Thursday, 30 December 2010

McMullen’s Stronghart

7% ABV

This has been my Christmas tipple of choice this year, quite a lovely strong warming bitter for the season. Currently it is only available in bottles, which my local landlord liked as he could keep selling it whilst keeping the full range of their other beers on the pumps. Something I agree with too as it happens, this way other beer I fancy isn’t punted off the pumps, always a winner.

It pours quite lively with a tan coloured head and rich dark golden brown appearance. On the nose it smells of sweetness and spices which after the first alcohol hit in the taste comes though in buckets. Highly enjoyable in its bottle form but I would love to try it on cask just taste the difference although I could see why bottle would be better as your pubs can order smaller or larger quantities depending on their customers taste.

It is also a lovely pint when topped up with a bottle of McMullen’s very own Pale Ale, bitter and pale ale who would have thought it. :) Certainly a winter warmer even if a bit lethal, it was this combining which meant I slowly drank in the pub but it was worth it. I like being able to have a pint or half of something stronger within a session on a cold winters evening and this is a great drink for it.

Possibly another beer for the aging process I feel, if it lasts that long. In either case it’s a case of Stronghart in the online shopping basket, shame they don’t sell their Pale Ale online too.

For more information: http://www.mcmullens.co.uk/ourbeers.php

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

As it is Christmas Eve I write this from my work desk awaiting the time when we down tools (aka calculator and keyboard) and head out for the festive session in the pub.

Stronghart, the McMullen seasonal bottle beer is calling to me from my local and as soon as the boss gets fed up with us all and boots us out the door I'll be heading to my local. Hopefully my lovely partner will be there already with one poured for me.

So this is the last post before the big day.

This is Meer For Beer signing off with hugs and beer with Best Wishes for Christmas!

Have a lovely day folks.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Samuel Smiths

I love the time when a group of people come into one of these pubs and say “I’ll have a pint of Ste…..” which trails off as they realise no, they can’t. The only goods sold in these pubs are the Samuel Smiths brands, even the spirits, crisps and soft drinks are all branded to this brewery. I believe the only brewery to do so in England, in America I see Goose Island have an own range of soft drinks but I bet they haven’t got this far in the branding.

Not everyone’s pint of beer but I rarely find a bad one of their pubs, just recently London pubs have been having a bit of tart up and a new lick of paint. Unlike many other breweries when this company do up a pub there is no danger of it becoming a wine bar affair rather than a pub. The Crown near Tottenham Court Road has fairly recently been done and it now a very nice place to wander into for a drink, many have commented on the work done to the Princess Louise in Holborn which is frankly stunning.

The brewery pubs do have a soft place in the hearts of those who go to them, each pub in unique and many with unusual and beautiful features that the Brewery takes care not to lose. The London pubs have been the focus of many a pub challenge, this one http://www.samsmithschallenge.co.uk/ is one of the best detailed maps for finding their pubs. Good Beer guide is useless for these as brewery’s beers are not considered real beer under CAMRAs guidelines sadly.

Pricewise they only usually put up their prices when duty goes up and when by the same amount which is unusually fair in this day and age. Bottle beers are more expensive than pump but not to a ridiculous point, the range is good too. Taddy Porter and the Oatmeal Stout being personally favourites and they are especially lovely on a cold winter’s day in front of a warm fire in a pub accompanied by a book and my mobile switched off so I can’t disturbed by the Husband who has probably realised I haven’t gone shopping but will be in a pub somewhere. Bliss.

Brewery Webpage: http://www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk/
And yes, it is a webpage not website; they may have joined the 21st century but only just.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Attention Those Who Run on Beer!

I would be very surprised if you haven't noticed the charity appeal banner on this blog just recently but there is another side to the charity coin...the London Marathon.

It's the biggest and bestest one in the world and held in London, have your chance to beat the London Pride Bottle's time!

Or alternatively run with the bottle and try and blag a couple of pints at the finishing line! :)

Now for the Serious bit;

Run the Virgin London Marathon 2011 for Whizz-Kidz!

Whizz-Kidz, disabled children’s charity, has places available in the world’s best marathon – the London Marathon 2011.

To run for Whizz-Kidz, you need to fundraise a minimum of £1600. Please contact Jess on j.leigh@whizz-kidz.org.uk (or call 0207 233 9696) for more information.

Closing date: January 2011.

Web: http://www.whizz-kidz.org.uk/getinvolved/events/floralondonmarathon/

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Anchor Brewing Company – Old Foghorn

8.2% ABV

I enjoy Barleywine beers, for me they are THE winter choice but they are becoming awkward to find. This was the only one I could find in otherwise well packed beer shop and it’s not even a British barleywine. I miss the days of Old Nick from Youngs, that was a great beer that was so wonderful for sipping on a winters evening.

However this was the only one I could find on Friday so what’s it like? The beer itself pours well, a rich cherryique colour with a fluffy off white head that lasts well but will go into a fine lacing towards the bottom of the drink. Dry and sweet like sherry. Unlike British versions which are golden syrupy and coats the mouth with a sweet alcoholic kick. This American version is drier on the end which totally neutralises the sweet first notes from the beer. Not sure I really like that in a Barleywine, I enjoy the lingering sweetness of the British versions.

I will say I am not convinced the bottles I had were kept brilliantly as the tasting notes from American reviewers mention that it is dry but not the level of dryness I had so maybe the batch these were from didn’t travel well or weren’t kept in the best conditions in the shop. So with this in mind I am going to be open-ended in my review, the first notes were gorgeous honey tasting barley maltness that was morish and gorgeous, the slight dryness was appealing but the overwhelming dry almost mustiness is so jarring I will take as a sign of the beer on it’s way out.

All in all I do recommend you try this beer, it is not the same as our versions of this style but it is a lovely version from across the sea.

For More Information: http://www.anchorbrewing.com

Thursday, 2 December 2010

December's Delights

After last year’s slightly disappointing Christmas beer apart from Loddon’s Razzle Dazzle which was stunning, I have been planning my festive beer drinking. I will have bottles after this weekend hiding around the house and my order of stronger beers will be done to beat the government’s stupid plans for higher tax on some beers.

I think on the whole it is the high percentage beers that cost a lot of money that have attracted the government eye, rather like high earners who have to pay 50% tax do. Makes me glad I am a lowly paid minion, the only reason I am but anyway…..

To get back on track..seasonal beers, here is a sneak ticking list I want to try and get around;

Harvey’s Christmas Ale 8.1%
Wayland’s Marley’s Ghost 5.2%
Fuller’s Old Winter Ale 4.8%
St Austell’s Raisins To Be Cheerful 5.5%
Sharps’ Abbey Christmas 4.6%
Otter Brewery’s Otter Claus 5.0%
Cotleigh’s Red Nose Reinbeer 4.5%
Titanic Brewery’s Deck The Halls 4.2%
Crouch Vale’s Happy Santa 4.3% and also Santa’s Revenge 5.0%

I like Crouch Vale’s duel beers concept. This month should be better than last year, can’t wait.

And remember it can’t be Christmas unless there are puns in some of the beers names

Monday, 29 November 2010

Sambrooks - Powerhouse Porter


4.9% ABV

It was rather cold with a stiff breeze on Sunday so my partner and I headed to the Harp in Covent Garden to warm up before going off seasonal shopping. Didn’t see the Thornstar beer on pump which we were there but there was a rather nice mild from Crouch Vale and the newest of the Sambrook beers.

Just the ticket to warm you up on a cold winter’s day, strangely it was only a few months ago that we were discussing Sambrooks and were in agreement they needed a darker beer to complete a triad of good beers. It was great to see they had brewed a rather attractive looking and tasting porter.

This was an enjoyable pint, admittedly my husband’s pint but in marriage you share everything. Tang-wise I can usually always pinpoint certain breweries by some part of their taste, for me Sambrooks has a metallic tang. I assume this must be something to do with the water they use or something in the brewing style as Fullers always has a marmalade tang and McMullen’s a dried herby taste. All enjoyable but sound slightly weird when describing.

Looking forward to what they brew next now.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Darkstar Green Hop IPA

6.5% ABV

Didn’t think I was going to enjoy this one but I was wrong on so many levels of assumption. It is like many hoppy beers, a light honey golden pint with a fluffy head which disappears apart from a fine lacing around the top of the pint Attractive but usually the only part I find attractive. A lot of the hoppy beers I have tried are unbalanced, nothing to 'stop the hop' from overwhelming everything else. This time the beer was light in mouth, sweet but bitter and really amazing.

Light citrus taste, grapefruit in syrup is the thing that springs to my mind. This is a really gorgeous balanced beer; despite its strength it is really smooth in the mouth. The sweetness is more a honeyed syrupiness which counters the earthy hops leaving a lovely bitter hint of taste in the mouth. Highly quaffable is my other thought, so much so I had drunken half a pint before remembering the strength.

Darkstar once again you have gotten me to change my assumptions and suspicions, well done for such an excellent beer!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Time For Another?

It doesn’t matter if you are sitting down at home with a beer and a book or whether you are in the pub with your mates for your Saturday meet-up, having a beer is your time.

For me, beer isn’t just a beverage to knock back as fast as you can just so you can go onto the next one, its role is varied. It’s the drink I enjoy whilst curled up with a good book, it is part of the enjoyable experience of having those couple of hours of peace. Times spent with friends either passing various glasses around so we can all taste the various pints brought or individual pints drunk during a good afternoon of talking and laughing.

Perhaps this isn’t the right subject matter for what sparked this post off but when I think of time and beer it’s memories rather than good aged beers I remember. A group of friends chatting around a bottle of wine is one of the most used advertisements for wine there is and I think it’s one that beer adverts don’t use enough. Memories of great evening can be brought back by the mere sight of the pump clip on the bar and those thoughts tend to influence you on your choice too.

Time for another? The phrase we often hear used with an empty glass being shook gently by a mate as they head to the bar. Beer is a sociable drink and it’s amazing how much time can be made for just one more pint with a mate and how much we look forward to it. National institution in a way, not alcohol marred by drunken idiots on cheap vodka shots that make the cover of the Daily Mail but beer enjoyed in a social environment with friends. Happy but not drunk, that stage where time seems to linger and you make it home in time for a good night’s sleep before getting up still feeling good in the morning.

Time has a lot to do with beer, the whole process it takes to make it, age it at home if you like but the most important time to me is when it is time to drink it.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Movember

OK Chaps pay attention, I know how much you all enjoy the lady wife’s missives but I feel the need to interject.

For those of you who are unaware we currently 10 days into Movember , what’s Movember? I hear you cry.

Well Movember is when we chaps spend the month attempting to look like Cooking Lager’s profile picture while raising money for the fight against prostate cancer, all with the support of the good lady of course.

Further details on this splendid event can be found here http://uk.movember.com/?home

Wonderful stuff but you are of course here to read about beer and so I won’t disappoint you; the splendid chaps at The Warwickshire Beer Co. (http://www.warwickshirebeer.co.uk//) are supporting Movember with a special edition pump clip designed to raise awareness of Movember in pubs across the country. A contribution from every pint sold is going to support Movember so look out for it.



Should you wish to support this correspondent’s effort his MoSpace page can be found here http://uk.movember.com/mospace/1090132

We now return you to your regular programming.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Is It Real Or Not?

So if it's not real ale then is it just a shadow on the pub wall?

Of course not.

Camra define real ale as:
"Real ale is a natural product brewed using traditional ingredients and left to mature in the cask (container) from which it is served in the pub through a process called secondary fermentation. It is this process which makes real ale unique amongst beers and develops the wonderful tastes and aromas which processed beers can never provide."
Taken from here: http://www.camra.org.uk/page.aspx?o=100330

If it doesn't work according to this then it's not real ale/beer, however surely this should be rethought on a regular basis? For me dogma is a useful tool, if everyone agrees to the basic points then everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet and can march forward as one. Where dogma goes bad is when it becomes so embeded in stone that it becomes a millstone around the neck of the movement, causing it to fall out of sync with the world which is moving ahead unencumbered.

The first paragraph on the Camra page for me is more important, it was defined as a way of showing the customer the difference between traditional beers/ales and mass produced beer by creating a brand image of their own for the product. And lets be honest they did the industry and the customers a fantastic service by doing this, beer in this country really improved with their work educating the customer on the differences between products.

However the emphasis they place on cask now still has a point but keg and non-bottle conditioned beers have improved by leaps and bounds. There is a big difference in my opinion between good keg beer and mass produced beer such as Guinness, and this should be celebrated as cask beer was back in the first days of Camra.

I don't believe cask will stop being made with good keg beers being recognised, I think it would be another string to the bow of any brewer. Inform the customer on the differences between cask and keg by all means but also inform the customer on the differences between good keg and bad keg.

These are just my first thoughts on this from reading Pete Brown's blog here on the subject:
http://petebrown.blogspot.com/2010/11/real-ale-preference-or-dogma.html

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Brewdog American Double IPA

9.2% ABV

As stated before I don’t really go for overly hoppy beers but this was at a price that was reasonable for a try. I do wonder though if this is Hardcore IPA under another name, as the style of IPA and the alcohol percentage is exactly the same. However Hardcore is £2.39 and not available around here, so I can’t do a comparison. Not that I wouldn’t pay £2.39 for a beer before anyone says anything, I just prefer one more balanced than a hopped for hell one.

It pours into quite an attractive drink, deep golden liquid with a fluffy light golden head which stays until the last sip. It smells of syrupy hops to me with a citrus edge, I didn’t get candied orange peel as was suggested on the bottle but a fresh citrus scent. First gulp wise I got a big whack of hops and alcohol tempered by the syrupiness that I could smell, however as I drank the sweetness disappears totally and it gradually just gets more and more bitter. This is quite a challenge to drink and if I’m honest its one that I couldn’t say was necessarily a worthy one.

The alcohol taste is harsh, which I do wonder if after a year’s or so aging would improve and soften out. It is to this end the other two bottles I brought are safely tucked away, hidden from cat paws and thirsty beer drinkers alike.

If this is Hardcore IPA under a different branding then I can’t see the reasoning behind doing this, it isn’t an easy drink and I doubt it would win many fans without the ‘Brewdog’ brand to temper its taste. Guess we will find out if the Finest labelled version ends up on special!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

November’s Novelties

My cold is clearing up and I hope by the weekend I will once again be able to drink beer and taste it. My local Tescos has the new-ish Brewdog beer in their Finest collection and I have three bottles at home to try although I may age one or two of them. From what I can see on the label it is a hoppy hop hop beer which is not normally to my taste as a style but I like to try these things every so often. Trashy Blonde, which I didn’t think I was going to enjoy was a nice beer on pump so I’m not about to write this one off without trying it, especially as the price is more than reasonable. Currently on three for £4 pounds at most branches.

Fullers have Bengel Lancer back for their November seasonal which is a fine beer and I will be back to have that again at a pub soon. But lets have a brief look at what else is available this month;

Darkstar Brewery: Green Hopped IPA 6.5%
Little Valley Brewery: Gustibus 5.2%
Loddon Brewery: Oarsome 4.4%
Sharps Brewery: Abbey Christmas 4.6%
Tom Wood’s Brewery: Jolly Ploughman 5.0%
Ossett Brewery: Winters T’Ale 5.0%

I confess I have already tried the Tom Wood’s seasonal which is a nice pint but does remind me of the chutney that goes with a good ploughman’s lunch so I will probably try this again with one as a food and drink comparing.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Wandsworth Halloween Beer Festival 2010

Despite having the reminder of a cold, I headed up to this festival with some friends for a good afternoon of beer drinking, comparing and chattering. The beer was reduced by the Saturday but not as much as the March festival where I am sure they were caught out by how successful the beer festival had become by word of mouth.

This is a great venue for a festival although I wish they would clear the restaurant area and allow folks up there earlier rather than confining folks to the bar and garden. However this is only a small niggle, as the festival is always friendly and charming with great people working behind the bar.

Ascots’ Anastasia Stout was a real highlight for me, probably my beer of the festival. Thick syrupy style of stout that coated the mouth in it’s gloriousness of taste. So good we ended up getting it again later on in the afternoon. Ascots’ Double Trouble was a good example of a Belgium style beer but it was too flat, it needed the fizzy bubbles of a Belgium beer to lift it in my opinion. However the Penguin Porter was termed as a hug in a glass by our table, warm and comforting. It would be perfect for a cold winter’s day to curl up beside the fireplace with.

Blindmans Brewery did extremely well at our table; their beers were all consistently good. Eclipse being my favourite with its Green & Black’s chocolate style top notes, Icarus was a good second and Siberia coming last even though we all enjoyed the beer it just wasn’t as good as its stable mates.

Moorhouse had a very good showing at the festival too; Black Cat is still the best mild in the world for me despite good competition from Sarah Hughes. I know that definitely one of our group will not agree with me on that one but that’s the great thing about beer you can disagree but still enjoy the beer.

All in all we had a great time at the festival, lots of new beers tried and enjoyed. A few beers we couldn’t get, but are available as bottles for us to track down, an idea was mooted for our own beer festival which if it happens could be an interesting time. I just wish my cold hadn’t removed a vast amount of my sense of smell which impaired my sense of taste for the festival. We were going to head to Putney the following day for the Cider Festival at the Bricklayers but the Saturday night was a bad one with the revenge of the recurring cold so we had to give it a miss but maybe next time.

The glass was a nice addition to my growing collection, although one question: Is it a ‘northern’ style glass? As the gap between the one pint line and top of the glass is over half an inch which I feel, would allow for a larger fluffier head than I’m used to in a pub.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Advertising or the lack of.......

As a member of the Fullers' Real Ale Club I did get the email telling me all about their new TV campaign but it was only last night I actually saw one of the adverts. I'll be honest as well as being a beer drinker, I read a lot and listen to music rather than watch TV. In my opinion there is barely anything on TV worth the license fee and I'm not yet old enough to be a grumpy old sod or whatever the female equal is.

As adverts go, it wasn't loud, annoying or irritating but it showed the product and was mildly amusing. So I was impressed and it got me thinking that part of the reason why beer has a old bloke's image is that fact that there are very few breweries who advertise in popular media forms. When I look at Beer in the Evening website, no adverts for beer pop up, instead the pop ups are all for either travel or laser eye surgery. Hardly the type of advertising one is interested in when looking for a pub to go to that weekend or evening is it?

Papers do have beer adverts on the odd occasion but magazines don't. Small hint if you want women to look at beer, how about a good quality advert campaign in magazines? The wine industry do it after all, Cosmo and similar have full page wine adverts.

I know partly the lack of advertising is down to money, campaigns do cost a lot. But advertising in my experience is like a ball, takes effort to start it rolling but once it's going the costs do become cheaper so the product is better known.









And yes before someone comments, I do happen to like James May.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Fullers’ Trafalgar Ale

5.0% ABV

Fullers’ late October seasonal ale which I was lucky to find on pump at a otherwise rather dull birthday drinks on Saturday. According to the Fullers website this ale is brewed with molasses for sweetness and it certainly very syrupy feeling pint. It coats the mouth in a lovely lingering way with the sweetness giving way to the marmalade bitter.

This ale does remind me a lot of ESB, which as one of my favourite beers is a winner for me. It is a sweeter pint than most but not cloying as some molasses brewed beers can be. It doesn’t really keep it’s head at all but it is such an attractive colour the appearance doesn’t suffer from this.

I would recommend this seasonal to everyone whilst it is around and I certainly will be enjoying it myself.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Hook Norton’s Double Stout

4.8% ABV

I always find the wording on Hook Norton’s bottles weird, mainly because they all state progress there is measured in pints, yet the bottles themselves are 500ml so the bottling line can't really progress as fast as the rest of the brewery?

Anyway… I really needed this beer; I called into work yesterday to help with a stocktake which meant I spent the day in a garage counting sundry car parts. Not what I call a good way to spend a whole Saturday.

Thankfully I had one of these beers waiting for me at home, it’s been sitting there for a week so the sentiment had settled. The tasting notes on the back of the bottle state the colour as Black!, and they are spot on. It pours a totally opaque black into the glass with a lovely coffee foam colour head. The smell of chocolatey toasty-ness was gorgeous and the taste does follow up the rich scent of this beer.

This beer held it’s own against a combination of stilton and biscuits with the chocolate notes complimenting the cheese really well. Not my usual choice of beverage to go with stilton but it works well. It was a great end to a very meh day.

For more information: http://www.hooknortonbrewery.co.uk/index.html

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Eat, Drink & Take Responsibility

Apparently according to our hard working researchers, real ale is better than red wine for you. With it not affecting levels of homocysteine (a chemical linked to heart disease) whilst red wine raising the levels by 8%. And for us ladies half a pint of real ale contains a quarter of our daily intake of silicon which could help prevent osteoporosis.

Great news for now, but with all research be it dieticians doing it or scientists this is only current for the moment. Like the good news over red wine or certain vegetable benefits it won’t be long before another study (possibly funded by a wine company or by a government misery group) will put the downers on these possible health benefits.

Personally I take these studies with a big pinch of salt, figures can mean anything you want them too. I should know working in the accounting field myself this small fact of life.

Health benefits are great but like many health benefits doing them to excess doesn’t mean they do you any better usually the opposite. Too much exercise can be worse than no exercise sometimes and this is the same with food and drink benefits. Eat and drink what you want but always take responsibility for your own actions and decisions.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

October’s Outstandings

Yes, I know terrible title for a post but not much goes with October…..

I didn’t do a brief round up of beers to attempt to try for September as far as I can see, probably due to the wedding preparations but here a short one for this month;

Loddon’s Boozy Floozy 4.5%
Darkstar’s Oktoberfest 5.2%
Allgates’ Shimla IPA 5.5%
Blindmans Brewery’s Merlin Magic 4.2%
Fuller’s Trafalgar Ale 5.0%

I use these round-ups as a small possible list of beers to try and now I am in a position to spend a small fortune on other things I can try and get a few more in. However my liver and salary don’t allow me to get that many so these lists will remain quite small to maximise my chances.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Cask Pub & Kitchen - Pimlico

Now last Saturday we had a second wedding ceremony and as such we wanted to take out the twenty folks at the event for a meal and drinks. Unfortunately our first choice of eating venue couldn’t do the time we wanted so instead I had been looking at the Riverside at Vauxhall but they are crap at answering emails asking if we could reserve an area. Admittedly we have bowled up before and managed to secure areas before without booking but even so an email or phone call from them would have been nice.

It was with luck that we happened upon the Cask as we wandered from the local Tesco. We’ve heard about it for quite awhile but never managed to go there but this time we managed to track it down and enjoy a nice meal which included properly done blue steak! Yay! And of course we tried various beers including the Bourbon County Stout that I saw on Boak & Bailey’s blog, which I would say is definitely worth £16 a bottle. Gorgeous with the steak and afterwards instead of coffee.

At this point we had a quick discussion and then asked the bar manager if he could fit us in on the Saturday for food and drinks. Like his staff he was friendly and helpful and couldn’t help us more unlike the Riverside. So table booked!

We duly arrived in two groups on the Saturday and our table was ready, everyone enjoyed the food and the drink. People enjoyed trying various types of beer including folks who normally would only drink wine. I’m pretty sure some of the sneaky guests paid for their own drinks even though I had set up a tab for everyone as my bill for the night was below £400. Nice thing about this sort of social gathering is you get offers from friends to try their beers and vice versa which is a good way of selecting your next drink although a few of us picked drinks by what glasses we could see on show.

One thing I didn’t understand and still don’t is the reviews on Beer in the Evening and others which state the place is in a dodgy council estate and the pub itself is a horrible building. I happen to live in Essex and where I live even the staffs go around in packs of five and this area is nothing like the estates near me. The building itself is apparently a grade listed property and is pleasant with a good use of space inside. Not a traditional pub certainly but not horrible by any stretch, I quite liked the under seat heating and it is needed with such large windows.

I think this a great place for folks wanting a casual but superb afternoon or evening drinks with friends and for great food to go with great beers.

More information: http://www.caskpubandkitchen.com/

Monday, 27 September 2010

York Beer & Cider Festival 2010

Meant to post about this last week but with one thing and another it didn’t happen. If you think when you get married that ends all the time consuming stuff of marriage, forget it. It doesn’t.

Anyway when we were in York on our mini-moon we had the luck to see a local Camra magazine in one of the pubs which was advertising this lovely event. Normally we only get to go to beer festivals on the weekend when a lot of the more unusual beers have gone but this time we were able to attend the first day which was great. Even better as we weren’t Camra members we were first of the first in, as for this event they split the queue into members and non-members, at opening time we were one couple of four in that line and the Camra queue was a lot longer.

The event has encouraged me and Mr Meer to be joining Camra, it was quite possibly the best event I have ever been too. Well run and organised with lots of friendly staff behind the bar. In a way a lot of the choosing had been decided for the both of us as we concentrated on breweries that we don’t see in London with only a couple of exceptions. Breweries such as Bird Brain, Brown Cow, Old Mill and Hambleton are all based various parts of Yorkshire but all new to me.

Old Mill’s Yorkshire Porter was a lovely example of a dessert beer, sweet and dry perfect to go with a cheese board. Brown Cow’s Thriller in Vanilla was a good working vanilla stout, unlike Artisen’s ibeer which we tried in Battersea. The chocolatey Thriller stout was brought out by the sweet vanilla which makes it an enjoyable half, not sure I would drink a full pint but as a half very nice. Hambleton Brewery’s Nightmare was also a delight, dry hoppy first taste but tempered by the coffee roasted flavour that comes though. All in all we tried some fantastic beers which don’t make it down here that often. We didn’t have any of the Yorkshire Breweries beers at the festival but then we were drinking them all week in pubs.

Of course the good thing about festivals is the fact you can try beers for a very reasonable third pint that are normally quite expensive and with this in mind the strongest beer I had was Brewdog’s Paradox Smokehead at 10%. Normally I just don’t get their beers, buy a bottle try it and usually half goes down the sink but this was a beer I really enjoyed. Oily thick texture with an intense whisky stout taste, beautiful. However my partner did buy me a bottle of this as a present at the end of the mini-moon which I found wasn’t as nice as the cask. Perhaps it’s the bottling that affects the taste, I don’t know. It means I will just have to keep a look out for it in a pub or another festival for another try.

They even had entertainment in the form of Balloon Platoon, (http://www.balloonwiz.co.uk/) this guy was brilliant. Many a glass ended up with a balloon bug attached to it much to the amusement of the bar staff and I ended up with a balloon wand which was very swish and proving I probably do have a child’s mental age sometimes. But what a great way to provide off the cuff entertainment! Fantastic.

The plastic glasses due to licensing laws in York was good for us too as we had to transport the glasses back to London later that week.

Great festival, great people. If you find yourself in York when this is on again I would go, it will be a great day.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Wedding Reception For A Beer Bride

It seems strange being back at work after the mini-moon and of course this is not helped by my desk being ‘re-organised’ in my absence. However it was a great wedding and reception on the 11th September and we both enjoyed all of it, despite the last minute no shows from some guests.

The reception was held at a Fuller’s pub in Fleet Street, The Old Bank of England. If you haven’t been there I suggest you do, fantastic building and staff who bend over backwards to be helpful. The decision to hold the reception there was mainly due to my desire for a pub with good beer and food coupled with a relaxed atmosphere.

Many weddings I have been to tend to be formal affairs and I personally prefer to be able to relax and chat to guests than being restricted by a sitting plan. Which we did away, with knowing people can organise themselves into seats and tables. The buffet was brilliant with the Fuller’s mini pie platters and lots of various finger foods meant that everyone was well fed including all fussy eaters we had with us on the day. To be honest I don’t think I sat down more than once, most of the time I was wandering around chatting to folks with a glass of ESB in hand. A lovely way to spend your wedding reception I thought and I was presented with a lot of opportune moments to enjoy the atmosphere with my new husband.

We did have a live jazz band playing called Quartz who were excellent and also a silhouette artist wandering around cutting out folks silhouettes as part of the wedding favors. (http://www.alison-russell.co.uk/) I highly recommend her work, she cuts out each one in less than a couple of minutes and they cut out any family arguments as everyone was too busy commenting how good they are or comparing each others to argue… brilliant and unusual!

Can’t imagine a more perfect day than the one we had which I think is the best way to remember such a day.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Absence Note

Sorry for the lack of posts but on Saturday I got married and myself and Mr Meer are on a mini-moon in York. Beer festival to attend tomorrow and lots of kisses from "him indoors" is stopping me from posting too much. :)

Normal service will resume next week.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Friday In A Nutshell



I know a few other bloggers have mentioned a new brewery in Druids Street, London but it wasn’t until last Friday I got to try any of the Kernel Brewery beers. The Antelope in Tooting which is a great place to go for a good meal and pint have expanded their range of bottled beers as I only found out that Friday when I arranged to meet my other half for a meal.

The first one I tried with the London Porter, which was lovely if a tad on the thin side in the mouth. I have to admit I much prefer Fuller’s London Porter in comparison as it feels nicer. But taste-wise it is an easy going style of porter, which worked well with the steak I had ordered for dinner. The other two Kernel beers I tried were more my style but as they weighed in at over 7% they weren’t going to be as easy going. The Kernel Brewery’s dark beers all have a marmite taste rather than an liquorice one which I really liked as a change. The Baltic Porter is especially good with a chocolate marmite taste which I really found enjoyable and I have to admit I am looking forward to having another one of those at some stage.

I hope that the Antelope can get their other ales in soon so I can have a try of those and I know my partner prefers lighter beers, so I know he would interested in trying them too. Whilst I was enjoying the Kernel beers he partook of a Passion Fruit beer which was peardrop tasting and so sweet you could feel your teeth enamel melting but he enjoyed it.

Friday’s are always enjoyable in a good pub with great food (including a rare steak nom) and interesting unusual bottled beers alongside a good line-up of beers on pump. Proving that pubs can survive without gimmicks or stupid promotions on drinks.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Did It!



Completed my first 5k race with a not bad time of 40 minutes.

Needless to say my body hates me this morning, still not bad and I know I can beat that time next race. :)

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Brooklyn Brewery – Black Chocolate Stout

ABV 10%
Winter 09-10 bottle

Came across this in Nelsons Off License in South Wimbledon, didn’t realise though until I looked at the Brooklyn website that I have had one of their beers before. Tescos for Halloween last year had their pumpkin beer which as I recall was a lot better than the English versions, fruity but interesting beer.

One of the reasons I was drawn to this beer was the chocolate, ever since Youngs changed their chocolate beer I have been trying various chocolate beers (I’m still awaiting a Saltaire) and many of them have been stupidly sweet, which for me is a no. However my luck changed with this one, it is an attractive drink. Dark toffee coloured head on top of a totally opaque brown/black liquid and a smell of dark chocolate.

It is a thick beer which coats the mouth at first with intense bitter dark chocolate and then the smoky tobacco cherries come out. The taste lingers very pleasantly in the mouth for ages after finishing it. There is a slight fizziness tending towards champagne-like bubbly feeling on the tongue which I thought was odd at the beginning but it seems to lighten the heaviness of the beer. Really nice beer.

According to various sites it is possible to age this beer which I am planning to do once I create a cat free area to store them, unless my cats develop ninja cupboard burglaring skills which is possible.....

For more information: http://www.brooklynbrewery.com/

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Recipes of Yesterday

The one thing that is nice about older recipe books both food and drink-wise is the recipes you haven’t heard of before such as Cock Ale and the things you learn because of them. Now, I always had assumed that this was misnamed ale like Milk Stout which is not named because it contains milk but because it contains lactose which is the sugar found in milk. However it does actually contain the remains of a cock which has been parboiled, flayed and stamped so the bones are broken, I do notice that the brewer from Sharp’s was as part of his 52 brews making an offal beer and from this recipe I can see now it is not as original or disgusting as I thought (1).

The book Home Brewed Beers & Stouts by CJJ Berry has a few suggestions in this tight economic time such as my favourite Nettle Beers although that has always proven…….. rather ‘lively’ shall we say (2) and a recipe for Parsnip Stout but no Peapod Lager one. But I now have recipes for Oatmeal Stout one of my favourites from the Sam Smith’s Brewery and I am seriously considering this as my second batch of beer once I succeed in using a beer kit first. I seriously doubt my brew will be a patch on the Samuel Smith's version but it will be an interesting recipe to do.

There is advice in the book for getting your own yeast from a shop brought bottle; purchase a bottle of bottle conditioned beer/stout and let it rest for 48 hours, then pour out the beer/stout making sure to leave the sediment in the last one and half inches in the bottom of bottle. Make up a solution of ¼ pint of hot water, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of malt extract and a pea sized lump of citric acid, when it is cool pour into the bottle, plug with cotton wool and stand in a warm place such as an airing cupboard. ‘The next day it will be “going like a bomb,” fermenting well, and ready for use’ according to the book. I have to admit this strikes me as a good idea or at least it is a cheap idea for using the sedimenty remains for a purpose.


(1) Actually, I still find it fairly disgusting..sorry
(2) More like volatile and likely to explode if you so much as think about looking at it.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Home Brewing & Thoughts On Taking The Plunge

........maybe.

Currently I don't have the space to try homebrewing but over the years I have gathered many a home brewing recipe book. Many of these are the old Pengiun guides that used to sell in old money that were either gained via my late Dad or from the odd rampage though a secondhand bookshop. Contained within them are barley wine beer, porters and carrot scaping beer recipes have for sometime been a source of thought but where to start brewing? Do I head straight into the stouts and porters which are my favourites or do I start with a bitter which seems to be the 'easier' of the recipes I have a post-it note by?

Of course I have attempted various small brewing recipes such as Elderflower Champagne and once Nettle Beer both of which exploded in the shed. This did not make me popular with my parents but at least I wasn't out wreaking their car.

Monday, 9 August 2010

The Queen's Head Inn - Old Harlow


After a wait of twenty minutes only to be served two pints which were left on the table after one sip we used the Good Beer Guide app to find an alternative pub to the William Aylmer in Harlow, as luck would have it there was one within a short bus journey from the town centre. The Good Beer Guide I have found is a bit of a mixed bag, the William was in there but judging from the sticky tables, awful ale and tragic understaffing (one member serving on a busy bar and one member delivering food to tables during a Saturday lunch time is not good) I’m guessing things have really changed since the reviewers of the guide went there.

However the Queen’s Head is a lovely little pub in a picturesque part of Old Harlow, which more than restored my faith in the Good Beer Guide! The walk from the bus stop didn’t take long and we were soon sipping good pints and reading the menu trying to decide what to have. They have four pumps with two Adnams beers on as well as Brewer’s Gold and Wonderful Wallop, from Beer in the Evening I guess this is their standard range although judging from the pump clips they probably have a few guests throughout the year. All were very well kept and cellar cool rather than frozen unlike the William’s beers we left back in Harlow Town Centre.

The food was as good as the pints, both of us deciding to have desserts as well, typically we managed to order one dessert which they had run out of but they did promptly come up to us and offer different alternatives including two which weren’t on the menu yet which was nice. For a small pub the food range is very big and all the food we had and what we saw others having was great quality, it does seem to get very busy during the lunch hour so be warned if you are intending on heading down for lunch getting there earlier rather than later is a good idea.

The pub itself is a lovely building which once was two cottages which have now been merged into one. Comfortable and charming surroundings with great staff will always be a winner, a fact a lot of places miss but they haven’t there. Certainly if we are back in Harlow this would be the place I would head to for a good lunch or quiet drink.

Queen's Head Inn

26 Churchgate Street

Harlow

CM17 0JT

Monday, 2 August 2010

August’s Astounding Refreshments

Being as the weather continues to be summery what is needed for that long evening is a suitable beverage and as usual our brave brewers continue to bring out specials for this last summer month;

Rebellion Brewery’s Deflation 4.2% (Complete with very dodgy pumpclip)
Darkstar Brewery Dark Star Triple 8.5%
Loddon Brewery’s Check Mate 5%
Harveys Brewery’s Armada Ale 4.5%

There are others but to be honest rather than a serious list (or my do to list as my partner calls it) this is more to knock the squirrel down the page. A slight bit of pessimism in this post I guess, I can’t make it to the Great British Beer Festival due to wedding plans having taking all my leave for this year. Hopefully next year I will get to go to my first GBBF, as so far I have been to small festivals which have been great but I have wanted to do this one for a long time just never managed it.

To finish on a more positive note, I really like the symbol for the festival especially the lion’s face.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Even A Squirrel Is Better Dressed



At least Brewdog has given us the chance to point out that even a dead beer bottled stuffed squirrel is better dressed than Nick Griffin.

I could post the list of errors that Mr Griffin has made with his morning dress which my partner pointed out but hey, the squirrel does it better than any words.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Is it Art?

Or just pretentious?

http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article.php?id=341

I guessed this would happen after the Bismark beer but Brewdog have managed to brew a 55% abv beer. In a very limited run with bottles encased in squirrel or stout bodies, The End of History is the result.

Really not sure what to make of it but it reminds me of my days at college art classes were presentation could be worth more than content.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Seven Stars - Chancery Lane

This is a weird little pub around the back of The Old Bailey. Even on a Saturday it had one or two lawyers in it enjoying lunch and pint. Now, we had read the somewhat mixed reviews of this place but lured by the promise of Darkstar beers and lunch after a hard morning of socialising we found ourselves settled in the bar with a pint each. The beer is well kept and includes two beers of session strengths (3.5 – 3.8 abv) which is unusual as most beers seem to be around the five mark these days.

True the barmaid is somewhat abrupt but the service is fast and efficient, tables are clear of empty plates or glasses and they are all clean. We only saw the cook/landlady twice once when she checked on the pumps and wandered off to replace an off barrel and just after we got our food so I can’t in all honesty say whether or not she is as abrupt as her staff. However I am jealous of folks who can carry off bright coloured hair as she can, always wanted to dye my hair bright purple but a combination of the serious bosses and sheer cowardice on my part means I have never done it. Unfortunately we didn’t see the cat, shame I like pub cats and I liked the nice touch of the cat’s water being on the bar.

The food menu is just a blackboard on the wall, eclectic mix of dishes all roughly about ten pounds each but from what the other customers were having each was well made and generous in portion. If I hadn’t been with my partner I would have gone for the potato soup to start and then the oysters, but as it was we both had the ‘English Plate’ which was a brillaint version of a ploughmans. Couldn’t fault the food nor the beer, both were lovely and large. I forgot to ask whether the chutney was homemade or not. If not I really wouldn't mind knowing what brand so I could get some.

I understand from the various reviews that the Landlady isn’t too keen on the reviews which have lead folks to track down the pub for pub ticking and I can understand that. Having folks tramp in and have a loud conversation on the pub compared to the review must be really irritating and I know I can be touchy but I was annoyed by the folks we saw in there doing exactly that.

As I mentioned reviews I must give this link to my favourite pub review of the Seven Stars done in the type of Alex from the Clockwork Orange; http://www.fallingdownthepub.co.uk/review303_seven-stars-chancery-lane.html

This is a gorgeous little pub which I can see myself curled up with a nice meal, good beer and book sometime again soon.

Seven Stars
53 Carey Street
London
WC2A 2JB

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Running On Beer

This isn’t really a beer post as per say more a “what beer bloggers also do in their free time” post.

As mentioned in previous posts I am currently training to run the Adidas Women’s Challenge 5k in September. For someone who before this really didn’t do running I think I am going well, only able to run for straight twenty minutes in one go which works out according to the map as two miles (yay). It is a vast improvement from the beginning where one minute of running was a real challenge. The ipod application Couch to 5k plan was probably the best money spent on apps, well apart from Angry Birds but I digress.

My plan if all goes well is to run the 5k in under thirty minutes which I should be able to do by my calculations if I keep up the early morning runs three times a week. Five o'clock in the morning is a beautifully quiet time, sun rising with a hint of bird song (well, bird versions of various mobile ring tones) and most importantly during this fragile training stage hardly anyone about apart from fellow runners who look upon red faced huffing newbie’s with encouraging thumbs up and smiles.

Best thing is the weight loss and toning though, all without giving up beer or the occasional meal out. Can’t think why I didn’t take this up before, no gym and having to wait for equipment nor the self-comparisons to other folks just pounding the pavement with a clear mind focused on your goal. Of course come winter and ice I may have a different view but until then I shall enjoy the pleasant summer mornings out on a run and the evenings in the pub.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

RCH's Old Slug Porter

4.5% ABV

Sadly I missed this at the last Wandsworth Beer Festival however Nicholsons have come up trumps by having it as one of their Summer Ales range. There is a good selection this summer from them and I look forward to trying most of them as and when I get the chance.

As I would expect this is a very dark pint with dark red flashes when lifted to the light with a thin but foamy white head which disappears about half way though leaving a thin ring around the edge. It is nicely full bodied with a real hit of chocolate cherries in the first taste which rounds off with a slight bitter smokiness. The cherries come though in the mouth after you finish the pint drawing you back to the bar for another but that could just be me.

This is a nicely refreshing pint which whilst it comes as a surprise to be in a summer range for a pub does work rather well indeed. I think the food suggestion/match for warm chocolate brownies would be a bit much personally. Such a chocolately beer matched with chocolate really seems to be over egging the pudding to me.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

July's Summer Warmers

Looking out onto a grey high street I think we need some sun in the form of a lovely seasonal beer. There are some lovely refreshing and tasty beers out there for this brief summer month. I even managed to celebrate the first weekend in July with one of them. Hook Norton’s Haymaker, this was a lovely surprise to see on the bar at The Falcon. It is a very fruity beer with a fresh clean finish so it isn’t cloying as some fruity beers can be. As I started off my seasonal hunt in a nice way here are some other’s to try and find;

Hook Norton’s Haymaker 5.0%
Loddon Brewery’s Flight of Fancy 4.2%
Little Valley’s Two Lads 3.5%
Leeds Brewery’s Yorker 4.0%
Harveys Brewery’s Tom Paine Ale 5.5%
Wychwood Brewery’s Regal Lager 4.0%
Darkstar Brewery’s Paradise Weiss 5.0%

Not sure about Wychwood’s lager, it could be interesting or may be a disappointment but until you try it, you can’t have an opinion in my book.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

World Cup Beer Sweepstake: Japan

Not a country I immediately associate with beer but as I found a couple of weekend’s back that Japanese whiskey is rather good it’s worth trying the beers on the off chance (the off chance of free beer is also appealing too I admit!). Beer review only mentions one beer which is the one most of us are familiar with: Asahi.

A bottle opens
Cold liquid clouds glass
Refreshment instant

However once you start looking there seems to be a few more although how you get them outside Japan is another story, the micro-brewery industry is strong with a rough estimate of three hundred of them and according to the Japan Visitor website many of them have been seeking help/advice from German microbreweries so they have taken the Japanese strategy for whiskey making and turned it to beer…. This sounds very promising. Luckily due to a trip to Nelsons Wine & Beer shop in South Wimbledon and a side trip the next day to Brewers Street and the Japanese supermarket there meant I ended up with five different beers/lagers to try. Not a bad haul for reviewing.

Reviewer waits keen
Poised to give approval
Beer awaits

First one out of the fridge (all of them suggest they should be served chilled on the bottle/can) is Sapporo (4.7% abv). Pours rather lively out of the bottle but settles quickly into a deep golden almost mead coloured pint with a large foamy head. This lager claims to be Japan’s oldest brand since 1876, not sure about that but it is a very nice lager. More hoppy than your usual lagers with a slight malt on the end but has a clean finish. Not powerful tasting lager by any means but it does go very well with the vegetable sushi I have in front of me. Because of it’s very clean finish after the malt I suspect the ‘brewed under license in the EU’ may mean Italy as this reminds me of Peroni but has it’s own character

Next up are the two Asahi, one is the standard version we normally see in the supermarket but it is the canned version from the Japanese supermarket and the other is an imported ‘black’ version from Nelsons. The imported Black Asahi (5% abv) first, I have never seen this one before and I was assuming before opening the bottle this will be a Japanese version of a stout or more likely Guinness despite the lager label. Looks wise it is stout like, deep black with ruby flashes when the gless is held up to the light. Thick creamy coloured head to it as well. The taste however is the important part, in no way does this remind me of Guinness (it has flavour and taste despite it being chilled for one!) nor does it remind me of Black Chalice, a black lager from the Wetherspoons recent beer festival. This strongly reminds me of the Darkstar Imperial Stout I tried a couple of weeks back. Lighter but still has those flavours I enjoy so much, although the liquorice flavours get stronger in this than the Darkstar because the treacly note fades fast before the finish. Gorgeous.

Sadly I am not so keen on the standard Asahi, it has a very citrus lime taste on the first taste so it almost tastes like lager and lime. The lager itself is still better than most of the commercial UK lagers on the market with what settles into a citrusly light fizz, drinkable but not remarkable compared to the first two. However it is a darn sight better than my next one, which was Kirin Beer (5% abv). This pours into a slightly hazy gold lemon pint with a fuzzy foam that soon disappears and also manages to taste a lot like Wells & Youngs London Gold but a lot gassier. This lager is actually brewed under license by Wells & Youngs Brewing Co but as it just succeeds in tasting like the brewery’s own stuff, not good. I wouldn’t write this one off fully though until I try the lager produced in Japan.

A new glass later and I have my last beer, Yebisu, this one I was keen to try but also concerned. The can boasts it is an ‘All Malt’ beer so I was concerned it may end up tasting like Supermalt which it didn’t. There isn’t too much other information I can give you from the can as it pretty much is all in Japanese, apart from it is a Sapporo Brewery product and there is a 5% on the label which I assume is the abv. It poured into a deep golden pint which wasn’t very gassy compared to the Sapporo lager I tried first, more a gentle fizz. Taste wise it is actually very hoppy but the malt takes off the bitter note leaving it a very powerful drink but highly drinkable. Unfortunately I had run out of sushi but I reckon this could take on wasabi which I find kills most drinks dead. This made a lovely drink to sit in the garden relaxing last night so much so I think alongside the Asahi Black I will get a few of these to enjoy with my next bbq.

Drunk on beauty
My review nearly ends
But for history

According to wikipedia (which as we all know is a source to be taken carefully), beer is the most popular choice of drink in Japan, its sales overtaking Sake sales. Like whiskey, beer has been taken to Japan ’s heart and therefore given the same artistic treatment. They produce seasonal beers like us but unlike us the cans or bottles are decorated according to that season so autumn beers have falling leaves and so on and forth. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any of those ones but it is small details like that make me want to seek out new beers from this country. But of course the best thing about a lot of these beers is that on the whole the brewing here is very good, the Asahi Black wins out of all of them for me. I hope I can find more of these especially the not so generally available ones as these have the better taste than the more commercial lagers/beers.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Daleside Brewery – Morrocco Ale

ABV 5.5%

Nicholson’s pubs on the whole do have some unusual gems in their seasonal beer list and this is certainly one of them. This is a beer where it is easy to drink too much of it, soft spicy cinnamon taste coupled with a soft mild flavour means it feels more like a session percentage beer which it is certainly not. According to Daleside Brewery website is made according to a secret recipe from Levens Hall somewhere in Westmoreland and the recipe itself is over three hundred years old. This in itself is a reason to try it but the fact it is also an outstanding beer is the best reason.

Apparently also available in bottles but I have only tried it by pump being as it still easily available that way. It arrives a dark brown pint with a very fluffy white head which is does seem to retain to the last, the first smell and tastes are ginger with a tint of cinnamon which are softened by the toffee finish. I would call this a mild but for the spicy kick to the palate, certainly can hold it’s own against spicy foods but I feel it comes out best with Chinese dishes rather than curries.

This was a lovely pint to start the weekend with, especially coupled with the company on a slightly rainy friday evening in central London. Over a couple of pints the toffee finish increases which only serves to create the nice mellow spicy flavour to the beer which lasts nicely and makes it incrediously morish.

I would head down to your nearest Nicholsons and try it whilst it is still available, their beer menu must be ready to change over soon.

For more information: http://www.dalesidebrewery.com/morrocco.htm

Friday, 4 June 2010

A Touch Bitter?..........

According to the latest London Drinker, the brewer from the Pitstop Brewery in Stove has brewed the world's most bitter beer although this is subject to verification from the Records people. The beer called 'The Hop' has 323 international bittering units (IBUs - always wondered what that stood for and now I know) which is more than the old holder of the record 'Devil Dance Triple IPA' that has 200.

Now I can understand to a point why this was brewed possibly as a technical exercise to see it could be done (the article mentions it was a result as a challenge from the brewer's pal) but surely no-one really enjoys drinking things this bitter? To me it comes across a beer which even if it gets on a 'Must Try before You Die' list will only be drunk as conversational piece or rather that is to say so that the drinker can boast they have drunk it. I can't imagine it being recommended on taste to prospective drinkers or may be that's just me?

I also have a question that does it count if the hop extract Isolone is used as it is bitter, surely the bitterness should come from the hops used not an extract. I know this probably does show my ignorance about brewing but to question is how you learn. Meanwhile I will hit the books and see if I get the answer that way.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

June's Jolly Brews

Time has come again for a brief round-up of gorgeous beers that are only available for June;

Kelham Brewery’s Parklife 4%
Loddon Brewery’s Summer Snowflake 4.1%
Rebellion Brewery’s Green Shoots 4.4%
Matthew Brewing Company’s Midsomer Pale 4.5%
Tom Wood’s Brewery’s Fathers Pride 4.5%
Hook Norton Brewery’s Cotswold Lion 4.2%
Fullers’ Mr Harry 4.8%
Darkstar Brewery’s Summer Solstice 4.2%

Rebellion I see also do a beer called Zebedee, same name as one of my cats…Must see if they do this as a bottle for cat & beer photo op! Plus the little drinker will no doubt try and stick his nose into the glass. Ah the fun of the Spring/Summer months where glasses are at the right height for your pet to nab some.

Cats aside, I note my beer and running diet is coming along rather well. Just need to find a stockist for the dress I want.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Bank Holiday Weekend


It has been a lovely weekend for both good company and good beer so far.

Firstly I have now tried Darkstar's Victorian Ruby Mild which I was hoping to find, lovely delicate flavour, not quite Sarah Hughes' Ruby Mild but very good in it's own right and well worth hunting down. However the star of the day was their Imperial Stout which I spotted on the shelf at the Traf in South Wimbledon. Wonderfully morish treacly texture and taste with a dangerous untasteable abv of 10.5
It pours beautifully with a fine creamy head with tapers off to a fine lacing half way though the pint. The treacly liquorice flavour comes though on the nose too, making it a highly satifying drink. I won't say pint as it available in dinky bottles not pints but that is for good reasons.
Sunday was spend in Putney mainly at the Bricklayer's Arms enjoying the good selection of Timothy Taylor beers and the guest beers which included Skinner's Betty Sloggs, FFF Brewery's Pressed Rat & Warthog and Alton's Pride and there was the Sambrook's Wandle.
Ram Tam was in great form as was the Dark Mild both lovely pints for a Warm Spring day. Golden Best was enjoyable but I think it would be nicer on a Summer's evening as a refreshing pint, but this one is rarely seen outside Tim Taylor's own pubs. Landlord is one of finest beers (and a favour of mine) but I do find it a shame that it is the only one you see about especially when they do other really cracking beers.
Even though I personally don't like the Sambrook's beers I have to admit they are doing really well at expanding. My partner enjoys a pint of their beers and for him it is nice to see them widely available in more pubs rather than the select one or two. Which reminds me I will have to book a brewery tour at some stage for him.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Due South

Paul Heaton from the Beautiful South is doing a three week 1,000-mile bicycle tour for the Pedals & Beer Pumps Tour 2010. This tour was created partly for Heaton's love of cycling and to highlight the decline of the pub.

The full article from the Times is here:http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article7125344.ece

Interestingly this also may show the difficulties involved in paying in pubs nowadays thanks to certain rules as I am sure during this tour he will meet other musicians and landlords who will discuss the problems of being able to have live music in their pub.

The article does show that far from a publicity stunt this guy does know what he is talking about, I admit I wasn't keen on the Beautiful South nor it's singer but he doesn't seem the idiot I thought he was.

Quote:
If the Pedals & Beer Pumps Tour 2010 achieves anything, it will be “just to get a spark going. How are we gonna outwit Tesco’s or Sainsbury’s? Well, they can’t have a band playing in there. But the Three Horseshoes in Radnage can have me.”

Pubs do not have to be a cheap supermarket to attract customers back from cheap deals but places that are relaxing and interesting for people to go too. I enjoy a quiet pint but I also enjoy sitting in a pub with a pint watching/listening to a band or singer, variety is the key here.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

What the Heck have I done?

A friend of mine has been running for some time and I admire this, especially the get and go required for early morning runs in rain, sleet and snow. So on her suggestion about about running I thought I would have a go.

Well 5am is a very peaceful time, just you and the odd cat and fox are around, plus side to this is that foxes and cats don't tend to point and laughter at a very unfit runner heaving herself around the estate. Downside.... well it is 5am in the morning.

Emboldened by the relative success of my run (ie I managed to run half a mile) I promptly signed up for the Adidas Women's Challenge in September. So I have to get from half a mile coughing and spluttering to running just over three miles in what I hope will be a smooth effortless style by then.

Oh dear.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

May's Marvels

Thanks to CAMRA this month is Mild May, where hopefully more pubs will have at least one mild available for folks to try. I do like milds so I am looking forward to trying some new ones. However they do vary in ABV so be warned, for example Darkstar’s one which is noted below and Sarah Hugh’s Ruby Mild are 6%-ers. So remember to check the pump clip!

This is my usual small round up of some of the monthly offerings that are available this month;

Little Valley Brewery’s Queen Bee 4.5%
Harvey’s Knots of May 3.0%
Brakspears’ Pavilion Ale 4.0%
Loddon Brewery’s Wilfred’s Mild 3.6%
Darkstar’s Victorian Ruby Mild 6.0%
Cotleigh Brewery’s Nutcracker 3.4%

Hopefully Mild May will encourage the brewing of different beers with varying abv's rather than everything sticking at the 5% mark.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Wetherspoon’s Beer Festival

As you can see from the attached photograph I do write notes on the beers I try, usually on the beer lists, not sure if this is including in the definition of ‘beer ticking’ but it did cause my partner to laugh whenever he saw the booklet and pen (yes, I have spare pens in there as well) come out of the handbag. Whatever you call it at least I have a good list for ordering beers off the internet when I have spare cash.

Unfortunately due to the way the pubs local to me selected their beers for this festival I didn’t get to try all the ones I wanted, however I did try 9 out of 16 short listed by myself and another 5 on the list. All in all is not a bad attempt. One thing I like about these festivals is due to the fact the beers shift faster in the festival they are usually in better condition for us drinkers.

Highlights for me were Goose Island’s Honker’s Ale which we got from the cask at my partner’s local Wetherspoons, malty scent, with fruit cakey tones to it and a lovely smooth sweetish bitter taste which had a long finish to it. St Peter’s Old Style Porter which was rather gorgeous it has to be said. Nethergate’s Red Poll which was certainly a bully pint although I just didn’t get the liquorice notes in either the taste or scent. Phoenix’s Black Shadow was the best mild I have tasted in a Wetherspoon’s festival to date and last but not least Cairngorm Brewery’s Culloden was a lovely morish pint with a wonderful portique toffee scent which again we tried from cask rather than pump.

The only real let down for me was the Maui Brewery’s Coconut Porter, it started nicely with a gentle coconut tint to the coffee porter taste but then right at the end of the finish it hit you with a bang of a bitter acrid taste which was hard to shift from your palate even with numerous cups of tea. I wondered if this was a problem with shifting the brewing location as it such a discordant note it can’t be on purpose. One day I will get to head over to Hawaii and try it brewed in its proper brewery and then I will give a final opinion on it. It was a lovely beer up until that bang.

I enjoyed the festival a lot and even now there are still festival beers on the go at various pubs so it is worth a trip to see if you can catch any of them.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Hook Norton Bottles Out to Fullers

Well done to everyone who did the marathon, you are all stars whether you ran, wheeled, walked or crawled it!

The London Pride bottle went great guns, outstriping the Hook Norton bottle by 10 minutes at mile 13 and the gap widened alot by mile 22. The Fuller's bottle even had the strength to wave and smile at folks ..... well done that bottle!

The morning started for me at 7.45am getting to the mile 13/22 for my partner's charity's cheering point, we got soaked at 8am by the heavy downpour but once the rain stopped we had blown up the banging sticks and were proceeding to enact various Star Wars and Errol Fynn fight scenes which warmed us all up. A hot cup of tea and a quick breakfast before the start of the race with the disabled runners at just before 10am and then the elite girls and guys half an hour or more before the main bulk of the runners. It was a long day until 4pm when we finally could tidy up, let the kids who had been trying since 12 have the balloons they were attempting to nick and head off to the pub for a well learnt drink and meal.

As well as all the runners, well done to the cheerers along the whole of the route. You give so much support to all the runners and make it easier for them.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Aspall's Perronelle's Blush

A saturday, a saturday, and the first cyder of the year,
Lord Aspall's Perronelle Blush came into the bar, the drink for all to see,
And when the opening hour come, she cast herself about,
And there she saw little Ratty Groves, walking in the crowd.

“Come drink me, little Ratty Groves, come drink me tonight,
Come drink me, little Ratty Groves, and drink me till closing time”

"Oh, I can't drink you, I won't drink you and drink you only tonight,
By your pink blush of colour I can tell you have Blackberry liqueur in you”

“But if I am strengthen by liqueur, then I am a reasonable abv for that
Try and see if you can’t tell that by a sip”

And a barmaid who was standing by and hearing what was said
Swore that young ratty would enjoy it until the sun would set
And in her hurry left him in no doubt that this was his drink
The drink was the pinkest ever seen, with bubbles up the glass

Little Ratty Groves, picked up the glass and took a little sip
Surprised to find a delicate taste that went down to his feet
Saying to himself “How do I like this fruity taste and how do I like this drink
How do I like this lady who sits in my hands to drink?
Oh, well I like this taste and well I like this drink
But better to see the next one lined up for me to drink”

“Well, get up, get up,” Cried Ratty’s friends, “get up as quick as you can
It’ll never be said in fair England that you won’t stand a round”

“Oh, I will get up, I will get up, I will get up for my round
For we have all been paid for the week and I have a big bonus
Well it’s true I have catch the eye of the evening staff
But here’s to the very next round on the bar including your lout
And you will drink cooking lager instead of this gorgeous drink
I will be sitting here smug and with a packet of crisps”

Monday, 12 April 2010

McMullen’s Hertford Castle


5% ABV

Out of all the ales that McMullen brew there are only two bottle only ales. One is the rather gorgeous No1 which is not available on their website and I have only ever seen it in their own brand pubs, more morish than Youngs Pale Ale and far superior to Courage. However, I am writing about their other one, Hertford Castle, this packs the punch that many miss in the other ales from this brewery.

It pours into the glass in a dark honey coppery colour with a white foamy head which lasts until nearly the end; all this is accompanied with a fresh hoppy aroma. It is a nice smooth drink which is perfect for the hot weather we had at the weekend, refreshingly hoppy, perfect for sitting in a pub garden enjoying sunshine and listening to the bell ringers. At 5% it is stronger than the others but this is not a bad thing although I would love to try a cask version of this and I think it would attract more drinkers to it.

According to one landlord originally there was another bottled beer released alongside this one which was even better but sadly this was discontinued, it is when you heard stories like that I wish McMullen’s did special editions of discontinued beers like some other breweries do. Hertford Castle is an outstanding ale which you won’t normally see even in McMullen’s own pubs, so if you see please do give it a go.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

April’s Bunny Beers

Ah, the sometimes sunny month of April. It’s that time of year when chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate is ok for you eat with the excuse of Easter Eggs to use up. Wonderful month in itself which can only be improved with more cheery beer, so here is again a brief monthly round up of beers that are out for this spring month;

Gales’ Festival Mild 4.8%
Shepherd Neame’s Dragonfire 4.5%
Hook Norton’s 303AD 4.0%
Adnam’s Extra Special Bitter 4.3%
Hogs Back’s Spring Ale 4.0%
Moorhouse’s George’s Cross 4.4%
Titanic Brewery’s English Glory 4.5%
Loddon Brewery’s Gorgeous George 4.3%

Not had much luck myself in trying a lot of the monthly beers but this situation can only get better now my financial situation has improved. I like seasonal beers as they are as fun to find as they are to drink.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Wandsworth Common Beer Festival

This was a slight letdown for me, admittedly I had been looking forward to this because last year’s event was really good, so my mental build-up was part of the disappointment but the lack of beers probably did it more. We guessed that there were going to be a few beers off when on entry we got an extra sheet of new beers sourced for Saturday & Sunday. However in the extra line-up there was a new brewery and a couple of favourites such as Ballard’s Wassail and Sambrook’s popular Wandle so it was looking good although we were a bit worried about which beers would be off.

On entry I got my free half token and wandered off to the bar to order Hogs Back’s ‘A over T’ as I like to start with the strongest beer I fancy from the line-up when go down the scale to the weaker ones. I wasn’t disappointed at all with this one, strong and sweet with a lovely long finish, gorgeous and better than the Thomas Sykes I tried last year. A friend ordered the Sarah Hughes’ Dark Ruby Mild and that really does deserve its reputation as a great festival beer and one that has gone on my list of trusted must tries for events. I am awaiting payday so I can get in a few bottles of these bottles for those self indulgent moments at home although so far I can’t see where to get the Dark Ruby Mild but Hogs Back’s online shop is now a bookmarked page!

The disappointment started when I went up for my second beer of the day, unfortunately due to space issues they didn’t remove a lot of the empty barrels so a typical conversation with the beer staff ran as below;

Me: ‘Can I have half of Old Slug Porter please?’
Staff: ‘Sorry, it’s gone’
Me: ‘Not a problem, I’ll have a half of Midnight Sun Porter then’
Staff: ‘Off again I’m afraid’
Me: ‘Comfortably Numb?’ (Desperate here with a small pleading note in my voice)
Staff: ‘Er…no, sorry’ (I was feeling very sorry for this poor guy)
Me: ‘Shepherd Neame’s Ghost?’
Staff: ‘Yes! We have that’

The staff were great and very helpful but there is only so much good bar staff can do when you are running out of beer even before 1pm on a Saturday. Partly I realise I will have some problem at a Spring Beer Festival as I do prefer darker beers and Spring is the time for lighter brews but the amount of beers were out was by 4pm becoming a joke.

The festival must have realised this was an issue by sourcing new beers quickly for Saturday and Sunday but a fair few were going for ones they really wanted to try because of the advertising, the suggested ladders should have been removed from the bars because they were impossible to do with the amounts gone. They did do printouts for bar listing beers off but beers were running out faster than they could update it.

The Shepherd Neame's Ghost was a lovely smooth stout which I am assuming is called something else as I can't see a stout called Ghost on their website yet. The Manx Pride was very citrusly so much so it shook you awake type rather than the hint of citrus suggested on the tasting notes which would make it a nice pint for a hot summer's afternoon.

From the new brewery Art Brew there was some interesting beers, the Tempest Stout was really spot on, big taste with a lovely long finish. The vanilla beer originally drew the attention of all three of the people I came with but when we first came in it hadn’t settled yet so it wasn’t until later on in the afternoon that we could try it when my partner got it as his next. If it worked then it would have been a interesting taste experience but the so-called ibeer was like taking a sip of a vanilla car freshener, it give amusement to my friend as my face was apparently a picture, serves me right for nicking a sip of someone’s else’s drink without asking whilst they nipped off to the toilets. Of course we shared the ‘joy’ around the table, just too strong on the vanilla and reminded everyone why you don’t make shandy with cream soda. My partner liked their Art Nouveau but it was a tad bitter for me but then I do find that with very hoppy beers with a low abv, however he has said that he would happily drink this as a session beer. Sadly we couldn’t try the Renaissance beer as that was off.

We did enjoy ourselves at the Beer Festival but it was nice to head back down the Falcon and order a beer and actually get your first choice. I am guessing that the success of this year's event caught them by surprise hence the problems we even got the same glasses as last October’s ones last year so they ran out of glasses too!

I know you don’t go for the glass but it is a nice keepsake… *sniff*

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Pre-Wandsworth Beer Festival Review

I, like many others have been receiving emails from the folks at the Wandsworth Beer Festival to remind us of the event which starts today. The positive advertising that they have employed thoughout is really nice. The emails are enough to make you look forward to the event, this is a hard balance to achieve so well done there. So, to get one yesterday wasn't a great surprise but I have won free entry and a free half pint now that was a surprise.

I like surprises like that..... need more of them.

Unfortunately I have started a new job which means that I just have the crappy holiday allowance which you are entitled to by law so I really can't afford to have today and Friday off to enjoy this festival in full. However this is just building up my excitement for Saturday so I will have to practice patience and wait for then... Can't wait! :)

Monday, 22 March 2010

Wheatsheaf - Waltham Abbey

MEH!

We have been going to this pub on and off for the last five years but ever since the previous landlord left it has been going down hill at a rate of knots. Actually, I think since the good landlord left they have had a couple of others in, of course this could explain some of the problems like staff members and cellar quality. With a large garden with play area it is a real draw for families especially in summer, whilst I don't like children running around in a pub I can see that for many pubs the money drawn in though sales of children's drinks and food is a welcome sight for pubs in the current financial situation. It also used to be one of the few good pubs which do food on the weekends in Waltham Abbey hence we used it a lot for seeing friends for lunch or dinner or for taking relatives out.

However if they keep on dragging down the quality than this cash cow will be a dead horse instead. The last few times we have been meals have been burnt and tough as old boots from sitting under a hot lamp for too long or like the ham I had this weekend, just defrosted via a microwave leaving the food with a soggy unappealing texture. They could learn a few lessons from other pubs or even the Weatherspoons in Waltham Cross than keep on going the way they are. The food improves for one weekend then heads straight back down, when you are spending money as a group on food and drinks then this is really not good. We actually worked out that we would have a cheaper bill by waiting for the local indian to open and go there, plus we would be almost 100% guarenteed for having a good meal unlike the pub at present.

Staff are rude and are more interested in chatting to their friends than serving, with no clear management it has gotten worse each and every time we have gone in there. I have no problems with slow service in busy periods but when you have ten people in a big pub and what looks like a full rota of staff I don't expect to be waiting for twenty minutes. The barman who finally broke off from his conversation with his mates after twenty minutes to serve me acted like he was a three year old child being made to be polite to a visiting aunty, then wandered off for five minutes to get another member of staff from the kitchen to serve me so he could go back to chatting to his mates. Charming...not.

This weekend was the final straw and quite frankly it is the last time I will be heading into this pub and a letter has now gone off to the brewery.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Quit Hogging!

We have all done it, arrange to meet in the pub and hold onto a table waiting for friends to arrive but come on…. trying to hold onto two tables for over two hours waiting for your friends to turn up is not on.

You do not ‘own’ the tables or chairs and quite frankly if you are trying to hold onto tables without booking the area with the landlord then it is tough luck when people sit at the other table ignoring your moans and whines. You aren’t entitled to the area after all and it is quite anti-social to do it.

If you all really want to meet in a busy pub for a drink then how about the main bulk of you turn up together? It’s not hard to do, heck even I can manage to herd cats..er..friends into turning up roughly at the same time.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Well, That’s My Birthday Present List Sorted!

Pub and book vouchers only in my cards this year please!

Rather than reading about it I actually overheard this on the television last night as I was reading and a brief look-see on the interwebs has revealed I wasn’t going mad but it is a real promotion. I have long been a fan of book tokens as a big reader ever since my first one at the tender age of about eight years old, so the thought of pub vouchers sounds a wonderful idea to me.

This is one of the better ideas I have seen for helping pubs increase their trade. I can see a few people buying these vouchers for relatives or friends they have no idea what to buy for as vouchers always seem a little better than just giving money in a card.

From the 12th of November this year ‘over a thousand’ pubs will be accepting these vouchers, although at the moment I can’t find a list of the breweries or pubs actively involved. However the reports do mention Tangle Foot beer so fingers crossed that means Hall-Woodhouse are doing the voucher scheme.

I look forward to seeing how this goes.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

I'm Getting Married In The Morning

Well, not quite……

However by the end of the year I will indeed be a Mrs and this leads me to the beer related point. Our wedding whilst the ceremony is not being held in a pub nor a brewery (although that would have been pretty cool) the reception is a pub. Years ago folks thought it was a bit down market to have a reception in a pub but this is not the case anymore. There are pubs to match budgets and styles of any kind; this is especially true in London. Pricing can vary so much depending on brewery, location and whether you have exclusive hire. The pubs themselves can vary a bit too; you have the choice between a simple countryside pub and something a lot grander depending on whereabouts you look.

In London some of the pubs in the banking areas are shut on weekends yet are happy to open for your wedding if you guarantee a minimum spend. And this great for credit-crunched brides & grooms out there, you can really come up trumps by looking at this option. One of the best parts of pub receptions are you can do a spot of “do it yourself mystery shopping” if you like. You will know that the food quality is going to be good and the drinks a good price because you can try them at different times by wandering in there for a meal together as a couple. Staff appearance and attitude can be seen and general goings on looked at. This is different from venues where you can get a small idea but not in so much detail as you can with a venue that is open to public.

Fullers are the brewery which got my vote as did many of their pubs in London. In the end only one place could win and as it is a week day opening pub it meant we could claim the whole pub for our reception. The landlady has been very helpful and offered us some ideas we hadn’t thought of before, so far she has really made the process a lot smoother for my partner and I. To be honest I am looking forward to having fun and merriment with my family and friends with a glass of something special at a reception which is personalised to us. It will be a great day!

Monday, 8 March 2010

The Fog - Earlsfield

Hidden in a back street nearby Earlsfield station there is treasure disguised as a pub, The Fog is one of those places that you don’t ever seem to find out about unless it is by luck. It is a Jack Beards which I don’t find a problem unlike a few people, when they are run well they are good pubs. They had on two beers on pump which were the usual Youngs Bitter and the unusual Theakston’s Mild, the last one was a bit of surprised and a pleasant one. The beers were all well kept which is better than the Half-Way House manages these days.

The pub itself has a weird design, with a public bar, saloon bar and a meals room which contained the pool table. Apparently there is, according to Beer in the Evening a private bar, which can’t be reached though the others but goodness knows where that one was. It is one of the oddest pubs I have been in, almost like stepping into a time warp in a way, prices are more like the ones in my local outside London rather than a pub sitting in zone three. You do get a sense of this is a pub for local people when you first walk in but this is soon gone.

A charming place to visit, bizarre but certainly worth going back to.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Mad March’s Brews

Lovely weather we are having this time of year so far… rain, snow, wind and sunshine often in the same day. So this is my round up of some of the seasonal beers that are out for this time of the year;

The Loddon Brewery’s Hare Brained 4.0%
Greene King’s Hare Raiser 4.1%
Little Valley Brewery’s Pontus Hebanus 4.0%
Hook Norton Brewery’s First Light 4.3%
Arundel Brewery’s Sussex Giant 5.0%
Brakspear’s Henley Bridge 4.0%
Tom Wood’s Lincolnshire Legend 4.2%
Harvey’s Porter 4.8%
Wychwood Brewery’s Paddy’s Tout 4.3%

Surprisingly there aren’t too many hare ones although at the moment any hares will be using armbands to keep their heads above water!

Edited to add we found another last night, Downton's Mad Hare, which my partner tried.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

King William the Fourth/Sweet William

On a bus journey to Walthamstow on the number 20, looking out the window to the rainy morning it was a surprise to see a pub with a sign boasting a microbrewery. So once my partner and I had achieved the purpose of the shopping visit to the market we decided to head back. Sadly the bus went a slightly different route on the way and after a brief discussion (or better known as an argument where I was forced to admit that the iphone gps system is useful after all) we were soon seated inside the pub with the first (of many) drinks in front of us.

The staff are frankly wonderful, the landlord was unbelievably helpful as when I went up to get a bottle of Pink Pride he asked if I wanted a pint as it was ready to go on but they were waiting for a spare pump. He happily went off to the cellar to get me a pint and this is unusual in my experience to get such a helpful landlord. Bottles of their beers are £2.90 but a pint from the pumps cost £2.00, this is not a pub or brewery which is money-oriented at all, instead they seem to enjoy a pub which has happy customers! And here is the other part of this place’s charm; the microbrewery is Brodies which I know a fair few people have heard of. Their beers are the prices mentioned before and they do sell their beers for take out which we did. Other drinks such as Guinness and lagers are a bit more but still cheaper than usual London prices.

They do food which is well done and tasty with good prices to match the drink prices. Again thanks to the staff, my partner ordered me a rare steak which they admitted they didn’t like doing…. fair enough! I have no problems with people saying that from the outset rather than just serving me a medium with glares if you suggest you ordered different. The steak was very nice, good cut of beef which was prepared very well and tender as medium, I prefer rare or blue for steak but it was good so no problems here. My partners chicken was good too and I only wish for the meal he ordered me a jacket rather than chips to go with the steak as his was lovely. He snaffed some of my chips so confirmed they were good too.

The beers are well kept and they are varied, whilst I wasn’t keen on the honey beer (my partner was though), the Pink Pride a hint of raspberry beer was spot on. This was a lovely pint with a kiss of fruit, not too sweet and the right touch of dry. We were both impressed by the sheer selection of beers that Brodies brew and for those of us who like lagers they do a London Lager although we didn’t try it this time. Don’t know if Cooking Lager would drink this lager but at two quid a pint surely he would try it? :) The Porter was gorgeous, I enjoy dark beers and this was brilliant although potentially lethal as it did not taste the 7.8% ABV rate it is! We brought the stout to take home and try as that was over 12% and from a home tasting it was gorgeous too. There will be beer reviews to follow I am sure this week, extensive testing on site was done and I have bottles to do follow up testing as well.

The pub itself is a Victorian type affair with the usual mounted animal heads and walls filled pictures. Clean and charming bar with two bars with the unusual bended bar in the main which(I assume) the original purpose so you can fit more pumps on and to get more people to the bar. My partner was happily surprised by the Holy Trinity of gent’s loos which is to say; door with lock, loo seat and loo roll. You may laugh but terrible toilets are the bane for pub goers and unfortunately the usual experience but not the case here.

Other put offs for myself is mainly loud music and sport, yet even though this pub has both they weren’t an annoyance, the TV screens are well placed so that there are areas for non-sports fans to sit and enjoy a chat and pint even if their partner is jumping up to watch their beloved Chelsea be trounced by Man City every so often. :)

This is a fantastic gem of a pub (and brewery) and I recommend that people do try it. We noticed from their website that they are doing a beer festival on the same weekend of the Wandsworth one, I think I will have to force myself to attend on the Sunday. Hard life but someone has to do it!

For more information: http://www.brodiesbeers.co.uk/

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Meer Not Meh!

Yes I have had a few awful pints but I won’t moan about it until it has been followed up with the same again. If a beer is brewery awful or a pub can’t manage a cellar for toffee then I will moan about it here but for one offs I really can’t see the point. It is easier to order another pint and enjoy my past time.

This is the point of this blog for me, I enjoy drinking good beer and going to pubs. Part of my whole enjoyment is sitting in the pub with a good pint (or half) and people watching, occasionally I actually talk to folks but usually I will sit at the bar and enjoy a pint and the surroundings. And this ladies and gentleman of the internet is the reason why I started this blog, to share my enjoyment of something with others.

If you enjoy something there is no reason why not to share and let others who like similar things find new beers and places to try out.

I admit my tasting notes for beers are foody but that is because I do compare things with tastes I have experiences of (ie food and drink). Maybe one day I will lift a beer to the light and describe the appearance with ‘spring like meadows’ and then take sip and compare the beer to ‘earth-scented loam’ but it is unlikely. Sadly the children’s book is unlikely as well although it was tempting to write a post/story on Bully Blogger I just can’t write that way either.

Even when I have more experience and find more stuff to negatively meh about I still hope this blog will be primarily positive meer!