Hop Burns & Black

A year of All Killer No Filler

Today marks one whole year since we launched our #HBBSubClub All Killer No Filler beer subscription boxes. Whoop!

We're not going to be bashful - these are, hands down, the best subscription boxes out there. Tell us we're wrong!

We have so much fun each month choosing our favourite beers to include in the selection, then whisking them up to our fantastic beer and food writers, Matthew Curtis and Claire Bullen, to create their magic with brews news you can use - Claire's wonderful beer and food pairings and recipes and Matt's Fundamentals columns.

If you're not on board yet, we've got a couple of places available for the April box. Whet your appetite by seeing what the last two months' boxes have included and head here to get on board.

The Beer Lover’s Table: Chinese-Caribbean Wings and Elusive x Hop Burns & Black Aztec Challenge Smoked Chilli Porter

Wings are, in many ways, the perfect food. Crispy and juicy when done right, they offer the messy, almost carnal satisfaction of eating with your hands, of failing to care that your face is smeared with sauce and grease. Not a pretty experience, and all the better for it.

Much as I love classic Buffalo wings, I wanted to serve a different iteration alongside Elusive Brewing and Hop Burns & Black’s collaboration smoked porter, Aztec Challenge. Brewed with smoked cherry wood malt, pequin chiles, and scotch bonnet peppers, its kindled heat is tempered by a rich, almost sticky sweetness.

These wings respond in turn. Their sauce riffs on a Sam Sifton recipe for baked Trini-Chinese chicken, and combines Caribbean flavours - potent scotch bonnet hot sauce, the brightness of lime juice - with Chinese ingredients like oyster sauce, soya sauce, and anise-scented five-spice powder.

The wings themselves, made using J. Kenji López-Alt’s tried-and- true double-fry method, are shatteringly crisp underneath that slick of sauce. Sweet, spicy, and umami-laced, they’re just what this beer deserves.

Chinese-Caribbean Wings
Serves two as an appetiser, one as a main

For the wings:
1.5 litres rapeseed oil
500g chicken wings, the juiciest and fattest you can find, cut into flats and drumettes (tips removed)

For the sauce:
10g butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, minced
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
3 tbs oyster sauce
1 tbs dark brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbs soya sauce
2 tsp scotch bonnet-based hot sauce (try Dalston Chillis' version)
1 spring onion, white parts discarded, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

You’ll be frying the wings twice; for the first fry, add the oil and prepared wings to a deep, heavy-bottomed pan and place over medium-high heat. Use an instant-read thermometer to monitor the temperature; you’ll want to raise the heat to between 107-121 degrees C. Cook the wings, stirring and flipping occasionally, until tender and just cooked through, but not golden on the outside, roughly 15-20 minutes.

Remove with tongs or a spider-style strainer to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack and lined with paper towels. Let rest an hour at room temperature or covered in the fridge overnight.

When ready to do your second fry, heat the oil to 205 degrees C and remove your chicken from the fridge. While it’s heating up, prep the sauce: place a small saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, add the garlic and ginger and stir frequently until the raw flavour and aroma has dissipated and the mixture is starting to brown, 3-5 minutes. Next, add the five-spice powder and stir quickly to toast before adding the oyster sauce, dark brown sugar, lime juice, soya sauce, and hot sauce. Turn heat to low and cook until just warmed through, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Once the oil is at temperature, carefully add the chicken pieces with tongs to avoid splattering. Stir to make sure they’re not sticking to each other or the bottom of the pot. Cook, keeping the oil temperature ideally between 190-200 degrees (it will drop when the wings are added) for roughly 10 minutes, or until the wings are crispy and golden. Remove from the oil to the wire rack and let rest for a moment.

Pour your sauce into a large bowl and add the wings. Toss well until all pieces are well coated. Serve in a bowl, topped with sliced spring onion and toasted sesame seeds.

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 our Elusive collab Aztec Challenge while you can.

Hop Burns & Bottle Share with Paul Jones of Cloudwater Brew Co

We were privileged to travel to Manchester last month to brew with one of the very best breweries in the world, Cloudwater Brew Co. It was a fantastic experience - the people behind the beer are as top-notch as the beer they produce - and we especially enjoyed the chance to spend time with Cloudwater's charismatic co-founder Paul Jones.

We knew there was a lot more we wanted to discuss, so what better way to hear more than at one of our infamous Bottle Shares? As is customary, we asked Paul to nominate some of his all-time favourite beers to share with the crowd, and this time we had the added bonus of Paul selecting a piece of music to match each beer.

You'll find Paul's pairings below, which gave way to much robust discussion. We were keen to hear more about Paul's thoughts on freshness, the changing UK palate, the art of label design and of course the future for Cloudwater. Also, don't tell anyone, but Paul sees himself as more of a wine man than a beer lover - shhhh...

Luckily we recorded it all so stay tuned for the first episode of our new beer and music podcast, Rock The Mashtun, coming your way shortly.

Huge props to our guests too, who brought along one of the finest selections of share beers seen to date - everything from super-fresh Treehouse cans to Cantillon, Lost Abbey, The Bruery, Garage Project and more. Usually we write them all down but the challenge proved too vast this time!

Paul's pairings

1. Water: Tegernseer Hell 4.8% with Benjamin Britten, Four Sea Interludes from 'Peter Grimes', 1: Dawn 

2. Malt: Kernel Imperial Brown Stout 9.3% with D'Angelo, Chicken Grease

3. Hops: Cloudwater x Hop Burns & Black HOP DDH NZ Pale 5.6% with David Bowie, Let's Dance

4. Yeast: Schneider Weisse Aventinus Vintage 2013 Wheat Doppelbock 8.2% with Steve Reich & Pat Metheny, Electric Counterpart - (Fast Movement - Part 3)

5. Wood: Cloudwater Speyside BA Imperial Chocolate Stout 12% with Jimi Hendrix, All Along The Watchtower

Good things come in threes

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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.

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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...

July

 

August

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