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Meet the BBQ Pros

We had a lot of fun collaborating on our end-of-summer BBQ Box – a one-off, limited edition case of eight craft beers, along with some advice on what tasty BBQ to eat alongside them. Here’s some background info about Rob Claydon and Kevin Edge, the grill masters who helped us put it together.

Rob Claydon AKA @locarbecue
It’s always easier to pick up skills when you start young, they say, and Rob did exactly that. He has childhood memories of camping trips across the UK, where he’d cook and eat in the great outdoors ‘with the smell of bacon and eggs, and the sound of whistling kettles’. Growing up, he loved cooking shows on TV across the pond in the US, such as Man V Food, and always tried emulating what they cooked.

Rob has a self-described ‘meat-centric approach with low carb sides,’ and cooks anything and everything from tandoori chicken skewers on a bed of lime-dressed salad to T-bone steak seasoned with nothing but salt. But don’t ask him to ever make a rub: ‘The first time I had glazed and confused ribs, it left me exactly how it said on the bottle and I haven’t made my own rub or sauce since.’ Instead, he says, ‘I focus predominantly on proteins and essential fats. These alone will get you BBQ that is quite good. The art for me is a carefully applied seasoning.’

Kevin Edge AKA @edge_bbq
For Kevin, ‘I’ve always enjoyed a BBQ and knew there must be more to it than black sausages and raw chicken.’ Even so, he started out cooking BBQ food too fast and maybe a bit too well done, but he put that right after attending a Weber Grill Academy class – coincidentally, his oven broke the following week, so he started getting plenty of practice on the BBQ.

Kevin only got into cooking on fire three years ago – there’s hope for us all – and says BBQ cooking has really taken off over the global pandemic. ‘Today, I love cooking a quick smash burger for the family, but also love a good hot and fast brisket,’ he says. ‘The aromas that fill the garden are what makes BBQ so special for me.’

SHOP BBQ BOX >

02: Beer, explained

Cutting through all the specialist lingo and jargon to make finding great beers as simple as enjoying them…

Kolsch

Extremely drinkable; goes down easy and yet still begs for another sip; pale in colour with a low to light haze. Sound familiar? In many ways, Kolsch does have many similarities with lagers – it’s also sparkling and crisp, with very little bitterness – but it is, in fact, an ale. A very popular one, too.

Perfect in warm weather, with a crisp yet fruity flavour and a low alcohol percentage, this clear, golden style hails from Cologne, Germany. Technically, it’s not possible to make the real Kolsch out of Cologne, but craft brewers around the world have emulated the brewing style to make Kolsch-style beer almost as good as the real thing. If you like soft and delicate light beers, then Kolsch will prove a popular drink for you.

West Coast IPA versus New England IPA

So what’s the difference between New England IPA and West Coast IPA, we hear you ask…

While you can’t really go wrong with either – we would say that, sure! – they do satisfy different tastes. West Coast IPAs are all about their bitterness, whereas a New England IPA is a bit sweeter on the front end and distinctly juicy – it’s been said that they sometimes taste like you took a bite into a tropical fruit or citrus.

If you’ve only just started exploring craft beer, New England IPAs, with their more familiar flavours, are the safer option. But in the end, West Coast IPAs, with their bitter-heavy flavours, is what helped kick off the craft beer scene in the first place.

In short, then, we recommend keeping your fridge stocked with a few of both while working it all out for yourself. And we’ll save descriptions of all the other types of IPAs for another day.

01: Beer, explained

A lot of jargon gets thrown around the craft beer world, with cans covered in specialist lingo. We’ll regularly be dropping entries here in our journal to make sure that finding a great beer is as simple as enjoying one.

DIPA

DIPA stands for Double IPA – a relatively new and experimental style of beer that you could say has become the flagship style of the worldwide craft beer movement.

DIPA was created in the US following the popularity of India pale ales. By definition, they’re simply an overly hopped pale ale – so just like a single IPA but ramped up with more hops and more malt.

If you like your beers big and strong, DIPAs are definitely for you…

SAISON

Really, saison is just a highly carbonated pale ale that’s typically quite dry, fruity and a little bit peppery. Gold to light amber in colour, saisons are historically brewed with low alcohol levels, but modern production methods mean they can now also be brewed with high levels of alcohol.

Seasonal farm workers (called ‘saisoniers’) in the French-speaking region of Belgium first came up with the style of beer because they needed something to drink in the absence of clean water.

Over summer, they come into their own. Easy-drinking but with a bit more complexity than a lager, saisons offer thirst-quenching refreshment. No wonder, then, that they’re synonymous with the sun.

The great unboxing

Beacon & Buck offers three different subscription boxes. What’s inside them? Which one will suit you most?

The vital statistics

Each box is filled with four different varieties of craft beer, which you can order in various quantities (8, 12 or 20). They’re called Light and Crisp; Fresh and Easy; Big and Juicy.

Still with us?

To a large extent, the beers do exactly what they say on the tin – or in this case, the box. Liking one doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t like the others. In fact, here at Beacon & Buck, we’re constantly debating which box is the best, and constantly changing our minds.

Really, it comes down to personal preference. But we can all agree that we really do work with the most exciting brewers around the world to bring you some of the most exciting beers that pay homage to both the past and the future in equal measure.

Okay, here’s a quick breakdown…

Light and Crisp
This box is filled with three lagers and a light ale. They aren’t too hoppy (at least for people like Mr Hoppy). Instead, they’re the kinds of beers you’ll enjoy unwinding with at the end of the day. Above all, they’re refreshing, citrusy and thirst-quenching.

Fresh and Easy
We like to say that this is our all-rounder box, with a nice variety of different beers for different moods. An easy-drinking selection of lagers and pale ales (usually two different lagers and two different types of pale ale). Nothing too heavy or strong. In bartending parlance, all the beers are “very drinkable”.

Big and Juicy
Mr Hoppy’s favourite box, because it’s packed with the most hoppy beers, all of them IPAs and Pale Ales (there’s not a lager in sight). Expect unapologetically big and bold flavours that range in strength from 4% going up to over 5.5%.

Ultimately, there’s something in each box for everyone. But it’s still important to try and get it right from the beginning. So if you’re still not sure which box is right for you, you can check out our taste test here.

Three brewery benefits

For our trade customers we’ve built up a portfolio of beers that we love – like, really love – from the UK and also from much further afield. By bringing brewers of different sizes, styles, ages and locations under one roof at West Berkshire Brewery, we can offer loads of different beers to suit all tastes. Here are three more brewery benefits:

1) We have some of the most advanced equipment of any independent craft brewer in the UK. This means we can be flexible with brew sizes and be more creative with beer styles. It also means our beers are more sustainable – wave goodbye to thousands of air miles and say hello to a slightly greener planet.

2) Bright and bold flavours from hops deteriorate the longer it takes to transport craft beer from A to B. Fluctuating temperatures don’t help, either. Both are big problems when importing beers. Thankfully, we sidestep all this by making everything locally. Our beers always arrive in peak condition and taste bolder and much fresher.

3) We work closely with the original brewers on the beers we are making at our facility. We have invested in all of the equipment to make sure the beers are brewed with their exact recipes and methods. All the original brewers have sign off on all the beer we produce. So if it doesn’t hit their standards, it doesn’t get released. So we’re bringing everyone who signs up to Beacon & Buck beers they don’t have access to anywhere else – either because the brewers are too far away or because they aren’t in a position to produce beer on a commercial scale.