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It’s been a part of British culture for centuries but, far from going out of fashion, real ale is enjoying a renaissance. Debbie Major celebrates this traditional refreshment with recipes that make the most of its malty, hoppy flavours



"Beer is the British drink. Its production was well established by the time of the Roman conquest, and by medieval times it was drunk with every meal and by all social classes. Most beer is made from four ingredients: toasted malted grain (normally barley), a bittering agent (usually hops), yeast and water. Other flavourings such as fruit and spices might be added along the way. The malt is mixed with water and boiled to bring out the sugars, which the yeast then turns into alcohol. The hops add thirst-quenching bitterness and preservative qualities.

In the 1970s, Camra (the Campaign for Real Ale) coined the term ‘real ale’ to help drinkers differentiate between traditional British ale, a living product containing live yeast, and the pasteurised, highly carbonated, bland beers the big breweries were churning out at that time. The gentle sparkle of real ale comes only from fermentation. Once delivered to a pub, the cask must be left for a day for the yeast to settle. It’s then carefully hand pumped (though it can be tapped straight from the cask) and only stays fresh for a few days. It’s the care taken during production, storage and serving that sets this heritage product apart – as well as its flavour…

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About delicious. Magazine

As the nights draw in, October’s delicious. brings comforting cheer with Jacob Kenedy’s guide to game cookery, Debbie Major’s best recipes using beer and Maria Elia’s favourite moussaka. You’ll also find Halloween snacks, chocolate cinnamon buns (yum!), guilty pleasure puds (lots of chocolate), Italian midweek suppers, Middle Eastern vegetarian meals and breakfasts to leap out of bed for. Plus (cue fanfare!), editor Karen Barnes reveals the Produce Awards 2016 winners.