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As someone who spends more of their time at the smaller end of the drinks industry scale, you have to take a step back when thinking about the big players. Chivas Regal is the fourth biggest-selling Scotch brand in the world, and producing at that volume is mind-boggling. At four and half million cases a year, they’re making about enough to sling a bottle at every individual in the UK. The logistics alone are beyond me, even before thinking about how to maintain your targeted consistency and quality. Then again, when you’re a brand big enough that you can just give away $1m a year to social entrepreneurs and partner up with Man U, it probably stands to reason that you can take the odd risk, or at least diverge from the straight and narrow. So, while I can’t tell if this Chivas Extra 13 collection is more than a stretching of the blending muscles and an excuse for some exciting limited-release packaging, I’m not going to turn down a look-see at a new angle on a trusty blended scotch like this. (more…)

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[NB: This is a embarrassingly late write-up – the launch was in early September. Never let it be said that I have my finger on the pulse]

After a steady refurbishment of the original site, London Fields Brewery decided it was ready to show itself off to the wider world and held a big do in the done-up taproom and brewery. I was rather curious about this relaunch, as the brewery was barely five hundred yards from my now-wife’s flat when we first started dating, and in those early days I dragged her there to see if I could persuade her of beer’s merits. So, with a mix of curiosity and nostalgia, off we trooped. (more…)

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Having been to Belgium the last two Novembers and being a greedy person, I’ve a few (not enough) beers stashed away that I thought would benefit, or at least cope, with aging. Amongst them are some Bourgogne Des Flandres, a Flemish red brewed (at least in part) in a magnificent building in the heart of Bruges. It doesn’t seem to be as storied as Duchesse de Bourgogne or Rodenbach and I’ve never seen it around in the UK, but I’ve found it an approachable, enjoyable example of the style.
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