Monday, 25 November 2013

Caterham Beer Festival

A new beer festival just around the corner from our mates home so it would have been rude not to go along to this. Organised by the local Round Table and extremely well organised at that, with ticket presales which allowed them to work out beer needed for each day and very helpful friendly staff! It was held at what used to be the local council house, saved for the community by a group of businesses when the council were looking to sell it off. Lovely venue for the festival. They focused on a lot of local breweries and beers, a nice touch as many aren't seen in the local pubs so this is a good showcase for the travelling beer drinker.

As the glass sponsors were local accountancy firm I thought it amusing to have Audit Ale as my first beer, one of the strongest beers at the festival at 6.2%, according to the festival tasting notes it was brewed to the 1938 strength and using the same ingredients as the original best selling bottled beer of the Black Eagle Brewery. It is a sweet beer, reminding me of a barley wine, gorgeously morish which is a tad dangerous at that strength. After this one I went for a weaker beer in the shape of Pilgrim Brewery's Porter at 4.1%, fantastic porter with more flavour than some stronger beers and their Moild mild (3.8%) was also very very good. I'm hoping to try some more of their beers soo.

Old Dairy Brewery's Gold (4.3%)  and Blue (4.8%) tops didn't disappoint either, hoping one day to see their imperial at a festival but these two were lovely, Blue Top disappearing before the bell at 5pm. In fact Kent was very well represented at the festival with beers from Westerham and Tonbridge.

Cronx, a new brewery in Croydon had two beers at the festivals, one was their bitter called Standard (3.8%) which would be a fantastic session bitter but Nektar (4.5%) was the second beer we had to throw, some may enjoy it but personally it just didn't work at all although it did smell of blackcurrants as per the tasting notes but just tasted plain weird. Looking forward to trying some others of theirs, hoping for more like Standard than the other.

All in all the festival had some crackers, a couple of pourers but that's the way of it. Hoping the Round Table put this on again.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Wandsworth Common's Halloween Beer Festival

I missed the last one of these sadly due to work pressures but it was great to go back, the festival beers were better organised so that they had run out of interesting beers on the Saturday. Saturdays for this festival get very busy indeed, whilst there were a few missing beers there was a heck of a lot of choice still.

Sadly Fuller's Imperial Stout had gone on the Friday night so I didn't get to try that but the bar inside had a hidden treasure from Fullers. A cask of their Vintage Ale... It was interesting to later see tweets with people mentioning it and others going "Really? Where!", for my part it was a great beer to try on tap. I actually far prefer it on tap to bottle same as with Golden Pride to be honest. It was everything you could hope for in a strong winter beer, sweet fruity notes balanced with just enough sweetness and bitter. Thomas Sykes, the barley wine from Burton Bridge just didn't live up to it normal self, it was extremely sweet and cloying which made me wonder if they had stopped fermentation too soon? Not sure as I'm not a brewer but it just wasn't the barley wine I have had in previous years, I will try it again next year this could just be a blip and I only see it at this festival so...

From the Highlands, Orkney and Cairngorm breweries impressed with their two beers, both warming and morish for winter. Moorhouse's Ruby Witch was delightful with its toffee spice and their Black Cat which is a firm favourite of mine didn't disappoint at all. Robinson's had provided a cask of Old Tom, again I much prefer this on cask to bottle, the chocolate and port flavours seem to meld better this way to me.

Unfortunately again we missed out on Snowflake from Sarah Hughes brewery but then we weren't surprised, CAMRA tend to hit this festival on the first couple of days so we knew this would have gone alongside Fullers Imperial Stout, we were surprised to find out that they actually died on the Friday, good planning for the beer lifespan by the organisers I felt!

Windsor and Eton provided their Conqueror 1075 which was an odd beer, it had a salty after tang to it which just seemed to really work. The biggest surprise of the festival was Downton's Roman Imperial Stout, it was everything you want in an imperial, rich chocolate married with warm roast coffee and that thick comforting mouth feel... And it was a Downton's! Normally we as a group at Festival, with the exception of my partner who really likes their beers, avoid this brewery as there is usually a weird aftertaste that we just don't like but that wasn't there and to my partner great joy then found we also like Nelsons Delight by them too. Ok, it didn't match the notes description but it was a very good beer and we will be trying their beers again now.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Guinness & How To Do An Advert Right The latest Guinness advert certainly shows how to do advertising right, the beer is as usual for this brewery advertised right at the end but the whole advert is based on showing friendship rather than a mock up of hells chorus with overblown 'obstacles' to get around or oneupmanship against your mates. Ok, Guinness isn't my favourite beer by any means but I have to give them credit for this.

Monday, 19 August 2013


Never realised that Guinness once attempted a wheat beer, only realised now as someone left a branded glass on my desk.

It was discontinued as it didn't take off but I thought it was an interesting beer for them to attempt.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Shepherd Neame - India Pale Ale

6.1% ABV

This is made according to one of the historical recipes that they have found in their archives and it is very different from the American or Scottish IPAs that are out there. Yes, it does have that alcohol fruity sweetness that you get from the higher ABV and the tropical fruit notes in smell and taste but that's all in common. With this beer you get a biscuity bitter backbone to the beer, I found myself wishing I had brought more of these which is unusual for me and Shepherd Neame beers.

I do wonder if the fact that these historical beers are bottled in proper brown glass helps the flavour and in turn my perception of these beers. I have had bottles of Bishops Finger which have been undrinkable thanks to clear glass and strong sunlight in shops and so I approach their beers with caution normally.

The beer itself pours like a bitter rather than a IPA and smells like a bitter that has been crossed with pineapple which was unusual but not off putting, it's the taste where it really shines. That bitter backbone I mentioned stops it from just being another hoppy beer but gives it a nice bite.

Personally I hope this beer says around, it is an enjoyable tipple.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Hanging Bat

This was one of those happy coincidences where you are heading to a new town and someone on the internet writes up a good review of a place which you subconsciously file it away in the filing cabinet of your brain only for it to guide you to the door.

It is a bit of a walk from the main drag of the Royal Mile but this is not a bad thing, means you get a seat without a struggle and also waiting time at the bar is short… or it is until the locals fill it up as they clock off work. It is a modern bar but unlike a lot of craft beer places in London they have decided to make use of the high ceilings by creating a multi layered bar instead of havingall that echoing space.

The staff are friendly and fast whether serving behind the bar or dashing out to deliver food to a waiting table, speaking of food they serve a nice range of smaller food which are good for soaking up beer. Nice to see this instead of the usual pork pie offering which is all you get in some craft places in London, yes pork pies are lovely but you do sometimes need something a bit more.
The Bat has its own microbrewery; it’s tiny especially compared to the Tap East. Their own beers are very good, the beer selection seemed to cater for all tastes plus they do a tasting flight with a difference. If you order one then you pick out your first beer which they serve to you but then they give you tokens so you can go back to the bar once you have finished or you can order all the ones you want in one go. Good idea we thought and took advantage of doing a majority of our drinking that way whilst there.

Highly recommended bar!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Scotch Whisky Experience

Nothing to do with beer this one, but many of us beer drinkers also enjoy a good whisky.

My partner and I decided to book a whisky tasting experience on the good advice from friends who had been here and said that it was a great morning out. We decided to opt for the Gold tour and set out for the place after a leisurely breakfast, after getting my picture taking with the statue of David Hume (Philosopher before anyone asks) on the Royal Mile we ended up running to the venue as the skies opened with an impressive thunderstorm for a Tuesday morning.

We had booked the 10am tour figuring by the time for tasting it would be 11 or so, the tour was small mainly I suspect due to the time in the morning so apart from my partner and me there was only one other guy who as it turned out worked for the Johnny Walker distillery, interesting guy to chat to.

The tour itself was very good but the whisky collection which was all collected by one man and sold for unnamed amount was jaw dropping! The collector had mainly brought two bottles of each, one for his collection and one for drinking, if he could only get the one bottle it went into the collection. I have to admit to the awe I felt at seeing this collection, from an artistic view it was fascinating to see how the labels for some distilleries have changed over the years and in some cases how their newer elusive bottlings echo the designs of yesteryear.  

Our guide was entertaining, rather than a scripted talk he tailored what he talked about to our questions and asked us about our opinions on some of the bits and pieces. He was just as good when it came to the tasting, this is the first whisky tasting I have done to be honest and it was good fun. The tasting for this package was done with explanation of the whiskies and how they can vary due how they are made, we also did a nose test… this I did enjoy not only because I got 14 out of the 20 which apparently puts me in the top 5% of people for identifying smells but because it was a great eye-opener to how difficult it can be to smell something without a sight or taste clue.

But yes, I mainly enjoyed it because I was top of the class!

After this we did a long taste testing of four different whiskies, from blend to single malt to single grain to a grain/malt brend. It was interesting how different they are in comparison; normally I buy whiskies from certain distilleries because I like their taste so the chance to experiment here was good.

Of course we finished the tour off by a midge of shopping, a lot more whisky tasting at the bar and then lunch at the restaurant on site which was needed after the off-piste tasting we did in the bar. Highly recommend going along if you are in Edinburgh.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Stewart Brewing Co - St Giles

5% ABV

We have been back from Edinburgh for a couple of weeks now, it was a glorious trip which involved beer, history, whisky and a lot of a rather lovely meals. Safe to say we will be going back despite the East Coast train cock-up on the way back.

This beer I enjoyed first at Edinburgh Botanical Gardens, the restaurant there is rather nice and of course doing Scottish beers helped to ease sore feet from the trekking around the gardens themselves.

It pours a dark cherry brown with a fluffy head which lasts down the glass despite reminding me of the head you briefly get from lemonade, didn’t get much of smell from the beer but it was served very cold. The flavour improved as the beer warmed up, not the breweries fault but it is an unfortunately fact that most drinks fridges are kept too cold. Firstly it tastes of dry roast barley which as it warms is softened by an underlying toffee note; all in all it is rather morish.

Luckily the bar we went to later had bottles of this too so I was able to enjoy a couple more of these. Shame we didn’t see it on tap but you can’t have everything.

For more info:

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Brain's Barry Island IPA

6% ABV

This is the second of the beers I got in the Father's Day specials, not the most important factor in beer picking but I liked the labeling for this range, it stuck out on the shelves in a good way.

Anyway onto the beer itself. Described on the website as having "a unique smooth malt taste upfront is finished off by a vigorous bitterness and a ‘tidy’ clout of citrus and berry hop flavours". I would have to agree pretty much, it looks good in the glass with a clear straw coloured beer with a fluffy white head which did have a fair amount of staying power. Tastewise its in the ballpark for an American IPA strangely given its ABV there wasn't much sweetness to it like you get with similar percentage American versions.

It worked well with the cheese and biscuits on a warm Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Brain's Boilmaker

6.5% ABV

I picked this beer up in my local supermarket during their Father’s Day promotions alongside a couple of other beers they don’t normally stock. The beers shifted fast but haven’t made it to the ‘normal’ beer stock, shame but I’m guessing that is a management decision from Head Office.

The idea of major breweries doing a little off shoot ‘Craft’ brewery is a tad odd and to be honest seems to be a way of the major brand having a on-trend side rather than anything else but there have been some interesting beers come out of these things.

Overall I quite liked this beer which was collaboration between mini-Brains brewery, Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham. As it says on the bottle it is an IPA matured using Penderyn whisky infused oak chips in casks from Penderyn. However if you are expecting a beer like some of the American or Scottish whisky beers, it is a bit of letdown if I’m honest, Penderyn is a very light whisky and struggles to impart anything other than a whisky sweetness to the beer. This is pleasant, don’t get me wrong but it’s not the bold mingling of two strong distinctive flavors into a unified beer that I was expecting from the label.

Maybe with a different whisky it would be more but it is hard to say, overall I did like it though, the beer could have been way too sweet with the high alcohol and what I have said above and the hops worked to tone it into a very drinkable beer. I would happily buy this again when I see it.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Crawley Beer & Folk Festival


First off, we had gorgeous weather the whole weekend for this. Saturday was wall to wall sunshine and Sunday was the same apart from a stiff breeze, this just helped make a lovely weekend even better to be honest.

Whilst I like folk music I don't know a lot about it, generally I turn up at events with friends who are far more knowledgable than I and listen so music runs as it was good fun, music was great and inspiring...I want to learn either the tenor banjo or a mandolin now.

The two bands we saw on the stage above were Touchstone, whom I have seen before with friends although here I think they suffered with the small stage as there is a lot of them to squeeze in. And the other was called Branched Arc who were a mix of folk, bluegrass and rock, extremely good band playing their own songs and a couple of traditional tunes. For most of the festival we sat under a tree near the beer tent (hard life) and listened to the Busker's stage which was new acts just playing about three or four songs, some were very good indeed and others so-so with nerves I think.

The beer tent was well run with cheerful staff although it got absolutely rammed by 4pm, sunny weather and a free festival bringing out lots of people. In terms of beer not much for tickers if I'm honest but a nice easy going selection for you to sample whilst listening to music. Copper Top from Old Dairy went down very well until they sadly ran out, as did Proper Job from St Austell. There was of course cider on offer in the varying strengths, I tried a couple of half pints of Wobbly Munk and Heck both of which were lovely but at those percentages just a tad high for any more than that for me.

If you are around Crawley in June then next year I would say go along, it's a lovely day or weekend out.

Monday, 22 April 2013

VLM 2013

Congrats to everyone who ran yesterday, hope you all had a great race and you aren't too sore today!

I was at Mile 19 at Canary Wharf with the Whizz Kidz team, it was a fantastic day full of lovely cheering folk and runners!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Marble Arch

Last but by no means least Marble Arch, the home of Marble Brewery.

The pub itself as many will know is great example of the old tiled pubs, it reminds me of the old station pubs that I have seen pictures of in books and the odd film.

We headed there on a day that Manchester City were playing at home as such they had a food special for the fans on their way back. Despite it's tall ceilings the pub itself is very compact but by heck can you fit a lot of folk in! They did have some guests on but as this was an unparalleled chance to try many Marble beers they didn't appear on our ordering. As you would expect they were all in tip top condition, my personal favourite was unsurprisingly the stout although I did quite like the bottled ginger stout which was a surprise as ginger in beer isn't usually my thing as per.

Food was good too which was great as the pub was further out than I expected from the main part of Manchester.

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Gaslamp

Another underground bar but this time a much larger and spacious one, I have been following The Gaslamp on Twitter for a while since someone recommended it as a good place to visit. Subterranean drinking den? Oh go then...

We went here Saturday afternoon when it was busy but not murderously so, which I suspect it may very well become in the evenings. The staff were quick and friendly also a good beer selection, from your session to more unusual servings plus if you fancied a change from beer their whisky selection was rather good too. It seemed a big trend in Manchester for good bars and pubs to concentrate on their beer and whisky selections in tandem.

The bar itself was split into two main rooms, the back one looked like it once was a kitchen with a big fireplace and was very loud once it got full whereas the room with the bar was warmer and more cosy I felt and given it had started snowing before we arrived at The Gaslamp this was most definitely a bonus.

Prices are on par with London, so if like us you are on a trip to Manchester it won’t be a shock unless you have been in one of the smaller pubs. However this is a great place, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on our visit and I would definitely come back here if we are up this way again.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Don't Get Them Like This Nowadays

We didn't get to go in this pub as it was shut the two times we wandered by, but it is a gorgeous example of the old tiled pubs.

And yes, this is a lazy Friday post.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Temple

We see similar this in London where the underground toilets are convented and this is what this bar is. Formerly known as the Temple of Convenience, it has a claim to 'fame' if you want to call it that, by the fact of when it was a loo this was the one that Alan Turning was arrested at for cottaging. This is was also the reason my other half wanted to visit this bar after getting his picture taken at the Alan Turing statue whilst logging into Foursquare... I don't pretend to know the male mind especially not my husbands so don't ask.

Anyway the bar itself is actually very pleasant, surprisingly so given what it used to be and also oddly spacious. Staff are friendly and it claims to have one of the biggest bottle ranges in Manchester (I disagree but hey), we tried two beers from Bath which were very pleasant before we headed off to Manchester's Art Gallery.

It is a bit hard to find but it is an unusual and quirky bar, the graffiti in the bar's toilets is amazing, not something I thought I would write on my blog but there you go.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Brewdog Manchester

I have a love-hate thing going on with Brewdog, like many beer drinkers I suspect, but despite the hype I do like their bar. Regardless of the industrialness of the bar itself they usually are quite cosy and the staff are friendly, if a tad too enthusiastic sometimes. So it was my plan to see what a northern bar of theirs was like on my recent trip to Manchester, the other half wasn’t happy as he didn’t get his free whippet once past Watford and he was less than impressed when we ‘accidentally’ found Brewdog Manchester…

He should have known I had a mental map of where the pubs were in Manchester I wanted to visit; my internal beer nav isn’t bad.

However once inside the fact they had a pinball machine soon cheered him up, we only stayed for a couple as we were exploring Manchester that day having arrived on the early train from London. The Cocoa Psycho was my first pick and I have to admit I found it just a tad too bitter, there are many a chocolate beer I enjoy (Rogue’s chocolate stout springs to mind) but this one was trying to get hops across as well which just wasn’t to my taste, in fact it reminded me of the time I had a taste of a modern attempt at the chocolate drink which the Aztecs had, way too bitter for me. Punk on the other hand hit the spot.

The bar itself is kitted out the same as all the other Brewdogs, despite the metal and concrete the bar itself is warm and doesn’t echo which means the important test of ‘can I hold a conversation’ is always passed in these places. I wonder if the rough concrete has a sound proofing quality; it seems to be the only major structural difference between these bars and the echoing wine bars that pass themselves off as pubs. Having said that the amount of folks with dogs they attract maybe it is the sound reducing quality of canine furry bodies at work... who knows.

If you are after a good place to relax with your mates I would say that you should give this place ago, again like their other bars the prices are depend on what serving you want but more unusual beers are keenly priced and on keg beers are reasonably priced on abv which is a sensible way to do it.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Yorkshire Beer Festival

The Bricklayer's Arms in Putney does some fantastic beer festivals and this wasn't any different apart from the weather being some what chilly.... Well ok, freezing! The beer kept in the outside tent was chilled almost to the point of Wetherspoons beer which is impressive as it was all natural but did mean you had to warm your beer up before drinking it.
We arrived ahead of our friends so could nab a table for all of us with ease, the pub was surprisingly empty at 1pm but then we passed a lot of football fans heading towards Fulham's grounds so this could be a reason as the pub soon filled up after 2pm as if folk were avoiding the fans before heading here.

First beer for me was Acorn Brewery's impressive Old Moor Porter, not a new beer to me but a favourite and I can't resist having a quick half of this before I started on the new beers. It didn't disappoint either cold or warmed up and set me up for my next half which was Ebony Stout from the Wood Street Brewery. This is a new brewery and this stout was one of the stronger beers on at 5%, nice liquorice finish to it.

Junga from Acorn was next and to be honest they should have called it Paddington as it was extremely marmaladely but a rather pleasant beer, now the marmalade flavour was there in another beer called Golden Lion from Bob's. Both good beers but really reminded me of Fullers and this is no bad thing.

Next up for me was Idle's Black Abbot which was a huge roasty beer with a fantastic aftertaste and continuing the dark beer theme one of our table got Sportsman's Pidgeon Bridge Porter which was a lovely chocolately beer, so nice I ended up getting this one next too. Old Mill's Porter was a nice Bertie Bassett of a pint and I will be looking out for this one again.

Beers that didn't work for me were Cap House's Fox Hunter, which to be honest smelt like wet dog and tasted how I imagine that smell would taste. And the other was Concertina's Bengal Tiger which was soapy and seemed like a pint that had white wine spilt in it. Neither were good for me but this is the first time I have tried these breweries and with none of their other beers were here so I will keep an eye out to try some of the others.

All in all it was a great little festival, although we were extremely grateful to be sitting inside! The poor staff looked frozen if cheerful though.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Vile Side of Twitter

A bit of a difference from beer but cycling, I follow a lot of people on twitter who are cyclists and the problems between car drivers and cyclists are slowly getting worse. The vile tweets from some sick folk on running over cyclists or saying about deliberately aiming for them disgust me though, though a seemingly anonymous twitter account people think it is ok? It does make me feel physically ill.

To be honest it was a road accident on my bike and the attitude of other road users which caused me to hang up my cycle helmet.

I used to cycle from where I live to Cheshunt where I worked as a photographer at the time (years and years ago), mostly it was though the Lea Valley park but the end part was along Crossbrook Street which is a B road. I used to cycle along the pavement until there was a police crackdown in the area about this, despite the fact most of us cycled along slowly; we were shoved into cycling on the road.

Due to resurfacing works over the years which were just pour more tarmac on, drains had a dip/hole of about 4-5 inches so understandably you cycled along in a straight line away from these, to be fair so did the car drivers. One day a white van decided he didn’t want to be behind me and overtook whilst there was a bus coming in the opposite direction and clipped my front wheel, this meant I came flying off and hit the road just a couple of metres behind white van twit. Yes, he overtook aggressively so he could pull to a standstill a few metres ahead, Crossbrook Street at rush hour could do a good impression of a car park.

The driver behind me now, stopped and helped me to the pavement, threw my bike onto the pavement and then drove off those few metres too.


No-one checked I was ok; luckily I was although shaken, cut and bruised, but also sadly I was invisible to every car driver who slowly inched past me.

This is why I don’t cycle; technically I could have a pleasant ride in the morning and evening going to work though the forest now but that still means going along some roads at the beginning and end.

To be honest though there is fault on both sides of the cyclist and driver sides, also as a walker I have nearly been run over by cyclists going though red lights at crossings.

I can’t see an easy option to sorting this out but those who think it is amusing to say things about running over cyclists, think of this;

One day you may have a child and it will probably have a bike (we all mainly did), if you think that way then others do as well and now it’s your child who is a cyclist.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Southern Tier's Old Man Winter Ale

7.2% ABV

If I'm honest so far I don't think I have had a bad beer from these guys, from the first which was a couple of years ago at the White Horse Old Ale festival to this one a couple of weekends back at the Cask.

Billed as a winter ale so I was surprised by how thin this seemed despite the relative high ABV, the burnt brown sugar top note and the almost candied orange finish hid the alcohol well but this is served inb small bottles so unlike the Burnburner which is their barley wine there is no chance of polishing off a large bottle then wondering why the world seems a more cheerful place.

Again like all of Southern Tier's beers this looks good in the bottle and the glass with it's deep amber colour and light lacing on the sides.

Whilst I am not so sure about the winter ale billing, this is still a rather pleasant beer and unlike it's stable mates of Mocha, Java and Burnburner it does finish quite cleanly so your next beer isn't muddled with this one which seems a bit damning with faint praise but it is a good beer.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Beer & Poets

I'm in a poetic mood today and wondered about the influence of beer on our poets, normally beer is associated with folk or indeed many other types of music but here I give you a couple of my favourite poems:

First is by Edgar Allen Poe and it is called 'Lines on Ale'

Fill with mingled cream and amber,
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chamber of my brain.
Quaintest thoughts, queerest fancies
Come to life and fade away.
What care I how time advances
I am drinking ale today.

The second is an anonymouse Irish poem for a smile;

Some Guinness was spilt on the barroom floor
When the pub was shut for the night.
When out of his hole crept a wee brown mouse
And stood in the pale moonlight.

He lapped up the frothy foam from the floor
Then back on his haunches he sat.
And all night long, you could hear the mouse roar,
“Bring on the goddamn cat!”

Right and so back to work for me.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Beer Festival Year Begins

Now we have the first month of the year done and dusted, January is a cruel month anyway. Ages to payday and no-one wants to go out anyway due to the post-foodfest christmas feeling. It is time for Beer Festivals to start popping up all over the place in gay abandon, yippee I say.

Our first one this year will be The Bricklayer's Arms Yorkshire beer festival, we go a fair few of their festivals as they are so good, the beers this year will no doubt remind me of the last holiday we had in York, which would have been our honeymoon actually. I like a few amount of beers from up north so this should be a good afternoon of drinking with some mates and I think probably a couple of daft card games as well.

Next up would have been the Wandsworth Common one, but we are away in Manchester for a long weekend but I am positive that I can find either a beer festival locally up there or I will fall back on the pub list I have created, not that the other half knows about that yet...cough.

According to the latest issue of London Drinker, there are quite a few going on during Easter Weekend, something for everyone I guess.

What's your first Beer Festival of 2013?

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

On the Offer of Stouts...

Is it just me or when you are offered stouts that they should really have more than Guinness?

This has happened to me a few times over the wintery season, that and finding the only beers available are summery citrus beers instead of warming stouts, porters or even roasty milds. Ok, I know that if the pub's client base are more likely to buy IPAs then that is what you are going to want to sell but surely there is room in your range for a different guest?

Guest beers seem to be mainly similar to the main range too. Maybe it's me...

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Christmas Paradox 2012

15% abv

Brewdog Special

This was part of my christmas present haul after a not so subtle hint on twitter to my other half. :)

First off, if you don't like rum then really don't try this. The rum really comes though with the raisins sweetening the whole beer wonderfully, the smell is quite powerful and as someone who likes their dark rums this is fine by me.

The beer itself pours completely opaque with a deep tan head that soon disappears leaving a very faint lacing, it has as you would expect from an imperial stout a nice body to it. The alcohol itself doesn't really come though despite both the abv and the rum aging but it is strong tasting and flavoursome so more a sipping beer.

All in all, one of my best presents. :)

If you are quick there were some of these left online.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Orkney Brewery's Dark Island

4.6% ABV

This ended up being beer of the day for January 1st, we had headed to the pub for a relaxing lunch but ended up having both lunch and dinner whilst chatting and enjoying the first session of 2013.

To be honest, I don't normally rate Orkney Breweries beers mainly as each time I have had them they have never been kept particularly well. Not a fault of the brewery I agree before anyone comments thus, but kudos to The Falcon in Clapham Junction for doing well in not only keeping it well but over a barrel change as well. This time the beer looked good and tasted good too.

Tastewise this is rather quaffable for me, chocolately carmel flavours with a slight coffee edge, I didn't get the fruit and figs that Orkney mention on the website but as someone who can be a bit funny about the fruit in beer thing this is not a problem for me. It does have a good aftertaste of coffee hops which I enjoyed as many of the bitters I have been drinking tend to finish suddenly tastewise like lager which isn't what I'm after when drinking beer.

Good beer and now I can see what some have been saying when they mention these guys.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Another year gone and departed.

As many of you know there is a campaign for a dry January running at the moment but personally I won't be following it. Drinking will continue in the Meer household, it would have been a better idea to promote sensible drinking rather than not drinking at all but this is something run by a biased group so...

I was quiet in December not due to running amock with booze fulled nights and days but with revision for exams then I got two bad colds including whooping cough (which was not fun at all) and a chest infection so blogging took a backseat as did many of my favourite past times but I'm back now albeit with an irritating sore throat but that can't be helped.

Anyways you all with be hearing more from me in the next few weeks as I have notes for reviews plus the odd bit of beery nonsense.

Hope you all had a good year and here's to 2013.