because beer matters



Looza’s fresh new look and flavours!

Established in 1948, Looza is one of Belgium’s most popular food and drink exports. Now it’s back with a brand new look and new flavours to boot.​

How do you like them apples!? The brand famed for its great tasting fruit juices has been reinvigorated with a fresh new look and feel. Elements of the old have been retained, but make no bones; this marks a new era for the Belgian company as it prepares for its 70th anniversary.

New Look. New Juices.

Along with the new designs, Looza has added two new flavours to its standard fruit juice range. Now as well as Orange, Apple, Pineapple, Grapefruit, Mango, Peach, Pear, Ace Original, Tomato, Strawberry Mix, you can also try NEW Blueberry and Blood Orange.

Smashing It. Literally.

On top of the new designs and new flavours, the guys at Looza have also found time to create a new range combining fruit juices and botanicals. Looza Smash contains less sugar than normal fruit juices and comes in three exciting flavours: Rhubarb, Raspberry & Elderflower, Grapefruit, Lime & Lemongrass and Cucumber, Apple & Mint.

Samples of the new flavours are available to trade customers upon request.

Take a taste tour with Two Roads

‘I’d like to think I do my best work in traffic!’ says Phil Markowski, award-winning Brewmaster of Two Roads Brewing. ‘I often work out recipes in my head on my evening commute.’ This is how Two Roads’ Miles 2 Go got its start, just one of their many new beers now available through James Clay.

Phil Markowski embodies Two Roads’ philosophy of taking the ‘road less travelled’. At James Clay we think many people can relate, but can they prove it? Many talk the talk, but few walk the walk. And these guys have walked a long way. Take their Geyser Gose for example, only possible because they travelled and sourced local ingredients in Iceland.

Two Roads put their own twists on the world’s classic beer styles. They’re all brewed in New England and, thanks to James Clay, we’ve brought them all the way back to Old England (and the UK).

Introducing the newbies and some specials...

Two Juicy Unfiltered Double IPA
(8.2% ABV, 24 x 473ml cans)

An unfiltered, cloudy “New England style Double IPA” with notes of grapefruit, pine, lychee, orange and tangerine against a soft malt backdrop.


Miles 2 Go Unfiltered Pale Lager
(6.2% ABV, 24 x 355ml)

An unfiltered lager preserves more flavour nuance than a filtered beer. This lager is crisp and smooth with a toasty malt backdrop and refined herbal hop notes.


Plum Gose (4.5% ABV, 24 x 473ml cans)

A sour and salty interplay with the unmistakable character of tart Italian plums (prunus cocomilia). Pinkish in colour and decidedly refreshing.


Ground Loop Sour Saison (4.5% ABV, 24 x 473ml Cans, 30 litre Dolium keg)

A classic fruit-forward Saison developed in collaboration with Stillwater Artisanal Brewing. With a herbal hop character, a mild tartness on the palate and subtle hint of funk in the aroma.


Two Evil Geyser Gose (5.5% ABV, 24 x 473ml Cans)

A twist on a gose beer using Icelandic ingredients. A sour wheat-style ale with a hint of smoke, light lemon colour, dry finish and thirst quenching appeal.


Brothers in Farms Double Grisette (6.5% ABV,12 x 500ml Bottles)

This special beer has been brewed with two yeast strains: a classic Belgian saison yeast and a wild yeast strain captured from Two Roads’ hop yard.


Road 2 Ruin Double IPA (8.0% ABV, 24 x 473ml)

A big, hoppy IPA with plenty of bite! Brewed with four American hop varieties – Summit, Palisade, Cascade and Magnum. Piney, citrus, floral, and not-for-the-timid!



Berlin in eight glorious beery, drinky, foodie stops

James Clay’s Scottish Account Manager, Joe Dick, takes us on a quick tour of the most nourishing detours in the city.

If there’s a better city to stumble happily from place to place, absorbing food and drink like a wobbly sponge than Berlin, I’ve not been there.  Fortunately, not only have I recently been to the great German capital, but I’ve remembered enough about it to share a few personal recommendations: where to drink, where to eat, and even where to deposit those empty bottles for maximum social responsibility. So, here goes…

Location: Pretty much everywhere
If you find yourself waking up in Berlin, the chances are fairly high that you may feel a little tender from the night before. In this case you urgently need to find yourself a Katerfrühstück (quite literally a hangover breakfast). On the way, if you’re in need of a bit of refreshment then you should make sure to swing by one of the many Späti’s dotted around the city. These are genuine one-stop shops; charming beacons of social equality, serving anybody, any time, day or night. They’re pokey little convenience stores that serve as a veritable Ali’s Cave of snacks, beverages, and other late night accessories. To bring yourself even closer to recovery nab a Schofferhofer Grapefruit, or a Fritz Kola.  And to be like a true Berliner don’t forget to place your empty bottle under a bin to allow the homeless and poor of the city to collect and cash in the deposit return on the glass.

House of Small Wonders
Location: Johannisstraße 20, 10117 Berlin, Germany
A glorious representation of Berlin as the true multicultural capital of the Free World, House of Small Wonders is a little slice of Brooklyn infused with a Japanese twist. Operating in Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 2010, House of Small Wonders brought its mastery of brunch to Berlin soil in 2014. The interior is decked out like an urban greenhouse, completely filled with plants, with plenty of natural light flowing in through the windows and roof. The menu offers a delightfully simple all day brunch with only a handful of options, the pick of the bunch being the Japanese take on eggs Benedict, with a wasabi hollandaise. Just spicy enough to wake you up, balanced against a magnificently fresh Mediterranean salad.

The Barn
Location: Schönhauser Allee 8, 10119 Berlin
Berlin is synonymous with ‘Café Culture’, and independent roasters The Barn have been as the heart of that. In the Schönhauser Allee site you can get as close to the process as possible, with the roastery visible in the back. The Barn achieved infamy through a strict policy of only allowing laptops at one small standing table, banning prams (due to the fumes from the roaster being harmful to children) and only allowing each coffee varietal to be presented in the style thought best suited to it (no sugar or soy-milk here). Despite these slightly intimidating policies, The Barn offers a pretty exceptional coffee experience.

Location: U1 Schlesisches Tor, Oberbaumstraße 8, 10997 Berlin
Burgermeister is a now iconic little eatery situated in the ultra cool Kreuzberg neighbourhood. It’s built in an old public toilet underneath the Schlesisches Tor U-Bahn station, on a traffic island in the middle of an extremely busy crossroads. Street food doesn’t get any more street than this. Expect to queue for at least 20 minutes during peak times, but be rewarded with one of the best burgers in Europe. The true test for any burger joint is how its plain hamburger stacks up, and this paired with a Fritz Mischmasche comes in at €6. Take a perch on one of the railings and watch Berlin pulse around you.

Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens Berlin
Location: Im Marienpark 23, 12107 Berlin
People often throw around the term ‘cathedral of beer’ when referring to one of the world’s many incredible beer destinations, but Stone Berlin is perhaps more accurately described as the Beer Vatican. You’ll be rewarded for your brief jaunt on the S-Bahn by a 3,000 square meter bar filled with 75 lines of draught beer from Stone Berlin, Stone San Diego, and their many international friends. Despite being built inside an enormous former gas works, the taproom manages to still feel cosy and intimate, and is backed up by an enormous outdoor terrace. With an enormous food menu built to precisely match the beers brewed on site, it is impossible to conceive of a better place to experience Stone beers. Take a tour to check out one of Europe’s most advanced brewhouses, and get a peek at their 10 hectolitre pilot plant that would leave any start-up brewery furious in envy. If you need further reason to visit there are a range of rare and aged beers available in bottle to takeaway (and an ace gift shop too).

Bear Pit Karaoke
Location: Czeminskystr 7 10829 Berlin
Embrace a true sense of Berliner escapism with a visit to Bear Pit Karaoke in Mauerpark. Found in the stone amphitheatre, and powered by a unqiue battery-powered sound system designed specifically for the acoustics of the amphitheatre. If you need something to wet your whistle and give you a bit of encouragement, grab a Berliner Pilsner from one of the many vendors wandering the park with crates. And if you don’t feel like cracking out a tune, sit back and watch as Berlin legend Joe Hatchiban fires out criticism and/or encouragement to the willing performers.

Muted Horn
Location: Flughafenstraße 49, 12053 Berlin
Hidden away in Neukolln you’ll find one of Europe’s finest modern beer bars, hiding in plain sight with only a neon depiction of a trumpet to let you know it’s there. The décor is recognisably ‘craft’ with minimalist bare white walls and a decent amount of exposed brickwork. Twenty-two keg lines showcase many of the huge names in the European and American craft scene, with Left Hand, Evil Twin, The Kernel, and Magic Rock all frequently available. Muted Horn is also one of the few bars within Europe deemed lucky enough to receive bottles from the hallowed and ever elusive lambic blender Bokkereyder. There’s also a menu of English and German board games, and an infinite supply of complimentary pretzel sticks to sustain you long into the night.

Location: Neukölln Arcaden, Karl-Marx-Straße 66, auf dem obersten Parkdeck, 12043 Berlin
One of the best things about travelling the world for beer is coming across experiences and bar concepts that could never be replicated at home for one reason or another. Klunkerkranich originally started out as an urban gardening and beekeeping project that approached the owners of the multi-storey car park to use their almost permanently empty top deck. Eventually the project developed and a bar was added. Take the lift to the top floor inside the Neukölln Arcade and follow the music to the roof deck. Grab a Schneider Weisse Tap 7, sit amongst the wooden flower beds and look out across one of the most unspoiled views of Berlin until at least 2am every night.

James Clay and Stone Brewing form UK distribution partnership

We’re thrilled to announce James Clay is expanding its portfolio through a new partnership with iconic California brewery Stone Brewing, the ninth largest craft brewer in the US.

We’re now importing a core range of six of Stone Brewing’s best-known beers to the UK’s on-trade market, including Stone IPA, Stone Cali-Belgique IPA, Stone Ruination Double IPA and the world-famous Arrogant Bastard Ale, along with a full complement of special and seasonal releases to support the core range.

Renowned for its West Coast style IPAs, Stone Brewing has set the global benchmark for fresh, hop forward beers since their inception over 20 years ago and has built an enviable reputation for its memorable, bold and innovative beer.

Stone Brewing recently became the first US craft brewery to establish a fully owned and operated brewery in Europe, including the launch of their restaurant Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Berlin, which was built in an unwavering commitment to quality fresh beer and the art of brewing. The core range will be imported from the new Berlin brewery.

"We’re excited to see the interest in craft beer continue to grow in Europe and as the UK has an established craft beer market, we look forward to fans enjoying cans delivered as fresh as possible from Berlin.” said Stone Executive Chairman & co-founder Greg Koch. "We looked for a distributor partner as committed to delivering fresh craft beer as we are and one that would handle our beers as carefully as we brew them. James Clay meets all of those high standards."

Ian Clay, Founder and MD at James Clay, commented: “Stone Brewing is one of the world’s most celebrated craft breweries and is a pivotal inspiration to the remarkable global craft brewing revolution. Their IPAs are rightly considered modern classics, so we are delighted to be partnering with them in the UK, distributing these award-winning beers across the country.”

Stone IPA, Stone Go To IPA, Stone Cali-Belgique IPA, Stone Ruination Double IPA, Arrogant Bastard Ale and Little Bastard Ale are available in returnable 30 litre kegs and 24 x 33/50cl cans.

Fritz-Kola – the Hamburgian original proves soft drinks can be done better

Fritz-Kola, the soft drink brand founded in Hamburg and known for its vast flavour selection and high caffeine levels, is expanding its reach in the UK through a partnership with drinks importer and distributor, James Clay.

Lorenz Hampl and Mirco Wolf Wiegert met when they were both boy scouts and became good friends.

This independent spirit took hold during a 1999 InterRail tour around europe and the pair decided that they didn't want to be employed by anyone else – whatever they did, they would work for themselves. They jotted down their ideas in a notebook containing possible business models that ranged from opening their own bar to managing a squad of cleaners.

They were always going to focus on something real (no virtual products for these guys) and it also had to promise a lifestyle that was fun and allowed the pair to spend a lot of time in pleasant cafés.

Sitting in their kitchen over a frozen pizza and cola one day, they had the idea of developing a cola drink that was better than the leading brand on the market. A cola with lots of caffeine, a little less sweetness and a twist of lemon.

To cover the need for some working capital to start the project, saving accounts were emptied out and Fritz Kola was established with modest funds of around 7,000 Euros.

After extensive research into a new cola recipe, the pair tried to obtain the necessary ingredients from pharmacies around Hamburg. There were a few minor setbacks but, with a little help, they finally developed a new recipe for their drink.

The logo and name of fritz-kola came into being as a result of very pragmatic considerations: there wasn’t enough cash to design a logo and make sure that it met legal requirements, so the two friends used their own faces as a logo instead. No question about who owns the rights to those.

There were several suggestions on the table regarding the name of the cola. A survey was carried out in front of a shopping centre. The name had to be a positive, catchy and natural. The nice north German name ‘fritz’ won the race.

By 2002, bottle labels were being printed by a local copy-shop, stuck onto each bottle by hand and glue stick. Recipes were tried and tested. New products started to be developed. Friends and family's homes used as storage for stock. The drinks started to find new audiences across europe and Fritz Kola was now something of a cult classic.

Skip forward to 2016 and Fritz-Kola - all 12 incredible flavours - has been introduced to the UK market by James Clay.

As part of its expanded UK launch, the brand of soft drinks will be partnering with a range of festivals, offering a Fritz-Kola take on some of our best-loved cocktails. Having launched its expanded range at The Big Disco in Leeds, Fritz-Kola was also available at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix, and will make an appearance at various events planned throughout the summer.

Matthew Eyre, Head of Sales at James Clay: “We’re thrilled to be bringing another iconic German drink to the UK. With the summer now here, we’re positive that Fritz-Kola’s range will be a huge hit, whether used as a soft drink or as a mixer for spirits.”

“Frtiz Kola is a family owned, independent company, that always puts quality first, sharing a lot of the same values of us here at James Clay, so working with them is a perfect fit. To take on a market that has been dominated for years and make such a success of it is testament to Lorenz and Mirco at Fritz-Kola and we can’t wait to share with our customers here in the UK.”

Fritz-Kola is now available in 24 x 33cl nrb bottles.

Here’s to taking the road less travelled.

Another of America’s favourite beers is on its way to the UK we are thrilled to announce Connecticut-based Two Roads Brewing Co as the latest addition to our Core Beer portfolio.

Two Roads Brewing Company was founded in 2012 by four friends - Brad Hittle, Phil Markowski, Clement Pellani and Peter Doering - who for years had dreamed of starting their own craft brewery.

Each had taken a different path in their careers thus far, but all now shared a unified vision and fostered a “road less travelled” philosophy for the beers they wanted to create and how they wanted to brew them.

Already an award-winning brewmaster and a brewing veteran with nearly three decades experience to draw upon, Phil Markowski was tasked with creating the lineup that would take a unique twist on the classic beer styles of India Pale Ale, Pilsners, Hefeweisse and stouts.

More than just a fantastic brewer (as if that wasn't enough!), Phil is credited with being one of the early influencers in the craft beer industry in the US. He's considered quite a scholar of brewing and an authority, who has also authored a book, “Farmhouse Ales”, which is a "go-to" for any enthusiast looking for information about the saison and biere de garde brewing styles. Phil can also cite a contribution to the Oxford Companion to Beer, Zymurgy, The New Brewer, American Brewer, Brewing Techniques and All About Beer magazine.

You can read more about Phil's career in brewing in this great article on

“Two Roads isn’t just the logo on our brewery building, it’s our philosophy.” say the founders, “Life always seems to offer up two ways to go: it just so happens, we prefer the one less taken and having some fun along the way – in our lives, our careers and especially for our beers!”

The initial line-up from Two Roads brewing offers four brilliant beers available in cans, bottles and on draught:

Ol’ Factory Pils (5% Abv) is a continental pilsner that boasts lemony notes. Brewed with a combination of classic German and American hops and malts, along with being dry hopped, it's a pilsner with plenty of punch.

Lil’ Heaven (4.8% Abv) is a session IPA with an abundance of tropical fruit flavourss, specifically passion fruit, grapefruit and apricots, thanks to the four exotic hops in the recipe - Azacca, Calypso, Mosaic and Equinox.

Worker’s Comp (4.8% Abv) is an intensely fruity saison with the yeast strain contributing to a myriad of tropical fruit aromas and spice flavours – complex, distinctive and a great example of the Saison style.

To complete the set is Honeyspot Road (6% Abv), an IPA that uses wheat as the dominant malt backbone to accentuate the citrusy Pacific Northwest hop character. Unfiltered, it's a naturally cloudy beer that definitely imbodies the 'road less travelled' attitude!

Matthew Eyre, Head of Sales at James Clay: “We’re thrilled to be able to bring Two Roads selection of craft beers to the UK and further expand our US craft brewery offering. Even though Two Roads are a relatively new brewery, only establishing in 2012, the quality of their beers is borne from a hugely experienced team and we firmly believe Two Roads are destined to become a world classic brewery in the future.”

The Two Roads range of beers launched in the UK on American Independence Day with events in Leeds and London, with all four beers being made available for full release commencing August 1st.

*Worker's Comp available in bottle and keg; Li'l Heaven available in cans and keg.

Introducing the world’s first Hefeweizen grapefruit beer

Innovation in brewing can occasionally be in danger of sailing too close to gimmickery, but there are also occasions when we hear of something completely new which ticks the “that just might work” box.

So, a Hefeweizen grapefruit beer. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's a world first, but not so surprising is that it works beautifully.

We first came across Schofferhoffer Grapefruit on a trip to New York where it had already garnered a strong following in the city's bars and off-trade. Closer to home, Schofferhoffer Grapefruit caught our eye again at a couple of Berlin festivals and was hitting the spot with the laid back urban vibe.

Brewed at the Binding Brauerei in Frankfurt, Schofferhoffer Grapefruit is a true blend of 50% Hefeweizen and 50% carbonated natural grapefruit juice.

Best served cold, it’s a perfect casual brew to cool off during the summer and the low alcohol makes it an easy-going drink for any time of the day. 

Zesty, tangy and refreshing, this Hefeweizen blend is also quickly becoming one of the mixologists’ best kept secrets, with some fresh cocktails already out there based around the brew.

Schofferhoffer Grapefruit (2.5% Abv) is now available through James Clay in 24 x 500ml cans and 50 litre keg.

James Clay to develop London beer market through Utobeer deal

James Clay is set to develop its reach in London following the acquisition of the wholesale arm of highly-acclaimed beer specialists Utobeer Ltd.

Full Release 5th May: The acquired distribution arm will trade as ‘Utobeer Distribution’ and provide James Clay with a developed route to market for the London area. The deal will also see James Clay double their London Account Management team by taking-on the current Utobeer Distribution employees. Utobeer Ltd will continue to operate its award-winning retail division - The Rake, The Cage at Borough Market and Tap East in Stratford East London.

James Clay, founded in West Yorkshire, are the UK’s leading importer and distributor of specialist and craft beer. The internationally acclaimed business is within its third decade of trading and remains family owned. James Clay have built a reputation not only as a leading distributor, but also as a noted importer and brand manager having UK responsibility for prominent breweries such as Brooklyn Brewery, Flying Dog Brewery, Erdinger Weißbrau and Anchor Brewing Co.

Utobeer, an independent specialist beer company, has been selling a wide range of domestic and international beers since 1999. The acquired distribution arm will trade as ‘Utobeer Distribution’ and provide James Clay with a developed route to market for the London area. Under the terms of the agreement, Utobeer will continue to operate the retail division (The Rake, The Cage and Tap East) based out of Borough Market.

The deal, which is expected to be completed on May 9th, furthers the expansion of James Clay in its mission to make the UK a better place to drink quality, flavour first beer by providing the best possible platform for importing and distributing within the London marketplace.

Ian Clay, Managing Director at James Clay, commented: “We are picking up the baton from Utobeer co-founders Mike Hill and Richard Dinwoodie and have a great respect for what they have accomplished for beer distribution in our nation’s capital. We are excited about further developing relationships within the London beer community and sharing the experiences that excite us with even more beer drinkers. We respect the excellent work being provided by our existing partners and remain committed to working alongside them to develop quality beer in London.”

Co-founders of Utobeer Ltd, Mike Hill and Richard Dinwoodie, commented: “We are confident that James Clay is the best company to develop Utobeer Distribution and ensure that an even greater range of beers from world renowned craft breweries are accessible throughout London. We’re very proud of the progress we’ve made within the industry since establishing the company over 17 years ago and we look forward to seeing it grow even further with James Clay.”

Gigantic just got bigger

We like big beers. We like very big beers. We know you love them too, so we've taken more Gigantic Brewing beers to quell your insatiable appetite. 

As you'll probably remember from last May, we'd happened upon Gigantic on our travels to the Pacific north west, Portland specifically, and immediately fell for them. Staunchly independent, bold, confident - not just hop forward but everything forward!

The initial supply of beers went fast (really fast) so we knew we'd have to get back on the case; unfortunately, a lot of people in the US were thinking the same so we have had to wait in line but our time has come again. 

Along with the completely solid Gigantic IPA and Ginormous Imperial IPA, there's three new beers:

Holy Oak (7.7% Abv) is a collaboration with our neighbours Magic Rock who are based just up the road from us in West Yorkshire. A Bourbon barrel-aged kettle sour beer, brewed to mimic a gloriously refreshing whisky sour.

Kiss the Goat (8% Abv) looks like one scary mutha. It's a black doppelbock, so expect plenty of bready, toasty malt with a decent dash of chocolate on the finish. A big beer to see off these lingering winter nights.

There's plenty of British brewers making American-style pale ales (and why not, they're great), but it's always good to see American brewers doffing their caps back this way. The Business (6% Abv) is classed by Gigantic as a Brit-American Pale Ale, with a mix of British Maris Otter malt and bright American hops like Cascade and Magnum. Bright and zesty citrus aromas and passionfruit flavours, with biscuity malt for good measure.


All five Gigantic beers are due with us by mid April. James Clay are taking pre-orders from trade customers - please just login to the trade area on our website and download the order form or call the Sales Team on 01422 377 560.

Pucker up and join the Northwest Sour Revolution!

James Clay have announced a partnership with Portland's Cascade Brewing to distribute their bottled beers throughout the United Kingdom, a deal which brings Cascade’s Northwest style sour ales to the UK for the first time.

James Clay have announced a partnership with Portland's Cascade Brewing to distribute their bottled beers throughout the United Kingdom, a deal which brings Cascade’s Northwest style sour ales to the UK for the first time.

Cascade Brewing is highly regarded in the US for its award-winning sour ales that feature a clean, lactic acid profile produced by a house culture of lactobacillus bacteria. The beers frequently feature many fresh ingredients grown exclusively in the Pacific Northwest including native cherries, berries, apricots and grapes.

Cascade's own blending house currently holds more than 1,400 French oak, Kentucky Bourbon and Northwest wine barrels, along with nine foudres – the giant oak wine barrels favoured by traditional Flemish breweries.

For the last decade, the Oregon brewery has been a pioneer in the sour beer renaissance and the proud innovator of the Northwest Style Sour Ale. Its distinctive sour beer blends feature fruit forward, barrel-aged ales with an emphasis on project year-to-year variation.

These beers offer a complex array of flavours derived from Northwest grown ingredients, with each release capturing the unique subtleties of that year’s growing season.

As Cascade state: “We are, by nature, the definition of artisanal brewing: not bound by stylistic guidelines, just our own imagination and the ingredients we can access. Our blending house is filled with wheats, blonds, quads, reds, browns and porters that are aged and blended into magical elixirs. Beers with aggressive tart notes that are balanced by residual sugars, fruits, spices and the oak we use.”

James Clay have been closely following developments in the American sour brewing scene for some time and are delighted to be able to introduce some of the leading examples being produced by Cascade Brewing to the UK.

We have seen a number of the leading independent brewers in the UK experimenting with and introducing their own sour beers to the market and are excited to see the reaction of Cascade's innovative beers when they are released.

James Clay will release four Northwest sour style Cascade beers early in 2016:

Strawberry (7.5% Abv) is a blend of wheat and blonde ales, aged for up to a year in oak barrels with strawberries and vanilla pods. Bright and crisp, it captures the essence of strawberry with subtle notes of oak, vanilla and fruit preserves.

Blackcap Raspberry (7.6% Abv) ages for up to 14 months in oak wine barrels, the wheat and blonde ales blended with the fruit. Clean, concentrated flavours of raspberry with hints of red wine and dark summer fruits.

A blend of imperial spiced red ales aged with cherries in bourbon and wine barrels for two years, Sang Noir (9.8% Abv) pours a deep mahogany brown and features rich flavours of dark roast malts and port.

Blended wheat ales aged for over a year in oak wine barrels with native cranberries from the Oregon coast, orange peel and cinnamon, Cranberry (6.9% Abv) offers brilliant fruit flavours and delicious refreshment.

Brooklyn American Ale UK Launch

Another brilliant beer from the guys in Williamsburg, NY, Brooklyn American Ale is launched in the UK with immediate year-round availability from James Clay.


We honestly don't think it's possible for Garrett and the guys at Brooklyn Brewery to make a bad beer; not even a mediocre, run of the mill beer. Every one a work of art.

Brooklyn American Ale is no exception.

Maris Otter, Pale and Crystal malt make up the grain bill; heaps of Willamette, Cascade with Amarillo for the dry-hopping. And there's also Brooklyn's own house ale yeast complete the deal - absolutely no compromise on a straight down the line, solid American pale ale. 

We worked with the Brewery and the Grillstock festival to introduce Brooklyn American Ale to the UK at the start of September. Mighty fine late summer weather, awesome slow cooked barbecue and great music hitting the right notes for a cool, pale American Ale to quench a thirst!

American Ale is an easy drinking beer and barbecue is its natural habitat. So next time you fire-up the smoker, let the gentle bitterness cut through a rich set of ribs and allow those bright, piney hops to zing off the dry rub.

Brooklyn American Ale (ABV 4.5%)

Year-round availability in 24 x 355ml bottles; 30 litre keg (limited release)

Anchor Brewing Cans Update

Anchor have really grasped the nettle (or should that be metal?) with their approach to canning, with a number of the core range now available in the increasingly popular format.

“I remember brewing the first batch of Liberty Ale with Fritz Maytag 40 years ago. We were both young, eager beer lovers and knew we wanted to create a beer unlike anything else at the time.”

That is Mark Carpenter, the Anchor Brewmaster, reminiscing on the early days of the brewery and the creation of what can rightly be classed as an iconic craft beer. Anchor Liberty Ale was the first American IPA brewed after prohibition. Furthermore, it was the first modern dry-hopped ale in the US and was the beer that popularized the now-iconic Cascade hop.

It is also the latest beer from the San Francisco brewery to be available in cans (24 x 355ml) albeit in limited release quantities for now. 

It was a year ago that James Clay started importing Anchor California Lager (4.9%Abv) in cans (as well as bottles and keg, of course), and now Anchor IPA joins it's established sibling. 

Canning craft beer is a practise which has been welcomed with open arms by the equally open-minded UK craft beer audience, and Anchor IPA (6.5%Abv) is another hop-forward beer that certainly stands up well in it's full metal jacket, with super fresh beer the result.

Very San Francisco and very left field, Brotherhood Steam Beer (5.6%Abv) is a collaboration with California band the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Inspired by Anchor's flagship Steam Beer, Brotherhood Steam is brewed with a distinct malt bill giving the beer its copper colour, and dry-hopping with Citra and Nelson Sauvin adding aromatic hints of citrus and mint.

The result is a smooth, full-bodied malt flavour with a lingering, fresh hop finish. Mark our word: it rocks. So much so, we've made it a permanent listing.

Anchor Brewing canned beers are available in 24 x 355ml.

Some beers are big. Just a few are truly Gigantic.

Earlier this year we headed west - a very long way west in fact - to Oregon to see for ourselves what was brewing in and around Portland. A lot of beer has passed under the bridge since we were last there and our journey was certainly worthwhile.

One brewery we immediately developed a huge admiration for was Gigantic Brewing Company.

Established by brewers Ben Love and Van Havig, both veterans of the Oregon brewing community, they are stoically independent and have vowed to “stay small, focusing on making exceptional beer rather than a lot of beer.”

Bringing decent quantities of great, fresh craft beer from America can be challenging at the best of times, but we're also massively excited about introducing Gigantic to the UK so conversations started to secure shipment of a pair of their permanent beers and a couple of their one-off releases.

They say: “At Gigantic we only do two things: make the best damn IPA in Portland and produce seasonal, exciting, flavourful beers, most of which will be brewed only once.”

So we're bringing in two of the “best damn IPAs in Portland” – Gigantic IPA and Ginormous IPA. Big beers at 7.3% and 8.8% respectively, packed to the brim with mighty hops, a real aroma hit and bitterness that just keeps getting bigger as you drink.

True to its name. Cascade, Centennial, Crystal and Simcoe create a citrusy hop confluence that continuously embiggens with each drink.
7.3% INDIA PALE ALE  |  12 x 650ml bottles  |  20 litre pub keg

Developed in a secret testing facility in Portland, GINORMOUS is powered by seven mighty hops. His mission is simple: to deliver a massive hop punch to those in need.
8.8% IMPERIAL IPA  |  12 x 650ml bottles  |  20 litre pub keg 

Inspired by the Japanese flavour palette, UME UMAI is brewed in the ‘dry’ Asian manner. Fruity yet earthy and, above all, refreshing and delicious.
7.5% PLUM & BLACK RICE BEER  |  12 x 650ml bottles  |  20 litre pub keg

Who says wheat beers need to be mild? Redefining what wheat beer can be - boldly hoppy, crisp, clear(ish) and absolutely solid!
6.0% AMERICAN WHEAT  |  12 x 650ml bottles  |  20 litre pub keg

And as you'd expect, all Gigantic beers also come in big 650ml 'bomber' sized bottles. Speaking of which, you'll have noticed the label art? Each Gigantic Brewing beer label is designed by a different artist, each with complete creative freedom to allow their art and styles shine.

The first import from Gigantic beers will be with us October 2015 and we're already in-line to secure another batch later in the year.

If you're ready to supersize your US craft beer listings, then go large with Gigantic Brewing Company – exclusively from James Clay.

Founders KBS Release 2015

James Clay are pleased to announce the limited UK release of Founders KBS through a selection of the best independent beer shops in the UK.

Release date for the public is Saturday 30th May, with availability limited to just one 4-pack per customer.

The burning desire for great beer is getting crazier by the day here in the UK. However there are scenes over in the US that can only be described as pure beer hysteria. Where tickets sell out in minutes and queues thousands strong form outside of a brewery.

But then this isn’t any old scene. This is the scene for “The Best Beer in America”*.

This is Founders KBS.

James Clay are extremely excited to share this beer with UK beer drinkers. Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) is an imperial stout brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for an entire year to make sure wonderful bourbon undertones come through in the finish.

In the words of Uncrate, "other bourbon barrel coffee stouts are imitators - Founders KBS is the innovator".

The release date is Saturday 30th May 2015 with the map below showing where you can find the beer.

PLEASE NOTE: Sales will be strictly limited to one 4-pack per customer to allow as many people to experience this exceptional and rare beer as possible.

Use our map to find you nearest outlet for Founders KBS


About the beer

KBS (11.2% ABV) is Founders most infamous beer and can be found included in lists of the best beers in the world published by sources ranging from RateBeer to Business Insider.

It’s inherently a limited release because it ages in bourbon barrels for a year in the caves beneath Grand Rapids, Michigan. In past years, beer enthusiasts have crashed web servers with the traffic caused by your interest in this beer and Founders have even had people camping outside the brewery in frigid temperatures so they can be first to get their share of this great beer.

Founders KBS on Beer Advocate

United Craft Brewers

You may have heard that at the Brooklyn Brewery Mash 'State of Craft Beer' round-table discussion the intention to launch United Craft Brewers – an association of British craft brewers. This has been a long discussion over the past year. We are looking for a community here in the UK that was dedicated to the interests of craft brewers and that fit in line with our core values. We want UCB to be that fit, with the help and collaboration of craft breweries across the country.

Food allergen labelling and information requirements

New EU rules on displaying allergen information comes ito effect 13th December 2014. For all information on James Clay beers click here.


New release: Brooklyn Brewery BLAST!

We are delighted to announce that Brooklyn Brewery's BLAST! has been bottled and is now available to order. BLAST! was first introduced in 2005 and has been a firm favourite in the Brewery Tap room with the Williamsburg locals.

BLAST! is Brooklyn's East Coast answer to "those palate-obliterating West Coast IPAs" offering a balancing act of piney and fruity notes with a sturdy malt foundation.

When you brew in New York - roughly halfway between the hop fields of the US Pacific Northwest and those of Kent here in England - it might seem logical to keep everything in harmonious balance and use the harvest from both regions. In BLAST!, Brooklyn use eleven* (yes, eleven!) varieties starting with earthy English hops to build a foundation and bright, citrusy American hops to bring the noise. All together, they combine in this big, bold yet remarkably well-balanced IPA.

Maris Otter and German Pilsner malts lends balance and bready flavours to brace up a beer that’s beautifully balanced, hoppy, strangely quaffable and oddly compelling.

It's big. It's bold, It's Brooklyn!

Brooklyn BLAST! (8.4% ABV) in bottles is now a permanent listing from James Clay.

24 x 355ml bottles  /  30 Litre keg 


*Hops used in brewing Brooklyn BLAST!: Willamette, Magnum, Cascade, Fuggle, Aurora, Zythos, Bravo, Simcoe, Sorachi Ace, Amarillo, Experiment 6300

Goose Island leaves James Clay portfolio

After 12 years working with Goose Island Brewery it is with a heavy heart that we announce the removal of Goose Island beers from our portfolio of award winning craft and speciality beers.

In 2011 Goose Island was acquired by the world's largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev. The UK division of AB InBev has recently informed us that due to "wider commercial interests" our relationship would be terminated. Unfortunately, following subsequent conversations with the newly appointed importers Greene King, we have been unable to reach an agreement to keep Goose Island in our portfolio.

"Goose Island Brewing Company have been a pioneering force in the American craft beer revolution and we're immensely proud to have introduced their spirit of experimentation and innovation to the UK market " comments James Clay. "We hope, in a small way, sharing this spirit has helped ignite the craft beer movement that is exploding within the UK at the moment".

In the 3 years preceding AB InBev's acquisition, the range made available to the UK was reduced to 3 beers: IPA, Honkers, 312 Urban Wheat. "While we respect that AB InBev has taken a hands off approach to brewing experimentation at the Fulton Street brewery, our inability to share these beers with UK drinkers was frustrating" remarks James Clay.

We will continue to supply the trade with Goose Island beers into December 2014 when current stocks will be exhausted. Greene King expect to have stock early December and they advise calling their Customer Care line on 0845 850 45 45 for more information.

Introducing Inedit Damm

When your restaurant is Costa Brava's elBulli -- consistently acclaimed as the best in the world -- you'd like to think you have some influence on what people drink with the food you create.

elBulli Head Chef Ferran Adrià and his team of sommeliers believe in the need for a beer to accompany and compliment the varied flavours found in modern gastronomy.

"There are many wonderful beers in the world, but none to accompany the entire meal." said Adrià, "Some people do not ask to drink beer because it's not glamorous."

Working in collaboration with Spanish brewery Estrella, Inedit Damm (4.8% ABV) was created in 2008 specifically to pair with and compliment food.

Inedit Damm was born from the need to have a beer to accommpany haute cuisine with maximum respect; this virtue makes this beer quite unique.

Inedit works with a wide variety of culinary creations, including even the most complicated dishes based on citrus fruits and strong, bitter elements. Not too heavy, it works very well with appetisers and starters, salads and fatty fish. Inedit's versatility also allows it to happily accompany bittersweet and spicy flavours. 

Brewed with wheat and barley malt, flavours are accentuated with coriander, orange peel and liquorice.

Best served chilled and in an elegant white wine glass, its appearance is slightly cloudy; highly aromatic, it is fruity and floral to the nose, with pleasant yeast detected and nuances of sweet spice. A creamy, fresh texture, soft volume and delicately carbonic with a pleasantly long aftertaste.

Estrella Inedit Damm is now available as a permanent listing through James Clay.

24 x 330ml bottles  /  12 x 750ml bottles

Big Autumn Flavours Falling Our Way

When it comes to beer, Autumn is by far our favourite season - brewers are playing with ingredients from the year's harvest and big flavours are being introduced to warm the hearts in readiness for the coming Winter.

When it comes to beer, Autumn is by far our favourite season - brewers are playing with ingredients from the year's harvest and big flavours are being introduced to warm the hearts in readiness for the coming Winter.

If you're looking for the epitome of the season in a glass, then Anchor Big Leaf Maple Autumn Red™ (6.0% ABV)is as good as it gets. Inspired by a native California tree, its incredible huge leaves, its delicious syrup and the best colours of the California fall. A blend of Caramel and Pale malt, with a healthy addition of Cascade, Citra and Nelson Sauvin hops.

Anchor Big Leaf Maple Autumn Red™ (6.0% ABV) is available now from James Clay
in 24 x 355ml bottles or 19.5 litre keg.

P-P-P-Pick up a Pumpkin...

The Autumn crop of craft brewing wouldn't be complete without the appearance of pumpkin ales. Brooklyn's Post Road Pumpkin Ale (5.0% ABV) is a beer with a warm pumpkin aroma, biscuity malt centre and crisp finish. Literally hundreds of pounds of pumpkins are blended into the mash of each batch, creating a beer with an orange amber colour.

Flying Dog's 'The Fear' Imperial Pumpkin Ale (9.0% ABV) is a spicy, complex, rich and bold beer. Anything seasonally spicy or sweet will beautifully complement this rich and complex brew - embrace The Fear and achieve greatness!

BrewDog's Pumpkinhead (5.1% ABV) is just the tonic to spice up this year's Halloween and, on the subject of spice, Beavertown Stingy Jack (7.2% ABV) returns, boldly proclaiming to be "the best damn spiced pumpkin ale you will ever sup".

Timmermans Pumpkin Lambicus (4.0% ABV) is a sublime, graceful tasting beer tinted by Lambic acidity with dry fruity pumpkin, a convivial touch of Halloween!

New Release: Brooklyn Brewery 1/2 Ale

The American Craft beer movement originally took inspiration from the historic brewing cultures but turned up the intensity levels: more hops in their IPAs and higher alcohol contents to provide balance. Fast forward a few decades and our Stateside brewing friends are now taking on the session category.

Recently lower-strength session IPAs have been growing in number and gaining favour for their balance of hop-forward flavour without the need to tip the ABV scales too far and proving the point that craft beer need not be toe-curlingly high on the alcohol front.


Half Ale. Full Saison Flavour.

Originally, developed as part of Brooklyn's Company of Brewers program where, quarterly, a member of the brewing team creates a beer of his or her choice.

Brooklyn ½ Ale is a refreshing beer (as a Saison should be!) dry, hoppy, citrussy and just a little bit funky; at just 3.4% ABV certainly falls well within what anyone would describe as a session ale.

Higher ABV Saison beers have become commonplace over recent years. The style - originating in the brewing by farmers of Wallonia - was for thirst quenching beers that were brewed over the cooler winter months then stored for consumption by farm workers and seasonal labour ("les saisonners") in the heat of summer.

Brooklyn ½ Ale is an unfiltered beer, wonderfully refreshing and finished with Simcoe, Amarillo and those Sorachi Ace hops; the latter obviously not a traditional inclusion in an authentic Saison, but an inspired addition to the beer. ( Sorachi Ace 'lite' anyone?)

Whatever your daily toil, Brooklyn ½ Ale is a fine reward for all the hard work you've done, even if it didn't involve a team of horses and a plough!

Brooklyn Brewery 1/2 Ale 3.4% ABV
24 x 355ml Bottles


Now available through James Clay as a permanent line.

BrewDog Launch New Branding

The Fraserburgh punks have launched a new brand identity for BrewDog, a process which has been 12 months in the making.

It's a story that will generate interest throughout the craft beer world as James Watt and Martin Dickie have unveiled the new BrewDog branding.

When BrewDog launched back in 2007 their bottle labels were an immediate hit with both the consumer and industry alike: very different to anything else out there at the time, very left-field and very punk.

It's a brand style that has carried them from start-up and selling their beers at local markets from the back of a beat up old van to now brewing over 50,000hl of beer each year, over 15,000 'Equity for Punks' shareholders and opening bars across the UK, Europe, Japan and South America. 

"Change is tough." says James Watt on the BrewDog blog, "And this has been a tough process for us. But if we don’t evolve, we stand still. This extends to all elements of our business. We have evolved our brewery, our beers, our marketing and our bars with a view to constantly get better at what we do."

"We wanted to change because we felt the old labels were no longer quite right for us as a brewery. After seven years we felt they had become a bit too young, a bit neon and a bit tacky. Although they stood out, they did not reflect the craft heart and soul of our beer." adds James "This is also not something we have taken lightly or done quickly. We had 7 agencies from 3 different countries pitch us designs and concepts and we worked with our chosen agency for over 3 months to develop the final packaging and branding."

The new process has been one which BrewDog have shared 'warts and all' with the public and their shareholders, with postings on social media canvassing opinion and welcoming feedback.

The new look bottles, cans and font lenses are expected to be in full circulation in September 2014.

In addition to changing the branding BrewDog have also made a change to their core range of beers. Out goes 'Hardcore IPA' and 'Libertine Black' and in comes 'Brixton Porter'. (Don't worry if you're a Hardcore or Libertine fan - we'll still have them available periodically via our 'Limited Beer' program.)

Left Hand Brewing Co Return to the UK

In the Spring, James Clay announced a distribution deal to bring the Colorado-based Left Hand Brewing Co back to the UK. We're delighted that a number of their beers are now permanent inclusions in our Core Beer listings.

A healthy dose of all things in a balanced way keeps your right brain feeling good and the left brain knowing it’s all good. Left Hand Brewing believe the same to be true with craft beer, their balanced portfolio of keeping your mind and your palate in a happy state of equilibrium.

Since Left Hand Brewing started out 20 years ago, they’ve racked up medals at the Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup awards and a growing loyal customer base in the USA and worldwide.

Left Hand Beers Available from James Clay 






Milk Stout   6.0% ABV
Roasted malt and coffee flavours build the foundation of this creamy sweet stout. Milk sugar in your stout is like cream in your coffee. Dark and delicious, America’s great milk stout will change your perception about what a stout can be. “Preconceived notions are the blinders on the road to enlightenment.” Udderly delightful!

Milk Stout Nitro   6.0% ABV - Draught Only
Super smooth with soft roastiness and mocha flavours. Milk Stout Nitro cascades beautifully, building a tight, thick head like hard whipped cream. The aroma is of brown sugar and vanilla cream with hints of roasted coffee. The pillowy head coats your upper lip and its creaminess entices your palate. Initial roasty mocha flavours rise up, with slight hop and roast bitterness in the finish. The rest is pure bliss of milk chocolate fullness!

Black Jack Porter   6.8% ABV
Slight malt sweetness with notes of dark chocolate, espresso and herbal hops. Holding the cards to bring you down, Black Jack Porter delves deeply beneath the surface to embrace your Ace. Espresso and dark chocolate flavours envelop your senses, with herbaceous hop flavours pulling you from the light. You never know what treasures may be lurking in the darkness. Will you play the game?

Polestar Pilsner   5.5% ABV
A zesty German-style pilsner with great biscuity flavour and a dry, crisp finish. Once you have tasted a true Pilsner, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have seen the light and there you will always long to return. Let Polestar guide you out of the wilderness, just as the North Star has guided explorers to their destinations and back home again. Light, crisp and elegant, pilsner is the true test of brewing prowess. Less is more. 


Left Hand Brewing Date Coding Information

Left Hand are committed to quality and ensuring their beers are enjoyed fresh. They only put between a 4 and 6 month date coding on their beers, depending on the style. Left Hand will ship the freshest beer possible and there is an estimated 3 week shipping time from Colorado to the UK.

To help consumers understand how fresh the beer they’re drinking is all bottles will have:

  • A ‘bottled on’ date - so you know when the beer was made.
  • A ‘best before’ date - so you know when the beer should be consumed by.

Please be aware of this when ordering and know that Left Hand short date codes means guaranteed fresh beer!

Chimay: New labels, a new statement of identity

Chimay launched a new look for their iconic Trappist beers in early May and, in changing the labels on its beers, the Chimay brewery "was determined to reaffirm its full character and give back to its bottles an identity that underlines its origins".

The elegantly simple Chimay brand has evolved around the red, white and blue of its three main beers and their matching crown caps (which many refer to the beers by).

The launch of the new brand identity and labelling is described by Chimay as "a return to our roots is expressed in a sober, elegant style, inspired by three clear and considered choices".

Theses three choices are described as:

• Use of the historic Chimay colours, with form and gilding is a strong part of Chimay's history.

• Red, White and Blue - strong, pure colours which have identified Chimay beers for many years.

• An emphasis on Belgian roots and a Trappist identity.

To conclude, the re-branding is declared "a modern evolution which strictly respects the history of the Trappist Chimay brewery, giving full expression to the foundation of its beers".


For further details, visit the Chimay website at

US Summer Beers Have Arrived!

This year's Summer editions from Brooklyn, Anchor, Founders and Sly Fox have made short work of their annual migration across the Atlantic and all are now available for immediate delivery.


Brooklyn Summer Ale  (5.0% Abv, Pale Ale)
A modern rendition of the "Light Dinner Ales" brewed in England throughout the 1800's until the 1940's in a style that was refreshing and flavourful without being too heavy. Brooklyn Summer Ale is brewed from premium English barley malt, which gives this light-bodied golden beer a fresh bready flavour, whilst German and American hops lend a light crisp bitterness and a citrus/floral aroma, resulting in a beer with a very sunny disposition.

Available in 24 x 355ml Bottles / 12 x 355ml Cans / 30 Litre Keg

Anchor Summer Beer  (4.5% Abv, American Wheat)
The crisp, clean flavours of Anchor Summer Beer are refreshingly light - a thirst quenching American-style filtered wheat beer.

Released each year in advance of the summer season, Anchor Summer Beer yields a clean taste that highlights the refreshingly light flavour of malted wheat. First brewed in the summer of 1984, it is the first American wheat beer in modern times and a lighter beer for those who don’t want to sacrifice historic tradition or character.

Available in 24 x 355ml Bottles / 19.5 Litre Keg

Founders Rübæus   (5.7% Abv, Raspberry Ale)
Not another boring summer wheat beer or lemonade shandy, Rübæus is Founders’ way to celebrate the season’s warmest months. Optimising the flavour of fresh raspberries added at multiple stages during fermentation, this stunning berry red masterpiece is the perfect balance of sweet and tart. No question about it, with a hefty malt bill and 5.7% ABV, this beer is 100% Founders!

Available in 24 x 355ml Bottles / 30 Litre Keg

Sly Fox Royal Weisse  (5.6% Abv, Wheat Beer)
An unforgettable Bavarian-style wheat beer brewed with German Pils and Wheat malts, hopped with German Northern Brewer. Medium bodied, honey in colour, fruity.

Available in 24 x 355ml Cans


Contact the James Clay Sales Team on 01422 377 560 or email to order any of these beers. Trade customers only.

Anchor California Lager in Cans

Anchor California Lager is already available year-round in the UK in 355ml bottles and 19.5 litre keg and the launch in cans has been scheduled for July 2014.

Anchor Brewing launched their California Lager in cans in May 2014 and quickly gained broad approval throughout the US.

Anchor Brewing Company’s roots go back to the Gold Rush, long before icehouses and modern refrigeration made traditional lagers a viable option. In 1876 - thanks to an ice pond in the mountains and a belief that anything is possible in the Golden State - a little brewery named Boca created California’s first genuine lager. Anchor California Lager is a re-creation of this historic beer.

Crisp, clean, and refreshing, its rich golden colour, distinctive aroma, lingering creamy head, balanced depth of flavour and incredibly smooth finish are like no other lager today.

Made in San Francisco with two-row California barley, Cluster hops (the premier hop in 19th-century California) and Anchor’s own lager yeast, Anchor California Lager is kräusened and lagered in the cellars of the brewery. This all-malt brew is a delicious celebration of California’s unique brewing heritage.

Anchor California Lager is already available year-round in the UK through James Clay in 355ml bottles and 19.5 litre keg. The launch of Anchor California Lager in cans has been scheduled for July 2014 and the intention is for these to become a permanent listing.

Anchor Brewing Company has been encouraging beer enthusiasts to help America's national parks by buying Anchor California Lager. Through two unique partnerships, a portion of proceeds from Anchor California Lager sales will support the America's National Parks Conservation Association and the California State Parks Foundation.

“The national parks are one of our country's most precious resources, somwhere that everyone from coast-to-coast can enjoy,” said Keith Greggor, CEO of Anchor Brewing Company. “Anchor California Lager already has tremendous success supporting parks in our home state and we look forward to supporting the National Parks Conversation Association’s work protecting our national parks.”

Anchor IPA to Launch in the UK with James Clay

Happiness, adventure and fortune - "see the elephant" with Anchor IPA™.

The California Gold Rush lured thousands of Americans west to "see the elephant," a 19th-century metaphor for the hopeful but risky pursuit of happiness, adventure and fortune.

As early as 1849, British brewers were exporting India Pale Ale to India and some of these beers were also heading around the Horn to San Francisco. Thirsty ‘49ers savoured the best imported IPAs, but it wasn’t until 1975 that Anchor pioneered the revival of dry-hopped handmade beers. Now that tradition fast-forwards to an adventurous new brew: Anchor IPA™.

Anchor IPA™ (6.5% Abv) is made with 2-row barley malt and fresh whole-cone hops, its bright amber color, distinctively complex aroma, spiky bitterness, malty depth, and clean finish unite to create a uniquely flavourful, memorable, and timeless craft IPA.

"I don’t give a hoot, I have seen the elephant!"

To "see the elephant" was a popular 19th-century expression that originated with a tale that predates the California Gold Rush.

There once lived a farmer who had heard of elephants but had never seen one. He longed for the day when he might catch a glimpse of this rare, exotic creature. When the circus came to town, he loaded his wagon with fresh produce and headed to market. On the way, just as he'd hoped, he came across the circus parade, nobly led by an enormous elephant.

The farmer was ecstatic, but his horses were terrified. They reared and bucked, overturning his wagon and scattering its precious contents in the road. "I don’t give a hoot," exclaimed the farmer. "I have seen the elephant!"

The elephant became the universal symbol of the Gold Rush, as evidenced by the journals, letters, and sketchbooks of the forty-niners. Whether or not they struck it rich in the diggings, those plucky pioneers would forever treasure their California adventure as the defining moment of their lives.



Anchor IPA™ will be available exclusively through James Clay and partner distributors from June 2014.

Available in 24 x 355ml bottles and 30 litre keg.

Camden Town Brewery Goes North

After great times spent at beer festivals in Manchester and Liverpool, demand from bars and pubs in lots of other cities and an enthusiastic response from Northern visitors to the London brewery, Camden have made a move into the North.

"We’ve been waiting for the right people to help us do it and, in James Clay, we’ve found that partner. They’ve brought so many of our favourite beers to the UK - the ones that inspired us to start a brewery - so we knew we could trust them to take us North."

It wasn’t too long ago that there was no-one making great lagers, wheat beers and American style pale ales in London.

Early 2010, seven old Victorian arches were converted and a beautiful modern brewery was installed. Ideas were turned into recipes, the first beers were brewed. By the summer of 2010, Camden Town Brewery was out there.

To give us Northerners an introduction to these brilliant beers, James Clay are now permanently listing four from Camden Town's portfolio - Camden Hells, Gentleman's Wit, Camden Pale and Camden Ink with specials and limited editions expected to make the journey north in the future.

Schneider Weisse beer dinner with Hans-Peter Drexler

Come and join us on Thursday 27th March at Meantime's 'The Old Brewery' for a beer dinner with Brewmaster Hans-Peter Drexler.

The Head Chef at 'The Old Brewery' has created a fantastic German themed 5 course menu for the evening. Beers to be served include the award winning Tap 7 Original, organic certified Tap 4 Grünes and the latest beer from their experimental Tap X range ‘Porter Weisse’. A limited quantity of Aventinus Barrique – a blend of Aventinus and Aventinus Eisbock aged in wine barrels – will also be available to try.

The whole evening is £50 per person for the talk and tasting, the five course meal plus the matching beers.

The evening is to take place on Thursday 27th March at 7pm.

All places must be reserved in advance, you can book by calling 0203 327 1280 -  if you need any more information please feel free to get in touch by calling 0203 327 1280 or emailing .

Founders All Day IPA—in Cans!

Founders Brewing Co's top seller, All Day IPA, has taken the US craft beer market by storm and spearheaded the rise of the Session Ale category. Now it's available in cans for the UK.

Developing the All Day IPA recipe was no easy task. “We recognized the need for a full-flavoured IPA with a lower ABV,” said Co-Founder Dave Engbers. “The challenge was creating a beer that had intense hop aromatics balanced with the malts without packing a big ABV punch.”

Following a limited release in 2012 due to hop shortages, we were able to bring All Day IPA to the UK market in May 2013, and it quickly became the leading seller. Now All Day IPA is the first Founders product to be released in cans with 12-packs of the beer hitting the UK market in March 2014 and Centennial IPA set to follow later in the month."All Day IPA is a 4.7% ABV session ale, brewed with Simcoe and Amarillo hops and measuring out at 42 IBUs. We set our minds to brewing this beer because we wanted an American IPA that worked with an active lifestyle. It has won numerous awards, including a silver medal in the session beer category at the GABF in 2010 under a working name and, most recently, a 2014 Good Food Award."

Founder All Day IPA - 12x355ml - 4.7% abv

For more information and to order please contact 01422 377560 or email

Schneider Weisse present their latest TAPX - Porter Weisse

Schneider Weisse have launched their latest limited release wheat beer 'Porter Weisse'. Widely regarded as the most innovative German brewery, Schneider Weisse's limited release Tap X series are modern twists on traditional Bavarian wheat beer styles.

Schneider Weisse's latest special brew is an eagerly awaited combination of two classic beers styles - Bavarian Weisse and Porter.

The English porter brings a dark brown nearly black colour and pleasant mild roasty aroma with hints of dark chocolate. The Bavarian wheat beer offers fruity, estery notes of raisins, nuts and red berries and a well balanced easy hop aroma merges into a pleasantly dry mouthfeel.

“If you closely study the history of porter and examine its aroma profile, comparing it to a classic wheat beer, you’ll soon realize that there is a basis for the development of an expressive character on this union”, Schneider Weisse brewmaster Hans-Peter Drexler explains the emergence of the new TAPX. “A historically bold but in taste ultimately very appropriate combination of two wayward beer styles,” concludes Drexler.

Sit down and relax with this wheat beer speciality or enjoy it with all kinds of roast meat, barbecue, grilled chicken (the German Grillhendl), rich cheeses like Gruyere, Gorgonzola, blue mold cheese or desserts with vanilla or nuts.

Schneider Porter Weisse is 7.0% abv and available in 6 x 750ml cases and 20 ltr kegs from 24th February 2014 (while stocks last).

Anchor California Lager® launches in UK

Anchor Brewing Co (San Francisco, CA) is launching Anchor California Lager®, California’s first genuine lager reborn, in the UK market. Anchor California Lager will be available on draught and in 355ml bottles from October.

“Our first release of this historical brew was immensely popular with the public and also with our Anchor employees,” said Keith Greggor, CEO of Anchor Brewing Company. “From day one, Anchor California Lager resonated with us not only because of its distinctive flavour, but also because of the rich brewing history that it celebrates.”

In February 2013, Anchor California Lager was bottled for distribution in California only. “Anchor California Lager has been selling beyond our expectations since its launch,” said Keith Greggor, CEO of Anchor Brewing Company. “We are very excited to offer it in several more markets so that beer-lovers can enjoy this uniquely Californian creation.”

Anchor Steam’s® roots go back to the Gold Rush, long before icehouses and modern refrigeration made traditional lagers a viable option. In 1876—thanks to an ice pond in the mountains and a belief that anything is possible in the Golden State—a little brewery named Boca created California’s first genuine lager. Anchor California Lager is our re-creation of this historic beer.

Made in San Francisco with two-row California barley, Cluster hops (the premier hop in 19th-century California), and the breweries own lager yeast, Anchor California Lager is kräusened and lagered in the breweries cellars. This all-malt brew is a delicious celebration of California’s unique brewing heritage.

The California grizzly bear on our Anchor California Lager label is from a woodcut by Durbin Van Vleck (1833–1898), courtesy of The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley. First published in 1856 in San Francisco, it is a superbly crafted rendering of an original illustration by Charles Christian Nahl (1818–1878), who had painted both eastbound and westbound versions of this bear. Nearly a century later, Nahl’s bear served as inspiration for the design of the bear on California’s modern state flag. Although that bear is heading west, our bear—like the bear on Boca Brewing’s historic lager label—is heading east.

Anchor California Lager (4.9% ABV) is unique. Crisp, clean, and refreshing, its rich golden colour, distinctive aroma, lingering creamy head, balanced depth of flavour, and incredibly smooth finish are like no other lager today.

Anchor California Lager is now available year-round in 355ml bottles, as well as on draught at select bars, restaurants, and retailers.

Anchor California Lager previously had been distributed exclusively within California. From October 2013, Anchor California Lager will expand its distribution outside of California to the UK. Trade customers can register their interest in Anchor California Lager by calling James Clay on 01422 377 560 or via

Brooklyn Pennant Ale - new draught beer

We are pleased to announce that Brooklyn Pennant Ale will be available as a new permanent draught listing to sit alongside the hugely successful Brooklyn Lager.

Fifty-eight years ago the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team beat their arch-rivals, the New York Yankees, to win the 1955 Baseball World Series. To celebrate this famous victory Brooklyn Brewery created a special beer, Brooklyn Pennant Ale, a 5.0% abv Pale Ale. Today James Clay are pleased to announce that Brooklyn Pennant Ale will be available as a new permanent draught beer in the UK.

New York based Brooklyn Brewery created Brooklyn Pennant Ale as a celebratory product to mark the anniversary of the Brooklyn Dodgers winning the 1955 World Series in which they were awarded the traditional winners pennant. Brooklyn Pennant Ale, a Pale Ale, proved such a hit that Brooklyn Brewery decided to continue brewing the beer permanently and it now makes its way to the UK for the first time on draught.

Brooklyn Pennant Ale is a honey-coloured pale ale with a brisk malt palate and finely balanced hop character. It pairs wonderfully with a range of American classic foods – particularly Buffalo Hot Wings with a Blue Cheese Dip and the quintessential New York Slice (of Pizza).

On-trade enquiries are invited from establishments interested in being amongst the first UK outlets to stock this exceptional and iconic beer.

Trade customers can register their interest in Brooklyn Pennant Ale on draught by calling James Clay on 01422 377 560 or via

Introducing Hitachino

Winners of numerous awards worldwide, the Japanese HITACHINO brand has established a cult following for their innovative craft brewing and distinctive owl logo. We are delighted to announce that Hitachino Nest beers are now available in the UK through James Clay.


In 1996, Kiuchi started beer brewing, naming the brand “HITACHINO NEST BEER” with the unique owl character logo. (Kounosu, the village where the beers are brewed, means ‘nest’).

The Kiuchi Brewery was established in 1823 by Kiuchi Gihei, the headman of Kounosu village. While collecting rice from local farms as a land tax for the Tokugawa regime he began brewing sake  (rice liquor) with left over rice stocks.

The following beers will be available (24x330ml):

Hitachino Nest White Ale (5.5% abv) 
Refreshing, mildly hopped Belgian-styled beer with a complex flavour of coriander, orange peel and nutmeg. One of Hitachino's top-selling beers in Japan and the USA.

Hitachino Nest Amber Ale (5.5% abv) 
Reddish brown beer brewed with rich malt and bitter hops. An easy drinking medium bodied Amber ale with perfect bitter-sweet balance.

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale (7.5%) 
Complex Sake-like flavours with a malt sweet notes. Hints of strawberries in the nose and palate. An intriguing mix of Sake, malt and bitter notes to finish.

Hitachino Nest Japanese ClassicAle (5.5% abv) 
Fine creamy head, medium-bodied feel with sweet bitter taste, a unique note of cedar and complex spicy yet mild aroma of British traditional hops.



For enquiries about Hitachino Nest beers, please contact James Clay on 01422 377 560.


Schneider Weisse presents the latest TAPX - Sommer Weisse

Schneider Weisse have launched their latest limited release wheat beer 'Sommer Weisse'. Widely regarded as the most innovative German brewery, Schneider Weisse's limited release Tap X series are modern interpretations of traditional Bavarian wheat beer styles.

This latest special brew arrives with new aroma hop from the Hallertau, which had never been used in a beer before.

Sommer Weisse is a fruity wheat beer with a freshness for summer. Brew master Hans-Peter Drexler’s expectations of the new member of the Schneider Weisse family have been fulfilled: “Meine Sommer Weisse reminds you of a walk through mountain meadows, you experience a herb-like hop aroma with nuances of green apple and grapefruit.

The specialty leaves a fresh feeling on your palate, which perfectly matches with the warm summertime. A wonderful partner for salads, light fish dishes or mild hay flower cheese.“

Schneider Sommer Weisse is 5.4% abv and available in 6 x 750ml cases and 20 ltr kegs while stocks last.

Founders Brewing UK Launch

American Craft Brewery, Founders Brewing Co. of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is to expand distribution to the United Kingdom. Working in partnership with speciality beer importers James Clay, beers from Founders Brewing Co. will be available nationwide beginning in June 2013.

Founder Brewing

Both year-round and seasonal beers will be available in bottle immediately with draught expected to follow later in the year.

John Green, President of Founders Brewing Co. said of the partnership, “We’ve been looking at export opportunities for a while now, and we’re excited to partner with James Clay in making the United Kingdom one of our first international markets.”

"We are delighted to bring Founders Brewing beers to the UK market" comments Ian Clay Managing Director of James Clay, "Founders is one of the most respected breweries in the world brewing a truly world class portfolio of beers. Introducing beers of Founders’ calibre to the UK is a fantastic addition to an increasingly diverse and vibrant UK beer culture."

James Clay are particularly excited about the arrival of Founders Brewing Company’s All Day IPA. American IPA is fast becoming the beer-drinker’s style of choice, but with most coming in at a heady 6 - 9% Abv often one can’t enjoy more than a couple. Founders Brewing Company’s All Day IPA is an award winning American Session IPA that has been expertly brewed to keep all the flavour of its stronger cousins, but at 4.7% Abv.

Other beers available at launch include Porter (6.5% Abv), Pale Ale (5.4% Abv), a more traditional Centennial IPA (7.2% Abv) and the remarkably smooth Scotch Ale, Dirty Bastard (8.5% Abv).

The full range of Founders Brewing Co. beers will be available through James Clay from June 2013.

For more information please contact .

Founders Brewing: The Story from Founders Brewing Co. on Vimeo.

Introducing AMA

Brewed by Amarcord Brewery in the small medieval Italian town of Apecchio, AMA is a beer made specifically for the Italian dinner table. Designed in collaboration with New York’s Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster Garrett Oliver, AMA is available in three varieties – Bionda, Bruna and Mora with all three available for the first time in the UK.

AMA beer

Amarcord is one of Italy’s great new microbreweries that are brewing beer with distinctive Italian accents, producing their range of beers in Apecchio, a small medieval town surrounded by the Appennini Mountains (Mount Nerone) and close to the Adriatic coast.

Ama Bionda (6.0%) is a golden beer with a fruity character, delicate, but at the same time distinctive, created using Sicilian Orange Honey Blossom. Characterized by the aromas of pear and green apple brandy, presents a dry and bright character, all bound by the unmistakable flavour of honey orange. Bionda is re-fermented in the bottle, giving the beer a particularly fine texture.

Food match:This beer is a fine pairing for salads, oysters, goat cheeses, seafood dishes, and pastas with cream based sauces.

Ama Bruna (7.5%) is complex, but soft and dry on the palate, the malt flavours are pronounced but subtle, with flavours of toffee, raisins, dark fruit, chocolate, pear and cinnamon. Unlike most dark beers, AMA Bruna derives its colour and many of its flavours not from roasted malts but from highly caramelized sugar syrup.

Food match: These caramel flavours pair beautifully with roasts, meat-based sauces, burgers, steaks, roasted root vegetables, seared scallops, and full-flavoured cheeses.

Ama Mora (9.0%) is a strong porter with complex flavours of dark fruit, chocolate and espresso coffee. The espresso flavours are derived from coffee beans produced by the nearby Pascucci roaster in the mountains of the Marche in Italy.

Food match: AMA Mora pairs nicely with richly flavoured savoury dishes such as venison and Mexican mole sauces and works equally well with desserts.

For more information and to order please contact 01422 377560 or email

Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort

James Clay, as the British extension of the Brooklyn Brewery’s international community, is proud to support Brooklyn Brewery and their local community of Brooklyn and Queens in this time of need. To this end will donate $1 to the Hurricane Sandy relief effort for every keg sold throughout November.

Brooklyn Brewery lies in the New York neighbourhood of Williamsburg, which remained largely unscathed by the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Brooklyn’s neighbouring areas, including those inhabited by some of the brewery’s employees sadly did not. Neighbourhoods such as Rockaways in Queens felt the full impact of the storm with many left temporarily without homes or permanently displaced. Many are still without power and heat as others try to rebuild their lives, hindered by the lack of fuel and depleting supermarket supplies.

Brooklyn Brewery is a community hub in the borough and as such are helping to coordinate fundraising efforts for those less fortunate. Working with World Cares Center, a New York based disaster relief organisation, Brooklyn is supplying food, blankets, clean socks and hats, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene items to distribute to those in the affected areas.

James Clay, as the British extension of the Brooklyn Brewery’s international community, is proud to support Brooklyn Brewery and their local community of Brooklyn and Queens in this time of need.

Brooklyn Lager is available in 30 litre kegs from UK importer James Clay and their partner distributors. $1 for each keg sold during the month of November will be donated to Brooklyn Brewery’s Hurricane Relief Effort.

Fire and Flames

Menno Olivier, brewmaster at brewery De Molen in Holland, brews a renowned American Style IPA called Vuur & Vlam (which translates as Fire and Flames). A number of exceptional small brewers were invited to copy his recipe and we've got 2 of them (and the De Molen original) in stock for you to try.

De Molen hold an annual beer festival in September (Borefts) inviting some of the most innovative small brewers in Europe to attend. Menno, brewmaster and festival organiser for De Molen, shared the recipe for his celebrated Vuur & Vlam with the attending breweries and challenged them to brew their version of the beer.

We've got three of the versions in stock: Fyr & Flamme from Haandbryggereit (Norway), Ignis & Flamma from De Stuise Brouwers (Belgium) and Vuur & Vlam from De Molen (Netherlands). For the De Molen version expect aromas of tropical fruit (especially mango and passionfruit), resin bitterness and toffee body from the malt - we'll leave it to you to see how the 'challengers' compare!


Vluur & Vlam

Technical beer details

Malts: Pilsner and Cara

Bittering Hops: Galena

Late Hops: Chinook, Cascade, Simcoe and Amarillo

Dryhopping: Cascade

EBU: 42.6   OG: 1058   FG:1012   EBC: 22.2


Details of Borefts beer festival

Location: Brouwerij de Molen, Bodegraven, Holland

Date: 28th-29th September

Details: website


De Molen Vuur & Vlam (6.2% abv, 24x355ml)

De Struise Brouwers Ignis & Flamma (7.0% abv, 24x355ml)

Haandbryggeriet Fyr & Flamme (6.2% abv, 12x500ml)

For more information or to order please call us on 01422 377 560 or email

Introducing - Pyramid Hefeweizen

Based in the Pacific Northwest of America, Pyramid Breweries Inc began as life Hart Brewing in 1984 and launched it's flagship brand of Pyramid Hefeweizen in 1993. This award winning beer has claimed multiple World Beer Cup medals and 2 Gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival in the American-style Wheat Beer category.

Pyramid Hefeweizen

This full-bodied beer uses over 60% malted wheat following a long tradition of the Bavarian Weizenbier (wheat beer) producers that the style emulates. Wheat grain has a higher protein content than the more commonly used barely and, as a consequence, wheat beers are typically cloudy with a rich long-lasting head.

The American craft beer revolution has long copied more traditional European beer recipes and applied their own unique and creative interpretations whether it be an 'American-style Pale Ale' or, in this case,  'American-style Hefeweizen'.

Pyramid Hefeweizen - 24x355ml - 5.2% abv

For more information and to order please contact 01422 377560 or email

Introducing - Magic Hat #9

"A beer cloaked in secrecy. An ale whose mysterious and unusual palate will swirl across your tongue and ask more questions than it answers. A sort of dry, crisp, refreshing, 'not-quite pale ale'."

Magic Hat comes to you from South Burlington, Vermont, USA.

Magic Hat

If it's a Not Quite Pale Ale, then what is it..? The American Pale Ale side of the beer can be characterised by a clean malt profile with a hint of caramel balanced by citrus hops (cascade). The 'Not Quite' side of the beer....that comes from apricots!

We asked the brewery what the significace of #9 was?

"#9 is far better than numbers 1 through 8. #2 was a Bamboo Wit, #5 a Grape Dubbel, #8 a Rainforest Nut Lager. They did not sell well. Why? It's a mystery to us! No one really knows the significance of the mysterious #9. Not even its creator."

MAgic hat

Magic Hat comes to you from South Burlington, Vermont, USA.

Magic Hat #9 - 24x355ml - 5.1% abv

For more information and to order please contact 01422 377560 or email

Duvel Triple Hop - 2012 Vintage

In 2007 the Duvel brewing team experimented with a new Duvel recipe inspired by an old 'Hopbier' advert. This Duvel had an extra, third, hop in addtion to the Saaz-Saaz and Styrian Golding hops used in 'traditional Duvel - Duvel Tripel Hop was born.

Duvel Single Hop

Duvel Tripel Hop was launched in 2007 as a limited edition beer only intended to be brewed once. The beer lovers reaction was phenomenal and the beer sold out in just 3 days. Duvel lovers were so distributed by the knowledge that they may never taste this beer again (it was now selling for $75 on ebay) that they started a campaign to 'bring back Duvel Tripel Hop'. They challenged the brewery with a bet: if they could get 10,000 people to subscribe to a fan page then the brewery must rebrew Duvel Tripel Hop. In less than 4 weeks over 17,000 had subscribed and so the brewery rebrewed the beer.

Duvel Tripel Hop

Each year the Duvel brewers select a new, different, third hop variety for Tripel Hop and, in 2012, they have selected the aromatic Citra hop cultivated in the Yakima Valley of Washington State, USA. Citra is new world hop renowned for citrus fruit flavours such as lime and grapefruit along with tropical fruit aromas of passion friut, peach and lychee. It is also added differently in a process called 'dry-hopping' whereby whole hop heads are added at a later stage in the brewing process resulting in a rich, bold hop flavour with increased bitterness (IBU 44).

Limited quantites are available in the UK.

Duvel Tripel Hop - 24x330ml & 12x750ml - 9.5% abv

For more information and to order please contact 01422 377560 or email

International Manchester Beer Convention

IMBC is brought to you by the team behind Common and Port Street Beer House in Manchester and is promised to be a celebration of beer and food. Held at Victoria Baths in Manchester on 5th and 6th October - get involved!

Here's what the organisers have to say:


Hello there,

Firstly I suppose we should introduce ourselves, we are The Independent Manchester Beer Convention or IndyManBeerCon for short or IMBC for shorter, we'll be holding a two day celebration of beer mixed with some food, some discussion and some general good times. Our plan is to take the best bits of all the beer festivals we've ever been to and combine them into one multisensory, headlong, hop forward beer extravaganza, a modest goal I'm sure you'll agree. The Convention will bring together the UK's most progressive, forward thinking breweries in unique surroundings presenting the best beers we can get hold off on both cask and keg.

The event will also include:
- Over 30 kegs lines, hosted by the brewers themselves.
- 30 cask lines curated by Port Street Beer House and others.
- the Portable Street Beer House presenting craft beers from here there and everywhere.
- a beer and food pairing dinner*
- pop up tastings
- mini food pairings
- talks and seminars.
- some live music and the like.
- Coffee/Tea provided by North Tea Power and Has Bean.
- food stalls
- 2 ticket levels per day to accommodate all comers IMBC Lite (12pm-4.30pm), IMBC Later (5.30pm-11.30pm) and IMBC Max (5.30pm-11.30pm).
*meal included in the IMBC Max ticket priced at £45.

A little background: IMBC is brought to you by the team behind Common and Port Street Beer House. IMBC came about through being inspired by the UK's craft beer movement
and frustrated that beer festivals, in their current form, weren't really representative of this exciting and dynamic part of the industry. We wanted to put on an event that has
amazing beer (obviously) but was open-minded, inclusive and modern. We also wanted to put customers in direct contact with the people who make the beer and have our brewers
prepare a special exclusive for the Convention. Mix this all in with other crafty practitioners such as North Tea Power, Aumbry and Has Bean and you have a frenzy of good stuff to eat, drink and make merry with.

Thanks for your time, I hope this will be of interest to you. Cheers - IMBC / / #IMBC2012

IMBC - 5th and 6th October 2012 / Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road, Manchester, M13 0FE

We are delighted to unveil… Alaskan Smoked Porter

Introduced in 1988, Alaskan Smoked Porter has been credited with helping inspire an American revival of smoked beers and, with a current total of 18 medals, is one of the most award-winning beers in the history of the Great American Beer Festival and perennial winner at the World Beer Cup.

Described as having a “dark, robust body and pronounced smoky flavour, this limited edition beer makes an adventuresome taste experience.”

So let's just recap on those clues...

1. The Stars and Stripes is an obvious starting point.

2. The mention of British Columbia on the tins of salmon was actually something of a “red herring”... What we were eluding to was that Alaskan Smoked Porter is a lovely partner to smoked salmon.

3. The 1,500 square-mile Juneau ice field is the main source of the Alaskan Brewing Co's water.

4. Juno. OK, so it's actually spelled “Juneau” but we couldn't resist the play on words for the Brewery's home town.

5. For those who know their Roman numerals, that's 1988 – the year this lovely Smoked Porter first appeared.

6. Alder wood, sourced locally to the Brewery, is used to smoke the selected malts in small batches.

7. Alaskan Smoked Porter is produced in limited "vintages" each year on November 1st and may be aged in the bottle and appreciated for years to come.

8. Our railway porter fellow. Possibly a little too easy as a final clue!

A limited consignment of the Alaskan Smoked Porter 2012 vintage shall be arriving with James Clay at the beginning of November and made available on (very) special order. We can't stress strongly enough how rare this beer is on these shores; in fact, it's practically impossible to get hold of in certain States of the US.

It's a beer which improves markedly with age – vertical tastings with different vintages are quite an experience – and we're suggesting to anyone who is lucky enough to secure an order to put a few bottles to one side for future enjoyment.

We're hoping to obtain supplies of Alaskan Smoked Porter as a regular addition to our “Specials” line-up each Autumn, with preference being to accounts who have ordered in previous years.

Keep an eye out for our regular e-newsletters for pricing details, availability and arrival dates.

Pre-orders accepted from September. Please contact the James Clay Team on 01422 377 560 for further details.

There’s a very special beer heading to the UK.

We'd love to tell you more, but that would be too easy.

We could tell you about who brews it, but that would give the game away.

We could tell you about it's awards, but where's the fun in that?

All will be revealed at midday on Friday 12th August.

Until then, we'll post a clue every day at 13:00hrs to see who can guess what it is, starting right here.

Here's the first clue to get you started:



Clue #3

Clue #4

Clue #5

Clue #6

Clue #7

Clue #8

Keep checking Twitter (#beerclue) and for more clues. And there may just be something in it for a few lucky people who guess right...

Update: An International Arms Race

Back in April we received details of a transatlantic brewing battle between Flying Dog (Maryland, USA) and BrewDog (Fraserburgh, Scotland). A propaganda war ensued  and a date for the battle, dubbed the 'International Arms Race' (IAR), has been set.

Flying Dog Arms race

Breaking news from the Flying Dog Breaking News Desk:

At 15:37 EST on July 27, Flying Dog Brewery issued direct orders for its Brewmaster and 23-Star General Matt Lovefreedom Brophy to head to Scotland. His operative objective? Brew Dog domination.

Captaining his own destroyer, equipped with ballistic missile submarines and PCs pre-loaded with Minesweeper, Brophy will set sail for Nessie’s homeland Tuesday and arrive on the white sand beaches August 23.

Closely guarded in the ship’s hull will be International Arms Race, the Zero IBU IPA and cause of this all-out war between the two breweries.

At the end of March, Flying Dog and BrewDog decided on the terms of their combative collaboration. Hops were banned from the battlefield, but after 84 hours of negotiation, a host of other weapons to impart bitterness – spearmint, bay leaves, rosemary, juniper berries, and elderflower – were agreed on. Then, it was decided that each brewery would craft it’s own version of the beer, which highlights the human element of the brewing process and does not require the Flying Dog staff to socialize with any Scots.

“Collaboration was never an option,” Brophy said. “It’s a long word that takes entirely too long to type. So, we challenged BrewDog to a battle of the brewing arts and they accepted. Now, it’s time to face off.”

On August 23, Brophy and BrewDog Captain James Watt will begin a tour of BrewDog pubs in both Scotland and England. Civilians can seek refuge from war and try each brewery’s International Arms Race at the following:

  • Thursday, August 23 at Aberdeen, 7 pm
  • Friday, August 24 at Glasgow, 7 pm
  • Saturday, August 25 at Newcastle, 4 pm
  • Sunday, August 26 at Manchester, 2 pm
  • Monday, August 27 at Camden, 7 pm

International arms race

Brophy held a private preview of the Flying Dog Zero IBU IPA with Ewan McGregor, Craig Ferguson, Gerard Butler, and Brian Cox. Their overwhelming response to the beer and support for American liberty provided further validation for Brophy, but also furthered Watts’ doubt, self-loathing, and hatred for Bald Eagles.

“We keep hearing from James that it will be bloody,” Brophy said. “Consider that a warning.”

And just to add another little edge to the contest, the labels will also be a battle of the illustrators with long time friend of BrewDog Johanna Basford going head to head with the legendary Ralph Steadman to illustrate the labels for the respective beers.

If left standing, Watt and skirt-wearing cohorts will join Brophy on his home turf in September to premiere each brewery’s version International Arms Race in the United States.

Both beers will be available from James Clay in bottles (24x330ml) and kegs (30 ltr keykeg) from Monday 27th August. Stocks are limited and customers are advised to reserve stock to guarantee delivery.

Flying Dog Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout

Maryland's Flying Dog Brewery continue to keep the neighbourhood awake, this time in the shape of the amorous addition of Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout (5.5%Abv). Brewed with Roasted Barley and Midnight Wheat malts, as well as the addition of Rappahannock River Oysters!

Flying Dog Pearl Necklace

Wildeman IPA (originally brewed for the 25th anniversary of Amsterdam’s In de Wildeman bar) is an unfiltered beer with a hazy colour and with a potent citrus hop flavour. The bitterness is balanced by light malt highlights, finishing dry and crisp with a hint of acidity.
What do we think of it? “Wildeman literally tastes like insanity!” says Nigel Stevenson from James Clay. “And don’t even ask me about Kujo... the label is terrifying!”
Flying Dog Brewmaster Matt Brophy saves Nigel: “We like to say that Kujo, an Imperial Coffee Stout, is the savage collision of two brewing worlds - coffee and beer - but we’ve maintained the
balance between rich and roasted stout characteristics, soft vanilla and the deep, dark, coffee notes.”
Both Wildeman IPA and Kujo will be available from James Clay from May.
To register your interest, please call us on 01422 377 560 or email
Wildeman Farmhouse IPA (7.5% Abv.)
Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout (8.9% Abv)

A dry stout brewed with local oysters, Pearl Necklace was the brainchild of Flying Dog, Rappahannock River Oysters, and Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen.

“Both Rappahannock and Woodberry were great partners in educating us on the oyster issues facing the Chesapeake Bay,” our Brewmaster Matt Brophy told us. “When we became fully aware of how crucial oysters are to the Bay’s fragile ecosystem, we knew we needed to do more than just brew a beer.”

Proceeds from Pearl Necklace will benefit the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP), which coordinates and conducts large-scale oyster restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay. Both Woodberry Kitchen and Rappahannock River Oysters work closely with the Partnership on shell recycling programs and more.

“Our initial work with the ORP was just the beginning,” Ben Savage, Flying Dog’s VP of marketing, said. “Sales of Pearl Necklace will continue to benefit the ORP and also raise awareness nationwide of how critical oyster restoration is to the Chesapeake Bay." The goal is to enable ORP to plant at least 1 million baby oysters back into the Chesapeake Bay through proceeds from Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout.

“A healthy oyster reef not only filters the Chesapeake Bay’s waters, but also provides habitat for other important marine life such as blue crabs and striped bass,” Stephan Abel, Executive Director of the ORP, said. “Every oyster we plant back into the Bay will have an immediate, positive impact.”

Tasting notes: "Pours midnight black with a inch thick head that quickly dissipates. Big roasted malt notes. A silky smooth mouthfeel; wee bit more carbonated than your average stout. A bitter yet dry, cigar ash-accentuated finish. As for the Rappahannock River oysters? If you are put off by the bivalve you may find little evidence of it in the beer but if you are a shellfish connoisseur you’ll surely detect the delicate smoky, creamy aftertaste of oysters." Greag Barbera (All About Beer Magazine).

Please note: Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout is a limited edition release in the UK. Please check our specials board for availablity.

For more information or to order Flying Dog Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout, please call us on 01422 377 560 or email

Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout (5.5% Abv, 24x355ml)

Brooklyn Canned

Craft cans from Brooklyn Brewery? "Once considered a cheap container for industrial beers, the modern can is now a great package. It blocks light, it keeps oxygen out, and you can toss it across a fishing boat or use it to throw a batter out at first base." - Garrett Oliver.

Brooklyn Cans

The eagled eyed amongst you will have noticed Brooklyn Lager cropping up in cans over the past few months. "We originally imported Brooklyn Lager cans as a one off for a bit of fun" comments Andrew Asquith, purchasing manager at James Clay, "but the reaction was phenomenal so we thought why not go with Brooklyn EIPA and Summer Ale cans too".

So, here we are, the trio have landed and are looking to cause trouble. ”Whoever said ‘three’s a crowd’ has obviously not tried EIPA,” an exuberant canned Lager told James Clay this morning. We didn't want to cause trouble with these feisty Brooklyners so we politely agreed, stepped away and left the warehouse.

Supply is limited so get them while you 'can'. *sighs*

To order or to make an enquiry regarding stocking Brooklyn Brewery cans, contact the James Clay team on 01422 377 560

8th Trappist beer

We are delighted to announce that James Clay will be importing the 8th Trappist beer into the UK alongside the six other Trappist beers already available in our portfolio.* The world's 8th Trappist beer is called Gregorius and it's Austrian!

The Trappist Monastery of Stift Engelszell has been granted the permission to by the International Trappist Association (ITA) to call it's beer, Gregorius, a Trappist beer. Located in Engelhartszell on the Danube in Upper Austria, the monastery has been a member of the International Trappist Association (ITA) since 2008.

Founded in 1293 the Engelszell is the only Trappist monastery in Austria. After being dissolved by Emperor Joseph II in 1786 the abbey was re-founded as a Trappist monastery in 1925 by German monks expelled from Oelenbery Abbey in Alsace following World War I. Having being orignally established as a priory Engelszell was elevated to an Abbey with Gregorius Eisvogel named as the abbot. In 1939 the Engelszell monks were evicted by the Gestapo (with four monks being sent to the Dachau Concentration Camp).

The monastery has been a member of the International Trappist Association since 2008 and have been authorised to use the Authentic Trappist Product (ATP) label on their spirits since 2009. The ATP label will appear on Gregorius later this year following the offical ceremony in October.

The International Trappist Association have said "since the Gregorius originates in a community of Trappist brothers, it may now - like all products produced by the Trappist or Trappistines - already be justly called a Trappist beer in honour of its place of origin!"

trappist beer rules

The first beer from the Stift Engelszell is a dark ale at 9.7% abv named after Gregorius Eisvogel abbot at the Abbey for 25 years (1925-1950). Other beers are expected later in the year all are to be named in honour of former Abbots of the House.

Note: Due to the limited supply available cases are limited to 1 per customer. We apologise if you are unable to get stock immediately and hope to get more stock soon.

To order or to make an enquiry regarding Stift Engelszell Gregorius, contact the James Clay team on 01422 377 560.

* Achel, Chimay, La Trappe, Orval, Rochefort and Westmalle are already available to order from James Clay. Westvleteren, until recentely the 7th Trappist beer, is not available outside of the Monastery.

Meet our new rose

Bellerose is a top fermented beer, brewed with three hops from three continents. Launched just over a year ago, it is already a highly acclaimed beer having won three medals in prestigious beer competitions..

Bellerose beer

Mon (Depar)Dieu! Meet our new extra blonde Rose.


Brasserie Des Sources (Brewery of the Springs) was founded in 1997 by four friends (including actor Gérard Depardieu). The brewery is located in the unlikely setting of a former slaughterhouse.

A hybrid mix between the French 'Bière de Garde' style and an IPA, Bellerose has distinctive aromas of citrus and lychee and a hoppy, but refreshing, aftertaste.

Bellerose is a top fermented beer, brewed with three hops from three continents. Launched just over a year ago, it is already a highly acclaimed beer having won three medals in prestigious beer competitions including Best Ale over 5% at the International Beer Challenge 2011.

Bellerose Extra Blonde (6.5% abv)
24 x 330ml  nrb


Bellerose beer

For enquiries about Bellerose, please contact us on 01422 377 560.

Norwegian art combines

The Tate Modern is exhibiting over 60 paintings from the famous Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (the man behind 'The Scream') and, during the exhibition, the gallery cafes will serve fellow Norwegian artist Kjetil Jikium's Nøgne-Ø beers.

Edvard munch Nogne o

Artist Biography:

Edvart Munch

"Norwegian Expressionist painter, lithographer, etcher and wood-engraver of figure compositions, portraits and landscapes. Born in Loten, his family moving soon afterwards to Christiana (Oslo). Early paintings in the realist tradition, influenced by his friend Christian Krohg. In 1884 attended Frits Thaulow's 'open-air academy' at Modum; entered Christiana's Bohemia of naturalist painters and writers noted for their advanced ideas on sexual ethics and morals. Visited Paris in 1885 and was influenced by the Impressionists. Organised the first one-man exhibition of his work in Christiana in 1889 and was awarded a scholarship, on which he went to Paris again 1889-90; studied for several months in the studio of Bonnat and apparently saw works by the Neo-Impressionists, van Gogh and Gauguin. His works influenced by Symbolism and centred round a cycle of 'The Frieze of Life' (themes of Love, Death, Jealousy, etc.). Lived mainly in Germany, especially Berlin, 1892-1908, with periods in Norway and visits to France and Italy. Suffered a serious nervous breakdown 1908-9. In 1909 returned to Norway where he spent most of the rest of his life, much of it working on projects for mural decorations." - Tate Modern

Kjetil Jikium

"Norwegian Expressionist brewer, craft beer evangelist, Brewmaster of Nøgne-Ø brewery. "Since launching Nøgne Ø ten years ago, the gregarious, bespectacled Norwegian has begun transforming his country’s carbonated landscape. With an artisan’s touch and missionary zeal, he crafts bold, flavourful porters, stouts, India pale ales and herb-packed oddities more in line with experimental American microbrews than Norway’s watery swill." - Nøgne-Ø

During the exhibition Nøgne-Ø's Pale ale, Saison and Imperial Brown ale will be available. Immerse yourself in Scandinavian artistry!

To order or to make an enquiry regarding stocking Nøgne Ø beers, contact the James Clay team on 01422 377 560

BBC Radio 4 - The New Beer Frontier

In March we worked with BBC Radio 4's Food Programme on a 30 minute feature highlighting how the American Craft Beer revolution is beginning to influence the British beer Scene. The Programme, entitled 'The New Beer Frontier', aired 22nd March 2012 -- list again here.

Beer Frontier BBC Radio 4 Food Programme

The feature was produced by the excellent Dan Saladino and feature notes are:

"From barrel ageing beer to sourcing intensely bitter hops, Dan Saladino reports on the latest trends in American brewing that are starting to influence British beer styles.

The US "craft beer" scene started to take shape 30 years ago. Prohibition in the 1920s and post-war industrialisation brought an end to one of the world's most diverse brewing cultures.

In 1979 President Jimmy Carter made home brewing legal again, and soon after, a network of adventurous brewers started to emerge. Known as craft brewers, they operate on a small scale and use traditional brewing techniques but also place great emphasis on experimentation and innovation.

American brewer and editor of The Oxford Companion to Beer, Garrett Oliver puts their quest for new flavours down to the US losing its own brewing culture and so being free to explore all others. Now a young generation of brewers in the UK are looking at these new US styles and discovering techniques like barrel aging as well embarking on experiments with new, intensely flavoured, hop varieties."

Garrett Oliver Bourbon Casks

Garrett Oliver talking about some Brooklyn Brewer beers being aged in Woodford Reserve Bourbon Barrels

Vedett Gazett

Got an inspiring idea? Interesting announcement? Exciting project? What better way to get it out there than on the back of a bottle of Vedett? The Vedett Gazett is your chance to share and promote...

Vedett Gazett

Submit your inspiring story and secure your own piece of prime real estate at Vedett Gazett! Vedett are looking for "cool project, inspiring ideas, creative concepts, awesome blogs, original artworks, exciting events...anything with the power to inspire". Pending approval, your story will appear online and the best stories will be selected to appear on the back of around 1000 bottles of Vedett. Submit your story!

Gazett vedett story

Wildeman IPA (originally brewed for the 25th anniversary of Amsterdam’s In de Wildeman bar) is an unfiltered beer with a hazy colour and with a potent citrus hop flavour. The bitterness is balanced by light malt highlights, finishing dry and crisp with a hint of acidity.
What do we think of it? “Wildeman literally tastes like insanity!” says Nigel Stevenson from James Clay. “And don’t even ask me about Kujo... the label is terrifying!”
Flying Dog Brewmaster Matt Brophy saves Nigel: “We like to say that Kujo, an Imperial Coffee Stout, is the savage collision of two brewing worlds - coffee and beer - but we’ve maintained the
balance between rich and roasted stout characteristics, soft vanilla and the deep, dark, coffee notes.”
Both Wildeman IPA and Kujo will be available from James Clay from May.
To register your interest, please call us on 01422 377 560 or email
Wildeman Farmhouse IPA (7.5% Abv.)
Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout (8.9% Abv) will run alongside the Vedett Gazett labels. It will link to the back labels via the QR code and host the blog posts relevant to each back label image.

Vedett Gazzett Newspaper – launches

Vedett will add an analogue aspect to the new digital dream with the launch of its own newspaper. This will include Vedett’s favourite blog posts, illustrations of artworks, events and ideas. It will be distributed to pubs, bars and restaurants around the UK as well as art galleries, vintage shops, museums, and markets in London, Leeds, Manchester, Brighton, Liverpool, Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Vedett Extra Blond and Vedett Extra White are available in bottle and on draught from James Clay. For more information and to order please contact us on 01422 377560.

An International Arms Race

Flying Dog (Maryland, USA) has thrown down its studded dog collar and challenged BrewDog (Fraserburgh, Northern Scotland) to a battle-style collaboration, The International Arms Race (IAR).

“A fury of dots and dashes come through the receiver. The translator turns in amazement.

"An IPA with no hops by two breweries separated by sea?" His commanding officer lays a grizzled hand on his shoulder as his eyes narrow toward the horizon. "No bastard ever won a war by playing it safe, son."

BUT, by mutual agreement, beer’s principal weapon of mass destruction, the hop, has been withdrawn from the IAR competition. What? An India Pale Ale with no hops? That’s like an episode of TOWIE without false eyelashes; Angelina without her attention seeking right leg; or Lady Gaga without her army of Little Monsters.

Flying Dog Arms race

“Each of us producing our own beer highlights the human element of the brewing process,” Flying Dog Brewmaster Matt Brophy said. “Even with the same ingredients, the hands that craft it are hugely influential in the end product.”

To achieve a Zero IBU IPA, the brewers agreed upon a list of ingredients – spearmint, bay leaves, rosemary, juniper berries, and elderflower – to replace the bitterness typically imparted by hops. Both beers will be 7.5% abv.

“When the hardcore team at Flying Dog challenged us to battle, there was no way we wouldn’t take them on,” BrewDog Captain James Watt said. “Now it’s time to see who’s boss.”

WHAT is more - Legendary designer, Ralph Steadman, and long time friend of BrewDog, Johanna Basford, will also go head to head and battle it out to create the best illustration for their respective beer labels.

Nigel Stevenson, speciality beer consultant for James Clay, comments: “Holy moley! This will be the battle of the year. Forget the Olympics, this should really excite. These are the wildest brewers around and known for their boundary pushing brews and quirky label designs; so who knows what liquid exocets they are cooking up. June cannot come soon enough.”

International arms race

The two beers will be launched in June and will only be available for a limited time - more details to follow.

An Easter treat from De Struise Brouwers

We are delighted to announce the arrival of some rare beers from the 'Sturdy Brewers' in West Flanders. De Struise Brouwers have been brewing beers since 2003 and have shot to international fame through their signature beer, Pannepot.

If you follow the beer world closely then the chances are you've come across the beer rating websites RateBeer and BeerAdvocate. While rare beers such as the famous Westvleteren 12 -- a beer only available in small quantities direct from the 'Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren' -- often recieve a somewhat exadurated aclaim, there is no denying that De Struise Brouwers accolades in 2012 are mightly imperssive: 10 places in RateBeer's 50 best beers of Belgium and the #9 best brewery in the world. An imperssive haul for any brewery.

With demand for these beers certain to outstrip supply customers are limited to one case per style. The following beers will be available:

Elliot Brew - 24x330ml - 9.0% abv

Brewed in collaboration with Mikkeller this beer has International Bitterness Units of 150 and relies on the residual sugars from the malt to provide balance.

Struise Rosse - 24x330ml - 6.0% abv

Brewed at the Deca Brewery in Woesten-Vleteren this is a Amber ale.

Pannepot - 24x330ml - 10.0% abv

An unfiltered and unpasteurised Belgain Strong Ale. Pannepot referest to the old fishing boats the village of De Panne is famous for and is illustrated on the bottle label. Described as a 'Old Fishermans's Ale' and tribute to the Pannepot sailors, it's a rich and complex beer with chocolate and soft spice flavours that yo-yo on your pallet.

Pannepot Gran Reserva - 24x330ml - 10.0% abv

Pannepot Reserva is aged for 14 months in French Oak barrels. The Pannepot Gran Reserva is then aged for a further 10 month in Calvados oak barrels to add an extra layer of complexity. Look out for vanilla notes impareted by the French Oak and hints of brandy from the Calvados barrels.

Pannepeut - 24x330ml - 10.0% abv

Initially brewed as a tribute to De Struise's loyal Danish customers, Pannepeut is another dark beer with aromas of dried fruit and spices balanced against a sweet, malty, backbone.

For more information and to order please contact us on 01422 377560.

Beer Triumphs and Food and Drink Awards

Garrett Oliver, Brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery, has won the drink category in the André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards for his book The Oxford Companion to Beer (published by Oxford University Press), making it only the second beer book ever to win in this category since its inception.*

Garrett Oliver Andre Simon order

The André Simon Memorial Awards commemorate the charismatic bon viveur who was one of London’s leading champagne shippers and was the active president of the Wine & Food Society. The books must contain original research, be educational, pleasurable to read and well produced. The awards have been presented every year since 1978.

A ground breaking and original work, The Oxford Companion to Beer is the most comprehensive reference book ever published about the most popular and diverse beverage in the world today. In excess of 160 beer experts from more than a dozen countries contribute to more than 1,100 entries.

The Oxford Companion to Beer covers why craft beer is not a fad; craft brewers sourcing ingredients locally; why craft beer is a new affordable luxury; craft beer and food pairing; home brewing; health benefits; beer politics; differences between beer’s ‘appellations controlee’; and why beer is no longer just ‘a man’s drink’.

David Gleave (Master of Wine), Managing Director of Liberty Wines, assessed the drinks category and comments: “Garrett Oliver worked with 166 contributors to compile what is the first serious reference book on beer.  In addition to his contributors, he assembled an Advisory Panel to peer review each piece submitted before it was forwarded to him.  The result is a book that is easy to read yet one that will remain a serious reference book for years to come.”

Ian Clay of Managing Director of James Clay agrees: “This book demonstrates not just the eloquence and authority of Garrett Oliver, but also the new-found confidence of brewers to place our wonderful array of beer styles on the pedestal they deserve. Brewers are innovating as never before and in the midst of all his brewing, Garrett finds the time to piece together this game changing book that underlines his position as one of the foremost authorities in world beer.”

If you're in the beer industry this is the reference book - get yourself a copy here.

*Michael Jackson’s Beer Companion was the first in 1993.

Flying Dog Kujo Coffee

Illustrator, Ralph Steadman, exclaimed “enjoy your new pet!” as he showed the Flying Dog team his designs for the bottle label. That pet is Kujo, Flying Dog’s Imperial Coffee Stout (8.9% abv), which will be available as a limited edition release in April.

Brewmaster Matt Brophy comments:

“We like to say that Kujo is the savage spawn of two brewing worlds – coffee and beer – colliding. But in that collision, it’s important for us to maintain the balance between rich and roasted stout characteristics and the deep, dark coffee notes.”

Vice President of Flying Dog Marketing adds:

“The most exciting part of inaugurating a new beer is getting art for it from Ralph Steadman. What he sent back was terrifyingly brilliant. You can feel the aggression coming off of it, which is perfect for such an intense beer.”

The label is terrifying! And the description is equally as scary - Imperial coffee stout - as Flying Dog themselves say "it's two worlds of brewing colliding". We love American craft beer and we love Flying Dog - they'll always stretch the boundaries of taste - in both senses! Go get some when it comes to the UK - it won't be here forever!

Flying Dog Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout (8.9% abv) will be available from James Clay in 24x355ml cases in April.

For more information and to order please contact us on 01422 377560.

Anchor Porter

Anchor Porter is now available in 19.5ltr kegs from James Clay as a permenant addition to our American craft beer range. We are delighted to bring this classic example of an American porter to the UK in draught format after importing the cases for over 10 years.

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Anchor Porter is the epitome of a handcrafted dark beer with deep black colour; a thick creamy head; flavours of rich chocolate, toffee and coffee; and a full-bodied smoothness. Complexity without bitterness, a blend of roasted pale, caramel, chocolate and black malts, this brew is dark in the glass but surprisingly light on the palate.

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, Anchor Porter continues to reward those who look beyond its intimidating appearance to discover its smooth, full-bodied drinkability.


Anchor Porter is now available in 19.5ltr kegs from James Clay as a permenant addition to our American craft beer range.

Anchor Porter (5.6%Abv).


Available to order from James Clay. Please contact us on 01422 377560 for more details.


It's a New Year and we're delighted to announce our first special shipment of 2012 from Brewery Emelisse. Emelisse are part of a growing group of quality craft breweries in Holland and part of a culture of experimentation.

Emelisse brewery

We have the following beers available from Emelisse's colourful range.

Blond - 24 x 330ml -  7.5%

Behind the name hides an India Pale Ale and, as is typical for this style, hops are at the fore. In this instance the New Zealand hop 'Nelson Sauvin' which gives the beer a grapefruit and almost Sauvignon Blanc- esque flavour.

Emelisse Blonde

TIPA - 12 x 330ml -  10.0%

Emelisse believe that sometimes double is not enough so, here's their Triple India Pale Ale. With three times as many hops you're advised to take a sturdy chair, sit back and enjoy.

Emelisse TIPA

Black IPA - 12 x 330ml -  10.0%

Traditionally an IPA is blond to copper in colour, between 6 and 7% and spicy hopped. This Black IPA isn't. We've seen experimentation with abv's, type of hops, amount of hops and now, with the Black IPA, colour.This interpretation by Emelisse is subdued, exciting, challenging and balanced. Certainly not an easy beer, but one which clearly presents the brewery and shows what it can do!

Emelisse black IPA

Russian Imperial Stout - 12 x 330ml -  11.0%

Russian Imperial Stout are a result of Russian Czar Catherine the Great wanting deep, dark and heavy English Stouts.  The journey from England to Russia took a long time and additional alcohol was required to ensure sustainability. Notes of black chocolate and coffee with cane sugar to soften the bitter character.

Emelisse Russian Imperial Stout

Espresso Stout - 12 x 330ml -  9.5%

Brew Master Kees Bubberman uses ground espresso beans specially selected in Italy. With 10% alcohol this stout is specacular with a desert but be careful, it might steal the show!

Emelisse espresso stout


Please note that quantities are limited. Stock will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Please contact us on 01422 377560 for more details.

Award winning Schneider Aventinus

The oldest wheat doppelbock in the world wins its sixth gold medal in eight years at the European Beer Star Competition. The wheat doppelbock of Schneider Weisse is dominating the category "South German-Style Weizenbock Dunkel" for the sixth time in the history of the major European beer competition that is held since 2004.

Aventinus Award

TAP6 Unser Aventinus was also elected consumers’ favourite among all the gold medal winners – which is a big honor. The award was presented on Thursday 16th November at the Brau Beviale in Nuremberg.

TAP6 Unser Aventinus has an outstanding history: It is the oldest wheat doppelbock in the world – brought to market as early as in 1907. In addition to that, it was a woman who created it: in that time, the early widowed Mathilda Schneider ran the brewery. She also broke with the common naming and did not use the suffix “-ator”. She named her creation Aventinus - after Aventinstrasse in Munich, where the brewery was located at that time.

Schneider Aventinus is still brewed according to ancient tradition: with the first fermentation in open vats and and a true second fermentation in the bottle. Now well known in more than 30 countries worldwide and available all year round with the highest sales months are in the cold Christmas months and strong beer season. Due to a strength of more than 8.2 percent alcohol by volume the Aventinus can be matured - like good red wine - with flavours developing over the years. Why not lay some down now and enjoy a vintage-Aventinus in a few years time?

To enqire about stocking Schneider TAP 6 Unser Aventinus please contact us on 01422 377 560.

High abv beer Press Release

In 2010, the Government announced plans to introduce a higher rate of duty for beers over 7.5% abv; the new tax comes into effect October 2011. Here is the James Clay view.

Every wine beer over 7.5% to pay more duty

The reason for the duty hike was stated as being to tackle “problem drinking without unfairly penalising responsible drinkers, pubs and important local industries”. We believe the policy is set to do precisely the opposite, by unfairly penalising responsible drinkers, pubs and important local industries.

Nigel Stevenson, speciality beer consultant at James Clay, comments:

“The policy has unfairly singled out beers over 7.5% as the root cause of problem drinking. These beers actually account for less than 0.5% of UK alcohol sales, whereas 99%+ of wine sales are over 7.5% abv: So why is the Government pointing the finger at world classic beers such as Duvel, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and Schneider Aventinus – each of them the Mouton Rothschild of their styles – and not wine? The folly lies in the fact that these beers are more akin to a fine wine in the way they are reverently crafted and consumed.

“Ministers seem blissfully unaware that great beers are infinitely more difficult to create than fine wine, and created from a far broader array of ingredients: a wide variety of cereals – barley, wheat, rye, oats, sorghum etc; a range of kilnings of malts; a spectrum of diverse water sources; and a palate of exotically flavoured hops.

“Many beers of 7.5% abv and over are hugely revered in their own countries and by connoisseurs worldwide. And the recent introduction of third of a pint glassware for beer, with the two third of a pint potentially legal from 1st October 2011, means that the ideal glass can be chosen for the strength and the flavour of each beer. Serving beers in small quantities or in elegant glassware with food is a growing trend in the UK.

“The policy sends a clear message to the UK alcohol industry that the government is alarmingly out of touch with the market and to the real cause of problem drinking: Cheaply priced alcohol in supermarkets.

“It’s a shame that while trying to tackle problem drinking, ministers risk impeding a growing momentum for quality beers enjoyed by responsible drinkers. However, despite the new high abv tax, we believe that these great beers remain an affordable luxury for beer drinkers who enjoy flavour complexity. They remain excellent value when compared to wines.

“To borrow a term from our friends at Flying Dog Brewery in Maryland, “Good People Drink Good Beer” and our stance is clear: Please don't penalise the good people, but help us educate those who have not yet found the true beauty of our national drink.”

The new beer tax will affect 27.4% of beers from our wide range of regularly stocked beer.

Introducing Nøgne Ø

Since the launch of Nøgne-Ø in 2002, the 'uncompromising brewery' have boldly proclaimed their mission to produce craft ales of the highest quality, personality and individuality.

Nogne O Brewery


The name Nøgne Ø means "naked island", a poetic term used by Henrik Ibsen to describe any of the countless stark, barren outcrops that are visible in the rough sea off Norway's southern coast.

The name also gives a symbolic picture of what two Norwegian home brewers did early 2002 when they decided to found a new brewery: their urge to share their passion of good beer was unbearable.

Their vision was to bring diversity and innovation into commercial brewing of real ale.

The result – Nøgne Ø.

James Clay have chosen six beers from their impressive range and will be importing these on a regular basis. Stock due ealy July


Nogne O Pale Ale PALE ALE (6.0% Abv.)
A refreshing light and hoppy ale. Probably the best all-rounder and ideal with barbequed or smoked meat dishes.
Nogne O Saison SAISON (6.5% Abv.)
A most refreshing brew, made for those hot summer days but satisfying all year round. Goes well with seafood, particularly oysters.
Nogne O IPA INDIA PALE ALE (7.5% Abv.)
A rich, malty and very bitter ale. Cascade hops provide a long, fruity, and spicy after taste. Ideal with barbequed or smoked meat dishes.
Nogne O Imperial brown Ale IMPERIAL BROWN ALE (7.5% Abv.)
First brewed in the spring 2006 in Nørrebro Bryghus, Copenhagen, as a joint brew between Nøgne Ø and the Nørrebro brewery. It is the perfect thing to drink with almost any cheese.
Nogne O Porter PORTER (7.0% Abv.)
In this quite dark ale, malts provide flavours of coffee and dried fruit. Try with dark chocolate, cheese or red meat dishes
Nogne O Imperial Stout IMPERIAL STOUT (9.0% Abv.)
A dark, rich stout with a generous sweetness and roasted malt bitterness. Great with vanilla ice cream or dark chocolate.

To order or to make an enquiry regarding stocking Nøgne Ø beers, contact the James Clay team on 01422 377 560. To order other Nøgne Ø beers log in and complete a pre-order form (orders required by Tuesday 8th June 2011).

Anchor Brekle’s Brown

A brown ale brewed with Citra hops, Brekle's Brown is specially brewed for San Francisco Beer Weekend: a fantastic beer with a wonderful story. Limited quanity of kegs available in the UK.

In 1871 Gotlieb Brekle purchased an old beer-and-billiards saloon near Russian Hill, San Francisco and transformed it into the little brewery that—twenty-five years later—would be renamed Anchor Brewing. Anchor has achieved quite a few significant milestones over the last 140 years and have another in Brekle's Brown. The public response in California has been overwhelmingly positive and we are delighted to have secured a limited quanity of kegs for the UK.

Anchor Brekle's Brown

Brewmaster Mark Carpenter's unique recipe for Brekle's Brown—a tip of the hat to our first brewmaster—looks to both the past and the future.

Mark's special blend of roasted malts, inspired by the all-malt brown ales in Anchor's brewing archives, gives Brekle's Brown its coppery brown color and its unusual depth of flavour— richness and complexity without heaviness.

For brewing and dry hopping, Mark has chosen a single, American hop variety called Citra. The subtly entrancing flavours and aromas of this distinctive new hop perfectly complement the unique maltiness of Brekle's Brown.

Limited Quantity Available:

Trade customers can log on for a price - available in 19.5 ltr kegs only (6% abv).

Trade customers can order by emailing or by calling 01422 377560.

Schneider Weisse Nelson Sauvin

Schneider Weisse announce a limited edition Brew of Nelson Sauvin to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ABT cafés in Holland.

A rich golden and cloudy bottle fermented wheat beer at 7.3% abv. The aroma reminds you of blossoms, freshly mowed grass, even grapes, gooseberry and kiwi. These intensely fruity aromes are balanced by a malty nose. You feel a thrilling contrast of exotic flowery notes and malty spicy impressions finished by a fine bitterness surrounded by slightly sour fruitiness. Rich appetizers as pickled vegetables or Parma ham go very well with the taste of this wheat beer, which reminds a little of Sauvignon Blanc. Also pasta in many varieties or fish will be a good match. A creamy ripe cheese or dessert with lots of fresh fruit might finish a nice meal together with this beer.Schneider Weisse Nelson SauvinLimited Quantities: Pre Orders required by 31st May for delivery October.

Trade customers can log on for a price - available in 6x750ml bottles or 20 ltr kegs.

Trade customers can pre order by emailing or by calling 01422 377560.

Goose Island Acquired by Anheuser-Busch

Goose Island announced on the morning of 28th March, 2011, that it has agreed to be acquired by Anheuser-Busch.

In a joint statement, the deal “will bring additional capital into Goose Island's operations to meet growing consumer demand for its brands and deepen its Chicago and Midwest distribution.”

The goal in seeking new capital was to provide more brewing capacity for Goose Island so that they can keep up with demand while making room for the experimental beers which have had seen small production volumes over the past year because of limitation in capacity.

Anheuser-Busch have confirmed they are committed to providing the resources that Goose Island need.

John Hall, founder of Goose Island, will continue as CEO and will continue to be responsible for its beer production and expansion of the Fulton Street brewery in Chicago, where production will continue and its business will still be based.

In a message on the Goose Island website, John explains, “I am very proud of Goose Island's contribution to this craft beer movement, of the many awards won by our brewers, our growing number of employees, our support of the communities and life of Chicago, and the friendship of so many beer lovers in Chicago and elsewhere.”

John explains the agreement will “provide us with the best resources available to continue along our path of growth and innovation” and that Goose Island shall “continue to brew our authentic classic styles, develop new amazing beers, and serve our drinkers.”

In 2010, Goose Island sold approximately 127,000 barrels of Honkers Ale, 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Matilda and its other brands. To help meet immediate demand, an additional $1.3 million will be invested by Anheuser-Busch to increase production at the Fulton Street Brewery as early as this summer.

“Our goal in seeking new capital was to provide more brewing capacity so that we can keep up with demand while making room for the specialty beers that we have had to severely curtail over the past year because of limitation in capacity.” adds Tony Bowker at Goose Island.

Anheuser-Busch have acquired an American brewer of high acclaim: we thereby feel they recognise the potential within this market and appreciating that genuine craft beer brands cannot just be 'invented' by a large multinational organisation.

James Clay are proud to have been a part of Goose Island's growth and development over the years. We urge Anheuser-Busch to respect the culture of experimentation and innovation that has made Goose Island the world renowned brewer it is today.

James Clay will continue to work with Goose Island in the UK but will monitor the impact of Anheuser-Busch closely.

James Clay are proud to serve beers from the world’s greatest brewers and are looking to source additional quality craft beers from the USA to add to our portfolio.

Introducing Harviestoun

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 and Bitter and Twisted are now available to order.


Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 is aged in selected oak casks which have previously been used to mature Highland Park's gloriously rich and smoky 16 year old single malt whisky. Very dark in appearance and complex on the palate, it gives off an aroma with hints of peat and truffle with a balance of sweetness, chocolate and bitterness in the mouth.

Voted the World's Best Ale at the World Beer Awards in 2007, Bitter and Twisted is a very drinkable blonde beer. Generous use of aromatic Hersbrucker and spicy Challenger hops result in a very fresh and drinkable beer, and one of Roger Protz's Top 10 Must Try British Beers.

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 (8% abv)
available in 12 x 330ml

Bitter & Twisted (4.2% abv)
available in 12 x 500ml

For enquiries about Harviestoun beers, please contact us on 01422 377 560.

Duchess De Bourgogne

The legendary Duchesse De Bourgogne is now available in non-returnable 24x330ml cases.

Duchesse De Bourgogne, a sour flemish red beer, has one of the most unquie stories behind it. 'The Duchesse' saved the Burgundian Low Countries from the clutches of the France and King Louis XI.

Duchesse de Bourgogne

Duvel Eley Kishimoto glass

As part of a limited edition series - the Duvel Collection - Duvel have collaborated with international artists to create innovative designs for the iconic duvel glass. We have a limited quality available as part of a gift pack (2 bottles one Eley Kishimoto glass).

duvel Kishimoto glass

Striving to make the world a prettier place, Eley Kishimoto create work that is clear in invention, executed simply, with creative flair. Eley Kishimoto quickly gained a reputation for incisive and intelligent print design with their work being displayed on catwalks through work with Louis Vuitton, March Jacobs and Alexander McQueen.

duvel Kishimoto gift pack

A great gift idea in the run up to Christmas and destined to become a collectors item.

To enquire, please contact us on 01422 377 560.

For other winter beers and gift packs our brochure is available for download here >


Brooklyn Brewery news

Wednesday, Jan 12th marked the start of brewing on our new brewhouse, officially taking us into the next era in our evolution as a brewery.

No rest for the weary, however, as we have already begun lining up the second Phase of our expansion, which we expect to complete by the beginning of September, 2011.

Winter Gift Packs

This year, we're delighted to offer a wonderful selection of beers from Europe and the USA presented in stylish and unique packs which are sure to appeal to both fans of speciality beer and those looking for a distinctive gift.

For those looking to celebrate in style, there are magnums and jeroboams from Duvel, Karmeleit, Chimay and Samichlaus, with glassware and bottle combinations to appeal to collectors and enthusiasts alike.

All perfect gifts and sure to make the festive season is one to remember!

If you are a trade customer of James Clay and would prefer to receive a printed copy of the brochure, please just get in touch and we'll send one in today's post.

*If you have forgotten your username and password, please contact the team
at James Clay on 01422 377 560.

No going back with Fruh Kolsch

From October the bottled version of Früh - the distinctive and some say classic Kölsch – will only be available in non-returnable bottles (20 x 50cl).

Customers can also still order Früh on draught in 30 litre kegs.

A Brace of Knights at James Clay

Here at James Clay we currently have more than one reason to celebrate thanks to a second member of our team being awarded the title of Honorary Knight by the Guild of Belgian Brewers.

Nigel Stevenson, one of our Speciality Beer Consultants, became an “Honorary  Knights of Brewers' Mashstaff” at ceremony held in the grand settings of the Gothic Room in the Town Hall in Brussels on Friday 3rd September.

“We're delighted that Nigel's work within the brewing industry have been recognised in such a way.” comments Ian Clay, Managing Director here at James Clay and himself a recipient of this prestigious award back in 2002. “Nigel is well-known by brewers, buyers and bar-owners alike, with a great knowledge of speciality beer and is someone who you can really say is passionate about his work. I'm sure that there won't be a more popular choice for this accolade.”

For centuries, the Knighthood (or, to give the proper title, Chevalerie du Fourquet des Brasseurs) has been bestowed upon individuals who are deemed to have rendered great service to the Belgian brewing profession. Collectively, they continue “the tradition and the nobility of the brewing trade as they have evolved over the centuries”.

“To be invited to join the ranks of the Knights is quite an honour to say the least.” added Nigel, “The ceremony itself was part of an annual celebration held in the Grand Place, Brussels, in which the patron saint of brewers, Saint-Arnould, is revered.”

Each year, a select few are chosen from around the world to be honoured and this year's list included Russian, American, French and even Japanese inductees.

“As you can imagine, there was a good helping of pageantry to accompany the event including elegantly-robed dignitaries and fanfare of trumpets at the 'Maison des Brasseurs' in Brussels. All in all, something which I never expected but am certainly never going to forget.” adds Nigel.

“Having Nigel's work recognised by the Knighthood further underlines the quality and ethos of the team we have here at James Clay.” concludes Ian Clay, “Our customers appreciate that in our company we have the resources, passion and understanding to be more than just a supplier but also a genuine partner in the field of speciality world beers.”

Brooklyn Booming!

Just back from a flying visit to see the guys at Brooklyn Brewery where there are plenty of interesting developments afoot (more to follow shortly), but it was interesting to see that The Independent newspaper was championing them back home.

Three days was never going to be long enough for our trip to New York but, in the city that never sleeps, it's amazing just how much you can cram into your time!

One of the main talking points with the Brooklyn folk was a recent article in The Independent written by journalist Will Hawkes, under the rather provocative title, "British Beer: Booming or Boring?"

"British beer is enjoying a remarkable renaissance." writes Will, "There are now 767 breweries in the UK, more than at any time since the Second World War.  Last month’s Great British Beer Festival was bursting at the seams with interesting ales and happy drinkers. Beer lovers in this country have never had it so good."

But the article continues, "The growing popularity of American beers in the UK suggests that things are not quite so rosy. The innovative, hop-heavy character of Yank beers is clearly filling a gap in the market, a gap that British brewers have failed to fill."

Brooklyn's Brewmaster, Garrett Oliver, a lifelong fan of British brewing but who hits the nail on the head when identifying what's wrong with a majority of the UK brewers: they simply are not making exciting beers. That's not to say all UK brewers are boring - there are certainly plenty of innovative and progressive brewers within our shores who are willing to push the boundaries - but the rise in profile of the American craft beers in the UK surely says that the drinker is looking for something new, with exciting flavours and a bit of swagger?

Hawkes also highlights Brooklyn Lager as the "One American beer that no serious bar in the capital appears able to do without". We couldn't agree more, and we'd also like to suggest a few others as well which have seen the British brewers collectively sit up and take note.

You can read the complete article by clicking here >

And here's the take on the article from the other side of the pond - click here >


Quite simply the biggest beer festival in the world, this year we celebrate 200 years since the very first Oktoberfest was held in Munich.

During the 16 days between September 18th and October 4th, the Munich Oktoberfest will attract over 6.5 million revellers, expected to consume more than 6,940,600 litres of beer. Get on board with the celebrations with authentic Oktoberfest and specialist German beers. For more information on the beers available please click here.

Win the Vedett Cement Mixer Truck

A message from Jake Doherty (Vedett cement mixer driver):

I hear you're interested in taking my trustworthy cement mixer off my hands. I'll be selecting one winner by the end of summer, and this lucky bird or bloke will be the new owner of this 10 ton beauty.

Mind you, with great wheels comes great responsibility: she's a sweet machine alright, but you better start looking for some parking space already!

Talk to you soon,

Yours Truly, Jake Doherty

Vedett Tour map

Keep your eye out for for the Vedett Cement Mixer as it tours the UK leaving a trail of parties in it's wake. To win log on to and guess the milage that the Cement Mixer completes as it tours the UK.

Vedett Truck


President Sets Precedent

Not always a high-point in the world of beer, but a meeting at the G-8 and G-20 economic summits in Toronto saw USA President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron both pay off a World Cup bet by exchanging beers.

Trade customers can view list prices by logging-in

Well worth the wheat

James Clay are delighted to announce an exciting addition to our range of Goose Island beers when, from August, 312 Urban Wheat Ale will be available for the first time in the UK.

The beer has a spicy aroma of Cascade hops, followed by a crisp, fruity ale flavour and in asmooth, creamy body. It's a surprisingly light wheat beer andpairs well with foods such as fish, salads and goats cheese.


Now an established and firm favourite in the USA, 312 Urban Wheat has already notched up an impressive array of awards,including gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival.

Get in touch with the James Clay team if you'd like to be one of the first in the UK to stock this brilliant American wheat beer.

Did you know....  312 is the area code for downtown Chicargo

312 Urban Wheat Ale is available in 24 x 35.5cl nrb - bottles exclusively from James Clay in August 2010

To enquire, please contact us on 01422 377 560.

Seasonal Beers

Seasonal beers are a great enhancement to the speciality beer offering of any establishment, delivering the tastes and experiences which compliment the seasons: light and crisp ales for a hot Summer day, the earthy flavours of Autumn, with robust and spicy warmers for the depths of Winter. We've added a quick reference guide onto the website to illustrate the times of the year when customers should order their stock to ensure delivery.

James Clay import seasonal beers from the leading American craft and historic European brewers. Due to the limited availability and high demand for our seasonal beers, we've also added a quick reference guide to illustrate the times of the year when customers should order their stock to ensure delivery.

PLEASE NOTE: So far, this year’s American seasonal beers have flown out and we are now out of stock. More Goose Island Summertime Kosch and Anchor Summer are due mid-July.


Beer Industry News : Say Prost to Kellerbier!

The introduction of St Georgenbrau Kellerbier has generated a huge amount of interest from our customers, all keen to try the German unfiltered lager. Throughout July, we're offering a distinctive St Georgenbrau ceramic stein if you order one or more cases* of Kellerbier - get your hands on one today!

*Subject to availability - maximum one stein per order.

A Political Alliance

With the UK election campaign following the American paradigm and treating us live election debates we've spotted a similarity between our leading political parties and three Flying Dog beers from across the pond. Which dog would you let roam free and which is barking up the wrong tree? We've highlighted their characteristics to help you decide.

Beer Politics

Who is your leader?

There's no dount that all our candidates would be strong vote for change: The unique labels and branding are the work of artist Ralph Steadman and, along with Hunter S Thompson, he had a large influence on the creation of the Flying Dog brand. If Flying dog did politics.....

Flying Dog Doggie Style 4.7% abv  355ml*

.. A true Tory, the Alpha of the pack. This multi-award winning American pale ale is a voice for ‘change’. It longs to whet voters’ whistles with its exuberant-but-light aromas and flavours – a showy little number that needs no script. Wrapped in its edgy blue label, its wide eyed freshness and lemon zing shout ‘youth’ and confidence and pizzazz. Very Bullingdon Club? But in Tesco too! So democratic.

Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter 8.7% abv  355ml*

.. A Labour leader to a T, bushy browed, brooding and thunderous. Waves of dark toffee flavours graze elbows with tar, molasses and fresh tobacco. The bottle’s neck hints at Old Labour red, or dried blood? Hunter S. Thompson was a big fancier. It will bite you in the ass if you don't show it proper respect.  Loves Chocolate puddings. Also shaking it in Tesco.

Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber Ale 5.3% abv  355ml*

.. A Lib-Dem to its bone - and colouring, this mellow dog has for years been enjoying its days in the sun. Fermented to develop both ale and lager characteristics (so useful in a hung parliament) this is a dog that thinks its day has come. Members of its pack have shown an ability to count, stunning the cognoscenti. This hearty bodied beast – hinting at old fashioned marmalade and honey -  loves the odd piece of spice, especially with its food.

Or perhaps you need to try them before you cast your vote? All the above mentioned beers are available to order from James Clay on 01422 377560.

* Text thanks to Rupert Ponsonby

American Beers Deliver a Kick Up the Backside

In an event held at the White Horse on Parson’s Green, London, James Clay presented a collection of ‘attitudinal’ beers from four of America’s most highly regarded breweries: Brooklyn of New York; Anchor of San Francisco; Goose Island of Chicago and Flying Dog of Maryland.

In all, seventeen beers were swirled, sniffed and sipped at the White Horse alongside an offering of their delicious mini burgers, marinated salmon morsels and barbecued spare ribs. 

Leading wine expert and noted beer lover, Oz Clarke, commented:

“America is famous for bold, big flavours in their beers and they are popular for that. The Belgian beer styles at this tasting were FANTASTIC. The Brooklyn Local 1 is EXCELLENT and their Black Chocolate Stout is remarkable.

The Anchor Bock and Porter are also really good. Flying Dog’s beers are all brilliantly bonkers: fabulous, unusual flavours that make your brain fizz, if you can remember where your brain is after a couple of these beers!

America wants to be different and those are brave, bold beers that don’t dampen down on flavour.  A couple of the well known ale styles seem to have lost their bite in recent releases but America must keep confidence in itself.

The reason we love them is because they are different, memorable and strong.  Show us your magnificence and we’ll pay if you deliver!”

Melissa Cole, respected beer writer and blogger, said:

“American beer is unbelievably under-rated.  Anyone who drinks beer will find something to be very excited about in this range. These are beers that are reminiscent of Christmas morning – Clementine oranges and chocolate abound in the Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch and Goose Island’s Sofie.”

The beers tasted were:

BROOKLYN LAGER (5.1% abv, 35.5cl)
BROOKLYN BROWN ALE (5.5% abv, 35.5cl)
BROOKLYN LOCAL 1 (9.0% abv, 75cl)

ANCHOR STEAM BEER (4.8% abv, 35.5cl)
ANCHOR LIBERTY ALE (5.9% abv, 35.5cl)
ANCHOR PORTER (5.6% abv, 35.5cl)
ANCHOR BOCK (5.5% abv, 35.5cl)

GOOSE ISLAND IPA (5.9% abv, 35.5cl)
GOOSE ISLAND MATILDA (7% abv, 35.5cl)
GOOSE ISLAND JULIET (6.7% abv, 65cl)

FLYING DOG RAGING BITCH (8.3% abv, 35.5cl)
FLYING DOG SCHWARZ (7.8% abv, 75cl)

Beer Industry News : Brooklyn Lager Draft Exclusive

James Clay are delighted to announce the arrival of Brooklyn Lager Draft. This multi award-winning beer from the highly acclaimed craft brewers is now available on draught for the first time in the UK.

The flagship beer of the Brewery, Brooklyn Lager is produced from a recipe which dates back to before the days of prohibition in the USA. Amber-gold in colour, it displays a firm malt centre supported by a fine bitterness and floral hop aroma.

Brooklyn Lager is also a genuine draught import, only brewed in New York state and under the supervision of Garrett Oliver.

Already the interest received from the on-trade has been considerable for what many see as a welcome addition of a truly exceptional beer in the 'premium lager' sector.

To support the launch, each new Brooklyn Lager Draft account will receive a considerable amount of POS materials as well as the prestige of being one of the first bars in the UK to serve a truly iconic beer on draught.

To register your interest Brooklyn Lager on Draft, please contact James Clay on 01422 377 560 to talk to a member of our team.

James Clay also exclusively distribute a selection of bottled beers from Brooklyn Brewery
- click here to see more >

Brooklyn Brewery Website


European Gold for Brugse Zot

At the European Beer Star Awards 2009 – which is more or less the European 'championship of beer' – the Halve Maan (Half Moon) Brewery has once again carried off a number of important prizes.

All in all, three of their beers won major awards:  Straffe Hendrik won gold in the Belgian Style Triple (golden) category, Brugse Zot Dubbel Bruin also won gold in the Belgian Style Double (dark) category.  And last but not least, Brugse Zot Blond won the bronze medal in the Belgian Style Ale category.

This year a total of no fewer than 836 beers from 35 different countries took part in the various competitions and this year’s success confirms the continuing superior quality of their beers.

Brugse Zot
In recent years Brugse Zot has been amongst the medals on more than one occasion in prestigious competitions: last year, the pale ‘blond’ beer won the Gold Medal at the Beer World Cup for the second year in a row.

With the launching of Brugse Zot in 2005, Xavier Vanneste (the son of Véronique Maes and therefore the sixth generation of the Maes family to enter the beer business) also re-launched the old family brewery.  Today, “De Halve Maan” is the last working brewery in the city centre of Bruges and is still fully independent.

Partly as a result of its many prize-winning triumphs, Brugse Zot has been a great success, both at home and abroad.  The brewery has had to increase production on several occasions and the beer is now exported to more than 15 countries.

Straffe Hendrik
After two decades of effort, last year Xavier Vanneste finally succeeded in bringing the rights of the Straffe Hendrik beer brand back to Bruges.  At the start of 2009 this cult beer was re-launched by the Halve Maan, brewed in accordance with the original family recipe.

This pale ‘blond’ Bruges triple beer has rediscovered the full, powerful taste of yesteryear.  And less than a year after its reintroduction, Straffe Hendrik has already won its First European gold medal.

Following are a selection of images from the prestigous event, held in Nuremberg. For further information, visit the Euro Beer Star website.

Beer Pages’ Beers of 2009

Without question, 2009 was a significant year for beer, both in the struggling fortunes of the on-trade but also in the continuing rise of speciality beers, both from abroad and the fine offerings from the UK. In the excellent 'Beer Pages' website, Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan (plus a few other contributors) choose their beers of the year.

Roger's selections included a number of ales from Great Britain, but it was interesting to see a number of beers from Australia making it onto his list - ones to look out for in the future. Liefmans Goudenband (Oud Bruin / Belgian Brown Ale) and Goose Island (Christmas Ale) also gained inclusion onto Roger's notable selections.

Tom Cannavan also chose a number of British ales for his pick of the year, with room for Schneider Aventinus (Wheat Beer) and Brooklyn Brewery's Black Chocolate Stout (Porter / Stout).

Members of the public have also added their selections, which also make for interesting reading, but we'd like to hear your thoughts on which were your 'Beers of the Year' and what you're looking forward to in 2010.

Here at James Clay, we value your feedback and are always keen to hear if there are any particular beers - or styles of beer - you'd like to try. The trends throughout the beverage industry are that your customers, the general public, are wanting to try new, exciting beers and we can help you deliver these experiences.

To discuss your current beer offering, please contact James Clay on 01422 377 560 to talk to a memeber of our team.

If you'd like to add your own selections to the Beer Pages website, the link is as follows:

Visit to La Trappe Brewery

Ian Clay, Managing Director of James Clay, was one of a very select handful of people invited to the Trappist Abbey of Our Lady of Koningshoeven, the home of La Trappe, as part of the brewery's 125th anniversary celebrations.

Good old EasyJet. Actually, pain in the backside EasyJet.

If I can be bothered to haul myself out of my bed on a cold and wet November morning to catch a plane, you'd have thought that members of their cabin crew could do the same, but no.

Nothing warms the heart more than a delayed plane...

On the Continent at last and all is forgotten (Dutch trains incredibly efficient) and it wasn't long before I arrived at my destination: the Trappist Abbey of Our Lady of Koningshoeven and the home of La Trappe.

I was met by Thijs Thijssen, the Managing Director at the Proeflokaal ‘brewery tap’ and shortly afterwards was enjoying my first beer of the visit, La Trappe Rafte, a 4.7% beer that is currently only available at the brewery. Rafte is a light beer with a good hop bitterness, an ideal choice for a lunchtime drink – a bit like the Taylor’s Golden Best of Holland!

During a slightly unusual yet delicious lunch - tomato soup and a plate of 3 fried eggs - Thijs and I talked cycling: he tells me he is going to take on Alpe d’Huez (a 1100m climb in the French Alps and a regular tormentor of Tour de France cyclists) in aid of charity, not just once but hopefully 4 times! I don't think I know many MD's of British breweries who could even drive this, let alone ride it...

Over at the Abbey I was booked in to my accommodation for the night; I have to say I was a little surprised to see my name on the room board as Sir Ian Clay, but not as surprised as the American chap who was referred to as 'Mrs' on his...

I was incredibly honoured to be invited to stay the night in one of the Abbey guest rooms – a very small basic room with a sink and small desk and normally available only for visitors wanting to follow monastic life.  

My only previous visit to the Abbey was over 20 years ago and it was interesting to see the many improvements which have been made to the small but perfectly formed brewhouse, one such improvement being that the beer is now only centrifuged rather than being filtered.

The brewmaster was very proud to inform me they buy all their own hops ‘from the land’ by visiting the  growers and checking the hops before they buy. He explained their hop farmer is experimenting with some new Hallertau variants (could be very interesting) and they also grow some of their own hops right there in the Abbey grounds.

Father Abbot Bernardus welcomed us to the Abbey and, using the wonders of a PowerPoint presentation, explained that theirs was a life of encounter: Encounter with God, Encounter with Ourselves and an Encounter with Others. It was a very emotive insight into a very different way of life.

The Abbey of Koningshoeven, near Tilburg, was founded in 1881 by French monks and was the 1st Roman Catholic monastery for 400 years in Holland. Brother Isi D’or started brewing at the abbey in 1884 as there was not enough income from agriculture to sustain daily life and the revenue from beer would help the coffers.

The Father Abbot himself would give us a tour of the Abbey which once boasted 150 monks yet today their numbers had dwindled to a mere 18, of which the average age was 57.

An industrious place, the Abbey has a small bakery and bakes bread from the spend grain from the brewery as well as making biscuits for the shop and restaurant for which they also make chocolate as well.

The tour was finished by us joining the monks for their 4th service of the day, very different to any service I had ever been to before with long periods of silence interspersed with harmonic chanting and readings. I doubt whether anyone could fail to be touched by this very moving experience.

Time to sample the range of 8 beers the brewery have available on draught - Rafte, Blonde, Dubbel, Triple, Quadrupel, Isi D’or, Bock and Wit – followed by a superb six course menu, ingeniously cooked and matched with the La Trappe beer range.

The meal was interrupted half way through: would we mind adjourning to the brewery? Ushered in to a room full of oak casks, we were there to witness the Father Abbot tap the first barrel of oak aged La Trappe.

An innovative move by the Brewery and the oak flavours were certainly apparent in the taste of this fine beer. A successful creation, to be sure, with suggestions that experimenting with old whisky barrels could follow, something to really look forward to.

La Trappe is certainly a brewery with deep history and a passion for brewing great beer; always respectful to their heritage and spiritual calling, yet willing to adapt to trying new and innovative ideas .

A wonderful, unforgettable day followed by the most restful night's sleep.

Until 4:30am.

I have to be honest and say I was not totally expecting the bells to start ringing at 4.30 for the first of seven services of the day for the monks to attend.

In fact, even as I departed from the Abbey at 7.00am, with the bells were ringing for 2nd service of the day, I decided that the life as a speciality beer importer is the real calling for me!

World Beers Defying the Slump

Nick Yates has written a really excellent piece in this week's The Publican, addressing the issue of which specialist and world beers bars should consider stocking, especially in the current economic climate.

The article sets the tone with the simple fact that lager (always the staple of the on-trade) has seen sales fall by around 10% in the last year compared with the same 12 month period - a damning fact indeed.

Conversely, world beers are still growing their market share. What pubs, bars and restaurants must do, points out Nick, is choose which brands they should stock to suit their clientele.

John Littleton, Business Development Director of brewing giant Miller Brands adds weight to the arguement: “Getting a world beer range right is about the fundamentals of marketing. Think of product, brand, your pricing strategy and how you are promoting the brand. And put effort into explaining to customers how fantastic beer is, the same you would into wine.”

As a footnote to the article, Philippe Hayeung, General Manager at the Riverside in Vauxhall adds: “World beers have an interesting story to tell, be it their heritage or where they come from. Increasingly, customers want to know more about the authenticity and background of these beers.”

This is a very good article and well worth a read.

If you'd like to find out how we can help you with your speciality beer offering, contact James Clay on 01422 377 560

Ageing Trappist Monks Brew On

Global news-giant Reuters recently ran a brilliant feature on Trappist brewing and, most notably, on the Westmalle Abbey in light of their substantial investment in a £9.2 million state-of-the-art bottling plant.

Monks may no longer show up on the factory floor at Westmalle, but they ensure its marketing is earnest and have capped production at 120,000 hectolitres (12 million litres), making it the second largest Trappist brewer, after Chimay.

Trappist beers have acquired a high profile over recent years: aside from the high quality of the product, it has been shown that beer-lovers also warm to the fact most of the profit goes to charitable projects.

However, the crux of the article was the concern that many of the Trappist monks were now well into their 60s or 70s and that the art of brewing could, potentially, be dying out.

"Keeping the brewery going would not be part of our philosophy," said Brother Bernardus, abbot of Koningshoeven Abbey in the Netherlands, where monks still prepare gift packages of its La Trappe beer. "The brewery is there to serve the community, not the other way round."

It's a great article and well worth a read.

The 50 Best Bottled Beers

The Independent newspaper features their list of the Best 50 Bottled Beers - read on to see who made the grade...

This weekend's edition of The Independent featured a lengthy piece on what four of the country's leading commentators on beer considered to be the best.

Pete Brown, Zak Avery, Roger Protz and Jeff Evans contributed to the article which placed Hook Norton's "Old Hooky" at the top of the pile.

Schneider Weisse came in at number three and the first of the 'specialist' beers, closely followed by Orval, Veltins and Liefmans.

Brooklyn Lager and Duvel were also well placed in the feature, all in all a good show from the specials!

Read the full article from The Independent.

Flying Dog Triumph at GABF

Maryland brewery scoop 'Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year' at the Great American Brewing Festival.

In an eventful week in which Flying Dog brewery's Matthew Brophy embarked on a whistle-stop tour of England and Europe, introducing a new brew, the 8.3 abv 'Raging Bitch', the brewery were also stacking up the accolades at the Great American Beer Festival.

Gold Medals were awarded for the superb Gonzo Imperial Porter, as well as the seasonal brews of Dogtoberfest Marzen and Horn Dog Barley Wine.

A Silver Medal was also awarded for the whiskey barrel-aged Gonzo Imperial Porter.

With 3,308 beers entered by 495 breweries, Flying Dog's haul was impressive to say the least. The mid-sized brewery category included all breweries that produce between 15,000 and 2,000,000 barrels of beer, which includes 76 breweries.

Click here to find out more about Flying Dog Ales, or visit their website at

Beer Good For Bones

Research published in scientific journal claims that drinking beer could help cut the risk of osteoporosis.

Research published in scientific journal claims that drinking beer could help cut the risk of osteoporosis.

Fructose, the sweetener used in many sugary soft drinks, has been linked with increased rates of liver disease by a new study. Israeli researchers found that drinking a litre of fizzy drinks a day – just two cans – meant consumers were five times more likely to develop ‘fatty liver disease’.

“We found people who drink more than two cans of Coke a day have increased their chances for a fatty liver and, if left untreated, their chances for heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver also increase,” said Dr Nimer Assy, who headed up the study.

“While diet drinks do not contain fructose, they do have aspartame and caramel colourants,” he said. “Both these can increase insulin resistance and may induce fatty liver.”

Meanwhile, research published in scientific journal Nutrition has claimed that drinking beer could help cut the risk of osteoporosis – or brittle bones – in women, due to its silicon content.

“Silicon plays a major role in bone formation,” the study said. “Beer has been claimed to be one of the most important sources of silicon in the Western diet.”

What to Drink with Spotted Dick?

Perhaps not the most burning topic faced by the on-trade today, but Rupert Ponsonby has the answer...

Perhaps not the most burning topic faced by the on-trade today, but Rupert Ponsonby
of the Beer Academy has the answer...

At a recent tasting event held at Brown's Hotel in Mayfair (voted "Best Place in London for Afternoon Tea") Rupert, along with Executive Chef Lee Streeton, treated a distinguished group of gastronomes to a selection of dream-worthy puddings matched with singular beers.

"Beer and puddings are such happy bedfellows as they share so many complementary flavours." says Rupert, going on to describe them all in great details, but you cn be assured that malt, hops and yeast were all present!

Voted top was Schneider Aventinus (8.2 abv) with Spotted Dick and Custard.

"If you were asked to suggest a drink to accompany a dessert course, beer would usually be quite a long way down the list." continues Rupert, "But think of the rich flavours in Brooklyn Chocolate Stout or the sweetness in, say, Floris or Liefmans Cuvee Brut and you can see they make excellent partnerships."

The 2/3rd Pint Glass

Drinkers will soon be popping into their local for two-thirds of a pint as the government is calling time on more than 300 years of history by relaxing rules on pub glass sizes.

Drinkers will soon be popping into their local for two-thirds of a pint as the government is calling time on more than 300 years of history by relaxing rules on pub glass sizes.

Under changes announced at the weekend, two-thirds of a pint will become an official measure in bars and restaurants.

Currently only pints, halves and a third of a pint can be served legally. Industry leaders hope the two-thirds pint – known as a schooner in Australia – will revive flagging business.

Beer has been served in pints since 1698, when an Act of Parliament ruled ale and beer should be sold in pints or full quarts (two-pints). In the last century half and third pints - mainly seen at beer festivals - were introduced as legal measures.

"Personally we'd welcome this change in legislation." comments Ian Clay, "Many of the specialist beers we represent just don't suit being served in pint or half-pint glasses. This flexibility will allow people to enjoy specialty beers in a new range of drinking vessels which can only be good for the whole customer experience."

Read the full story here >

Women Pull Their Weight

No more the realm of the beer-belly and the beard, a new culture of young women are the new beer enthusiasts.

Specialty beers, and fruit beers in particular, appear to have been performing incredibly well during the economic downturn, with various sources reporting increased sales of between 9% and 27%.

Much of this has been driven by female drinkers, many of whom seem to have grown tired of alco-pops and bland lagers.

In a recent article in The Times, Roger Protz, editor of the Good Beer Guide guide, is convinced that the trend is due to the attitude of beer drinkers, who he claims are “increasingly tired of ‘drinking the advertising’ that promotes bland global brands”.

He said: “Beer is expensive and when people have to spend £3 or £3.50 for a pint they want a beer with quality not a global beer. They seek the rich, tempting aromas and flavours of locally brewed beers, made with fresh, wholesome ingredients.”

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