HB&B Blog

Fundamentals #115 — Utopian Doppelbock Strong Lager

Dark Lager Devon Doppelbock Fundamentals Lager Matthew Curtis Utopian

Fundamentals #115 — Utopian Doppelbock Strong Lager

For the last few years, beer folks like myself – assorted writers, bloggers, podcasters and influencers, not to mention retailers like HB&B – have been trying to make lager happen. When craft beer came along (and by “craft beer”, I mean the most recent, post-2000s wave), some breweries were adamant that drinking lager meant you were a bad person. I won’t repeat some of the blurb churned out by these breweries during these times, but over the years I’ve come to realise that actually, this was inappropriate, and downright classist. Lager is great, all lagers are valid and, as a genre,...

Read more →


Wine & Food Killers: Burrata and Mortadella Sandwiches with Pistachio Pesto and Podere Pradarolo Indocilis Rosso 2020

Claire Bullen Italy Natural wine Natural Wine Killers Red wine Sparkling wine

Wine & Food Killers: Burrata and Mortadella Sandwiches with Pistachio Pesto and Podere Pradarolo Indocilis Rosso 2020

Some of the very best things are simple. Sun on a winter morning after weeks of rain. A well-made cup of coffee, served at exactly the right temperature. Dinner with good friends. And a glass of well-made sparkling red wine, with all the richness of its hue and all the levity of high carbonation. Podere Pradarolo’s Indocilis Rosso is just such a wine. Hailing from near Parma in Emilia Romagna, this vino rosso frizzante looks almost like a kriek when it’s poured, glugging into the glass with a big souffle of pink foam before eventually settling down into hissing merriment. It is made from 100% Barbera...

Read more →


Fundamentals #114 – Howling Hops System Auto DDH Pale Ale

Fundamentals Howling Hops London Matthew Curtis Pale ale

Fundamentals #114 – Howling Hops System Auto DDH Pale Ale

One of the greatest things about relocating to the northwest of England has been the shift in perspective it’s given me.  As a former Londoner of 15 years, my time there shaped my view of the UK, and that includes its beer culture. It’s fair to say that being immersed in the explosion of London breweries that emerged over the past decade (increasing from just 10 to over 140 in that time) gave me plenty to be excited about. Dare I say it, I might have even been a little biased towards beer in the capital as a result. Living in...

Read more →


The Beer Lover's Table: Gorgonzola Risotto with Caramelised Shallots and Radicchio and Elusive Brewing Sunset City American Barley Wine

Barley Wine Beer Lover's Table Claire Bullen Elusive Brewing

The Beer Lover's Table: Gorgonzola Risotto with Caramelised Shallots and Radicchio and Elusive Brewing Sunset City American Barley Wine

Compared with the abundance of summer, February's menu can seem mean, lacking. It is the season of hardened root vegetables, unyielding and caked with earth. All those parsnips and swedes rolling around in barren larders. It is the season of the leek, my least-favourite allium. But if February has a saving grace, it is radicchio. Phoenician-purple or dusty rose, feathered or curled into tight fingers, radicchio is deeply bitter – the way that February’s chill used to be – though it mellows when caramelised with butter and a splash of balsamic vinegar. I liked Natoora’s recent suggestion that we all gift bouquets...

Read more →


Fundamentals #113 – Fierce x New Zealand Beer Collective Hokey Pokey Stout

Fierce Beer Fundamentals Matthew Curtis New Zealand Stout

Fundamentals #113 – Fierce x New Zealand Beer Collective Hokey Pokey Stout

I’m someone you could describe as being highly Kiwi-adjacent. My partner of the past 13 years is a proud New Zealander, and HB&B supremos Jen and Glenn also hail from there, for whom I’ve been writing this beer column for almost seven years! This has given me a deep affection for Aotearoa New Zealand, and I’ve been lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time there. It is – as you might expect if you’ve ever tasted a beer made using NZ hops – home to a hugely exciting beer scene, particularly in its larger cities such as Auckland and...

Read more →