Posts by Craig Ballinger

We’re Catering Mother Kelly’s

Posted on July 27, 2016

I like places with a lot of beer, I find it reassuring. If there’s a menu on my table, even better. I can choose poisons at my leisure, structure my decline and have prepared lines before I leave my seat, when the ship is steady. Mother Kelly’s is somewhere I feel comfortable, so comfortable I forget to go home for dinner. I’m aware there are people with similar problems, dealing with the daily issues of just having to know what that quince sour tastes like and unable to truly round off an evening without some deadly imperial darkness. Drinking can be hazardous but there are ways to navigate through the pitfalls of a pissed life. Eating isn’t cheating, it’s part of the adventure. We’ve…

Fear and Foraging in Brandenburg

Posted on November 1, 2015

  Photography By Florian Knopf   We were late. Tired and confused, we woke in Berlin to realise that we’d failed to write down the exact details of where we were meant to be. I had to rely on keywords Pel had remembered. Only days before she’d been guessing German places so I wasn’t entirely confident. ‘I feel like if we walked this way we’d end up where we were yesterday…the strausenbargem.’ But that was after several silky IPAs in a trendy beer house. Now we half clearheaded and had to find our way out of the city and into the woodland of Brandenburg. Missteps around the underground cost us time but soon we could see sky and the tall buildings began to fade.…

We Eat At Hackney Drinks Market

Posted on April 22, 2015

  We’ve fed the boozehounds of IMBC, brought beef to Redchurch and catered down the Bottle Shop, but now we’re taking our jars down the road to a carpark – for the first Hackney Drinks Market. The market at Hackney Downs Studios promises the best in local beer, gin and soft drinks, with all of the gaps plugged in between.   We’ll be bringing our usual unusual array of snacks, from our signature spiced pumpkin seed clusters to pickles from Vadasz Deli. All being well there should be things to satisfy all palettes and compliment the fine array of drink on show.   We’re looking forward to trying out some new snacks and continuing to share the good work of the artisan producers we work with. More…

The Tents And Transits of Wilderness

Posted on December 10, 2014

  Photography By Charlie Whatley   Recommended listening: Bill Brewster’s Maceo’s set from Glastonbury 2013.   By this point I wasn’t entirely mad but I’d long maintained a high bar. Festival season had been fairly gentle, even Glastonbury had passed with a minimum mash. The hardest thing to cater so far was Wild Life, a 500 capacity festival somewhere in a green bit of England. I was always near Oxford or in Dorset or in a Transit. Dangerous things happen in Tory country. I’d been trying to learn everything I could about catering and was busy writing an 8-step guide to having a Quick Wipe Down when I was heading to Oxford again. Wild Life left its scars but I’d learned new skills. I’d…

Beer Snacks At Indy Man Beer Con

Posted on December 8, 2014

  Photography By Jody Hartley   Ever since my first bag of dry roasted KP nuts I’ve loved bar snacks; I wasn’t drinking then though, I was just a fat child. Life got infinitely fancier when I was introduced to the Wigan Buffet: a splayed bag of crisps with nuts poured on top. Playing with the combinations brings minutes of fun to any pub session, especially in this time of strange, crunchy, over-processed foods. It has, however, long bothered me that bar snacks are generally awful. With the use of artificial flavourings and more salt than the Dead Sea, pub snacks generally overwhelm rather than compliment a beer. Of course, everything goes with cold lager or helps remove the taste of farty ale but…

Brewer’s BBQ At Duke’s

Posted on November 17, 2014

I was busy thinking up a new menu when word of a serious bit of catering down at Duke’s Brew & Que came in. The opportunity for an evening of food and beer at one of our favourite restaurants was too good to turn down. When the night rolled around we put on our nice shoes and headed out. The menu made us feel so decadent we even decided to take a taxi – we were getting fancy as fuck and didn’t care who knew it. When we arrived the place was vibing and the guys on the bar were enthusiastically decanting bottles of the first beer – 60 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head. We got ours and were quickly refreshed. The guys must’ve…

Making Lunch For Frisbee Pros

Posted on November 14, 2014

  It’s been a long summer of surging about the country in Transits, catering in fields, getting weird and sleeping rough. As autumn crept in, Simon Luard (of Luardos fame) had another gig for me that saw us heading back to the West Country and back into the festival spirit. We were going to Dorset, to make lunch for disc golfers. I knew very little of the sport, other than it was long-distance Frisbee and that Simon had a long history in the game. Penelope Mercer, my favourite florist, was in the Transit with us and unreasonably excited about seeing some golf. We left London at 6:30am with our first destination being Yeovil Booker. Booze, Snickers and other essentials were bundled into the van…