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Time to celebrate all things German at Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest

 

Oktoberfest has become synonymous with drinking, eating and all-round good times in the UK in recent years, and as you probably know the roots of this cultural phenomenon lie in Germany. What you may not know, however, is the sheer scale of modern-day Oktoberfest celebrations.

 

The original, and still the largest, event takes place every year in Munich. It attracts somewhere around six million visitors from all over Germany and across the world. In 2013, more than 7.5 million litres of beer were consumed over the 16-day period, not to mention a huge range of traditional German food items, including:

 

  • Hendl (roast chicken)
  • Brezen (pretzels)
  • Schweinsaxe (ham hock)
  • Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes)
  • Steckerlfisch (grilled fish served on sticks)

 

The start and finish dates of Oktoberfest in Munich will change slightly from year to year, but since German reunification it has been timed to include German Unity Day, which is celebrated on October 3rd. As well as food and drink, the event also includes fun fair rides, stalls, games and a variety of street entertainers.

 

A little slice of Germany in rural Sussex

 

While there’s nothing quite like being in Munich during this spectacular occasion, the next best thing is to experience one of the many British Oktoberfest events instead. On Sunday 5th October, the Shepherd & Dog are hosting a day that celebrates German culture mixed in with a traditional Sussex welcome. A day that features mouth-watering food and superb beers in a glorious rural pub deserves to be on every wish-list.

 

The first Oktoberfest events as we know them today were held in the early 19th century to celebrate the wedding of Kronprinz Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildurghausen in 1810. The original festivities were centred on horse races which attracted thousands of people from across southern Germany.

 

There are a number of important links between Sussex and Germany. The Brighton Pavilion was built at the behest of King George IV, a prominent monarch from the House of Hanover. Many Sussex towns, including Hastings, Lewes, Uckfield, Crawley and Hassocks, are twinned with German locations.

 

If you’re keen to find out why German food and drink has become so popular at this time of year, be sure to visit the Shepherd & Dog for Oktoberfest. There is something wonderful about superb food and iconic craft beers when they’re enjoyed in a beautiful rural setting. This promises to be an occasion not to be missed.

 

The Shepherd & Dog’s Oktoberfest celebrations are to be held on Sunday October 5th.

Broaden your craft beer horizons with us

Craft Beers

 

In recent years, the popularity of craft beers has risen and risen, and it’s so easy to see why. The days when the only beers we could find were made by a handful of large breweries are long gone, and consumers are now able to choose from a huge range of suppliers of all shapes and sizes. It really is all about variety now.

 

A large number of micro-breweries have been created over the past couple of decades in all parts of the world, and the discerning consumer is now blessed with a superb range of craft beers to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a stout from Staffordshire, a bitter from Belfast or even a porter from Pennsylvania, the chances are you’ll be able to find it somewhere.

 

One of the more intriguing aspects of craft beers is the subtlety of flavours that can be savoured. The final taste of a beer is dependent on a number of things, such as the ingredients included and the brewing process that’s used. Those in the trade will tell you all about the importance of the water source, because it’s often the water that makes a crucial difference.

 

Travel the world of craft beer without leaving Sussex!

 

Craft beers offer delicious flavours, subtle after-tastes and a chance to explore a whole new world of pleasure. The Shepherd and Dog Summer Beer Festival provides the perfect excuse for exploration, with almost sixty different offerings from around the world to try.

 

The extensive range of breweries featured at the event includes Hawkshead Brewery from the Lake District, Hacker-Pschorr from Munich, Kona Brewing Company from Hawaii and Lervig Aktiebryggeri from Stavanger in Norway. If you’re planning a world tour of beer, you can do it from our garden!

 

The festival brings you bottled, keg and cask beers from across the globe, and is accompanied by live music sessions and of course a superb range of foods to add to the occasion. If you’re keen to find out more about the wonderful world of craft beer, come along and enjoy every single drop.

 

The Shepherd & Dog Summer Beer Festival runs from Friday 25 to Monday 28 August.

 

A Sussex Country Gastro Pub

sussex country pubs, brighton gastropub

 

 

We are most definitely a “GastroPub”.  Fine dining in a great country pub atmosphere is what we’re all about, but where did the term Gastro Pub come from?

Well, pencils at the ready all you pub quiz types because this is good hostelry trivia coming your way.

The term “gastropub” was originally coined in 1991 when David Eyre and Mike Belben took over The Eagle pub in   Clerkenwell in London.  It was a time when the country was going through a bad recession and a lot of struggling pubs were going under.  To try and stand out from the crowd, Eyre and Relben had the idea of keeping the casual pub atmosphere while serving the kind of Mediterranean-inspired fare you’d find in a good restaurant along with cask ales.  So they brought gastronomic dining to the local – hence the name.

Brighton GastroPub for Fine Dining

The idea proved such a success that the concept breathed new life into the great British pub and the rest, as they say, is history.  And just to prove its here to stay, in August 2012, “gastropub” was added to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

So if you’re in Sussex or Brighton and fancy some fine dining, then swing by – our gastro pub credentials are definitley worth checking out.

Top 10 Cocktails in the UK This Summer

sussex pub cocktails

 

OK all – time to raise the tone a little.  We’ve had a good time talking about the beer,  but let’s add a little class and sophistication to these ramblings and talk cocktails!

Over the summer we have actually had some good weather.  Things weren’t looking good through June and July, but August has rescued what threatened to be a soggy season (provided you stayed out of the wind).  This showing of the big yellow thing in the sky led many to be a little more adventurous with their beverages, and test the skills of many bar staff in Sussex Country pubs by asking for such delights as an Apple Lush (I’m sure that’s a band I used to be in?).

And now, as the season begins to wane, we have a definitive list of the top 10 cocktails consumed across the nation over the last few weeks.  The list is produced by:

https://www.cocktail.uk.com/cocktails/topten/rated

So it has an air of authority, and who are we to argue with those who clearly have nothing better to do that publish random lists to do with booze.

THE TOP 10 ARE,……….

  1.          Strawberry Daiquiri
  2.          Black Russian  Rated
  3.          Long Island Iced Tea
  4.         Margarita
  5.         Mojito
  6.        Pina Colada
  7.        Cosmopolitan
  8.        Sex on the beach
  9.        Apple Lush
  10.        Last of the Architects

 

And for the curious and more adventurous among you, this is how you make an……

Apple Lush:

Ingredients:

2 parts Vodka, 2 parts Apple juice, top up Ginger beer, pinch of Cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Shake vodka and Apple juice (it is best to use 1 part Apple puree and 1 part Apple juice) together with ice
  2. Pour into an iced Collins glass and top up with Ginger beer
  3. Garnish with a slice of apple sprinkled with cinnamon
dog walkers pubs in sussex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not so sure about it myself………

The Beer Prayer

sussex country pubFollowing along from the theme of my last post – As many regulars will know, attendance at the bar in a Sussex Country Pub like the Shepherd and Dog  can be become what can only be described as sacred duty for those who take their drinking seriously.  So when I came across the following it took me back to the heady days of my youth, when I had the pleasure of travelling in a sky blue uniform that required me to drink in bars around the world in the service of Queen and Country.

At many of the more formal occasions this would be recited by a man of the cloth in addition to the normal prayers and set the tone for what inevitably turned in to a bit of a session.

Enjoy………….

Our lager,
Which art in barrels,
Hallowed be thy drink,
Thy will be drunk,
(I will be drunk),
At home as I am in the tavern.
Give us this day our foamy head,
And forgive us our spillages,
As we forgive those who spill against us,
and lead us not to incarceration,
But deliver us from hangovers,
For thine is the beer,
The bitter and the lager,
Forever and ever,
Barmen.

country pubs in sussex

The Goddess Of Beer – And No – It’s Not The Barmaid

country pubs in sussex

I know of several candidates who consider themselves God’s gift when it comes to beer, but I have recently come across evidence that in ancient times the heavenly brew was in fact the purview of a Goddess.

The ancient Sumerians counted among their most revered Deities the Goddess of Beer – Ninkasi.  As evidence of this an ancient hymn to Ninkasi was written some 4000 years ago, and as well as being the lovelorn ramblings of an early boozer, it contains the recipe for the Middle Eastern beverage of the time.

The Hymn provides wonderful evidence of the fact that beer was in fact a staple of the culture of that time around Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) and archaeologists have also discovered chemical traces of beer in a fragmented jar dating from the mid-fourth century BC.  At the same site they also found evidence for early wine-making and it is thought that the idea of brewing beer arose from baking, perhaps discovered from the fermentation process that was seen with grains that had been left out too long.

As only fresh water was used in making beer, and it had to be boiled as part of the process, it may have been a case that, quite by accident, they discover it was healthier to drink than the water from the local canals which could be polluted by human and animal waste. The beer also contained nutrients other drinks didn’t and when included as part of a staple diet of the Mesopatamians, they realised they felt better, and not just because of the alcohol.  From the evidence of art works also found throughout the region dating from ancient times, it’s clear that beer was consumed daily in great quantities by the people.  No wonder they gave prayers of thanks to Ninkasi.

http://shepherdanddogpub.co.uk/

So there you have it – official confirmation that the ladies of the bar at not in fact encroaching on a traditional male domain, but are simply re-claiming their ancient rights as the heavenly appointed village boozers –  but we kind of knew that already ;0}

http://www.ancient.eu/article/222/

What is a Craft Beer?

sussex country pubs

As we continue to sample the samples for the Craft Beer festival at the end of Aug someone asked the sensible question – what actually is a craft beer?

This was quite a shock – not the question itself, but the fact anyone was able to be anything close to sensible by that point.  Anyway, now that the head’s cleared a bit – here goes……….

It’s Not Clear – Obviously!

Defining what qualifies as a craft beer can actually be quite difficult.  I think the best definition I’ve seen is:

‘craft beer’ as beer made by a brewer that is small, independent, and traditional’

But as Craft beers become more popular there are quite a few hitting the market that might not fit neatly into this description, especially as the term “traditional” is open to interpretation.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2015/aug/27/can-craft-beer-really-be-defined-were-about-to-find-out

Independent breweries appreciate the freedom to be able to use whatever ingredients they like to get those extra special flavours, but this might mean using more modern innovations such as coffee grounds or even chilli’s.  So would this mean they are not classed as “traditional”.

Also, one of the big chains might invest in a small brewery but allow it to carry on growing and producing excellent beer without corporate interference, but it’s no longer independent.

And if sales are good, a small brewery will grow – that’s just good business – but it can stay true to its brewing methods and keep producing the beers that made it popular in the first place.

Ideal for Sussex Country Pubs

So I think the real test of whether a beer can truly be called “Craft” has to be in the taste.  When beers are mass produced decisions are made about ingredients used and brewing techniques employed that have a lot to do with keeping the output high, and this is reflected in the flavour of the final product.  When the time and effort is spent on making a beer that bit special, allowing certain flavours to develop, it really shows.  When the big breweries pile in and try and make versions of Craft Beers that really don’t tick the boxes any seasoned beer drinker can tell the difference straight away – quality will always win out.

http://shepherdanddogpub.co.uk/

So come along to our good old Sussex Country Pub on the 26th – 29th Aug, get your taste buds around a selection of the Craft Beers on offer and see for yourself what all the fuss is about.  By the end of the evening you might even agree with most of the staff here – who cares about a sensible question!

The Cure for Everything – Except Hangovers!

With our Gin and jazz night coming up at the end of next week, I thought you might like to know a little more about the history of what for a long time was the nations favourite tipple.

A Sussex Country Pub Favourite

Sussex Country PubsYou might be surprised to learn that starting from humble beginnings, the old G&T has a long and really quite complicated history, filled with a level of intrigue, that belies its simple ingredients.

It’s thought that Gin was invented in the 16th century in Leiden, Holland by one Dr. Sylvius de Bouve.  It was originally prescribed as medical treatment said to aid circulation. It made its way to the UK, where, due largely to being cheap, it became the beverage of choice.  By 1750, over 11 million gallons were being downed by Londoners every year.  Eventually, the level of drinking became such a problem that a series of laws had to be introduced to  curb the general populations’ reliance on the spirit, and by the mid-19th century gin came to be considered a gentleman’s drink.

In 1857 the British Crown formally took over the government of India, and as Empire spread more Brits began to make their way to the subcontinent and other warm postings. They struggled with the ravages of malaria and boredom in tropical climates when some smart (and sweaty) colonial  figured out the cure for both of these evils – The Gin and Tonic.

http://qtonic.com/history.html

Purely Medicinal My Dear

At that time tonic water was infused heavily with quinine, which was an extract from the South American cinchona tree.  Known to locals as the “fever tree” because its bark was able to stop chills, cinchona bark was first brought to Europe in the 1640s when it was shown to both cure and prevent malaria.  So tonic water  became an essential part of Britain’s colonial expansion, even though its taste was bitter and harsh. Brits soon found that the addition of gin, sugar, ice, and citrus was the perfect way to temper the bitterness and make the cure palatable.   And as a bonus, the inclusion of limes prevented scurvy, which was always a problem during the long sea voyages to the postings.

 

The Modern Pub Version

Nowadays tonic water is much more palatable, with much smaller doses of quinine and more sweetening agents, making the G&T as popular as ever.  Quibble ass we may over the details (how much ice to use, lemon versus lime or cucumber, proper ratios etc.), we can all agree: the timeless gin and tonic really does seem to cure all ills.

Except hangovers, that is.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gin_and_tonic