Will Hawkes

Will Hawkes works on The Independent's Sports Desk. He writes about beer in his spare time.

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Top of the hops: It's time that malted barley got a bit more love

In 1966, as any English football fan will attest, was a very different world. The Rolling Stones were young, there were 240 pence to the pound and a new malted barley – Maris Otter – had just emerged on to the market.

The best strong ales coming to a pub near you this January

At Im Füchschen, one of Düsseldorf's famed brewhouses, you don't get a choice of draught beer. It's either their Alt – a clean, bitter, undeniably delicious copper-coloured ale – or nothing. Except on Christmas Eve. That's when their Weihnachtsbier, a Christmas beer, bumps Alt out of the spotlight for a day.

Tir na Nog

Philadelphia beer: Hop over for a master brew

With a historic drinking scene, Philly's the perfect place to pick up a pint, finds Will Hawkes

An obsession with a beer's style can obscure rather than illuminate

Beer drinkers are obsessed with style. Not sartorial style, by and large (I can hear the snickering about beards and sandals from here), but beer style: that is, what category a beer fits in to. Is it an IPA or a pale ale, a Weissbier or a Witbier?

The IndyManBeerCon festival highlights what a fine beer-drinking city Manchester is

Common sense dictates that drinking and swimming pools don't mix – a maxim that's hard to argue with, unless its early October and you're in Manchester. That's when IndyManBeerCon – by common consent, the best of Britain's new wave beer festivals – takes place at Victoria Baths in Chorlton-on-Medlock, a quirky venue for an impressive event.

Tower of bagel: Russ and Daughters

New York food: a tour of the Jewish Lower East Side

Jewish immigrants brought the bagel to Manhattan more than a century ago. Will Hawkes tours the area for a flavour of what else remains of their culinary legacy
Three to try: Old Dairy Blue Top, Westerham Viceroy IPA, and Gadds' No 3

Beer: English hops need support

This year's Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight is the most popular yet, with 25 Kentish breweries involved

Traditional English beer doesn't travel well so head to the pub if you want to sample great ale

If you want to find great cask ale in London, ask an Italian. Well, one Italian in particular: Alessio Leone, who mans the bar and the cellar at the Gunmakers Arms in Clerkenwell. One lunchtime not long ago, he served me the best pint of ale I've had all year: the nutty, perfectly-bitter Harvey's Sussex Best.

London Beer City features live brews, tastings, tours and tap takeovers

London is abuzz with beer. Next month brings the Great British Beer Festival to town and to coincide with that, there'll be the first-ever London Beer City. Its organiser Will Hawkes reveals the highlights

Gale's Prize Old Ale is a classic of a virtually disappeared English strong old-ale tradition

I didn't expect to run into an almost forgotten English classic when I went to Philadelphia last month. But there it was, on the menu at Monk's, the city's foremost beer bar: Gale's Prize Old Ale, a classic of a now virtually disappeared English strong old-ale tradition.

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