jamie goode's wine blog: A glitzy beer dinner

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A glitzy beer dinner

Last nightís Guild of Beer Writers awards dinner was a fun event. I didn't know what to expect, and felt a bit like I didnít belong. After all, Iím a wine writer with little more than an amateur interest in beer, although there are obvious parallels between what I do professionally Ė taste and evaluate an alcoholic beverage Ė and beer writing.

So I arrive at the Millennium Gloucester hotel and make my way up to the conservatory, where the event is being held. It looks like quite a smart event, and there are perhaps 200 people present. After grabbing a beer from one of the waistaff, I mingle, acutely aware that I know absolutely no one here: evidently, thereís not much overlap between the wine and beer writing communities.

I begin chatting to a random stranger, and then I spot some people I do know: Rupert Ponsonby, who does beer PR as well as wine (he invited me to the dinner), and Graham Holter, currently editorial director at William Reed who will soon be going freelance. I also get to chat with Zak Avery, an off-licence manager who writes an entertaining column in Off Licence News.

Then itís time for dinner. Our table is an entertaining one: thereís Rupert and his merry staff, plus drinks writer Johnny Goodall and another Rupert, Rupert Thompson who runs the Wychwood brewery. I learn quite a lot about beer from chatting to the two Ruperts, and I also learn that Johnny and I have something in common: we are both proud owners of Labradoodles. His is a seven-month old boy. Maybe we should get him together with Rosie, who is just beginning her second season. Johnny paid £800 for his doodle, and it was one of 12, so someone is making some cash here. It could be us.

Anyway, the food is prepared by Brian Turner and his team, and for each course Brian chooses a beer to match. Brian stands up and introduces the food and beer combos in his usual Yorkshire style. Heís quite entertaining, and the food is very good.

The beers work well. My favourite is the DeuS (yes, the final capital letter is intentional, not a typo). Itís a Belgian beer that is matured in the Champagne region Ė indeed, itís a methode Champenoise beer, which comes in a Champagne-style bottle. Itís complex, fresh, zingy and warm all at the same time. Itís 11.5% alcohol and is served in a Champagne glass, and comes with a Champagne-like price tag of £12 a bottle, but itís worth it. We also have a fantastic IPA named Jaipur, and the familiar but lovely Inns and Gunn oak aged beer.

The awards ceremony is mercifully brief and nicely compered, and then itís time for some more beer, before heading off into the night with a belly full of ale and a warm glow.



At 2:51 AM, Anonymous Jack at Fork & Bottle www.ForkandBottle.com said...

We had a bottle of the DeuS earlier this year (purchased from Dean & DeLuca in St. Helena and D&D priced) that was fairly amazing - I wanted to buy a couple more buy they haven't had it in since.

At 2:52 AM, Blogger Jack at F&B said...

(I'm hating this Blogger change where the Other option has been eliminated. Having to use the Nickname option is ridiculous.)


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