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  • Desert Island Beers #58: Barrie Pepper

    September 27th, 2012FletchtheMonkeyDesert Island Beers

    This weeks Desert Island Beers features Barrie Pepper who is one of Britain’s leading beer writers and for seven years was Chairman of the British Guild of Beer Writers. He has been Highly Commended three times in the Guild’s Beer Writer of the Year awards and was the first recipient of the Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award for services to beer writing. And in 2002 Barrie won the Guild’s Silver Tankard for his book ‘The Landlord’s Tale‘ for which he was also runner-up in the Glenfiddich Award for Drinks Books. Then in 2004 he won another Silver Tankard for ‘Fifty More Great Pub Crawls’.

    He is a life member of CAMRA and a former member of its National Executive. He was recently chosen as one of its top 40 campaigners.

    Barrie Pepper

    Barrie Pepper

    Barrie’s journalistic work includes writing for The Yorkshire Post, What’s Brewing, First Draught, Wine and Spirit International, Beers of the World, Inn Speak and several other newspapers and journals in Britain, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Czech Republic and the United States. He has now written eighteen books on pubs and beer and two on the Anglican church. In 2003 he was elected a Life Member of the National Union of Journalists.

    When not writing about beer his other interests are the theatre, music, sport, travel – which he also writes about – and the convivial atmosphere and company of the traditional British pub. He is active in the Anglican Church being a member of the Ripon and Leeds Diocesan Synod and Editor of his parish church newsletter.

    Timothy Taylors Championship Beers

    Roosters Yankee pump clip

    Yankee Doodle can to Knarseborough

    theakstons old peculiar the crown hawes

    Perfect place for a pint of Old Peculier

    Brasserie dOrval – Orval – (Florenville, Villers-d’Orval, Belgium – 6.2%)

    Orval – topping the Desert Island Chart

    The Beers

    Hi Barry Barrie and welcome to our Desert Island! Which beers are you bringing with you to the island, and why?

    1. Timothy Taylor & Co.Ltd – Timothy Taylor Boltmaker (was Best Bitter) – (Keighley , West Yorkshire – 4.0%)
      “Taylor’s reputation has been built, justifiably, on Landlord, a fine beer but just that touch too strong to be termed a session ale. Boltmaker, formerly known as Best Bitter, meets my criteria with its attractive balance of malt and fruit and developing hoppiness. It almost tells you ‘have another.’”
    2. Rooster’s Brewing Company Ltd – Yankee™ – (Knaresborough, North Yorkshire – 4.3%)
      “In 1997, Sean Franklin the founder and former owner of Rooster, won the Beer and Brewing Award. His nominator said: ‘For his knowledge of, and innovative use of hops, thereby creating a variety of fascinating, diverse and memorable flavours in his never-wavering high quality cask ales… Rooster’s beers stand out for sheer taste, range and quality. Also the award would be going to a thoroughly likeable man.’ I agree wholeheartedly with these remarks and choose Yankee as my favourite from a portfolio of outstanding beers.”
    3. Theakstons – Theakston Old Peculier – (Masham, Ripon, North Yorkshire – 5.6%)
      “Back in 1992 I wrote the tasting notes for Old Peculier for the Good Beer Guide: ‘Almost as black as sin, but with a copper-red showing through and an aroma filled with malt and fruit. The flavours are complex but roast malt and butterscotch stand out, with a gentle hoppy bitterness and some fruit. The lasting aftertaste reveals that hops play a major part in the making of this rich full-bodied beer. Twenty years on I see no reason to change my view – this continues to be a classic beer.”
    4. Budweiser Budvar Ceske Budejovice – Budweiser Budvar – (Ceské Budjovice, Czech Republic – 5.0%)
      “Budvar from the Czech Republic is an all time favourite of mine. It got me in a lot of trouble once when, in a BBC Radio 4 broadcast, I upset the American brewers Anheuser Busch who make an inferior beer called Budweiser and they turned a firm of 75 solicitors on me. I think I called it ‘a copy of a copy’. On my side was CAMRA, Michael Jackson and the BBC. And guess who won? From then on and following several visits to Ceske Budejovice the Bohemian city in which it is brewed it became and remains my best ever choice of a lager.”
    5. Brasserie d’Orval – Orval – ( Florenville – Villers – d’ Orval, Belgium – 6.2%)
      “Orval is my favourite Belgium beer and one of the seven legally protected ales from Trappist monasteries. Unlike the other six religious houses it only produces one beer and this is a classic 6.2% abv hoppy delight which gathers strength as it ages. The monastery, and brewery, can be found beautifully situated in a valley in the Ardennes forest and as well as beer it produces a tasty hard cheese and its own bread.”

    And which beer of those five would you rescue from the waves if a beer hungry tsunami hit?

    “I would choose Rooster’s Yankee mainly for the reasons given above. But if you were to ask me to choose a beer to be left with when the rest ran dry I would select Budweiser Budvar because of its cheerfulness and to remind me of my victory over the American pseudo libation.”

    The Meal

    You can also take one meal to go with your beers, what would it be?
    “I would enjoy a rich Fish Pie filled with crab, prawns, mussels, smoked haddock, salmon, creamy mashed potatoes and a cheesy crust. All the beers would go well with that except the Old Peculier and that would make a fine accompaniment to a fruity Summer Pudding.”

    The Books

    You might be waiting a long time on your lonesome on the desert island, so we will automatically allow you a few books to keep your mind busy. You can pick between two beer books and two tomes: ‘The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food’ by Garrett Oliver, or ‘Beer’ by Michael Jackson; plus The Bible, or another appropriate religious or philosophical work.

    “1. Beer by Michael Jackson – he brought me into beer writing and I followed him into the Chair of the British Guild of Beer Writers. He was one of the good guys and a Yorkshireman at that.

    2.The Bible and it must be the King James version. I read bits most Sundays and keep threatening to read longer pieces – complete chapters and books.”

    And a non-beery book?

    “The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens. I read it once some sixty years ago when in hospital recovering from broken ribs during my national service in the army.”

    The record

    You have a CD/mp3/long player but you can only take one album. Choose wisely!

    “If I could have a multi record album then I would choose the Vienna State Opera recording of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. If the limit is just one record then a collaboration of songs from Ella Fitzgerald.”

    The Luxury Item

    And finally, what luxury item would help make your stay on the island bearable?

    “A Clarinet (or maybe a Saxophone). I used to play one many years ago and would like to get my touch back and add to the musical ambiance of the island.”

    Thanks Barrie!

    This article is a collaboration with All Gates Brewery as part of our Desert Island Beers series.


    Mark is better known as @fletchthemonkey and started writing about beer in 2009. When not content with spending all day on the internet working in digital for an multichannel retailer, Mark waxes lyrical at and types up match reports for Leeds Guide magazine.

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1 responses to “Desert Island Beers #58: Barrie Pepper” RSS icon

  • I’ve been Barrie (with an IE) for 79 years. You have committed the cardinal sin of spelling my name with a Y and I’ve only known you for five minutes – please correct it. You got it right at the end – consistency, that’s the word.



    FletchtheMonkey Reply:

    @Barrie Pepper, Sincere apologies Barrie, normally 5 out of 6 ain’t bad but certainly not good enough with names! :)



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