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Goodwill and good beer

Spent a very pleasant evening at the Hillsborough Hotel with the Beer Widow planning how to spend my year as Beer Writer of the Year (did I mention that?). I’m not going to broadcast my plans for world domination right here, but boy, I’m going to be busy.

Anyway. It starts right here, on this blog, which will be seeing some changes in the New Year.
But it’s nearly Christmas, and I’m very happy with my success last week, and for those two reasons, rather controversially, I’m declaring December “Let’s Be Nice On Pete Brown’s Beer Blog Month.”
So if anyone is logging on to see my thoughts on Brew Dog’s latest Portman spat, or to enjoy me ripping apart the Daily Mail’s latest risible bunch of bullshit and barefaced lying, I’m sorry. I’m biting my tongue till the New Year, and writing only nice things. December is a time of celebration, of recognising everything that’s great about the human spirit, and what better way of toasting that than with beer? The guns of common sense fall silent. The grenades of rhetoric and the tear gas of well chosen swearwords are held in check. Yep, it’s just like the Christmas armistice in the trenches during World War One. Only perhaps not quite as historically significant.
There will be some slight exceptions when I get to posting my review of the year. I had a great reaction when I did this last year and I’ve decided to make it a Christmas tradition. Rereading last year’s it’s amazing to realise what a busy year it’s been – it reads like it was written about five years ago. I’m enjoying compiling the new one, and will post just before Christmas.
But talking of celebration, here – at very short notice – is my announcement of one of the coolest things I’ve done all year. As regular readers will know, I spent most of the summer travelling up and down the UK promoting Hops and Glory in pubs, at beer festivals, food festivals, literary and music festivals. I finished in early October, and had always planned to do a final gig (I started calling them gigs after I performed at Latitude. Take the piss all you want, but my name is on the back of the t-shirt – quite far below Thom Yorke, Doves and Spiritualized and in significantly smaller type, it’s true – but I believe you’ll find that’s how I roll of late) at the Rake in London.
Anyway, this – ahem – end of tour gig was going to take place late October/early November, but I’m very disorganised and so are the chaps at the Rake. So it’s now happening this Thursday, 10th December. Yep, just two days from now.
But if you’re anywhere nearby, it’s worth trying to get along to, and here’s why, in no particular order of merit:
  • It’s going to be the last time I ever do my Hops and Glory reading presentation in the format I’ve done it this year. Next year I have all three books being reissued in paperback and will be writing a new talk/presentation/speech/routine/whatever you want to call it, about beer more generally. So it’s your last chance to hear about Barry the Barrel, William Hickey and Brazilian prostitutes.
  • I’ve got a cask of Seaforth – the special beer created this summer by Thornbridge which is basically Jaipur brewed with all-English ingredients, and which they asked me to name. So I did.
  • I’ve also got a cask of Crown Brewery Hillsborough IPA – the insanely hoppy brew created by Crown Brewer Stu, which I helped brew in the summer. It’s now been aged in a warm room for four months and should have started to gain some authentic IPA characteristics.
  • Finally on the beer front, we’ve got – get this – THE LAST EVER PIN OF CALCUTTA IPA!!! I thought we’d had the last one at my Burton book launch, but they found one last one at the brewery. It’s not been on the sea voyage, but traditional IPAs that did not go to India were aged for at least a year before being sold domestically. This one is now two years old and as such should be as close as possible to how IPA was when it was consumed in India (with one exception – we’d probably get punched if we served it authentically ice-cold).
  • And finally overall, I’m delighted, privileged and honoured to be sharing the room with legendary master brewer, Burton god, curator of Worthington White Shield and creator of Calcutta IPA, Mr Steve Wellington. Ask Steve about brewing traditional IPAs, keeping the Burton flame alive and generally being one of the greatest living brewers on the planet.
The room above the Rake is very small and tickets are extremely limited. They’re available from Utobeer or the Rake, by emailing melissa@love-beer.co.uk or phoning 020 7378 9461.
I’ll be selling all my books on the night at generous prices. They make perfect Christmas gifts.
In the words of the great Roger Protz, what more do you want, blood?
See you there.




What time does it start Pete? I'm at a works meal that evening in London so I doubt very much I can make it, which is a real shame, but if not I'll swing by the Rake early on Friday in the hope there may be a little left-over IPA that needs drinking up!

Mark, Real-Ale-Reviews.com

I wish I was coming down to London again but it's my works Christmas do and more importantly I'm sure my girlfriend won't allow me to blow our months grocery budget on a second beer excursion to the capital in as many weeks!

You couldn't fill a drinking vessel up with Calcutta for me and sail it up the East Coast to Yorkshire for me? Or perhaps via canal, I think the route would be something like:

1. River Thames (Tidal Section) at Batterseas Power Station to Brentford
2. Grand Union Canal to Oxfordshire
3. Oxford Canal to Warwickshire
4. Coventry Canal to Brum
5. Birmingham Canal for a few miles
6. Back on Coventry Canal for a few more miles
7. Trent & Mersey Canal to somewhere in Staffordshire
8. Macclesfield Canal to Stockport
9. Peak Forest and Ashton Canals (they sound nice) to Ashton Under Lyme
10. Huddersfield Canal (Narrow and Broad sections) from Ashton to Huddersfield
11. Air and Calder Navigation to Leeds Bridge
12. Leeds /Liverpool canal a few hundred yards to my work
Finish journey.

Off the top of my head…

Anyway, I'm sure the Rake will put on a better show than Borders in Leeds and I hope everyone enjoys the Unpronounceable IPA because it's great!

Pete Brown

Whoops – sorry Melissa.

It's just that I went to the lovebeer@borough website before writing this and there's no mention whatsoever of the event…


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