The Breal Deal

Many years ago my parents lived next door to a successful businessman who I befriended – Swiss-born Mario Halbeisen (RIP) who set up Marcrist Industries and who was for a period the sole importer of diamond drill bits into the UK. He made a bit of a killing and like many people with money burning…

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Q&A with Felix James, co-founder of Small Beer

Before moving ahead with my questions – relating predominantly to low ABV beers – Felix clarified that Small Beer isn’t technically a ‘low ABV’ brewery and brand. The company is championing a ‘new’ category of small beer while acknowledging this style is about a thousand years old. ‘Low alcohol’ describes a beverage of 1.2% and…

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Happiness in hospitality

Apparently drinking alcohol is very unfashionable. Try telling that to the people increasingly packing out the recently opened Devonshire pub in London’s Soho between 11am and noon, before most pubs in the area now choose to open. The reason for this is because renowned landlord Oisin Rogers, co-owner of The Devonshire, reckons the particular guests…

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Beer Travels with Adrian-Tierney-Jones

My pint of Purple Moose’s ruby-red, malt-accented Dark Side of the Moose was rich in its symphonic harmony on the palate and a perfect Bach-like counterpoint to the serene and tranquil atmosphere of The Albion Ale House on a Friday afternoon in November. I was in a pub in the castellated town of Conwy, which…

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Book review – Historical Pub Crawls Through London

Since my early years in London I have largely managed to navigate my way around the city by pub because when I first arrived in the capital I made it a mission to undertake numerous pub crawls that took me to all corners of London. It was therefore with great interest that I received a…

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Soaking up some history

When the Old War Office on London’s Whitehall officially reopened its doors recently as Raffles London at the OWO it couldn’t fail to impress with its largesse. Its gargantuan 71,000 sq m encompass four kilometres of corridors, and the cost of acquiring the lease from the government and renovating the property totaled a hefty £1.4…

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Beer Travels with Adrian Tierney-Jones

The rolling road the grey waves made, as they crashed onto the golden sands of the beach at Ostend, brimming with foam as if to remind me it was nearly time for a beer. Far out at sea, tankers that had slipped their anchors in some faraway port could be glimpsed, dots that suggested another…

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Book Review – Greenwich Pubs

When I first came to London to work I signed up for an organised pub crawl that ended in Greenwich, which I’d never visited before, at a pub called the Prince of Orange that was renowned for the quality of its jazz. Sadly the pub is long gone, along with many others in the area,…

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Taking pubs to task on cask

Ordering a pint of Outer Haze from Dark Star Brewery at The Globe Pub in London’s Moorgate resulted in an attractive looking pale beer placed on the bar. It was also sufficiently cold to the touch that I was very pleased with my selection. I need not have worried on this occasion, because I was…

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In defence of dynamic pricing

Despite the extreme unexpected late-summer heat, I cycled across north London to the BrewDog bar in Camden Town and bought a pint of much welcome “Cold Beer” for a highly discounted rate of £3.05 versus the regular £6.55.  There was method in my “mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun” madness because…

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