Beer. An incomplete A-Z

From ale to zymurgy, I've always wanted to put together an incomplete and under-researched A-Z of beer. So I'm going to. Just not necessarily in alphabetical order.

Mosler. GT Seasons

I once ran a fan site about this big, fat, grunty, hand-crafted-in-Cambridge GT racer. So I thought I'd keep tabs on the marque once more.

Photos: Snap

Sometimes there are times that So Need A Photo. I'm refining my photo skills and looking for that SNAP moment.

Food: a smorgasbord

If I'm not eating it, I'm thinking about it. Here's a rattle-bag of recipes, market visits, challenges and general gastronomic malarkey

Music: prattle and drum

I'm a drummer without a kit and a ukulele player with no sense of pitch. But I'm working on it. Painting a picture on silence. One beat / note at a time

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Time to go

I'm off to play elsewhere for a while. I'll still be tweeting.



By Simon Johnson with No comments

Friday, 28 September 2012

RIP Brain Selby: How Selectadisc made me a groovy fecker

Sad to hear that Brian Selby, the man behind Nottingham's legendary record shop Selectadisc, has passed away.

Along with the NME and John Peel, Selectadisc defined my musical education in the 1980s. I'd hear a band on Peel, see the advert in NME and then bunk off school to go buy the single from Selectadisc. That was from their Bridlesmith Gate shop; we'd then roll down to the Market Street store to nose around for import albums and pester the staff to play a couple.

But it was more than just a record shop. Billy Bragg and the Clash played gigs there. Bands playing at Rock City would have signing sessions there (even if Wayne Hussey from The Mission always seemed to be terminally pissed and never make it to one). The counter was crammed with fanzines like Blank Reception (which featured my first ever band interview with the Soupdragons. For younger readers, fanzines were like blogs only in black & white printed form).

Brian then opened up a club called The Garage and another Nottingham legend was born. Goth and punk downstairs, Graeme Park playing house upstairs; my Def Jam cherry got well and truly busted.

Meeting friends and strangers. Falling in and out of bands and love. Discovering new music. Chatroom and fan forum. In the days before t'internet, Selectadisc *was* social networking.

Cheers Brian. A generation of groovy fuckers are your legacy.

Pics from Sam Metcalf's Indie Travel Guide and Internet Curtains

By Simon Johnson with No comments

Friday, 21 September 2012

Mussel fritters

Finally, the first in what will no doubt prove to be an interminable series of almost-recipes.

The reason being, I tend to buy random stuff and then work out what the hell to do with it. My Twitter followers often pitch in with ideas, I Google a recipe, leave out the bits I haven't got / don't fancy and add in stuff that I like / happens to be in the fridge.

So this started out by buying a box of mussel meat because, uh, it looked interesting. Matt Clarke, the Kiwi-in-exile brewer at Hawkshead, suggested making fritters with it. Google threw me this recipe from what's become one of my favourite foodie sites, Fisher & Paykel.

I used just the cooked meat, left out the parsley and added a dab more chili. The batter then got slapped into a pan two spoonsful at a time and I spent a lazy afternoon making up the fritters as and when.

Got to say that I wasn't convinced by the look of the batter; it had the look of vomitus about it. But, damn, it was tasty.

Best served when: you can't really be arsed to cook and fancy snacking all afternoon.

Best served with: Matt's Lakeland Lager. Although I had Brewdog Punk IPA; robust flavour meets robust flavour.

What I'd do next time: take a photo. D'oh!

By Simon Johnson with No comments

Thursday, 20 September 2012

SNAP: Spondon village cricket

Well, the So Needs A Photo series never really took off. So let's kickstart it.

Lazy summer evenings watching cricket. Shadows lengthen. Haze plays with the horizon. Wide balls are swatted lazily. And here, at Spondon Cricket Club as they play a charity fundraiser against legends from Derby County Football Club, I have a photo that I can cherish in the cold, hard, icy months ahead. And dream of dappled sun, leather, willow and whites...

By Simon Johnson with No comments

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Mosler: Australian GT 2012 update

Here's another belated catch-up with how the Mosler marque is getting on in GT, this time concentrating on the Australian championship.

In the season's opener, supporting the Clipsal 500 at Adelaide back in March, sole Mosler entrant John Briggs finished fifth and eighth.

Philip Island in May saw Ash Samadi swap his leased Lamborghini Gallardo for the newly upgraded Mosler GT3. He paired up again with Dean Grant in the car that finished fifth in last year's championship. After placing eighteenth in race one, he hung on to finish sixth behind the safety car in race two with a deflating left rear tyre. John Briggs had to park up the Sydney City Prestige car after nine laps after suffering mechanical problems.

By June in Winton there were still two Moslers in the championship... just not the two that started it. John Briggs and Ash Samadi were absent; in came series owner Tony Quinn and James Brock. Quinn jumped into his spare VIP Petfoods Mosler, having lent his Ferrari out to Peter Edwards and Johnny Reid who were waiting on parts for their 458. Brock had a crocked Mercedes Benz SLS AMG and was keen to keep his hand in the hunt for more championship points.

Tony Quinn hadn't driven the Mosler in anger for eighteen moths but managed to place sixth and ninth in the two races round the Victoria circuit. Gearbox gremlins, however, put paid to Brock's fortunes early on in race one. A tenth place finish in race two, however, kept him in contention with the championship leaders.

Heading into New South Wales for the last race weekend before the summer break. Brock was back in the Merc (albeit not for long) whilst Samadi and Briggs both returned. Quinn continued in the Mosler and bagged the marques best weekend of the year so far, finishing fifth and fourth. Samadi placed seventh in race one with fuel issues at a pitstop putting paid to his chances in race two. John Briggs took tenth in the first outing before a broken rear suspension arm lead to a DNF in the last race.

Bit of a mixed bag Down Under for Mosler, then. Here's hoping for greater things - and a podium place - when the championship revisits Phillip Island in September.

Results taken from the Natsof website. Photos and extra gen are all (c) Australian GT

By Simon Johnson with No comments

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The incomplete A-Z of beer: A will be for...


Thanks to those who've already started answering my random questions on Twitter. 

To help me keep track, I've opened up a collaborative document; feel free to paste in links to pdfs, include useful diagrams or jot down your thoughts.

I'm particularly interested in hearing from brewers and scientists on the challenges of attenuation, how to control the rate, how to monitor variation, what the variation factors are etc. Have you brewed a beer that was over / under attenuated but it still worked out OK? What if you brew a style and deliberately over/under attenuate? 

The link is here:

I'll digest whatever I've harvested over the weekend and post soon after. Thanks in advance for helping me out; no, I'm not setting up a brewery. Just keen to learn and the best people to ask are those in the industry. I hope ;-)

By Simon Johnson with No comments

Monday, 9 July 2012

The incomplete A-Z of beer

Time to get this project jump-started.

In short: I'm looking for contributions / information / opinion / enlightenment on various beery topics. The idea is that I learn something and share it with the rest of the tinternet.

It won't be comprehensive, some parts may be overly-detailed and specialist but that's the way the crumble cookies.

The first four topics are:

* Attenuation
* Brettanomyces
* Chill haze
* Diacetyl

I'm particularly keen on hearing from brewers and academics for their practical and theoretical insights. Links to useful papers / presentations / learning resources are most welcome. Happy to chat to people over a pint if it can be arranged.

Tweet-me-up at @simonhjohnson or email me at

By Simon Johnson with No comments