Jimmy Doherty: “I Looked at Beer as a Sports Drink”

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Have you ever pulled a muscle in less-than-heroic circumstances?

I was in Spain once and had the baby carrier with me – it had been raining and I slipped clean over. I put my back out but I managed to catch the baby – unfortunately nobody was there to see it, so there were no heroics. There’s nothing worse than doing something like that and no one seeing.

I can do three sets of 10 pull-ups. That I’m quite pleased with, but I still make a noise when I bend over, so swings and roundabouts.

I remember at school, I didn’t like sports much, so I had a laminated sick note that I used to bring out all the time. It was probably full of spelling mistakes…

Beer is good for you, right?

I looked at beer as a sports drink, and gave a group of rugby players beer after a hard training session. It was great for hydration and muscle repairing; it has natural sugars and carbohydrates, which is similar to a lot of these modern drinks, only with alcohol. Beer to cook with is a great thing too, just like we cook with wine, but the barley grain is an amazing superfood. It keeps you fuller for longer, there’s lots of vitamin D, copper and magnesium, and it also helps regulate your blood sugar levels, so it staves off diabetes and protects against strokes. Also, when there was a cholera outbreak in London, the only people that weren’t affected were the beer drinkers…

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I do like the pull-up bar – I had one that fit over the door and that was good because you’d use it whenever you walked past, you didn’t feel like you had to do something all the time. However, I’m quite active on the farm, and bursts of activity are good – you might have to chase down a cow that’s got out, you’re using lots of different muscles. When I first started the farm I must have lost a stone and a half straight away.

What is your guilty pleasure?

I run a restaurant on the farm, so it’s easy to just wander through and eat everything, especially on a menu tasting day. When I get something I like, it’s knowing when to stop. Bring a small plate, that always helps.

I’d probably say a couple of weeks; I think I was away and didn’t have access to a pub. I don’t do this whole thing of “I must not drink for this period of time.” I don’t start putting restrictions on life – it’s better to balance stuff naturally and keep it consistent, no binging.

Fencing, because I fancy myself as a bit of a musketeer. I could get myself a horse – I’d buy a cheap one and do it up – and then get my sword out, have a little play, it would be great fun.

When I was studying for my PhD, I spent a lot of time at a desk looking down a microscope, and I was quite partial to pork scratchings – which are a superfood now, thank goodness. It was just general inactiveness, it’s like if you go on holiday, come back and try to work out, it’s very hard. I think that’s why farming is so good, because you’re constantly moving all the time.

No, not really, but a friend of mine got me one of those bands that tells you how much you’ve walked and all that. I just ended up smashing it – it got on my nerves. I constantly had to keep on doing stuff, like walking up the stairs a couple of times to hit targets, I couldn’t be doing with it.

Jimmy Doherty has partnered with AB InBev to design a six-course menu for a celebration of all things beer and barley at an immersive restaurant, the Barley Beerstro. To try the menu yourself, visit brewedbynature.co.uk or #BarleyBeerstro

Former staff writer

Gary Ogden wrote for the print edition of Coach between 2015 and 2016, writing features, interviewing celebrities and covering entertainment. He has also written for ShortList.