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Two Dea Latis members gain top beer recognition

17 Jul

The first two accredited female Beer Sommeliers have been announced by the BeerAnnabel and Sophie Academy.  Six months after the Sommelier qualification was launched, Dea Latis members, Sophie Atherton (pictured right) and Annabel Smith (pictured left) were accredited as Beer Academy Sommeliers following a stretching viva examination with Beer Academy Chief Examiner, Dr George Philliskirk.

George said “Traditionally the vast majority of UK beer has been drunk by men.  But things are changing.  Women do enjoy beer but tend to be more discerning that the average male beer drinker.  They like to know how it’s brewed, what raw materials are used and how these affect the flavour of the final product and which beers are the best partners for different foods.

The Beer Academy’s two new sommeliers are exceptionally well placed to take the beer message to both women and men across the UK.  A beer lover for nearly 25 years, Sophie is a journalist and beer blogger writing about beer in the national, local and specialist beer press.  In her work with Cask Marque, Annabel is in regular contact with their 8,000 accredited pubs around the country and in her spare time she is a founding member of Dea Latis, the forum set up to increase women’s awareness of beer.

George added: “We are delighted to welcome two such passionate experts to the pool of Beer Academy Sommeliers that is growing up around the world and look forward to many more women joining their ranks.”

After passing, Annabel, who is also a founding member of Dea Latis, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have achieved the Beer Sommelier accreditation with theBeerAcademy, and it’s an honour to be recognized as an ambassador for beer. I have an absolute love for the beer industry and the wide range of styles and flavours it produces.”

To achieve Beer Sommelier status, Annabel was required to attend and pass a number of BeerAcademy training courses. The courses covered in depth knowledge of beer production, understanding raw ingredients and how they contribute to flavour, identify different beer styles from around the world and understand what types of beer paired best with food.

Annabel had to submit a portfolio of evidence illustrating her practical competence of using beer menus in retail outlets, her knowledge of beer and food pairings and demonstrations of high end beer retailing and image standards through cellar hygiene standards and training retailers

At the assessment with the BeerAcademyon 10th July Annabel had to identify a number of beer styles from around the world, differentiate between them, and illustrate her knowledge of the principles of beer and food matching

Pubs, patriotism and pints…

13 Jun

Dea Latis member, Joanna Dring, was recently asked to write the Guest Column in the brand new Bedfordshire newspaper, Bedford Midweek.

Here’s the column in full:

As if us Brits need an excuse to celebrate….Have you recovered from an over-exuberance of patriotic parties yet?

I’m quite sure that at some point over the weekend, the majority of you stepped foot in a pub. Perhaps you are a regular and knew the events the pub was laying on, or perhaps you haven’t been down your local for a few months but knew that at times of national celebration, there is no where quite like the pub.

We are so lucky in this country to have pubs. No other country quite gets pubs. Bars – yes. But pubs – no. (The Red Lion(s) in the Costas don’t count either….)

Just like the Queen (WARNING – a tenuous link between pubs and Her Maj) pubs are always there for us. There is no other place that has quite the same atmosphere and is the focal point of the community. Pubs are a place where people come together to celebrate and I have seen over the last few months many pubs leading their community’s Jubilee celebrations. From beer festivals and street parties to live music and Queen quizzes – the Great British Pub has reigned supreme over this weekend, and got the nation partying.

I was in the White Horse on Newnham Avenue last week for their regular pub quiz and Nigel the landlord read out the list of Jubilee events they were holding. Events for the whole family and ones that would make the weekend extra special. This is no mean feat. This is utter dedication from a licensee who knows the importance his pub plays in the community and works tirelessly to create a welcoming, comfortable and relaxing environment, and a memorable weekend for all.

And Nigel’s not alone. It must have been two and a half months ago that I saw the Embankment pub was already advertising its Jubilee events – providing something special and different to their usual weekend activities.

The Horse And Jockey in Ravensden ensured a British-bonanza by theming their menus to all things British and hosting a BBQ for the community on the Tuesday.

I think it’s quite easy for people to forget the important role pubs play in their community – they can be taken for granted as always being there, a constant feature of your town or village. But the harsh reality is that pubs continue to close across the country – a sign of the continued pressure the challenging economic downturn is having on the nation.

This year is the perfect storm of patriotic events. We’ve had the Jubilee and now have the Olympics to look forward to. Add in EURO 2012 and Wimbledon, there is every excuse to get down the pub. And if sport’s not your thing, there are quizzes, live music, open mic nights, charity fundraisers, beer and food matching evenings….the list is endless.
So if you have neglected your local recently, why not find out what’s on and drop in?

They are a British institution – we need pubs and pubs need you.

On Monday evening I had ventured out of Bedford to visit a friend in Weston-Super-Mare where we saw the lighting of one of the 4,200 beacons for the Queen. Of course this was followed up by a pint of ale in the local as we watched the closing of the Jubilee concert. After Prince Charles had spoke there was a huge roar of cheers from the crowd and a round of applause. I heard one lady say: “They can’t hear us but I’m going to clap anyway – it feels like I’m there!”

Surrounded by people who were bursting with pride and joy, the atmosphere was electrifying.

And that for me sums up why pubs are so great – there’s no place like ’em.

This column first appeared in Bedford Midweek on Thursday 7 June 2012.

Follow Joanna on Twitter.

Follow Bedford Midweek on Twitter.

Beer and Chocolate – a match made in heaven?

29 Mar

Beer-loving ladies from across the industry have marked an early end to LentenDea Latis beer and chocolate matching promises by hosting their annual Beer and Chocolate tasting at the Draft House,TowerBridge.

With Easter firmly in their sights, the women sampled five beers matched perfectly with five different chocolates.  From pale ales to porters and barley wines to golden ales, beers from Sambrooks, Fuller’s, Calsberg, Brewsters and Fordham were available to sample.

This is the third annual Beer and Chocolate tasting by beer and women group Dea Latis, named after the Celtic Goddess of Beer.

Annabel Smith, spokespersonfor Dea Latis, said: “Beer is one of the most versatile types of drink there is and with this showcase, we’re proving that beer and chocolate really is a match made in heaven!

“Our group’s aim is to share all that is great about beer with women – some of whom are perhaps put off by the media’s portrayal of beer.  Typical points that can put women off are the images of the beer belly or pint glasses. With beer having fewer calories than wine and with the growing popularity of third of a pint glasses, two of those myths can be dispelled at once!

“With events such as these, we hope to make beer more accessible to women and provide the opportunity to taste the beer in an informal atmosphere.”

The Beer and Chocolate matches were:

Brewster’s Chocolate Cyn  (4.8% ABV) with Divine Dark Chocolate with Orange & Ginger          

Selected by Jane Peyton, School of Booze

A 4.8% porter containing Fairtrade cocoa from Divine chocolatiers, and cinnamon,Brewsters Chocolate Cyn Chocolate Cyn is deceptively light for a dark beer, with a rich chocolate and coffee character with a spicy bitterness from the cinnamon.  This is a collaboration beer brewed with Sara Barton at Brewster’s Brewing Company with three Dea Latis members – Jane Peyton, Marverine Cole, and Shea Luke.

Jacobsen Barley Wine, 9.5% ABV, with Thornton’s Alpini Continental Chocolates             

Selected by Joanna Dring, communications manager, Carlsberg UKJacobsen Barley Wine

The 2011 vintage Jacobsen Barley Wine is brewed at the Carlsberg micro-brewery in the heart ofCopenhagen.  At over 9%, this is a beer that really packs a flavour punch! Its aroma is complex, with notes of liquorice, caramel and nuts along with smoky undertones.  Paired with hazelnut and almond chocolate from Thornton’s, the beer’s full-bodied and semi-sweet taste perfectly matches the nutty chocolate. Perfect to share with friends after a scrumptious dinner party!

Fuller’s Golden Pride (8.5% ABV with Merry Berry Mixed Spice & Fruit Dark Chocolate                                                     Fullers Golden Pride

Selected by Jane Peyton, School of Booze

A full bodied barley wine with a huge amount of fruit character – orange marmalade, mango, figs, raisins, and treacle malt, and a firm hop base to balance the sweetness. This  beer should replace any temptation to drinkCognacafter a meal!

Sambrooks Pale Ale (4.2% ABV) with Paul A Youngs XO MarmiteSambrooks Pale Ale chocolate                        

Selected  by Jo Miller, marketing director, Sambrooks Brewery

Sambrooks Pale Ale is brewed using Maris Otter floor malted barley, and a blend of English andNew Zealandhops including Admiral, First Gold, Celeia and Hallertau.  The result is a golden ale with an aroma of spicy meadow herbs and a sharp, marmalade and lingering dry taste.

In keeping with the south London brewer’s tradition of working with local producers, they have matched this with the creative genius of Soho chocolatier Paul A Youngs XO Marmite chocolate.  The Madagascan chocolate in the recipe is a fine and equal partner to the fruity and tangy nature of the beer.  This is not a match for the faint hearted and or the unadventurous.  It does show the rich diversity of beer and chocolate matching.

Fordham Doppelbock (8% ABV) with dark chocolate                                                                     

Selected by Julie Finney-Hogg, marketing director, Heathwick Fordham Doppelbock

Dark & rich with a big beer taste, Doppelbock is an exceptionally smooth, full-bodied dark lager with a bold character that is sure to brighten your spirits. Doppelbock is brewed withMunich, Pilsner and Carafa malts, combined with Perle and Tettang hops, and in strict adherence to the Reinheitsgebot, the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. Its complexity makes it an ideal match for all types of chocolate as well as BlackForestcake and dried fruit rum tart.

Win – ten tickets up for grabs to our exclusive Beer and Chocolate tasting

20 Mar

Next week sees the third annual Dea Latis beer and chocolate tasting event and we have got ten tickets to give away in a prize draw! Simply comment on this post by midday Friday, and we’ll announce the winners in the afternoon.

You’ll get to try some great beers matched with some equally great chocolate (abandon two Lenten abstinences in one sitting) and mingle with other beer-loving ladies!

Good luck!

DEA LATIS: BEER AND CHOCOLATE TASTINGChocolate and beer matching

Date:     Tuesday 27th March

Time:     2.00 – 4.00 pm

Venue: Draft House Tower Bridge, 206-208 Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 2UP

Three Dea Latis Members’ First Brew To Be A Guest Ale

6 Mar

A collaboration ale devised by three Dea Latis members and Brewster’s Brewing Company is to be featured as a guest ale in three Fuller’s London pubs.

Chocolate Cyn, a rich spicy Porter 4.8% ABV is the first beer brewed by Jane Peyton (School of Booze); Marverine Cole (Beer Beauty); Shea Luke (Real Ale Girl) with Sara Barton, founder of Brewster’s in Grantham. 

In mid March Fuller Smith & Turner will stock it in three London pubs – the Artillery Arms near the Barbican; the Victoria, Bayswater; and the Mad Bishop & Bear at Paddington station.

Jane Peyton is a freelance brewery tour guide of Fuller’s brewery and it is that connection that opened the ‘guest ale doors’ at Fuller’s.

Let us know if you try it!

All female beer brewing competition won by Dea Latis member

22 Feb

Trumpet heralds at the ready:  DeaLatis member and confirmed beer advocate Louise Ashworth is the winner of a competition for women to create a recipe for their perfect beer. Louise’s fabulous recipe triumphed and later in Spring she will be travelling up to Grantham to brew ……. Wheat Watchers! 

Jane Peyton, Principal of the School of Booze devised the competition in collaboration with Sara Barton at Brewsters Brewing Company as a way of inspiring women to consider brewing beer.  Entrants were asked to take inspiration from one of DivineFairtrade chocolate brands and come up with a beer that they would want to drink.  The prize was for the winner to brew their own recipe with Sara at Brewsters.

Louise described her inspiration for Wheat Watcher’s “My idea is for a wheat beer with raspberries as I think that a lot of women, and men, can be put off from drinking real ale as they think that it will be too bitter. I think that wheat beer is delicious and can be more accessible for non-ale drinkers than many other styles of beer. Unfortunately it isn’t always easy to find a wheat beer in the majority of pubs. I would really like to see wheat beer more widely available and hopefully the beer that we are going to create will be onsale in a large number of pubs.”

Jane and Sara were really impressed with the quality and inventiveness of the competition entries.  Dozens of women entered (and a few men too!) and Sara judged the entries blind.  She chose these recipes as the top 3:

 1st place: Wheat beer with raspberries. By Louise Ashworth

Inspired by Divine Dark Chocolate with Raspberries.

2nd place: Stout with raspberries, cardamom and black pepper. By Orla Lambe

Inspired by Divine Dark Chocolate with Raspberries.

3rd place: Golden ale with chestnut honey and thyme (the honey is supplied by the entrant’s friend from local bees) by Hazel Paterson

Inspired by Divine’s Fruit and Nut

Sara chose Louise’s entry as the winner because she “liked the contrast between the light fruity style of the wheat beer and the dark chocolate with raspberries and felt it would really complement the flavour of the chocolate. Wheat beers are a very interesting complex product with interplay between malt, hops and yeast in particular giving a deceptively full flavoured brew. I am really looking forward to producing the winning entry and am sure it will go down well with publicans and drinkers alike.”

Another really inventive entry was by another DeaLatis member – Niki Skaife, publican of the excellent Masons Arms, Bishop Monkton, near Harrogate.  Niki received an honourable mention for her delicious sounding Mild with Sloe and Juniper.

Jane and Sara had such fun with this competition – and judging by the amazing recipes that came in, so did the women who entered.  It was obvious by all the recipes that us women love flavour! 

When Louise’s Wheat Watcher’s beer is brewed we’ll let you know – maybe you’ll find it on the bar of a pub near you…..

A Dream Come Brew

26 Jan

Have you ever dreamed of brewing your own beer in a proper brewery as opposed to a bucket in the airing cupboard?  I have.  Many times.  Then last year I met Sara Barton, founder of Brewsters Brewery at the launch of Project Venus’s brewing collaboration – Venus Jade.  I confessed my aspiration and Sara responded with an emphatic ‘Do it!’

the-dream-team1Turns out that I was not the only DeaLatis member harbouring the brewing fantasy because when I mentioned it to Marverine Cole (@BeerBeauty) and Shea Luke (@RealAleGirlShea) they also had that ambition. We discussed our ideal recipe and decided on a dark spicy winter ale. So on a very auspicious date 21/1/12 (it’s a palindrome) the three of us accepted Sara’s invitation to ‘do it’ and we travelled up to Brewsters Brewery in Grantham and did it!

And as I write this, a wonderful yeast that smells of green apples is bubbling away and turning our 30 barrel brew into delicious beer.  What an incredible thought. But who knew what hard physical work it is to brew beer?  Hauling the malts around, hoisting buckets up high, pouring the contents into mash tuns and coppers, and then the cleaning afterwards.  Oh the cleaning – raking out the mash tun, poking around in the hot copper to extract the thousands of whole hops, washing out vessels and leaving the brewery as we found it.  But what satisfaction!And what fun.  All three of us virgin brewers felt as though we were in the best toy shop imaginable – and one in which lunch was served with Brewsters Pale Ale, and Brewsters’ brand new Black IPA (called Cruella) decanted straight from the conditioning tanks.  Heaven.

In a couple of weeks Brewsters will cask and bottle condition the beer for sale through their ‘Wicked Women’ range. We’re waiting to mention the beer’s name until the launch party in late February or early March – most likely at London’s Tap East with its incredible range of beers (thanks Glyn!) so hopefully you’ll come and taste the difference.

Huge thanks to Sara, Sean, and Richard at Brewsters for making our dream come brew.  I’m even more in love with beer than I was before and my maiden voyage on the brew boat has made me even more obsessed with brewing.  We’ve done a winter brew, but there are three more seasons in a year.  So how’s about it BrewsterSara, Beer Beauty, and RealAleGirlShea?

By Jane Peyton, Principal of the School of Booze

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