There’s only really one answer when one of your favourite craft breweries one day asks if you’d like to make a beer out of your gingerbread, and - spoiler alert - the answer isn’t usually no. When the guys at Affinity Brew Co. asked whether I’d be up for it, I obviously said yes with bells on, hopped (geddit) down to their brewery in Bermondsey, and got started on crafting my very own gingerbread beer, which is now available to drink and buy around the country. What a dream come true!
The Affinity Brew Co. guys love to experiment with flavours and tasting notes in their beers and I’m all about playing with food, so we had loads of fun getting the perfect balance for our blend. Having it all made in the spacious renovated railway arch that Affinity Brew Co. call home meant that we could control everything from start to finish, ensuring that it was absolutely perfect. That final perfect article is Maid of More - if you’re a beer nerd like me, it’s a 5.2% amber ale made with cascade hops. It has a powerful spiced flavour, made with my special gingerbread spice selection, backed up with citrusy hops and a sweet malt base. And if you’re not a beer nerd (no shade here!) all you need to know is, basically, it’s deeeeeeeelicious!
As much as we’d have loved to have kept 1,000 litres of delicious gingerbread beer to ourselves, we thought it only fair that we give other people a chance at tasting how delicious it was too, so we held a little launch party. It’s not every day you launch your own gingerbread beer - though how great would life be if that was everyday?! - so I wanted to mark the occasion with something really special. The Willy Wonka cogs in my brain started whirring and eventually, I came up with an idea for the ultimate drinks version of playing with your food: what if I could create something super experiential? What if the cups themselves were edible? What if you could drink your gingerbread beer out of gingerbread goblets?
After much experimentation and many a test run - mainly with water, I hasten to add, beer doesn’t lend itself well to exact measuring - I created a gingerbread goblet sturdy enough to hold liquid, but still dainty enough that it was edible. After baking and filing all the sides so that they fit perfectly together, I ‘glued’ them together with icing, and then coated the inside with white chocolate to preserve their structural integrity. People loved them on the day - I think the record number of drinks held in it was 7 servings, so they held out well too! In homage to the beautiful can design by Tida Bradshaw, I also created a gingerbread piñata full of sweets that guests could smash and enjoy. Playing with food is so fun, making gingerbread beer is so fun, all of it was just SO FUN.
If you’d like to try Maid Of More, it’s available to buy at a number of watering holes in and around London, including at Affinity Brewing Co. in Bermondsey, and if you’d like me to Willy Wonka-ify your event or experience, drop me a message. And if you love biscuit and beer pairings, watch this space…there’s more exciting things coming!