Beer on Saturday Kitchen again, yet room to grouse

You wait forever for BBC to wake up and smell the hops on Saturday Kitchen, but just a few weeks after choosing BrewDog’s 5AM Saint red ale to break their beer/food pairing duck, along comes another beer/food pairing. I wrote about it here.

Olly Smith selects Harviestoun Schiehallion Pilsner beer on Saturday Kitchen

Olly Smith shows his beer credentials on Saturday Kitchen. (Screen grab from BBC iPlayer)

Matt Tebbutt is again the host (coincidence?), Tom Kitchin is the guest chef, and the drinks expert is “Jolly” Olly Smith. Tom is preparing, somewhat controversially, a pan-fried grouse breast with watercress mayo and black pudding. It’s for brunch. What would Olly pick? Continue reading

No red, red wine for red-red stew on Saturday Kitchen?

My Saturday morning is predictable: toast, Marmite, jasmine tea for MaltCim, check the beginning of Saturday Kitchen on BBC1 to see who’s on. These days, this includes who’s hosting (instead of James Martin), and who’s doing the wine choices.

Saturday Kitchen: Host Matt Tebbutt with guest chefs Zoe Adjonyoh and Theo Randall and wine expert Sam Caporn

BBC Saturday Kitchen: Host Matt Tebbutt with guest chefs Zoe Adjonyoh and Theo Randall and wine expert Sam Caporn

Who am I kidding about the wine? As my regular reader will know, I get cross about the wine bit, because well, beer. Except, today, After introducing the guest chefs, 1 min and 14 seconds in…

Matt Tebbutt (guest host): And Sam, there’s a bit of a theme going on. Bit of a red theme. You going red wine?

Sam Caporn (wine expert): Er, red ale.

Matt: Really? Controversial…

Me: What?! (Pauses live TV, checks outside for colour of grass in this parallel universe. rewinds.) She just said “ale”! Continue reading

What fresh Hell can this be? Behind the Brewhaha at Redwell Brewing

Now the media storm around Red Bull-gate* appears to have died down, Norwich’s Redwell Brewing can carry on with what they do best, as their name so clearly implies: that’s brewing beer. I expect people will be asking, is there substance to build on the brouhaha?

The publicity from clashing with Red Bull has led to a boost in orders for Redwell. Now they have to back it up, and they will because the beer is very good. You might think “surprisingly good for such a young brewery”. But then they have a secret weapon from Sweden. Johan Elmander is not the only Swedish signing Norwich has made recently.** Redwell Street, Norwich. Source of inspiration for Redwell Brewery

The Norwich city-centre sign that inspired the name of Redwell Brewing

Redwell’s Swedish import is head brewer David Jones. You might think “David Jones” doesn’t sound terribly Swedish, and you’d be right. David is a Londoner. You’d also be forgiven for not having heard of David Jones – the brewer, but he’s much better known in Sweden, and arguably, one of the most influential brewers in Scandinavia.

So how come Redwell recruited David Jones from Sweden, and why the Dorothy Parker quote in the headline?

Continue reading

Strange Brew: The Day The BBC Went Beer

Strange Brew: the riff to 60s supergroup Cream’s opens BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme. And as the intro to Eric, Jack and Ginger’s timeless guitar anthem is replaced by the opening teaser quotes of what the programme will be about, the strange brew in question is not going to be tea; it is an altogether more significant half hour, signifying the day the BBC takes beer seriously.

On Sunday 23 March The Food Programme’s Dan Saladino gave over the whole of the 30 minutes of this long-running and respected food magazine programme to beer. More specifically, “Dan Saladino finds out why America’s brewing scene is a growing influence on British beer.”


And obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be happily reporting it, the spotlight of the BBC falls on the side of the US brewing to show the innovations of craft brewing that are giving ideas to some of the microbreweries in the UK. This is where unsuspecting Radio 4 listeners get to hear about the barrel aged beers, the solera system micro-brews, the new hops, and the new styles of beers coming from America. Strange brews to most people, perhaps, but all part of what is described as the evolution of beer.

That this subject matter is being presented on The Food Programme is significant. It isn’t a trend magazine show about the hip new fads coming out of Hoxton, nor is it a populist TV Show full of celebrity chefs. The Food Programme is for people who are serious about their food and drink. And, while one 30-minute programme.cannot break any wine hegemony, craft beer’s very association with food is on the right track and feels like something of a triumph.

Strange brew? You tell me. Listen to the podcast.
BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme: The New Beer Frontier podcast