Monday, 22 October 2012

Shergar Cup Jockey Chantal Sutherland Retires

The moment has come where I have decided to announce my retirement from being a professional jockey; I almost can’t believe it myself. I’m not sad, but rather looking at another opportunity to begin a new chapter in my life. Looking ahead, I’m excited about new challenges and new opportunities that life has in store for me.

Horse racing has been my life for the past 14 years. I’ve reached many of the goals that I set for myself. I’ve lived out many of the dreams I had as a little girl, back when I was riding my pony, mucking stalls, feeding cows, aspiring to finally become a professional jockey and racing in stakes races on a worldwide stage. I’m so very blessed and grateful of the life that I have lived and career that I’ve had.

This past year or so has been so amazing it’s actually overwhelming having to put it to words. I crossed paths with a horse that happened to change my life. That horse is named Game On Dude and what a horse! He’s a soldier. Together we travelled the world. We won the Santa Anita Big Cap, Goodwood, almost won the Breeder’s Cup Classic; we won the San Antonio, Hollywood Gold Cup, and the Californian. We travelled to Dubai and raced in the world’s richest race, the Dubai Duty Free World Cup. As if that wasn’t enough, I was asked to be the poster girl for Santa Anita and Del Mar racetracks, and had my picture on billboards and magazine covers. I can’t even describe how flattering that is. Another honor for me was being asked to represent Canada and the USA in a worldwide jockey challenge in England, titled The Shergar Cup. To top it all off, I was also able to win on my brother’s horse “Awesome Fire” in the Whonder Where stakes. In an ironic twist of fate, my dad, who started me off in this crazy love affair with horses, is also the proud owner of the last racehorse I will ride.

In the last year I also met and married the man of my dreams. It’s been a whirlwind. I’ve never really had weekends or holidays off, I’ve always spent so much time racing or focused and preparing for racing. Racing takes so much determination, guts, and sacrifice to be on top. I once craved, lived, and breathed racing. I can honestly say now, I’m ready to slow down and enjoy my life. Maybe I’ll cut loose and have a cheeseburger or some pizza. Those types of indulgencies are not allowed, when you constantly have to monitor your weight. Racing is so much hard work and takes so much mental toughness; I can honestly say that I’ve had enough.

I will forever miss my fans. They were always giving me encouragement and making me feel special and successful. I’ve made so many memories and good friends along the way that I can’t even begin to describe. I want to give a special thanks to my agents, valets, and everyone else in this industry that has stood by me.

So now, with the support of my husband, family, and friends I am ending one chapter in my life and starting a new one. I’m excited about my future and the challenges it will bring. I enjoy working hard and striving to achieve goals, so who knows; maybe you will see me pop up somewhere soon.


Saturday, 6 October 2012

Q & A with Fuller's

Today is the last day of the Ascot CAMRA Beer Festival in association with Fuller's, which is showcasing over 220 real ales, cider and perries.

We managed to have a chat yesterday with National Account Executive at Fuller's, Arthur Voelcker about the history of this famous brewery and what he's been looking forward to tasting at this year's festival.  

Name:  Arthur Voelcker
Location: Chiswick Brewery
Occupation: National Account Executive


1. Fuller’s has been brewing beer for over 300 years, how did it begin?

That’s right. Beer has been brewed at the Fuller’s Chiswick site for over 350 years. The original founders Douglas and Henry Thompson and Philip wood had to seek another investor due to financial trouble and approached John Fuller for help. The new partnership was difficult and in 1841 when Douglas Thompson left it broke down. Finding it increasingly difficult to run the brewery on his own John Fuller looked for help and was soon joined by Henry Smith of Romford Brewery and his brother in law, and head brewer, John Turner. This formed Fuller, Smith & Turner in 1845. To this day Fullers is still very much a family orientated business with many of the family working for the Brewery.

2. How long does it take to brew a typical Fuller’s real ale?

For a typical brew it takes about 14 days for the raw products malt, hops and water to be transformed and fermented into beer. For more specialist beers the brewing process can be longer.

3. Fuller’s brew many different beers, but what would you say is the most popular?

We do have many different beers but London Pride has to be our most popular and well-known brand.

4. Are there any new Fuller’s beers that we should look out for in the future?

We launched a new seasonal beer this summer called Wild River. This is a classic double hopped American style beer which is one to look out for next summer.  However for now we have some great seasonal beers coming out with Bengal Lancer, Red Fox and jack Frost all appearing this Autumn and winter.

5. What is Fuller’s relationship with the Campaign for Real Ale?

Fuller’s Brewery has had a strong relationship with CAMRA since the group’s inception in the 1970’s, and we worked closely with them throughout the past 40 years. Fuller’s focus has always been on real ale, and the close affiliation with such a remarkable pressure group (which continues to grow) has been beneficial to both parties.

In fact, Fuller’s holds somewhat of a record with CAMRA; being the only brewery to win the Champion Beer of Britain award with three very individual beers – London Pride, Chiswick Bitter and ESB. ESB has actually won the award an incredible three times.

Fuller’s now one of the country's leading real ale brewers and a flagship brewery for craft
brewing, and the strong relationship between Fullers and CAMRA continues.

6. If someone’s palate is new to beer, what would you suggest they try first?

There is no right or wrong beer to start drinking if you are new to beer. Everyone’s tastes are different and there are many different types of beer that appeal to them. However for people who are new to beer it is best to start with one that is not too bitter and is easy drinking like London Pride.

7. Apart from Fuller’s beers, what is your favourite beer to drink on an autumnal evening?

If it’s not London Pride then my next choice and favourite for an Autumn evening would have to be St Austell Brewery’s Tribute.

8. What are you looking forward to tasting at this year’s Ascot CAMRA Beer Festival?

I am very much looking forward to tasting some of the beers from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland…and of course do some quality control of our own beers as well!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Q&A: Loch Ness Brewery

Today and tomorrow Ascot Racecourse will showcase over 220 real ales, cider and perries at the Autumn Meeting featuring the 6th Ascot CAMRA Beer Festival.

This year we are pleased to welcome breweries from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to feature on our regional bar. With this in mind, we decided to have a chat with Stephen Crossland from the Loch Ness Brewery in Drumnadrochit.He took the time to let us know the beer he brews and what he’s looking forward to tasting at this year’s Beer Festival.

Name: Stephen Crossland
Location: Drumnadrochit, Loch Ness
Occupation: Hotelier/Brewery dogsbody


1. Why did you decide to get into brewing?

Long story! We (my brother Allan and I) have run the Benleva Hotel in Drumnadrochit (Loch Ness) for 11 years and from Day 1 we've specialised in cask ales. Pretty soon we , with considerable help and encouragement from Angus MacRuary of the Isle of Skye Brewery,  that The Loch Ness Brewery was a good idea, it just took us 10 more years to bring it to fruition!

2. How easy was it to start your own brewery?

Not easy – mainly due to the problems with acquiring finance. The Hotel is a very old building and has required a lot of investment iover the years and, with the fact that our banks appear to be incapable of lending money for investment, that's caused us a lot of problems with establishing the brewery. George Wotherspoon also appeared on the scene a couple of years ago and gave us the impetus to finally get everything in place. We also had problems with other folk trying to steal the name, but a quick Trademark registration sorted that one out!

3. Is brewing real ale a lengthy process?

Not really. A day's work will get you a brew done, but then you have to wait a couple of weeks before you can drink it.

4. What was the first ale you brewed? 

A blonde beer which we ended up calling Hoppy Ness. The beer naming decision was fairly straightforward once we decided to focus on the “Ness” names, rather than Nessie herself!

5. What ale’s do you currently brew?

Dark Ness (my favourite), Light Ness, Loch Ness, Hoppy Ness, Red Ness and Wilder Ness. We've also experimented with a few specials – Mild Ness, Sleekit Ness (for Burns Night), Ness Minister (for Parliament), Nesster Piggott (for Ascot of course!), Ness Un Korma (a curry ale for reasons best known to George!) and Prince of Darkness (a 10% Imperial Stout)

6. Are there any differences between Highland & Island Ales and those brewed in England? 

Not really – there's such a wide variety of styles within the Highlands and in England that it's impossible to generalise. I reckon we probably do have an advantage up here with the purity of our water though. We have plenty of it too!

7. If someone’s palate is new to ale, what would you suggest they try first?

A nice light pale ale – not too hoppy – or a nice malty ale, perhaps a good mild. Try as many as you can, you're bound to find one you love eventually.

8. Apart from your own fine ales, what is your favourite beer to drink on an autumnal evening?

Black Cuillin or Black Gold from up here, but I do love a nice bottle of a Kernel ale. Or anything from Rob Hill's Highland Brewing Company, or Fyne Ales. I do have a lot of favourites which is probably why my kilt seems to shrink each year.

9. We hear you may be wearing some tartan attire at the Beer Festival, is this true?

 Come along and see for yourselves......

10. What are you looking forward to tasting at this year’s Ascot CAMRA Beer Festival?
To be honest I've been so busy with trying to organise the 11th Loch Ness Beer Festival which has just ended, and sorting out the Highland beers for Ascot I haven't even had time to look at the list! However, I was there last year and had a fantastic time, so I know there are plenty of good ones to choose from. I was particularly fond of the Ascot Ales themselves last year so will definitely be giving them a go again.

For the opportunity to taste some of the beers available from the Loch Ness Brewery and the numerous other breweries, book your tickets today to the Ascot CAMRA Beer Festival. Tickets from £13pp and can be purchased on the gate.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

How to Taste Real Ale courtesy of CAMRA

There are over 5,500 different real ales brewed regularly in the UK. With such an amazing range of different beer styles, such as bitters, old ales, milds, barley wines and stouts and the biggest variety of draught beers in the World it’s no wonder that tasting British real ales has become every bit as sophisticated as tasting wine.

There has never been a better time to appreciate our traditional British drink, but you don’t have to be an expert. Such a wide range of flavours are available to you that you will soon realise what beers most appeal to your taste buds, whether they are chocolatety stouts or light floral golden ales.

Tasting beer is just like tasting wine, but forget about spitting it out. The first step is to make sure the beer you are tasting is served at the right temperature. Too cold and real ale loses many of its complex flavours. Served too warm, it can develop some you don’t want and quickly loses condition in the glass.

Use your eyes!

Beer should look good. It should be colourful and bright and if it is meant to have a significant head of froth, this should be thick and creamy. Remember that many beers, particularly from the south of England, are not brewed to be served with creamy heads. Remember too that some beers, such as wheat beers may be cloudy, but these too should look attractive and not dull or flat in appearance. Generally though, your beer should be bright and clear and your glass should not contain any sediment.

Use your nose!

The best way to sniff your beer is with a glass which is half-empty. This enables you to give it a quick swirl, place your hand over the glass to hold in the lovely aromas fighting to escape and then dive in and take a nice deep breath. You will soon learn to recognise key features such as hoppiness from a classic pale ale, the burnt chocolate flavours of a stout or the banana nose of a wheat beer.

Now the taste!

As you take your first taste of the beer you’ll notice the sweetness from the malts at the front of your mouth while dry bitter flavours from the hops dominate the back of your mouth as you swallow the beer and learn to appreciate the ‘finish’

Just like wine, beers have their own unique characteristics and complexities from the style, the ingredients and the recipe. Tasting beer is every bit as satisfying as tasting wine and you’ll soon learn to appreciate the various styles. Beer can be enjoyed on its own, but it is also exceptionally good with food, so don’t think for a moment that the dining table should be reserved for wine!

Experiment and you’ll soon become skilled in matching different beers to different food dishes.

How to Taste Real Ale is reproduced courtesy of the Campaign for Real Ale;

Share This