Pubs. Pints. People.


Diving into the history of CAMRA

Season 1, Ep. 10

Next year CAMRA will mark it's 50th anniversary! To celebrate, we're sitting down with Laura Hadland, who's putting together the CAMRA biography for next year, as well as Bill Mellor, one of the four founders. We also find some great articles about CAMRA protests, marches and 'wreath-laying' ceremonies from the past, and as always, have a recipe for you from Sue Nowak - a cucumber soup and soda bread made with beer from St Austell's Brewery available here and below:

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THIS week’s cookery column is a Tribute to the man who invented it along with Proper Job and other iconic St Austell beers: Roger Ryman, brewing director and head brewer who died a week ago, aged only 52, from cancer. Roger joined the brewery in 1999; his first brew there was Daylight Robbery, produced as a special to celebrate the total eclipse of the sun. It was so popular that it was re-launched as Tribute and became a best seller not only throughout Cornwall but the UK and beyond. Apart from being a brilliant, innovative brewer with a fount of ale knowledge, he was also the instigator of the brewery’s annual Celtic Festival held in the wonderful catacomb of cellars below the brewery and hosting brewers and their beers from Celtic regions – St Austell itself in Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Brittany. I generally attended the launch party the night before festival weekend when we could taste the beers (nearly 200 beers and ciders) alongside a spectacular ploughman’s of beer bread, regional cheeses and pickles; it was, quite simply, one of the highlights of my year. Roger’s brewing alchemy was recognised at the highest level – he was twice named Brewer of the Year, once by the British Guild of Beer Writers and once by the All Party Parliamentary Beer Club. And his beers are great to cook with; my first column for this series was beer batter made with Proper Job; my prized bottle of St Austell’s one-off Tamar Kriek (cherry beer echoing the sour reds of Flanders) made a guest appearance in my lamb dish, and today I’m making soup with Tribute, a 4.2% classic pale ale with “zesty orange and grapefruit flavours balanced with biscuit malt”; bottle-conditioned Hicks, a 6% tawny ale with malty, butterscotch notes named after Walter Hicks who founded the brewery 170 years ago, adds the only yeast in my soda bread to accompany. So here, in memory of a really cool dude, is…

Cucumber soup with Tribute

One medium or half a large skin-on cucumber (approx 250g), cubed; half a small onion, cubed; half the white part of a leek, cubed; one medium potato, peeled and cubed; 30g unsalted butter; around half a pint each of Tribute and chicken (or vegetable) stock; seasoning; parsley garnish (optional).

Sweat all the vegetables gently in the butter until softened in a medium sized pan with a lid. Add the beer and stock, bring to simmering point, cover and allow to simmer until the vegetables are tender, around 20 minutes Allow to cool then puree with an electric hand blender or vegetable masher. Reheat, adding a little water or milk, if the soup seems too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper; maybe garnish with a few parsley sprigs.

Soda bread with Hicks

(Soda bread is a quickly made Irish bread using bicarbonate of soda instead of yeast as the rising agent; but since I included the bottle’s sediment, technically speaking my bread contains a trace of yeast. It certainly rose brilliantly!)

Half a pound each (250g) of wholemeal bread flour containing seed and grains (I used Allinsons) and strong white bread flour; 2 tsps salt; 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda; quarter pint 280 (ml) each of beer and milk, mixed.

Pre-heat oven to 220C. Mix together dry ingredients in largish bowl. Stir in beer and milk a little at a time to form a dough (you may need to add 2-3 tablespoons of water). Knead briefly – just long enough to bring it all together but don’t overwork the dough. Form into a ball. Place on a greased baking tray then glaze with a little beer before using a sharp knife to cut a cross about halfway down into the dough. Bake in the top half of the oven for 30 minutes, reducing the heat to 200C and covering the top of the bread with a piece of foil for last 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

More Episodes



Season 1, Ep. 14
This week we're going to learn a bit more about how breweries can become a bit more eco-friendly. We'll be sitting down with Farr Brew and Purity Brewing to hear about their initiatives, and why CAMRA campaigned to 'ban the can' back in December 1979!We also have a tasty discount for your next beer case courtesy of HonestBrew! Get £10 off a beer case by visiting also have a new recipe this week for you from Sue Nowak - Devilishly good pancakes, available below and at You can support the podcast by visiting: sure to follow the podcast for all the latest on Twitter @PubsPintsPeopleYou can discover more by joining the campaign for just £26/year - visit today!UPDATE: Since the interview James Minkin (Jim) one of the founder of Purity Brewing has passed away. Jim was the driver of Purity's eco credentials and was very proud of the developments they had made in this area. Purity is raising money for Pancreatic cancer - you can donate here.Devilishly good pancakes - by Susan NowakI KNOW, I know, and I’m sorry, right? Fourteen weeks you’ve stuck with this darn column and in all that time I’ve never featured a Belgian beer. For many, the greatest brewers on the planet; centuries of turning hops, malt and yeast into ambrosia that might carry on fermenting in darkened cellars for years to become the equivalent of a vintage champagne or brandy. Brewers who know more than brain surgeons, create richer notes than a Stradivarius, greater poetry than Shakespeare, but are they good enough for Ms Nowak? The woman’s a philistine. Happily, I can put that right with just one little word. Duvel. See? I’m forgiven. And during Lockdown uncapping those dumpy little bottles has released a genii rather than the ‘devil’ for whom it’s named – apparently for no more sinister reason than that when it was created around 120 years ago one of its delighted alchemists yelled: “Wow, this is devilishly good.” Though at 8.5 per cent this smooth talking charmer, teasing the tongue with cloves, pepper and spice, could seduce an innocent. This classic golden ale was first made at Moortgat brewery in the 1870s, something like 120 years before we coined the term here. It wasn’t until 2007 it gained a sibling, Duvel Tripel Hop, at 9.5 per cent even stronger than big brother. However, the Tripel does not refer to its strength but to the fact that it contains three hops: Saaz-Saaz, Styrian Golding and one other that changes every year. In 2016 that third hop was Citra grown in Yakima Valley, Washington, bringing hints of grapefruit and tropical fruit to the party; it quickly became clear that Citra was the ultimate tripel hop so Duvel Tripel Hop Citra is now permanently in the range. Beer improves every sort of batter from Yorkshire pudding to fish ‘n’ chips, and here the original Duvel lightens some rather posh pancakes made with both wholemeal and plain flour, wrapped round smoked salmon and asparagus. That legendary ‘beer hunter’ the late Michael Jackson, who was passionate about Belgium’s beer culture, called Duvel “the world’s most beguiling beer” - so I’ve served it in his glass.Devilishly good pancakes (makes around half a dozen)20g each of plain and wholemeal flour; a grind of black pepper, grating of nutmeg, pinch of mixed spice (to echo the beer’s spiciness), and half a teaspoon of salt. One large egg, 100ml buttermilk (or ordinary milk), 200ml Duvel, around 200g sliced smoked salmon, 8-10 trimmed asparagus spears, small tub crème fraiche, lard and butter for frying; red salad leaves and sliced lemon to garnish.Put flour and flavourings into a mixing bowl then add the egg, buttermilk and Duvel, stirring to create a pancake batter. Leave to chill for at least an hour - you may find the batter slightly too thicken by then, if so add a drop more Duvel. Whilst the batter is chilling parboil the asparagus then drain. Heat a smallish frying pan (around 25cm diameter), add a knob of lard, heat until melted, then the same amount of butter, and let that melt until it is quite hot (though be careful not to burn the butter). Put 2 tbsps pancake mix into a cup, then pour into the frying pan to cover the base; cook until it starts to bubble then flip over. When the pancake is golden brown on both sides transfer to a plate and keep warm in a very low oven. Repeat until all the mixture is used up. Spread a dollop of crème fraiche across each pancake and top with a slice of smoked salmon. To create a little variety roll up half the pancakes with asparagus poking out of both ends and fold the others in half; serve on warm plates with remaining asparagus spears scattered on top, and garnish with a dollop of crème fraiche, red salad leaves and lemon slices.

American craft beer

Season 1, Ep. 12
This week we're learning all about American craft beer by chatting with Lotte Peplow, the Craft Beer Ambassador to Europe from the Brewers' Association in America, and Rooster's Brewery well known for their 'Yankee Brew'!If you like this episode, don't forget to tune in on 4 July for a special footnotes episode where Katie will be sitting down with the Pop Culture Brews podcast to chat more about the American beer market to celebrates our pubs re-opening and of course America's Independence Day.Please also drop us a vote for the British Podcast Awards!! Votes close on 6 July so get your vote in this week - just type in 'Pubs. Pints. People.' in the drop down and confirm your email address: can also join in the Campaign to help save pubs from closure for just £26/year - just visit Nowak's recipe this week is a Hunter's Chicken and Chestnut Pie, available here: copied below:Hunter's Chicken and Chestnut Pie - by Susan NowakI don’t like to boast – well, I do like to boast but I haven’t really got that much to boast about. However, I do boast a very fine cellar; not so much the contents (though I have a few Trappists I wouldn’t kick out of bed) but the structure itself, built by my husband Fran with his own fair hands. It was no small endeavour; he excavated it out of the raised ground at the back of our house creating a cavern that stays blessedly cool even in the hottest summer. The back wall forms a wine rack, while three massive stone slab shelves provide the ideal place for storing beer; I can keep fruit, veg and cheese out there, too. It even has a few obligatory spiders’ webs.Anyway, due to Lockdown our beer cellar was running low so my brave hunter/gatherer took his own fair hands on a beer hunt; naturally, I put a St Christopher round his neck, my lucky pebble in his pocket and made him chew a couple of raw garlic cloves before he left. Hunter/gatherer turned out to be the mot juste because he came back with several different ales, including two I’d not tried before, from award-winning Hunter’s Brewery at Bulleigh Barton Farm, Ipplepen, Devon – not a million miles from us. Apart from being a normal brewery, 60-barrel brew length with 4,000 gallon fermenting capacity, they have a dedicated conditioning room and can turn out 3,000 bottle-conditioned beers an hour. And, listen up, they bottle-condition all their beers – yes, all nine of them. I am seriously impressed, and place them carefully in my cellar to carry on conditioning.One of them is Half Bore, which the brewer describes as an amber coloured session ale (4.2 per cent ABV); rather intriguingly, the ingredients include both honey and golden syrup along with malted barley and wheat, suggested pairing bangers ‘n’ mash. But I thought that hint of sweetness might be just what I needed for a chicken and chestnut pie and so it proved though, sadly, when I carefully opened the (unshaken) bottle it spurted over my kitchen floor, so the glass I poured was less like amber nectar and more the colour of our famous Devon mud from the brewery farmyard… However, the flavour was there, rounded and nuanced, hops coming through on a lingering aftertaste. And I trust their Old Charlie – “good malt feel in the mouth; dry, tangy, bitter finish” – proves a less lively lad when he’s uncapped. Incidentally, when he’s not doing DIY or out hunting, my own likely lad, Fran, photographs my beer dishes. And eats them.Hunter’s chicken and chestnut pie (serves 4)Around 225g pack diced chicken or four skinned thighs cut into chunks; two pork chipolatas, sliced into rounds (that’s my nod to the brewer’s bangers ‘n’ mash!); oil/butter for frying; half a pint of Half Bore (or medium dark session bitter); sprig of tarragon if available (I picked mine wild the other day); two large potatoes, peeled and sliced (though not too thinly); two medium leeks, thickly sliced; 50g chestnut mushrooms, wiped and cut into chunks; 50g tinnedchestnuts, halved (also available in pouches); ready-made puff pastry (I lazily got mine ready-rolled, too); one beaten egg for glazing the pastry.Lightly sauté chicken and chipolatas in a little oil and butter to seal; add half a pint of malty bitter and around a quarter pint of water, then simmer for around 30 minutes; if used, add tarragon for final 2 minutes then remove it and discard. Meanwhile, boil spud slices until half cooked, then drain. Separately, boil leek chunks briefly – about 3 minutes – then drain. Drain chicken and chipolatas, reserving beer stock. Place sliced potatoes in bottom of pie dish, mix together chicken, chipolatas, mushrooms and leeks then spread over the potatoes; lastly, dot chestnuts on top of the mix then pour in enough beer stock to come about halfway up the pie dish. Allow to cool, then top with puff pastry and brush with egg wash. Bake just above the centre of a medium hot oven (200C, gas mark 5) for around 30 minutes, raising oven temperature to 210C, gas mark 6 for final 10 minutes until the pastry is risen and glazed golden brown – though check during cooking and if pastry starts to over-brown cover with a piece of foil. Thicken any remaining beer stock to make gravy, and serve with a green vegetable.