Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Not much to tell...

A lack of beer...
I haven't written very much on here for a while as I haven't been doing much drinking really. I think a quiet winter full of beering and eating has left me with the biggest belly I'm yet to manage and I'm left without any trousers that fit me, and hence I dare not leave the house to find more beer.
I have managed to add to the "Special" collection though, mostly through the generosity of others... Anchor O.B.A., BrewDog Zephyr, BrewDog/Mikkeller Divine Rebel and a few other juicy specials await me. It is very difficult to know when to bring such special beers out though. I firmly believe that drinking something extraordinary shouldn't be done alone, but its hard to pick the right occasion.
I managed to get my grubby little paws on one of the pre-release small bottles of Zephyr and was blown away by it. The aroma and tastes were a complete juxtaposition. I don't think I am enough of a wordsmith to pay due homage so if you want to know more about it read this by Mark Dredge at Pencil & Spoon, it's as good a description as you could hope to find on this unique beer.
Its my Birthday next week, that might just prompt me to open one or two bottles... we shall see.
Hopefully Beer Ventures future will be secured by then and a further celebration can take place!
Happy Adventuring!

Friday, 8 May 2009


Do they care?
Its been a great few weeks of beery events and it led me to think about the reactions of people to the great food and drink they have been tasting. At 2 different pubs, a village hall, at someones house and at a food festival, I have watched people enjoy tastes that they wouldn't normally encounter and thoroughly appreciate these new experiences.
I have been to a whisky dinner with Glenfarclas, a beer & food matching evening with Anchor Brewery, hosted a St George's day tasting, a 40th Birthday tasting and had a beer and food matching stall at Shaftesbury Food Festival. All very different events but with a unifying feeling that great food and drink brings people together, experiencing different products for the very first time. The number of women who have told me that they "don't like beer" in the last fortnight, only to find out that they actually do like, good, well made, flavoursome beers, especially when matched with food, is truly astonishing. If we could only get them to try it in the first place. One of the highlights for me was a lady who must have been well into her 70's asking me for some more BrewDog Riptide and another piece of brownie, she told me that she hadn't drunk any beer in nearly 20 years, but wanted me to let her have some bottles to take home!
The Glenfarclas Whisky tasting was held at The Queens Arms in Corton Denham, and was hosted by George Grant the 7th generation of the owning family. It was a very entertaining evening, with some fabulous food, a rich terrine with the 15year old, Loin of Hoggett with the 21 year old, a beautiful chocolate dessert with the 25 year old, 2 thirty year old with cheese and a 50 year old bottle to round off a truly memorable evening, brilliantly compered by George. It was my first whisky and food meal, and it certainly won't be my last, it was also particularly enjoyed by those people who had been dragged along by spouses, both my wife and another lady on our table discovered (much to my horror) that whisky is actually a very nice drink!
I had a great night in a local village hall hosting a St George's day beer tasting of best bitters, golden ales, barley wine, IPA, Imperial stout and even some fruit beer. Good fun, with some people who hadn't tried a lot of the different styles before, and some big surprises about what they actually liked.
Mark Carpenter the head brewer at Anchor arrived for a holiday and found himself doing a very jet-lagged beer and food matching meal at The Stapleton Arms. He was on great form however, and gave us a fantastic insight into the Anchor brewery and their legendary beers. The star of the show was undoubtedly the OBA (Our Barrel Ale) a blend of the other Anchor brews aged in their own whisky casks (we had some of their whisky as well). A really unique beer, quite unlike a lot of the other barrel aged beers out there. They won't be making much though, so get it if you can! The beer gains an extra 2% of alcohol in the barrel, which according to Mark's math(s) means 5 gallons of whisky is absorbed into the wood! This alcohol gain means that in America it is considered a spirit and taxed as such.
The OBA was paired with our starter of pork terrine, the beer was a bit too big for the terrine and would have worked a bit better with something a bit richer like pork belly and black pudding. The next course was a blacked cod dish with oriental noodles and it was beautifully paired with Liberty Ale, an excellent match with the cod that was cooked to perfection. Dessert was a take on a Reese's Peanut butter cup, and was paired with the Porter, one of my all-time favourite beers. A selection of cheese and some Old Foghorn, was washed down with a couple of Rye whisky's that were a bit full on for me!
A very relaxed, comfortable night with classic beers and glorious food. Our fellow diner's also seemed to enjoy themselves, a first at that sort of event for the people on our table.
Shaftesbury food fair has to have the most stunning setting for such an event anywhere in the country with far reaching views over the Dorset countryside. The people seemed to embrace it and we had a great day selling some beers and introducing some beer and food matching. Moor Breweries Merlin's Magic with some mature cheddar, BrewDog Punk IPA and spicy chicken and Riptide with chocolate. The IPA was particularly well received and we sold out very early in the day. I did the day with Paul from The Fine Food School at Stour Row, we were advertising our beer and food cookery classes, hopefully the enthusiasm shown on the day will be followed with some bookings!
Its been a great couple of weeks... this weekend takes me to Essex and a 30th birthday tasting, and tonight I am trying BrewDog's Zephyr, lets hope it lives up to the hype!
Happy Adventuring!