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Sunday, 26 March 2017

30 Second Craft Beer Review - Pure Gallus by Black Wolf Brewery

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The Aldi Spring Beer Festival is under way so I made my way along to my local store last week to stock up on a few bottles of craft beer for the weekend. Aldi's buyers have specially selected 35 different beers from a huge range craft brewers from across the country and after much deliberation, I made my way home with half a dozen beers that I've not tried before.
One of the six was Pure Gallus from Stirling based brewer, Black Wolf Brewery.
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Pure Gallus Scottish Pale Ale (ABV 5.5%) from Black Wolf Brewery

Bought at Aldi for £1.49 for 330ml

  • Pours with a foamy head that is still evident towards the bottom of the glass.
  • Dark amber in colour with no haziness.
  • Citrus and pine notes on the nose with burnt caramel in the background.
  • Medium carbonation.
  • Bitter orange marmalade flavours on the initial taste that are replaced by notes of apricot before a palate cleansing grapefruit bitter finish.

I've written previously about Black Wolf Brewery with Tundra being one of my favourite wheat beers but I've always felt that the Stirling Brewery is a bit hit and miss. That said, Pure Gallus was right up my street. A beer that delivered huge flavour from the first sip to the last. Definitely one that I'll be stocking up on, a very good Scottish twist on the traditional IPA.


Friday, 24 March 2017

BLOOM Gin – The Perfect Gift For Mother's Day

Swap afternoon tea for cocktails and treat your mother to some indulgent BLOOM Gin cocktails at Somerset House!

The Pennethorne’s Bar in Somerset House and BLOOM Gin have launched a gorgeous BLOOM Gin cocktail to celebrate Mother’s Day. Described as one of London’s ‘hidden gems’ Pennethorne’s, in the New Wing of Somerset House in London, transforms from cosy lunches and drinks into a cocktail bar at night.

Pennethorne’s will be serving the BLOOMING Love cocktail, created by General Manager and Head Mixologist, Deena Versanszki, who hails originally from New York. Deena’s Blooming Love cocktail will be available at The Pennethorne’s Bar until the end of March.

Served in an elegant Martini glass this cocktail is mixed with BLOOM Gin and Martini Bianco and is garnished with a swirl of cucumber.

Pennethorne’s is open from Mon-Fri 8am-late, Sat 10am-late and Sun closed. Check the website in case of private events. Tables for more than 10 people can be reserved by emailing or calling Group Bookings +44 (0)20 7845 4651.

BLOOM Gin is the perfect gift for Mother’s Day. Its elegant and feminine bottle looks stylish on any drinks table yet is exquisite to drink! Below are a few cocktail suggestions to best enjoy BLOOM Gin:

BLOOM Gin & Tonic with Strawberries - Who needs flowers with this floral infused cocktail. BLOOM’s bespoke botanical blend of honeysuckle and chamomile give the classic Gin & Tonic a totally unique, slightly sweet taste. Serve with fresh sliced strawberries to really enhance the floral flavours.

To make the BLOOM Gin & Tonic with Strawberries at home:

  • Quarter two strawberries
  • Place in a balloon glass
  • Add ice
  • Top with 200ml high quality tonic water
  • Stir gently to ensure that the flavours are well mixed

BLOOM Gin French 75 - Beautifully simple yet sophisticated.

To make the BLOOM Gin French 75 at home you will need:

  • 25ml BLOOM London Dry Gin
  • 25ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 10ml sugar syrup (1 water: 2 sugar)
  • Top with good quality Prosecco or Champagne
  • Shake the first three ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top with bubbles and garnish with pretty edible flowers.

BLOOM Gin Pear Bellini- Raise a glass to your special mother with this effervescent celebratory cocktail.

To make this BLOOM Pear Bellini at home, you will need:

  • 25ml BLOOM London Dry Gin
  • 10ml pear juice
  • Shake pear juice and BLOOM with ice and fine strain into a chilled glass
  • Top with chilled Prosecco

BLOOM Gin - This elegant, feminine and delicate gin is the perfect gift for Mother's Day. Wonderfully stylish and exquisite to drink.

BLOOM Gin's beautiful new bottle and delicious floral flavour appeals to non-gin drinkers and gin aficionados alike. Distilled by one of the world's few female Master Distillers, Joanne Moore. Joanne chose the flowers of chamomile and honeysuckle, with the citrus fruit pomelo to make up the three main botanicals for BLOOM.

Available in all major supermarkets, Harvey Nichols and Ocado. RRP £24.00 for 70cl. ABV: 40%.


Thursday, 23 March 2017

International Gin & Tonic Day: How do you like your style of GIN?

This year when you celebrate International Gin and Tonic Day on the 9th April, why not prepare your G&T with three refreshingly different tasting gins from England's oldest Gin distilling company.

BLOOM Gin & Tonic with Strawberries - The perfect G&T for the summer

  • Quarter two strawberries and place in a balloon glass.
  • Add ice and pour 50ml of BLOOM Gin over the ice.
  • Top with 200ml of Fever-Tree tonic water.
  • Stir gently to ensure that the flavours are well mixed.

BLOOM Gin's elegant bottle and delicious floral flavour appeals to occasional gin drinkers and gin aficionados alike. It is distilled by one of the world's few female Master Distillers, Joanne Moore, who chose the flowers of chamomile and honeysuckle, with the citrus fruit pomelo to make up the three main botanicals for BLOOM.

BLOOM Gin is available from: Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Asda, Ocado and Morrisons. RRP: £24.00 for 70cl. ABV: 40%

Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin

  • Pour 50ml of Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin into a highball glass over ice cubes.
  • Add 200ml Fever-Tree Tonic and garnish with a wedge of orange studded with cloves.

Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin has a beautiful bottle and its hand-picked botanicals epitomise the exotic intensity of the Orient, with spicy cubeb berries from Indonesia, cardamon and black pepper from India and coriander from Morocco.

Available from: Asda, Tesco, Morrison's, Waitrose, Ocado, Booths and seven regional Harvey Nicols stores nationwide and RRP: £23.00 for 70cl. ABV: 40%

Thomas Dakin - Tom & Tonic - A gin and tonic with a unique flavour

  • Fill a tall glass with ice.
  • Pour in 50ml of Thomas Dakin Gin and top with 125ml of Fever-Tree tonic water.
  • Garnish with a twist of orange peel and a sprig of coriander.

Thomas Dakin Gin is a classic style London Dry Gin which takes its name from the forefather of English Gin, Thomas Dakin, who created the world's first quality gin in 1761 in the North West of England.

The Master Distiller uses a secret recipe of eleven botanicals, including some traditionally used for making cordials in the 18th Century, as well as juniper, orange peel and English coriander with the unique addition of red cole to give the gin its long, lingering finish. Horseradish, or red cole as it was known in Dakin's day, was used to revive weary travellers journeying by coach and horses from London to Scotland.

Thomas Dakin is available from: Waitrose, Harvey Nichols, Booths, Ocado,, RRP: £29.00 for 70cl. ABV: 42%

Stoats Launches New Quick Pots Flavour

Stoats, a leading oats company, has announced three new flavours have been added to their Porridge Quick Pot range.

Due to the growing popularity of the Stoats Porridge Quick Pots, three new flavour pots have been added to the range. With wholesome oaty goodness and packed with real fruit pieces, these pots offer a super convenient way for on-the-go consumption – cooking in three minutes simply by adding hot water. Available in Raspberry & Honey, Rhubarb & Bramble, and Pear & Vanilla, the new pots are high in fibre and are a source of protein to help you own the day.

Stoats Pear & Vanilla Porridge Quick Pot
The first of the new Quick Pots is a completely new flavour to the Stoats range and an unbeatable taste combo. Perky pear teams up beautifully with vibrant vanilla to give you the porridge equivalent of a warm, life-affirming hug. Own the day, any time of day, quickly and easily.
Stoats Raspberry & Honey Porridge Quick Pot

Inspired by Cranachan, the legendary Scottish dessert, this pot is positively packed with premium Stoats oats, tangy raspberries and yummy honey. It’s a speedy, flavoursome way to fuel up with goodness and own the day.

Stoats Rhubarb & Bramble Porridge Quick Pot

Like taking a mouthful of the Scottish countryside, Stoats’ premium oats blend with tart rhubarb, sweet apple, and juicy brambles in a perky pot to fill you up and help you own the day.

Managing Director at Stoats, Tony Stone said: “As lifestyles are increasingly busy, we want to ensure that people can eat well on the go. These porridge pots prove the perfect portion of porridge that will keep you satisfied until lunch. We hope our consumers will enjoy these new flavour additions to our range.”

Stoats Porridge Quick Pots are available to purchase from for an RRP of £1.29 per pot as well as an introductory online offer of six pots for £5.

Established in 2005 by Tony Stone and Bob Arnott, Stoats specialises in providing good quality oat products which are nutritionally rich, convenient and help satisfy hunger at all points in the day.

Further information on Stoats products can be found at

Brakes Scotland Announces Partnership with MasterChef Gary Maclean in Boost to Scottish Offering

Scottish foodservice provider, Brakes Scotland, has announced a new partnership with MasterChef: The Professionals winner Gary Maclean. The partnership will see Gary support the company’s unwavering commitment to sourcing local products, promoting the very best in Scottish produce and innovation.

The partnership follows the launch of Brakes Scotland in 2016, part of Brakes’ UK operation, and further cements the company’s increased commitment to Scotland and its Scottish offering.

Gary Maclean has a long-standing relationship with Brakes spanning 25 years, having used the company throughout his entire career as a chef and senior lecturer. He comments: “The team at Brakes Scotland have so much passion and enthusiasm for Scottish produce. It’s fantastic to see the work the company is doing to support Scottish suppliers, including collaborating with smaller suppliers, and I’m really excited to be part of this. I have always been a huge advocate of Scottish produce across the seasons, from shellfish to fresh berries, and I believe Scotland is the envy of Europe in terms of the quality of produce we have on our doorstep. As a chef and lecturer I know first-hand how important locally sourced food, with strong provenance, is to chefs and consumers.”

John McLintock, director of operations, Brakes Scotland, commented on the new partnership: “Gary is an incredibly well respected and dynamic powerhouse in the world of food and we’re thrilled he’s on board to help enhance our Scottish focus and to work directly with our customers. We have grown our Scottish offering considerably, for example our dairy products are now entirely Scottish, and we have plans in the pipeline that will add to a brilliant Scottish range. We have always supported young chefs and Gary will help us to inspire young talent in Scotland, as well as develop new recipes and some other exciting initiatives. We remain focused on truly putting Scottish food at the very heart of our business.”

Brakes Scotland has shown significant investment in the Scottish economy and now has over 80 Scottish suppliers providing 400 Scottish specific product lines. This equates to £70m of Scottish produce procured annually, spanning meat, dairy, fish & seafood, bakery, desserts & ice cream, grocery and drinks. 30% of all Brakes Scotland sales are currently produced and packaged in Scotland.

Brakes Scotland has their Scottish Supplier event next week (Tuesday 28 March) at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston where 50 Scottish Suppliers will showcase their goods. The event will run from 12pm – 4pm and will include live demonstrations from Brakes Scotland sister companies, Fresh Direct and M&J Seafood.


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Young Fathers, Belle & Sebastian and Idlewild to Headline Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival Music Line-Up

Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival is excited to announce DJ sets from Young Fathers, Belle & Sebastian, Idlewild and Metronomy’s Olugbenga at their Bank Holiday weekend festival in Edinburgh.

Young Fathers will headline the Friday night DJ slot with Idlewild on stage during the day on Saturday and Belle & Sebastian to play at the festival on Saturday night. Sunday’s session will feature a DJ set from Olugbenga Adelekan from Metronomy.

Over thirty internationally renowned brewers will fly in from around the world to participate in Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival; kicking off on the May Bank Holiday weekend, Friday 26th May - Sunday 28th at The Biscuit Factory in Leith.

Among them are Lervig, Firestone Walker, Dugges, Beerbliotek, Pohjala, Mikkeller HQ, Brooklyn Brewery and Sierra Nevada

For many of the participating brewers, it will be the first time they have touched down on Scottish soil where they will exhibit their beers to a festival audience of 3,000 people.

Completing the line-up, is an all-star selection of Scottish and English craft breweries, including from England, Beavertown, Kernel, Thornbridge, Magic Rock, and Northern Monk. From Scotland Tempest, BrewDog, Pilot, and Fierce Beer will be showcasing their beers.

Up to 200 beers will be available to try including new-to-market brews, cult classics and festival specials.

Tickets start at £30 (plus booking fee) and include entry to the festival, souvenir glass and the chance to explore all the special beers on offer.

Popular local street market, The Pitt will provide the food offering, including usual favourites, Umami Spice Girl and Pizza Geeks.

Speaking of the music line-up, Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival organiser Greg Wells said:

"We are beyond excited to announce our music line-up and begin the countdown to the first Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival.

We wanted our music line-up to reflect the vibe of the festival, offering both heavy hitters names and rising stars to complete the roster.

Up until now, craft beer festivals in Scotland have focused on local or up-and-coming talent. What we're seeking to do at Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival is bring together the best of beer, full stop.

Our hand-picked line-up will see superstar craft brewers from Sweden, New Zealand, America, Norway and even England pour their beers in Scotland for the very first time. Needless to say, this is not a beer festival to miss."

Tickets for Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival are available now:


Mediterranean Mezze Brings Sun-Drenched Dishes and Stunning Views to The Table

Bask in the heat of the Mediterranean – as stylish restaurant and bar Mezze has officially opened down by the Clyde. Hundreds of customers joined them on their first weekend as the restaurant brought welcomed sunshine to the city.
Set on the top floor of the Rotunda complex, the split-level bustling contemporary foodie oasis offers impressive seafood dishes, mouthwatering chargrilled meats and kebabs alongside spectacular views out across the River Clyde and SEC Hydro.
Led by head chefs, Alex Lioly and Ridi Mukja, their modern dishes shine on the menu, as Mezze showcases the diverse Mediterranean culture and landscape – with Greek, Cypriot, Ionian islands and Turkish influences that reinvent classic fare. The dishes – a combination of small and big plates have been created to share and to complement the casual, laid-back atmosphere and vibe of the space.
Sharing specialities include whole chargrilled sea bream, slow-cooked kleftiko lamb shoulder – a real show stopper, slow cooked chicken tava stews, and seafood saganaki stews that are perfect for bringing friends and family together.
Designed by CM Design Consultants, the 60-seater restaurant boasts postcard blue walls, comfortable and colourful fabric and leather booths and white washed tables and chairs that will transport you to port of Thessaloniki whilst you dine. For drinkers, a relaxing bar area is set under a spectacular Santorini-inspired blue dome feature ceiling that provides a dreamy oasis for cocktails or a quiet glass of wine before or after dinner.
Brought to you by restaurateurs, Kevin Campbell and Toni Carbajosa – who own Greek-Cypriot restaurant Halloumi and Rioja tapas and cocktail bar in Finnieston, the new restaurant will offer 20% off as an introductory welcome to diners.
Campbell says: “Modern Greek and Mediterranean cuisine is making waves at the moment and we wanted to create a dining space that pays homage to our chefs heritage. Ridi and Alex have created dishes that reinvent what they ate growing up in with a twist and the result is modern and fresh.
“Sharing is a culinary tradition and we wanted our guests to come and experience the magic of Mezze and feel as if they've stepped into the warmth of the Mediterranean Aegean sea.”
For more information please visit:

Twitter @mezzeglasgow

Instagram @mezzeglasgow

Open seven days from 12 noon until 10pm, Sunday to Thursday, and 10:30pm Friday and Saturday. Mezze is situated on the Fourth Floor of the Rotunda Complex. 28 Tunnel Street Hope St, Glasgow, and will be serving from lunch through to dinner.

Rotunda is located a two minute walk from the Hydro and SEC complex and is the newest addition to Glasgow’s thriving dining scene.

Bookings can be made on 0141 204 3144, or alternatively online at