Category: Beers

BITE Beer Pancakes

pancakesThis quick and easy recipe substitutes the milk in your regular pancakes for beer. Beer pancakes are light and moist with a distinct flavour. For the best results make your pancakes American style, adding slightly more mixture to the centre of your frying pan instead of the traditional thin pancake we Britons like to eat on Shrove Tuesday.

Before you start, the best type of beer to use in this recipe is a pale, less carbonated (the flatter the better) beer. Of course feel free to experiment all night with different beers and pancake recipes until you find one you love.

4oz (115g) Plain Flour
4tbsp Caster Sugar
½tsp Baking Powder
1 Egg (beaten)
½pt (280ml) Beer
30g Butter (melted and cooled)

Cooking method:

  1. Melt the butter in a microwave on a low setting or in a saucepan on the hob and leave to cool slightly but remain a liquid.
  2. Pour the butter into a container and add the beer. Begin to stir lightly with a whisk.
  3. Add the egg to the beer and butter mixture making sure the egg is nicely whisked in, then leave to rest.
  4. In a bowl, sieve the flour, sugar and baking powder together. With a spoon, mix the dry ingredients together by stirring a few times.
  5. Into the dry ingredients begin mixing the beer/ butter/ egg mixture, keep whisking the two together until just blended.
  6. Heat your griddle or frying pan to a medium heat, add a drizzle of vegetable oil.
  7. Pour around 4tbsp of the mixture into the centre of the heated griddle or frying pan. This is up to you, the more mixture the bigger your pancake.
  8. Watch the pancake on the heat, when bubbles begin to form on the top of the pancake, it’s time to flip it over and cook the other side until browned.

Serving suggestion(s):

These pancakes taste great served with a sliced banana and drizzle of golden syrup / maple syrup or Nutella.
Keep it simple by serving them with lemon and sugar, the bitter lemon really compliments the yeasty flavours.
Serve with melted dark chocolate and cream for a rich taste.
If sweet is not your style, serve with some smoky bacon and crisp lettuce for a  savoury alternative.

Are you making pancakes this Shrove Tuesday 2013? Feel free to leave a comment in our comments section below or join in the conversation on our Facebook page.


Does your missus drink of the ale?

beer-in-the-evening-women-brewingDo you catch your good-lady gazing at your pint whilst she sips at her fruit based cocktail? Does she want to partake in your ale, but feels too shy to ask? Does she long for her own pint, but doesn’t want to be seen drinking one?

It’s a question that has been asked before but, could women be a part of the renaissance that the pub and real ale trades are looking for?

With micro breweries recently experiencing a lot of interest and growth, the real ale industry has enjoyed some gathering acclaim for brewsters within the business. Waen Brewery founder Sue Hayward has seen demand for award winning Waen beers rise year upon year. Sara Barton, founder of Brewsters Brewing Company reminds us of the long history between women and brewing, up until the 1600’s brewing was primarily a woman’s business. Alex Heeton and Zara Hale, of BrewDog Camden regularly produce interesting home-brews with a creative understanding of the brewing process. Although there are just a few female ambassadors being pushed into the lime-light, there is still plenty of room for more women within the industry. Women have been historically good at brewing, it’s time they were invited back on a grander scale.

The pub industry however is constantly under threat, CAMRA are reporting that pubs are now closing at the rate of 18 per week, with the trend of closures set to continue if not increase. On a brighter note though, since the smoking ban there has been a steady increase in the number of women pub-goers.

UK accredited beer sommelier Sophie Atherton in Cask Matters (Nov 2012) reminded licensees that around half of their potential customers are women. She also outlined some suggestions and techniques pubs can use themselves to help expose real ale to women in a more positive light.

Atherton suggested that the process starts with the equipment. Keeping your pipes clean and maintained isn’t often easy, but it is absolutely essential to maintain a level of consistency and pride over your beer selection.
She also asks licensees to consider the psychology behind attracting women to real ale.

Pubs should avoid advertising sexist pump-clip imagery and perhaps broaden their range of beers from just masculine names such as Spitfire, Mutt’s Nuts or Seriously Bad Elf, to embrace a softer selection that potential female customers can feel a connection to, such as Strawberry Blonde, Chocolate Orange Delight or Banana Bread Beer. It may seem patronising, matching flowery and flavoured names to female drinkers, but by introducing flavoured beers into the selection, licensees continue to dispel the myth to both sexes that all ale tastes the same, one enduring stigma that the drink has acquired. Who knows, if it’s on offer, perhaps even the bearded, port-belly, sandal wearing stereotypes may try a Cherry Fruit Beer after a long days rambling over the hills?

Then there’s the sales pitch, it’s proven more likely that women will sample real ale if it is suggested to them by a female member of staff. Women like to know the honest opinions of other women. Offering alternatives to their regular tipple could be the way. Red wine or coffee drinking women might like to try a porter, stout or dark beer. White wine drinkers may prefer a citrus or fruit beer, and sparkling wine drinkers may prefer a blonde more carbonated, citrus beer.

Lets continue to support the British pubs by by making 2013 the year we make an effort to share the ale with the women in our lives, and with Valentines day just around the corner, treat your missus to a pint down the pub, it’ll be an experience she’ll cherish and never forget. Cheers!

Does your missus partake in the ale? What is her favourite pint? If you’ve a comment feel free to leave it in our comments section below, or join in the conversation on our Facebook page.

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There’s a fight brewing at Kelham Island Brewery

Kelham Island Brewery

There is something brewing at Kelham Island Brewery, and it’s not just beers. A unique mash-up of hops and comic book characters is erupting,  pale ale heroes are slogging it out against dark beer villains  in the “Light vs. Dark” battle of the brews. Who will win? Will the two join forces to fight the fizz-keg army?

Kelham Island, based in Sheffield, was the first independent brewer in the city  for over 100 years. It was at a time when real ale sales were falling and the big brewers were retreating from the area. Hope & Anchor, Whitbread, Stones and Wards breweries all closed in Sheffield during the nineties. Big things have such small beginnings, and from the beer garden of the Fat Cat, Sheffield in 1990 Kelham Island first began brewing with a 10 barrel capacity. Popular demand saw sales increase and the decision was taken to move the brewing operation to a more permanent 100 barrel capacity residence. Today, if you are lucky enough to visit the Fat Cat, the original brewing house is now a visitors centre dedicated to the success of the Kelham Island Brewery.

Kelham Island continues to maintain the small-team charm that it began with despite demand for its beers always being on the rise, their fortune is a heart-warming tale of achievement when so much emphasis is applied to the bad news within the real ale and pub trades. With over 20 different beers produced by Kelham Island today, designing the packaging for a range of beers needed to be cutting edge as well as tipping a hat to classic beer label design, it was time to call in a hot-shot…

Jim Connolly is a mild-mannered artist by day, but by night, he drinks the occasional beer and enters into a world where heroes strive to protect the ale from an evil fizz-keg army. Mixing two popular genres, comic books and beer, Jim has lovingly created a series of heroic beer labels for Kelham Island Brewery. The mash-up of beer and comics doesn’t stop at just the beer label artwork, each character comes with their own back-story to tell, and in true story-telling style, each pale ale hero comes their own dark ale nemesis! We were lucky enough to speak to Jim and ask him some questions about his part in bringing the beers, their labels and pump-clips to life.

Q. Who came up with the names for the Kelham Island Beers?
The Kelham guys gave me the basic concept for the heroes and villains and let me run with it. I did a pile of quick doodles and we chose the best ones and made the names up together. The King of the Rocketman & Radar Men Men from the Moon pumps were the brainchild of Little Mick who works for Kelham Island.

Q. Who or what has been your biggest inspiration for these labels?
In Superman 2 there are three great baddies in General Zod (the mastermind), Ursa (the tough babe) and Non (the muscle) and I wanted each side to pretty much fit this model. I looked at some of the early Marvel character designs by the likes of Jack Kirby & Steve Ditko as I wanted the colours to stand out and be fun. ‘Gentleman death’, ‘Mistress Flames’ and ‘Crimson Steel’ feel more like DC characters down the Batman route, with a hint of Tim Burton.

Q. Can you give us the back story to some of the  Kelham Island characters?

Kelham Island Brewery - Crimson Steel

Crimson Steel (hero) He started life as a homage to Sheffield United FC with his double swords but became more like an English knight. He’s a bit Aragorn and a bit Batman-esque. In comparison Crimson Steel ale is bright and amber in colour, described as very hoppy, it’s like the best of all things good, so it makes sense to have Crimson Steel as the lead-hero.

Kellham Island Brewery - Gentleman Death

Gentleman death (villain) He uses black magic to achieve his dastardly ends. He’s a bit like Skeletor crossed with Basil Fawlty. In comparison Gentleman Death is a rich, dark, Baltic Porter, it clings to the edge of the glass like a lingering evil magic.

Kellham Island Brewery - Mind Control

Mind Control (heroine) She’s quite Xmen inspired with similar mind powers to Professor-X, of course with added telekinesis, no doubt derived from her double IPA. The intense hoppiness of Mind Control is perfectly balanced with complex alcohol flavours, the ‘force’ is definitely strong with this one.

Kellham Island Brewery - Mistress Flames

Mistress Flames (villain) She’s a vampire but with fiery blood and flame-throwing abilities. By comparison Mistress Flames is a mild ruby ale with deep flavours and colours, it looks very vampire, very moody and comes with some spark.

Kellham Island Brewery - Tin Can Avenger

Tin Can Avenger (hero) His mission is to prevent the consumption of cheap dirty lager whilst wearing his trusty metal-head unicycle armour. He’s a parody of the earliest Ironman design with a nod to Ghostrider as well. In comparison Tin Can Avenger is a continental style lager beer with a lower alcohol content, it’s got a lot of strength in flavours but with it’s mildness it’s a beer you can keep coming back to.

Kellham Island Brewery - Dunkel Devastator

Dunkel Devastator (villain) He leaps across the universe delivering shattering blows to far-off worlds with his fizz-keg hammer of doom. If he could find earth we’d all be in trouble. Luckily he’s incredibly thick. By comparison, Dunkel Devastator is a powerful, dark German wheat beer. Here in Britain wheat beers are not considered traditional, which makes Dunkel Devastator sort of a very strong, loose cannon amongst the real ales.

Kellham Island Brewery - Radar Men From the Moon

King of the Rocketmen & Radar Men from the Moon: In a homage to the old 1940’s serials that pre-date Superhero movies, Kelham Island have also brewed “King of the Rocketmen” and “Radar Men from the Moon”. Described as “blazing adventures in a glass” these two use internationally sourced hops to give an out of this world aroma, light and refreshing with just enough “zap” to keep you tuned in for more.

Which was your most favourite of the beer label characters to create?
‘Mistress Flames’ is my personal favourite by a mile. She was inspired mainly by a Mike Mignola, Batgirl cover from the 1980’s.

Any thoughts on producing comic strips for any of the characters?
As both comic-books and real ale are enjoying both mainstream and niche markets success, it’s certainly food for thought. I’d like to see the Dunkel Devastator show up at my old local wielding his hammer of doom!

Will you be working with Kelham Island in the future?
I’m hoping to work with them on an art-print very shortly to tie-in with the labels I’ve done for them.

For other brewers out there, are you a gun for hire?
I’m always up for hearing about interesting commissions, beer label design has a long tradition in the UK, there’s hidden subtlety and meaning in each design.
For all those interested this is where I lay my cape…

If you are interested in Kelham Island Brewery beers you can read more or place an order on their website. For a list of pubs in Sheffield follow this link. If you have a comment feel free to leave it in the comments section below, or join in the conversation on our Facebook page.

The first ever tinned beer goes on sale today in 1935

Kreuger's Cream AleNot long after the abolishment of American Prohibition in 1933, the small, almost failing brewer Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company teamed up with the American Can Company in 1934 to produce 2,000 cans of Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale. Delivering 4 tins of beer to 500 families in the area. It was to be a make or break experiment for the Krueger Brewing Co. Lucky for them, as results came in, 91% of people gave the new way to package beer their honest approval.

With this kind of market feedback green-lighting the way the  Krueger Brewing Co. decided to go into production. With a little further refinement to the tinning process to stop beer sticking to the edges and rim of tins or to stop the tins warping under the pressurised contents, the first ever tinned beer went on sale, this day (24th January) in 1935!

The tin of beer had a simple clear design without the fuss and small print crammed onto today’s packaging, Kreuger’s tins displayed just once piece of advice to drinkers, “cool before serving”. The tin itself was crude by today’s standards but was no doubt modern or even futuristic to the people of 1935. There were no ring-pulls in those days, no widgets, no gimmicks, just beer in a tin. To get to the beer inside a drinker would have to pierce a triangular hole with a tin opener, the Kreuger Brewing Company slogan at the time was “Be a man, drink Kreuger’s”.

Tinned beer was first received by some as just a silly fad, despite the stigma surrounding the invention, sales throughout 1935 rocketed up to 550% making it clear to other brewers that packaging beer into tins was a hugely profitable way to deliver their product.

Cash in the attic? Today 24th January 2013, an empty good condition can of original 1935 Krueger’s Finest Beer would fetch you somewhere in the region of £300 at a collectors auction.

If you have a comment feel free to leave it below in our comments section, or join in the conversation on our Facebook page.

National Cask Ale Week 2011

National Cask Ale Week 2011It’s National Cask Ale week starting tomorrow (1st October 2011).  Cask Ale Week is a campaign organised between CAMRA and Cask Marque with the intention of spreading wider interest in ‘Real Ale’, if you know someone who has not tried real ale yet, this following week is your chance to introduce them to the myriad of different real ales that are on offer.  All 7,500 of Cask Marques accredited licensees have been asked to support the cause – promoting real ale, most locally sourced, and with the weather in the South set to be a scorcher, pubs will definitely receive an influx of customers who are out to enjoy the sunshine.

According to the CAMRA website many of the Cask Marque pubs will operate a ‘Try Before You Buy’ promotion allowing revellers the opportunity to sample-taste a real ale before choosing.   Some Cask Marque pubs may operate the “3 x 1/3 pint” meaning you get to try 3 real ales for the price of a pint which is a great promotion for any new real ale drinker,… and regular ale drinkers alike.  It gives you some time to hone in one a particular brew you might take a fancy to.  So, be sure to look out for pubs with a Cask Marque accreditation this weekend, and be sure to ask about the real ale promotions they may be serving.

If you’ve any tips for a new real ale drinker, or would like to tell us about a promotion in your area, or a distinct real ale you might like people to try, please leave a comment in our comments section below or join in the conversation on our Facebook page. Cheers!