Blog

Friends and Family? Maybe, but customers too

I was struggling for breath, my threadbare Marks and Spencers suit stuck to me with sweat, as I stumbled down the ramp at Blackheath Station. I’d been at the Kentish Times Christmas party and had decided to stay for one more - and now I was cutting it fine to get the last train home. Too fine. As I emerged onto the platform, the train began to pull away.

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Will Hawkes
Why authenticity is for tourists

I took my son to Rome last week: it was half-term, he loves ancient Romans and pizza, and, to be honest, so do I.* One of the places on our itinerary was Da Baffetto, a classic pizzeria close to The Pantheon. On my last visit to the Italian capital, many, many years ago, my girlfriend and I squeezed up next to a retired American couple here and merrily chatted about this and that for an hour.

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Will Hawkes
A la pression: France, beer, and a drink ‘that’s not like the others’

Brasserie Georges is a treat. This iconic restaurant in Lyon satisfies all the most urgent Francophile desires: there’s chicken-liver terrine served with a huge, help-yourself ceramic jar of cornichons, red leatherette banquettes, waiters in waistcoats, art deco chandeliers, and a very enticing prix fixe menu. Every fifteen minutes or so, a (recorded?) organ pumps out the tune of ‘Happy Birthday’ as a waiter hurries here or there to deliver a cake.

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Will Hawkes
How I ended up running a beer week by mistake

I wasn’t surprised that Dawn Leeder, founder of Norwich City of Ale, won an Imbibe ‘Innovator of the Year’ award this week. As the co-creator of the UK’s first beer week and of British Beer Cities, which aims to promote similar events all across the UK, she surely deserves it - not least because running a beer week is one of the most dismal experiences there is, this side of discussing Brexit on Twitter.

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Will Hawkes
The Value of Fuller’s

In 2017, Fuller’s asked me to write a story about their new collaborative project, Fuller’s & Friends. The idea was that I would follow things from start to finish, taking in a dinner, an afternoon of preparatory meetings, a trip to Manchester to see a pilot brew at Marble, eight hours spent at the Griffin Brewery for the brewing of Cloudwater’s New England IPA, a variety of phone interviews … and then I would write it up. An arduous schedule, no doubt, but I took it on …

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Will Hawkes
The most important brewer that you’ve never heard of

You can tell Michel Debus is a pretty big deal by his business card. It’s enormous, about two-and-a-half times as large as a standard card, and elegant too. Above his addresses in Alsace and the South of France, it reads “Michel R. A. Debus”, in embossed capital letters, and, below that, “Brasseur”. If the card’s size is striking, then that description heavily undersells Mssr Debus.

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Why does craft beer think it can save the earth?

One of the defining characteristics of modern beer is its campaigning zeal, its desire to make the world a better place, its earnest idealism. I wrote about this last year for The Guardian, but there was plenty that didn’t make the cut. I would have liked to have included Boozers Without Borders, for example, or the Tap Social Movement in Oxford, which provides help for prisoners and ex-prisoners.

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Will Hawkes