breakfast Stout as an acronym).  I haven’t had the fortune of trying these, but have had excellent examples in Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Breakfast, which I drank in the evening and have a bottle of Mikkeller’s Beer Hop Breakfast ready for New Year’s Day.  There must be a few to try, what else should I be looking out for? (preferably ones that I can get hold of).

Confession time.  I started writing this post thinking I had come up with a new beer style, perhaps a move to a two course beer breakfast, alas the Breakfast IPA already exists.  As the disappointment subsided I drew a conclusion that any beer could be drunk at breakfast time…right?  That way you could choose your tipple, rather than being ‘forced’ to drink a beer with ‘breakfast’ on the label.  “Dodgy ground!” I hear you say…  “Whatever next!, sprouts for breakfast?!“.  Anyway, as this post fizzles out like a cheap sparkler, I bid you a Happy Christmas and a responsibly inebriated New Year!

There is a rather nice tradition upheld by a few of my homebrewing friends, brewing a beer on New Year’s Day.  I’ll be spending that day with my wife and kids (and bottle of Mikkeller), but I will be brewing my version early in January.  What with my experimental brews, plans for collaboration and all the other ideas I keep having, it’s safe to say I have lots of homebrewing plans afoot, so here’s to 2013!

The Sparrow Bier Cafe, BD1

I’ve written about The Sparrow Bier Cafe once before, and I wanted to post a short post as a special #FollowFriday as they approach their first anniversary.  To recap, they chose a location close to Bradford city centre, off the beaten ‘ale’ trail and despite my concerns they have thrived.  Within twelve months they have received awards from Bradford CAMRA for Pub of the Season Autumn 2011, quickly followed by Pub of the Year 2012.  Huge congratulations to Les and Mark for their efforts and for bringing something fresh to Bradford’s beer fans.  I was in there yesterday and enjoyed keg beer from Hawkshead and Camden, cask from Dark Star and Sarah Hughes as well as being spoilt for choice with their range of bottles, but settled on a Mikkeller single hop Summit IPA.  When undertaking such serious market research it’s important to keep fuel in the tank, so I ordered their tasty side of cheese, salami and pickles.  If you are localish or just passing through Bradford, I can highly recommend a visit.  Opening times and news of what’s on the bar @thesparrowbd1 and regular reviews from HopZine.

And a few more pics


Nomadic Blogging and Brewing

Image: Kristina B

I think most beer bloggers would accept that their writing or photography is cyclical, to varying degrees.  Themes and ideas are revisited but are not necessarily repetitions.  Within a new blog post or article it is common practice to reference similar material, like-minded or conflicting, to give context and as a way of documenting and archiving developments in a particular topic of interest.  I’m finding that when I consider writing a blog post, I can choose a current talking point, or I can review a topic that either I or someone else has previously commented on.  It can of course be both of these things.  One other option is to write collaboratively or to guest blog with another blogger, something I tried in 2011 and will be looking to expand on this year.

As a homebrewer and someone who harbours serious aspirations to be involved in the brewing industry, I mostly revisit ideas involving brewing, kind of an appraisal of my brewing activity, a ‘where am I now’ and ‘where do I see myself in five years time’ type exercise.  I feel it’s important to do this every so often regardless of the subject, to renew focus or to change direction.

As it is the beginning of a new year and having read that yesterday is the day of the year that people are most likely to look online for a new job, I found myself thinking things over.  I know how easy it is to switch jobs to freshen things up a little, I’m lucky enough to be able to do this If I choose to.  Having said that, I don’t look at this in the same way as I did five years ago.  I no longer take my employment for granted and see little point in starting a new job that is essentially the same as the last.  So if I had the opportunity or the resources to take brewing a step further I’d take it.  I’ve looked at my options when it comes to brewing, not in as much detail as would be needed if I was about to do it tomorrow, but know that there are three options available to me: 1). Find a job with an existing brewery, 2). start a brewery, or 3). brew professionally using someone elses brewery.  There is of course a fourth option to carry on homebrewing, enjoy it for what it is and stick to the day job.

Cuckoo brewing is basically a practice whereby a brewer pays to use spare capacity at someone elses brewery.  A shining example of this approach being Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and his marvelous Mikkeller beers, I also regard him, along with a more local example in Revolutions Brewing Co, as my main inspiration in looking to progress from kitchen brewing.  Will Hawkes recently wrote about Bjergsø as The Gypsy Brewer and Intelligent Life magazine – the lifestyle publication from the Economist – have written a piece in their Jan/Feb 2012 edition: “Move over, Carlsberg: the gypsy brewers are coming“.  I need to explore this business model and brew plenty more beer at home before proclaiming this is where I’m heading, but it’s certainly an interesting approach.   I’ll revisit this again on my blog in six months time and try and keep my goal in sight.