Monday, 30 January 2017

End of an era ...

... start of a new one. After three years in Berkhamsted, Haresfoot Brewery has relocated to Chesham. My co-directors decided that they want to focus on landlord sales rather than directly to the public via the shop and on-site events. As a consequence they have joined forces with GIG and set up at their secure premises along the road from Haresfoot Farm. GIG is a catering company which services large scale events and festivals, so there may be good opportunity for growth. But I am following a different path, one focussing more on the town and local community, and my route to becoming a beer sommelier. This starts with the 3rd annual Berkhamsted beer and music festival aka BerkoBeerFest on 22nd April at Berkhamsted’s Civic Centre. I wish my co-directors well  it’s been a hell of a roller-coaster of a journey. I have learned a lot about beer and business but its time to move on.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

New year, new direction

We received the key to our brewery on 24th December 2013. So we have got through the second year, that “second difficult album”, and we now have time to contemplate, time for a rethink and time to set a new direction. This year we intend to focus more on the local community. We have a fantastic facility, located on the edge of Berkhamsted between the Grand Union Canal and the mainline out of Euston. We know our premises are ideal for events – we can seat 100 people (and stand up to 150), our musicians love the acoustics (natural reverberation), and the industrial setting creates a unique venue and atmosphere.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Gifts for those awkward men … and women

It’s that time of year, the time when the shops put up decorations and display their Christmas gifts. It’s not only a reminder of the impending holidays but also the agony that some of us face choosing the perfect gift for our loved ones.
The awkward middle aged man who is non-committal about what they want for Christmas is one of the most difficult challenges. Fortunately, very few men refuse a beer related gift and that is where Haresfoot Brewery can help.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Our First Beer Festival

Several of the pubs in Berkhamsted host great beer festivals – The Rising Sun, The Crown and The George & Dragon – but our festival last Saturday was the first beer festival in a brewery in Berkhamsted for at least one hundred years and possibly ever.

Our theme was a Celebration of the Chilterns and, in addition to four of our own beers, we offered ales from eight other local breweries. Beer selection for beer festivals seems to be one of the dark arts. Should they be unusual and niche or known favourites? We enlisted Dave Culliton from Aston Clinton Beer Festival to offer advice, select the ales and, with his able team, manage the bar.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Easter means Hares not Bunnies

Easter is almost upon us and the shops are filling with chocolate eggs and bunnies. But if you really want to be Easter-authentic then I propose you celebrate Easter by toasting your beloved with a pint of Haresfoot ale rather than a chocolate bunny.

Easter is thought to be German or possibly even Babylonian in origin. Most believe that Easter gets its name from the old English Ēastre or Ēostre, the Teutonic cum Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring (see picture), for whom a festival was held in her honour every year at the vernal equinox. But some believe that Easter is derived from Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of spring, and a homophone of Easter.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please

The tangential title of my blog is the 1980 hit single of Splodgenessabounds – a "song” which tracks the frustrations of a man not being served at his local bar. But I digress, the point is that lager and crisps, that most rudimentary of pub orders and the default beer and food combo, is a very distant relative of the current trend offered by sommeliers of beer and food pairing.

The push for beer and food matching has been around for several years now. Famously, the sommelier at Le Gavroche, Michel Roux Jr's two-starred Michelin restaurant, advises on the beer choice per course. Last year, Britain's Beer Alliance launched their “There's a Beer for That” campaign, which allows you to request beer matches for food on their twitter feed (just tweet @BeerForThat with #beermatch).  

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Let the Judging Commence

Having done the Advance Course at the Beer Academy, I thought I would give Judging Beer a crack. Obviously I am no expert, having just started, but more of a keen amateur. However, I thought it is worth jotting down what I have learned because it all starts with how to taste and appreciate beer – a useful skill to have even if you don’t get to officially judge beers.

There are lots of websites out there which tell you how to taste and judge beer. I suppose this blog forms my bluffers guide. Not surprisingly judging beer comes down to: Sight, Smell and Taste.