Timothy Taylor gets the 'S' word on TV

13 June, 2008

At first glance, it was great to see Gordon Ramsay getting behind beer on the latest series of the F


Naturally, Innis & Gunn has been keen to trumpet its link-up with the chef to create a one-off beer for the TV programme's


But Ramsay's bizarre comments about some of the other beers he sampled

have been less thoroughly mulled over - and seem more

likely to set back the cause of quality beer

than advance it.

Much-coveted Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout was one to feel Ramsay's wrath and Timothy Taylor's Landlord another, with loveable old Gord spitting it out and proclaiming: "Oh shit."

As someone who we imagine is exposed to all manner of new taste experiences in his work, we presume he meant to say that the relatively high hoppy bitterness of Landlord wasn't suited to his palate or the dish he was


a match for, though obviously it was a beer brewed by somebody who knew what they were doing.

After all, at last count Landlord had won 14 gongs at the Brewing Industry International Awards

and 18 at the Great British Beer Festival, as well as being named Supreme Champion twice

and winning another two "best beer" accolades in the days before there was a Supreme Champion.

So, either the combined expertise of the nation's brewing industry over several decades is wrong, or Gordon Ramsay is. Or perhaps "good telly" just comes ahead of providing viewers with balance and integrity.

A step in the wrong direction

An American liquor store owner has come up with an ingenious way

of dealing with shoplifters. When Fabe Fidanque catches anyone half-inching the stock from his Colorado shop, he gives them two options: either he'll call the police or he'll take one of their shoes.

That's why people in the neighbourhood have noticed a succession of sheepish-looking ne'er-do-wells hopping out of his premises in Durango.

But - surprise, surprise - this isn't ­actually legal. Police have warned Fidanque that seizing patrons' trainers is a felony and he needs to find a different method of tackling crime. Erm - isn't that their job?

You what?

The government clearly feels the only way to get through to us thickies in the retail sector is

via football terminology.

So it's going to be a "yellow card" for slightly naughty off-licences and a "red card" for very naughty ones. Do you see?

We can't help wondering how far ministers will take this line of thought. Perhaps the two shops which do worst in sting operations in each town will be forced to go head-to-head in a test purchasing shoot-out: five visits apiece from lanky kids with wispy facial hair.

The store which refuses them the most times keeps its licence while the other goes out of business.

Cold shouldered

Connolly's of Birmingham has announced, on its website, a "price freeze" on Austrian wine. We'll say it before anyone else, just to get it out of the way: has this move proved controversial with suppliers? You see, we'd heard that Austrian wine was anti-freeze. (I think it's time to move on. Ed.)

Appreciate this!

The work of American internet star Gary Vaynerchuk has

been brought to our attention.

Vaynerchuk has been described as the "Jeremy Clarkson of wine", and boasts 80,000 viewers for his daily video which started out as a maverick kick-down-the-statues wine appreciation slot.

Check out this for a tasting note: "Hit a deer on the road. Throw a bunch of cherries on it. Take out your knife, cut the deer. Bite it. That's the flavour."

Oz Clarke, eat your heart out.

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English wine: a happy harvest for Christmas

All across England and Wales, vineyards are being harvested. Down winding country lanes come armies of welly-wearing conscripts wielding secateurs and buckets, ready to reap the rewards of our vines. Happily they come, their cheeks ruddy with pride. Half an hour later they’re crawling over muddy clods with lacerated hands, drenched in claggy juice and cold sweat, as if ploughing through an endurance race.

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