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  1. Is the Future of Beer Non-Alcoholic?

    Is the Future of Beer Non-Alcoholic?

    There are signs that Non-Alcoholic beer is hitting the mainstream and is poised to hit the big time, but just how popular will it become? In this article I’ll look at some of the signs that show ‘NOLO’ (non or low alcoholic) beer is becoming a serious player in our industry, and how its development might progress in the UK.
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  2. Gordon Brown - UK Craft Beer Revolution Hero?

    Gordon Brown - UK Craft Beer Revolution Hero?

    Ask someone down the pub for the reasons behind Britain’s recent Beer revival, and you’re guaranteed all sorts of different explanations. In 2017 the number of UK breweries passed the 2000 mark, which puts us well ahead of European neighbours. Most will have a reasonable argument for why, but you can bet your double-dry hopped DIPA that very few of them would mention Gordon Brown, ex-PM and former Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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  3. What we are drinking #2: Anthony

    What we are drinking #2: Anthony

    It's the second in a new series featuring the favourite beers of Beer Hawk staff. Up now is Anthony who is loving the German classic, Flensburger Gold

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  4. What we are drinking #1: Ellie

    What we are drinking #1: Ellie

    Welcome to the first in a new series featuring the current favourite beers of Beer Hawk staff. First up is Ellie who chooses Magic Rock's High Wire Grapefruit


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  5. Guest blog: Innovation in beer - Italy & France

    Innovation in beer - France & Italy

    Which is the most innovative beer country? Belgium? The US? Britain?  Patrick Gengler turns his attention to France and Italy to see how traditional wine growing regions make beer

      Amphoras and barrels at Birra del Borgo

    Italy and France, when I think of these two countries a couple of things come to mind. Great wine, Great food, and blue-green Mediterranean coasts. I don’t immediately think good craft beer. This is likely because, between the two of them, these relatively small countries produce over one-third of wine consumed across the planet.

    The wine culture in these two countries is incredible, there are so many grape varietals and the climate varies so much from one location to another, you can get a myriad of grapes and within the variety itself, you can have variation in flavour based on the geographic factors of the vineyard.

    Wine got its start

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  6. Guest blog: Innovation in beer - Belgium

    Innovation in beer - Belgium

    Which is the most innovative beer country? It's not Belgium according to Patrick Gengler who is writing a series about what drives innovation in beer

    The Belgians may have stopped reading already since I said something 'bad' about their beer, but I didn’t mean it in a harsh way and I want to make it perfectly clear that I think they have some of the best beer out there. Here’s my beef with Belgian beer. EVERY BREWERY HAS THE SAME DAMN BEER. There are outliers of course (Duvel’s triple hop, Straffe Hendrick’s wild, Cantillion {pretty much everything}). Seriously though, you will find the same beers at most of the breweries there: A blonde beer, a dubbel, a tripel, a strong dark/quadrupily thingy and maybe a fruit lambic. I like all of those beers, I’m not trying to save face, I really do; but dammit man, brew some more styles of beer. I have every respect for the brewing history in Belgium.

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  7. Guest blog: Innovation in beer. Part 1

    Why isn't German beer innovative?

    Which is the most innovative beer country? Belgium? The US? Britain? Maybe even Sweden? In a new series Patrick Gengler looks at what drives innovation in beer... and it may not be what you think

    Pick out your top three beer countries in the world. Belgium right? Germany? Of course. And what about Britain, with its wildly diverse styles? We'd probably agree. But are they innovative? In most cases, I'd argue not.

    Sure, you may be shaking your head at me, or firing expletives at me in Flemish, but bear with me.

    I’m not saying that Belgium and Germany don’t make great beers because they do. They make some of the best beers in the world, they just haven’t made anything innovative or new for a bit.

    Part 1: Germany
    Germany: The real ‘craft’ beer pioneers, hosts of the world’s largest beer festival, and nearly a millennia

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  8. Guest blog: All hail the hoppy Pilsner

    Guest blog: All hail the hoppy Pilsner

    With love for IPA spanning nearly the entire globe, we are using more hops than ever before. Beer Hawk’s Beer Sherpa Patrick Gengler wonders if it is coming to an end… and what’s next?

    Founders in the US produce a fantastic hoppy lager in PC Pils

    Beer writers and brewers alike are warning of an impending price spike from the hop shortage, fuelled by our collective obsession with the bitter plant. And it leaves me wondering, is this just Mother Earth telling us to cut it out!? When will the trend change?

    Many people are seeing it already; little pockets of the market all over the US and I’m sure elsewhere (I just haven’t seen any data), people are asking for something that’s a tad nicer than a punch to the face. Well, actually they are asking for something that doesn’t punch you at all: the Pilsner.

    I love that the trend is heading

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  9. Opinion: The Iceman Bore

    The Iceman Bore

    The biggest, most controversial issue in the beer world right now*? It's the Iceman pour. Instagram-tastic it may be, but that's no mitigation argues Beer Hawk's Rob Flanagan. It should cease. Now.


    I’ll be the first to admit, some silly little things infuriate me. Unskippable adverts on YouTube, self-scan checkouts, people not indicating around roundabouts – that sort of thing.

    But the latest thing that’s raising my blood pressure and keeping my cardiologist in a job is that most horrific of new beer trends – the completely pointless and impractical beer serving method – the Iceman pour.

    For those of you who are blissfully unaware, an Iceman pour refers to the process of slowly pouring a beer out to ensure there is absolutely zero head, and the drink develops a pronounced meniscus (there’s something you don’t hear every day) at the rim of the glass. It’s

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  10. LONG READ: A Taste of Place

    LONG READ: A Taste of Place

    Des de Moor, a brilliant author and all-round Good Guy, asks if local beers actually taste of the place where they're brewed? And finds some surprising examples of a new localism in British beer

    With more than 1,500 breweries in the UK, more and more of us live within walking distance of one. But how many of our local beers actually taste of the place where they're brewed?

    Wine experts talk about terroir and how the physical environment where the grapes were grown, and sometimes the social environment too, is expressed in the taste of the finished product. But beer is made from dry ingredients which are more easily stored and transported, and most beers are made a long way away from where the grains and hops are grown.

    For much of brewing's history, brewers worked with raw materials grown within

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  11. These are the winners of CAMRA’s Champion Bottled Beer of Britain

    These are the winners of CAMRA’s Champion Bottled Beer of Britain 

    This prestigious award celebrates the country’s best bottle-conditioned beers. These are the winners…

    The winners of CAMRA's 2016 Champion Bottled Beer of Britain awards were announced at the BBC Good Food Show in November. 

    This competition is a celebration of bottle-conditioned beers, the brews that are still alive in the bottle, the yeast is still acting, adding depth of flavour and an effervescence. 

    There was a stunning selection of beers this year from a wide variety of breweries – some big, some small, some old, some new. There was also a vast range of styles of beers. As sponsors Beer Hawk have also put together

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  12. The need for mead

    Mead is back in a big way. Whether the mead- imbibing Game of Thrones characters are responsible is debatable, perhaps it’s just because it’s a brilliant drink Mead, as we know, is an alcoholic drink made from fermenting honey. Yet, it’s a drink that carries the weight of history and has links with ancient myths. It’s a drink that weaves its way into the passages of time, in poems and philosophy. It appears in Norse mythology (a lot) and in Beowulf, when it was drunk by Danish warriors. Aristotle discussed mead and – beer geeks should enjoy this irony – so did Pliny the Elder. It was called the ‘Nectar of the Gods’ and was the drink of choice of English kings. In short, mead was where it was at... until beer took over.

    At Beer Hawk, we’ve started stocking the refreshingly effervescent semi-sweet Gosnell’s London Mead as well as a variety of mead from Mab Mead of Wales. Meads wor

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  13. BrewDog sued over Elvis Juice name. Owners change name to Elvis

    Never ones to miss an amusing promotional opportunity – and this one is extra special – BrewDog founders Martin Dickie and James Watt have changed their names by deed poll to 'Elvis' during a legal spat with the Elvis Presley estate over their beer Elvis Juice.

     

    Elvis Watt said, “We’re Caught In A Trap and suggest the grey-suited Hound Dogs at the Presley estate recognise that the name Elvis is not exclusive. So, in an effort to Patch It Up, we’ve changed our names to highlight our Burning Love for the best grapefruit IPA out there. From this point forward, Elvis Juice is named after us, the brewers formerly known as James and Martin. We may even file a case against Mr Presley for using our names on all his records without our written permission.”

    In a further bid to highlight this misdirected

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  14. Our Interview With Camden Town Brewery's Jasper Cuppaidge

    We're really excited to announce the launch of Camden Town Brewery on our site; a flagship London brewer, they've done loads to drive the British craft beer scene and any one of their core range of beers is a great introduction to the style. To find out more about what makes Camden tick, our Beer Sommelier Maggie caught up with Camden Founder Jasper to chat beer trends, collabs, and the best beer cities in the world.

     

    In a world where sour beers and big, intense flavours are king why are beers like the Hells Lager or Gentleman’s Wit still so appealing?

    I’m all about drinking all types of great beers, but Hells is still so appealing because of what has gone in to it – it’s crisp, dry and refreshing, a go-to beer of choice. At beer festivals, we’re always slammed for the last hour – people really want to go back to a clean, refreshing beer after drinking all that craziness!

     

    Do

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  15. The best beers of the Great British Beer Festival... so far

    The best beers of the Great British Beer Festival

    YESSS! It’s the first day of the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival, one of the world’s greatest beer festivals. We’ve sniffed (and sniggered), we’ve sipped, slugged, we’ve swirled and swilled and, as of now, these are the BEST BEERS OF THE FESTIVAL… in our somewhat limited opinion the first six hours anyway.

    1. Deschutes / Freshly Squeezed IPA / 6.4%

    It would be fair to say that the American cask beer stand is the most popular on trade day. It was insane and we elbowed our way to the front, a few times, spotted Deschutes and came back with the Pinedrops IPA and the Freshly Squeezed IPA. Had we not have tried the Freshly Squeezed,  Pinedrops would have won, but the Freshly Squeezed, as co-founder Chris admitted, won. Fruity, balanced, strong, sump

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  16. A (brief) history of the IPA

    Happy #IPADay! (what do you mean you didn’t know?). Yes, today is the day where we celebrate the India Pale Ale, a beer that has become craft beer’s flagship brew with many breweries having one of these hoppy monsters in their core range. To wildly misquote Churchill however, the history of the IPA is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. There’s a lot of debate and conjecture surrounding its history (some no doubt to surface here). So here’s our brief, and mostly accurate, history of the IPA.

    1600 – British East India Company formed to capitalise on the spice trade and the English presence in India began to explode.

    mid to late-1600s – A pale ale was being made in England and sold as a premium product.

    1711-16 – Evidence that beer (porters, pale ales, cider and small beer) were being exported in India – a crossing that could take six m

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  17. Changes in Craft Beer: Part 1

    Big Changes in Craft Beer

    In case you haven't noticed yet, Craft Beer is now Big Business. Gone are the days of the business plan being few guys in an old warehouse dumping anything in a kettle and seeing what they get. With each passing month, and with the opening of each new brewery, the culture is changing as the competition increases. And beer lovers everywhere get to reap the rewards.

    Putting into words the massive changes that are going on in the Craft Beer industry is no small feat. Since the industry is inherently built upon change, trends and innovation it's easy to take for granted the "next big thing" as being one of many. Emerging markets like Brazil, Argentina and South Korea are now industry stalwarts in their own right while associated industries like hop farming and malting are likewise benefiting from the increase in demand for craft beer.

    The culture of craft beer is finding itself at a bit of a crossroads. The definition as established

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  18. Introducing The Beer Hawk Student Discount

    We're excited to announce that we've teamed up with Student Beans to offer UK Students aged 18 and over a 10% discount on world and craft beer at Beer Hawk.

    This means you can enjoy the very best beer the world has to offer, from Craft Cans to Real Ales, with a budget-friendly 10% off the RRP. Choose from over 500 amazing beers, or try one of our curated Mixed Cases to discover our top picks from around the world.

    As well as 10% off your order, you'll also enjoy FREE UK delivery when you spend over £50.

    To redeem your Beer Hawk Student Discount, just login to Student Beans on our website and use your unique code at checkout.

    Cheers!

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  19. Happy German Beer Day!

    Whether you're a fan of German beers or not, each April 23 is a momentous day on the beery calendar--and this year's even more so. Every year on this date German beer enthusiasts celebrate the "Day of German Beer" which commemorates the establishment of the Reinheitsgebot, or the German Purity Law. Established in the year 1516, this law--which these days is more-or-less adhered to voluntarily--decrees that German beer shall only be made with four ingredients: water, barley, hops and yeast. With this Saturday being the 500-year anniversary of the advent of the law, we're going to party like it's 1516!

    Well, maybe not. We like our indoor plumbing and Sky OnDemand.

    Interestingly, Germany--and its modern craft brewers--are finding themselves at a bit of a crossroads. Do we or don't we accept beer standards that were set in place 500 years ago? While much has changed in 500 years (for a start, at the time the law was written yeast was not included as one of the ingredients

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  20. Some exciting news for you Beer lovers

    Team_Photo_2

    So, we’ve got some big news today that we’re really quite excited about up here at Beer Hawk Towers… 

    We’ve hooked up with AB InBev to help bring a whole new dimension and scope to what we have always done.  It’s great news, not just because we’ll have the ability to help bring in a whole new set of beers from some of the best and toughest to source breweries on the planet, but it’ll also enable us to provide even more support to the breweries, partners and suppliers we already work with.  We’ll be getting a much bigger warehouse too, expanding the team (a lot!), opening a new tasting room and as we grow we will hopefully get an even better deal to help minimize those annoying delivery charges!

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  21. We are Living Wage!

    Great News - today we've received our accreditation from The Living Wage Foundation and Beer Hawk is now a fully signed up Living Wage employer!

    Paying people a good wage (as opposed to the minimum you can legally get away with) makes sense because put simply it's morally the right thing to do, but importantly it also makes sense from a business  point of view too.  When I see the Living Wage logo, I know it's a sign of a business that cares about the people that work there, and is prepared to put it's money where it's mouth is.  At Beer Hawk, when i'm making a choice about other businesses I want to work with, I prefer to choose Living Wage businesses because I like working with like minded people and also know they they I know they pay their people properly too.  Also, as a customer I'm more likely to choose Living Wage businesses because I'm confident i'll get a better experience interacting with that business and engaging with ha

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  22. Introducing Our New Affiliate Programme!

    Exciting news - we've just launched our new affiliate programme on Rakuten Linkshare! This means that beer lovers like you can earn money by promoting our brilliant beer.

    "Earning money by promoting my favourite online beer shop sounds great," we hear you ponder, "But how does this intriguing new programme work?" Well, once you sign up to Rakuten and become one of our affiliates, you'll find plenty of text links and banners that you can use to link to Beer Hawk on your website, blog, or even just on social media.

    Every time someone buys our beer after clicking through to the site from one of your affiliate links, we pay you a percentage of the sale. Psst - we offer generous commission levels on all of our products, including our excellent Beer Club subscriptions and mixed cases, so it's

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  23. IMBC 2015 and the Rules of Collaboration

    Well, that's it. Indy-Man-Beer-Con 2015 is in the books. And while this acclaimed beer festival is always a good time, I think that this year's iteration is the best yet. In fact, after attending a couple of expertly-organized sessions drinking some of the UK's (and New Zealand's) best beer in the beautiful surroundings of Manchester's Victoria Baths, I'm calling it now: IMBC is the best beer festival in the UK.

    Where else can you say "I drank an awesome orange vanilla milk stout in the bottom of a swimming pool?"

    Indeed, there was a lot of standout beer this year. I was especially impressed by Yeastie Boys Stairdancer Pacific IPA, Magic Rock's Grapefruit High Wire and Chorlton's

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  24. I'm Beer Sommelier Certified!

    On Friday, September 18th after several years of researching, studying, writing, and, ermm, drinking beer, I finally got my Beer Sommelier certification from the prestigious Beer Academy--an arm of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling--in London. I'm very proud to join the ranks of some of the best beer people out there  and super excited to be Beer Hawk's actual-on-piece-of-paper beer sommelier.

    Having no idea what to expect going in to the assessment, I have to admit that I was a bundle of nerves on the train down to London. I didn't know if I was going to have to taste a million beers and say which breweries they came from. Was I to brew a beer from grain to glass in two hours? Define "Craft?" Recite Voltaire?

    Without compromising the integrity of the test, I won't give all the beery details. I will say, however, that it wasn't as simple as sitting around and getting hammered--although that would've been awesome. I had to explain bits of my portfolio of evidence

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  25. New Look, Same Great Taste!

    We're just about to finish our first full week based out of the new Beer Hawk HQ's. It's been a rather massive project that included expanding the office space, painting, installing flooring, building new-and-improved-and-super-huge racking for the beer, buying a new fork lift (Chris' favourite part) and moving. Oh, and the moving. Hundreds and hundreds of crates and cases of beer. Hundreds. hundreds. *whimper.

    After many exhausting days and not doing our actual jobs, we're finally settled into our new place just on the outskirts of Harrogate. So, with the air-hockey table removed from the toilet and a freshly-tidied kitchenette we're excited to expand Beer Hawk into even bigger and better things.

    Now with our huge new warehouse, we plan on adding a lot--a lot, a lot--of new lines to our range (which means more beer festivals, trips abroad, and "networking!") in the near future--and I'm hoping that'll include some cans. There's also some discussion going on about

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  26. Best Before Dates are for the Birds

    I'd like to start this out by stating that I'm not trying to pull the wool over anybody's eyes and trying to convince you that we can sell out-of-date beer. We shouldn't. By selling beer, we've essentially promised the brewer (and the customer) that we'd take good care of their baby and send it out into the world in the flourish of beauty that they had intended.

    Now that we've got that bit out of the way, I'd like to have a chat about Best Before Dates on bottles.

    In some circumstances, they're warranted; they're a good indicator of how to best enjoy a beer and for its intended use (besides drinking it, of course). A short date indicates that it should be drunk fresh in order to appreciate that particular beer's qualities; a long one means that it could be aged to see what the future holds. And truth be told, I personally wouldn't trust a 4.2% pale ale with a year left on its life.

    You see, hops--those glorious little nuggets that impart balance, bitterness,

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  27. Nonsense on Beer Labels

    Slapping these guys on a bottle makes about as much sense as a lot of what's out there.

    Considering we're a beer retailer that offers hundreds of different beers, it should come as no surprise that we see a lot of different labels. Now, this isn't a commentary on a brewery's particular branding strategy, the logos they've chosen, or even on those breweries who think a woman's cleavage is the best way to sell a beer. No, this is a commentary on the amount of nonsense that's put on the side of the bottle.

    That's right: nonsense.

    There are some breweries out there (who shall remain nameless) that appear to have gotten drunk, grabbed the largest thesaurus they could find and strung together all the big words in a loosely-structured sentence. Just what is a customer supposed to take away about a beer when the label references the size of "Zeus's ass" and tells you to sleep late and have fun? Ummm...guess it tastes delicious?

    Brewers of the world, please

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  28. Beer Styles--Rubbish or Required?

    Clearly, all beers have a description (otherwise you've had too many.) On the most basic level a beer can be described as light or dark, bitter or not, strong or weak. But how do you categorize a beer that's amber coloured? Or sour? Or gives you a buzz after two? That's where beer style guidelines come in to play.

    Nevertheless, it's not that simple. There are some schools of thought that say that beer style guidelines are somewhat arbitrary and that it forces a beer into a little box that's been otherwise obliterated by more exceptions than rules. Take a look at Black IPAs, for example. If you were to read the generally accepted description for an American IPA the colour typically ranges from a gold to a dark amber. Yet, there are black IPAs in abundance in the industry these days. If you put the qualifier of "black" in front of it does it truly maintain its status as an IPA? Not according to the style guidelines! But don't tell that to brewers or those who have designed the

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  29. The perils of craft distribution!

    So recently we got into a barney with one of our suppliers...that word supplier rather than brewery is important here as we've no quibble with the brewery it's just that they aren't the supplier of their own product.  Instead they have chosen to grant sole import rights to one company rather than deliver direct which has created the little drama we've had this week.  

    The brewery in question is Birrificio Italiano, a very exciting Italian brewery near Milan producing fantastic beer. They have unfortunately made the choice to go down this importer route rather than delivering direct to outlets like ourselves.  Unless done really well, this extra distance from the end consumer make the product more expensive and causes quality issues - the extra middleman adds a link in the chain making the beer more expensive and you need a supplier with a very slick supply chain to hurry your beer through.

    This latter problem is exacerbated if, like Birrificio Italiano

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