ʽʽHi, I’m Benjamin Nunn – critic, gourmand and author of Ben Viveur. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You might have read me in an in-flight magazine, or a beer publication, but here on my own blog I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others so anything goes.

I deal with real food and drink in the real world, aiming to create recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. Likewise, I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended.

Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Friday, February 18, 2011

An open invitation to James Watt

Well, things on the beer front seem to have kicked off a little whilst I've been away getting married and honeymooning'n'shit.

Late last year, I wrote a piece for the December 2010 / January 2011 edition of the London Drinker magazine about the Brewdog brewery that provoked some debate - much like the brewery itself, in fact.
The dog with two faces?
Despite my reputation as a maverick writer capable of seriously pissing people off (I've received actual real-life death threats and everything!) it honestly wasn't penned with the intention of being controversial, but simply to open a discussion about an issue that matters to me - good brewers threatening to marginalise real ale.

Correspondence supporting both sides of this complicated moral issue features in the February / March issue and I'm starting to feel as though I need to be the ambassador for this cause because I just can't let things like this go without a fight.

On that basis, I'd like to invite James Watt, Brewdog's 'Head of Stuff' (or however he'd like to be addressed today) to engage me in a little discussion, if he can take time out from running his excellent, if Achillian operation.

James, we have much in common; we're both rebels, or at least we like to think we are.

I like Brewdog beers. A lot. So I guess that means we probably both like good beers.

We both know that it's not as straightforward as cask=good and keg=bad.

And we both take the attitude that we don't care what people think or who we piss off, possibly too often for our own good at times.

Whatever you think of us, you know that us CAMRA types, beer festival organisers and hop enthusiasts in general, put Brewdog on the map long before you had your bottles on the shelves in Tescos.

People like me were singing your praises and spreading the word from the moment we first tried your (real) beers. Maybe there is an argument that you might just owe us a teensy little something in return? No?

You've achieved a lot because your beers were good, and like it or not, in this country, good beer matters more to those who drink cask than those who sup fizz. To my knowledge, there is no 'campaign for keg beer' out there promoting the keg versions of your products.

So, if you haven't already, can I just ask you to read what I, and others have said about your current brewing philosophy?

For what it's worth, I'm willing to take the time to head up to your neck of the woods to meet you for a few beers and a chat - not as any kind of official CAMRA ambassador nor indeed as a Brewdog shareholder, which I am, but just as a guy with a view who wants to safeguard against terrible things happening.

Because if Brewdog's fantastic beers stopped being available in real form, that would be a terrible, frightening scenario - not just for those of us who love to drink them, but for the very essence of our nation's beer heritage. 

I hope you take me up on my offer. Thanks.


  1. Seriously? You're a bit too modest I think.

  2. Seems they have decided largely to stop supplying cask to pubcos, due to the capacity issues.
    I would have thought you as a shareholder would have been there on Saturday. It would have been an ideal opportunity for you to put your points directly to James and Martin in person. Mind you your respective points of view are so far apart that they would probably have written you a cheque to buy your share back, either that or fed you to Bracken.


Comments are always welcomed and encouraged, especially interesting, thought-provoking contributions and outrageous suggestions.