Brewtown Yorkshire Gin Tours | Gifted

Monday, 18 February 2019


Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Cooper King Lemongrass botanicals

Earlier this month on a pretty dreary Tuesday I grabbed a train from Sheffield to York to meet up with Mark from Brewtown Tours, Sophie from Blog Up North who arranged the event, Sarah from SunshineSarahXO and whole host of other strangers for a lovely little gincident!

Although I had previously met Mark at Beer X (a craft brewing trade show) and a visit to Thornbridge Brewery every one else is just like most of my life, talking to strangers about similar passions and eventually meeting them at events!

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Cooper King Brewtown bus

As an avid beer lover Mark set up Brewtown Tours upon returning to Yorkshire after sixteen years abroad and seeing the incredible increase in microbreweries and the wide range of styles they were producing. BrewTown Tours gave people the chance to experience Yorkshires best kept beer secrets, enjoying, supporting and sampling from working breweries with insight from the people making the beer themselves.

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Cooper King botanicals

With the ever increasing popularity of the beer tours and continuous interest in a gin tour Brewtown Tours created another answer to THE perfect booze knowledge filled day. All whilst enjoying the products and the wit, knowledge and accessibility of your very own designated driver! Each tour consists of a minimum of 6 people and a maximum of 8 (if you need more just ask Mark for a quote) so you know you are getting a true hands on experience!

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Cooper King botanicals

The first stop on the tour was to Cooper King, to visit the lovely Chris and Abbie and England’s only self built whisky and gin distillery. Chris greeted us and took us through their story, whilst travelling in Australia and Tasmania in 2014 Abbie and Chris ended up researching eight operational whisky distilleries in Tasmania for a friends whisky blog and here they found their inspiration and passion for hand crafted whisky and made it their mission to bring that enthusiasm back to England.

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Cooper King Yorkshire Gin Map

In 2016 they founded Cooper King Distillery, using their Founders’ Club to raise funds and interest for the distillery whilst sourcing the finest local ingredients and established craftsmen to self build their distillery from an old stable.

During our visit it was clear that Cooper King were closer than ever to distilling their first whisky so although we were there for gin it was so interesting to hear about the process! 

As equally interesting was their unique approach behind Cooper King Dry Gin. All hand distilled, bottled and labeled at their distillery using a state of the art vacuum distillation process Cooper King have created a distinct Dry Gin using locally grown lavender, beautiful lemongrass and honey from their family beehives.

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Cooper King

After a tour of the distillery we went back into their beautiful tasting room to sample their Dry Gin neat for an exceptionally smooth gin with floral notes that weren’t too sweet, thanks to the lemongrass. We then added a little tonic and some fresh rosemary as a garnish to enjoy the rest of our sample.
Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Cooper King

Chris was then kind enough to let us sample their limited-edition gin made in collaboration with Skosh a Michelin awarded restaurant. The Smoked + Spiced Dry Gin balanced perfect flavours across the palate using black cardamom, Szechuan peppercorn and nori for full bodied flavour with a kick. And we were lucky enough to try it!

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Cooper King

As if they could make their Dry Gin any better, Cooper King try to be as sustainable as possible so for every bottle of gin sold one square metre of woodland is planted through their Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust partnership. They also constantly look at ways to reduce waste and it was so interesting to hear about all the inventive ways Abbie and Chris are reducing, reusing and recycling.

 Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Cooper King

Just before we left Chris also explained the history of the Cooper King name, showing us his family history and crest which his great-great-grand father painstakingly researched including the Cooper King shield and how it made its way into their logo. It was so interesting to hear all the history behind the name and brought a perfect connection to the distillery itself. Find out more here or even better book on the tour and hear it all for yourself.

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Cooper King

Cooper King Distillery was the perfect way to start the gin tour, settling into an late morning tipple in a beautiful setting before moving onto the second stop.

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Rare Bird Distillery

Our next stop was Rare Bird, based in Malton, run by Matt Stewart who after retiring as a firefighter took a shine to making Gin. We entered their stunning distillery, gin school and shop in the North Yorkshire market town with picturesque views and a beautiful interior, i'd have happily drunk their gin with that view all day!

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Rare Bird Distillery

Matt and his wife Elizabeth dedicated a lot of time to refining their signature London Dry Gin made in their 300-litre copper still ‘Florence’ who takes centre stage in their distillery. Using the finest botanicals including green pepper, juniper, hibiscus, rosemary and citrus for a smooth dry gin Rare Bird London Dry pairs perfectly with blood orange or pink grapefruit with a simple tonic.

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Rare Bird Distillery

Their second gin, a Rhubarb and Ginger Gin was a complete revelation! Rare Bird did not give into the sweet liqueur trend that has swept the UK. By adding no sugar throughout the process their Rhubarb and Ginger Gin has a strong powerful flavour, keeping the tartness of the rhubarb with warming notes from the ginger. Matt recommended a slice of orange and a mediterranean tonic as the perfect serve for this one. You could have left me on the beautiful chesterfield sofas in the Rare Bird distillery, this gin in hand, the Malton view and a book and I’d be in heaven.

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Rare Bird Distillery

If this isn’t enough, Rare Bird also run a gin school where you can distill your own 70cl gin to take home and even reorder! With an incredible and unusual stock of botanicals I can imagine some very unique gins leave their distillery from these gin schools. This is not part of the Brewtown tour but can be added if you enquire ahead of time.

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Rare Bird Distillery

The end of our tour at Rare Bird fell perfectly into lunch time and it’s perfect location in Talbot Yard meant I could get beaut veggie pastries alongside an array of independent bakers, patisserie, coffee roaster and ice cream parlour.

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Hooting Owl Distillery

Our final distillery of the day was Hooting Owl Distillery at Barmby Moor House. Our host Dom exceeded his hosting skills with incredible anecdotes, hospitality and generous measures!

With six gins in their roster Hooting Owl brought a complete profile to this distillery. From their Signature Gin, Veterans Gin and their Tour de Yorkshire range exploring Yorkshire’s incredible diversity!

Hooting Owl’s Signature Gin brought together sixteen botanicals including grapefruit and cubeb pepper for a smooth gin with a rich aroma with it’s much stronger brother the Veterans Gin at 48% bringing a much more robust flavour to the table. We sampled each gin neat before adding tonic and the taste difference was unbelievable and really showed what difference the ABV made to the flavour.

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Hooting Owl Distillery

Dom then took us through their Yorkshire range, where Hooting Owl Distilleries character really shone through. Each gin used botanicals based on the characteristics of the area and mirrored what a diverse county Yorkshire is.

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Hooting Owl Distillery

Their North Yorkshire Gin was inspired by the North Yorkshire Moors, using heather and bilberries harvested between Thirsk and Whitby for a smooth and slightly fruity gin wildly different in comparison with their West Yorkshire Gin. Inspired by Bradford and incorporating spiced cardamom, turmeric and cumin sweetened with cassia bark and liquorice. Before we added tonic (or in the West Yorkshire case ginger ale) to our neat sample of the West Yorkshire Gin we added star anise which completely changed the gin again. Part of the day that really showed the uniqueness of each gin was the ability for a small garnish to completely change the flavour profile and bring another level to the gin.
Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Hooting Owl Distillery

We then tried their East Yorkshire Gin which incorporated kelp, lavender, sage, honey and hawthorne berries to echo the Yorkshire coastline. With this gin the botanicals really hit the nose before you even try the gin for a maritime hit with the lavender, honey and hawthorne berries sweetening the kick from the kelp. The final gin we tried was Hooting Owl’s South Yorkshire Gin inspired by the Barnsley Chop for a herby gin infused with mint and rosemary. Finishing with a refreshingly savoury and bitter orange note.

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Hooting Owl Distillery

Dom's passion to share not only Hooting Owl’s wide range of gins but also their ever developing distillery was incredibly interesting. There has been the story behind each gin and their flavours that has really made this gin tour stand out. These are real people putting passion into a product they love, and it is through this tour that Mark has brought them all together and given the public a chance to see a side of gin that you can never get in a bar or a single distillery tour.

Brewtown Gin Tour TypeWriterTeeth Blog Hooting Owl Distillery

One thing I do think i've missed in this post is the fun we had, I don't think I stopped laughing from the moment we met Mark at 10am till our final pint before getting on the train at the end of the day. Mark has managed to create a knowledgeable experience day in a relaxed, stress free environment and I met some talented, lovely and insightful people in the process.

If you're passionate about gin and fancy doing something a little different I highly recommend one of Mark’s tours. Be it a present for a partner, a day out, corporate day or an event like a hen or stag party it really will be something to remember and something completely different to any gin distillery tour you could do anywhere else!

Mark seriously knows his stuff, and the distilleries you get to visit reflect that. Passion shone through each distillery and shows you just how different gin can be. From the differences in the distilling process to choosing flavour profiles and serves. But what they do have in common is the passion and enthusiasm for creating the best gin possible with the finest ingredients whilst supporting Yorkshire independent businesses.

The Brewtown Gin Tour is just £80 per person including transport for the day from York Station, three guided gin distillery tours and gin sampling. BARGAIN. Find out more here.

This gin tour was kindly gifted from Brewtown Tours in return for honest feedback so all thoughts and opinions are my own. But I bloody loved it!
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New Year, New Tea with Tea India

Saturday, 19 January 2019

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Tea India Typewriter Teeth Blog Review

Last year a selection of Tea India Chai teas came with an issue of Oh Comely magazine and i've been obsessed with them ever since.

This obsession with tea isn't new, I think there is more tea in my kitchen than cutlery but as a lover of chai the beautiful flavours of the Tea India range are ones I keep coming back to. 

From Chai to Ayurveda and their latest Chai Latte range Tea India's strong knowledge, intention and thought behind each blend and taste means that they are slowly becoming one of my favourite tea brands. 

Tea India Typewriter Teeth Blog Review

Their Ayurveda range is named after one of the oldest systems of medicine, guiding a holistic way of life with preventative healthcare as a lifestyle. This can help maintain a balance of mind, body and emotion through daily practices. In the teaching of Ayurveda these are personalised to our individual mind & body types known as prakruti

Prakruti centres around three bio-energetic forces called doshas that combine the five elements, ether, air, fire, water and earth. The doshas work together to maintain, influence and prevent behaviours, habits, personality and appearance. 

I am only summarising what i've read about Ayurveda and how the Tea India range relates to the practice but I love the idea and intention behind each blend. Becoming familiar with your dosha type can help you make choices for health, happiness and creativity whilst connecting to everything around us and create balance. It is with this that Tea India created the Ayurveda range to connect with each dosha

You can find out your dosha here through the Tea India website. 

Funnily enough before doing this test my favourite blend from the range was 'peace & calm' an infusion of fennel, camomile, rose petals and peppermint and of the three doshas of vata, pitta and kapha I came out as pitta with 'peace & calm' recommended! 

Although 'peace & calm' comes out as my favourite I really love 'harmony & balance' and 'vitality & energy' too. I often struggle to create the right levels of flavour in turmeric milk and the blend within 'vitality & energy' comes with the perfect level of warmth and spice. Whereas 'harmony & balance' is a life saver when bloated, sluggish or after a big meal. 

I throughly enjoyed reading about Ayurveda, doshas and how the teas work within them so I highly recommend checking them out. 

Tea India Typewriter Teeth Blog Review  Chai Tea

Before I tried the Ayurveda range I fell in love with Tea India's classic Chai range. They come in Ginger, Cardamon,  Masala and Coconut and they are all amazing! 

I currently only have Ginger & Cardamon left from the last set I bought because they are all such a treat. Each tea is the perfect blend of black tea and spices with the Masala a more warming and comforting blend and Coconut for a creamier sweeter treat. 

Tea India Typewriter Teeth Blog Review  Ginger Chai Tea

As much as I adore tea lattes (especially from my faves at Birdhouse Tea Co) I do make attempt them at home more than a normal brew! 

Whilst my tea of choice infuses with boiling water (usually just enough to submerge the tea bag) I warm up oat milk and then whisk it with my little IKEA milk frother (which I have to change the batteries so often in I just probably just invest in proper one) and then pour in. Home made tea latte! 

Although you can experiment with different teas the Tea India chai range is my absolute favourite with great flavour and focus on the spice rather than mixed spice chai teas. 

Tea India Typewriter Teeth Blog Review

It wouldn't be a blog post about tea without talking about my love for the bedtime beverage. A warm drink and getting cosy in bed with a book is bliss and although I love Ovaltine & Horlicks I like to mix it up! 

Anything chamomile, lavender or floral is right up my street so this blend from Celestial Organic or my go to favourite is the nighttime tea from Heath & Heather.  I love a bed time tea recommendation so let me know if you have any. 

Tea India Typewriter Teeth Blog Review

2018 was basically the year I didn't sleep so I am really happy that as i've come into 2019 I found a way to settle in my evenings. It may seem trivial but tea brings a moment of calm and just taking that five minutes to make it and the time to enjoy it can really change how you approach a day. 

Tea India are available in most good supermarkets, their website and can sometimes be spotted in TK Maxx for a bargain too! 

Tea India Typewriter Teeth Blog Review

*Ayurveda Range was gifted from Tea India 
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Pages: 'Everything I Know About Love' by Dolly Alderton

Monday, 7 January 2019

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Dolly Alderton’s ‘Everything I Know About Love’ is on everyones reading list and it completely deserves it.

The intimate memoir follows Alderton’s life through her rich and relatable writing style that reflects, reaffirms and questions as she looks back through the book. Through all of this I found myself flitting between fits of giggles or balling up with tears, re-reading and connecting with Dolly Alderton's words. This connection reaffirming the popularity of ‘Everything I Know About Love’ as although it is a young age to write a memoir, Dolly’s writing has hit readers that clearly needed it.

Everything I Know About Love Review Dolly Alderton Typewriter Teeth

With an unusual layout the focus on her stories are interjected with party planning, recipes and lists as if Alderton is helping others navigate their lives and past by making them feel less alone with her stories. Although ‘Everything I Know About Love’ sometimes feels like a glamourised rom-co Alderton does not let us forget the low points. From all the amazing stories we hear of skint nights out, houseshares and parties we are also reminded of the lonely days, the debilitating hangovers and poor decisions. What’s interesting is how Dolly Alderton writes with such a nostalgia and sentiment for something that is not that long ago but with the speed the world is changing seems a lifetime ago.

Everything I Know About Love Review Dolly Alderton Typewriter Teeth

With each endearing part of the book Dolly Alderton continues to put herself out there, each raw moment insisting empathy, laughing along with her wild anecdotes to crying with her heartbreak. Within the anecdotes Alderton is also assessing her own pain whilst exploring her love for her friendships. ‘Everything I Know About Love’ is about experiences, her own lessons and friendships with the universal call that you are not alone. And even if you cannot relate to any of Alderton’s anecdotes, I am sure that at some point in all our lives we have felt uncomfortable in our skin or that everyone else in the world is moving faster than us.

Everything I Know About Love Review Dolly Alderton Typewriter Teeth

So as moving as it is funny, ‘Everything I Know About Love’ through it’s wit, wisdom and heartache is a beautiful reminder for all the moments in life, and a love letter to the people that fill them. Dolly Alderton has created an incredible, relatable work that has swept readers up and although I have refrained from going into her stories I hope my enthusiasm makes you want to pick it up.

Pick it up here and let me know what you think.
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Honeycomb Bar & Restaurant opens in Sheffield

Sunday, 30 December 2018

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After driving past it almost daily since it opened I was intrigued by the glowing pink neon hues coming from Honeycomb Bar & Restaurant. So when they kindly invited us down for the evening I couldn't say no. 

Honeycomb Bar & Restaurant are adding to the ever increasing bar scene in Sheffield but bringing something different to the table. Their pan asian theme that runs throughout their food and drink menu combined with their stunning interiors is a driving force in the high level of service, food and drink you can expect when visiting. 

We were welcomed into Honeycomb through a stunning sequinned entrance to a glass of prosecco and welcoming staff.  Full of plush seating, beautiful lighting and honeycomb booths with room for sixteen people they have created the perfect glamorous venue. But, of course I wanted to sit beneath the neon! 

The food at Honeycomb Bar & Restaurant takes inspiration from the Far East combining flavours from China, Japan and Thailand for a pan asian palate from starters to desserts. 

Samples from their menu were brought round all evening, unfortunately only the vegetable and tofu spring rolls were vegetarian, but they were incredible and the staff continued their great service and made sure I had eaten! My friend sampled the other dishes and raved about their chicken sliders and beef fillet kushiyaki skewers. 

Everything looked incredible so after eyeing up the menu I cannot wait to go back and try the Wild Mushroom with Yuzu Truffle Soy Sauce Donburi and Nasu Dengaku (grilled aubergine in a miso glaze). Yup, i’m drooling just thinking about it. 

The incredible thought that went into the food also went into the drinks menu. From signature cocktails featuring Warner Edwards Honeybee gin to their premium selection including ‘Steel Royale’ as a homage to their Sheffield roots with Tanqueray Gin, Violet Liqueur and Drappier Champagne. 

There were some amazing looking concoctions coming from the bar but nothing beats an espresso martini and Honeycomb have a chocolate orange take on the original which we enjoyed plenty of! We were also treated to the ‘All Smoke No Fire’ a set of pink gin shots served on a smoking, stunning tray! There are plenty Instagram stories of the shots but you all I have left is an image of the tray, all I can say is I highly recommend them!  

I can’t wait to go back and see what else Honeycomb Bar & Restaurant have to offer and if you’re looking for something to do this New Years Eve they still have tickets remaining for their extravagant nine course tasting menu which you can book here. 

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Birdhouse Tea Company's Winter Range

Saturday, 24 November 2018

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 Birdhouse Tea bar and Kitchen Sheffield on Typewriter Teeth  line up of their winter range

Earlier this month I was invited to Birdhouse Tea Bar & Kitchen in Sheffield on a cold and drizzly night to sample their incredible and versatile winter tea range.

We were welcomed up to the second floor of the Birdhouse Tea Bar & Kitchen with warm lighting, festive florals and the winter range laid out and ready for us to have a nosey at before getting to try them.

Birdhouse Tea bar and Kitchen Sheffield on Typewriter Teeth  image of tangerine fizz from their winter range

We started the tastings off with 'Pine Forest' a perfect blend of green tea, pine needles, eucalyptus and peppermint that I am now obsessed with. It's comforting in a winter way with the pine needles, eucalyptus and peppermint adding refreshing notes that wake you up in the morning but sooth and calm on a evening. 

Next we tried 'Tangerine Fizz', a customer favourite since 2017 which blends marigold petals with apple, orange and ginger to create an incredible Bucks Fizz flavour and texture. It's actually unbelievable! 

Birdhouse Tea bar and Kitchen Sheffield on Typewriter Teeth spiced apple tea from their winter range

We then tried 'Spiced Apple', the perfect festive accompaniment with the addition of hibiscus and almond that added a crumble esq taste to the blend. This tea completely embodies the festive season, served perfectly as a tea, in a festive cider or used to soak the fruit for mince pies which I can guarantee will be delicious with buttery pastry. 

Birdhouse Tea bar and Kitchen Sheffield on Typewriter Teeth mince pie using spiced apple tea from their winter range

The winter range then moved into a pudding selection demonstrating the incredible blending abilities from Birdhouse Tea Company. Their 'Christmas Pud' tea which through some unknown magical ability tastes exactly like Christmas pudding (including the brandy!) is a blend of rooibos, fruit and spices. 

We then tried 'Peppermint Fudge' which instilled memories of duvet days and winter treats. A black tea base with peppermint, vanilla and liquorice creating the perfect sweet treat in a mug. 

Birdhouse Tea bar and Kitchen Sheffield on Typewriter Teeth  christmas pudding tea from their winter range

The final tea of the winter range we tried was 'Granny's Trifle' which I can assure you tastes exactly like that, but in a perfectly perfect drinkable way! Paired with milk the black tea & rooibos base with sweet strawberries and vanilla evokes everything you know and love about homemade trifle all from a warm mug of tea between your hands. 

Birdhouse Tea bar and Kitchen Sheffield on Typewriter Teeth gin with spiced apple tea from their winter range

To finish the evening we were treated to another way to use the winter range or the best way in my opinion, with gin. James, the mixologist at Birdhouse Tea Bar & Kitchen infused a simple gin (so the botanicals of the gin did not clash flavours with the tea) with the spiced apple tea for four hours before mixing with apple juice, cranberries and a cinnamon stick. A simple but flavoursome cocktail that is perfect for fixing festive tipples at home and the perfect end to the evening. 

Birdhouse Tea bar and Kitchen Sheffield on Typewriter Teeth  image for their shop

After our gin we headed to the shop attached to Birdhouse Tea Bar & Kitchen to stock up on our favourites from the evening. I treated myself to 'Pine Forest' and although I wanted 'Granny's Trifle' they had run out by the time I had worked my way round! 

Birdhouse Tea bar and Kitchen Sheffield on Typewriter Teeth

What I love about Birdhouse Tea Company is the thought, care and story behind every tea and blend. Rebecca English and her mum Julie started the company together and have gone from strength to strength ever since as they spread the amazing abilities and properties of tea. 

They opened their Nether Edge store in leafy Sheffield in 2014 and as their customer base grew alongside their tea education classes they saw a gap in the market for a tea bar and in 2017 their handwork and determination made it happen. 

Birdhouse Tea Bar & Kitchen is a haven, tucked away in a beautiful courtyard for a moment of peace in busy central Sheffield. From incredible tea creations, alcoholic concoctions and an incredible menu from breakfast to dinner Birdhouse have got something for everyone.  

Birdhouse Tea bar and Kitchen Sheffield on Typewriter Teeth

You can purchase Birdhouse Tea Company's winter range from their Tea Bar, Shop or online.

My favourite from last year was 100% pistachio truffle but I think 'Pine Forest' may have taken its place. Have you tried the winter range yet? What is your favourite?

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