HB&B Blog — Beer Lover's Table

The Beer Lover's Table: Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies and St Bernardus Christmas Ale

Beer Lover's Table Belgium Christmas Claire Bullen St Bernardus

The Beer Lover's Table: Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies and  St Bernardus Christmas Ale

There is no better December beer than St Bernardus Christmas Ale. Redolent of winter spices and dried fruit, this 10% quadrupel is well-suited to festive indulgence. It’s become such a cult favourite that, as I recently learned from fellow beer writer Eoghan Walsh, it’s even got its own themed Christmas jumper. (Santa, if you’re listening: Send me a medium?) Last year, I decided to take a page from Black Axe Mangal chef Lee Tiernan and pair St Bernardus Christmas Ale with deep-fried mince pies. But this year, I looked overseas for inspiration. In a normal December, I’d be hopping on...

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The Beer Lover's Table: Braised Duck and Barley Stew with Braybrooke Beer Co Harvest Festbier

Beer Lover's Table Braybrooke Claire Bullen Lager

The Beer Lover's Table: Braised Duck and Barley Stew with Braybrooke Beer Co Harvest Festbier

I had a relatively mild case of COVID-19 in March and, after losing my sense of smell, I found it has returned mostly intact… barring one or two peculiarities. The first is that certain hop varieties – as well as passionfruit, Sauvignon Blanc and figs – taste less sweetly musky now and more like savoury spices and sweaty onions. The second is that alcohol and solvents smell to me like fresh bread, which makes the regular hand sanitiser ritual surprisingly appealing. It also makes malt-driven beer styles taste like manna from heaven. As a result, I've stopped drinking quite so...

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The Beer Lover’s Table: Mediterranean Orzo with Prawns and Marinated Feta and St Bernardus Wit

Beer Lover's Table Claire Bullen St Bernardus Wheat Beer Witbier

The Beer Lover’s Table: Mediterranean Orzo with Prawns and Marinated Feta and St Bernardus Wit

Remember beaches? The faraway ones, I mean. The ones that took a train and an airport bus and an ungodly early budget flight to reach? Remember the hassle of it all? The too-full carry-on bags and the boarding passes that wouldn’t scan properly and the obligatory Prêt breakfasts? Remember finally arriving, dropping off your suitcases, heading out of your Airbnb or hotel and feeling the sun of somewhere else on your shoulders? Sure, it was the same sun as the one you had back home, but it never felt like it. I recall reading a tweet early in lockdown that...

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The Beer Lover's Table: Stone Fruit Spoon Cake and Schneider Aventinus Tap 6 Wheat Doppelbock

Beer Lover's Table Cake Claire Bullen Germany Schneider Weisse Wheat beer

The Beer Lover's Table: Stone Fruit Spoon Cake and Schneider Aventinus Tap 6 Wheat Doppelbock

I discovered Jerrelle Guy's recipe for strawberry spoon cake, published in NYT Cooking, several months back – just in time to bring it along to a friend's backyard pizza party when lockdown restrictions lifted. It's not an exaggeration to say that it has single-handedly changed the course of my summer. Everything about this cake encapsulates the dog days of August: it's consummately lazy, comes together in 20 minutes and requires ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen. This is a cake you could plausibly whip up on a whim if it's late in the evening and you decide...

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The Beer Lovers Table: Couscous Herb Salad with Marinated Halloumi and Newbarns Table Beer

Beer Lover's Table Claire Bullen Newbarns Pale ale Scotland Table beer

The Beer Lovers Table: Couscous Herb Salad with Marinated Halloumi and Newbarns Table Beer

If there's one thing the lockdown has been good for, it's been supporting small businesses. I may not be spending money on nights out, or fancy dinners, or weekend trips; instead, I'm ordering parcels of goodies to my front door. Hearing the buzzer go is now as exciting to me as it is to the average dog or three-year-old child – altogether, the stream of little boxes and packages feels like a long, drawn-out Christmas. One of the earliest treats I bought myself during lockdown was a mixed 12-case of beers from Newbarns Brewery, a brand-new brewery in Leith, Edinburgh founded by...

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