The Beer Lover’s Kitchen: Sweet and Savoury Phyllo Pie and The Kernel Bière de Saison Apricot

If you missed the chance to get your hands on Cantillon’s latest Fou’Foune release, don’t fret: just pick up a bottle of The Kernel’s Bière de Saison Apricot instead.

It isn’t hyperbole—this is a truly exquisite, albeit underrated beer. One of the newest releases from The Kernel’s esteemed barrel-ageing programme, this Bière de Saison is a heady blend of aged and fresh saisons, which sits in the barrel with Bergeron apricots (the very same heritage variety that goes into Fou’Foune) for approximately six months. It’s elegant, tart, bright with apricot and lemon notes and undergirded by yeasty complexity.

Given how well cheese and saison go together, I wanted to explore that pairing here. But—to complement this beer’s beautiful apricot character—I wanted a lightness and delicacy, too. So I settled on this sweet and savoury phyllo pie: it’s flaky, gooey with cheese, but also drizzled with honey, perfumed with rosewater, and topped with crushed pistachios.

Think of this recipe as a combination of Old Rag Pie (a Greek recipe by way of Nigella Lawson, which is packed with crumbled feta, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and fresh thyme leaves) and künefe (a cheese pastry that’s soaked in syrup and is eaten for dessert in Turkey, Palestine, and elsewhere across the Levant). Or perhaps categorise it as a Mediterranean cheesecake.

Whatever you do—and whether you serve it with a simple side salad for dinner or add extra rose petals and honey for a quasi-dessert—just make sure you’ve got this world-class beer to go with.

Sweet and Savoury Phyllo Pie
Adapted from a recipe by Nigella Lawson
Serves 2-4

7 sheets of phyllo dough (defrosted, if you're starting from frozen)
60g melted butter
100g feta
120g fresh goat’s cheese
10g grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
100ml whole milk
50ml double cream
2 large eggs
2 tsp rosewater, divided
40g lightly toasted pistachios, roughly chopped
Honey, to taste
Dried rose petals, to garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. In a square 8-inch Pyrex baking tray or cake tin, add your first layer of phyllo dough and brush with melted butter (it should overhang the sides). Take two more sheets of phyllo dough and tear them into rough pieces; scrunch loosely and place so that they cover the base layer of dough. 

Crumble half of the goat cheese and half of the feta over this first layer of scrunched up phyllo. Add half of the thyme leaves, half of the grated Parmigiano, and a good drizzle of melted butter. 

Now, repeat. Top with two more scrunched layers of torn phyllo. Crumble the remaining goat cheese and feta over, and add the remaining thyme leaves and Parmigiano. Drizzle over with more butter, reserving a small amount.

For your last two pieces of phyllo dough, tear in larger sheets and arrange over the top. Fold up any overhanging bits of dough, and pat into place. Drizzle over the remaining butter. Make two lengthwise and two widthwise cuts with the sharp end of a knife.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the milk, double cream, eggs, and 1 tsp of the rosewater. Pour evenly over the phyllo layers and allow to soak in for 15 minutes. Top with the pistachios.

Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until puffed and beginning to turn golden on the top. Cover with foil and bake for another 15 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and let sit and cool slightly for 5-10 minutes. Drizzle over with honey to taste, and the remaining 1 tsp rosewater. Garnish with dried rose petals, if you wish. Serve while warm.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and an all-around lover of tasty things. Follow her on Twitter at @clairembullen, and pick up a bottle of The Kernel's strictly limited Biere de Saison Apricot while you can.

HB&B Sub Club - our September and October boxes revealed

Next week we're sending out our November All Killer No Filler boxes and a couple of cancellations means there are now slots available - so get on board before the Christmas rush.

Sign up for 12 months and pay just £48 a month (saving around 20% - yes, 20%! - on what you'd pay in store), or opt for a shorter term - the choice is yours.

To whet your whistle, here are the contents of the September and October boxes - Cloudwater, Evil Twin, Belching Beaver, Magic Rock, Modern Times, Burning Sky, Northern Monk... And that's just for starters. Is there a better beer subscription box out there? We think not.

Fundamentals #13 – Cloudwater x Dry & Bitter Mobile Speaker DIPA

Collaborations are vitally important to the success of the modern beer industry. Thousands of new breweries have emerged over the past decade and I believe that the relationships they develop and the skills that they learn from these encounters are fundamentally important to the success of these businesses.

I say that as someone who might be experiencing a little bit of “collab fatigue”, which I’m sure you may have felt too. Keeping up with the constant tide of new releases can, at times, be exhausting.

For many breweries, these collaborations are about more than simply making a beer together and learning from that shared experience. There are other important factors – and I mean really important stuff such as hanging out and partying together – which also need to be considered. Mobile Speaker from Manchester’s Cloudwater and Denmark’s Dry & Bitter is that sense of camaraderie condensed into liquid form.

“Collaborations are a chance to get together with people we like and whose beer we admire,” Dry & Bitter’s Søren Parker Wagner says. “The idea is often to do something that we, as brewers, really want to do and get to learn from each others way of working. This way we both get something professionally out of it while we get to hang with friends that we really like.”

“Our collaborations give us a chance to showcase the closeness we love with friends in the industry,” adds Cloudwater’s Paul Jones. “Most of the time we keep a face of professionalism and focus here at Cloudwater, when behind the scenes we have a great deal of fun and occasionally party pretty hard too.”

Mobile Speaker celebrates a little in-joke between Jones and Wagner. Both enjoy carrying a mobile Bluetooth speaker with them as they cruise from pub to bar on a night out. From personal experience I can tell you that Jones has the ability to effortlessly switch from Kenny G to Run the Jewels without so much as flinching, adding to the already-lively atmosphere as he does so.

And what of the beer itself? Well, Mobile Speaker is the kind of fuzzy yet electrically hoppy New England style DIPA that Cloudwater has built much of its reputation on. Expect intense aromas of mango that metamorphose into spikey, bright flavours of pineapple and pink grapefruit on the palate. Bitterness fans will be pleased to note that there’s plenty of that here too. This DIPA still has the ability to tell you that it’s a beer when you taste it, even though it looks like a glass of fruit juice.

In true Hop Burns & Black style, I also had to ask which of Paul and Søren’s favourite jams are currently getting airtime on their respective mobile speakers.

Søren: “Favourite jam to put on these days would probably be Super Rich Kids by Frank Ocean. Hip Hop for sure!”

Paul: “Totally depends on the crowd. It has to be something most folk within earshot will dig – with a number of the Cloudwater crew that’d often be Disclosure’s Caracal album, or Stormzy’s Shut Up. 80s classics rouse most people into song, Fetty Wap’s My Way and Trap Queen is never far down the recently played list - but neither is Avril Lavigne’s I’m With You either!”

Matthew Curtis is the UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and you can also find him on Twitter @totalcurtis. You can pick up Mobile Speaker DIPA in store or online while stocks last. Look out for our own new third anniversary collaboration with Cloudwater, HOP, which launches at our birthday party at the Brick Brewery taproom on Friday 24 November.

Good things come in threes


With our third birthday on the horizon at the end of next month (three! Can you believe it?), we thought we'd better do something rather special.

We got into this business not only because of our love of beer (and hot sauce, and vinyl), but because we love people who love beer. It's an unending privilege to work in the craft beer industry, which is one of the most inclusive and supportive industries we've ever known. That's why we love collaborations - hanging out with great people, making magic happen.

So we're properly stoked to announce the HB&B Hoppy Trinity - three anniversary collabs with three of our favourite breweries, Cloudwater, Fourpure and Brick Brewery.

HOP - HB&B x Cloudwater DDH NZ Pale: When it comes to the best hoppy beers in the UK, even the world, Manchester masters Cloudwater are top of our list. HOP is a double dry hopped pale ale rammed to the gunnels with the most succulent New Zealand hops in a nod to our Kiwi roots and a salute to one of our favourite breweries of all time.

BURNS - HB&B x Fourpure Mango & Habanero Red Ale: Ain't no party like a Fourpure party - we've enjoyed many good times with these Bermondsey legends and sold a stack of their terrific beers since the day we opened. For this beer, inspiration came from our chilli wall - specifically the amazing Burning Desire Burning Indulgence Mango & Habanero Hot Sauce. Stand by for a Juicy Banger with a kick.

BLACK - HB&B x Brick Brewery Blueberry & Vanilla Stout: Our Peckham neighbour Brick has always held a special place in our heart. We propped up the bar on the first day founder Ian Stewart threw open the doors to his tap room under the arches of Peckham Rye Station and have sunk many pints at the brewery since, so it was about time we made a beer together. One of our favourite dark beers of 2017 is Brick's Melange Imperial Stout - so we reckon this is going to knock your socks off.

In addition, we're also creating a new hot sauce, DESPACIO, with Peckham street food legends Slow Richie's. All three beers - plus the sauce - will be available at our third birthday party, to be held at the Brick Brewery Taproom in Blenheim Grove on Friday 24th November (come on down), as well as in-store, online and in a quality bar or bottle shop near you.

Enormous, enormous thanks to all the breweries involved - what a way to mark three awesome years. We can't wait to celebrate with you all.


The Beer Lover’s Kitchen: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Fried Sage and Hazelnut Relish and Burning Sky Saison L'Automne

From chestnuts to squash, autumn calls forth a bounty of seasonal ingredients that are all the more enticing for their ephemerality. But beyond all the pumpkins, the season’s arrival also heralds a slew of autumnal beers worth seeking out for the few short months that they can be found on the shelves.

Case in point: Burning Sky's elegant Saison L'Automne. Made with late-summer blackberries plucked from the wild brambles that surround the brewery, as well as pink peppercorns and grains of paradise, it pours the subtlest shade of blush in the glass. In the mouth, its fruit is subtle, too: a tart blackberry essence is just detectable, while a whisper of pepper rounds out each gulp.

Brewed with Burning Sky's house saison yeast, as well as brettanomyces and lactobacillus, the beer has a beautiful complexity now; leave it longer and it’ll only continue to evolve and incline further towards funkiness.

I like my saisons paired with cheese, whose richness they're adept at tempering, and what better way to turn cheese into a complete meal than a grilled cheese sandwich (or, for my British brethren, a toastie)?

Whatever you prefer to call it, this sandwich is made with two positively unctuous characters—Taleggio and Délice de Bourgogne, an exquisite triple crème cheese—as well as fried sage leaves (an excellent foil to blackberry) and a crunchy hazelnut relish.

Fancy enough to impress, but simple enough to make for yourself in 20 short minutes, it offers just the right amount of autumnal decadence—especially with this beer on the side.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Hazelnut Relish and Fried Sage Leaves
Serves 2

For the hazelnut relish:
50g blanched hazelnuts, toasted
3 1/2 tbs olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Generous pinch Maldon sea salt

In a food processor, pulse together all of the ingredients until the hazelnut is finely chopped and the mixture is well combined. Set aside.

For the fried sage leaves:
20g salted butter
20 fresh sage leaves

In a small frying pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. As soon as it has melted, add the sage leaves in a single layer, making sure they aren't overlapping. Fry for approximately two minutes, or until the leaves have darkened in colour and have crisped.

Gently remove from the pan with a fork or slotted spoon, and allow to drain and cool on a paper towel for five minutes.

For the sandwiches:
4 large slices of bread, preferably a rustic sourdough
Salted butter, softened
100g Taleggio, rind removed
100g Délice de Bourgogne, rind removed (or substitute another triple crème cheese)

To assemble your sandwiches, first generously butter both sides of each piece of bread with salted butter. On one piece of bread (setting a second aside for the time being), build your sandwich fillings by layering half of the Taleggio and Délice de Bourgogne, topping off with a generous amount of relish and 10 fried sage leaves. Repeat with the second sandwich.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the two cheese-topped slices, bread-side down, pressing the second pieces of bread onto the top of each once in the pan. Cook on one side for approximately 3-4 minutes, or until the cheese is starting to get gooey and the bottom bread has gone a toasty golden brown; flip your sandwiches carefully and continue to cook on the opposite side for 2-3 more minutes.

When done, remove from the pan and let sit for a minute before slicing in half and serving.

The Beer Lover's Kitchen: Roast Grouse and Potimarron Squash with French Lentils and Ayinger Celebrator

It’s hard to believe that, a few short weeks ago, we were eating peaches and tomatoes by the bushel. But now that it’s October, there’s a whole new seasonal bounty to be had.

If you ever find yourself playing a game of autumnal bingo, this dish might well give you the winning edge. It's got chestnuts, and mace—a highly aromatic spice that's reminiscent of nutmeg and allspice. It's got the tangerine-hued potimarron squash—also known as hokkaido or red kuri squash—which resembles a pumpkin but is less sweet, more nutty
and earthy. It's got grouse, pink of breast and deeply meaty, only available in butchers for a few months of the year.

The only thing that possibly doesn't quite fit this seasonal picture? The beer.

Doppelbock is a brooding, opaque, deliriously malty German style that's most associated with the springtime. First brewed by monks in Munich, the filling beer was released in time for Lent and its associated fasts, when it could serve as a liquid meal replacement. You can often spot a doppelbock by the prancing goats on its label, which are another
springtime signifier; Ayinger's Celebrator—a superlative example of the style—even comes with a plastic goat charm slung around the bottleneck.

Even if doppelbocks are traditionally released in spring, the style's rich flavour profile, molasses-like mouthfeel and heady strength make it ideal to consume during the colder months - especially during Oktoberfest.

Call me a rule-breaker, but I think the beer has never been better used than as a pairing partner for this supremely autumnal plate.

Roast Grouse and Potimarron Squash with French Lentils and Mace Brown Butter

For the lentils:
200g dried puy lentils
3 tbs olive oil
1 medium-large carrot, very finely diced
2 large echalion shallots, very finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
300ml vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 small bunch thyme, tied together
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
150g peeled, roasted chestnuts, sliced in half

Fill a bowl with cold water and add the lentils. Rinse by swishing around in the water, and pick through for any stones. Drain and set aside.

Add the olive oil to a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, shallots, and garlic, and, stirring frequently, cook for 5-6 minutes, or until softened and shallots have gone translucent. 

Next, add the rinsed lentils, the vegetable stock, bay leaves, thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Once the mixture has come to a boil, turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer for approximately 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and the broth has mostly been absorbed. Add the chestnuts and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Drain any excess liquid, and season further to taste. Remove the thyme and bay leaves and discard.

For the grouse and squash:
1 potimarron squash, around 1 kilo
4 tbs olive oil, divided
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon), to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 tsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped
2 whole grouse, cleaned and trussed

Preheat oven to 180 C. 

Prepare the squash. Wash off any dirt off and pat dry. With a very sharp knife, slice off the stem and then slice it in half, carefully (no peeling necessary). Scoop out the seeds and gunk from the cavity and discard (alternatively, you can keep the seeds and roast them later, as you would pumpkin seeds). Slice the squash into approximately inch-thick crescents.

Arrange the squash slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle over 2 tbs olive oil and season to taste generously with cracked black pepper and flaky sea salt. Add the thyme. With your hands, lightly toss the squash pieces to ensure they're evenly coated.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tbs olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Your grouse should have come from the butcher with streaky bacon or pork fat covering the breast; remove and set aside.

Once the pan is hot, add the grouse, using tongs to brown the birds on each side, approximately 2-4 minutes total. Return the pork fat or bacon to the grouse, and add the birds to the tray with the squash, breast-side up. Season the grouse generally with salt and pepper inside and out. If you have more squash than can fit on the tray—you want it in a single layer, not piled up—move the excess to a second parchment-lined tray.

Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, after which the grouse will still be beautifully pink within and your squash should be tender.

For the mace brown butter:
50g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp ground mace

While the grouse and squash roast, prepare the mace brown butter. In a small frying pan over medium-high heat, melt 50g butter. Let it cook for approximately 4-5 minutes; it will bubble up and will begin to smell toasty and nutty as it cooks. Butter browns quickly, so watch it attentively; as soon as it starts to darken, add the mace and stir to incorporate. Remove from the heat after 30 seconds and allow to cool slightly.

To serve, plate up your grouse, your squash and your lentils, and drizzle the mace brown butter over the whole lot.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and an all-around lover of tasty things. Follow her on Twitter at @clairembullen, and pick up a bottle of Ayinger Celebrator while stocks last.

Fundamentals #12 – Oliver’s Cider and Perry

A year ago I wrote about how I thought British cider had something of an image problem – an opinion that not every agreed with but I still stand by it to this day.

On the one hand you have mass-produced, sweet and fizzy ciders and on the other you have very traditional scrumpy. My worry is that these represent the perception of what cider is to the majority of people – and that’s fine – yet I fear it has been preventing low intervention ciders, such as those produced by Tom Oliver, from having their “craft beer moment".

However, after spending the last year learning a lot more about cider and perry production, including a recent visit to Oliver’s Cider and Perry in Herefordshire, it feels like cider’s moment is beginning to happen. Tasting through Oliver’s range of ciders and perrys was eye opening – there’s simply a bewildering range of flavours available, which is all the more impressive considering each is made up of more or less a single ingredient, albeit different varieties of each.

These flavours are produced through a combination of maturation in oak barrels – Tom enthuses how rum barrels are his favourites, although he’ll use more or less any barrel he can get his hands on – and skillful blending. Only through constant tasting will he know when a cider is ready to be blended and packaged making the whole process more akin to wine-making than say the production of beer or mass produced ciders.

Tom has been producing cider and perry on his family farm for almost 20 years now and has built up something of a cult following – particularly in the United States thanks to its very progressive drinks market. However it really does feel like his cider is finally getting the more widespread appeal that it deserves and that as a result, low-intervention ciders like his will become ever more popular, just like craft beer did around a decade ago.

Hopefully this will lead to the discovery of other great cider makers who can sit alongside Oliver’s as the popularity of this fantastic beverage continues to grow.

Three to try:

  • Gold Rush #5 – A cider produced in collaboration with Ryan Burk of New York State’s Angry Orchard and one I think that beer lovers can easily appreciate. The balanced acidity is almost IPA-like in the way it presents itself at the back of the tongue. Expect plenty of rounded tannins, flavours of just-picked apples and funky fruit from the malolactic fermentation.
  • Yarlington Mill Medium Dry – This is the perfect entry point to low intervention cider. The Yarlington Mill apple provides a backdrop of bittersweet notes to this light and spritzy cider. Pairs incredibly well with hard cheeses such as Aged Gouda, Parmesan and Lincolnshire Poacher. [Back next week in the shop.]
  • Keeved Sweet Perry – If you think you don’t like sweet drinks then this exceptional perry will have you thinking again. A complex, yet balanced acidity leads the notes of sweet, juicy pears as this perry cascades over your palate, finishing with a sharp, lingering sweetness.

Matthew Curtis is the UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and you can also find him on Twitter @totalcurtis. Huge congratulations to Tom Oliver for being named a finalist at the BBC Food Awards this month and putting great cider on the national stage. Find the Oliver's range in store or online.

The Beer Lover’s Kitchen: Peach Upside Down Cake with Miso Caramel and Evil Twin Sumo in a Sidecar IPA

This month, I found myself thinking about carrot cake. Specifically, about the way that a slice of carrot cake works wonders alongside an IPA—it’s one of those classic pairings that’s beloved of beer sommelier types, probably in part because it sounds like it shouldn’t work.

Early September isn’t really the time for carrot cake, though. And so I turned to peaches, which, while they’re still in season, are the perfect way to see out summer’s final weeks. This peach upside-down cake is lightly perfumed with cardamom, and offers just the right amount of yielding squidge.

But what really makes it stand out? In lieu of the traditional caramel that most upside-down cakes call for, I made a caramel with miso.

Lately, I’ve seen miso crop up in a number of dessert recipes - from butterscotch budino to white chocolate chip cookies. It’s a fantastic and beguiling ingredient, because, alongside a heavy hit of umami, it offers a rich sweetness, too. Think of this as an alternative to salted caramel, but with an incredible depth of flavour, and a complex, savoury character that balances out all the sugar.

Evil Twin Sumo in a Sidecar makes for an almost too-good- to-be- true pairing option. An apricot IPA with, as the brewery says, “a dash of umami”, it’s a beer that, unsurprisingly, does extremely well with a stone fruit dessert that has umami of its own.

Lately, I’ve been intrigued about the way that hoppy beers and umami flavours work together; still, this may be the first example of an umami IPA I can remember trying. Skeptics, note that the umami is subtle, but the beer feels richer for the addition. And with still-warm cake on the side, well - it’s hard not to be convinced.

Peach Upside Down Cake with Miso Caramel
Adapted from The New York Times and Food 52
For the miso caramel:
60ml water
150g granulated sugar
120ml double cream, room temperature
2 tbs white miso
For the upside-down cake:
115g softened unsalted butter, plus additional to grease the pan
3 large, ripe peaches
130g all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cardamom
150g caster sugar
3 large eggs
Crème fraîche, to garnish

First, prepare the caramel. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the water and sugar and stir briefly to combine. Heat over medium-high heat. Once the sugar has fully dissolved and the mixture starts to bubble, refrain from stirring further, though it’s fine to gently swirl the pan (or, using a wet pastry brush, brush down the sides to incorporate any errant sugar crystals).

Let the mixture boil for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until its colour darkens to a deep amber. Once it begins to darken, keep a close eye on it, as the caramelisation will happen very quickly. When it is dark amber, immediately remove from the heat. Add the cream in a slow but steady stream, whisking rapidly to incorporate it. The mixture will bubble
up when the cream is first added, so be careful to avoid burns.

When the cream is fully incorporated and the caramel is smooth, return the pot to low heat. Add the miso, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. To make the cake, first grease a 9-inch cake pan with butter (I used a spring-form pan). Cut a round of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan, and grease that, too. Halve and pit your peaches (don’t worry about peeling them), and slice into ½-inch segments. Starting from the centre of your cake pan, begin an
overlapping, radial design, laying the peaches in a spiral shape until they cover the entire base of the pan. Pour half of your miso caramel mixture over the peaches, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and cardamom. Set aside. In a second medium bowl, cream together the softened butter and caster sugar for 4-5 minutes, or until light yellow and fluffy. Add one egg and beat into the mixture until fully incorporated, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl; repeat with the two remaining eggs. Next, add your sifted flour mixture and, with a wooden spoon, stir together until the batter is just incorporated.

Pour the batter over the peach mixture and spread to the edges of the pan, being careful not to disturb the peach layer. Set the cake pan on a tray and place in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake layer has risen and is nicely golden.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes on a cooling rack. If using a spring-form pan, release and remove the sides; if not, use a knife to gently separate the cake from the sides of the pan. Place a large serving plate over the cake pan and, using the cooling rack, carefully flip the cake onto the plate. Remove the pan and the parchment paper, and return any peach slices that may have dislodged.

To serve, pour over the remaining miso caramel and garnish each slice with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and an all-around lover of tasty things. Follow her on Twitter at @clairembullen, and pick up a can of Evil Twin Sumo In A Sidecar in store on online.

Fundamentals #11: Wild Beer Co. Rooting Around Summer BA Wild Ale

I sincerely hope you made it down to the Beavertown Extravaganza this past weekend. From where I was standing it not only felt like a special event in its own right, but a little like the UK beer scene was levelling up. It was far from a new concept in terms of a modern beer festival but both its size and the depth and breadth of the breweries pouring beer made it feel like the stakes really have been raised.

At the back of the venue my colleagues from Good Beer Hunting and I hosted a series of panel discussions over both days of the festival. One of my personal highlights was hosting Mark Tranter of Burning Sky, Averie Swanson of Jester King and bona fide cider legend Tom Oliver for a discussion about terroir in modern brewing and cider making.

Terroir is a tricky subject to get your head around when you’re talking about beer. The French word, literally meaning “of the earth” when translated, is used in winemaking to describe the sense of place imbued into vines and then grapes, giving wine a unique sense of character derived from where its grown and made. As many winemakers produce their grapes and make their wine in the same place, then aligning it with the concept of terroir is simple enough. However if a brewer is importing hops from the US, using malt from all over the UK and Europe and buying yeast from a lab in Denmark then how is beer able to share the same concept?

The answer is in beer that uses ingredients from the local environment that might be a little less obvious. That could be the wild yeasts and bacteria that inhabit the air itself, or between the grains of an oak barrel. It could be foraged ingredients taken from the land around the brewery.

In Rooting Around Summer, a tartly effervescent barrel aged sour beer from Somerset’s The Wild Beer Company, all are used to imbue a this beer with its own sense of terroir.

There’s a floral honeysuckle meets lavender note on the nose along with a faint scent of freshly zested lemon. To taste there’s a battery acid shock of lemon juice acidity, with a touch of crushed grain, leading to a bright and dry finish. If you love your sours then you will be all over this beer, if you don’t then don’t let the shock of tart flavours put you off as your palate should calibrate itself after a few sips.

Beer might not have its own terroir in the winemaking sense – however a beer like this and many others are certainly taking advantage of natural flora to add a touch of local flavour, which is fundamental to how these beers come into being.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog Total Ales, Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up a bottle of Rooting Around Summer in store or online while stocks last.

We are officially a Living Wage employer


It's only taken us two and a bit years, but we've finally got around to getting ourselves accredited as a Living Wage employer.

We've been paying over and above the London Living Wage since we first hired staff (the lovely Lewis and Craig back in early 2015) but, with one thing or another, put off doing the paperwork to make it official. We're proud to announce that today we have received our accreditation.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually, calculated according to the real costs of living. It is significantly higher than the statutory minimum wage.  Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis.

Paying fairly forms part of our wider commitment to being an ethical business in all we do. Our staff are fantastic and they contribute a huge amount to what makes HB&B special! Cheers guys :)

What to drink on World Salami Day

Beer is ace, but it’s even better when accompanied by some perfectly paired food. Behind our counter (and on our online shop) you’ll always find the full range of craft meat snacks from Serious Pig.

Like many of the best ideas, Serious Pig was dreamed up over a beer and the Serious Pig range (all made from high-welfare, outdoor-bred British pork) continues to be the ideal accompaniment to a brew.

In honour of World Salami Day today (yes, this is actually a thing), we decided to don our tasting robes and get a bit serious ourselves to find the perfect matches for Serious Pig’s two delicious salamis. We’ve even bundled them up into a special snack pack - head here to get both Serious Pig salamis and four perfectly matched beers at a great price.

Snacking Salami Classic does what it says on the tin - a classic, lightly spiced pork salami with a lingering peppery kick. Try it with:

  • A toasty black IPA, such as Beavertown’s marvellous Black Betty (bam-ba-lam). The dark malt provides a touch of roastiness without dialling up the bitterness, and a touch of aniseed works amazingly alongside the salami spices.
  • A gueuze, a funky Belgian sour beer. Boon Gueuze is a classic of this style, or go top shelf with Gueuze Tilquin (available in-store only).
  • A Belgian-style tripel - the smooth, mildly spicy taste of a tripel is a godsend for food. We love Moa St Joseph’s Tripel from New Zealand, a complex drop with caramel and banana esters.
  • A coffee porter or stout. Buxton and Stillwater have just released their latest collaboration, the incredible Subluminal Imperial Stout with Coffee, which is one to reward yourself with.

Snacking Salami Chilli and Paprika steps it up a little, with delicious garlic flavours, smoky paprika and a stronger hit of chilli. The additional spices means it can hold its own with even bolder beer styles. Try it with:

  • A West Coast-style IPA. Magic Rock Cannonball brings together big, resinous US hops with a beautifully balanced malt bill.
  • A doppelbock, an extra-strong German lager with big malty sweetness. With Oktoberfest coming up, you’ll find more of these styles appearing in bars and bottle shops. Look out for Ratebeer’s best doppelbock on the planet, Ayinger Celebrator, while stocks last. It's hitting the shop this week.
  • A spicy saison. Saison Dupont from Belgium is crisp, dry, fruity and peppery, and is the saison to which all other saisons aspire.
  • A rye IPA. Beavertown 8 Ball is a great example of the style - it doesn’t skimp on the hops but boosts the malt sweetness, with the addition of rye giving a lovely earthiness which works perfectly with the spice of the salami.

The HB&B Guide to the ultimate beery/foodie minibreak in Portugal - Part 2: Lisbon

Over the past couple of years, Lisbon has come up from behind to steal the trophy from Barcelona and San Sebastian as foodie destination du jour (or, more appropriately, do dia). We thought we had better find out what all the fuss was about and can confirm the rumours are true - Lisbon is a fantastic city in which to live the good life*. Here's how to make the most of it, HB&B style. (See here for the first part of this series, our guide to Porto.)

One of the best tips we received was to avoid Trip Advisor reviews, which are skewed by idiot tourists, and instead look towards Zomato if you want a sense of what the locals think. This - along with our fail-safe tip of finding the first good bar and sitting down with the bartender to pick their brains - ensured we were able to jam an insane amount of good times into just a few short days. (For the TL;DR version, head to our Google Map, where we've listed all the places we went - the green pins - as well as all the ones that were recommended to us but didn't find time to visit.)

We based ourselves in the treacherously steep lanes of the Bica district that are the heart of Lisbon's nightlife, from where we could walk pretty much anywhere. We were on a three-way mission - find beer, find tinned fish, find views and sunshine. Oh, and pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts). Make that four-way.

We've always been fans of tinned fish but this trip helped to turn this love into yet another obsession. We took a tip from Richard Ayoade and headed to Sol e Pesca for our first Lisbon lunch. Sol e Pesca is probably the best known of the various tinned fish spots in town (and thus brings the tourists with it). There's a huge range of seafood to choose from, the gloriously colourful tins displayed in museum-style glass cases. You can eat in, accompanied by bread and that ubiquitous Super Bock (be prepared to wait for service), or take home. 

The tinned fish mecca, however, is Conserveira de Lisboa. Around for nearly 90 years and passed down through three generations, this wonderfully old school shop is an inspiration to shopkeepers like us. It stocks more than 130 varieties of tinned fish (though only around half of these are in stock at any one time due to seasonality), and importantly, they have a strong emphasis on sustainability. They work closely with biologists and their suppliers to ensure they only sell fish from sustainable stocks.

You'll also find tinned fish stands at the Time Out Market and the infinitely more interesting (and cheaper) Mercato Campo de Ourique a bit further out of town. And if somehow you miss out during your stay, you can even stock up at the airport on the way home.

Right. Beer. Our first port of call was Duque Brewpub. (On the way we had a beer at Lisbon's oldest bar, Cervejaria Trindade, but you could afford to give this place a miss - both beer and ambience were decidedly average.)

Duque feels a lot like a London taproom - small and intimate, frequented by locals and beer tourists alike. It's got a warm, friendly vibe, especially on a summer evening with all tables full inside and out. There's a 10-tap draught selection featuring local brews and a small fridge of bottled beers. However, the beer selection felt a little familiar after what we'd encountered in Porto - once again the Passarola beers stood out - so we enjoyed a couple of halves and moved on.

Showroom Trindade is a new venture, a cocktail and beer bar that's tucked away in the basement of a theatre on Rua Nova de Trindade. It's run by the charming Alexander, an ex-pat Brazilian who really knows and loves beer - as evidenced by his selection, without a doubt the best in town. When we were there, Alexander had arranged a Brewdog tap takeover and had three large fridges stocked full of fresh Mikkeller and other top shelf treats. He takes beer seriously and has invested in cold storage, something that's yet to become common in Portugal. The vibe might be more nightclub than many beer lovers are used to, but we hope he does well - he deserves it.

(One of Alexander's many great tips was to head back down towards Duque Brewpub to Oficina do Duque for dinner, where we enjoyed one of the best meals of recent times. We'll forgive the translation error, which saw me order tuna under the guise of "Atlantic mackerel", because goddamn, that tuna was incredible. Go!)

Elsewhere for beer, Cerveteca LIsboa is a craft beer bar/shop that offers a great Portuguese tap list and decent bottle selection, including some nice Belgians as well as a few UK stars such as Magic Rock and The Kernel. It's a little further away from the action but well worth the walk. 

And if you're visiting Castelo de São Jorge, you'll want to stop into Lisbeer on the way up or down - again, a decent tap and bottle selection. Yet again, Passarola was the winner - try their Chindogu IPA.

Sadly we arrived a couple of hours too early to experience Quimera Brewpub (via a long, rambling and highly enjoyable walk from the 'Cemetery of Pleasures' to LX Market) and ran out of time to make it to Dois Corvos Cervejeira. 


For views and sunshine, seek out Rio Maravilha in the hipster enclave LX Market. We ate in the restaurant (which was fantastic), but you can also get drinks and small plates on the terrace and rooftop, which offers stunning views of the 25 de Abril Bridge and across the river.

It's also worth heading to The Park - a bar, like Frank's in Peckham, that has colonised the rooftop of a central city carpark - but only stay for one drink. The views are great, but the beer is Bock (and prices are elevated accordingly). The restaurant Ponte Final on the other side of the river also came highly recommended for seafood and views back cross the Tagus towards the city - alas we ran out of time to make it here.

As for pasteis de nata... Eat them! Eat them every day! All the time! As often as you can! Pasteis de Belem gets all the attention but it's a fair way out of town and there are places more convenient for hungover breakfast hunters. At Manteigaria, in the Barrio Alto, you can watch the bakers doing their thing while you eat the still-warm results and enjoy a much-needed coffee. They also have an outlet at the Time Out Market.

Finally, the best thing about Portugal for boozehounds like us is the proliferation of top-class neighbourhood drinking establishments. There's no shortage of places to slake your thirst and every night is cause for celebration in Lisbon. 

We loved Garrafeira Alfaia, a fantastically friendly, knowledgeable wine bar that's just a hop and a skip from Duque Brewpub. It's also well worth devoting at least one evening to a late-night stagger from bar to bar in the Bica district, drinking on the street with newly made friends until the early hours. Our home away from home became Bar Ironic, tucked away at the bottom of Rua das Flores (one of Lisbon's quintessentially steep, scenic streets), drinking port, or cocktails, or one of the host's special homemade liqueurs.

So much good stuff... we could easily fill another 3,000 words but you're better off going than reading. 

* A little note: While Lisbon is by and large a wonderfully warm and welcoming city, be prepared to potentially be seen by some as hostile invaders. There's a growing backlash to the tourism boom from locals, who - somewhat understandably - look at the issues faced by the likes of Venice and Barcelona and fear for their future. They see the growing tourist market as contributing to housing issues (thanks to Airbnb sucking up a lot of inner-city apartment stock) and the ever-increasing numbers of visitors impacting on the quality of local life. At the end of the day, it's probably not rocket science - don't make like the package holiday hordes, the Instagram idiots or those ignorant types that shit on the lawns of the Louvre, but be respectful and take the time to get involved in the local culture rather than stampeding through the town with your selfie stick. Hopefully Lisbon can take steps to avoid the worst issues faced by its holiday hotspot counterparts before it creates a monster.

HB&B Sub Club - our July and August boxes revealed

Our All Killer No Filler HB&B Sub Club boxes just keep getting better. Check out the most recent boxes below and then get yourself over to the shop to join the club...




The Beer Lover’s Kitchen: Girolle and Truffle Cacio e Pepe and Magic Rock Cannonball IPA

At a recent dinner, I encountered one of the more memorable food and beer pairings I’ve had in recent months. A plate of tagliatelle, covered in pencil shaving-sized flakes of truffle and a snowfall of Parmigiano, was served alongside two malt-driven, West Coast IPAs.

On paper, the combination sounded strange, if not off-putting. But the way the caramel sweetness of the malt tangled with the umami of the pasta was a thrill. Instead of being adversarial, the two drew out the other’s best attributes: savoury and sweet, unctuous and bitter, rich on the plate and full-bodied in the glass.

I decided to try the combination for myself - but with cacio e pepe. Cacio e pepe is having a moment. It helps that this Roman pasta dish - with its simple sauce of olive oil, Pecorino Romano, and copious quantities of black pepper, all bound together by starch-rich pasta water - takes roughly 15 minutes to make. Restaurants like Padella are also heightening its popularity; their toothsome version remains one of London’s most popular pasta dishes.

In tribute to the dying days of summer, I opted to add honey-coloured girolle mushrooms and oil infused with white truffles to my take on cacio e pepe. At the risk of alienating the purists (or gilding the lily), I think it’s a subtly decadent twist on the classic, which imbues it with a hearty base note of umami. To finish it off, a sprinkle of aniseed-bright tarragon imparts an enlivening freshness.

After a long, hazy tsunami of New England-style IPAs, it feels refreshing to return to the West Coast IPA, and its resin, bitterness, and caramel sweetness. Magic Rock's Cannonball is a tried-and- true take on the style, a token from California by way of Huddersfield.

On its own, the beer has a bracing intensity, but the cacio e pepe highlights its sticky marmalade and apricot notes, sweetening and softening it. Its residual bitterness, meanwhile, manages to cut through the orgy of cheese and butter and oil, sharpening the craving for the next mouthful. As far as surprising pairings go, this one is a keeper.

Girolle and Truffle Cacio e Pepe
Serves 2-3

200g girolles
2 tbs olive oil
3 tbs white truffle-infused olive oil, divided
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
250g linguine
Sea salt, to taste
40g unsalted butter
50g finely grated
Pecorino Romano (preferably with a Microplane grater)
10g tarragon, roughly chopped

First, clean the girolles. In lieu of washing them with water—which will cause them to go all soft and spongy—use a pastry brush (or unused toothbrush) to carefully brush off all the dirt, focusing especially on the gills. This process will prevent them from being gritty when cooked.

Set a kettle on to boil. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium- high heat. When hot, add the mushrooms. Cook, tossing the girolles every now and then, for roughly five minutes. Season lightly with sea salt before taking the pan off the heat; remove the girolles from the pan and set aside.

Fill a medium saucepan with boiling water and add a small pinch of sea salt. Add the linguine and cook according to package instructions, or until al dente (I cooked mine for nine minutes; it’s usually a good idea to undercook by one minute from what the package suggests).

As the pasta cooks, add 2 tbs of white truffle-infused olive oil to the same frying pan you used for the girolles, and grind in your black pepper. Heat over medium-low heat for one minute, or just until the mixture starts to warm and become very fragrant. Remove from the heat.

Once the pasta is al dente, drain, being sure to save a large bowl full of the starchy cooking water. Add a good splash—approximately 4-5 tablespoons—to the frying pan with the truffle oil and pepper mixture. Add the butter to the frying pan next, stirring as it melts. Once the butter has melted, add in the cooked linguine, the grated Pecorino Romano, and the remaining 1 tbs white truffle oil. Toss vigorously with tongs or a fork for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the sauce comes together. Your sauce should appear creamy and smooth, and should coat each strand of linguine. You may need to add several more tablespoons of pasta water to achieve the desired consistency.

Serve immediately. Divide the cacio e pepe between plates, and garnish with the tarragon. Top with additional black pepper and grated Pecorino Romano as desired.

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 Magic Rock Cannonball all year round in store or at our online shop


Introducing HB&B Good Times Online Rewards


We're really excited to launch our new online loyalty programme - HB&B Good Times Online Rewards.

Good Times Online Rewards gives you a whole host of easy ways to earn points when you shop with us online, which you can then spend with us online. Just look out for the Earn Rewards tab in the bottom right corner of all of our online shop pages - click on this to find out how you can see how to earn points and what to spend them on.

You'll get 20 points just for starting an account and earn one point for every pound you spend with us online. You can earn extra points by referring a friend or following us on social media, and we'll even give you 25% off on your birthday!

If you've set up an online account with us previously, you're all sorted and will start earning points from now. If you haven't, head here to get set up (or to check your status).


What's the difference between HB&B Beer Miles and Online Rewards?
HB&B Beer Miles is our in-store loyalty scheme that we've been running almost since day one. It's a very simple programme that sees you earn Miles with every purchase and spend them whenever you like. Unfortunately an annoying and insurmountable software bug means that we can't extend Beer Miles to online purchases - which is why we've introduced Online Rewards.

To say thanks for shopping with us, we're offering to transfer some points, based on your most recent online purchases, to your Online Rewards account. HOWEVER: you will need to have an online account to take advantage of this, so if you haven't already, make sure you get one set up by 22nd September (a month from today) when we'll do the big transfer. Head here to check your status and/or get sorted.

Can I use my Online Rewards as Beer Miles in store?
Alas no - the systems still aren't talking to each other (at least for the foreseeable future). This means you'll need to earn and spend your Online Rewards online and your Beer Miles in store.

I've got more questions!
You'll find a full list of FAQs on the Earn Rewards tab on the online shop. If you still have questions, drop us a line here. As this is a brand new system for us, we're really keen to hear what you think, especially if anything doesn't look quite right!

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.

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.

Head here for Part 2 - our Lisbon guide...

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