HB&B Blog — Lager

Fundamentals #92 — Lost and Grounded Helles

Bristol Fundamentals Helles Lager Lost & Grounded Matthew Curtis

Fundamentals #92 — Lost and Grounded Helles

Malt is a too-often under-appreciated ingredient in our favourite beers. More often than not hops will take centre stage, even for beers with far more complex grain-bills than they have hop additions (Black IPA, anyone?). Yeast too can often pull the rug from under it, especially in wild and sour beers, and more recently in the brewing world’s obsession with Kveik, a wide range of farmhouse yeasts indigenous to Norway that are now conveniently available to the modern brewer in packet form. When this column began a few years ago, we decided to call it Fundamentals because we wanted it...

Read more →


The Beer Lover's Table: Cheeseburger Tacos and Beak Brewery Déšt Pilsner

Beer Lover's Table Claire Bullen Lager Pilsner The Beak Brewery

The Beer Lover's Table: Cheeseburger Tacos and Beak Brewery Déšt Pilsner

It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s gloomy and lockdown restrictions mean we’re all stuck in our homes even more than we otherwise would be at this time of year. In other words, the conditions are perfect for making cheeseburger tacos. Cheeseburger tacos might sound like some outlandish Taco Bell special, or the kind of stoner fare that would inspire Harold and Kumar to go on a night-long quest, but they weren’t dreamed up by craven fast food marketers or spat out by some unholy junk-food algorithm.  Instead, they were born in Mexico City. Later, chefs like Alex Stupak (of the now-shuttered...

Read more →


Fundamentals #85 — Utopian Brewing Černé Speciální Dark Lager

Dark lager Devon Fundamentals Lager Matthew Curtis Utopian

Fundamentals #85 — Utopian Brewing Černé Speciální Dark Lager

As soon as lockdown is over I’m booking tickets to Prague and spending a couple of days absorbing as much světlý ležák as the Czech capital will allow. I’m fortunate in my life that I’ve been able to travel around much of Europe, but despite my love of travelling, I am an uneasy tourist. In all honesty, I’m a control freak, and being in an unfamiliar place leaves me at odds with myself, despite my inherent wanderlust. Prague, though, is different somehow. Although I’ve only been there a handful of times, it’s never taken me too long to settle in....

Read more →


Fundamentals #83 — Winkler Bräu Kupfer Spezial

Fundamentals Germany Lager Matthew Curtis Winkler

Fundamentals #83 — Winkler Bräu Kupfer Spezial

I hate surprises. More succinctly,  I hate being surprised. The nanoseconds of horror as your brain veers towards full panic while it quickly attempts to work out if these sudden, unexpected changes are to your benefit or detriment. I am a control freak, I like order and meticulously organised fun. This beer review is a short, rather dull story of how I accidentally played myself. When Jen from HB&B presented me with a list of interesting Franconian and Bavarian beers I’d never heard of, in a moment of haste I picked one with an odd name. Greif sounded tempting, I...

Read more →


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...

Read more →