Thursday, 30 April 2009

Please slow down

BrewDog's New Beers

BrewDog please slow down a bit, all these new beers is costing me a fortune. Every new week seems to bring a crazy new brew that just has me so excited that I can't wait to get my grubby little paws on it. In the last month we've had Zephyr, 77 Lager, How to disappear completely and now Juxtaposition and I believe that Atlantic IPA is on its way too. My wife and I are going to seriously fall out if you keep doing this to me.

Maybe you could call yourself Petrol or something similar so that my bank statements don't keep saying BrewDog????

I think a full on BrewDog day is coming soon in my garden, maybe Bank Hols Monday would be the ideal occasion. It might even prompt me into writing about them...
(p.s don't slow down, keep doing it, get crazier, whet my tastebuds and I can't wait for the summer's raspberry ripple ice-cream beer or beetroot purple mild...)

Happy BrewDogging!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Beers for Cask Ale Week

Cask Ale Week - Whats on at the local...

I popped into my exceptional local pub yesterday to see what they had on for Cask Ale week. I'm not sure about this National Cask Ale Week thing, is it an idea from the bigger breweries and pub chains for their gain or is it something that will benefit smaller breweries and independent pubs? We shall see. I also wonder how well its being marketed, I have only seen it on beer websites and inside pubs, that may only prove that I walk around with my eyes closed, but I shall ask around and see what I find out.

Back to the beers at the pub... The Queens Arms had 6 cask ales on yesterday, they had gone for a classic English ale theme, with Harveys Sussex, TT Landlord, Adnams Extra, Moor Revival, Matthews Brassknocker, and Silent Knight from Dorset Brewing Co. I only had time for three quick halves and a spot of lunch so plumped for the Adnams, Matthews and Silent Knight.

The Adnams Extra had that typical sea-side saltiness that is so typical of Adnams beers, it was a particularly well-balanced subtle beer, so typical of everything good in English Bitter. There was lots of Fuggles with its earthy flavours combining beautifully with the sweeter malt, all wrapped up by a long finish with that hint of the sea. It's been a long wait for this beer to return, and I can see why those who remember it are so pleased to be able to try it again.

Matthews Brassknocker has apparently been a CAMRA beer of the year for the last couple of years, but has escaped my radar completely, I had never come across them before. James at the Queens raves about them, and the Brassknocker was an excellent beer. It was towards the end of the barrel, so I was warned not to expect too much, so was very pleasantly surprised to find a very fresh flavourful beer. The aroma was citrussy and the colour a light golden that looked stunning when held up to the sun. It had a lovely malt sweetness, that's unusual in a 3.8% beer, with a nice hint of vanilla. The finish was slightly dryer than I was expecting with a little hop bitterness. It was a very nice session ale, one that you could return to many times over.

Silent Knight is a beer I have been looking to have a taste of for quite a while, it sounds very interesting. It's a dark, unfiltered wheat beer at 5.9% promising a big, bold flavour and the smoothness of wheat. For me, it just didn't deliver, it needed more, needed to be bigger, stronger, more unctuous. There was a hint of chocolate and a hint of dark berries, the beer was thinner than I was expecting, not as carbonated as I wanted it. I think I was expecting too much, I wanted it to remind me of Aventinus, but all it did, was remind me how good Aventinus is.

My lunch was delicious - pigs kidneys on toast with a cider reduction, really, really good!

Happy Adventuring!

Friday, 3 April 2009

The Session #26: Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em!

The Session #26: Smoke

I LOVE SMOKE, smoked beers, smoked food... can't get enough of them, smokier the better.

I am yet to find any smoked beers to better Schlenkerla, I love the Marzen, one of my absolute favourite beers. I think the Weizen is a brilliant food beer. The Helles is lighter, less in your face, but works a treat, sat in the sun with some cold smoked meats, brings back happy memories.

I remember my first experience drinking a Schlenkerla Marzen, the first smoked beer I'd come across, only about 4 years ago. I didn't really know what I was ordering but the bottle attracted me, as did the virtually unpronounceable writing on it. I have to try this strange animal in front of me. It was like nothing I had tried before, I took in the aroma... a packet of smokey bacon crisps in a glass... wierd. I tried it... do I like it? Yes, yes I think I do. And so started a love affair.
The Schlenkerla Weizen doesn't seem to be to everybody's taste, but it certainly works for me. I love it with smoked haddock and poached eggs, one of the best beer and food pairings I have enjoyed. I have read other people say that they don't think that smoked beer and smoked food work together, it is too much smoke, they claim. I believe as long as the intensity of the beer and food work together, then it is a match made in heaven. I wouldn't drink the Urbock or the Marzen with delicately smoked fish, they would obviously over-power the fish. Pork and smoked beers are another great food and beer pairing, there is some natural smoke flavour in pork, that, when matched to a smoked beer, is accentuated just a little bit. Slow roasted pork belly and Schlenkerla Weizen is a great way, in my opinion, to introduce people to smoked beers, even my Mum liked it.
I have searched out other smoked concoctions and been relatively disappointed by the porters of O'Kells and Alaska and the couple of other German offerings I have tasted. There just isn't that big smoke that fronts up in a Schlenkerla, that smacks your taste buds, and says give me more smokey things, NOW.
Smokey Adventuring!

Theatre Bars: Crap Beer

A Decent Drink?

I went to an excellent comedy night at a little theatre in Sherborne. It was a great nights entertainment in a nice setting. But the drinks choice was beyond shit.

Carlsberg, Tetley Creamflow stuff, bottles of Strongbow, nasty cheap wine, vodka or Grouse.

What do you want, sir?

None of them, thanks.

There must be a market for something better, the pubs that do well in the area are nice country ones that serve good drinks. It is a wealthy area, the people that use the theatre will generally be well off. Stood outside the back door, its a picture from Morse, you could be in Oxford with the narrow streets, ancient college buildings and general feeling of calm and wealth. I dread going to places like this and usually drive, as my wife is far less discerning! (I can't believe I've written that)

So buy something better and charge some more for it! Please.

Happy Adventuring!