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Beers of the World author Ben McFarland

In the latest of our series on beer and food, Ben McFarland looks at what to eat with porter.

Like wheat beers, porter is a beer style enjoying a renaissance. After years of being in the shadow of stout – its drier, more bitter and opaque ale cousin, porter is finding favour with those looking for a slightly sweeter, dark malt-driven, drinkable alternative. Porter can be ‘London’ in style, ...

Beer and Food from Issue 19 published on 30/07/2008

Ben McFarland looks at wheat beers in all their forms, and how to pair them with different dishes.

Most brewers are wheat intolerant. Not because it puffs up their faces, bulges their eyes and makes them come over all weird and queer, but rather because it’s a nightmare grain with which to work. Wheat, you see, is a messy little blighter. The husks that allow barley to self-filtrate are absent fr...

Beer and Food from Issue 18 published on 19/06/2008

Ben McFarland gets to grips with cider producers in France, Spain, America and beyond.

Synonymous with roast beef, Morris dancing and the gentle thwack of a cricket ball on a village green, cider is, for many, a quintessentially English tipple. Lest we forget, however, cider making is currently a Europe-wide phenomenon with France, Spain and Scandinavian countries all prone to a dabb...

Cider Special from Issue 18 published on 19/06/2008

Ben McFarland asks a panel of experts for their food pairings with the eminently hoppy India pale ales

Unless you’ve been sitting in a darkened room with your eyes shut and your head encased in a block of concrete, blindfolded, then – chances are – you’re likely to have read an article about how great beer and food are together. And what a lovely couple they make. Things have advanced well beyond th...

Beer and Food from Issue 17 published on 30/04/2008

Ben McFarland samples some of Sweden's finest beer and food combinations.

If the “bork-bork-borking,” cabbage-shooting, moose-smearing and chicken-chucking chef from The Muppets is your sole experience of Swedish cuisine then, well, you should stop being so flipping childish and read on. Not content with flooding the globe with reasonably priced, flat-pack furniture and ...

Beer and Food from Issue 16 published on 25/01/2008

Last issue we got stuck into one of the gastonomic world's greatest creations - beer and curry. Now we explore beer's other perfect partner - a Chinese takeaway! Ben McFarland picks up his chopsticks

Extortionately priced raw fish served on a conveyor belt is the new fast food; we‘re shifting our furniture about in a quest to improve our love life, career and bank balance; we’re necking Chinese herbal medicine to cure our ailments; chopsticks are the thinking man’s knife and fork; there are mini...

Beer and Food from Issue 14 published on 04/10/2007

Ben McFarland visits the beer hot spots of sunny San Diego

America’s backlash against bland beer began on the West Coast. San Francisco, always keen to stick it to the man, got the ball rolling in the 70s. Then the defiant, drizzly duo of Portland and Seattle, picked it up, ran with it and kept scampering along like some kind of crazed, craft beer-drinking ...

Beer Journeys from Issue 13 published on 03/08/2007

If you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you might not have noticed that cider is cool again. Ben McFarland gets to grips with how it happened

Heavens to Betsy, how did that happen? Just a few years ago, cider had all the lure of an apple with a maggot in it and, then suddenly – bam! Cider is the apple of the United Kingdom drinker’s eye. Its transformation from park bench to swanky bar is perhaps the most remarkable drinks story of the ...

Cider Special from Issue 12 published on 25/05/2007

Ben McFarland attends a beer dinner organised by Stone Brewing, a San Diego microbrewery making some big beers

Ten years ago, the Stone Brewing Company burst onto the West Coast brewing scene and defiantly thrust a hot poker into the behind of conventional brewing. While hundreds of craft brewers were hitting the wall in the middle of the 1990s, victims of a small beer business running before it could walk,...

Beer and Food from Issue 11 published on 23/03/2007

We’ve talked about which beers to pair with your meal, but which beers should you use in your meal? Ben McFarland provides some recipes

Like Gordon Ramsay when he’s in a particularly grumpy mood, beer isn’t always the easiest thing to work with in the kitchen. While masters of the culinary arts are forever sloshing wine into their gastronomic efforts, they tend not to reach for the can or bottle of beer with quite the same regulari...

Beer and Food from Issue 9 published on 22/11/2006

A great deal of thought goes in to the Fuller’s beer and food menu. Purely in the interests of research, Ben McFarland went along to a tasting session

London brewer Fuller, Smith & Turner has a selection of pubs called the “Fuller’s Ale & Pie Pubs.” In these pubs you can get lovely ale. And you can get lovely pies. Put them together, and you’ve got something pretty special. In fact, you’ve arguably got the finest beer and food pairing known to hum...

Beer and Food from Issue 8 published on 27/09/2006

Where in London can you eat good food and drink great beer at the same time? Ben McFarland found out

Decent drinking establishments that serve a good pint are twoa- penny in London and there are certainly plenty of places where you can get a good and tasty feed (the capital no longer plays second fiddle to Paris when it comes to elite eateries). Yet venues that combine the two, let alone have the ...

Beer and Food from Issue 7 published on 28/07/2006

Scotland has undergone a beer revolution in the last decade. Ben McFarland looks at what is on offer

When it comes to life-enhancing liquids, Scotland can proudly lay claim to both whisky and water. What few people know, however, is that Scotland is home to some of the United Kingdom’s most exciting and tasty beer. In fact, Scottish beer is fast-becoming the talk of hopheads and ale-aficionados wo...

Regional Focus from Issue 6 published on 18/05/2006

Beer can make a great accompaniment to salty seafood. Ben McFarland reports

Don your flip flops and Ray-Bans, squeeze into those skimpy Speedos and pack your bucket and spade because, this month, Beers Of The World’s voyage of beer and food discovery is taking your tastebuds down to the coast. Yes, after a winter nibbling on cheese, chocolate and curry, BOTW sharpening its...

Beer and Food from Issue 6 published on 18/05/2006

Ben McFarland gets all gooey at a beer and chocolate tasting

Being a beer writer has its upsides. As careers go, it’s not quite up there with ‘serial lottery winner’ or ‘bed-tester,’ but there’s certainly shoddier ways to cough up for the mortgage, that’s for sure. I’m sure there are ‘proper’ journalists dodging bullets in Iraq or working undercover in the M...

Beer and Food from Issue 5 published on 24/03/2006

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. At Colorado brewers The New Belgium Beer Company they ’re looking to Europe with a big smile on their faces. Ben McFarland reports

Any beer lovers heading north out of downtown Denver need to keep the faith. The power of big and brash American beer is omnipresent and, stuck in a sweaty hire car, the lure of refreshment is almost too much to bear. As I desperately try to untangle the unfathomable one-way system to find the Inte...

from Issue 5 published on 24/03/2006

Ben McFarland visits the Sierra Nevada brewery in California and explains why its Chco time

Chico is a town that rarely gets its knickers in a twist. To say Chico is laid back is like saying San Francisco, a four hour drive away, is a little hilly and just a bit camp. A small yet sprawling Californian-college town, Chico is where students party hard and the elderly retire harder; where th...

from Issue 4 published on 27/01/2006

Refresh UK has done exactly what it says on the tin – taken a motley crew of brands and kickstarted them back to life. Ben McFarland reports

Refresh UK is to building beer brands what Red Adair is to fire fighting and the Priory is to famous folk addicted to naughty drugs, excessive drink and hanky-panky. It’s a brands and brewing orphanage for beers neglected, forgotten and mistreated. Where undernourished brands seek shelter and suste...

from Issue 4 published on 27/01/2006

There’s nothing wrong with a quality lager as an accompaniment to Indian food, but as Ben McFarland reports, there are other options

Diners in the United Kingdom and a host of other countries have been in the throes of a love affair with the food and flavours of the Indian sub-continent ever since colonial pen-pushers and members of the armed forces returned home with tingling tongues and tales of a gastronomic world full of spic...

Beer and Food from Issue 4 published on 27/01/2006

The United States is the greatest beer show in town. Ben McFarland goes ga-ga at the Great American Beer Festival

Where in the world can you find the most vibrant and exciting beer scene? In Britain where a real ale renaissance is gathering pace? No. Germany – land of lush lagers and wonderful weizens? Nein, Herr. Within the Brewtopian borders of Belgium? Non, non, non. Vous êtes mistaken again. The answer is ...

Spotlight from Issue 3 published on 12/01/2006

Portland, Oregon, is a beer mecca and one of its key players is the Rogue Brewery. Ben McFarland visited it

Undulating, drizzly and a little bit funky, Portland, Oregon, is unlike any other town in America. It may not have the endless hours of sunshine that brighten-up other cities on America’s West Coast nor the wellknown recognition of Seattle, its nearby neighbour to the north, but Portland is so laid...

from Issue 3 published on 12/01/2006

Cheese is far more compatible with beer than wine, so why don’t we serve the two together more? Ben McFarland goes on a road test

Wine and cheese parties were all the rage in the 70s. That’s when wine and cheese first really got together. For years the two were joined at the hip and happening social gatherings. Back then, they seemed such a nice couple. But they were also impressionable, unripened and un-aged – far too young ...

Beer and Food from Issue 3 published on 12/01/2006

Freedom was once the beer of choice for Soho trendies. Now a successful television script writer has relaunched it. Ben McFarland reports

If you were an uber-fashionable Soho soand- so in the mid 1990s, there was only one beer to be seen drinking and that was Freedom. The Freedom Brewing Company was set up in 1995 by a number of entrepreneurs including, among others, Alastair Hook of Meantime fame. It was a stark antithesis to the bi...

Beer Trends from Issue 2 published on 16/11/2005

Can beer really hack it at the poshest of dinner tables? Ben McFarland books into tthe three Michelin star eaterie Fat Duck and finds out

If this whole idea of bringing food and beer together is ever going to truly get off the ground then the great and the good of gastronomy must first give it the thumbs up. There’s been plenty of chatter about the joyous wonders of matching beer with haute cuisine but much of it has come from the pa...

Beer and Food from Issue 2 published on 16/11/2005

Ben McFarland hits the road in rural Belgium in search of the perfect pint

When a French-speaking Belgian pours himself a beer, chances are it’s brewed in Wallonia. Earthy, rustic and full of character, Walloon beers truly embody their refreshingly rural and unheard of homeland which occupies the southern half of Belgium. Wallonia has lived long in the shadow of Flanders...

Beer Journeys from Issue 2 published on 16/11/2005

The beers of the Czech Republic have long been revered but in recent years they have become widely available, too. Are they still as good? Ben McFarland reports

The Czech word for beer is pivo. If you’ve been to Prague it’s a word you’ll no doubt be acquainted with. Not knowing the word for beer in the Czech Republic is akin to not knowing the word for sun block in the Sahara. In terms of vernacular, it’s vital. Pivo is a Slavonic word meaning ‘the most o...

International Focus from Issue 1 published on 26/08/2005

For those in the know Meantime is Britain’s most exciting brewery and it makes worldbeating beer. Ben McFarland speaks to the maverick behind it

A non-descript former tramshed in an unexceptional industrial park in Greenwich, South London, is hardly an obvious setting for a cutting-edge microbrewery. Yet within its deliberately unimposing walls is the headquarters of the United Kingdom’s most outspoken and maverick brewer, Alastair Hook. Re...

from Issue 1 published on 26/08/2005

Increasingly people are experimenting with flavours and serving food with beer. Ben McFarland introduces our food column

It wasn’t too long ago that merely uttering the words “beer” and “gastronomy” in the same sentence would have men in white coats knocking on your door – and we’re not talking about curious chefs either. Beer was about as welcome at the nation’s collective dinner table and kitchen as a severe dose o...

Beer and Food from Issue 1 published on 26/08/2005


 
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