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!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Get your drinking glasses on, it's a Pub of the Year preview!

So, there are just six short days left for the fine pubs of London to wow me with their beertastic awesomeness.

OK, technically they're six of the longest days of the year, but who gives a fuckpig for such pedantry when the fourth BV Pub of the Year contest is lurking just around the corner!

You know the drill by now. Last years finalists go head to head, toe to toe and cask to cask against five spanking new contenders and we'll see if anyone can wrest the shiny trophy away from the Craft Beer Company in Clerkenwell.

Importantly, I will be making a few adjustments to the rules this year, following feedback from readers, co-drinkers and an important missive from the Iranian embassy. (OK, so, one of those didn't actually inform the decision all that much.)

Rules, rules, rules...

Firstly I've agreed that the five 'new contenders' can only include one pub belonging to any given owner, brewery or chain, which should ensure variety. Of course the rule that they must not have been in last years competition remains, which guarantees freshness (but not in a sanitary producty sort of way, obviously).

Where is this pub? Could it be a contender?
Secondly, to reflect the changing nature of pubs and the sheer variety and quality of keg beers available in the capital, the 'range of real ale' category is tweaked to become 'range of draught beers'. There will still be up to 3 points available, but the keg beers on offer will now also be considered as part of the deal.
Thirdly, the scoring system for the 'quality of real ale' will change slightly, with pubs now being awarded between -2 and 2 points.

Finally, the maximum number of miscellaneous bonus points a pub can win is rising to 3, ensuring that the theoretical maximum score remains 9/9.

Got that? Good. Only a few weeks to go until we can reveal the winners and boozers.


  1. Baby steps away from the CAMRA overlords eh, and don't it feel good!

  2. Hmm, I don't think I'm any less pro-cask, just being pragmatic in the face of 2015 drinking.

    I feel strongly that cask is the best way to dispense beer. I think CAMRA should pull their cocks out and seriously campaign for it to become the international standard. Totally pro-cask, me.

    But... I also think that a lot of pubs serve cask beer poorly and a lot of the best brewers are putting their best beers out there in keg only. (The two may well be connected).

    So often these days, it's a choice between good beer and cask beer. I don't particularly like that this is the case, but I ain't blind to it. I didn't join CAMRA to drink warm Doom Bar when I can have a cool, tasty pint of Thornbridge Halcyon on keg instead.

    I always factored in the range of keg and bottled beers in the bonus points anyway, but it's time to give these things a little more weight.

  3. If keg solved othe problem of bad beer, why do we need CAMRA? oh right, because of "TRADITION"

  4. Are you ever going to do an award for cans of beer?

  5. Hi Ben, Hi.

    As a Doctor, I always find it hard to recommend a good beer that will help my patients with their ills. For example, Paddy, a rotund gentleman of immeasurable good taste, suffers from gout. And The Shits.

    What, pray tell, would you say is a good beer for him to drink, that would assist with the gout, and help clear him of The Shits?


    Dr Fox


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