Category Archives: fish and chips

>Fish n’ Chips n’ Beer

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I read the other day that 2010 is the 150th Anniversary of Fish & Chips, and this got me thinking – not only about my love for them – but their connection to Beer. Now, excuse me for a minute whilst we get a little bit dewy-eyed…
Ask anyone about Fish & Chips and chances are you’ll get a response strongly linked to tradition and reverie. People will tell you about ‘Fish & Chip night’ (usually Thursday or Friday in Leeds, if you ask me….), or mums and dads ordering huge portions, wrapped in the same bag, to be doled out onto warmed plates and shared amongst the family. Despite being the healthiest of ‘take-aways’; I don’t really count Fish & Chips as a ‘take-away’; it’s Fish & Chips, not a Curry, Chinese, or Pizza. The art of the fish fryer elevates the meal beyond mere ‘take-away’.
There’s also regional variance – whether you have peas, mushy peas, curry sauce (eek!) or scraps as accompaniment. A Bap? Or a Cake? Or a Stottie (whatever that is). The only constant up and down the UK is Salt and Vinegar. Lots of it, naturally.
Fish & Chips has been a natural bedfellow for Beer for a long time. Granted, some people at home may prefer a hot drink, but the dish is often the first one on the Gastropub’s blackboard, usually gussied up with ‘minted peas’ or something like that, but along with the ubiquitous ‘Steak & Ale Pie’, it’s pretty much a pub standard. And don’t forget ‘Beer Batter’ – whoever realised that cold, spritzy beer makes better liquor for batter than water is a genius.

From a beer-matching point of view, I always struggle with Fish & Chips because of the sheer versatility of Battered Fish. My case in point are my two personal favourites; Fuller’s London Pride, for instance. Good ol’ London Pride; it’s mildly fruity, fudgy-biscuity maltiness is a wonderful foil for the sweet, steamed fish. A massively satisfying pint, with a massively satisfying meal.
On the other side of the spectrum, I do love drinking Adnam’s East Green with Fish & Chips. Chills well, grassy, punchy, and enough lemony/limey notes to pair with the salt and vinegar you’ve liberally doused your chips in.

There’s not many dishes that fit so many styles of beer to enjoy with. Wheat beer? No problem, Fish with Wheats or Wits is a no-brainer. IPA? See above notes on salt and vinegar. Pale Ales? Whack half the bottle in the batter if you’re making it, and enjoy the results. God Bless ya, Fish & Chips.
By the way – has anyone ever made or eaten Stout batter? I’ve never seen it, but for some reason, in my head, it sounds good…

>Fish And Derks

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Ok – not something I do often – but this is pretty much non-beer related post. This story in The Sun yesterday really brought a smile to my face, however, so I thought I would share. Plus, I know that all of you who read and comment on TGS are foodies as well as…well, beeries. People of taste, basically…

Anyway, the gist of it is that some boffins have surmised that the humble dish of Fish and Chips is keeping regional language dialects alive. Mundane? No, I don’t think so, and neither do the boffins at Leeds University and The British Library, who are all in hand-wringing agreement.

I know there’s a lot of regional differences in how we all dispatch an order of Fish and Chips, but I didn’t know there was this many. I’ve had plenty of arguments with mates (non-Yorkshire-born mates, I might add) who argue that ‘Scraps are weird‘ or that a Breadcake is, in fact, a Barm (or possibly even a Stottie). This article is pure pub banter, as we argue over whose term is best – or even who does the best. Again; mundane? Well, that’s what passionate people do.

Anyway, Fish and Chips does link in with beer. Although personally I prefer a cup of tea with mine when at home, Fish and Chips is usually the first on any self-respecting Gastropubs’ menu – the epitome of hearty fare, sitting alongside such chalkboard staples as Pie or Sausages and Mash – although usually encased in a beer batter, of course. It’s comfort food – and not a dish to be taken lightly, as I found out when I managed to bend the ear of Peter Scott of Bretts in Headingley.
Not only did the man make us some of the finest Fish and Derks (see what I did there) I’d tasted in a while, he took me round the kitchen and explained his secrets – from what fish to use and where from, to the exact temperature of the fat used to fry the fish. This lively man was happy to talk fish and chips all night, and a great night it was.

Oh – and before you ask – I do refer to Fish and Chips as ‘Fish and Derks’ – although not when ordering. I’ve never called them ‘Nerks’ . It’s just a bit of eye contact and a firm exclamation of ‘Once’ or ‘Twice’ to be heard over the din of the fryers. Mushy Peas? Optional, for me. I do, however, find it hard to believe that only 27% of ‘Londoners’ have tried a chip butty. Really? I think some ‘Londoners’ are keeping up appearances there – surely?

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