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    Friday, 15 February 2013

    Monday, 15 June 2009

    End Of The Line

    I've decided to put the blog to sleep. To be honest I've gotten bored with it and lack the motivation to post with any regularity. I shall keep the blog here rather than shut it down, and will still be twittering or whatever it's called and the latest tweets will still appear at the top of the front page.

    I'd like to thank all of the people who read the blog especially those who read it regularly and those who took the effort to post comments; the vast majority of which were interesting and thought provoking.

    Special thanks obviously go to BrewDog and BeerMerchants for the sponsorship. Their adverts will remain because they are companies I believe in who are doing the right things in the beer World.

    If you are a fellow blogger and I like your blog, I will continue to read it and will attempt to comment more regularly.

    Good luck

    Wednesday, 10 June 2009

    Presentation Night For Our Pub Of The Year

    18 or so members of the Northants Branch of CAMRA attended the Pub Of The Year presentation at The Coach & Horses in Wellingborough in Monday night.

    It was a good evening (even if I did have to drive) with Phil our branch chair doing us proud with a good speech as ever, whilst John the landlord provided a full bar of ten real ales for our delectation.

    Leicestershire Branch who judged the seven pubs on our shortlist did a good job in choosing the Coach as winner. One I wish was just a little bit closer to home.

    Sunday, 7 June 2009

    Britiah Summer Ales

    It seems very strange writing about Summer beers whilst sat in my conservatory with the rain absolutely lashing it down and disturbing the peace of an otherwise empty house, but the pubs are starting to fill with beers which brewers choose to name Summer ales.

    I am often filled with dread as these beers appear. They are pale, around 4% and often very ordinary. Using pale malt whilst utilising the usual boring earthy English hops does not a Summer ale make.

    However my recent experiences seem to demonstrate that more and more brewers are getting the hang of putting flavour into their beer, and that flavour may be described as Summery.

    It really is, for me, all about the hops, and where good brewers like Oakham and Pictish have led with their heavily hopped beers using stuff like Willamette and Centennial, others do appear to be following. You need a bit of citrussy flavour to be a Summer beer. You get that from using the right hops. US stuff, New Zealand stuff, First Gold from here all do the trick. Fuggles and Goldings really don't.

    Loads of the pale beers I had at our beer festival last weekend hit the spot because they used the right hops. Hats off to those brewers that haev realised this and are prepared to spend a little bit more on imported hops. I like flavour in my beer and a Summer beer on a hot day needs just the right type of flavour.

    Friday, 5 June 2009

    Other Pubs In Brighton

    As well as the usual suspects, I did visit a few other pubs whilst in Brighton. Most of these were in the current Good Beer Guide or on the local CAMRA branch's ale trail.

    The exception to that was The Pump House in The Lanes which I visited twice. This pub sells five real ales, and the three different ones I had: Dark Horse Whip Cracker, Harveys Sussex Best and Taylor Landlord were all in really good condition. I'm told by friends that the food, especially the sausages, was excellent too. I do wonder why the pub doesn't currently feature with the local CAMRA bods.

    The Great Eastern is at the bottom of Trafalgar Street, down the hill from The Lord Nelson, and sells three beers. I had a reasonable Ballards Best and an underpar Hop Back Summer Lightning. The pub does stock around 40 different bourbons if that's your thing.

    Southover Street is in the Hanover area of Brighton and has the steepest street I ever wish to walk up. I went to two pubs; the interesting Greys being the first. Greys has a good selection of Belgian beers and promotes a different Belgian brewer each Tuesday. I stuck to the local stuff though with a reasonable Harveys Best, Landlord being the only other choice. Further up the hill is the ex-Gales, now Fullers, Sir Charles Napier. Four beers from the London brewer were available. my choice was Summer Ale as I rarely see it. It was OK. no more.

    Near the London Road shops is The Mitre which is a Harveys pub, and sadly was the quietest pub I went in all week, which was a shame as I liked it. The Hadlow Bitter I had was good too.

    Another pub in The Lanes is The Victory, three beers were available including two from Arundel of which Sussex Gold was my choice, and decent enough it was.

    Finally I went to The Waggon and Horses near the theatre where I passed over the two beers on offer in favour of the Westons Perry (we all need a change sometimes), which was decent enough in an unchallenging manner.

    There are countless other pubs to try and next year I'll do so. I may just uncover a gem.

    Wednesday, 3 June 2009

    Brighton Pubs - The Obvious Go-Tos

    I enjoy going on my annual sojourn to Brighton, as there are a handful of pubs which I could never tire of, all of which sell beers I rarely see up here.

    My first pub was The Lord Nelson on Trafalgar Street which is a Harveys pub. Harveys beers are not universally popular but I like them a lot. I had pints of Armada and the light mild Knots Of May, both were on good form. I didn't return there during the week but did sample other Harveys beers namely Sussex Best and Hadlow Bitter

    I paid two visits during the week to The Evening Star. This pub is almost faultless. The cask beers, especially the Dark Star beers were superb (I tried American Pale Ale, Mild For May, Old Chestnut and Hophead); the guests are well chosen and the foreign list is superb. I really loved the Oaked Arrogant Bastard. This is one of the pubs I'd give anything to have in my town.

    A pub I didn't get to last year, but I had to do this year was The Basketmakers Arms. This was a Gales pub, but of course is branded as Fullers now, and sells five from that stable as well as two guests. It is always very busy, but is definitely worth a brief visit.

    Finally of the old favourites was my Brighton local, as I stay just around the corner, The Hand In Hand. I only went in a couple of times and am pleased to report that the home brewed beers are still available and are better than I've ever had them. There are three of fours guests too, which are in good nick.

    These are the pubs I will go back to year on year, but there are others which are worth an occasional visit which I'll write about next time.

    Tuesday, 2 June 2009

    Coming Soon From Adnams

    I'm going to Suffolk for a week towards the end of June, and will be staying very near Southwold, which is, of course Adnams country. Looks like I've timed it well as this new beer should be available.

    I do like Nelson Sauvin hops.

    Monday, 1 June 2009

    Northants BF - That Was A Mad Weekend

    The sun shone, and the drink flowed. This year's Northamptonshire Beer Festival had more beer than ever and far more cider than ever. It also had our best weather ever, with temperatures in the mid twenties.

    The beer list numbered 238 although there were a few barrels doubled up making around 250 casks in total. We didn't sell out of beer, although we were quite close, but therein lies the good planning in the beer ordering because there is no point having gallons and gallons of beer left at last orders on the last day. We did run out of cider at around 8;30 though. There was a bit of beer left for the staff to have a quick drink and a sing song after closing which was very pleasant.

    I didn't catch any of the entertainment, which included an allegedly successful attempt at a World record motorcycle jump; the sealed knot and plenty of bamds, but I'm sure they were a success.

    My efforts were restricted to selling beer and helping back of house, and I hope visitors thought we ran a good show. We didn't have sufficient glasses on Saturday night, but it was busier than expected. Nobody went home thirsty though.

    I did manage to sample around 40 different beers over the three days and have to say that they were in great condition. It's long been an assertion of mine that outdoor festivals work better than indoor as far as beer quality is concerned. We had to soak the barrels with cold water to keep them at optimum temperature; something which is easier to do when the water can flow into the ground rather than a linoed floor.

    Favourite beers I tried included Boggart Rum Porter, Green Mill Big Chief and Chocolate Mild, Beowulf Wuffa and the festival special Great Oakley Abbey Stout. Honourable mention also to Nobbys Chilli Summer; proof again that chilis is a great additive to beer.

    So, it was really hard work and my aging knees felt the pressure, but it was great fun, and we'll be doing it again. Same time same place next year. Roll up, roll up.

    Tuesday, 26 May 2009

    Last Minute Changes

    Everything is up on the stillages for this week's festival and there are surprisingly few alterations to
    the list I posted at the weekend.

    Boggart Dark Mild replaced by Trad Mild.
    Boggart Dark Rum Porter is actually Rum Porter.
    Elland Anniversary Ale is 7th Anniversary Ale.
    Bridestones TJ5 is actually TJ's.
    Rockingham Black Forest replaced by Dark Forest.
    Brampton Best replaced by Golden Bud.

    The following are no shows:

    Red Squirrel Colorado American IPA
    Sawbridgeworth Malt Shovel Porter
    Sawbridgeworth Chocolate Orange Stout

    Sunday, 24 May 2009

    Northamptonshire Beer Festival 2009- The Beer List

    The Northamptonshire Beer Festival starts this Thursday at Delapre Abbey in Northampton at 5pm. It is then open all day from noon. The beer list which should be final is listed below. I will update with any changes as and when they occur.

    Abbeydale Brimstone
    Abbeydale Belfry
    B&T Gold Leaf
    B&T R101
    B&T Black Dragon Mild
    B&T Edwin Taylors Extra Stout
    Bank Top Flat Cap
    Bank Top Volunteer
    Bank Top Pavilion
    Bank Top Port o' Call
    Beowulf Wuffa
    Beowulf Goldwork
    Beowulf Chasewater
    Beowulf Swordsman
    Blue Cow Best Bitter
    Blue Monkey Original
    Blue Monkey Evolution
    Blythe Blythe Bitter
    Blythe Staffie
    Blythe Ridware Pale
    Blythe Tetty's Tipple
    Boggart Hole Clough Dark Mild
    Boggart Hole Clough Standard Pioneer
    Boggart Hole Clough Sun Dial
    Boggart Hole Clough Ray of Sunshine
    Boggart Hole Clough Dark Rum Porter
    Brampton Best
    Brampton 1302
    Brass Monkey Best Bitter
    Brass Monkey Mandrill
    Brass Monkey Monkey Pooh
    Brass Monkey Silverback
    Brewdog Zeitgeist
    Brewdog Punk
    Brewdog 77Lager
    Brewdog Dogma
    Brewdog Trashy Blonde
    Brewdog Paradox Smokehead
    Brewsters Hophead
    Brewsters Marquis
    Brewsters Cheval Mort
    Brewsters Kiyo
    Bridestones Pennine Dark Mild
    Bridestones Brown Ale
    Bridestones TJ5
    Bridestones Sandman
    Brunswick White Feather
    Brunswick Pilsener
    Cathedral Magna Carta
    Cathedral St Hugh's
    Cathedral Black Imp
    Cherwell Valley Larkrise
    Cherwell Valley Cropredy Bridge
    Cherwell Valley Kineton Fight
    Cherwell Valley Duke of Cumberlands Head
    Concrete Cow Ironbridge Brew
    Concrete Cow Cowzat'
    Dark Star Hophead
    Dark Star Espresso
    Dark Star Festival
    Dark Star Original
    Dent Dent Bitter
    Dent Aviator Ale
    Dent T'owd Tup
    Digfield Fools Nook
    Digfield Barnwell Bitter
    Digfield March Hare
    Digfield Shacklebush
    Digfield IPA
    Digfield Mad Monk
    Dowbridge Centurion
    Dowbridge Fosse
    Dowbridge Legion
    Dowbridge DB Dark
    Dowbridge Morgans Beez Neez
    Elland Mambo
    Elland Beyond the Pale
    Elland Anniversary Ale
    Elland Space
    Empire Golden Warrior
    Empire Pilgrim
    Empire Valour
    Empire Longbow
    Frog Island Fuggled Frog
    Frog Island Best Bitter
    Frog Island Shoemaker
    Frog Island Natterjack
    Frog Island Fire Bellied Toad
    Frog Island Croak & Stagger
    Full Mash Brass Monkey
    Full Mash Stapleford Stout
    Grainstore Cooking
    Grainstore 1050
    Grainstore Silly Billy
    Grainstore NIP
    Great Oakley Welland Valley Mild
    Great Oakley Wot's Occurring
    Great Oakley Wagtail
    Great Oakley Harpers
    Great Oakley Gobble
    Great Oakley Delapre Dark
    Great Oakley Tailshaker
    Great Oakley Abbey Stout
    Green Mill Chocolate Mild
    Green Mill A Bitter T'ale
    Green Mill Chief
    Green Mill Big Chief
    Hart Nemesis
    Hart Dishy Debbie
    Hawkshead Bitter
    Hawkshead Lakeland Gold
    Hawkshead Brodies Prime
    Hoggleys Northamptonshire Bitter
    Hoggleys Kislingbury Bitter
    Hoggleys Mill Lane Mild
    Hoggleys Reservoir Hogs
    Hoggleys Pump Fiction
    Hoggleys Solstice Stout
    Hoggleys Slum Hog
    Hopshackle Historic Porter
    Hopshackle Double Momentum
    Iceni Celtic Queen
    Iceni Fine Soft Day
    Iceni Cranberry Wheat
    Julian Church Parson's Nose
    Julian Church Wonky Spire
    Julian Church Martyr
    Leatherbritches Copper Classic
    Magpie Fledgling
    Magpie Dark Secret
    Magpie Best Bitter
    Magpie Monty's FIrkin
    Mallinsons Amarillo
    Mallinsons Statue of Zeus
    Mallinsons TR7
    Mallinsons Jubilee Tower
    Maypole Little Weed
    Maypole Major Oak
    Milestone Raspberry Wheat
    Milestone Loxley
    Milestone Rich Ruby
    Milton Icarus
    Milton Nero
    Naylors Pinnacle Bitter
    Naylors Pinnacle Blonde
    Nethergate Old Growler
    Nethergate Essex Beast
    Nethergate Umbel Magna
    Nethergate Lounge Lizard
    Nethergate Essex Border
    Nobbys Best Bitter
    Nobbys Guilsborough Gold
    Nobbys Claridges Crystal
    Nobbys Monster Mash
    Nobbys Chilli Summer
    Nobbys T'owd Navigation
    Oakham Endless Summer
    Oakham Attila
    Oakham JHB
    Oakham Inferno
    Oakham White Dwarf
    Oakham Bishops Farewell
    Oldershaw Grantham Dark
    Oldershaw Regal Blonde
    Oldershaw High Dyke
    Oldershaw Harrowby Pale
    Oldershaw Grantham Stout
    Oldershaw Ahtanum Gold
    Grainstore Phipps IPA
    Grainstore Phipps Red Star
    Potbelly Welland Truly
    Potbelly Black Sun
    Potbelly Potbelly Best
    Potbelly Aisling
    Potbelly Ambrosia
    Potbelly Beijing Black
    Potbelly Inner Daze
    Potbelly Crazy Daze
    Purple Moose Black Hand Porter
    Purple Moose Madogs
    Purple Moose Snowdonia
    Purple Moose Glaslyn Ale
    Purple Moose Darkside of the Moose
    RCH Old Slug Porter
    RCH East Street Cream
    RCH Double Header
    RCH Steampole
    RCH PG Steam
    Red Squirrel BSPA
    Red Squirrel London Porter
    Red Squirrel English IPA
    Red Squirrel Colorado American IPA
    Red Squirrel Blonde
    Rockingham A1 Amber Ale
    Rockingham Black Forest
    Sawbridgeworth Malt Shovel Porter
    Sawbridgeworth Chocolate Orange Stout
    Shardlow Kiln House
    Shardlow Whistle Stop
    Shardlow Golden Hop
    Silverstone Pitstop
    Silverstone Chequered Flag
    Southport Golden Sands
    Southport Carousel
    Spinning Dog Herefordshire Owd Bull
    Spinning Dog Mutleys Dark
    Spinning Dog Celtic Gold
    Spinning Dog Mutts Nutts
    Spire Ruby Tuesday
    Spire Land Of Hop And Glory
    St.Georges St George is mild
    St.Georges Order of the Garter
    St.Georges Dragons Blood
    Tower Steamin Billy Last Bark
    Tower Steamin Billy Skydiver
    Tower steamin Billy Fox's Revenge
    Titanic Golden Age
    Ufford White Hart
    Ufford Golden Drop
    Vale Vale Best Bitter
    Vale Edgar's Golden Ale
    Vale Hadda's Spring Gold
    Vale VPA
    Vale Castle Bitter
    Weatheroak Light Oak
    Weatheroak Victoria Works
    White Horse Village Idiot
    White Horse Wayland Smithy
    White Horse Black Beauty
    White Park White Gold
    White Park Kellihopter
    White Park Cranfield Bitter
    Whitehaven Ennerdale Breeze
    Whitehaven Ennerdale Bitter
    Whitehaven Ennerdale Blonde
    Whitehaven Ennerdale Copper
    Wild Walker Old Big Ead
    Wild Walker Last Orders
    Wolf Golden Jackal
    Wolf Lavender Honey
    Wolf Woild Moild

    Friday, 15 May 2009

    Coach & Horses Dronfield

    I didn't realise that most pubs I take my wife in are a bit dodgy until she exclaimed "it's really nice Mark" when we walked into The Coach & Horses at Dronfield. It appears she was expecting somewhere a bit "spit and sawdust".

    The C&H is owned by Sheffield FC and sells beers from the excellent Thornbridge Hall brewery. It also though sells a deecnt range of foreign bottled beers and carefully chosen draught keg products. It's anything but spit and sawdust being actually pretty smart.

    Thornbridge beers available on my visit were:

    Wild Swan
    Lord Marples

    I tried them all except the Redbrick and particularly liked the first two on the list. Jaipur was a bit disappointing, being a little warm which I'm told is very unusual here.

    Although I didn't eat the menu looked really appetizing wih some lovely looking choices.

    It was a well spent hour and one I hope to repeat again. The pub is having a beer festival on the next bank holiday weekend with a large selection of Thornbridge beers but also a good range of other brewers beers such as BrewDog, Dark Star and Marble. I wish I were going.

    Wednesday, 13 May 2009

    Hello Again

    Yes, it's been a while hasn't it? Sorry about that. I've been a bit busy with one thing and another, but to hell with excuses.

    So, what have I been up to since we last met? I went to the beer festival at The Merchants Inn in Rugby, where all beers had an animal in the name and we were encouraged to order merely by animal name rather then the whole beer (Bugger that). I went to the first festival at The Victoria in Northampton, which needed to have more beers on at a time. I spent a week in the Peak District and only went to four (yes four) pubs the whole week. I had no internet access and precious little mobile phone reception, but that's not always a bad thing. And finally, and more pressingly, I've been puttiing together the tasting notes for this year's Northamptonshire Beer Festival which runs from May 28-30 at Delapre Abbey. This blog will be the first place the beer list will be published and there are some good beers to behold.

    I'll try to get the blog back on a regular roll now that things are quietening down. I'm off on my annual pilgrimage to Brighton on Sunday though. That will be fun.

    Thursday, 30 April 2009

    Bucking The Trend

    In the last few weeks I've heard of four oubs reopening in Northamptonshire and only one closing. And that single closure is said to be temporary according to the notice on the front door.

    I'm not for one moment suggesting this is the end of the bad period for pubs, but it's a step in the right direction.

    Monday, 27 April 2009

    Opening Hours

    When I first started drinking pubs had to close during the afternoon, then the law was changed so that drinking was allowed between 11 and 11 on every day except Sunday where it was noon until 10;30. I lived in a village at the time and my pub of choice flirted with opening all day on Saturday only. It was usually just us lads in there, playing skittles and listening to the football on the radio.

    It was a far cry from what we have today with pubs effectively able to open all the hours they want to but where generally speaking the vast amount of pubs choose to open all day at least at weekends and Fridays. The pub which closes during the afternoon is in a definite minority, especially in towns or near tourist attractions.

    Not all pubs do though and I'm confused why last orders is called at 3ish with a number of customers still spending their money. I know the same could be said for 11pm but people do have beds to go to.

    So why do pubs which probably could open all day choose not to? Sure staff need a break but if there are enough staff and shift patterns are sorted correctly this shouldn't be an issue. The question of profit doesn't come into it as I've already identified that these are busy pubs only.

    No, it's been suggested to me that pubs close to enable cleaning and general sprucing up between services. This may seem a valid argument but I can honestly say that I've not noticed an all day pub being particularly grotty in the evening.

    So. what's the reason? And if you ran a successful pub would you consider an afternoon of no money going through the tills?

    Tuesday, 21 April 2009

    CAMRA - A Romantic Notion

    The following is a verbatim quote from the Weekend supplement of The Times dated 11 April:

    The Campaign For Real Ale (a worthy cause) travels around the country holding festivals to promote the beauty of real ale, cider and perry.

    It really is a lovely thought that a troupe of individuals hold a beer festival and then load the lorries and move on to the next town where they unload and start all over again. If that's a real job then I want a piece of it. Does anyone know to where I should apply?

    Thursday, 16 April 2009

    If I Owned A Brewery Part 5 - The Pumpclips And Bottle Labels

    I first thought up this series of posts whilst sat in a pub looking at the pumpclips all over the wall situated about ten feet away. Even with my good eyesight some of the clips were hard to read and if I could make out the beer's name I couldn't neccesarily make out anything else. Even stood just inches away from the bar there have been occasions when reading the beer name has proved problematic. It shocks me why a brewer would make it hard for potential punters to order their beer correctly.

    In my opinion a pumpclip needs three things: the beer name, the brewery name and the ABV. The brewery logo may also be included if it's not too intrusive. Anything else is just superfluous. And all three of the required things should be clear enough and large enough to be read. I think that interesting shaped pumpclips are OK and that that can set a particular brewery's beers apart from others. A good example of a clear pumpclip with the necessary information is those from Milestone, whilst those from Leeds are clear and definitely distinctive.

    The same principles apply for bottle labels. They should be kept plain and simple. The joy of a bottle is the opportunity to use the back label to really go to town. Standing in an off licence struggling to work out what is what is too much of a pain for a grouchy old drinker like me.

    So to paraphrase, like my beer naming policy my labelling is going to be simple and traditional also. I just wish more brewers were like me.

    Monday, 13 April 2009

    If I Owned A Brewery Part 4 - The Occasional Beers

    So we've ascertained from comments left that some people agree that beers don't need to have leftfield or interesting names to sell and that where a name gives an obvious indication of what the customer might expect it will lead to a more informed choice.

    The naming policy for my permenant and seasonal beers may be a tad boring, but the beers won't be. They will use the best ingredients and a sufficient quantity of each to impart good flavour. My beers won't simply be one mess of Fuggles and Goldings after another. It's fair to say they won't be particularly extreme though. These are going to be high production beers that will appeal to your ordinary beer drinkers as well as your aficionados. The occasional and one off beers though are likely to be more extreme and appeal to a more niche market.

    I am a member of that niche market myself. I've regularly blogged about interesting foreign beers that are being imported and have sang the praises of the more daring progressive brewers like BrewDog and Thornbridge. It's with these beers that I'm going to have some fun

    I'm not going to complicate matters too much though. Again you're going to have a fair idea what you're going to get by the way the beer is named. So my single hopped IPA brewed with Simcoe is going to have a name to reflect itself, and its' going to be really hoppy, the same goes for my other IPAs. I'll brew proper fruit beers with proper fruit, no juice but the real thing, and I'll experiment with ingredients like coffee, spices and barrel aging, but not too many of anything at a time.

    The beers will be produced when the time is right to source the right ingredients. It's not quite seasonality but there will be a method to the madness of why each beer is produced at a certain time. These beers will be bottled as will as produced cask conditioned; my other stuff may not see a bottle. And quality control here is of the utost importance as sadly all too many British BCAs are substandard. I won't allow mine to be

    Hopefully the consistency and quality of the regular stuff will see interest in these beers, and export deals will be on the table. It all seems too simple to be true, and of course it is all my fabrication, but it's a workable model I'd have thought.

    Next time I'll do pump clips and bottle label designs.

    Wednesday, 8 April 2009

    If I Owned A Brewery Part 3 - The Seasonal Beers

    I've been picked up, possibly fairly, for the boring naming policy of my imaginary beers. They won't taste boring though.

    As well as the permanent beers I will have seasonal beers. These seasonals though will be representative of the season or a celebration of an annual occurrence. They won't just be any old new recipe with a name to match the time of year. The same seasonals will be brewed year in year out, and drinkers will look forward to each year's output.

    It's far rarer in UK than in USA for regular and relevant seasonals to be produced, and it actually tends to be the older, perhaps more traditional brewers who do it. Harveys do it probably better than others although Shepherd Neame seasonals are anticipated highly in Kent although perhaps not so much further afield. I also look forward to finding Youngs Winter Warmer each year.

    As is my want the beers will all be named so as to inform the punter what to expect, so the following beers will form part of my portfolio:

    Light Mild for March (the alternative mild month)
    Chocolate Stout brewed with massive amounts of Chocolate Malt for Easter
    Strong Mild brewed for May (the current mild month)
    Summer Lager a real and authentic lager, brewed throughout the Summer
    Green Hop using the first pickings.
    Bonfire Smoke a smoked style beer for the period around November 5th.
    Winter Warmer a true strong warmer for those sipping nights around the fire.
    Christmas Ale strong and spicy.

    That's probably enough to cover the whole year. There's no need to brew beers for Valentine's Day or Halloween or St Georges Day or any other nonsense just to get another beer under your belt. These will be proper quality meaningful seasonals.

    Having said that though there will be other beers brewed as and when the time is right. More on that next time.

    Tuesday, 7 April 2009

    If I Owned A Brewery Part 2 - The Permanent Beers

    Beer is a serious drink and as such deserves to treat its drinkers like serious people. My brewery therefore will produce a number of permanent beers in various styles, and will have serious understandable names.

    All too often we order beers not having a clue what we are going to receive. We can of course ask the bar staff but sadly they are not always fully in command of the knowledge to tell us whether the beer will be a golden ale or a dark mild. ABV doesn't tell us as much as it used to. That pint of Old Gutblaster could be anything.

    Sure, sometimes it's nice to be surprised, but that can occasionally be problematic.

    My dark mild will therefore be called Dark Mild, my porter Porter and my barley wine Barley Wine. No jokey names thank you very much. It may be boring but breweries back in the day didn't feel the need for odd nomenclatures.

    You'll know what you'll be getting with my beers. Tomorrow I'll do the seasonals.

    Monday, 6 April 2009

    If I Owned A Brewery Part 1 - The Name

    My brewery's name would be based on one of two criteria. It would either be named after me or it would be named after its location.

    It seems a modern phenomenon to give a brewery a 'joke' name or something totally irrelevant to anything in particular. If you look at the oldest breweries still in existance, they are all named after their founders.

    So we have Shepherd Neame; Harveys; Palmers and Elgoods who are the only existing independent breweries from pre 1800.

    The oldest brewery still in existence named after its origin is Old Swan from 1835, but that's probably cheating slightly as it's actually a brew pub, although Felinfoel wasn't far behind.The oldest brewery still around not nammed after its fouders or loaction seems to be Caledonian from 1865. Even then there is a link with Caledonia being an old name for Scotland

    So being the traditionalist I am I'll be going either with Edwards' Brewery which has been done before or Wootton Brewery.

    Tomorrow I'll talk about the beers.

    Sunday, 5 April 2009

    Beer Of The Month - March 2009

    The beer I probably drink the most of at home is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It's easily attainable; cheap and tasty. In addition it's as consistent as you'd like a bottled beer to be. It was the only bottled beer I drank in March which was above average, so therefore has to win Bottled Beer Of The Month.

    There was more competition for cask beer of the month, although there was an outright winner. The highlights of the month were Leicester BF and Liverpool. I was ill for a lot of the rest of the month so drinking opportunities were at a premium.

    Both the articles linked to go into detail about the better beers on each day, so I won't bore you by repeating myself. The best beer in Liverpool was Wentworth Black Zac followed by Northern Two Tone Stout, but these pailed into insignificance against the wonder that was Atomic Firebox. I liked reading the comments that were left and can easily see that beers brewed with chili might divide opinion, but this was a work of true genius. I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if it doesn't end up being the best cask ale I drink all year.