Tuesday, 25 September 2012
1 Gallon Water
0.5 lb. Malt Extract
1Tablespoon Caramel Gravy Browning (apparently liquid gravy browning is just caramel..who knew?)
1.25 lb. Demerara Sugar
Scrub the parsnips, slice roughly to half inch pieces and place into boiling water with the hops and caramel colouring, boil for 20 minutes.
Strain onto the malt extract and sugar, stir well to dissolve and then allow to cool to 70F, then add the yeast, cover and leave for 7 days.
Then siphon into bottles.
Yes, it's a bit Good Life but well the government suggests that we have five portions of fruit and veg so......
The interesting parts of home brewing books for me is the more unusual recipes, these are usually under the heading mock beer despite containing hops and the other bits I would associate with real beer. It is interesting What was considered brewable back then, just goes to prove that there is nothing under the sun, all the 'new' beer ideas have been done in one form or another, it's just they are being remade for our tastes. A small tweak on the old recipe after all.
I will be brewing soon, although my quantities will be smaller than most due to space but for the present I'm back to reading the books and enjoying a small glimpse at the past.
Monday, 24 September 2012
I would describe this as a mild, but it pours very flat and despite my best efforts I couldn't raise more than a lacing on the glass which disappeared very fast, leaving behind a dark chocolate coloured pint.
Whilst I enjoyed this beer it is very thin in the mouth, which is due to the abv and lack of carbonation in the beer. However the coffee notes though are lovely which must be from all the malts they use to make this beer and it has a long bitter chocolate finish but there was just something about it that just didn't work for me, could be I had some poorly stored bottles (brought online) but it just was a bit off.
All in all it is a good mild but the Merlyn from this brewery which has more caught my fancy.
But glorious it was, with live music from Dr Bluegrass, piggy goodness from Ginger Pig and beer from Sambrooks.
|In the words of Withnail and I, "I seem to have gone on a brewery tour by mistake!"|
Saturday, 22 September 2012
The beer itself is more a sipper, despite its strength not being that high (by modern standards), it has a big mouthfeel, initially quite sweet but mellows out with a long dry bitter finish. Despite your slow sipping you will find yourself getting to the bottom of the glass and wondering where it went, it is a cracker!
It is a shame whilst on holiday I missed this brewery on pump a few times with the clips just being turned around as I approached the bar so I'm glad that we got a couple of beers whilst we were in Conwy.
For more info: http://www.greatormebrewery.co.uk/
Thursday, 20 September 2012
Hubby jumped in first with his order and so got the stout (rats!);
Kitty Wilkinson Stout 4.5% abv
Initially neither of us liked this beer because it was served ice cold rather than the recommended chilled on the bottle. When this cold all we could taste was bitter chocolate and what I can only describe as a vanilla chapstick mushed into the beer. This was the fault of the bar for practically freezing the beer in their fridges.
However...... once the beer warmed up, it was gorgeous.
The chapstick effect melted into a chocolately vanilla stout which was coupled with a long roasted cocoa bean finish. Despite its lower abv it coated the tongue and wouldn't let go, truely a lovely beer. For me it ranks up there with Rogue's Double Chocolate stout as I didn't get the coffee nor butterscotch notes that are suggested on the brewery website.
My beer was the Shipwreak IPA at 6.5% abv
This beer was again served freezing cold but fared better than the stout which wasn't a surprise.
Lovely beer again, if you like Stone's Arrogant Bastard, you will like this one. If anything it reminds me an awful lot of that beer.You have the chewy hops and sweet caramel flavours that I have grown to love with the higher abv IPAs with a long pine tasting finish.
Once more, a lovely beer from this brewery, I think I have seen their bottles on sale at a specialist beer shop in London so maybe I'll be able to try a few more and maybe I may see them in London bars soon.
These two beers were vegan friendly, not that either myself or partner are but it is interesting to see as a few years ago I would have only been able to name one brewery who did vegan products now I can name about four or five with confidence.
For more info: http://www.liverpoolorganicbrewery.com/
Wednesday, 19 September 2012
I've not done one of these cheese and beer evenings because whilst I like the bar it is a bugger to get there after work but for your money you get five Brewdog beers and cheese to munch on, whats not to like?
If you are interested I would head over to Groupon and bag a voucher.
Thursday, 13 September 2012
Again is is another pub which takes pride in its bar and wares, five pumps all with well kept beers and the usual keg lagers plus wines and spirits. The Bear fills up fast in the evenings with most wanting to be downstairs although there is an upstairs area not many seem to want to sit up there despite the fact it looked nice. Like most of the pubs in Chester, the Bear and Billet does do food, we only tried the lunchtime ones which were nice and filling, especially for our first lunch in Chester and being absolutely starved as the only food before was breakfast and one bar of chocolate on the train.
We got to try a fair few beers from Titanic, which were all very nice indeed, I had tried the Plum Porter at a beer festival and remember being not very impressed as in it was ok, but here it was gorgeous. Dark coffee porter with a slightly sweet plummy overtone. Maybe it was a duff barrel at the festival but this beer seemed totally different here.
The pub itself is a lovely period building and was one of the pubs in the Heritage week leaflet we picked up. I wish I could claim there was a historical angle to my pub visits but to be honest it was more wanting to try good beer in lovely surroundings. The pub does become very noisy in the evenings so not a place for a quiet chat but that was down to the usual problems of folks trying to talk over each other than loud music.
I did see that they do music folk evenings on a Friday but it wasn't on when we were there, but when they are, it is upstairs. A lot of the pubs seemed to advertise music nights which is something I don't seen a lot of down here unless you count karaoke, which I don't.
Another lovely place to go!
Wednesday, 12 September 2012
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Thanks to the handy local CAMRA magazine I picked up on our first day here in Chester, I found out about the Marlborough Arms in St John Street and their range of Stonehouse beers. These are all rather good, albeit the pub itself is not to my taste, the beers are well kept and four stocked pumps is not a bad thing at all.
Sunlander 3.7% abv was my first beer, if you like well hopped citrusy beers then you will love this one, it is very drinkable but for me it was a little bit too hoppy but still very enjoyable. My partner really liked this one and it would be a very nice pint to have in a sunny pub garden.
My partner on the other hand picked the one I was going to go for which was Off the Rails 4.8% abv, which turned out to be a rich almost chocolately strong bitter. This one was to my taste so I had to kept distracting my partner get a sip now and then, despite it's strength being under 5% it still packed a punch with flavour and was a half to enjoy and savour.
My next beer was Station Bitter 3.9% abv, this is the beer in the picture. Lovely golden carmel colour and was a lovely bitter which had rum overtones in the taste, certainly a beer for a session I felt, as it's finish was subtle and morish. The other beer in the round was Cumbrian Gold 4.2% abv, this was hoppy like the Sunlander before it but less punchy and more rounded with hops being more fruity then citrus.
All in all we were very impressed by Stonehouse and their beers, with four pumps we got to try most of their range. I will be keeping an eye out for their beers in the future.
The Spitting Feathers beers are always on cask here, lovely to go with the food that comes out of the kitchen which includes some interesting vegetarian dishes as well as steak and ale pie. This variety means that it appeals to a broad cross section of people which can only help to keep the pub as busy as it is. Other beers are mainly from the local area although they also had two different Tring beers on during our stay. Seven pumps are always on, one for cider and six for beer, smooth operation means that once a beer is done a new one is soon pulled though and ready for drinking.
This pub has very good staff, I'm guessing a lot of training goes on in this pub as the service you get is smooth, friendly but above all very professional. They reminded me more of the staff in a high class restaurant than a pub, some may not like this approach but it works well here. I only had one bad beer here, which on pointing it out was tipped away, another beer given, pump clip turned around and different beer shortly back on that pump. As I said smooth.
Apart from that one time, all the other beers have been in fine condition. Favourites from the Spitting Feathers were Wavertonian Stout and the Thirstquencher, the stout was lovely to have in the pie as well as a pint by the side!
I would easily recommend this pub myself, as somewhere for a good meal and a drink with friends. It's not the sort of place that I would go for a drink on my own as the tables are all designed for larger groups and the bar stools seem to have regulars on them but for couples and larger groups it is a cracking place.
Monday, 10 September 2012
Sunday, 9 September 2012
If you are coming to Chester this is definitely a pub you have to try. It is again a fantastic pub.
What can I say but what a superb pint. Malty, creamy toffeeish and morish. Holiday beer of the week.
This beer is just what the doctor ordered for this time of year, refreshing but warming when the wind kicks up. Just lovely.
Saturday, 8 September 2012
Picture a city arranging an heritage week, knowing that it has a rich history from saxon and roman onwards. It prints a brochure for the week with locations and a bit of blurb.
One of these locations suddenly shuts with no warning for restoration, despite the fact they would have been very aware of this heritage week. How I know as a tourist this is the case is every local I have met in a pub has been complaining about this unannounced closure.
Now ok, this brewery do fantastic restorations of their pubs and should be congratulated for their work but timing here is wrong. For a short restoration to be done now.......that is poor form.
The pub is The Falcon and owned by Sam Smiths.....
Anyways Chester is a lovely city with a lot of good pubs and the reason I am starting with this one is because they have their own microbrewery in the cellar, a one barrel brewery no less. Apart from their own beers they also have regular guest beers on our visits there was a couple from Hardknott, Phoenix and Adnams.
The pub's own beers hold up well to these guys beers, personal favourite of these beers so far is Red Bull which whilst hoppy had a lovely malty finish. Although my partners favourite was Sensia-bull which at below 4% abv was an apt name, this wasn't as hoppy as the other Pied Bull beers but for me lacked the full flavour that I loved in the Red Bull and Matator. Unfortunately Black Bull (you may note a theme with the beer names!) which is their porter won't be on until the winter months, shame but if there is no market for it beforehand it is understandable. Shame we won't be in Chester then as judging by their other beers it should be a cracker of a beer.
The pub itself is next to the Nicholsons in the town so easy to find and unlike the Nicholsons provides a busy but peaceful place to have a drink and food should you want, which we did with some very filling sandwiches and the husband wanting to go back for a steak later this week. The staff are friendly and do make you feel very welcome. It is very much a traditional looking place and just off the square by the Catherdral.
They also do rooms, so this could a pretty much perfect place for anyone wanting a place with great beer and food plus not too far to bed.
Fantastic place and if you are in Chester I highly recommend you visit!
Tuesday, 4 September 2012
Not long until I leave the South of this fair isle and travel northwards. Apparently we are no longer travelling by cart once past Watford but by train and neither are we given whippets and flat caps to fit in.
Shame, I like whippets, very friendly dogs which seem to love pubs and crisps.
Those of you who know me on Twitter also know I have a new shiny phone which is apparently capable of blogging with some input from me. However to all those email suggesters that I need to add bumpt my postings with videos or crap information from dodgy sources I will not be taking advantage of you.
So I will be heading to sunny Chester and as luck would have it we are staying a stone's throw from some very nice places. I'm looking forward to trying a pint of Cheshire Cat which I'm hoping will give me a grin like said cat. :)
Now just to finish the last couple of days here.....