HB&B Blog — Matthew Curtis

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...

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Fundamentals #91 - Villages Big Salad New England IPA

Deptford IPA Matthew Curtis SE London Villages

Fundamentals #91 - Villages Big Salad New England IPA

I miss brewery taprooms. I might be a pub creature at heart – someone that longs for a warm, dimly lit space, perhaps sat bellied up to the bar on a high stool, or tucked away in a quiet booth, shielded from the bustle of daily life. But taprooms have a special quality too. They aren’t pubs, but they are just as wonderful at bringing us together. Drinking this new IPA, Big Salad, from Villages, in Deptford, South London, instantly transported me back to the brewery’s own taproom. Like so many in London, it’s nestled underneath a railway arch. It’s...

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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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