Friday 22 November 2019

Worrying about hangovers makes them worse

New research from the University of Salford:
Worrying about how bad your hangover pain will be could make it worse

New research suggests that worrying about pain can make hangover symptoms more severe.

The recent study, carried out at the University of Salford, examined how experiences of hangovers varied from person to person, and whether this was linked to whether the individual was likely to “catastrophise pain”.

Pain catastrophising is the tendency some people have to worry overly about the threat of pain and to feel helpless in managing their pain, as well as dwelling on thoughts about how much something hurts.

The research involved 86 participants aged between 18 – 46 years old. They were asked to complete questionnaires asking about a recent time when they had consumed alcohol. From this the researchers were able to estimated participants blood alcohol levels. The participants also reported the extent of their hangover and their tendency to catastrophise pain.

The research showed a significant relationship between catastrophising and hangover severity scores. This was a stronger predictor of perceived hangover severity than estimated peak blood alcohol concentration.

Further analysis identified that there were two distinct types of hangover symptoms; those that were stress-related and those that were dehydration-related. Both types of symptoms were worse in those who had a higher peak alcohol concentration, while stress-related symptoms were also worse in those who were more likely to catastrophise pain.

Lead researcher Sam Royle explained: “These findings suggest the importance of cognitive coping strategies in how people experience hangovers after drinking alcohol. This may have implications in understanding behavioural responses to hangovers, and also for addiction research.”
Lead researcher and wizard, Sam Royle, University of Salford

Thursday 21 November 2019

A visit to Jennings Brewery

A spring visit to the historic Jennings Brewery in Cockermouth, Cumbria. The brewery is set beneath the walls of Cockermouth Castle, at the confluence of the Rivers Derwent and Cocker, which proved to be dangerous in the floods of 2009. The brewery almost closed, had it not been for the parent company Marston's, who brewed the beers temporarily elsewhere whilst Jennings brewery was repaired and cleaned out. Jennings started out brewing in nearby High Loughton in 1828. Surprisingly, the brewery cottages and the malthouse still survive, the latter converted into the village hall, now known as Yew Tree Hall, in 1910. The company had moved to its present site by 1874 and the distinctive Grade II Listed maltings were built in 1889. The reason for the move to this site was the abundance of well water which was used for the castle and is still used to brew the beers today. In 2005 the brewery was taken over by Marston's Brewery.

Above: Cockermouth Castle, the brewery is to the right of fortress

Above: Looking upstream of the Derwent, the Cocker is on the right

Above: the buildings on the left are the Grade II Listed former maltings, now unused, the other buildings house the brewery.
The former maltings are the most picturesque part of the brewery buildings, it's s shame they lie empty. There would be problems converting to alternative use due to lack of parking and the danger of flooding.

Below: the Jennings Brewery logo, on glass inside the brewery

Above: the gateway to Jennings Brewery, with the maltings in the centre

Above: the former maltings

Above: the shop and beginning of the brewery tour

Above and below: the tap room
Below: the brewery itself, the grist mill
Below: the hop store

Above and below: the mash tun

Below: the copper

Below: the fermenting room

Above and below: fermenters

All quite modern brewery kit, there were some older mash tuns at the brewery but we went past them too quickly on the tour to be able to photograph them
Below: the sample cellar for the tap room

 Prices for the brewery tour and tasting are (2019 prices) £9.50 for an adult, which isn't too bad for a couple of hours tour and tastings. Full details of the tours are on the Jennings Brewery website.

Cockermouth is easily reached by bus from either Workington or Keswick/Penrith and the Stagecoach bus X4/X5 runs every half an hour throughout the day.
There are a number of pubs in Cockermouth, the Bush offers the best range of Jennings beers outside of the brewery tap and marston's continue to use the Jennings brand for this pub rather than their own.

 The Castle Bar offers the best non-Jennings beers in the town and the building is a lot older than the facade makes out, dating back to the sixteenth century. The pub sign features the lion of the Matthew Brown & Co Brewery of Blackburn, who acquired the Workington Brewery (buildings still standing in 2019) in 1975, Theakstons in 1984 and were themselves taken over by Scottish & Newcastle Breweries in 1987 with the Blackburn Brewery closing in 1981.

Tuesday 7 May 2019

A visit to Hawkshead Brewery

Staveley in the Lake District is easily reached by train from Oxenholme and is on the line to Windermere.

The Railway Hotel is no more, having closed around 2005 but that's no matter, a short stroll downhill from the station is Hawkshead Brewery, housed in a former mill. The brewery was started by Alex Brodie in 2002, just outside of the Cumbrian village of Hawkshead and relocated to Staveley in 2006 with a 20-barrel brewery. The company operates another brewery at Flookburgh, a 40 barrel plant, this expansion was made possible by a £3 million investment from the parent company, Halewood International, who are famous for the Crabbie's brand of ginger beer. Halewood International also own Sadler's Brewery and the chav's favourite sparkling perry, Lambrini. Halewood handle the distribution of Hawkshead beers. The Staveley Brewery specialises in brewing small-scale specialist beers, whilst the regular beers will be brewed at Flookburgh.  
Above: Some of the beers brewed by Hawkshead

The Staveley brewery has a beer hall attached which is open all day and serves food, you don't have to attend the brewery tour in order to have a drink here, the hall is open to all.
Hawkshead Brewery award-wall is large and impressive
The brewery tour begins with a video and explanation of the ingredients used to brew here. Unusually, possibly uniquely, the water is brought to the brewery via tanker rather than a mains connection. 
Malt ready to go in the grist case
Above: the mash tun
Above: the copper
Above: the fermenting room
The house yeast is unique, having been obtained from a now-defunct German brewery, a top-fermenting yeast from a former Kolsch brewer. 
Conditioning and racking room
Above: One of their small scale brews, ageing in whisky casks

Above: two multi-purpose vessels, can be used for fermenting or conditioning.

Above and below: the range of Hawkshead beers available in their Beer Hall, both cask and keg
The unusual range of beers included a Chuckle Berry Sour, a Berliner Weiss with Chuckleberries, having pressed Chuckleberries and tasted the rather tart cross of redcurrant, gooseberry and Jostaberry (a gooseberry/blackcurrant cross) it was good to see a use for this distinctive fruit. 

The brewery tour costs £10 (2019 price) and starts each day at 1300 hrs.

If you are in the area, make sure to take a trip to Windermere, the next stop up on the railway line, to visit the fantastic Crafty Baa.

If you're heading the other direction, a short but steep walk uphill from Oxenholme Railway Station is the Station Inn, offering good food and Wifi, the perfect place to spend a couple of hours filling in your refund form online for the trains delayed for over two hours due to a derailment! Thanks to Virgin Trains for a speedy refund though!

Thursday 21 March 2019

Award-winning cidermaker opens micropub in Hereford

Herefordshire cidermaker Denis Gwatkin of Gwatkin's Cider in Abbeydore, has opened a micropub in Hereford's historic Buttermarket, serving a range of his award-winning ciders and perries as well as beers and lager from Wye Valley Brewery, either to drink in or takeaway. Denis, who has been making cider now for almost 30 years decided to open “Gwatkin'sHouse of Cider” in the Buttermarket as the building is undergoing refurbishment and regeneration with artisan food and drink producers moving in alongside the more traditional market businesses such as butchers and cheesemongers.
Above: Michael Sammars (Bar Manager), Theresa Roberts (Director of Gwatkin Cider) and Denis Gwatkin (Director of Gwatkin Cider)

According to Denis Gwatkin, “This is a great opportunity for us to be able to sell our ciders and perries in the heart of Hereford. We have a successful farm shop at our farm in Abbeydore but not everyone can get out to it, so this is our way of bringing our shop to the centre of the city of Hereford. We're stocking our full range of award-winning ciders and perries alongside other drinks and we are aiming our ciders to complement the range of food available in the Buttermarket. Customers are welcome to try our ciders and we have upcycled cable reels to serve as tables around our bar. We're very excited at this prospect and for the future developments in the Buttermarket.”

Hereford Buttermarket is undergoing a resurgence, along with new businesses such as Gwatkin Cider moving into the building there are plans to open up the upper floors to encourage more traders into the historic structure.

Gwatkin's House ofCider is open from 0900-1645 Monday to Saturday, in Hereford Buttermarket, High Town, Hereford, HR1 2AA

Tuesday 12 February 2019

A visit to Black Sheep Brewery

 Hidden behind the White Bear Hotel in Masham is the town's other brewery, Black Sheep, housed in the former maltings of the Lightfoot Brewery, which was taken over by Theakston in 1919. In fact the White Bear Hotel occupies the former Lightfoot Brewery buildings, the original White Bear was destroyed by a bomb in 1941, not deliberately it seems, a damaged Heinkel was shedding it's bombs before it crashed.
The front of the Black Sheep Brewery is rather industrial, it's the rear of the premises where the impressive and more photogenic side is.
The ghost sign underneath the Black Sheep Brewery letters refers to the previous use of the building as a maltings.
 Whereas the outside blends the historic and industrial, inside there is a modern bar, bistro and shop
 There were more people on this tour than on the one a few hours earlier going around the Theakston Brewery, a lot more, there were 3 people on the Theakston tour, including myself, whereas there were about 25 on the Black Sheep tour, this could be put down to better marketing but also the Black Sheep Brewery has room for coaches in the large car park.
First up on the tour was a corporate video, explaining the history of this brewery, founded by Paul Theakston in 1992.
                                                     Below: The Theakston family tree
The brewery appears to have been designed with tourism in mind, from the shop and bar to the video room and walkways. A short walk from the video room and up some stairs we come to the tall and long room of the former maltings, now home to the mash tun and copper.
Both pieces of equipment were second hand, the copper coming from the former Hartley's Brewery of Ulverston, Cumbria which closed in 1991.
 Above: a close-up of the mash tun and Steele's Masher
Below: the copper
Back to the the other room for another copper and the hopback

The fermenting room features round Yorkshire square fermenters which sounds like a bit of a contradiction in terms but, bear with me for this! The Yorkshire Square method of fermentation refers to the two-part open-topped fermenting vessels and the rousing pipe which circulates the fermented wort over the yeast. The multiplying yeast expands into the upper vessel, separating the beer from the yeast. Originally these vessels were square or rectangular but difficulty in cleaning  and sourcing new vessels resulted in the round Yorkshire Square being invented.
Above: An old Yorkshire Square at the brewery
Above: the rousing pipe and the yeast below
Above: cut-away diagram showing the Yorkshire Square fermenter
Black Sheep brewery are one of the few breweries using this method of fermentation.
Below: the racking hall
The tour guide on this tour was one of the most knowledgeable and informative guides I have been with on a brewery tour. Well versed in the history and function of the brewery plant, he also threw in a few amusing anecdotes, such as when the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, visited the German-born Pope Benedict XVI he took him a bottle of Black Sheep Monty Python Holy Grail beer!
Tours of Black Sheep Brewery cost £9.95 pp (2018 prices) and if you only have time to visit one brewery in Masham, I suggest visit Black Sheep rather than Theakston's as the tour is far better.

Masham is not short of pubs, however I only had time for a swift pint in the Bruce Arms before catching the bus back to Ripon.


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