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Lydia Backhouse: Crafty Celebrity Stories

Actress Lydia Backhouse regales us with tales of ale.
Actress Lydia Backhouse regales us with tales of ale.

British Actress Lydia Backhouse joins The Beer Connoisseur for the next installment of Crafty Celebrity Stories, which features the best tales of ale (and more) from leading actors, celebrities and persons of interest.

Backhouse has starred in 2016 TV series This Is It as Jess, and wrote, executive produced and starred in Pretty Hurts, a TV mini-series from 2017.

Beer drinkers like to laugh. What’s the funniest drinking story you can share with us?
I do love a laugh and have plenty of funny drinking stories... some maybe not suitable for the mag but the one I remember the most was probably when I was in Bruges last Christmas and we went to this Italian restaurant in the square. I ordered a Hoegaarden beer, and the rest of my family ordered Brugse Zot beers. We had a subpar meal and then got the check, which ended up being around €400 (so expensive!). We were then told that each Brugse Zot beer was €20 each for a half-pint (which was made in the brewery less than a mile away) and my beer was €40 for a large stein (of which I had two). €80 for 2 beers!!!

We tried to argue this, but, in the end, we paid. Of course, after a full day in Bruges drinking beer we were a little tipsy to say the least, and we all know Brits can get a bit rowdy after a few drinks, so we left before we ended up burning the place down for the expensive check. On the way out, I was throwing everything I could find in my bag and down my coat including candles, ornaments, cutlery and flowers... I wanted more for my money!!

We left and hid all the stuff in a bush and then looked next door to the restaurant we were just in to see a sign saying “€1 for 1 beer.” We all looked at each other and said, “I bet it’s some nasty beer!” We went inside and found out that the beer we had been drinking in the restaurant next door for €20-€80 was being sold just one door down for just €1. Let’s just say we took advantage of that deal, staying there all night and didn’t wake up the next afternoon until about 2 p.m. – it was a rough night! The saying for the rest of the holiday was 1 EUROOOOOOO!! Maybe this was a “you have to be there moment,” but, hey, we had fun! 

Who is the coolest person you've had a beer with?
My dad! I know that might seem boring, but he loves his beer and he’s the one that got me into drinking it. I probably would never have tried it yet if it wasn’t for him! I don’t really get starstruck so no one impressed me much... accept for the inimitable Sir David Attenborough, he would deffo be the coolest. 

What are a few of your favorite craft beers and why?
I love Bread and Butter from Vocation Brewery in England and Moonshine from Abbeydale Brewery in Sheffield, which is where I’m from. My favourite American beers would be Sierra Nevada Pale Ale... it’s a classic and is so refreshing, the celebration edition is unreal too! I honestly love any Belgium blonde beers, they all taste amazing... you cannot go wrong! 

Do you have a favorite (craft) brewery or breweries and why?
I loved the Bruges brewery De Halve Maan, which is where they brew Brugse Zot. It’s a really nice, thirst-quenching brew. The brewery was very small and run by a family, but it was just so interesting, and you got to see every element of the process. Plus, you got to try so much beer as you strolled around – which was a nice bonus.  It’s a really cool and very intimate brewery, and if you’re ever in Bruges you should check it out! 

Have you attended any beer events or festivals that you particularly enjoyed? What made them stand out?
My favourite day of the year is the 3 Valleys Beer Festival in Dronfield, Derbyshire. Now if there’s one thing that people should know all over the world, it's that Yorkshire people can drink... and drink... and drink. The whole entire town is turned into a huge festival and every pub is involved, a bus goes around from pub to pub to take the public anywhere they like on the route. There are so many beers to choose from at each pub, some local and some very distant breweries are all on cask pump.

There are loads of different food stands top selling burgers and other delicious cuisines. This isn’t a place for lager drinkers because they just wouldn't be welcome!! They also have loads of live music and activities going on! By the end of the day, I’d probably drank around 20 different beers from around England and the world. I ended up stranded in a fish & chip shop on my own at the end of the night with a sprained wrist and a big lump on my head from my best friend slamming a port-a-loo toilet door on my head. It’s honestly the best day of the year... if you’re in England get yourself there for the start of the festival on June 2! 

Has throwing a few beers back ever helped you get ready or loosen up for a certain role? 
Well that would be unprofessional! Once I got an audition on really late notice for a self-tape, and I’d been drinking in the morning/early afternoon for a friend’s birthday. I went ahead and did the self-tape anyway, and I actually booked the role, so they must’ve liked tipsy Lydia.

I will say there was a time on set when I’d been offered to drink with the cast and crew and we all may have had a few too many. We still got the job done and it became a great project (I won’t say what it is though!). I did forget that I was driving that day and had to get an expensive Uber back to Hollywood. That’s the great thing about London, the Underground goes everywhere so you can drink as much as you want – anywhere, anytime! 

Do you have any upcoming projects "brewing?”
I like the pun! I do have a very exciting project coming up; it’s a film about a Russian free diver who is a female record holder. She went missing near Ibiza while free-diving in 2015 unfortunately and was never found. I play the British record holder in the film. That will be filmed in Malta in May/June so stay tuned!

Mind you, I don’t think I’ll be drinking any beer on-set, seeing as I will be diving in the open water. I’m a good swimmer, but I’ve never swum after downing an 8 percent ABV Belgian blonde ale! I would probably end up going missing as well! 

Follow Lydia on Instagram.