Monday, May 27, 2019

Brewtopia's Group Beer Trip to Northern Spain

Click on the video below for highlights from our group beer/cider/wine tour of the regions around Barcelona and San Sebastián in northern Spain. Barcelona has become an impressive craft beer destination. Video by Owen Ogletree of

Friday, May 24, 2019

British Pub Tips

For those of you who have never experienced a pub in the UK, look below for some useful tips...

- Order at the bar and pay as you go. UK pubs don't run tabs, unless you are sitting down to eat.

- If you are ordering food, find a table and look for the number on the table. You'll need the number when you go to the bar to order food and pay.

- Beers come in 20 ounce imperial pints and 10 ounce half pints. Half pints are exactly half the cost of a regular pint, so this makes it easy to try many beers. 

- My advice would be to stick to half pints, for the sake of moderation and variety. When ordering a small beer, ask for a HALF. Don't say "half pint," because all the bartender will hear is "pint." Example: "I'd like a HALF of the Oakham Citra Ale please." Be sure the word HALF is stressed. 

- Contactless pay is huge in UK pubs, and this makes paying for your beers so easy. On your phone, load the GooglePay or ApplePay app and put in your credit card information. Activate the NFC (Near Field Communication) setting on your phone, and use your phone to tap the card reader at the pub and pay with no hassle. Be sure to use a credit card that does NOT charge any extra on international purchases.

- Remember there is NO tipping in the UK. You can leave a couple of extra pounds on the table after a nice sit-down meal, but this is optional. 

- Beers with tap handles that look like billy clubs are cask "real" ale. These are the special beers that we can't usually find in the USA. All pubs will also offer a boring range of mainstream lagers on draft, along with a few new craft beers on draft. Cask ales will have light, soft carbonation, while the draft beers will be fizzy like in the USA. Cask ales in the north of the UK will be served using a "sparkler" on the end of the faucet. The sparkler shoots the beer into the glass through tiny holes, creating a pint with a soft mouthfeel and creamy head. 

- You can always ask for a taste of any cask ale before you order. Most bartenders will be happy to do this.

- Don't be afraid to talk to the locals in the pub. Once you get them going, they can be entertaining. Understanding some accents can be a challenge though. Always ask before petting a dog in a pub. 

- A "listed" pub means that the building is on a historic register and is protected from modernization. 

- Feeling peckish at the pub? Most pubs sell a range of tasty snack packs from behind the bar. My favorites are KP's Nuts, Nobby Nuts, Piper's Crisps, and Mini-Cheddar crackers.