HB&B Blog — Fundamentals

Fundamentals #90 — Glasshouse Poetic Differences Pale Ale

Birmingham Fundamentals Glasshouse Beer Co Matthew Curtis Pale ale

Fundamentals #90 — Glasshouse Poetic Differences Pale Ale

There’s an idea among the biggest multinational brewers that to be “craft” is to ensure part of your offering is a hazy, hoppy beer with little or no bitterness, brewed to a sensible ABV. This kind of thing is the mainstay of most small independent breweries, so the idea from the giants is if they do it well enough, and make it readily available and affordable, then there will be no need for the placated drinker to look further afield for something a little different. However, for me there’s something of a naivety to this plan. Because, sure, you can...

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Fundamentals #89— Queer Brewing Existence As A Radical Act Pale Ale

Fundamentals Lily Waite Matthew Curtis Pale ale Queer Brewing

Fundamentals #89— Queer Brewing Existence As A Radical Act Pale Ale

I was recently asked how I stay objective when I write about beer,  and the short answer is: I don’t. Or, to be more accurate, I can’t. Beer is my life and a source of great joy. If a certain beer or brewery makes me feel emotional, then I won’t block that in pursuit of balance and fairness – I will let it wash over me and channel it through sincerity. If a beer ignites great joy, then I want to share that in its rawest, most tangible form. That’s what beer is all about for me. But today’s review pushes this way of thinking...

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Fundamentals #88 — St Mars of the Desert Old School Quality West Coast IPA

Fundamentals IPA Matthew Curtis Sheffield St Mars of the Desert

Fundamentals #88 — St Mars of the Desert Old School Quality West Coast IPA

If you’re really into beer and Online All The Time like I am, you’ll be aware that we’re now at the stage of the current West Coast IPA discourse where people are now complaining about the West Coast IPA discourse. If you’re not, let me explain it to you: People really missed West Coast IPAs (by which I mean dry, bitter, malty, citrusy, crystal-clear delights in the 7%-ish region) and said so. Brewers then started making them again with aplomb, and now when someone says that they miss West Coast IPA, you can’t bet your bottom dollar someone will come along...

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FUNDAMENTALS #87 — RedWillow Weightless Strata Session IPA

Fundamentals Macclesfield Matthew Curtis RedWillow Session IPA

FUNDAMENTALS #87 — RedWillow Weightless Strata Session IPA

There is a tendency when a new hop variety becomes available commercially to present it to the drinker in its most extreme form; to express the characteristics of this particular hop flowers’ oils and acids as vividly as possible, so as to demonstrate its potency. Case in point – when the latest variety, Talus (formerly known as HBC 692), became available, its distributor Yakima Chief Hops sent me a range of beers demonstrating its prowess. What followed was a battery assault to the senses in the form of a range of double dry-hopped double IPAs. SLAM, there’s some coconut. BAM,...

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Fundamentals #86 - Futtle Organic Saison with Hogweed Seeds

Fundamentals Futtle Matthew Curtis Saison Scotland

Fundamentals #86 - Futtle Organic Saison with Hogweed Seeds

So aghast was Peter Gabriel – well known vocalist, and unlikely amateur botanist, in 70s beat combo Genesis – at the prevalence of Giant Hogweed in the United Kingdom, he wrote a song expressing these fears. Appearing on 1971’s Nursery Cryme, Gabriel spends 8 mins 9 secs regaling his anguish at humanity’s downfall due to the aggression of this wicked and pernicious weed. During the band’s extravagant live shows of the era, he’d even go as far as to dress as a Giant Hogweed while the band performed the song (which, among other things, is a Phil Collins masterclass in...

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