Sauce spotlight: Bloody Hell Hot Sauce (sticking it to The Man)

As a proudly independent stockist of proudly independent products, our interest is always piqued when we see a story of someone being pushed around by The Man.

In the case of Bloody Hell Hot Sauce, it seems The Man = Dan Aykroyd, who post-Ghostbusters et al branched out into vodka - vodka somewhat needlessly filtered through layers of diamonds and sold in a "crystal" skull bottle.

His lawyers came down like a ton of hot bricks on Isle of Wight couple Bobby and Rosie Powers, whose homemade Bloody Hell Hot Sauce is also sold in a (different) glass skull bottle that they import from China.

While they fight a costly legal battle with the diamond-filtering Hollywood heavyweight, we thought we'd help them out a bit by getting in some of their delicious sauce. Expect "Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!" when this Mexican-inspired habanero hottie hits your mouth...

The Beer Lover’s Kitchen: Summery Cured Salmon with Marble x Holy Crab LanGOSEtine Langoustine & Pineapple Gose

I like a beer that isn’t afraid of being controversial - and Marble’s LanGOSEtine is definitely polarising. For beer drinkers unused to sour beers, goses - which are distinctly tart, as well as saline - are an acquired taste. The fact that this particular gose is brewed with pineapple and langoustines makes it all the more eyebrow-raising.

But don’t be put off by its quirks. Zesty, bright, and fresh, Langosetine is summertime drinking perfection - especially considering the langoustines add subtle, briny depth rather than fishiness. (Consider, too, that oyster stouts have been made since the 1800s, so there’s a precedent for seafood-laced brews.)

Though this is the kind of easygoing beer that could get on with all kinds of dishes, seafood is a natural pick - and cured salmon works beautifully.

Making your own cured salmon is an exceptionally gratifying thing, especially given how simple the process really is (and how impressive the end results). All you need to procure is kosher salt (I used Diamond Crystal), sugar, herbs, spices, and citrus zest, plus the best cut of salmon you can get your hands on - it’s worth paying for sashimi-grade fish, as you’ll want it as fresh as can be.

Time does the rest. After 24 hours, the fish will have shed moisture and darkened to a burnt terracotta hue. Eight more hours of air-drying in the fridge, and it’s ready to be sliced.

Though this salmon is prepared similarly to a classic Swedish gravadlax, I made a few tweaks to the recipe to make it especially summery. Pineapple plays very well with basil, so I used it in place of the more traditional dill. To add a bit of tropicality, I used lemon and orange zest, as well as lime and pomelo. Served atop malty rye bread and with a swipe of tangy crème fraîche, it’s the perfect meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Summery Cured Salmon
Serves 4-6

For the salmon:
140g Diamond Crystal kosher salt
100g light brown sugar
1 tsp red peppercorns
1 tsp coriander seeds
Zest of 1 lime
Zest of 1 honey pomelo
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
1 large bunch basil, roughly chopped
500g boneless, skin-on salmon fillet, sushi-grade

To serve:
Rye bread
Crème fraîche
Freshly grated black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon

Line a small-to- medium baking tray with foil. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the first four ingredients together, whisking to combine. In a small bowl, add the zests of the four citrus fruits (I recommend using a Microplane grater, to ensure you don’t take off any bitter pith when zesting).

Place half of the salt and sugar mix into the foil-lined baking sheet, patting until it's just slightly larger than the piece of salmon. Place 1/3 of the basil under where the salmon will lie.

Put the salmon skin-side down on the salt mix, and then sprinkle over the zest and remaining basil. Cover the fillet with the remaining half of the salt and sugar mix, or until the fish is fully covered. Add a second piece of foil on top and crimp the two pieces together so they're tightly sealed around the fish. Place in the refrigerator and cover the salmon with heavy objects to help press out any excess moisture (I used several beer bottles).

Leave the salmon to cure for a full 24 hours. After 24 hours, remove it from the parcel and dispose of the curing mixture. Rinse any excess mixture off the salmon and pat to dry.

Fit a rack over a baking sheet, and place the salmon on top of the rack and into the fridge. Leave to chill and air-dry for eight more hours. When finished, place the salmon in a sealed container and refrigerate. It should keep for 3-4 days.

To serve, toast your slices of rye bread and top each with a generous swipe of crème fraîche. Using a very sharp knife, first remove the skin from the salmon and then slice very thin slices on a bias. Top each slice of crème fraîche-covered toast with a generous heap of cured salmon slices. Finish off with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper and some lemon zest.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and all-around lover of tasty things. When she's not cracking open a cold one, she's probably cooking up roasted lamb with hummus. Or chicken laksa. Or pumpkin bread. You can follow her at @clairembullen. Pick up a can of Marble LanGOSEtine in store or at our online shop

The HB&B Guide to the ultimate boozy, foodie minibreak in Portugal - Part 1: Porto

We managed to grab a few days in Portugal this month and haven't stopped thinking about it since. As always, we love to share the love so here's our two-part guide to good times in Porto and Lisbon. To be honest, you'd have to be dead inside not to have an amazing time in either of these terrific cities, but hopefully this blog post will save you a few hours of Googling to find the best food, beer and fun.

Porto
Lisbon gets all the love right now - not without merit, as you'll see in the next installment - but Porto is a rather unfairly overlooked gem. The best way to appreciate its dilapidated majesty is to get up high - and with no shortage of hills, all you'll need for this is a sturdy set of pins.

Porto is nestled on the banks of the Douro river - on one side you have the old town; on the other, the port wine warehouses of Vila Nova de Gaia. In between, spanning the river, are a series of magnificent bridges. Be a tourist and walk up the waterfront to the Ponte Dom Luis I bridge - head up the steps to reach the top crossing. It's stupendously high and you may get hit by a train at any moment, but the views (and the vertigo) are astounding.

For beer, make a beeline to Letraria, the taproom for the Letra brewery. The beautiful beer garden is one of the most zen places you will ever drink, and it offers a great introduction to the local craft scene - when we visited the board featured beers from breweries such as Bolina, Dois Corvos and - our favourite - Passarola. The Portuguese craft beer industry is fairly young and not every beer hits the mark, but there's a real excitement to it. It feels like something awesome is about to happen...

For wine, we spent a wonderful few hours at Wine Quay Bar, looking out over the river as the sun started to sink. Wine Quay Bar is on the Ribeira riverfront, but because it is set up above the tourist throngs, you can avoid the madness below.

Portuguese wine is - like Porto - a bit underrated here in the UK. Someone told us it's because Portugal tends to keep the best stuff for themselves - and why the hell not? The selection at Wine Quay Bar is exceptional across the board, with a big focus on the local wines from the Douro (as well as other Portuguese regions), and the service is fantastic - warm, welcoming and attentive. (NB: the Portuguese approach to service is generally pretty laidback and as such can seem frustratingly slow for time-poor Londoners, so make sure you allow yourself a bit of time for eating and drinking - and, well, you know, RELAX.)

We also loved exploring the late night wine bars around our downtown apartment - Pipa Vilha in Rua das Oliveiras was a particular highlight, dark and divey in the very best way. Choose the Meandro if it's on the wine list...

And of course it wouldn't be a visit to Porto without port. Someone gave us the excellent advice to head up the hill rather than go to one of the more easily accessible port warehouses on the tourist-packed waterfront so we headed up to Graham's Port Lodge in an ideal location at the top of the hill, with views across the river back to the old town. Tours of the facility are available by appointment, which we were too late for, so we settled for a couple of glasses of local wine and a selection of tinned fish, before making our way through the port menu. A delightful way to spend an afternoon, and it certainly made the walk back a lot more fun.

Part 2 - our Lisbon guide - coming soon...

Fundamentals #10 – Brew By Numbers/Hop Burns & Black 55|05 Double IPA Citra & Ella

This week has been all about London Beer City and the crazy amount of events book-ended by the London Craft Beer Festival and the Great British Beer Festival. As ever when there’s a glut of beer events pace is the trick but with so much good beer flowing this gets tougher every year.

At the heart of this year's London Beer City schedule is the Battle of the Beer Shops. The event will see a series of collaborations between a selection of London’s specialist beer retailers and some of the city’s craft breweries. At the time of writing this piece it takes place tonight, so keep an eye on your favourite social media channel to keep up with the fallout.

For their beer, the folks at HB&B have teamed up with the ever-verdant Brew by Numbers and, as they also did recently with Marble Brewery, have produced a Double IPA.

Brew by Numbers has grown increasingly deft with the production of hazy and hoppy beers over the past few months and this effort fuses US Citra and Aussie Ella hops with lemon zest to produce a citrus and tropical fruit blast wave of flavour. These fruit notes are paired with a typically soft and pillowy mouthfeel that has become the hallmark of Brew By Numbers’ beers.

I was surprised, however, to learn that the yeast that fermented out this beer was the humble Safale US-05. This fundamental is at the heart of many a great beer but with the recent trend in yeasts that produce rich, stone fruit flavours in hazy IPAs I wasn’t expecting Brew by Numbers to tell me that this was the yeast at play in this beer.

US-05 provides an exceptionally clean fermentation, meaning that it produces very low amounts of esters, which are responsible for the peach and apricot notes in a lot of modern “New England” style IPAs.

Brewers rely on clean fermenting yeasts like US-05 to let hop notes shine through, which in a beer such as this Double IPA is essential. Clean yeasts such as US-05 are often unsung heroes when it comes to beers like 55|05, so be sure to tip your glass in affection to this workhorse of a yeast strain when you enjoy this beer.

The fundamentals of beer are anything that makes up the sum of a beer’s parts. You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog Total AlesGood Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up some of our amazing 55|05 collab in store or online while stocks last.

The Beer Lover’s Kitchen: Strawberry, Tomato and Mojama Salad with Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier

For all the pleasure of discovering new breweries, the thrill of the can release, there’s an abiding satisfaction in returning to the classics.

Not long ago, I realised it had been years since I’d enjoyed a bottle of Weihenstephan’s flawless Hefe Weissbier. Among the finest examples of the style around, heady with clove and banana, it’s far from trendy - novelty isn’t a virtue most associated with a brewery that traces its origins to 725 - but it’s gorgeous, ever-satisfying, and worth making a part of your regular rotation.

That it’s additionally food-friendly is one more advantage. You’ll often find it paired with curries and barbecue fare, though it also works beautifully with more delicate flavours. Like this exquisitely simple summer salad.

This recipe is my take on a dish I recently encountered at Trangallán, a Spanish restaurant in Newington Green that may be one of London’s loveliest tables. I ordered it once and then had to return the following week to have it again. It’s rare to find a dish that, with so few ingredients, still totally beguiles.

For the recipe to work, it is of the utmost importance that you use the very best summer tomatoes you can find, sun-fattened and heavy with juice. Add thin wedges of strawberries (which really do pair well with tomatoes), translucent panes of mojama (cured tuna that adds a balancing element of umami), toasted Marcona almonds and two varieties of basil. Make the simplest of vinaigrettes, with fresh lemon juice, rice vinegar, and the very best olive oil you have in your cupboard, and you’ve done it. Caprese aside, it’s hard to think of a better recipe for the dog days.

Strawberry, Tomato, and Mojama Salad
Serves 4

For the dressing:
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tbs rice vinegar
120ml high-quality extra virgin olive oil
Large pinch Maldon sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:
100g Marcona almonds
5-6 large heirloom tomatoes
200g strawberries, hulled
1 large bunch purple basil
12 slices mojama
10g basil micro-greens
Maldon sea salt, to taste

First, make the dressing. Add all ingredients to a bowl or jar with a lid, and whisk/shake to emulsify. Set aside.

To make your salad, first toast the Marcona almonds. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add the almonds and toss frequently for 5-6 minutes, or until fragrant and golden-brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Slice your heirloom tomatoes finely. Cut the strawberries into thin wedges.

To construct your salad, scatter the purple basil leaves across four plates. Divide the heirloom tomato slices and strawberries between the plates; top each plate with three slices of mojama. Garnish with the almonds and basil-greens. Drizzle the dressing generously over each; crown with a final sprinkling of Maldon sea salt.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and all-around lover of tasty things. When she's not cracking open a cold one, she's probably cooking up roasted lamb with hummus. Or chicken laksa. Or pumpkin bread. You can follow her at @clairembullen. Pick up a bottle of Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier in store or at our online shop

Fundamentals #9 – Jester King/The Kernel Farmhouse Table Barrel Aged Blend

In beer, blending is a true art form. If you’ve ever tasted a great geuze from say 3 Fonteinen or Tilquin, or perhaps even a fantastic Flanders red from Rodenbach, then you’re tasting a beer that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

More and more breweries are investing in oak aging to further the beer experience they can offer their customers. This could involve getting used barrels from wineries or distilleries, or in some cases it could involve the use of larger oak containers called foeders. To make sure the beer that comes out of that oak tastes great, they too will have to master the fundamental art of blending.

If you ever get the chance to walk amongst the foeders at a brewery such as Rodenbach or New Belgium in the US, you should jump at the chance as it’s a pretty magical experience. If you’re lucky you might even get the opportunity to sample some unblended beer from the wood itself. This might help enlighten you as to how challenging blending the perfect beer from various components can be. The key to becoming a master blender is to be perfectly in tune with your palate, so as to achieve the perfect balance of acidity, flavour and drinkability.

To become ready for blending, beer needs time and this collaboration between London’s The Kernel and Jester King of Austin, Texas is no different. The original beer, a humble Table Beer with Citra, was brewed in April 2015. This beer was dry hopped the very same month before spending a year maturing in a steel tank with mixed cultures of yeast and bacteria taken from both The Kernel’s and Jester King’s stocks. In addition to this, some of the beer was aged in brand new – or virgin – oak barrels for 18 months. This beer was then blended back with 50% of the beer aged in steel before being refermented and allowed to mature further in the bottle.

The final blend of this beer is a living, breathing product and its character will continue to evolve in the bottle for years to come. According to the folks from The Kernel, the character from Jester King’s voracious house Brett strain dominated when the beer was packaged. However, this appeared to have calmed down in the bottle I opened, with notes of ripe berry fruit accompanied by strong flavours of vanilla from the oak, leading an incredibly dry and tannic finish.

This is an exceptional beer which blurs the boundaries between beer and wine - and that should come as no surprise considering the pedigree of its makers.

The fundamentals of beer are anything that makes up the sum of a beer’s parts. You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog Total AlesGood Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. We have a few bottles of the incredible Kernel/Jester King Farmhouse Table Barred Aged Blend in store or online while stocks last.

The Beer Lover’s Kitchen: Heirloom Tomato Galettes with Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta Earl Grey IPA

Where I’m from, July means pie season: apple pies, peach pies, and cherry pies, made with freshly picked fruit and crowned with a lattice of crust.

But while I love a traditional summertime pie as much as any other red-blooded American, lately I’ve fallen hard for the pie’s rustic, French cousin.

Meet the galette. If you’ve never made one, know that a galette isn’t just delicious, or photogenic in its own homely way - it’s also fantastically easy to make. Where American pie recipes are full of anxiety about mastering the perfectly flaky crust, galettes give a relaxed, Gallic shrug. After you’ve made your dough (in the food processor: even easier), it’s rolled out in whatever oblong shape comes out. Fillings are dolloped in the centre, and its shaggy-edged dough is folded unevenly over them, so it only covers half of what’s inside.

The result is as low-key as July baking gets. Though you can fill your galette with whichever ingredients are at hand - both sweet and savoury - I’ve opted here for beautifully dappled heirloom tomatoes, which are just coming into season. Paired with basil, whipped goat cheese and a nutty, pistachio-based crust (a favourite recipe of mine, which I’ve borrowed from Bon Appétit), the result is sublimely summery.

With a handful of dried lavender and a drizzle of honey to finish things off, these galettes are also a nod to Gunnamatta, Yeastie Boys Earl Grey IPA. Dry and unbelievably drinkable, yet perfumed with floral notes, it’s one of my very favourites (despite a punishing moment of overindulgence at a karaoke night last year—but let’s not get into that now). With a galette on the side, it’s just the can you should be cracking open at your next picnic.

Heirloom Tomato, Basil, and Whipped Goat Cheese Galettes
Makes 4 individual galettes

For the dough:
Adapted from Bon Appétit
65g raw pistachios
330g all-purpose flour
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp coarse sea salt
225g cold unsalted butter, cubed
110ml ice water
Additional flour, for rolling

Add the pistachios to your food processor. Pulse until they’re semi-finely ground, and no large pieces remain (you’ll likely need to pause and scrape down the bowl once or twice).

When they’re uniformly ground, add the flour, sugar, and sea salt, and blend until the mixture is evenly combined. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the mix resembles coarse meal. Then, with the motor running at a low speed, pour in the ice water in a steady stream until the dough just comes together.

Remove the dough from the food processor - it will be relatively sticky, so flouring your hands and work surface is advised - and divide into two even pieces. Pat each piece into a flattened circle, wrap with cling-film, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

For the whipped goat cheese:
250g soft (rindless) goat cheese, room temperature
75ml double cream, room temperature
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Add all ingredients to a food processor. Blend, pausing to scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Set aside.

For the galettes:
1 ½ tbs olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Galette dough
Whipped goat cheese
4 medium-sized heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch basil leaves, torn
1 tsp dried lavender
Chile-infused honey, to taste (can substitute regular honey)
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Flaky sea salt, to taste

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for approximately 10 minutes, or until it’s fully softened and beginning to darken and caramelise. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.

Ensure your work surface and rolling pin are well floured. Remove one of the two rounds of dough from the fridge and unwrap. Divide it into two equal pieces. Roll one out using the rolling pin until it’s approximately 1/8-inch thick, or approximately 9-10 inches wide. Transfer the dough to one of the baking sheets, placing it as close to one end as possible (you will need to fit two galettes on each baking sheet). Repeat with the second piece of dough on the second baking sheet.

In the middle of each piece of dough, dollop ¼ of the whipped goat cheese mixture, spreading with the back of a spoon until evenly distributed, and leaving approximately one inch of dough around the edge. On top of the goat cheese mix, add roughly one-quarter of the onions and one-quarter of the heirloom tomato slices. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and fold the edges of the dough over the tomato mixture (the edges will overlap each other; don’t stress too much about the appearance). Using a baking brush, coat the edges of the crust with the beaten egg mixture.

Repeat this process with the second round of dough; you will have four galettes in total. Do be certain to construct the galettes on the baking sheets themselves; if you try to add the toppings while they’re on the counter, they will be fragile and very difficult to transfer.

Bake the galettes for between 30-40 minutes, pausing to rotate the baking sheets halfway through, or until the crust is golden-browned, the tomatoes are roasted, and the mixture is bubbling beautifully. Leave them for a few minutes, as they’ll be mouth-scaldingly molten straight out of the oven.

When ready to serve, top each galette with some halved cherry tomatoes, torn basil leaves, ¼ tsp of lavender, a drizzle of honey, a drizzle of olive oil, and more flaky sea salt to taste.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and all-around lover of tasty things. When she's not cracking open a cold one, she's probably cooking up roasted lamb with hummus. Or chicken laksa. Or pumpkin bread. You can follow her at @clairembullen. Pick up Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta or at our online shop

Fundamentals #8: Marble/Hop Burns & Black Murk du Soleil Double IPA

The current trend for brewers to produce hazy IPA, often called New England IPA after its origin point, has had me thinking about haze as a fundamental component of specific beer styles.

German hefeweizen, which literally translates to English as “yeast-wheat”, is an obvious example. In this style the German yeast produces phenolic flavours of banana and clove, which are an intentional component of the beer, hence it is often left hazy to maximize these flavours.

Another beer that sprang to mind was Cooper’s Pale Ale, an Australian beer that was very popular in London seven or eight years ago. If you order a bottle of this beer, then more often than note the person serving you will gently roll the beer along the bar top to wake up the sediment in the bottom of the beer. This will also give it a hazy appearance when served.

Yet IPA has always been clear, or at least that’s what much of beer’s recent history tells to think. Craft beer has always been about finding a point of difference though, especially in a market with so many breweries. As such its not difficult to work out why exactly the hazy IPA craze sprang into being.

Manchester’s Marble, however - in particular its head brewer James Kemp - has always been vociferously supportive of clear or “bright” beer (and personally, so am I), but enter Hop Burns & Black and their new collaboration Murk du Soleil

Murk du Soleil is, as far as we know, Marble’s first intentionally hazy IPA – and a number of factors contribute towards that haze. Plenty of oats and wheat were added to the grist along with malted barley to add protein, which should give the beer a luxuriously thick body as well as aiding the suspension of particulate in the beer. According to Kemp this should also aid the perception of “juiciness” within the finished beer. No kettle finings were added during the boil either – usually a substance called Protofloc, made from seaweed, is added to pull particulate out of the beer during this stage of the brewing process.

Nelson Sauvin and Motueka hops from New Zealand – with HB&B’s Kiwi heritage, what were you expecting? - were added at the end of the boil. The same two hops were used in the dry hop at a ratio of 16 grams per litre, added over four different periods. If you were being technical you could call that a quadruple dry hop (and if you were being intentionally trendy you could print QDH on the can…).

The end result? A typically aroma-heavy example of the New England IPA style, with punchy notes of passion fruit, mango and melon dominating the nose. The texture is thick and pulpy and the finish is a little sweet and not too bitter.

Marble advises you to pour this beer carefully to avoid adding too much sediment to the beer. However, a true murk aficionado might appreciate giving the can a gentle roll on its side, Coopers-style, before pouring. The decision is all yours.

The fundamentals of beer are anything that makes up the sum of a beer’s parts. Water, barley, wheat, oats, sugars, yeast, bacteria and even adjuncts such as fruit or maize are all fundamental parts of what make up our favourite beers. You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog Total AlesGood Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up a can of our amazing collab with Marble in store or online while stocks last.

HB&B Sub Club - our May and June boxes revealed

We're on to it as usual... Forgot to post May's amazing All Killer No FIller line-up so here it is in all its glory (and one error where the designer forgot to swap out the descriptors) - Marble's Lost Your Marbles Forest Fruit is definitely not Bold - Roasty - Hoppy), along with June's equally awesome line-up. That too has an error - we missed the Cloudwater IIPA of the list which topped off the box in fine style. Sheeeesh.

We'll be more onto it this month, we promise. And we can also promise that this month's box is nothing short of SHOCK AND AWE. Sign up here - you can opt for a monthly rolling sub or save by signing up for a 3, 6 or 12-month period. You won't regret it.

The Beer Lover’s Kitchen: Caramelised White Chocolate Mousse and Partizan’s Imperial White Russian Stout

Most people’s bucket lists comprise the exotic destinations they want to visit before they die. Mine, on the other hand, lists all the recipes I want to cook while I’ve still got the chance.

I mention this only because caramelised white chocolate has been on the top of that list for a long time. The concept is simple enough: place white chocolate on a baking sheet, bake it at a low temperature, remove it from the oven, and stir at frequent intervals until it’s gone the colour of toasted almonds or deep, burnished toffee. After caramelising, the chocolate is blended with cream; the result is like dulce de leche or salted butter caramel, plus a whisper of cocoa. Needless to say, it’s pretty phenomenal—and, as I’ve discovered, well worth the effort of preparing from scratch.

Once it’s made, you can store a jar of your caramelised white chocolate and use it however you’d like (I’d recommend pouring it over ice cream, spreading it on toast, or using it to top Belgian-style waffles). You can also sub it in for regular chocolate in a range of recipes—including this mousse, which I like to serve alongside Partizan’s Imperial White Russian Stout.

I think there are two different kinds of (successful) food and beer pairings: those which pair perfectly complementary flavours, and those which feature contrasting flavours which, when combined, can delight and surprise.

For me, this pairing falls in the latter category. Normally, pairing a sweet and creamy dessert with a less sweet beer can be problematic. But in this case, the mousse draws out the beer’s coffee notes and heightens its bitterness. In this way, an intense, 9% ABV imperial stout becomes an unexpectedly refreshing foil, contrasting the richness and sugar with each moreish sip. The effect is something like an affogato: the first shock of bitterness and sweetness together, the beauty of the way they meld together into a finishing harmony.

Caramelised White Chocolate Mousse
Serves 4

For the caramelised white chocolate:
200g high-quality white chocolate (containing at least 30% cocoa solids)
150ml double cream
1 pinch Maldon sea salt

Preheat your oven to 120 degrees C. If you’re using fèves or other small pieces of white chocolate, pour them in a single layer onto a clean baking sheet or Pyrex tray. If you’re using a bar of chocolate, chop it roughly into small pieces using a serrated knife, and pour onto your prepared tray.

Place in the pre-heated oven and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove from the oven and stir the chocolate with a dry spatula; the chocolate will be beginning to melt and clump. Spread it in as even a layer as possible, and cook again for 10 minutes, before removing from the oven and stirring with a clean spatula again.

Repeat these steps until the chocolate has baked for between 50-60 minutes total. By the end, it should smell nutty and caramelised, and its colour should be a deep toffee brown. Depending on the brand of chocolate you use, it may melt fully or may resemble drier crumbles; both work just fine, so don’t worry if the appearance is a little surprising.

Once the chocolate has finished baking, add it to a food processor, along with 150ml of double cream (ideally warmed to room temperature) and a generous pinch of Maldon sea salt. Blend for at least 3-4 minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a spatula, or until the mixture is thick and entirely smooth with no clumps. When finished, it should look like dulce de leche and taste absolutely divine.

For the mousse:
Caramelised white chocolate
2 large egg yolks
2 tbs caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
450ml double cream, divided (70ml, 230ml and 150ml)

Place the prepared caramelised white chocolate in a large bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, add the egg yolks and the caster sugar, and whisk until the mixture is smooth and light yellow.

In a small saucepan, heat the vanilla and 70ml of double cream over medium-low heat until the mixture is simmering. Remove from the heat. Pour over the egg yolk and sugar mixture in a very slow but steady stream, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs.

When the egg mixture is fully incorporated, pour back into the saucepan and stir, over low heat, until it’s thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat. Place a fine-meshed sieve over the bowl of caramelised white chocolate, and pour the warm egg mixture over it. Stir until the mix is completely blended.

In a large bowl, add 230ml of double cream. Using an electric mixer, whisk until it has formed not-quite- stiff peaks. Fold half the whipped cream gently into the chocolate mixture until smooth; fold the remaining cream in until smooth.

Divide the mixture among four ramekins. Cover and chill for at least two hours, or until completely set.

When ready to serve, whisk the remaining 150ml of double cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Top each ramekin with a dollop of whipped cream for good measure.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and all-around lover of tasty things. When she's not cracking open a cold one, she's probably cooking up roasted lamb with hummus. Or chicken laksa. Or pumpkin bread. You can follow her at @clairembullen. Pick up Partizan's Imperial White Russian Stout while stocks last in store or at our online shop

Fundamentals #7 – Omnipollo/Dugges Anagram Blueberry Cheesecake Stout

I’m sure you’re already well aware of what make up the core ingredients within a beer: water, malt, yeast and hops. As part of Fundamentals the aim is to explore those and other, perhaps less thought of ingredients, such as the oak of a barrel, the addition of fruit juice or zest, or even harnessing wild bacteria for natural fermentation. In beer, for me at least, a fundamental can be any one of those things and more.

However, I’m curious. Can the design that sits on a bottle or can itself be considered as one of the fundamentals of beer? Of course it can. In fact I would argue that the way a beer presents itself on the shelf is as crucial as the malt bill or hop additions.

Sweden’s Omnipollo has made a point of striving for uniqueness in the beer aisle on every bottle it produces. It should come as no surprise that Karl Grandin, Omnipollo’s co-founder, is an illustrator and graphic designer who also helped to set up the Cheap Monday fashion brand. In fact when the Omnipollo and Cheap Monday brands are placed side by side, the similarities between the two are immediately obvious.

Although the brewery is officially based in Stockholm, Omnipollo is a nomadic brewery, much like Denmark’s Mikkeller, and brews in various locations, including at the UK’s Buxton Brewery.

Omnipollo has garnered a reputation for producing some pretty outrageous beers. Its Yellow Belly peanut butter stout – a collaboration with the aforementioned Buxton – is a great example of this. Anagram is another collaboration, this time with Dugges Brewery, fellow Swedes based near the city of Gothenburg.

Anagram is an imperial stout that weighs in at a hefty 12% ABV and tastes exactly as it says on the bottle: of rich, sweet and sticky blueberry cheesecake. It’s heavy going but every sip is laced with fun and the Omnipollo team are masters of making beers that make your palate laugh with joy.

I’ll be honest here, the reason I won’t tell you what makes it taste of blueberry cheesecake is that you probably don’t want to know. Just take my advice and maybe stick to salads or do some light exercise before you drink one.

As bonkers as the taste of this beer is though, it’s Grandin’s designs that lure you in. The label on this bottle tells you nothing of the beers style, it’s just a clever mesh of both Omnipollo’s and Dugges branding, artfully screen-printed in “millennial pink”. The design is so striking that it ends up piquing that curiosity reflex in your brain before you’ve even turned the bottle around to find out what the beer tastes like.

The fundamentals of beer are anything that makes up the sum of a beer’s parts. Water, barley, wheat, oats, sugars, yeast, bacteria and even adjuncts such as fruit or maize are all fundamental parts of what make up our favourite beers. You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog Total AlesGood Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up a bottle of Omnipollo/Dugges Anagram in store or online now.

Fundamentals #6 – Brasserie de la Senne Bruxellensis

Fundamentals 6 Bruxellensis 1.jpg

It’s very difficult for me to hide my enthusiasm for the beers of Brussels’ Brasserie de la Senne, so I’m not going to. De la Senne crafts some of my favourite beers being brewed anywhere in the world. The combination of drinkability and modern flavours, while still remaining not just resolutely Belgian but resolutely Brussels really resonates with me. It’s no wonder that the Belgian capital is also one of my favourite cities in the world.

Brasserie de la Senne takes its name from the Senne (sometimes spelled Zenne) river that flows along the border between Brussels and Flanders and into the city itself. Along with the eye-catching, 1930’s cinema inspired branding that depicts the city itself, this really adds to the brewery’s sense of place, which de la Senne in turn channels through the beers it produces.

Translated from the original Latin, the term Brettanomyces simply means “British yeast". There are many strains of Brettanomyces, or Brett, and each of them imbues a beer with its individual characteristics when it ferments sugar into alcohol. The one similar characteristic between all strains of Brett is that it will devour every drop of fermentable sugar within a beer. As a result beers that it’s present in tend to have an incredibly dry finish, making them very drinkable regardless of the alcohol content.

Brettanomyces Bruxellensis (or Brett Brux for short) is the strain of Brett that occurs naturally in the environment around Brussels and the Zenne valley. It’s not part of the natural atmospheric makeup of yeast and bacteria that causes spontaneous fermentation in lambic and gueuze, however. Instead it makes its home on the skins of fruit and within the grain of oak barrels and foudres. It’s in the latter that is slowly works its magic.

Brett Brux produces flavours and aromas that carry descriptors such as “barnyard” and “horse blanket” as well as a character that could be described as sour, leathery or earthy. It’s an essential ingredient in the production of lambic, gueuze, Flanders red, Oud Bruin and Trappist ales such as Orval.

Orval is probably the best starting point when trying to pin down the flavour of de la Senne Bruxellensis. Is has similar dry, woody, earthy characteristics to what made Orval so popular in the first place. In contrast to that, this beer has a bright, spritzy minerality that is so unmistakably de la Senne.

Bruxellensis is aged in the bottle for four months before release, so the Brett characteristics are already strongly prevalent when the beer is fresh. However, a little careful aging will bring those Bretty flavours to the fore. I prefer it fresh, but as with Orval it’s worth picking up a few to experiment and see how old you prefer yours.

The fundamentals of beer are anything that makes up the sum of a beer’s parts. Water, barley, wheat, oats, sugars, yeast, bacteria and even adjuncts such as fruit or maize are all fundamental parts of what make up our favourite beers. You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog Total AlesGood Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up a bottle of Brasserie de la Senne Bruxellensis in store or online now.

The Beer Lover’s Table: Jerk Pulled Jackfruit Buns and Northern Monk, Fieldwork & Lonely Planet Travel Notes IPA

Jackfruit is one of the food world’s cleverest sleights of hand. Raw, the fruit’s yellow lobes are hidden within a huge, spiky expanse; like a durian but larger and without the controversial pungency, jackfruit has a delicious, tropical sweetness.

But when it’s cooked down with onions, spices, and other savoury ingredients, jackfruit offers up an entirely different realm of culinary possibility. Famously, its cooked texture is so peculiarly reminiscent of pulled pork that it’s hard to believe you’re not eating meat, apart from a whisper of fruity sweetness. I especially like it with a Jamaican jerk-style preparation, here adapted from Bobby Flay. Hand to heart: even die-hard carnivores will likely find it irresistible.

It’s both the satisfying richness of this recipe, as well as that touch of tropicality, that helps it pair so well with the limited-edition Travel Notes IPA. Brewed as a collaboration between Leeds’s Northern Monk, Berkeley’s Fieldwork and Lonely Planet, this is an IPA with a globetrotting pedigree. Ingredients hail from five continents, from European-sourced malt to hops from North America and Oceania, from African mango to South American açai berries. The latter two additions lend the beer a subtle blush hue and a bit of sweetness; it’s fruit-forward and soft on the palate, but by no means shy and retiring.

To tie it all together, I topped the jerk-marinated jackfruit with a crisp and crunchy mango slaw that brings an extra dash of exotic fruit flavours, as well as some textural contrast. Vegan barbecue fare? This summer, you’ve got a reason to give it a go.

Jerk Pulled Jackfruit Buns with Mango Slaw
Serves 2

For the jerk pulled jackfruit:
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
1 tbs fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs dark soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 small scotch bonnet pepper, stemmed and seeded
2 tbs olive oil 1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tbs tomato paste
200g fresh jackfruit, de-seeded
200ml vegetable stock

Blend the spring onions, garlic, ginger, thyme, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, spices, salt, pepper, lime juice and scotch bonnet in a food processor for 1-2 minutes, pausing to scrape down the bowl occasionally, until you have a rather thick and homogenous paste. Set aside.

To a large saucepan, add the olive oil and heat on medium-high until hot. Add the onion and stir frequently for 5-6 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute more. Add the reserved paste, your fresh jackfruit, and the vegetable stock, heating the mixture on high until it begins to boil. Turn down to medium-low heat and cover. Allow to simmer for 45 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally to make sure the mixture isn’t sticking, or until the jackfruit has almost completely broken down into fibrous pieces (you can nudge any larger pieces apart with your spoon). The liquid should be thickened; cook for a few minutes longer with the lid removed if it is still quite watery in consistency. Season with extra sea salt to taste.

While the jackfruit cooks, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Cover a large baking sheet with nonstick foil. Once your jackfruit has finished on the stove, spoon it onto the foil- covered baking sheet and spread out into a thin layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating and stirring halfway through, until the mixture has darkened and started to crisp at the edges. Texturally, it should have the same caramelised stickiness of pulled pork.

For the mango slaw:
Adapted from Feasting at Home

1/4 red cabbage, thinly sliced
100g mango, sliced into matchsticks
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
20g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
Zest and juice of one orange
1/2 tbs olive oil

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Allow flavours to mingle for 10-15 minutes before serving. Note that this recipe makes more than required for two servings; it also works well as a nicely crunchy side salad.

To serve:
2 large white baps
Extra handful fresh coriander

Spoon a heaping amount of the jackfruit onto each bap. Top with as much slaw as you can reasonably fit, as well as an extra handful of coriander for a bit of brightness.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and all-around lover of tasty things. When she's not cracking open a cold one, she's probably cooking up roasted lamb with hummus. Or chicken laksa. Or pumpkin bread. You can follow her at @clairembullen. Pick up a a can of Travel Notes in store or at our online shop

Fundamentals #5 - Burning Sky Gaston Belgian-Style Pale Ale

When I started this column I figured it would be pretty easy to pick out an ingredient to write about in each beer I reviewed. Most modern beers I drink tend to focus on showcasing a single ingredient, be it the yeast in a Saison, hops in an IPA or malt in a Stout or Porter. Then along comes Burning Sky’s Gaston, the Sussex brewery’s take on a modern, Belgian-style pale ale. If you’re a fan of Brasserie de la Senne’s Taras Boulba, then trust me when I say that this is a beer for you.

I often hear people talk about how balance is the most important characteristic in any beer when judging its quality. For the most part I agree with this statement and the balance of malt, hop, yeast and water in Gaston is the kind of balance I seek in the beer I drink. The hops and the yeast are, in particular, vying for my attention in this beer. Both are flavourful to the point of being intense but at the same time show an elegant restraint, a characteristic that’s present in all of Burning Sky’s beers and puts them among some of the best in the country.

In the end, I couldn’t decide which to focus on, so instead I asked Burning Sky’s founder and head brewer Mark Tranter why the blend of hop and yeast in this beer works so well.

“The yeast and hops are equally powerful in this beer and the interaction between the two is really interesting,” Tranter says. “At a time when everyone’s getting their knickers in a twist over NEIPAs and Vermont yeast, we like to show our continued love for Belgian styles and hybrids.”

He continues, “The fruity, slightly sweet and phenolic Ardennes yeast, is a perfect platform for many types of pales, through to witbiers. For Gaston we chose to marry it with a blend of old and new world hops with a slight spicing in the kettle to accentuate the yeasts characteristics. For the dry hop, we chose varieties that would compliment and enhance the yeasts character; Saaz for an earthy/grassy note, Centennial for a more punchy lemon pith and finally Amarillo for a soft fruit like character. Drinkability is, as with all our beers, key - drinking a beer should be a joy, not an endurance test.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself. The soft fruity characteristics of the yeast work so well with a blend of earthy, spicy European and bright, citrus forward North American hops. The only bad news is that its only available during the Spring and Summer months, so enjoy it now while you can.

The fundamentals of beer are anything that makes up the sum of a beer’s parts. Water, barley, wheat, oats, sugars, yeast, bacteria and even adjuncts such as fruit or maize are all fundamental parts of what make up our favourite beers. You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog Total AlesGood Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up a bottle of Burning Sky Gaston in store or online now.

The Beer Lover’s Table: Thai Prawns and Pressure Drop’s Wu Gang Chops the Tree

Pairing food with beer is one thing. But cooking with it is something else entirely.

At risk of sounding close-minded, I find that the addition of beer rarely elevates a dish. Apart from a few classics - your Belgian carbonnade, your beef and Guinness stew - beer can be a tough ingredient to wrangle. In most cases, if you want to avoid unpalatable bitterness or peculiar off-flavours, it’s safest to leave it in the glass.

But this Thai prawn dish is an exception - particularly when it’s made with Pressure Drop’s Wu Gang Chops the Tree.

A hefeweisse made with foraged herbs, Wu Gang is a uniquely agreeable brew that Pressure Drop describes as "our most versatile food pairing beer." On the one hand, it’s effervescent, light of body, and low in bitterness, making it perfectly quenching. On the other, its heady aroma combines the banana and clove esters you’d expect from a German-style wheat beer with a compelling herbaceousness that’s all its own. It’s friendly, versatile, as adept at pairing with lamb chops and roast chicken as it is a piquant curry. Me, I especially like it in this Thai-inspired prawn dish.

Simple, refreshing and done in 20 minutes, this is the kind of food to serve in high summer. It nails that classic Thai combo of heat, sweetness, acidity, and salt; serve atop steamed rice to bulk it out, and throw a few slices of avocado on the side to add a bit of richness (this beer tempers fat beautifully). Whatever you do, be sure to keep a few extra bottles of Wu Gang to one side - at just 3.8% percent, it’s as sessionable as they come.

Thai Prawns with Coriander, Lime, and Beer
Serves 2

3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 bird’s eye chillies, roughly chopped
1 tbs palm sugar
1 1/2 tbs fish sauce
Stems from a 30g bunch of coriander
Zest and juice of 2 limes
3/4 tsp flaky sea salt, like Maldon
2 tbs olive oil, divided
2 echalion shallots, thinly sliced
150ml Pressure Drop Wu Gang Chops the Tree
250g deveined, shell-on king prawns

To serve:
½ avocado, thinly sliced
Steamed white rice 1 lime, cut into wedges
Coriander leaves

In the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic, chillies, palm sugar, fish sauce, the stems from your bunch of coriander, the zest and juice of 2 limes, and the sea salt. Blitz for roughly one minute, or until the paste is well combined (note: it will have a relatively thin consistency).

Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until softened and translucent. Spoon shallots into a bowl and set aside.

Add 1 tbs of olive oil to the frying pan and heat on high heat. Add the prawns and sear on one side for 45 seconds before removing from the heat and adding to another waiting bowl. Prawns are very susceptible to overcooking, so don’t be tempted to cook longer or sear on both sides; instead, they will finish cooking at the very end.

Add your shallots back to the frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Pour in the Wu Gang. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, or until the beer has begun to reduce. Add the prepared paste into the beer and mix, cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes, until additionally reduced.

Remove the frying pan from the heat and add the shrimp, tossing lightly until just cooked through. Season to taste with an extra sprinkling of sea salt.

Serve with steamed rice and a few slices of avocado. Slice the third lime into wedges and squeeze a bit more juice over each serving. Top with the coriander leaves.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and all-around lover of tasty things. When she's not cracking open a cold one, she's probably cooking up roasted lamb with hummus. Or chicken laksa. Or pumpkin bread. You can follow her at @clairembullen. Pick up a bottle or three of Pressure Drop's Wu Gang Chops The Tree in store or at our online shop

Introducing the HB&B Can Station at Serious Pig

Beer in cans is great. So great, in fact, that we're opening a new shop in the heart of Peckham next month dedicated solely to the joy of the can.

The HB&B Can Station at Serious Pig is a Saturday-only beer emporium in association with our pals, the craft meat specialists at Serious Pig

Why? Our favourite breweries are now canning their beers, so we thought, why not devote an entire shop to cans? They’re easier to transport, they protect beer from one of its major enemies (light) and goddamnit, these days cans look bloody awesome. Plus you can fit a whole lot more of them in a fridge...

The HB&B Can Station is located at Serious Pig’s lovely railway arch under the tracks by Peckham Rye Station. The focus is firmly on takeaway, with a humongous variety of canned beer, but you'll also be able to stay for a drink on site along with a choice of food from Serious Pig’s award winning range.

Each week we’ll pick the very best and freshest cans from our 350+ strong craft beer selection and haul them over to the Can Station. Expect to find breweries such as Beavertown, Cloudwater, Magic Rock, Northern Monk, Verdant, Mikkeller, Evil Twin, Lervig, To Ol, Yeastie Boys and many more. If it’s good and in a can, it’s there.

The HB&B Can Station at Serious Pig launches Saturday 10 June and will be open from 12-6pm each Saturday over the summer at Arch 221, 42 Blenheim Grove, Peckham Rye, London SE15 4QL. See you there.

Fundamentals #4 – Tempest Mexicake Imperial Stout

When I think of chillis and Hop Burns & Black, my mind is immediately transported back to the first ever Chilli Karaoke event that HB&B supremos Jen and Glenn organised. The event, which took place at the short-lived Beerkat on Holloway Road, involved singing half a song, eating a Scotch Bonnet pepper and then attempting to sing the remainder of your chosen tune.

For some reason I decided to be the event’s first ever competitor. I had picked Yazoo’s 80’s synthpop belter Don’t Go as my track of choice and as I began to channel my inner Alison Moyet it was all going swimmingly - that is, until, I ate (and subsequently spat out) the pepper. The remaining minute or so, which felt like a great deal longer, was spent attempting to sing while fighting back a near uncontrollable urge to vomit up the contents of my stomach. It was a lot of fun and should Jen and Glenn decide to hold the event again I strongly encourage you to take part.

This week’s beer has nothing to do with Scotch Bonnets but it is from current Scottish Brewer of the Year Tempest Brewing Co. Mexicake is an adjunct-laden imperial stout that features cinnamon, vanilla beans, cocoa along with a large addition of Ancho, Mulato and Chipotle chillies. With Hop Burns & Black being slingers of excellent hot sauce as well as beer, it’s the latter that has piqued my interest.

As its name would suggest, Mexicake is a Mexican inspired imperial stout and it’s that which has influenced that impressive bill of adjuncts. I caught up with Tempest’s Head Brewer Douglas Rowe to find out what the addition of three different varieties of chilli adds to this beer.

“The combination of these flavours along with the heat compliments the other flavours in the beer nicely and helps balance the sweetness in the beer,” Rowe says. “Achieving the correct balance is the key to making a good beer, no matter which style.

“We dose the chili at different stages throughout the process to achieve various levels of heat and flavour. We also make up a fairly spicy chilli extract, which we can then dose in later in the process depending on how the beer is shaping up!”

However, don’t expect Mexicake to blow your head off. Instead, expect a mellow wave of heat that is balanced by the sweetness of the vanilla and cinnamon along with a wave of what tastes to me like black treacle from the ton of malted barley used in each brew of this beer.

What’s most impressive about Mexicake is just how well all these flavours work together, creating a very balanced beer that drinks easy, especially when you consider its hefty ABV of 11%. It’s a winner for me and on this evidence it’s not at all surprising why Tempest has won the lofty title of Scottish Brewer of the Year.

The fundamentals of beer are anything that makes up the sum of a beer’s parts. Water, barley, wheat, oats, sugars, yeast, bacteria and even adjuncts such as fruit or maize are all fundamental parts of what make up our favourite beers. You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog Total AlesGood Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up a bottle of the amazing Tempest Mexicake in store or online now.

The Beer Lover’s Table: Whole Roasted Salmon and Elusive Brewing/Hop Burns & Black Bright Future Blood Orange Blossom Saison

It’s a tip I learned from a friend of mine a few years ago, and one I still prize: when having a large group over for dinner, roast salmon. The whole salmon.

More than a main course, whole roasted salmon is a centrepiece, gigantic and silvered. It’s also a participatory spectacle: people dig in, seek out belly fat or tender cheeks, flip the fish over in unison after one side has been picked clean. It’s a gleeful mess. There’s something primal and communal and bonding in the shared eating of such a fish.

Salmon can be seasoned in a million different ways, but because summer is approaching, Provençal flavours feel especially appropriate. In this preparation, the fish is roasted on a bed of fennel and onion that’s doused in glugs of vermouth. Tarragon perfumes it with its anise scent, and several additions of orange - zest, slices, even orange-infused olive oil - recall sunnier climes.

Speaking of orange: it’s also one of the reasons this salmon works so well with Bright Future, which Hop Burns & Black brewed in collaboration with Elusive Brewing. This blood orange blossom saison also makes use of orange juice and zest, as well as orange blossom honey. It’s yeasty, citrusy, and fantastically quenching.

It’s also ephemeral. Make the most of this limited-edition beauty then, and invite a big group over for dinner. Preferably friends who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

Whole Roasted Salmon with Orange, Fennel, and Provençal Herbs
Serves 8-10

1 3-kilo salmon
3 fennel bulbs, sliced
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 tbs Maldon sea salt, plus more to season
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
8 tbs olive oil, divided
4 tbs white vermouth (I used Cinzano Bianco)
25g flat-leaf parsley, divided
25g tarragon, divided
25g dill, divided
2 oranges
Orange-infused olive oil (optional)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees C. Line your largest roasting pan with heavy-duty foil. Add the sliced onion and fennel, and sprinkle over with the sea salt and black pepper. Pour over 4 tbs of the olive oil and the white vermouth.

Take half of your parsley, tarragon, and dill, and chop finely. Zest your oranges (preferably with a Microplane grater, so you don’t remove any of the bitter pith), and mix with the chopped herbs.

Meanwhile, prep your salmon. Pat the inside and outside dry with paper towel. Ensure it’s been fully scaled (if there are any remaining scales, scrape the back of your knife against the grain of the scales to remove). On an angle, make five long, 2cm-deep slits in the salmon’s side with a sharp knife. In each slit, add extra sea salt to season, as well as your chopped herb and orange zest mixture. Sprinkle sea salt across the salmon’s skin and flip, repeating the same steps on the other side of the salmon.

Season the salmon’s cavity generously with sea salt. Slice the two oranges that you zested and place the slices with the cavity, as well as the remaining herbs. Pour the remaining 4 tbs of olive oil over the salmon.

Add your salmon to your very hot oven and cook for 15 minutes - salmon is a fatty fish and will smoke, so make sure your kitchen is well ventilated. If your salmon drapes over the edges of your roasting pan and threatens to touch the edges of your oven, cover those exposed bits in foil to prevent scorching.

After 15 minutes have passed, lower the heat to 180 degrees C and cook the salmon for approximately 20 more minutes, covering loosely with foil if it begins to look too dark. After 20 minutes, remove the salmon carefully from the oven. Use Jamie Oliver’s method and check to see if it’s cooked through: stick a small knife in the thickest part of the salmon, behind its head. Leave for several seconds before removing the knife and feeling for heat; if it’s warm, the salmon is cooked. If not, return to the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes of cooking time.

Once the salmon is cooked through, remove from the oven and serve alongside the roasted fennel and onion; you can serve it with spinach and lentils on the side if you wish. Drizzle with orange-infused olive oil.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and all-around lover of tasty things. When she's not cracking open a cold one, she's probably cooking up roasted lamb with hummus. Or chicken laksa. Or pumpkin bread. You can follow her at @clairembullen. Pick up some of our succulent collab while stocks last in store or at our online shop

Fundamentals #3 – Marble Brewery Lost Your Marbles Red Wine B.A. Forest Fruits Imperial Stout

It really feels like Manchester’s Marble Brewery has reasserted itself as one of the nation's most relevant breweries over the past few months. Not that there should ever have been any doubt.

Under the watchful eye of head brewer James Kemp and his team, Marble has refined its core range, introduced a breathtaking new range of hop forward beers under its “Metal Series” label and released a series of complex and accomplished barrel aged beers. There was a small blip when they decided to discontinue the transcendent Dobber, one of the most important beers in my personal drinking history, but that’s OK because I’m heading to Manchester to brew it with Marble as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations later this year.

Lost Your Marbles has been released as two iterations – one barrel aged with Brettanomyces and this one, which has been aged in Pinot Noir barrels along with an addition of cherries, blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries and redcurrants. It’s a collaboration between returning Marble brewer Joe Ince (who until recently was brewing at Magic Rock) and Dan Whitehead de Bechevel, who has recently left Marble to start his own brewery: the imaginatively named Dan’s Brewery.”

The fundamental that fascinates me in this particular beer is not the fruit but the barrels itself. None other than winemaker Andrew Nielsen of Le Grappin sourced the French Pinot Noir barrels that this beer was aged in. You might not have heard Nielsen’s name before but it's one you should learn because he has provided several other breweries, including Redchurch, Wild Beer Co and Burning Sky with wine barrels of their own. [ED: As well as making awesome wine of his own!]

I contacted Marble’s Joe Ince to ask why he selected these barrels in particular for ageing this beer. “I wanted the barrels to help mellow the stock beer, allow for longer term ageing without adding too much tannin, something I'm very wary of with wood,” he says. “I was also hoping they would add a little funk and help the fruit really come through, which I think they did. Although not a wine drinker I quite like Pinot Noir as it always presents with cherry and raspberry to me.”

The resulting beer is velveteen in texture, with a lusciously smooth carbonation. Ince has certainly achieved the low tannin and high fruit flavour content he desired. The rich chocolate malts are met by the tartness of black cherries and raspberries, producing a flavour not unlike black forest gateau, which also happens to have been the brewers' end goal with this beer.

It definitely benefits from being allowed to warm in the glass a little first and I reckon that a few months longer in the bottle wouldn’t do it any harm either – especially if you want those funky, tart flavours to come to the fore. Don’t hang about though - only 1200 bottles have been produced and based on this tasting they won’t be about for long.

The fundamentals of beer are anything that makes up the sum of a beer’s parts. Water, barley, wheat, oats, sugars, yeast, bacteria and even adjuncts such as fruit or maize are all fundamental parts of what make up our favourite beers. You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog Total AlesGood Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. And pick up a bottle of Marble's exceptional Lost Your Marbles Red Wine BA Forest Fruits in store or online now.

HB&B Sub Club - our April box revealed

Here's what was in our first ever HB&B Sub Club box that went out last month. We're just as excited about this month's box - we've found some mind-blowingly awesome beers to fill it with yet again...

We'll be releasing a limited number of new memberships this week. These will go on sale on Friday 5th April at 9am. Head here and get your finger on the button. More info on the boxes can be found at our FAQs page, or simply drop us a line.