Tweet Tweet

    follow me on Twitter

    Saturday, 28 March 2009

    Official Beer Of Welsh Football

    That rather splendid title is given to Brains 45, a new beer from the Welsh capital's own brewery. It is being advertised big time at The Millenium Stadium at the moment.

    Don't ask me what it tastes like as I've not drank it, nor does the description help me. I really don't know what a "continental style Welsh beer with a classic continental taste" is.

    Anyone any clues?

    Monday, 23 March 2009

    Going To Liverpool

    I'm staying in Liverpool next Monday for just the one night at a residential training seminar. There's a disco arranged in the evening and we've been told to "bring our dancing shoes"

    Bugger that; I'm going out drinking. It's been years since I've been on the beer in the land of Scouse. Where should I go? I'm staying centrally and will probably head for The Ship & Mitre first.

    Anybody want to design me a pub crawl? Something in the region of six to eight pubs.

    Sunday, 22 March 2009

    Leicester Beer Festival 2009

    Leicester Beer Festival this year was as good as ever. I managed one four hour session drinking with Simon and his friends, whilst the ale-affinity guys were also in the room. I'm late doing a write up but those lazy bloggers take the biscuit.

    As usual there was a vast selection of beers to be sampled and a vast selection of tickers to spot. It's not really my thing but the sixteen festival specials certainly are attractive to the uber-beerspotter. Beer quality was excellent; I've got a thing about indoor festivals with insufficient cooling opportunities equalling substandard beers by day three or four of the fest, but as I went on day two this really wasn't an issue.

    I've already written about the outstanding beer of the day, but other top beers were had in the form of:

    Bollington Oat Mill Stout
    Old Spot Spot O Bother
    Bragdy'r Nant Monkey Nells
    and BrewDog Divine Rebel and V2009

    Opa Hey's Engels Best Bitter was poor whilst Potbelly Captain Pigwash was disappointing. Hopefully I'll get to retry that one though.

    I'll be back again next year. My birthday week wouldn't be the same without a trip to Leicester.

    Sunday, 15 March 2009

    50 Pence A Unit

    The recommendation from Governmental adviser Sir Liam Donaldson regarding the pricing of alcohol in the UK is all over the news today.

    He has suggested that as a minimum alcoholic drinks should cost 50p per unit of alcohol. This would result in wine costing upwards of £4 a bottle, which of course decent wine already does; and supermarket beer and cider prices would need to increase and the ridiculously low price promotions such as this would have to stop.

    This article cleverly informs us that a pint if beer would cost over £1. Now JDW would be putting the price of Ruddles Best up, but would anybody else be reducing their prices? I certainly don't think so. This is just another attack on drinkers and should be rejected at all costs. I'm pleased to see therefore that James Purnell who is effectively my boss and is a man I rarely agree with has suggested it won't be happening.

    Saturday, 14 March 2009

    Not A Real Ale Festival

    I got quite excited when I read that a pub chain I'd not previously heard of was holding a six-week long beer festival in its 98 pubs.

    The festival was brought to my attention by this article about a pub not a million miles from me. There's even the offer of free beer and a trip to The Czech Republic for a decent beer reviewer, if only I knew one.

    Further research however reveals that the Vintage Inns showcase will see, according to this piece from their website just seven real ales (sic). One of which is the Czech pilsnerBudweiser Budvar. The mind boggles.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm more than happy to drink decent lagers at festivals and often do, but at least recognise the fact that they are not real ales. People shouldn't spread so much ignorance. Just call it a beer festival; there's nowt wrong with that.

    Friday, 13 March 2009

    The Future's Chili

    I've seen the future. Stuff juniper berries, stuff fairtrade Rwandan coffee, stuff raspberries. The future is chilis.

    Not your Cave Creek one chilli per bottle overkill, but a more subtle 100 chilis per nine gallon cask.

    I went to Leicester Beer Festival yesterday; more of which another day, and thoroughly enjoyed the second such beer I've had from Atomic Brewery of Rugby. Atomic Firebox had just enough heat from the little peppers that your tastebuds were dancing an overjoyed spicy jig.

    Truly delightful. I implore more brewers to brew with the little blighters.

    Tuesday, 10 March 2009

    Beer Of The Month - February 2009

    February was far quieter for beer drinking than I had envisaged. In fact the same can be said about updating this blog. I must change both of these indiscretions.

    I make no excuses for bigging up Great Oakley beers. I may be the BLO and live in the same village as the brewer, but if the beers were poor I would say so. They are not poor though by any stretch of the imagination, and the new beer Monkey, brewed to celebrate the 500th brew was very good. Brewed using a mix of the hops and malts used in all the other beers it is pretty complex. Most describe it as malty but on the second occasion I had it the hops were really blossoming. It's a shame that we will probably never see the beer again.

    Abbeydale Vespers, Julian Church Midnight Mass and Thornbridge Ashford were the best three beers I had at Wicksteed Park Beer Festival, all three being darker beers; Ashford having the hop profile of a New World Brown Ale as it is described.

    The best cask ale of the month though was Castle Rock Screech Owl. It's odd how I've had just two beers in The Kean's Head in Nottingham this year; both of them strong, pale and hoppy, and both of them cask beer of the month. Lovely stuff and all over Castle Rock pubs at the moment.

    Only one bottled beer I had in January is worth a mention and it is a beer I've written about before. Mikkeller All Others Pale is a delightfully hoppy American Pale Ale from Denmark's finest and is so wonderfully drinkable. It uses four different hops: simcoe, centennial, amarillo and nugget, and is delightfully balanced. It just beats Screech Owl to overall beer of the month. Buy it in the UK while you still can from Beermerchants

    Friday, 6 March 2009

    Pedigree Chump

    I'm not sure I understand why Marstons are increasing the strength of bottled Pedigree.

    They've kept the recipe the same yet have changed the process and this has resulted in a stronger beer which now tastes more like the cask version. In my opinion the best process they could have changed is the pasteurisation process. Make it bottle conditioned and maybe then it'll taste like its cask brother.

    Better still brew it like they did in the 1980s; there is no doubt in my mind that the present Pedigree is a sad reflection of what it used to taste like.

    Tuesday, 3 March 2009

    Bells Brewery Branching Into Pubs

    I wrote about Bells Brewery's off licence here and again here after it relocated. Well sadly it's no more. That's a real shame as it was a very decent offie with a good selection of bottled beer.

    The brewery though is branching out into the pub scene and has already taken over two in Leicester with plans to increase its stable to five. The two pubs they have started with are The Queen Victoria in Southampton Street and The Leicester Gateway in Gateway Street. Both these pubs have been good real ale pubs in the past but with the Victoria closing and the Gateway changing hands the Leicester real ale scene diminished a little.

    I trust with Bells commitment both to real ale and quality imported beers these are going to be great pubs. Beer festivals should feature fairly regularly in both, and I hope to report with more information in the near future.