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!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

#Dryanuary vs #Tryanuary

Sometimes it feels as though it's not enough for our Gregorian Calendar to sport mere months these days.

STOPtober. MOvember. There's probably a PLEBuary going on somewhere. Every month has to be A Thing, usually with a #trending #hashtag clinging obligatorily to its loins.

This month is, of course, a Double-Whammuary. We've got #Dryanuary - where people give up the grog for a month for charity, auto-detoxication or some combination of the two - and the beer industry backlashtag, #Tryanuary, encouraging drinkers to keep on putting themselves out there, supporting pubs by trying something new and different.

Both camps have plenty of support: Top beer writer Pete Brown goes dry, and is probably dying for a pint by now, while Hardknott brewer Dave Bailey makes a solid and impassioned counter-argument and is unlikely to be thirsty. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Best beers of 2014

OK, it's New Year's Day Boxing Day (if New Year's Day Boxing Day is a thing now, and if it isn't, I'm making it a thing), and the first post of 2015, so Happy New Year, prosperous tidings'n'shit, and indeed any other seasonal platitude you'd care to hear.

Now let's get down to the important stuff. You know, the stuff with hops in it that we all love to drink in vast quantities.

Brutal fucking honesty: Last year was a great one for beer, possibly the best beer-year ever indeed, and I was lucky enough to drink a lot of it.

To put this into perspective, in 2013 only half a dozen beers scored 8/9 on the BV scale. In 2014 I gave that score to a massive 13, despite drinking fewer new beers overall. (888 if anyone gives a toss!)

And now I'm going to tell you which beers they were.