Dea Latis stages fifth annual beer and chocolate tasting

27 Mar

Dea Latis. Women in beer.

As part of its continuing quest to encourage more women to enjoy our national drink, industry group Dea Latis hosted its fifth annual beer and chocolate tasting on Tuesday.
Twenty guests gathered in the Clarence pub on Whitehall to taste six beers, each paired with a chocolate chosen to enhance the flavours in each. Expert guidance to the beer and chocolate matches was provided by Annabel Smith, beer sommelier and Dea Latis founder.
Smith said, “We regularly pair beer with a variety of foods, but the chocolate tasting is probably our most popular event. The fact that we’re staging this event for the fifth time reflects not only the strong appeal of sampling beer and chocolate together, but also the growing awareness of Dea Latis within the beer and pubs industry.”
The beers and chocolates tasted by guests at The Clarence were:
• Molson Coors Blue Moon (ABV 5.4%)with Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange
• Everards Tiger (ABV 4.2%) with Green & Black’s Butterscotch Milk Chocolate
• Thwaites Tavern Porter (ABV 4.7%) with chocolate cup cakes
• Shepherd Neame Generation Ale (ABV 9%) with Green & Black’s Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut & Raisins
• Adnams Sole Bay (ABV 10%) with Montezumas Peeling Amorous White Chocolate
• Liefman’s Kriek lambic cherry beer (ABV 4.2%) with Thornton’s Dark Chilli Chocolate

And the runaway winner chosen as the best match was the Liefman’s Kriek lambic cherry beer with Thornton’s Dark Chilli Chocolate.

 Beer and chocolate: the science behind a perfect match
Essentially, beer and chocolate share the same basic taste, which is a balance of bitterness – derived from the cocoa beans in chocolate, the hops in beer – and sweetness – from the chocolate’s sugar and the malted barley in beer. They also deliver a similar mouthfeel: the chocolate melts in the mouth, while the alcohol in beer creates a warming mouthfeel. So when they’re consumed together, the tastes and textures complement each other. Add to that the carbonation in beer, which cuts through the fattiness of the chocolate and you have a truly perfect match.

Live Beer Tasting on ITV’s “This Morning”

18 Mar

Annabel on the TV

Annabel Smith, Cask Marque Training Manager & Beer Sommelier talks about her appearance on ‘This Morning’ to talk about matching stouts and food for St Patrick’s Day.

The day before…

The call came through on a Tuesday afternoon, just less than a week before the event. Could I go on ITV’s This Morning programme to talk about stout on St Patrick’s day?

Of course I can, I said confidently to the researcher. I was told to keep a lid on it until the feature was definitely confirmed, but to get myself organised with some different stouts, and be prepared to be in London for 8am the following Monday.

Putting my thinking cap on, and knowing the beers were going to be sampled by females (Holly Willoughby and Christine Bleakley) I wanted to choose four unusual yet accessible stouts. So the first of numerous frantic phones call to the brewers.

I chose Wadworth Beer Kitchen Espresso Stout first. This was a beer I had first tasted when down in Devizes and I drank it with a sticky toffee pudding, and thought it was sublime. A real showstopper of a beer, perfect with puddings, and I paired it with Tiramisu.

Secondly, Marston’s offered up their Oyster Stout, a gorgeous silky smooth beer which blows Guinness out of the water any day. Their head brewer offered me a selection of food matches, the first of course being oysters. Now call me a wuss, but if there is one food I can’t stomach, it’s oysters. I’ve tried, and tried again, but the words of AA Gill the food critic always return to haunt me as I tip my head back to swallow the slimy molluscs: “Like sea flavoured snot”. Therefore the choices of goat’s cheese or Christmas pudding seemed infinitely more appealing. We settled on a rich fruit cake.

What do all women love? Chocolate. So I had to ask Wells and Young’s for some of their Double Chocolate Stout, made with real dark chocolate and chocolate essence. I wanted something to contrast with this luxurious decadent beer so chose fresh strawberries to highlight the sweetness of the beer. Strangely, the courier who was meant to deliver the beer to me two days before the show informed me that there had been a ‘terrible accident in the back of the transit van and all the bottles had been smashed’. There was no sign of the aforementioned smashed bottles, case or wrapping, so take your own conclusions from what happened to the beer, all I’ll say is it illustrates how much people want this beer. I sent the other half off down to Tesco to buy up their stock.

Finally, I wanted a really powerful strong Imperial Stout – as far removed from Guinness as you could get. Who else to turn to but a brewer in my home county, Black Sheep. They produced an 8.5% Russian Imperial Stout which in my opinion is so special is should be served in goblets, and blessed before you take a mouthful. To match flavour with flavour I picked a strong dark chocolate to go with this.

With my beers all packed up in a suitcase, and the feature given the green light, I started on myself. What to wear on St Patrick’s day? A green dress of course! So I hit the shops with 24 hours to go and returned with a bright green dress with daisies on. My other half took one look at it, wrinkled his nose, and said I looked like a cleaner come dinner lady. It went back in the bag, and I packed my trusty blue frock and a pair of heels I have worn only once before, as they take me to over six foot two. Hell, it’s TV, I’ve got to ramp up the glamour.

Then I had a massive crisis of confidence, thinking the trusty dress might make me look dowdy, so I packed 5 other dresses, just in case. And three pairs of shoes. Oo, and 4 pairs of tights in case of severe ladderage. The suitcase was now straining at the seams.

12 hours to go: style hair with care (not the usual mega nuclear blast with the hairdryer); paint nails and try to remember not to rake wet nails through newly styled hair; check and re-check train ticket and alarm clock.

The day arrives…

At 5.30am I’m on the train whizzing to London. Funnily enough, the bit I was most excited about was the fact the studio had arranged to send a car to pick me up from Kings Cross. Good job really as trying to get a suitcase full of bottles plus half my wardrobe on the tube at 8am on a Monday morning was a task I didn’t relish. Ah, a chauffeur driven car, I day dreamed on the train. A stretch limo maybe, with a uniformed driver, whisking me importantly through the streets of London.

“Smith?” bellowed a chap in a polo shirt standing next to a Prius as I emerged from Kings Cross station. Between us we wrestled the suitcase into the boot (a roof rack might have been more appropriate) and we hurtled towards the City. Well, ‘crawled’ is a better description in the Monday morning traffic.

Then we turned down an alley way. And another. Through a building site. And there, through a tiny entrance I saw a small sign saying “This Morning”. It looked like the entrance to a particularly dodgy underground car park. The driver left me in the hands of security who pointed me towards the back of a warehouse. I walked through corridors of props towards a sinister looking lift. It’s a set up, I thought. This is my punishment for once commenting I thought the world’s biggest selling lager tasted like Alka Seltzer.

The lift popped open and I was thrown into the world of high energy, buzzing television. Well, no not really. It was another corridor, and a lovely young man called Ollie greeted me and told me to get changed straight away. In a cupboard. I struggled into the blue dress, handed the suitcase full of beers over to Ollie, and was escorted into make up. The other two chairs in the room were occupied by two of the most staggeringly beautiful women I have ever seen (shiny blonde hair, skin positively glowing from a diet of lettuce and mangoes, you know the score). Throw a towel over my head now and be done with it, I thought. These girls must be models, presenters, real stars. No, there were there for a feature on facials. We all had an animated discussion about botox, and I nodded and laughed and took part even though it was clear from the lines on my forehead that a botox needle had never been near my face.

Next the rehearsals. In front of the cameras in the studio, a couple of researchers ran through my segment with me, then asked if we could do some shots to use as trailers throughout the programme. I had to stand behind the ‘counter’ and pour a bottle of stout into a glass whilst smiling into the camera. All good to go until the camera man said “Can you bend your knees love, you’re a bit too big to get you all in shot”. The humiliation.

And off to the Green Room. Two hours to wait until my slot so I got chatting to the people who came and went. Martyn Lewis – money saving expert! I’ve no money anyway so he wasn’t that much of an expert to me. Stephen Mulholland – Catchphrase host! (Didn’t speak to anyone so I felt like making up sign language to communicate with him). Kian Egan – winner of I’m a Celebrity and all round boyband member (sigh, so lovely. But very small compared to me in my heels). Oh, and Neil Morrisey passed in the corridor. “Oi, Morrisey”, I felt like yelling after him, “I failed your pub’s Cask Marque assessment five years ago, remember me?” Maybe not such a good idea.

The call came to go on air. At which point – and this is really really odd for me – I started to get the shakes. What if I knocked all the glasses over? What if words wouldn’t come out of my mouth? What if I fell over – or worse, knocked the pregnant Holly Willoughby to the ground?

Camera roll: funny how when you do a feature on beer, the whole studio turns out. Kian, Holly and Christine crowded round the beers, started talking about Guinness and I stared very hard into the middle distance whilst I tried to control the wobbly legs which were threatening to topple me.

So on with the beer tasting – and it went so fast! I managed to get the name of the brewer, the beer and where it was produced into each segment and then it was on to the next, then the next and before I knew it, Holly had a big plate of Chocolate Stout Cake in her hand and was asking me how to make it. Erm, not sure, never made a cake in my life but I waffled about how the addition of stout created a lovely chocolate-y flavour (if in doubt, blag it). I also had to talk through Macaroni Cheese made with Guinness which undoubtedly is the worst beer and food combination they could possibly have come up with, but brave Holly sampled it. I think the look on her face said it all, and we quickly moved onto the Stout Ice Cream, which was a hit.

Cue the music for a break. Holly kissed me. Christine kissed me. Kian kissed me (well, I forced one on him actually) and Ollie the researcher bundled me back into the cupboard to get changed back into my normal Annabel clothes.

Feeling slightly deflated I headed back to Kings Cross for the train back North. I bought a sandwich in Marks and Spencers and caught a chap looking at me. I smiled my best ‘personality’ smile thinking he might have recognised me from the programme. But no, he was just a weirdo.

Back to normality and my lovely life with Cask Marque.

The day is over.

To watch Annabel on ITV http://www.itv.com/thismorning/food/stout-drink-masterclass

Annabel Smith March 2014

Women: Beer is a libation for you to drink and brew too

6 Mar

Fellow Dea Latis enthusiast, beer sommelier, alcohol historian and blogger, Jane Peyton, has just had an article published in the Huffington Post and she has kindly allowed us to publish it here in time for International Women’s Day on 8th March – let’s say ‘cheers’ to that!

Here’s the irony – many women do not drink beer because they think it is masculine but of all alcoholic drinks beer has more female elements and connections than any other.  So, to celebrate International Women’s Day March 8, let’s raise a glass of something that our female ancestors invented.  Yes – women were the first brewers of beer.  For thousands of years women were the primary brewers and even today in parts of Africa and the South American rainforest where beer is made at home or on a communal village basis they still are.  In those societies men drink the beer but they have no role in its production.

No-one knows when beer was first brewed, or where but it was at least 9,000 years ago. Unconnected societies in the Amazon, Neolithic Chinese villages and settlements in the Middle East (what is now Iran and Iraq) brewed an alcoholic beverage made from whatever cereal was grown there. In the creation myths of many ancient cultures, beer was a gift to humanity from a woman or a goddess.   The major deities of beer are female – Ninkasi and Dea Latis are two of them. More practically, the yeast that ferments cereal or fruit sugars and creates alcohol reproduces asexually -its offspring are daughters, not sons.  And there is more.  Brewers use hops to contribute aromas, flavours, bitterness and as a natural preservative. It is the female part of the plant that is used in brewing, not the male. Hops are also a rich source of plant based female hormones (phytoestrogens) which is a partial reason why some beer drinking men have moobs and big bellies. Hops also act to suppress the male sexual drive and performance.  Brewers’ Droop exists!

Women who are put off beer believing they will grow a gut if they drink it should be aware of this fact.  Measure for measure beer has fewer calories than any other alcoholic drink.  A pint of typical pub beer at 4% alcohol by volume (ABV) is 190 calories.  A pint of wine (just more than 2 large glasses) is around 400 calories – more than twice the equivalent of the 4% ABV beer.  The calories in beer contain proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, no fat – and because they are fermented, those calories are four times more nutritious as beer than they are as barley in food.  It’s more likely to be a burger belly than a beer belly because unfortunately beer and salad do not go together as well as beer and pork scratchings.

Some women say they do not drink beer because it is bitter flavoured.  Women tend to be more sensitive to bitterness – most likely because of evolutionary factors.  Bitterness in nature is often a sign of danger so early nomadic societies where the women were out gathering food and test tasting it would avoid anything that was bitter.  Some beers are bitter, many are not.  Styles such as wheat beer, barley wine, imperial Russian stout often appeal to people who do not like bitterness.

In most countries the brewing industry is dominated by men. But there is nothing in the job of brewing that precludes women from doing it. Brewing is like cooking, but with bigger vessels and more washing up.  So any woman who enjoys devising or following recipes will find brewing satisfying indeed and the resulting beer makes people cheerful, and in moderation, is healthful.

On March 8th an international beer brewing celebration will take place when professional female brewers around the world all brew the same beer recipe on the same day.  Profits from the sale of Unite Pale Ale will be donated to charity.  The idea was the brainchild of Sophie de Ronde, head brewer at Brentwood Brewing Company in Essex and she persuaded dozens of her British counterparts and women in the USA, Italy Canada, Ireland, Israel, Australia and New Zealand to join in on the International Women’s Collaboration Brew as a way of enthusing women everywhere to drink beer or consider a career in brewing.

So lasses who are not already beer drinkers or brewers – come on let’s be having you!  Beer is a gender neutral drink that is a gift from nature to all humans. It is the world’s favourite alcoholic drink and women were central to beer from the beginning. Let’s be proud and acknowledge the role of women in something that brings so much joy, goodness and happy times.

Beer and chocolate tasting: 25th March, London

4 Mar

Date:               Tuesday 25th March

Time:              2.00 – 4.00 pm

Venue:            The Clarence, 53 Whitehall, London SW1A 2HP

We’re delighted to be staging our fifth annual Dea Latis Beer & Chocolate tasting. This time, we’re holding it central London and we hope many of you will be able to join us to taste two of our favourite things in life!

Once again, we’ll be tasting a number of chocolates with beers specially chosen to complement them, with guidance from beer sommelier Annabel Smith and other experts.

So whether you’re a lover of beer, or chocolate, or both, please join us for this enjoyable and informative event. Tickets, including beers, chocolates, expert talks and tea/coffee, cost £17 per person. Please visit our Eventbrite page to buy tickets:

http://bit.ly/1fKLa8W

If you have recently signed up to become a Dea Latis corporate member, discounted entry is available, please email lisa@lisaharlow.co.uk to put your name on the list.

Beer and Choc

Gruit Brew is just what the doctor ordered

23 Feb
Follow Jane @SchoolofBooze

Follow Jane @SchoolofBooze

Taking inspiration from a medieval beer recipe, Ilkley Brewery and beer sommelier, Jane Peyton, have collaborated to create a limited edition Gruit beer named Doctor’s Orders.

A distinctly herbaceous 5.0% ale with rich chocolate notes, Doctor’s Orders is brewed with rosemary, yarrow, sage, bog myrtle, heather flowers and heather foraged from Ilkley Moor. Similar combinations of herbs, known as Gruit mixtures, were used in medieval times for bittering and flavouring and were also believed to have wide-reaching health benefits at the time.

Hops were first recorded in England circa 1362, when they were imported from the Low Countries, so before then, English brewers used herbs to add bitterness to ale.

“I’ve wanted to make a medieval ale for quite some time now and, knowing Ilkley Brewery’s interest in brewing out of the ordinary beers, I knew I’d found the perfect Gruit brew partner,” said Jane.

“Many of the herbs used in a Gruit beer are believed to be beneficial which is a phenomenon that I’m intrigued by. It is said that bog myrtle can improve poor memory; yarrow and sage have antiseptic properties; rosemary can enhance mental function and heather is used to help many ailments including digestive and sleep disorders.

“As beer is a superfood packed with nutrition, when consumed in moderation, it has proven health benefits. With these added herbs and flowers, Doctor’s Orders should be a real tonic!”

As well as traditional herbs, Doctor’s Orders features six malts including Maris Otter (extra pale), oats (6%), crystal, chocolate, brown and smoked. While medieval Gruit beers would not have contained hops, Doctor’s Orders does use a small amount of Fuggles hops for preservative purposes.

Luke Raven, sales and marketing manager at Ilkley Brewery, added: “The beer is delicious. The fragrant mixture of Gruit herbs and heather from Ilkley Moor really packs a punch and yet it’s a beer you could happily enjoy with a Sunday roast or a hearty piece of pheasant.”

To find out more about Ilkley Brewery, visit: http://www.ilkleybrewery.co.uk or follow Ilkley Brewery on Twitter @Ilkleybrewery and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ilkley.brewery

Brewsters unite in collaborative beer

23 Feb
Follow Sophie on Twitter @BrewSophie

Follow Sophie on Twitter @BrewSophie

In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8th March 2014 brewsters across the world will brew the same beer recipe in a unique international event.

Unite Pale Ale will be brewed to raise the profile of women in the brewing industry and for women who love to drink beer. The project was conceived by Sophie de Ronde. head brewer of Brentwood Brewing Company in Essex, who recruited members of Project Venus and Pink Boots Society to participate.

Dozens of brewsters in Britain, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, and the USA (including Stone and Dogfish Head) are all taking part and inviting beer loving women intrigued by the idea of brewing to join them for a sociable brew day. Locations of the participating breweries are shown here: http://bit.ly/1ftjfKO

Several brewing suppliers are donating ingredients, including UK hop merchant Charles Faram and profits from beer sales will be donated to a charity of the brewster’s choice.

Follow the event and its participants on Twitter at #IWCB or through our own feed @DeaLatis

For the beer recipe go to: http://pinkbootssociety.org/iwcbd/

Dea Latis member featured in new magazine

23 Jan

Dea Latis member and Beer Sommelier Sophie Atherton is featured in a special food issue of the online women’s magazine Her Edit. The piece is on pp 23 – 25 of the January issue and can be found  here or via http://www.heredit.com.Well done Sophie for bringing beer to more women!

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