I am thrilled to announce that I’ll be a champion for Tryanuary, a nation-wide campaign to encourage support for the beer industry throughout January.

I’m supporting the Derby and Nottingham regions, so if you’re a local brewer and would like a shout-out in January 2018, do let me know. I’m in the middle of looking into some very exciting events, including a beer tasting and beer-matched food – if you’re an eatery and want to get involved, please get in touch with details at the end of this post.

Now, in addition to my freelance writing, I’m also a food critic sitting on four judging panels, and have found a lamentable dearth of good beer on restaurant menus. It’s not a localised issue, I review across the UK and find beer is viewed as more of an “add-on”, and not a starrer in its own right.

We have wine-flights and cocktail-flights – why the heck not beer-flights?

I had a beer-based conversation with Colston Crawford, Derby Telegraph’s Beer Hunter earlier this summer, over you guessed it – a beer. Like Bruce Banner and Peter Parker, Colston Crawford has a terrific super-hero-esque moniker. His name is reminiscent of a caped crusader of the beer world, and indeed he might be, as he champions great brews in Derbyshire and beyond. When I asked Colston about the beer scene in Derby, he anticipated increased choice as more people come to recognise beer is a serious subject. He added: “I love the way things have diversified in terms of how and where we drink beer.”

I acquiesce with these wise words from Colston and think beer’s diversity should be celebrated in different environments and in recipes.

Now, I have been thinking about matching dishes with beer for a while (more on brandy- and whisky-matched dishes in a separate post). Which is why I leapt at the chance of being a part of Tryanuary, as I’m keen to shout out about good beer both in restaurants and local pubs.


Tryanuary was created to encourage beer fans to support independent breweries, pubs, bars and other retailers during what can be a challenging month for the industry.

Now entering its fourth year, Tryanuary is the brainchild of Mancunian beer blogger Andy Heggs and brewery owners, Stuart Swann and Shane Swindells. Since its inception in 2015, the campaign has garnered huge support, and spearheading this year’s campaign is Tom Stapley, best known for Craft Beer Hour. This is a weekly gathering on Twitter that embraces all aspects of the industry and showcases many independent brewers.

Tom’s vision to enable the continued growth of the campaign involves coordinating a nation-wide team, each championing the beer on offer in their local area. Tom is right when he says the onus is on local people to galvanise local businesses to celebrate the beer on their doorstep.

For the first time, in 2018, the campaign will be advocated by an ever-growing team of over sixty beer lovers and enthusiasts who will have exclusive access to the Tryanuary website and social media profiles (yours truly included).

Although the campaign will be driven using the wide reaches of social media, the ultimate aim is to inspire people to show support for their local enterprises. I am in the middle of making some exciting plans for Tryanuary, which I can’t wait to share with you. In the meantime, if you’re a local business and want to get in touch about how we can work together, please drop a comment down below.