Tag: real ale

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.


Top 5 Most Haunted Pubs on BITE

Happy Halloween BITE Readers… There comes a time in every patrons pub-life, when the night grows still, usually during last orders, all you can hear is the ticking of the wall clock, or the gentle smudging noise of the barman cleaning a glass or two. It’s in moments like this that the old bar-barnacle or even the landlord himself decides is a good time to mention “the pub ghost”. We’ve all heard a dark tale of resident pub ghosts, trapped spirits (clean the optics) or mysterious happenings in our favourite locals. Below we have rounded up our choice of the top 5 most haunted pubs on BITE. Have you been to any of these spooky boozers? We invite you to share your pub-ghost stories with us on our Facebook page, do it before midnight though – else you’ll turn into a pumpkin!

1. The Ancient Ram Inn, Wotton Under Edge, Stroud

The Ancient RamThe physical ground that the Ancient Ram resides on was once a Pagan burial ground, it is suggested that two ley lines cross beneath the pub and through this natural energy spirits, apparitions and ghosts have managed to traverse the realms of reality into our own. Built in the 12th Century the Inn has played host to a great many stories and tales that many would describe as unnatural.  Devil worship, poltergeist activity, strange mists, black ghostly shapes of men hung from rafters, dramatic temperature changes and a deviant resident Incubus (women be warned).  Unfortunately no longer a public house, the current owner of the Ancient Ram is an approachable fellow and open to operate small group tours around this once fabled watering hole, you will not want to be alone for a minute, even the surrounding village and countryside is creepy in the dead of night. Take a torch! In fact take a few…
Visit the Ancient Ram Pub Page | Map link

2. The Ostrich Inn, Colnbrook Berkshire
The Ostrich InnOne of the oldest pubs in Britain, once used as a refuge by the notorious outlaw Dick Turpin, this venue’s tale seems to take a leaf or two from the Sweeney Todd fable.  In the distant past many, many travellers have been murdered within these pub walls. Wealthy visitors to the area would often disappear after spending a night at the Ostrich. The legend tells of the greedy, murderous Jarman family who once lived and worked at the Inn.  During the night whilst the weary traveller slept, the landlord would pull a lever and the unsuspecting guest would find themselves falling through a trapdoor dropping them into vat of boiling liquid and sealing their fate. The gruesome landlord and his wife after confessing to what they had done were hung for their crimes after a victim’s horse was found wandering the streets of Colnbrook alone and raised suspicion with local police. Today the Ostrich is known for poltergeist activity, the ghosts of trapped spirits who died in the pub, or the residual energy of the nefarious landlord himself? It’s hard to tell, despite the Ostrich Inn being a jolly good local these days, its cold, murderous past will leave you chilled to your dregs.
Visit The Ostrich Inn Pub Page | Map link 

3. The Old Bull and Bush, Hampstead
The Old Bull and BushFor centuries, banging and knocking in the night can be heard, sharp temperature drops and a ghostly, dark and shrouded apparition in Victorian clothes has been seen moving between rooms, these are just some of the stories to chill patrons whilst visiting this pub. Recent and extensive renovations to the building may have unearthed the reason why. Behind one of the cellar walls a skeleton was discovered surrounded by Victorian surgical instruments. Whilst the bones have been laid to rest, the tale of how this person met their demise remains unsolved, and so, their uneasy spirit still resides.
Visit The Old Bull and Bush Pub Page | Map link 

4. Spaniards Inn, Hampstead Heath
Spaniards InnWith a trio of apparitions, this pub once belonged to the father of Dick Turpin, and the highwayman himself used the Inn as a hideout during his escapades. The outlaw himself ‘Dick Turpin’ is said to haunt the upstairs rooms, banging, rattling and knocking can often be heard, whilst outside the spirit of Turpin’s horse “Black Bess” can sometimes be heard galloping away from the car park. Also, with a rather unfortunate name, the spirit of “Black Dick” haunts the bar itself, once a local moneylender he was run down in the street by a coach and horses, his spirit though, never left the pub.
On a different trivia note, did you know that many pubs named the “Black Horse” are a tribute to Turpin’s horse Black Bess, who in 1737 made the ride from London to York in a single night, a story of fiction, around which the legend was forged.
Visit the Spaniards Inn Pub Page |  Map link

5. The Ring O’ Bells, Middleton, Manchester
Ring O' BellsEdward was a Royalist, dressed in full Cavalier military gear when his life met its fateful end. Edward, the son of a Local Lord, used the Ring O’ Bells as a secret Royalist meeting place in a Parliament forces held town during the English Civil War. One fateful evening Edward was hacked to pieces by Roundheads whilst trying to escape,  now his sombre spirit lingers on within the pub walls.  The pub grounds date back to the Saxon times, and are also rumoured to have been the location where ancient sacrificial victims were offered to Gods.  What an ideal place to erect a pub! It’s been reported that Edwards ghost can manipulate objects, throwing them across rooms. Patrons have recorded a number of times when they have felt a firm hand on their shoulder or back only to turn and find themselves all alone.  It is said that anyone who dares sit in the “Cavaliers seat” will feel an icy chill and wandering sadness.
Visit the Ring O’ Bells Pub Page | Map link 

The Decline of Pubs in the UK

You can’t beat a British pub. They are the cornerstone of many villages up and down the land, often housing a unique blend of décor and home-grown beer. Many pubs are steeped in history providing an important role in the community. Pubs are a meeting place in every city, and the “go-to” after a long week at work, they are still a common place we consider when needing to unwind. However, with the government enforcing budget cuts to remedy the recession, the pub has become an unlikely victim to these difficult economic times. In the last ten years the average price of a pint has risen by 43%. In 2002, an average pint would cost you £2.02, in 2011, you would expect to pay £2.90, the main increase in price is partly due to the 30% added tax.

With the increase in price, inevitably the profits have suffered too, with individual barrel prices having dropped by a staggering 28 million barrels over the last ten years. Produced by Business4Sale.co.uk, listing pubs for sale across the UK here is an infographic highlighting just how tough the last 10 years have been for publicans and what you can do to show a bit of love for your local pub.

The Decline of Pubs in the UK

If you’d like to download and share this information there is a PDF version available here. Don’t forget you can join in the conversation on our Facebook page.

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National Cask Ale Week 2012

National Cask Ale Week 2012“It’s the big one folks!” Organised by Cask Marque and with support from CAMRA, Britain’s “National Cask Ale Week 2012” is almost here. The event, running from the 28th of September until the 7th October promotes Real Ale to those who have yet to try one the many, many varieties of Real Ale now available. It’s also a time for pubs to show some solidarity towards Britain’s national pub drink.

There are a lot of national events going on during the week, from Real Ale tasting sessions, to brewery tours, cellar tours, new beer launches, beer festivals, food festivals, competitions, a real ale trail and let’s throw some Morris Men in there too! A full list of the details of the events can be found on the Cask Ale Week website. There’s almost too much to do, thank the beer-gods that National Cask Ale week is in fact a 10 day affair spanning two weekends.

For the upcoming celebration BITE recommends:

Visit to one of these 5 Fullers pubs where the expert award winning Cellarmen will give you a glimpse into the science (and love) it takes to serve consistent beautiful beer;

Greene King are supporting National Cask Ale Week 2012 again this year with the “try before you buy” scheme in operation in 300 of their pubs.  If you fancy a pint of real ale, but can’t decide which is your tipple, just ask one of the bar-staff for a sample. More information on the “try before you buy” scheme can be found on the National Cask Ale Week website.

If you’re in the Cornwall area, head off to the St. Austell Brewery on Wednesday 26th September, Sophie Atherton, Britain’s first beer sommelier will hold a tutored beer tasting from 1pm at the Visitor Centre, you’ll have the opportunity to sample some of the famous St. Austell signature ales as well as some new brews featuring just for National Cask Ale Week. Tickets are just £1 per head, and there are competitions and prizes on offer once you get there, for more information and a chance to meet the First Lady of Beer visit the St. Austell Brewery events page.

Good olde’ Punch Taverns are giving away free beers, all you have to do is buy the Daily Telegraph on Sunday 23rd September for your free pint voucher, so do look out for this free beer promo!

If you have any tipson a first ale for an ale-virgin to try, or would like your say on the National Cask Ale Week 2012 you can leave a comment below or join in the conversation on our Facebook page.

British Pie Week 2012

British Pie Week

It’s British Pie Week from the 5th to the 11th March (2012), earlier this year we posted about National Pie Day, so if you’re interested in some quick pie-related facts check out our previous blog post here.

The British Pie Week website (hosted by General Mills Inc.) has announced their “Pub Pie Champion for 2012”.  Drum roll… It’s (chef) hats off to Carol Haime at The Sandrock, Farnham, with a delicious “Wheatley House Pheasant Pie with baby parsnips, juniper and a poppy seed and rock salt crust!” Becoming the first woman to win the competition, Carol said “It’s fantastic to have won! I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. The whole team is delighted and we’re really looking forward to celebrating during British Pie Week.”
(Source www.britishpieweek.com. The recipie for Carol’s winning pie is also available here.)

The marriage between pies and British pubs is long standing and legendary, searching the comments on BITE we discovered the following pie’scentric pubs recommended by you, our users. These pubs have gone to greater lengths to produce pies worthy of our attention as pub patrons. (Pub suggestions are based on pub-page activity within the last 12 months.)

The Brie Louise, Euston, London: While the reviews from users who have dined on The Brie’s pies seem mixed, there’s no mistaking that The Brie has won awards for it’s skills in pie making. Their Steak & Kidney pie is a crowning achievement  having scooped three consecutive annual awards, a medal has also been pinned on their seasonal Turkey, Cranberry & Stuffing pie (only available in the winter months).   The Brie Louise offers a decent range of home cooked pies, including vegetarian and fish options.

Sweeney & Todd, Reading: The sign above the door blazons the title ‘Famous Pies, Famous Ales’. Knowing the story of Sweeney Todd and the recent findings that his murderous antics were no urban myth, we’re curious as to what ingredients are used in the Sweeney’s pies… Corporate bankers? Estate agents? Expense swindling Politicians? Jokes aside, the Sweeney & Todd boasts what we all want in a pub – friendly staff, reasonably priced well stocked real ales, and a curious selection of pie fillings, … Hare & Cherry anyone? The Sweeney & Todd pie fillings cater to both meat lovers and vegetarians alike.

The Raven, Bath: Described as a “hidden gem”, The Raven in Bath offers a wide selection of ever changing pie fillings, it all depends on which season you find yourself musing their menu. Classic ingredients, such as pork, steak, lamb are all locally sourced, with vegetarian options that may even tempt a browsing carnivore. The Raven also has it’s own specially brewed Real Ale (Raven Ale), when pubs go that extra yard and get it right, The Raven, Bath is worth mentioning.

The Prince of Wales, Ledbury: Tucked away off the Ledbury High-Street, the Prince of Wales is a proper old-fashioned British boozer.  With a relaxed, ambient, atmosphere it’s the perfect setting to sit back, enjoy a real ale from their wide selection and tuck into an enormous portion of their home cooked pie.  Check out their pie board when entering, it’s ever changing with the seasons, the Prince’s pies are baked using locally sourced ingredients.

The Kenton, Homerton, London: It’s a coin-toss about this entry, granted The Kenton doesn’t bake it’s own pies.  However, by word-of-mouth the quality of the Pieminister pies served at The Kenton has reached us on a number of occasions while hunger struck and wandering in Hackney.  This Norwegian run, grand, Victorian pub caters for all tastes, that means you, vegetarians and fussy eaters. The ‘Minty Lamb Pie’ is always a firm favourite to expel those stomach-rumbles, with nice selection of ales to accompany any pie you chose.

Just to finish off, The Angel at Stoke by Nayland, Colchester is offering a special pie and pint menu between the 5th and 11th of March, everyday a choice of pies will be on the menu, baked to perfection by The Angel’s resident top chef.  Booking during British Pie Week (5th – 11th March) is advisable so you can be guaranteed a piece of the pie(s).

If you’ve a favourite pie filling, a recipe for pie success or you know of a pub worth mentioning for it’s culinary pie abilities do let us know in our comments section below or by joining the conversation on our Facebook page.

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