Bensoir! It's me, Benjamin. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You may have read stuff I've written elsewhere, but here on my own blog as Ben Viveur I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others, so pretty much anything goes.

BV is about enjoying real food and drink in the real world. I showcase 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. And as a critic 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!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Lost Breweries: L is for Little Beer

About five years ago, I was talking to a mate who was looking to get into craft brewing professionally and was struggling to come up with a name that wasn't either completely fucking shit or already in use.

Beers that never were
I suggested 'Assassin', with the strapline 'beers to kill for' and, the concept meeting with vague approval,  went away and came up with a few ideas for the brand. The beers would be named Blonde Assassin, Red Assassin, Strong Assassin, West Coast Assassin, Christmas Assassin and so on... it seemed like a solid enough idea at the time. 

Matt decided against a career in the beer business, possibly after learning that it mostly involved cleaning equipment, and Assassin Brewing was, alas, never to be.

To be honest, it's not something that particularly keeps me awake at night.

Well, not often.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Enjoy it while you can!

In a few weeks time I shall be 45, and, unless there are some big developments in the health and fitness sector, this probably means that I am more than half way through my life.

That's a sobering thought in and of itself, but getting older pushes me more and more down the comfortable pipe of nostalgia where slightly melancholic memories hold more sway than the contemporary world.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about trying new things. Drinking new beers, eating new foods, visiting new places - I largely measure my life by 'ticks' - but that doesn't mean I'm remotely comfortable when the old things disappear from the world. 

And they don't even have to be that old.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Golden Pints: BV's best beers of 2021

Well, it's now 2022, which means it's time to look back on my favourite beers of the past year.  

It's been another year disrupted by lockdowns, restrictions and - in my view - unnecessarily draconian - legislation, but, hey, we're all still here. Apart from the Duke of Edinburgh, obviously. And Alan Bradley. Well, the actor who once played him.

Now as you'll almost certainly know, my drinking preference - the default position if you like - is to drink cask beer in a pub, and, putting it politely, that habit isn't altogether compatible with the COVID situation. I didn't even get to drink a pint at a pub until April 11, when the grand midnight re-opening at PotY The Kentish Belle marked perhaps the most memorable quenching of thirst in history!  

But let's not let such happy occasions distract us from the sad fact that the hospitality industry is still suffering, and the biggest threat of all is to places that rely on selling cask beer!

Monday, December 20, 2021

Have a very cheesy Christmas!

You know it, I know it. 

It's been another year consisting primarily of bitter disappointment. 

A year when freedoms were routinely steamrolled by authority. A year when the goalposts were constantly being moved, and the ball of wool dangled constantly just out of reach.

A year when whatever you did was never going to be enough, and the only thing you had to look forward to was getting jabbed in the arm again. And again.

Anyway, here's my rubbishcunt Christmas present to you readers. A recipe for quite possibly the cheesiest pasta ever, not to mention the unhealthiest. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Fot pit nor furpose!

What is the point of the Good Beer Guide?

No, really, what is the point of it now? 

It's not as though folks haven't been asking that question for some years, given that a thick paper volume that might be 18 months or more out of date is a bit of an anachronism in an age when we can all whip out our phones and search for up-to-date pub and beer gen in an instant.

But I myself didn't go out of my way to ask that particular question, partly because it would be labouring an obvious point, but mainly because I've long held the official CAMRA Guide in some esteem, largely based, probably, on the affection of nostalgia.

So I held off. Until now.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Shut up and float!

Some disappointing news this week, with Brewdog putting off their long-rumoured flotation until 2023.

Hopes had been raised when they appointed a new Chairman last month, reportedly with the very specific intention of getting them listed, but - and they have plenty of previous in this department - the company decided to change tack.

Given that the only other opportunity to trade shares only happens once a year, and gets cancelled most years, the chances of being able to sell Brewdog shares at a fair price any time soon would appear to be low.

Which pisses me off massively as I've been wanting to rid myself of 99% of my 'shares' for some time now. 

Thursday, October 21, 2021

BV on a roll

At any given time, in any given corner of the internet, there will be people having futile arguments, spreading misinformation and expressing points of view that are best described as 'monumentally fucktarded'.

I have no intention to attempt to bring these pointless debates to a conclusion as that in itself would be just as pointless as the 'discussions' themselves. So I'll just say a few words and then leave it be, but in all likelihood I'll speak more sense on the subject than you've ever heard before.  

So, bread rolls...

Yes, I said rolls. I shall be talking about rolls - and all the other names that people indiscriminately use for them. Batches, baps, cobs, barms and whathaveyou.