Festive Competition! “Our Beer In Your Fridge”

To celebrate the opening of our brewery shop and to welcome the Christmas period with a bit of fun, we are launching a festive photo competition: Our Beer In Your Fridge!  We would like to see photos of our beers in your fridges.

We think the winning entry will be the fridge which is most packed with our beers, but it could be the neatest or even the most festive! Duncan will be judging the “best” photo and he’ll announce the winner on Christmas Day here on the blog and via our social media profiles. The best entries will be featured on our website and shared via our Facebook page, so make sure you LIKE and comment under your favourite photo entries!

The prize is two cases of our bottled beers (you can choose which of our ales you would like) and all this delivered direct to your home!

The closing date for this competition is 24th December at midnight (but we know you’ll be all tucked up in bed by then!).

You can send as many photos and enter this competition as many times as you like. To enter the competition please email your photo to us at the brewery.

Good Luck!!
(this competition is covered by our Competition t’s & c’s)

Quality Drink Awards

We are delighted to have had Wandle Ale shortlisted in the Quality Drinks Awards 2012.  The winners will be announced on 8thNovember, so we will be keeping our fingers crossed until then. Wish us luck!

The Quality Drink Awards are looking to recognise and reward the most outstanding alcoholic drinks products on sale in the UK. The judges look at the total proposition and positioning of each product, from initial visual impact and consumer appeal from packaging to the brand proposition, and most crucially taste and price perception.

The winner of the Quality Drink Awards will be announced on 8th November at Grosvenor House. Watch this space to find out if we’ve won!


Introducing…Jo and Her Love of Beer & Food

Duncan asked me to put together this week’s blog post, so allow me to introduce myself: my name is Jo and since January this year I have had the pleasure of working for Sambrook’s Brewery as Head of Sales and Marketing. This is a very happy situation for me as I LOVE beer! I have worked in the beer industry for a considerable time, most of my friends work in the pub or beer trade and I have acquired a partner who owns a successful brewpub too! That’s me in the picture; like wildlife in my natural habitat of the bar, sampling different beers!! I have a particular interest in the history of beer, as well as beer & food, so Duncan has asked me to take the reins of the blog every now and again, to share some of my thoughts and recipes too.

When people ask me why I like beer and food so much, I find it difficult to come up with one particular reason. It could be that beer can reach flavours which wine cannot. For example: amber beers often carry flavours of toffee and caramel from the darker roasted barley and when matched with similar flavours in puddings, it is an experience which is hard to beat. It could be that beer ‘greats’, such as Garrett Oliver or Melissa Cole have been challenging perceptions of beer and food for some time and have inspired me to learn more and push the way I look at beer & food.

But above all what I really love about beer & food is its accessibility. I’ve been lucky enough to eat at the Fat Duck and had the full wine matched menu. I would have loved a beer matched with the food on the menu, but I also think in some ways it may have missed the underlying beauty of beer & food: its inclusiveness. In stark contrast a recent trip to the states had me sampling the hot and spicy chicken wings on most bar menus, I should confess now I have a small addiction to these. What I loved about this experience was that I could share them (only with people I really like, as they’re my wings OK?!) and try a new beer each time. Washing these hot wings down with a punchy local IPA, whilst debating which one matched best, was a real highlight of the trip. Stone IPA, which is a familiar favourite of mine, was the overall winner. Not only could I experience it several times (beers being generally much lower ABV than wine), but it was also easier on the pocket than the Fat Duck! Even the most revered and expensive of beers such as a Deus, cost about £20 over the bar, versus an equivalent fine wine such as a vintage St Emillion, which could set you back over £1,000! So in my opinion: Great tasting beer + well matched food + low ABV + better value + shared experiences with friends = Win!! That is the kind of maths that works for me!

Today was one of the best kind of days at the brewery, when I can put my passion to work. The Morgan ArmsE3 are holding a beer festival next week and today we finalised the beer & food matched menu which will launch the festival. If you would like to join us at this event on Thursday 13th September, I invite you to call the team and book a table for the evening, or just turn up…. there will be plenty of beer!!

Interview with a Publican – Charlie McVeigh owner of The Draft House

What is your role and job title at the The Draft House and how long have you been working there?
I am the founder and have been here since the beginning in 2009.

Tell me about how you first got started in the industry? Does the trade run in the family?

No, the trade does not run in my family. Originally a financial journalist and then became a managing consultant for a number of years and then ended up working abroad in eastern Europe and then the far east for about 5 years, up until 1998. I got homesick and came home and ended up buying a nightclub which we refurbished and launched in 1999 so that was when I started in the trade – as a nightclub owner. That then evolved into a restaurant and pub business which we sold in 2006.

Can you tell us a bit about the history of the pub; how long has it been running?

The Draft House Westbridge is the pub where the draft house idea started. There’s 4, about to be 5, of them! The focus of the Draft House is about doing for beer what our country has done for food and wine for the last 20 years. I’d like to make it be taken seriously in terms of the providence, quality, glassware, product knowledge by staff. We also aim to match that with great food.

Any notable famous (or infamous) regulars?

We have had Princess Beatrice in once. Ruud Gullit – the old Chelsea Manager and player.

Best thing about The Draft House?

I think the best thing about the Draft House is the warm welcome that you get.

What sort of food features on the menu of The Draft House? And, what would you say is your signature / most popular dish? Why do you think that is?

Most popular dish is the three different hamburger specials. We call them hamburger specials, not burgers. There’s the Yolk, the Smoke and the Poke. The Yolk is with a fried egg and glazed Hollandaise; the smoke is with our own house cured bacon and French cheese; and the Poke is with crushed birds eye chillies, old Amsterdam cheese and onion rings inside the burger. We also have a fantastic thing called the Meat Bomb which is sort of like a scotch egg but it’s full of bolognaise mix with white sauce and it’s extremely decadent.

How did you hear about Sambrook’s?

Well we sold the first ever pint of Wandle. Duncan came in when we were just starting up, and we went down to have a look and they were brewing a batch of wandle which was their first batch! We took a firkin and put it on the bar and sold the first ever pint. So we were there at the beginning and we’ve been there ever since.

What convinced you to stock Sambrook’s and which beers can we find in your pub? Are they on tap or bottled?Our commitment to Sambrook’s comes from being there in the beginning. We don’t put all the beers on the bar but we always have Wandle on and then we’ll put the seasonal ones on as well when they come in. We don’t always have them on but we should always have Wandle on.

Do you have a favourite beer out of the Sambrook’s family?

Wandle but I am also very partial to Powerhouse Porter.

If we were to buy you a drink at your bar, what could we get you?

You can get me a pint of Wandle! I’m not just saying that! It’s a fantastic beer.