Brewing up with Neil Morrissey

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Morrissey fox blonde, Beer, Morrissey fox, Neil morrissey

It's not every day you get the chance to brew some beer with a couple of celebrities. But when you're doing it to further the cause of pubs then...

It's not every day you get the chance to brew some beer with a couple of celebrities. But when you're doing it to further the cause of pubs then you've got something to be really excited about.

In celebration of The Publican's beer issue - and ahead of the third Proud of Pubs Week this summer - the Publican editorial team recently met up again with last year's celebrity guest editors Neil Morrissey and Richard Fox at their North Yorkshire pub to launch our own beer.

The pub, Ye Olde Punchbowl in Marton-Cum-Grafton, North Yorkshire, has already been immortalised in Channel 4 TV series Neil Morrissey's Risky Business.

And the creamy Morrissey Fox Blonde beer, brewed with the support of Cropton Brewery in Pickering and now widely available in the Mitchells & Butlers and Spirit estates and direct through Waverley TBS, has been giving the pair a growing credibility as both brewers and publicans.

Who better then to take on the challenge of brewing a special beer to mark the third Proud of Pubs Week in support of the pub trade this summer?

Something special

Both Neil and Richard were agreed that a Proud of Pubs beer needed to sum up what is great about beer in pubs - a bitter turned up "all the way up to 11" if you like.

The beer will be available this June and July in the run-up to the third Proud of Pubs Week.

"If it's going to sum up pubs it needs to be a classic bitter," commented Richard.

"And it needs to be special. As a guest ale it will be competing against regional beers and microbrewers. As a customer who goes for guest ales you won't want to be disappointed."

The decision was to aim for a classic 'best' bitter with a ruby red tinge that would help it stand out in the marketplace. With Neil and Richard's advice we elected to use Bramlea and New Zealand Riwake hops to give it a strong aroma, tempered by a small amount of Hercules hops to bring out the bitterness.

The Punchbowl also has its own microbrewery out the back and it was here that the first beer was formulated before we went up to the Cropton Brewery to brew the first batch - working with brewer Alan Jeffreys and co-owner Paul Lee into the night to get the flavour profile just right.

The first batch was still fermenting as The Publican went to press - but we think the beer is going to be a good 'un!

Watch this space to see how it turns out - and for more details of Proud of Pubs Week 2009.

Proud of Pubs Best, brewed by Morrissey Fox, will be available later this year. If you are interested in selling it, email us at proudofpubsbeer@thepublican.com

BEER Q&As with Morrissey Fox

Neil Morrissey

What was the first beer you ever drank?

Mackeson's stout - mixed with Vimto. I think I was being initiated by my older brother. You couldn't call it amazing, the two together was like a creamy fruit drink. The first beer I ordered in a pub was a pint of hand-pulled Bass. But I was brought up in Stafford during the keg revolution of Harp and Double Diamond so I dare say one of those crept in.

What is your favourite beer?

Morrissey Fox Blonde! But part of our inspiration for our Blonde ale was what some of the guys are doing at Rooster's in Knaresborough - so if I had to go on a desert island and I could only take one beer and it wasn't my own I'd choose Rooster's YPA.

What is your favourite beer and food match?

I like anything that's caramelised. If you've got a good steak that's char-grilled the caramelisation and the sugars mix really well with the bitter. Also Kriek cherry beer is really brilliant with chocolate pudding.

What one thing needs to be done to improve the fortunes of beer?

We need to be able to read the minds of the general public in the UK. When you are dealing with a sensory product you've got to constantly be aware of what turns people on and turns people off. That's what we've got to find out - we've got to find out what turns people on!

Richard Fox

What was the first beer you ever drank?

A pint of Tetley's in the Old Tradition on the Cold Bath Road in Harrogate.

What is your favourite beer?

Morrissey Fox Blonde ale of course. If I was stranded in an isolated part of the world where I couldn't get it I would go for any Rooster's beer - it was our inspiration.

What is your favourite beer and food match?

Malaysian laksa and a Belgian Wheat beer. And Steak and Ale pie goes well with great quality English bitter - a nice firm hoppy bitterness means there are lots of contrasts going on.

What one thing needs to be done to improve the fortunes of beer?

The beer industry has got to start appealing to people who currently don't drink beer - it needs to start embracing glassware, and artisan flavours, for example. It really needs to focus on bringing in a new market to beer: women and young people.

Related topics: Beer

Property of the week

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more