It’s not every day that we get to sit back and smell the roses. It’s been hot and a busy (but good) summer. One of our most recent highlights was participating in the Edinburgh Foodies Festival where we saw many of your beautiful faces.
The food was lovely, and of course, we were there to supply everyone's alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverage needs. It was at this festival that we debuted our new Rice Lager brewed in collaboration with Wrestling Demons, Please & Thank You.
It was a smash hit at the fest–we ran out well before the festival reached its end!
And it got us thinking, what delicious bits of nosh would we absolutely love to pair with our beers?
Don’t worry, beer and food porn are well on their way. First, let’s discuss something much more important. The pandemic was a trying and difficult time for us all. Feelings of loneliness, frustration, and anxiety knew no bounds.
Today, we are highlighting the huge sacrifices made by those in the hospitality industry. Whether it in stints between lockdowns are the post-covid rebound, those who prepare, cook, and serve us our food and drink have become daily punching bags.
We know the UK has its problems surrounding drink–hell, it’s one of the reasons we brew no and low-alcohol beers.
We want to give back and say thanks to some of those forgotten peeps that helped us all keep our sanity. For every can of Please & Thank You Rice Lager sold, we will donate 25p towards covering the cost of one-to-one therapy sessions for hospitality staff.
Wrestling Demons was started by Alex Fatho-Bland to raise mental health awareness for those in hospitality. Besides buying our beer, You can donate directly to the cause at TipJar.
So the question you may be asking is, what is a “rice lager” and why brew it to help raise mental health awareness?
The answer to the first question is that a rice lager is similar in style to the world-dominating pale pilsners of America. During early US brewing history, European immigrants brought over a brewing tradition that gradually evolved into something uniquely American.
While some of the most mass-produced examples today may be described as “bland”, others like Yuengling are known for being well-balanced and extremely approachable.
Part of the way American breweries achieved a stupidly drinkable and crisp lager was through the use of adjuncts to lighten the body of the beer. Anything not technically a grain was considered an adjunct (most US breweries used corn).
However, one big brewery that shall not be named has been using rice in its recipe since 1876. Taking note of this, big Japanese breweries began introducing rice to their grists. Today, Japanese rice lagers like Asahi Super Dry, Kirin, and Sapporo are world famous.
A rice lager ticked all of the boxes that help inspire awareness and inclusivity.
Think about it, an adjunct lager is a completely unpretentious beer. It’s a democratic drink that’s fit for the masses. It doesn’t offend with too much malt, yeast, or hop flavour. It’s something simple yet incredibly refreshing that we can all enjoy.
What we can’t all enjoy is rude and abusive behaviour by consumers in public and private spaces. Maybe it’s all the lockdowns and restrictions, but we all have personal anecdotes of post-pandemic anti-social behaviour.
During these uncertain times, the least we can do is say “please” and “thank you” while frequenting businesses with highly-stressed and overworked hospitality staff. Especially when they have to put on a happy face at all working hours of the day.
Now onto the less important and more gluttonous stuff! While preparing this list, we couldn’t help but feel parched and famished! So we’ve decided to add our old-faithful IPA as a pairing as well!
Our American IPA, Lumber Jill, hits all the notes of this classic style and then some. Once you crack a can open, lashings of conifers and citrus hit your nose. This full-bodied IPA balances traditional west coast hop character against a backbone of toasted bread crust.
It’s fanatic on its own, but it is heavyweight when it comes to standing up to big and bold flavours.
In case you haven’t heard of Adam Handling, he’s just one of the youngest superstar chefs in all of Europe. The man has bagged more than a handful of awards including Scottish Chef of the Year, British Culinary Federation’s Chef of the Year, and Chef of the Year in the Food & Travel Awards.
He has taken his unique experiences and skills to help set up a portfolio of successful restaurants. Many of these are in the heart of London; however, out in the countryside of Old Winsdor sits the Loch & Tyne restaurant and pub.
At Loch & Tyne, it’s all about luxury and seasonality while focusing on British produce. Five- and seven-course tasting menus will take you on a complete gustatory tour of the UK. There are also la carte and plant-based menus on offer.
Please & Thank You: King oyster mushroom, onion & lovage- the richness of this vegan dish is carried over your entire palate by our bubbly, crisp lager.
Lumber Jill IPA: Lamb rack, courgette, basil, goat’s cheese- grapefruit and pine refresh the meaty flavours of this dish while the hops are also elevated by the basil and goat’s cheese.
East London still appears to be the birthplace of cool. The Duke of Richmond may look like you’re average Hackney neighbourhood pub, but it is so much more than hip. You can pair a pint with a pack of pickled onion Monster Munch if you like; however, they offer proper cuisine for those times salted snacks just won’t hit the spot.
Chef Tom Oldroyd is famous for his work with the Polpo group but the Duke of Richmond isn’t about small plates; it’s all about hearty gastropub grub featuring local and fresh ingredients.
Please & Thank You: Duchess Burger, aubergine gratin patty, cheddar, confit onions & basil mayo (v) or (vg) - The light bitterness of the lager exchanges soft blows with this earthy plant-based burger, aubergine and sweetens the onions and cheddar.
Lumber Jill IPA: Blue corn tostada, refried pinto beans, ricotta cheese & tomatillo salsa (v) The hop bitterness of our IPA cuts right across the fat of the ricotta and tartness of the tomatillo salsa
You may have heard of the Michelin-starred Brat in East London, but we’re not talking about that type of dining experience. Instead, at Climpson's Arch, chef Tomos Parry has returned to his Basque roots.
Brat is an old English word for turbot–everything at the arch is slowly grilled over brightly lit and smouldering wood embers. The turbot is the star, but everything gets hit with the heat (and smoke) for a simple but amazingly delicious experience.
Whole-grilled turbot is a must have for foodies who make it to Brat x Climson's Arch
Please & Thank You: Whole turbot (feeds four), grab three friends and enjoy this beautiful fish that is a complete landscape of tastes and textures. The subtle notes of the lager will stay out of the way but enhance the gentle flavours of this fish.
Lumber Jill IPA: Wood-grilled whole crab, our IPA brings forth the sweetness of the crab while the pine notes marry with the woodsmoke for complex pairing.
In Dalston sits the younger, smaller sibling of popular London venues Ducksoup and Rawduck. For LittleDuck/ The Picklery, no fermentation stone is left unturned. During a visit, you are likely to see experiments and projects slowly chugging away in the nooks and crannies of the restaurant.
The fermentation workshop and kitchen make it a point to ensure our microorganisms friends are featured guests in every dish (if not the star). And what pairs with fermented foods as well as a fermented malt beverage?
Please & Thank You: Braised fennel, butterbeans + saffron- soft herbal fennel spice and earthy saffron are balanced by the malt sweetness of our lager.
Lumber Jill IPA: Cured pollock, pickled melon, chilli + mint- American hops abscond the refreshing melon character to somewhere warm while the chilli and pickled mint wash away all bitterness in the blink of an eye.
With rice lager in the cards, we knew a Japanese restaurant would make its way onto our list. We were surprised when we found the perfect match for our beers, Angelina, which is a marriage of Japanese and Italian cuisine.
At Angelina, ordering is simple–it’s all about the omakase and kaiseki tasting menus! So no fussing over large menus. Just show up for your booking and enjoy an exhilarating spectacle of flavours and aromas.
Please & Thank You: Celtuce, Burrata & Ikura- green stem lettuce, salmon roe, and the king of Italian wet cheese all call for one thing- an effervescent, not too bitter, a lager with a crisp palate-cleansing finish.
Lumber Jill IPA: Hokkaido Milk Bread, Apricot, & Miso- welcome to Japanese toast and jam, only this dish packs a punch of umami and fruit character that rises above and accents the full flavours of our IPA.
After getting through this article, it’s about time for all of us to grab some tea. Please visit these venues (or your local faves) and experiment with some SiWC food pairings yourself!
And if you don’t see our beer on the menu, let us or the restaurant know so that we can rectify the situation. Lastly, the next time you spend hours preparing a meal in the kitchen, make sure you think about what type of drink will help transform and elevate the experience.