Tag Archives: beer

Beer and Fantasy Books

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, or even a short time, you’ll know I like beer. More specifically real ale or craft beer as it is called in America, small batches of beer produced by independent or small breweries. I was lucky enough to be able to create my own special beer with a local brewery, Fownes Brewery, to celebrate the launch of Mageborn last October. We called it Mage, of course.

In this article I wrote just before Christmas I expand on beer in the fantasy genre as a whole and there’s also some photos from the Mageborn launch and photos of the Mage ale too. Enjoy!

Beer and fantasy books Medium Article

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MAGE is born….or brewed

Today I went over to Fownes Brewery in Gornal to help them put the finishing touching on the special edition real ale I helped them brew, MAGE. This real ale was specially commissioned to tie in with the publication of my new novel, Mageborn, book 1 in the new Age of Dread trilogy. Today at the brewery we were labelling up the bottles and boxing them up. Behold the tasty, delicious darkness that is MAGE, a 5% porter.

I also had my first taste and I was super nervous. What if after all of this I didn’t like it? In the past I’ve ordered or bought beers and in theory they have all the things I like, but when I actually taste them it I’ve been disappointed. I am hugely relieved to say MAGE tastes fantastic. I really like it.

It was really special to see it today having been there at the beginning. And don’t they all look gorgeous lined up together in neat rows in that box! The beady eyed amongst you will also notice there is an abbreviated version of the Mageborn summary on the label as well. I’m pleased to say bottles of MAGE will be there on Wednesday night in Birmingham at the Mageborn launch to drink or take away for later.

Summer might be over, but today it didn’t stop me from sitting out in the sunshine this afternoon and enjoying a nice dark beer. Cheers!



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Real Ale: Riders on the Storm – Kelham Island Brewery

A golden amber ale combining the best British malts and a combination of British and American hops which mingle together for a fragrance of fruits and spices. The addition of crystal malt gives a fulfilling equilibrium of sweetness and body.

This 4.5% pale ale is from a brewery I’ve not tried before, Kelham Island Brewery, which is based in Sheffield.The history of the brewery is quite interesting as its first beer was in September 1990, making it the first new independent brewery in Sheffield in almost 100 years. That’s pretty remarkable as breweries have been popping up across the Yorkshire region for many years, and yet it had been quiet in Sheffield until Kelham Island.

Another interesting aspect of Kelham is there is a link on their website which talks about working with local artists on the pump clips. Coming up with the name for a new ale is always going to be difficult, as it needs to be something catchy and interesting, but like so many other things, the packaging has to be eye catching. Most, not all, real ale is produced in the same sort of brown glass bottle. So the label, or if you’re in a pub, the clip, has to be something special. This isn’t a side of the process that usually gets a lot of coverage, so it was fascinating for me to have a behind the scenes look. There are some really interesting designs on the Kelham Island website here.

Anyway, about the beer itself. The name and the label caught my eye first, and the description above made me keep reading. I’m not a fan of ales that have a strong citrus edge, but a flavour of fruit and spices sounded interesting and worth a try. It was a very clean and crisp drink, a little bit of fizz, but not too much that I was burping a lot, which can happen when they’re too gassy. It was a little sweet, but also very mild in flavour. So while it was nice and I did enjoy it, some might find it too mild and want more of a kick in the taste buds, but if you like something smooth then I’d recommend it. The beer was also very light, as I drank a bottle and didn’t feel bloated or heavy afterwards. Colour wise it’s almost amber, but I believe it’s still classed as a pale ale.

More information on all of Kelham Island Brewery’s beers can be found here on their website. If you’re in the area you can arrange to take a tour and find out where they’ll be appearing at any events and all of their latest news is on their blog.

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