We review our beers, breweries and beer festivals of the year as well as discussing some of the biggest topics that have come along in 2015.
Would we have a beer revolution without the internet? What do social media and sites depending on user generated content do for the beer world? Are beer blogs the digital answer to fanzines? And are there any beer apps really worth the candle?
These are just some of the questions we consider across a show of two halves - in which Sam and Sophie rant their way through their digital loves and hates and Sam expresses his dislike for ring necked parakeets.
In part one of the show Sophie samples BrewDog Electric India (6.5%), a hoppy saison and Sam samples Adnams Mosaic Pale Ale (4.2%) a single hopped beer brewed for Marks & Spencer.
There was a time when drinking Barley Wine was considered a British patriotic duty! Sadly the style has fallen out of fashion somewhat since then. We believe it deserves more recognition and celebration and in this episode we look at the history of barley wine, what you can expect a typical example to taste like and we ponder what's stopping us all quaffing more of it.
We only taste one barley wine this episode and it's the alluring Coniston No. 9
But here are a number of other Barley wines we talked about in the show.
The cheese selection served with Headcracker at the British Guild of Beer Writers dinner was from Alsop & Walker of Mayfield in East Sussex and included: Mayfield, Sussex Camembert and Sussex Blue.
We also briefly discussed Thomas Hardy's Ale - which you can read more about here. The original brewer of the beer, Eldridge Pope apparently went out of business in 1996 after failing to make a go of becoming a pub company as well as a brewery.
The long, dark shadow of Guinness has skewed people's perceptions of stout for far too long. In this episode we hope to broaden (make more stout?!) your taste horizons by looking at how stout can be everything from roasty, hoppy and bitter to silky, smooth and chocolatey with stacks of variety in between.
Here are the stouts we sample in this episode
Here is the link to the Tandleman blogpost discussing stouts and porters.
You can find some pictures of The Sir George Robey pub Sophie talks about as the scene of the first terrible time she had Guinness on this website about derelict London.
We mention some of our other favourite stouts but two we don't mention but that are well worth trying are Fuller's Black Cab Stout (4.5%) and Moor Beer Stout (5%).
Coming soon... The Barley Wine Special!
Does bitter still exist? Is it the same thing as pale ale? Has 'ale' has replaced 'bitter' in meaning the beer which isn't lager? These are a few of the questions we try to tackle in a post-Christmas meander which makes up the second Beertalkers beer styles special.
We have A Pint With the legendary Dr Peter Darby of Wye Hops Ltd, part of the British Hop Association. He's great company, loves beer and is a walking hop encyclopedia - what more could one want from a drinking buddy?
Show glossary... While producing the show we realised there are a couple of things we mention that might need a bit of explanation:
Crystal malt. Beer is made from malted barley - which is barley that is processed for use in brewing. It's soaked in water and then tricked into germinating so its sugars can be fermented into alcohol and it is also kilned and/or roasted to a greater or lesser degree in order to produce different flavours. Crystal malt is roasted while still very wet and the end result usually brings a toffee-caramel flavour and sweetness to the beer.
Styrian Goldings are a hop variety from Slovenia. It is not related to English Goldings or East Kent Goldings though, but it is a relative of the traditional British variety called Fuggles.
We may be living in a new age of all things brewed but CAMRA's Great British Beer Festival (aka GBBF) is a traditional highlight in the beer calendar that is still a 'must do'.
We make our annual pilgrimage to the temporary cask ale cathedral of Olympia and sample a few brews to whet your appetite.
The beers we tried were:
Burning Sky Plateau (3.5%) - from bar B4.
Moor Beer Revival (3.8%) - from bar B15
Ilkley Brewery The Trader (4.8%) - from Bar B18.
We were too slow to get a taste of the Champion Beer of Britain: Timothy Taylor Boltmaker (4%) but we're told more casks are expected to be delivered to Bar B18 during the rest of the Festival so you might be luckier than we were!
Search through the hundreds of beers available using the GBBF online Beer Selector.Tweet us your thoughts - @TheBeertalkers - if you get to try it or if you want to tell us what you think of any other beers you try at GBBF.
The Great British Beer Festival continues at London Olympia until Saturday 16th August. Tickets are £10 or £8 for CAMRA members if you buy online. The Festival is open from 12 noon - 10.30pm Weds, Thurs and Fri. 1
Welcome to the eighth episode of The Beertalkers.
This programme is the first of three focusing on British beer styles - and looking at what beer styles mean.
We start by looking at British IPAs and taste Fuller's Bengal Lancer as a classic example of the style.
Later in the show we also hear from renowned brewer Derek Prentice (British Guild of Beer Writers Brewer of the Year) who recently retired from Fuller's Brewery and he reminded us of of another classic IPA you might want to try: Worthington White Shield
We discuss the difference between American IPAs and British IPAs, the impact of the style on the craft beer scene and its importance for brands.
We have 'A Pint With' Paul Nunny, Director (and founder) of Cask Marque - the organisation which accredits pubs serving cask ale in tip top condition. (Apologies for some of the odd noises in the background of the interview!)
The blended beer we mention while discussing porters is Greene King 5X and if you can't make it to the Great British Beer Festival to join the huge queue you will find some 5X blended into Greene King's Strong Suffolk Dark Ale. In this episode we cover the styles.
Tune in next month for part 2 where we'll be covering two more British styles
Episode 7 is here!
As well as hearing about Sophie's experiences in Denver we chat about the US beer scene in general and its effect on the rest of the beer world and we sample two American beers:
Odell Brewing Cutthroat Porter (5%) and Founders Brewing Centennial IPA (7.2%)
In this episode of the programme we have a pint with beer writer of the year, Will Hawkes and Sophie finds out if The Falling Rock Tap House in Denver is a great place for a beer.
The Falling Rock Tap House is at 1919 Blake St Denver, between 19th and 20th St.
If you want to find out more about the Brewers Association you can visit their excellent website which will tell you everything you need to know about US Craft beer.
You will find a full list of winners of the World Beer Cup 2014 here, and the British winners were: Magic Rock, Thornbridge, Meantime, Camden and Sharps.
Welcome to the sixth episode of The Beertalkers. It's been a while but we are back and this episode we are talking about hops.
Adnams Broadside made with British First Gold hops
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale made with American Cascade Hops
We taste beer live from the Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight. (Apologies for the sound quality of the live recording). Sam tasted Tonbridge Brewery Capel Pale (4.5%) and Wantsum Brewery Green Hop Bramling Cross (4.5%).
The Buxton sour porter was called Wolfscote and you can read Soph's review of it on her blog post about Indy Man Beer Con: http://afemaleview.net/2013/10/26/indy-manbeer-con/
Sophie has been tasting Harvey's Imperial Stout at the Great British Beer Festival
We recorded the fifth episode of The Beertalkers live at the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) at London's Olympia. The event is organised annually by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and usually attracts more than 50,000 visitors making it Britain's biggest pub.
Sam and Sophie walk you round GBBF sampling a selection of the beers on offer to give you a flavour of what to expect if you're attending the festival later this week - or to make you jealous if you're not.
The beers we sampled are:
Fyne Ales Jarl (4%) - available from bar B2.
Brains (Craft Brewery) Bragging Rights (5%) from the Brains bar.
Saltaire Triple Chocoholic (4.8%) from bar B19.
DBC Dorset Knob (3.9%) from bar B5.
Girardin Kriekenlambic (5%) from bar B1.
Beer list and full details at: http://www.gbbf.org.uk
Welcome to the fourth episode of the Beertalkers where we veer off our normal beery route, down a country lane to find out why cider is becoming the drink of choice in these summery months. It's a battle between the cider cynic, Sophie and Westcountry boy, Sam. Listen to the end to find out if Applephobic Sophie is converted to the ways of the West.
We speak to beer and cider writer Pete Brown who is a true cider lover when the situation demands it.
We attempt to turn bottles of Bulmers Orignal into a hop monster with much hilarity. If you want to recreate this fascinating experiment at home here is what you will need.
Here is a list of ciders from the states where they are hopping cider in a more sophisticated way
We leave you with the people who know cider is the best - The Wurzels
"There are only seven ingredients in Craft Beer: hops, malt, water, yeast, YouTube, Twitter & Facebook"
The late, great Simon Johnson, 2012
Well our third episode has been a long time coming, but we think it has been worth the wait.
In this episode we discuss what has become quite a controversial topic - Craft Beer.
There has been a lot discussion recently about what craft means, whether it's relevant and who even cares but here we have tried to put the topic to bed.
Welcome to Episode 2 in which we discuss the changing attitudes towards high and low strength beer.
For this show we went on location to The Kernel Brewery in Bermondsey to taste their refreshing take on a lower alcohol beer and interview founder and brewer of the Kernel, Evin O'Riordain, to get his thoughts on the importance of the strength of beer.
We chat about a London councillor's objections to a Brewdog bar in his constituency. Read more about his reasoning here and the final decision here. In the end it sounds like the councillor was convinced by Brewdog's argument but still refused permission but on different grounds.
Here is a link to the Hardknott blog talking about a strange decision to exclude their award winning beer from a beer festival and in the spirit of balance here is SIBA's reply which doesn't quite explain the reasoning behind the exclusion.
And finally as promised here is a list of Soph and Sam's favourite high percentage beers. Let us know if you try any of them and what you think.
Welcome to the very first episode of The Beertalkers presented by Sophie Atherton and Sam Hill.
In this episode we'll be trying to answer the question, "Is beer posh?"
Prompted by the rise of more expensive and exclusive beers we discuss the relevance of posh beers and taste some beers we think fall into this category.
We have an interview with Roger Ryman from St Austell Brewery who really get's to the crux of the question.
A note about the audio... we had a few technical issues with sound quality in the last 10 minutes of the programme. Apologies for this. It is an issue that we will iron out before the next podcast.