Online Twitter Beer Tasting this Wednesday (19th November) Co-Hosted by me!

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So this Wednesday (19th November) I shall be Co-Hosting an online beer tasting for Ales By Mail and Alechemy Brewery, which I am excited about as the previous beer tastings that they have done have all been very good!

It will be interesting for me as I haven’t had either of these two Alechemy beers, although their beers that I have had before have all been excellent! There will be further giveaways on the night for everyone to join in with.

Just remember the hash tag #beerybits

All the info you need is here on Ales by Mail website.

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Brewheads 15% Discount Voucher

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To sit along side the new Brewheads #BeerBuddies interview we have a special discount offer on all orders from Brewheads.

With the  voucher code GENTLEMAN you can get 15% off your Brewheads order, head over to http://www.thebrewheads.com/collections/freshly-brewed and enter the below voucher in the checkout stage. Included in this is the brand new “Drink Craft Not Crap” T shirts and vests.

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Voucher Code: GENTLEMAN

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#BeerBuddies

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This #Beerbuddies post is all the way from Essex to Arizona! Recently I stumbled across Brewheads via Instagram and you can read all about how I found them here!

American beers have taken the world by storm and their influence has evolved the British beer scene over the last few years and Phil via Instagram has provided me with all the photos on the new American beers and news! His blog is well worth checking out as it his shop with all the cool Brewheads merch! I always look forward to seeing what new Brewheads gear is coming out and I will no doubt be putting in my Christmas orders soon! But before that sit back and check out my latest #Beerbuddies interview…

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1. For those who new to yourself and Brewheads then could you introduce yourself and give a run down of your company?

My name is Phil… I’m a craftbeer fan, clearly haha. BrewHeads is a brand exclusively for craftbeer fans, brewers, homebrewers, etc. Shirts, Hats, Glassware, etc for those who take pride in what they drink. It’s all about the craft beer culture and community.

2. When and how did you create Brewheads? Was it hard to get the name out there to start with?

BrewHeads started technically about 3 years ago. It actually started as my “homebrew” logo. I wanted to start a homebrew blog or something similar. I was trying to think of names and ideas. I thought about how people are called “sneaker heads”, “gear heads” and “pot heads”… and I was like “BrewHeads”! I’m sure I’m not the first to come up with that but it clicked and I loved it. I threw together a logo and was really happy with it. Or should I say hoppy with it.

I made some decals of the logo and slapped on my homebrew. I really have to give Instagram credit for the start of Brewheads as a brand. I post pictures of the logo and started connecting with the craft beer community on there. The logo was getting alot of attention so I started selling stickers. And from there on I decided it need to be more than just my logo.. It needed to be OUR logo. We aren’t beer geeks or snobs.. We are BrewHeads. And a brand was born. ;)

3. Beer has blown up massively in London in the last couple of years, especially those with an American influence. For you how was it seeing the beer scene grow and change in America?

It’s been awesome. I honestly don’t remember when I first saw it “boom” but it’s been great and keeps getting bigger and better. I think it’s blowning up but not like a trendy thing (which alot of people have tried to make it out to be). Local beers are available more and more everyday at almost every bar. Beer lists, tap lists, etc are just getting better. Breweries are popping up… It’s amazing.

4. I first found Brewheads when you brought out your collaboration with rapper Cee, how did that collaboration come about? Where did you first meet?

Man, where do I start. Cee and I met through… yup you guessed it. INSTAGRAM lol. I started following him because he was posting alot of craft beer pictures. And if you know Cee his photos are pretty unique haha. Then I found out he made music and I’m a big hip hop fan. I really digged his music, and he really digged the brand. We chatted here and there. He got really into BrewHeads so I sent him out some gear. He started reppin’ BrewHeads at shows, in his videos, etc. Next thing I know were skyping and we just kinda clicked.

We had been throwing ideas around for awhile about things we could do, projects, etc. We wanted a way to merge his world of hip hop and the craftbeer community more. The idea of a “craftbeer” track came up. Cee started writing verses for the track and called it “BrewHeads.” So we had to collaborate on that for sure. Cee knew he wanted to do a video. We wanted to do some sort of shirt or hat or glass for the collaboration too.

I ended up planning a trip to fly out to Montreal to shoot the video with them. 9Block Production, Cee and I ended up filming over 7 days straight at local Montreal breweries, brewpubs, a bottleshop, beerfest, and a homebrew store. It was such a fun trip full of craftbeer and great experiences. Everyone was really digging the song and what we were doing. Cee and I got really close.. that’s a relationship that’s going to last a life time. So the track and gear was just the beginning haha.

The collaboration was about a year in the making. It was such an awesome experience. I really hope people appreciate the passion, work and fun we put into this project.

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5. Its impossible to put your finger on one outright favourite beer of all time! But what favourite few brews come to mind right now?

This is a BrewHeads hardest question. I have too many favorites I wouldn’t even know where to start. Lets just change the question to what brews have you had recently (like this month) that you really dig haha!

Ballast Point – Grapefruit Sculpin IPA – I’ve been a sculpin fan for awhile. A friend brought some of the grapefruit version back from SD. So good. I’m a hop head a heart.
Southern Tier Warlock – Imperial Stout with Pumpkin -Theres something about this brew…I loved this brew when I had it for the first time. It’s an amazing stout with pumpkin. It’s so different compared to alot of the pumpkin brews available.

uhhhh everything from Night Shift Brewing lol – I visited NightShift recently and man every beer they had was amazing. So many unique and different brews. Brews like HarborSide (Gose brewed with oysters and coriander), and Somer Weisse, (Berliner Weisse style sour ale brewed with lemongrass and ginger)

6. What is your process when designing a new product?

Most of it starts by just writing down ideas, looking for inspiration, etc. And then it’s researching, sketching, mockups, etc.
Then I start working on the final design or product. Every process is a bit different depending on what it actually is. Some are made in a night, some can take months.
The process always starts with a good brew, and working late.

7. What did you think of the beer in London when you visited? How easily available is beers from the UK in your part of America?

I loved London! And the beer was great. It was my wife and I’s honeymoon so I tried my best not to be too selfish. It couldn’t be 100% a craft beer trip. I really enjoyed Meantime Brewing Co. Their beers are great and the brewery tour was awesome. The area where we stayed actually didn’t have alot of craftbeer on tap at the bars. We did make our way out to Shoreditch to visit the BrewDog pub out there. I really wanted to get my hands on beers from The Kernel Brewery but didn’t get to. I heard really great things.

I’ve seen alot of craftbeer from the UK in California and back East. In Arizona we get a decent amount but not alot. I did see Meantime Brewing for awhile out here. I do like that alot of beer isn’t fully available. It makes it worth it to travel.

8. If you had a beer brewed after you what would call it and what style would it be?

It would be called the Purrrrrrrfect Brew. Enjoy it right Meow. hahahahah! Sorry I’m a bit of a crazy cat owner.
I’m a hophead at heart too and hoppy beers are always my go to. Maybe it would be a hoppy saison/belgian IPA.

A good friend of mine, Noel of Ebner Brewing, was always joking about brewing a vegan milk stout for me (because I’m vegan). Not sure how that would work but I’m down for it

9. The American beer scene is growing and growing and also spreading its influence across the world, where do you see the beer scene in America going in the next few years

It’s just going to grow and expand. Breweries everywhere, craft beer at every bar…
I really see more less common styles of beer becoming more and more popular as more breweries start to brew them.
Wherever it goes in the next few years I’m looking forward to enjoying it

10. What is next for yourself and Brewheads?

I hope to hit some out of state beer fests soon and set up a BrewHeads booth.
Premium Snifters are coming back really soon.
Hop Leggings for the ladies are getting cut & sewn up…
Winter Launch of the She’s Crafty Design.
New Shirts and of course winter gear.
More collaborations are in the works

More info about Brewheads can be found on their website 

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Malting Pot bottle shop, Brussels

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The night before the Brussels beer festival the misses and I were enjoying some beers in Le Grain d’Orge cafe and also were deep in conversation with the locals and during our chat we were recommended a beer shop called Malting Pot. With an address drunkenly scribbled onto the back of a beer mat we set out to visit the shop, as it was only a ten minute walk from our hotel in the Ixelles area.

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On the corner of Y shaped street is the small and smart looking bottle shop called Malting Pot. Dark wooden floors and shelves are presented neatly and have some really special beers arranged on them. This shop reminds me of a lot of the new beer shops popping up across the UK in the last couple of years.

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There are beers here that you most likely cannot get in any of the other bottle shops in Brussels and at much more of a reasonable price then most the other shops nearer the centre of town. There were beers from lots of new micro breweries that I have never seen before among these shelves and are organised into Brussel breweries, Flanders and Belgium specialties.

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There were some faces that I knew well as they also had a good selection of American and Mikkeller beers as well as a few British beers including Brewdog, Tiny Rebel and Thornbridge.

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The guy who owned it was very nice and talked us around the shop explaining what was from where and what type of beers they were. I highly recommend visiting this shop if you are after something a little bit more adventurous then your usual (although still brilliant) Chimay, Delirium or Westmalle etc.

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The beers I picked up I had never heard or seen before, La Mere Vertus – Une Sachee Triple, Mad Yeast – Mad Saison, Beryllium Erbium – Pina Calda IPA, Brasserie de Bastogne – Ardenne Stour & De Struise - Ypres Double Barrel Aged Flemish Brown Sour.

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For more info check Malting Pot website 

#BeerBuddies

#BeerBuddies is a new part of my blog that I am putting together containing interviews with people that I have met either online or in person via sharing the same passion about beer.

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My first #BeerBuddies is with Trevor Jeffery of Billericay Brewing, when I first heard there was a brewery and bottle shop in Billericay I was over the moon that finally somewhere close and accessible to me would be making and selling decent beer. I first tried Mayflower Gold in The Alehouse in Chelmsford and was impressed. One of my favourite beer related evenings was at Billericay Brewing with a meet the brewer night with Logan from Beavertown. Billericay Brewing has gone from strength to strength over the last couple of years and I look forward to each progression of theirs. So I would like to thank Trevor for being my first #BeerBuddies and here we go…

1. You used to be a teacher, what was it that made you change your career and become a full time brewer?

I’ve always had a passion and love of beer and on and off been a home brewer for many years. My dad was a keen home brewer of beers & wines, making them out of anything he could find. I originally qualified as a chemist (I worked for an industrial paint company prior to going into teaching) and this background led to me following in my father’s footsteps as a home brewer. 4 years ago I went to Brentwood Brewery for one of their “Brewer for The Day” experiences with a couple of friends and enjoyed the day so much that I thought “I Could do That!” and here I am 4 years later with my own brewery.

2. You have recently completed the set up of Billericay Brewing Co microbrewery, for those who haven’t visited the brewery could you run us by your equipment and give us a little online tour?

Our premises in Chapel Street, Billericay is in 2 parts – The Essex Beer Shop (selling our own beers and beers from other Essex & London microbreweries plus UK & international guest ales) and the microbrewery.

The microbrewery is a 4.5 barrel plant and if you visit the shop you can view the brewery. Starting at the back of the brewery, it follows the brewing process:
2 water tanks (a cold liquor tank – CLT – and a hot liquor tank –HLT) for storing water (water is called liquor in the brewery) ready for brewing.
Mash tun – where the malted grains are soaked in hot water to extract the sugar, colour and flavours from the grain (the liquid is now called wort)
Copper (actually made of stainless steel, but traditionally were made with copper) where the wort is boiled with hops.
Hop back and Heat exchanger – after boiling of the wort the hops are filtered out and then the wort is cooled down.
2 fermenting vessels – the cooled wort is then pumped into one of two fermenting vessels. Yeast is then added and fermentation then takes about 1 week to convert the sugar into alcohol and produce the finished beer.
The finished beer is then either filled into casks or pumped to a bottling tank, from which we connect our hand bottling machine and we can fill into bottles.
We can produce 2 batches per week, but have space for a 3rd fermenter, which we hope to install in the New Year. Each batch is up to 1296 pints.

3. What is your thought process when creating a new beer?

Any beer I brew has to be one that I will enjoy drinking myself. I take inspiration from other beers that I have tried and enjoyed, knowing the likely combination of malt & hops that I enjoy. I’m still experimenting with styles of beer and now we are a commercial brewery I have to look at which styles we do not offer and which are likely to sell and take account of the time of year for the style of beer. However, it still has to be something I would like myself. Sometimes I have a name already for the beer and produce a beer to match the name, but often I know the beer I would like to create and then choose a name whilst brewing!

4. It is impossible to pick out one favourite beer of all time but what are the first three top beers you have had recently?

Very difficult to choose, but at this moment in time the beers that come to mind are:
Brew by Numbers Tripel using Mosaic hops
Weird Beard Something Something Darkside
Felstar Crix Forest
Of our own beers, the one I’ve enjoyed most was a bottle of Chapel Street Porter from our first batch (now over 6 months old)

5. Your beers have featured in many beer festivals this summer. What has been your favourite beer festival you have ever visited?

I think for the location, an early Chappel Beer Festival, before it became very busy. However, Chelmsford Summer on a hot summers day is pretty good.

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6. You used to home brew before going full time, a friend and I have started home brewing. What advice would you give to people who are just starting off brewing their own beer at home?

Keep it as clean as possible, be patient, try bottle and draught to see which you prefer, don’t give up if you get a disaster. If you are starting up, I’d go for the 2 tin kits straight away (better than using refined sugar). I went straight from this to my brewery, mainly because I did not have the space to try grain brewing. However, I think it is best if you have the room (and can afford the equipment) to try full grain brewing once you have mastered using the tinned kits.

7. Where are your favourite places to have a beer?

In the summer there is no where better than a good pub garden or by the sea. One of our favourite local holiday places is Wells Next The Sea and they have a ship which is a pub (The Albatross) and a pint of Woodfordes on the deck there is pretty good. In the winter a nice rich dark ale by the fireside is fantastic.

8. Beer has blown up in the last few years, there seems to be a new brewery opening up every week! Where do you see the beer scene going in the foreseeable future?

People always want to try new things in beer so there is the opportunity for lots of us small breweries. A few years ago a pub with Abbot Ale, Pedigree and Tetleys or something similar on tap would be a good pub – I think now people want a lot more than this with more variety, particularly locally produced ales.

9. Outside of brewing beer what are your other interests?

Brewing now is full time so does not allow much time for anything else! Spare time I have I give to my wife and 11 year old daughter – she plays viola and loves horse riding so a lot of time is spent watching her doing these. I also enjoy travel in this country & France, swimming (have done a few swimathons recently) & cycling, anything to do with science and visiting museums & art galleries.

10. Billericay Brewing has gone from strength to strength over the last couple of years, what plans have you got for the next year? With the success of brewery tap rooms opening up at breweries are you tempted to add a bar to your Billericay Brewery?

Our next step is indeed to open a brewery tap. We have started renting the unit next to the brewery and intend to move the shop there with a small bar too (planning permission pending) We already have a new licence so that you can drink beer at the brewery. Hope to move the shop and have a simple bar by Christmas.

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For more info on Billericay Brewing visit their website http://billericaybrewing.co.uk/ and their twitter https://twitter.com/BillericayBrew

Brighton Bier meet the brewer at LOSC

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The first time I had Brighton Bier was in the Leyton Orient Supporters Club last football season and I was instantly hooked! I think it was West Pier IPA which was on one Saturday after an Orient game. So half a year later or so when I was told the news that we were having a night of nothing but Brighton Bier on at the Supporters Club I was excited! This later advanced into a meet the brewer evening as the guys from Brighton Bier confirmed they were going to be joining us for the evening, awesome!

Nine different beers was showcased on the evening and what was really interesting was people’s reactions, from behind the bar I didn’t hear one bad comment about any of the beers but did however hear people say their favourite beer was one of each of the beers available. I guess this shows the quality of Brighton Bier and how good their brewing skills are across a range of different types of beer! I couldn’t really pick an outright favourite but the Dealers Choice #1 Black IPA and Fall Guy collaboration with Green King would probably be the two front runners for me. The coffee racer went down a storm with the people who attended as did the 7% under the table bier!

We were joined by the brewer Gary and Steve who as described by Gary does all the boring bits according to his children! There were two different talks from Gary which, for those that couldn’t attend, I will break it down…

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Gary on Brighton Bier
“Brighton Bier started as and currently still is a gypsy brewery. We’re based in a brewpub in Brighton that we don’t own, we run it for them and we brew their beers. We brew most of our beers from here and as we would grow we would find spare fermentation capacity. This is all in till a few weeks from now when we will own our own brewery. So in a few months we will be building our own brewery, it’s a pretty decent size as microbreweries go. Not only are we really excited about this it also means we have more control over when and where we can brew our beers.

It’s a phenomenally exciting time to be working in the brewing industry. Not just in this country there’s alot of new breweries and people are opening up all these flavours that have been long forgotten. All the new beer we brew goes through our pilot brewery, we got a really cool pilot brewery. It’s a 100ltr kit and the beers go through there before they are brewed at any of the host breweries.

The whole point of Brighton Bier is we’re forever learning. When you stop learning you cease to be a craft brewery you just become a production brewery. Everything you ever drink from us, and I hope this is the same in 10 years from now, will be evolving and changing for the better and if it ceases to be then we’ve lost the plot basically! Craft beer or a craft brewery is this kind of weird non defined expression but for us what that C word means is constantly learning and we’re always evolving our beers and we’re always trying new things. We’re happy to admit although we know what we’re doing we don’t know everything and we’re learning as we go along.

For Steve, I and Ollie (who couldn’t be here) it’s an incredible privilege to be here with you. We haven’t been to Leyton Orient Supporters Club before but we’ve heard so many god things and Ollie is always saying how good it is when he delivers here. We are an incredibly small brewery, we have aspirations of being a slightly bigger brewery with our own brewery and doing events like this is absolutely everything it’s about. I got into this business quite a long time ago and at times it can feel a very lonely pursuit, especially when your stuck in a bar and everyone is caining five pound pints of Peroni in three foot long glass. So it’s lovely to come to events like this and be surrounded by people who get it! Cheers and thank you for coming and we are Brighton Bier.”

Gary also introduced us to some of the beers that were available on the night…

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Gary on the Dealers Choice series
“Dealers Choice series, this is a new dream for us, it’s every brewers dream to be able to not brew the same beers everyday. We set a benchmark at ‘its an IPA’ or whatever and then we explore everything within that and we learn about everything we find. We will source all the best and most interesting hop and malt and experiment, but for us we want the consumer to know they’re always going to get an IPA that is bitter, punchy and flavourful.

The Black IPA (Dealers Choice #1), I have to be honest, is one of my favourite beers that we have done. There’s two hops in it which is mosaic and simcoe, personally we have gone out our way to drink alot of beers using mosaic hops recently because we think its a hop that people have got behind and we think it’s going to be a huge hop name for the foreseeable. My opinion is that it works great in dark beers, I think it’s more plumby, more berry and sort of citrusy.

The other dealers choice (Dealers Choice #2) is a more traditional pale IPA. This is actually the first bar to have it so please get online and let us know what you think. This has got HBC366 and colombus hops, HBC366 might sound like something you might get subscribed by a pharmacist but that will be Equinox hop, it’s an experimental developed hop that first come about last year. This Dealers Choice #2 is a classic IPA we’ve not tried to be over complicated. It’s dry hopped with colombus, which is prob the most defining ‘dank’ American hop. One of the most important things about this beer and the key thing to us is that it’s drinkable. We made a commitment when we started Brighton Bier that although we were massively influenced by travelling around countries like Belgium and America our commitment is the integrity of British Ale. This is incredibly important to us and being drinkable pretty much translates to pints! Beer is a volume product, it’s designed to be enjoyed in reasonable quantity so all our beers should be drinkable. Even under the table bier needs to be drinkable. We’re all about the UK we’re all about pints we’re all about cask ale.”

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Gary on Under the table bier 7%
“This is a bit of fun really. A lot of high ABV cask ale tend to be hard to drink so we thought this can’t be the way, surely it doesn’t have to be that way! We got into beers in Belgium and as you would know if you’ve been to Belgium their beers are terrifyingly easy to drink and often very high in alcohol. So we basically tried to mimic that in cask ale and we call it a high ABV pale ale although other brewers would happily call it an IPA but it’s not really in our eyes. When you drink it we’re fairly confident you’ll be happy and think it’s 5% ish and that’s because we brewed it using very common techniques in Belgium although very rare here in the UK but the techniques are not complex. But it means you can produce great beer at a high percentage in casks that isn’t chewy!”

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Gary on Coffee racer stout 6%
“This beer is very much keeping to what we are about, we collaborated with a local company in Brighton called Small Batch Coffee who are actually getting very big now. This is a beautiful rich 6% coffee stout with a lot of cold brewed coffee. Cold brewed coffee is literally coffee brewed over 24 hours or more in cold water rather than hot. We have used a Latin American coffee bean. You extract all of the flavour and all of the aroma but none of that bitterness that’s associated with a lot of coffee based beers. It’s not perfect, it’s the first time we brewed it and I hadn’t even tried it till I walked in the door today but I think it’s pretty decent.”

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It was a great night for both LOSC and Brighton Bier, for Gary it was great to get feedback on the beers being brewed. As I mentioned at the start it’s hard to pick a favourite but alongside the previously mentioned beers there has to be a huge shout out to Thirty Three a low ABV beer at 3.3%, a lot of people were saying that it put up a good fight agaisnt the best low ABV beer they’ve had which was Redemption’s Trinity. For me personally it is the best low ABV I have had! Redemption’s Trinity is also a great beer but for me Thirty Three just ever so slightly beats it to the finish line!

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It will be interesting to see Brighton Bier grow as I am confident that opening of their own brewery will push them even further. I look forward to this, hopefully seeing their beers in bottles and also hopefully back down Orient to enjoy a match day to enjoy a few beers and a game!

For more info on Brighton Bier visit www.brightonbier.com and @BrightonBierCo

Also in the same evening Leyton Orient Supporters Club were presented their double award for CAMRA East London and City Club of the Year and Greater London Club of the Year.

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Pick your own Beer Festival with Leyton Orient Supporters Club

Have you ever stood in a beer festival and thought “you know what I would love to see such and such beer on today”? Well now you can! This October Leyton Orient Supporters Club are letting you pick the beers! Send your beer lists of 1 beer to 30 beers to tonyroome@yahoo.co.uk and the beers that appear on people’s lists the most will be the beers on at the festival.

The only restrictions are they have to be cask ale not keg due to the set up in the bar.

Also if 5 or more of your beers appear on the festival list that was on your beer list then we will be giving you two free pints!

So get your thinking caps on and put together your list and send it to tonyroome@yahoo.co.uk and we hope to see everyone on October 30th and 31st in Leyton.

For more info check http://www.orientsupporters.org and keep an eye on @LOFCSupporters on twitter.

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