2019 is the Year of Discerning January

Let's face it, January is the most miserable month in the calendar. It's cold, everyone is skint, and everyone is posting pics of Robert Downey Jr mid-eye roll with the caption, 'new year, new me'. 

Worst of all, people’s procrastination of doing the dry January (whilst admirable) withers after the first week when they realise that they don't have the intestinal fortitude to stay indoors for 30 days straight and not drink. 

So my question is, does drinking have to be dry? 

Since I've been working alongside DiscoverBrew, a monthly beer subscription service where each subscriber gets six beers delivered to their door complete with a personalised video and tasting notes, I've actually started drinking less! 

Drinking less and also in higher quality, becoming more discerning about my beers and introducing my friends to new experiences. (Because that's what it's all about right? Showing off a bit!) 

Yes everyone can still complain about being on their knees financially, which still makes this a great option as I can invite friends round for a cost-effective night in, drinking responsibly like the grown-ups we are. We all have to become grown-ups eventually and DiscoverBrew is a step towards adulthood, believe me. 

Also, by drinking quality beers moderately and enjoying the process, you circumvent those feelings of failure when it comes to skidding off the dry January slopes. You never told yourself you were going to stop drinking completely, so you’ve not failed at anything! It’s a positive mindset as well as a pastime.

The personal touch

Each beer in the box is hand-picked from hundreds that are tasted by the DiscoverBrew team, and only great beers make it into each box. 

I love getting my tasting note tutorials and the personal messages from Conor, the ‘Brewmellier’ of DiscoverBrew that comes with every monthly Brewbox. It heightens my tasting experience by pairing each beer with something that will complement, whether that’s a snack or a meal or simply to be enjoyed by itself.

So here’s to a less dry, more discerning January. I’ll drink to that…

5 x Best Christmas Box Subscription Gift for Him

Today I'm going to highlight some of the best Subscription Services I've earmarked for Christmas gifts. A subscription service is truly the gift that keeps on giving and every month someone gets reminded what a good egg you truly are. 

DiscoverBrew

You might have seen me Vlog about DiscoverBrew where I talk about the benefits of being a BrewBox subscriber. Each month 6 of the best beers arrive on my doorstep, complete with personalised vids that will describe each beer and what food you can pair it with.

The merits of the brands rest on its fantastic selection of beers. Just when you thought you knew all there was to know about craft beer you get presented with a new one and you fall in love all over again. 

Each beer in the box is hand-picked from hundreds that are tasted by the DiscoverBrew team, and only great beers make it into each box. 

Coffee 

My favourite scene from Pulp Fiction is when Quentin Tarantino gives a thrift monologue schooling Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta and indeed the entire audience on why quality coffee is so important. (Unfortunately the dialogue is far too colourful to transcribe here, but I'm sure you get my point). 

If you have someone in your life that is serious about Coffee then introduce them to Pact Coffee.

Their coffee is bought directly from the best farmers across the world then roasted in small batches at Pact HQ in Bermondsey, to ensure the very optimum quality.

Grooming

A lot of us feel begrudged leaving the house at all these days. Especially in this inclement weather and for something so perfunctory as razor blades. 

Why not save someone else the hassle as well by treating them to a razor blade subscription service by the Bearded Colonel. Made in Germany, the high water mark for quality razors.

Delivered direct to your door and small enough to fit through the letterbox so you needed hang around waiting on the postman. 

Music

A promise I've made to myself in the new year is that I'm going to rekindle my passion for vinyl. Really Carl? You're such the go-getter trend setter. 

I know, it's about 20 years too late, but I'm a sucker for nostalgia and I've already got the beard so I feel like I'm halfway there. 

If you know someone that is an avid music goer or has seen High Fidelity and   on a regular basis why not sign them up to Flying Vinyl.

They're a company that sends its members a monthly box filled with the best new alternative music printed onto beautiful 7” vinyl records. 

Shirts 

Ok well you know I'm no shrinking violet when it comes to self promotion. I like to think I tread that fine line of eagerness and persistence. My Hawkins & Shepherd shirt subscription service is the ultimate gift for that man in your life that is career driven, professional and scrupulous about his personal style. 

Save him the hassle of going out and finding new shirts every other month and keep his wardrobe enlivened with new design led, sophisticated hand crafted shirts every month 

Delicacy

Finally, avoid the hustle and bustle of the farmers markets by signing up to the Neals Yard Dairy cheese subscription service. 

Treat your palette to a wonderful myriad of different British farmhouse cheeses. If anyone is looking to get me a gift for Christmas I'll be pleased as punch to receive this. 

Ideal for people who enjoy entertaining or those who like having a few hearty pieces of cheese to hand for both cheeseboards and cooking.

*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with DiscoverBrew

Introducing DiscoverBrew | Craft Beer with a Personal Touch

Today I want to talk to you about a new monthly beer subscription service that has hit my radar called DiscoverBrew. This has landed just at the right time for when time is stretched and gift buying for those awkward non-hobbyists suddenly makes you wonder whether you know people at all. 

Each month 6 of the best beers in the world are dispatched to BrewBox subscribers, arriving in a beautiful box that has the essence of something that was lovingly prepared. Aside from the packaging I'd like to highlight some of the admiral qualities of the DiscoverBrew subscription.

PERFECT GIFT FOR MR AWKWARD

It really is the gift that keeps on giving for each month that you subscribe and there’s no minimum term making it even more flexible. Despite having endless commercial optionality, we all have that friend or relative that we struggle to buy for. This gift is rather exceptional in a way because the recipient gets monthly reminders of what a good altruistic soul you are. 

THE QUALITY

Each beer in the box is hand-picked from hundreds that are tasted by the DiscoverBrew team, and only great beers make it into each box. So there are no dregs (pardon the pun) or runts of the litter when it comes to these crafted beers. 

It also differentiates DiscoverBrew from other beer subscription services where the beer can seem to be whatever was in stock or what they could get cheap that month.

PERSONAL TOUCH

Every beer that arrives on the doorstep comes with a personal message from Conor, the ‘Brewmellier’ of DiscoverBrew. I like that name Brewmellier, sounds like one of the Musketeers. 

Under the tutelage of Conor, I can now understand what tasting notes my palette is trying to discern. I can heighten my tasting experience by pairing each beer with a recommended culinary dish.

I can also then extend my new-found knowledge onto other like-minded craft beer lovers so we can all reach the same equilibrium of beer enlightenment.

As Bill Hicks so famously said, "It's my duty to pass on information at all time so we can learn, evolve and get off this planet.”

There is no minimum subscription length and the subscription renews automatically each month but can be cancelled at any time. 


SUBSCRIBE TO MONTHY BEER DELIVERIES FOR YOURSELF OR AS A GIFT

*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with DiscoverBrew.

Top Five Beers on my Radar | The Perfect Father's Day Gift

It's festival season. Time to all sing about how great it would be to rid our world of plastic cups, how Trump is going to kill us all, how capitalism has capitulated under the weight of its own failure, then do nothing about it. 

As an aside the beer festivals are the ones that can be the most fun. Less mosh pits, less queues, more optionality than over-priced watered down fosters. 

The one beer festival I have inked into the calendar will be The Great British Beer Festival at Olympia, 7-11th August. Of course if anyone out there is looking to put a wolf pack together for the Oktober Fest later this year then drop me a line. 

Wait Carl, what about a craft beer I can order for Father's Day?

Well talking of wolf packs, there is a craft beer that will sort your Dad out a treat. 

Introducing, Beerwulf.com (Also the support of this article). 

Beerwulf.com is an online retailer that specialise in craft beer. They have also been working on a really special project with Kompaan brewery in the Netherlands to create a limited edition beer called ‘The Mentor’ to celebrate Father’s Day which is only available from Beerwulf.com. 

There's no better way to celebrate father’s day than sharing a beer and talking about how crap modern music is. 

OK tell me my beer guru, what are the show ponies coming up at The Great British Beer Festival

Straight out of the traps I'm going for one from the Beer Monkey stables, UNCLE MONKS. You're going to get a direct hoppy hit, followed by a slightly sweet & growing bitter balanced flavour. 

When tasting say: Those Americans know how to style an I.P.A right?  


Bedlam Porter (5.0%)

The Bedlam Porter from the Bedlam brewery. Yes because the word Porter is synonymous with Menswear. But I'm also into pale ales and the boys at Bedlam have a strong team ethic brewing the finest beer they can. This limited edition is blended with fresh Fuggles and Goldings hops. It arrives Pale, Crystal, composed with Brown and Chocolate malts. 

When tasting say: Anyone else getting some coffee flavours?


RED RYE 4.7%

I'll admit I've gone purely on the name on this one. Of course from the film Cocktail where Doug asks his young apprentice, know how to make a red eye young Flannigan. This beaut from the Hooky Beer Keg Range is a Pale Ale Malt underpinning a symphony of fruitiness from Willamette, Sovereign, Citra, Amarillo and Chinook Hops. 

When tasting say: Jim Carrey and Charlie Sheen were considered for the role of Brian Flanagan in the movie Cocktail, which in the end was cast with Tom Cruise.


XT Brewing have released Squid Ink; bold beast of a beer with its blend of Columbus, Summit, Galaxy and Chinook hops. Yes, it's dark, (not my normal go-to) but you need to prove you have range on your palette.

When tasting say: It's thought that squid ink could be the cure to heart disease in humans.


But what if I don't drink Carl? 

For my non-drinking friends there is also something here for you too. 

Be sure to check out Braxzz Brewery. A is a recent newcomer into the alcohol-free & low-alcohol category, their 'The Porter' edition is dark coloured and aromatic with notes of strong espresso, chocolate with hints of date and figs. 

When tasting say: Does anyone else have weird drunken dreams.

10 Festive Beers to try this Christmas

With the countdown to Christmas now on, there are plenty of festive tipples in the shops to get us into the holiday spirit. Warming mulled wine and fruity sloe gin may be most peoples first choice, whereas Christmas beers are usually pushed to the bottom of the festive booze cupboard. Belgian breweries however have been producing popular winter ales for centuries, and over the past few years craft breweries and supermarkets have also upped their game for Christmas! Full of warming ingredients, here are 10 amazing festive beers to enjoy around the fire this month.

1. Brouwerij Noordt Christmas Session Ale

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This Christmas Ale is from Rotterdam, Netherlands. Light coloured and very easy to drink, it has a lovely balance of slightly sweet malt and bitterness. Fruity with subtle hints of chestnut gets you in that festive mood from the first sip. 5.0% AVB, £2.69 each available at beerwulf.com

2. Anchor Christmas Ale

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From San Francisco, this years Anchor Christmas Ale has a strong malt profile that is enhanced with wintery spices. Anchor brewing describe it beautifully “the beer pours a deep, dark, mahogany brown with a creamy, tan head. It has flavours of creamy bittersweet chocolate, coffee, roasted malts and toasted nuts, with a rich, smooth, velvety mouthfeel”. 5.5% ABV, £2.79 each available at beerhawk.co.uk

3. Greenwich Winter Spiced Porter

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A well balanced traditional London Porter with warming, aromatic cinnamon and allspice. Perfect to enjoy chilled with some cold meats, a cheeseboard or a rich fruity pudding. 5.5% AVB, £2.50 each from marksandspencer.com

4. Batemans Rosey Nosey

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This English pale is made at one of the country’s oldest breweries, in Wainfleet, Lincolnshire. Refreshingly rich and fruity, with sultanas and raisin flavour balanced by the nutty crunch of crystal and chocolate malts. Challenger hops produce a spicy aroma, perfect with a Christmas sarnie! 4.7% ABV, £2.89 each if buying one case, available at bateman.co.uk

5. Shepherd Neame Christmas Ale

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Made in Faversham, Kent, this ale is brewed using 100% natural ingredients. Drawing chalk-filtered mineral water from the artesian well deep below Shepherd Neame’s site, along with the finest malting barley and Kentish hops. For this Christmas Ale there are lots of warming notes of fruits and spices. Dried fruits come through in particular, like raisins and dates. This is a beer with a long lingering finish! 7.0% ABV, £2.50 each, available at shop.shepherdneame.co.uk

6. De Dole Stiller Nacht

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A Belgian strong Pale Ale style beer brewed by Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers in Esen, Belgium. Stille Nacht (Silent Night) was first brewed in 1982. It’s golden in colour, smooth and full of sugar and spice. this beer has the highest density of any Belgian beer (27°Pl), has been boiling for 5 hours, brewed with pale malt with white candi sugar in the kettle. It is delicious and a perfect treat for the holidays! 12% ABV, £4.55 each, available at beautifulbeers.co.uk

7. Hogs Back Advent Ale

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A deep, dark chestnut coloured ale, brewed with the finest English malted barley and local hops. Brewed in Farnham, Surrey, this festive ale is fruity, with a sweet liquorice and rich dark chocolate aftertaste. 4.4% ABV Approx £2.20 each when buying a case of 12, available at hogsback.co.uk

8. March of the Penguins

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Williams Bros. Brewing Co. is located in Alloa, Clackmannanshire. This Scottish stout is creamy and deep chocolate in colour. It has a nose of roast malts, coffee, liquorice & orange peel. The taste of orange will get you in the Christmas spirit, and it is sure to warm you up this month. 4.9% ABV, £1.74 each, available at shop.williamsbrosbrew.com

9. St Bernardus Christmas Ale

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The Belgians really know how to make an amazing Christmas beer! St Bernardus Christmas Ale pours thick and is a delicious dark ruby colour. The traditional Belgian yeast flavour comes through straight away, along with warming Christmas spices. It is also full of the sweetness you want from a strong Belgium beer! 10% ABV, £4.19 each, available at beerhawk.co.uk

10. To Øl Frost Bite

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To Øl is a Danish microbrewery making some of the world's most admired craft beer. They have really gone for it this year with their Christmas range. Frost Bite is their pale ale that has the addition of orange peel and pine needles. Could you get more Christmassy? 6% ABV, £3.49, beerhawk.co.uk

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