Thursday, 27 December 2012

Beer Review: Triple Chocoholic

You know what they say about girls and chocolate, right? Well, this was bought for the sole purpose of me seeing what chocolate beer was actually all about (plus it was on offer) and then I hit on the idea of giving it to Willow for Christmas.  Because of, you know, what they say about girls and chocolate. Having done that I, of course, immediately felt left out and bought myself some. We shared the drinking of the beer and compared notes as we went.  It was a wonderful bit of sport and I think I shall try and have this happen more often at home.

I may have ended up with the lion's share.

It is Triple Chocoholic and it is brewed by Saltaire Breweries, which I find doubly amusing because the whole point of Saltaire, when it was built by a philanthropic businessman, was that it would be a place of temperance and order. The mere fact that it has a brewery shows this is a failed aim, but then you could argue the fact that there is any unemployment there did that too. I digress.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Beer Review: Leffe Brown

It was Leffe that started this whole ridiculous beer review thing off way back when, so it seems fitting that I should review the other beer in their stable: Leffe Brown.

The first thing about this one is the increased weight, at 6.5% ABV it is, in fact, weaker than the Blonde, but the malt in this one is more pronounced with a definite air of treacle about the viscosity and the way it slides down a glass. It remains very European though in how it behaves, it is bubbly and bright despite the dark brown colour of it and the way it caprures the light like a black hole. There is a sparkly aside to the nature of this beer, allowing it to mingle nicely across the dinner table and between courses. The aroma is nice too, there's a hint of Belgium in it and something that speaks of hidden amounts of hops, though I can't be certain on that one. It's not a dancey summer ale or a spring buck ready to pounce but nor is it the heavy tasty malt of Chocoholic.

In essence this is the more understated and mature brother to the latter ale and certainly feels more grown up compared to the Blonde that it shares a stable with. It is a drinker's beer, to be certain, but well used to being used in good company with people who perhaps don't like beer very much. We had ours with a Flemish stew, liberally soaked in the beer itself too, and it accompanied that heavy meal very nicely indeed. Exactly as it should do, it made me feel warmer inside, loosened the tongue a little and got talk going in polite company well. It was, in effect, very European.

Drink this on the colder evenings on the Continent, when the bars are still open and there is frost forming out there in the fields. Sit outside with the friends you just met that day, share a bottle or order a few glasses each, either way, use it to while away a few hours as dusk becomes a velvet night and have long discussions that rove through field, town and philosophy. Allow it to be warm and allow it to breathe. Most of all, enjoy it!

A bit strong for my very weak drink tolerance, but I should have it again in company if not of an evening with a takeaway.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Beer Review: Forest Fruits

I was eating blackberries we picked from the park back in Summer (yes, we are heatens and we refridgerate those we don't eat or turn into jam) and I was thinking, hmm, I likes me fruit beers, like Fruli and I likes me beer generally.  I know, I shall have a fruity beer.

Cue tonight's ale: Forest Fruits by Wychwood brewery.  It was in a very attractively dark bottle (do I detect a note of red in the glass?) and was attractively priced at the supermarket of choice for picking up nice beers.

It said it was best served chilled.  I obliged and had it in the fridge for a good long while before opening it.  I almost forgot about it and so it did not accompany a meal or any food, rather coming soon after it into the evening.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, Riggwelter does better this way and Leffe Blonde can have its moments too.  It was a respectable 4.2% ABV too.

But I'm not a fan of this.  Perhaps it has been too long since I had a fruity beer or perhaps I have become too much of a CAMRA styled beardy-ale-drinker or perhaps work is getting to me too much.  I don't know.  There was a definite fruity taste and smell to this.  A sickly-sweet hint of cranberries on the nose and an attempt at blackberries in the taste.  They claim to have added berries to the beer to give it a distinctive taste and maybe they have but they have also added copious amounts of sugar to it.  It obscures what should have been a good tang and some sharp berries.  I like my blackberries slightly sour and I like them picked freshly (I remember eating them in the park back in August with the Boy).  I do not like them when they've been drowned in sweetness and light in some badly made crumble.  It is the crumble that has the sugar in it and the filling that is there to contrast with that, it's the whole point!  Other writers point to the overpowering taste of strawberries, but I'm a great fan of Pegasus strawberries so, being sour, I did not make that association, but they may be right.  Willow tasted strawberries.

As a consequence I couldn't quite bring myself to like this beer.  Willow is more of a fan and I suppose it would have its place.  Drink this with a dessert rather than the main course and drink it after something like Thoroughbred Gold too, it is a dessert beer in all senses of the word.  I can't imagine having more than one in a sitting and I can't imagine having it with anything other than a meal.  Drink last and not to get drunk.

Saturday, 8 December 2012


French trench in a quiet sector, 1917
So, it's been a week since the madness of writing that was NaNoWriMo.  What can I now say about the affair apart from the very obvious fact that it stopped my attempt to post here twice every week?  Well, it was an eye-opener. For perhaps the first time in, well, ever, I actually wrote knowing where I was going. I didn't know the details of any given scene when I started but I knew what I wanted to show in it and I aimed to get each scene completed in as few words as possible.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Beer Review: Two Hoots

Tonight's offering is Two Hoots from the Joseph Holt brewery in Manchester. They make Maplemoon as well and I'm sure they do some ruby variant of something that I've had in the past.

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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Beer Review: Wainwright

When I was young I can remember family days out and pub meals.  In each of the pubs we went to, usually in Lancashire and Yorkshire, I can remember the very seventies looking logo of two horses' heads, one green and one red on a dark background, adorning beer mats and walls.  Also, given our situation, many of the pubs had a unique smell, this before the days of smoking being banned, that had the stale smoke smell that I associated with home (my mother and grandmother smoked) but was virtually overpowered by another odour, not unpleasant, that became, to me, the smell of pub meals.

Tonight it is the turn of Wainwright from Thwaites, they of the horses's heads on a dark background that I remember from my youth, and the first award winning beer I think I've tried thus far.

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Thursday, 22 November 2012

Beer Review: Leeds Best

Tonight's journey through time and space left me with the rather highly priced Leeds Best. It is apparently made with a strain of yeast unique to the second largest financial centre in the UK and brewed there out of a local brewery that grew up and was abandoned by Tetley's.

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Thursday, 15 November 2012

Beer Review: Cumberland Ale

Tonight is the turn of a beer that was brewed close to where we went on holiday and is a reminder of my life in Carlisle - specifically attending a friend's birthday on the way to Workington - Jenning's Cumberland Ale.

Cumberland doesn't exist any more, of course, it's part of Cumbria now and the label carries views of the Lake District - as if that makes any difference. Still, its heritage is apparent in the taste - very much reliant on the yeast and the hops than the malt. There's Golding in there, I think, and it shows through more than the yeast. A citrus tang pervades both after-taste and aroma, which is not unpleasant, and there is a fire to it - something I like in an ale. I have memories of this as the first beer I ever tasted at a mate's eighteenth birthday do and I remember it being creamy. It is not creamy at all. Fuzzy little head, like Ruddles, and a finish to that as it fizzes away like you see on streams running over rocks. It is very carbonated too, close in fizz to Veuve Clicquot champagne actually, and this has the double effect of making the alcohol go to your head faster and masking the taste a little. Both are not positive parts of the experience - they aren't bad, they just aren't positive.

It weighs in at a pretty strong 4.7% ABV and it is slow in letting you know about this. Sovereign sort of announces its strength by beating you over the head, in a good way, but Cumberland sort of creeps up on you after several sips and tastes beforehand. As a bottled ale it does not do as well as it ought, it is much better on tap from the cask at a bar. It is a 'cold' beer, in that it is not a warming taste even when served at room temperature. It is a summer drink.

Drink this in the garden from the bottle or, better yet, in a pub watching the cricket. Best in a breezy, and thus not too hot, summer day on wooden benches and tables. Eat proper pub grub, for this is a table ale, like steak and chips with a French mustard. It is a slow drinker and can stand to go a bit flat from the bottle or simply drunk over time from tap. Don't expect too much and this will serve you well. A perfect companion ale, to be had in the background rather than taking centre stage like a good understudy. Never a first choice but, equally, should never be left til last either. Choose above Square Ale (Black Sheep) but eschew in favour of Thoroughbred Gold.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Journey - Part 3

Seriously?  I'm writing a Part 3?  Haven't we all learned already that there is no continuity on this blog?  Apparently this isn't so much Owain's journey as it is one on which we try to discover what the chuff is going to be left for my son on his coming of age.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Beer Review: Riggwelter

Tonight it is the turn of my professed favourite: Riggwelter, brewed by those gosh-darned Black Sheep people up in Masham. Whilst I've been to Masham I've never made it to the breweries, either of them, and so I have never really had Riggwelter properly. Indeed, it's first outing in my mouth was when it was chilled!  In Wales!  Sacrilege!

The first thing to hit you with this is the aroma, and I use that term rather than smell most deliberately. It is warm and malty with a hint of hoppiness about it adding spice to the musty flavourings. There is a slight fizz as you open the bottle and it adds sparkle to the nose obviously but without being over powering or difficult to handle. Also it stays on the light side of fizz so that it doesn't take the alcohol straight to your head. At 5.7% ABV that is probably for the best, you want to take this one slowly and in good company for talking, avoid trying to drink too quickly.  The website claims that this a dark ruby beer with liquorice and citrus aftertaste.  I'm not so convinced if I'm honest.  It is dark and it is bitter, but it's from Yorkshire and so these things are practically given.  I've also had ruby beers before (Adnam's I'm looking at you) and did not enjoy them, so I'm minded to ignore the ruby bit.

First mouthful is an odd one, the smell does not really prepare you as well as it ought for that taste. Initially there is a fizzy malty taste and that is exactly as it sounds: odd. However, there's a definite hit of hops that follows, coming in as the fizz rises slightly mid-sip, and this balances things nicely. There is a hint of yeast there too, but it is not too bad and only serves to keep that spicey heat up a notch as you let it wander down toward your gullet. The after-taste is pleasantly hoppy and it reminds you that it has some fizz as it disappears downward.

It is not a friend of the spicy pizza I had for take-away tonight but it is a good and string winter ale for drinking when the weather is cold, wet and windy.I know it to be a good companion to roast lamb shoulder (I recommend Fellside Lamb if you can get hold of it), properly done mince and most meats that are roasted. It is a Sunday beer, one you crack out to have with a big meal involving home-grown vegetables and lashings of proper meat-juice gravy. Not for Riggwelter your shop bought roast potatoes and gravy granules, no, this is a farmhouse beer for a farmhouse day of toil. Well, okay, I can't claim to have ever done anything like that in my life but it is definitely something to work up a thirst for. It's better as part of a brace too, and if you can handle your drink, you could go for a third but no more. Three is enough for anyone.

Drink in company. Have a deep conversation on hand. Avoid glasses, drink straight from the bottle or get it on tap. Eat a mighty roast meal, be carnivorous if you can - a nut roast might cut it actually, with mushrooms and cashews, I digress - and make sure there are plenty of proper vegetables that are roughly cut and picked and cooked. Sit at a proper wooden table, wait until it's dark and drink this with a dim lamp or under candle-light.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Journey - Part 2

J. R. R. Tolkein could do it.  When he wanted to create a mythic history he created prose and used the epics of old to influence his writing style - hence the slightly stilted dialogue and the long apparently pointless asides and tangents.  Maybe this ought to be a heritage of prose rather than a heritage of poetry.  A father leaves to his son what is best about the father, not what he would rather leave, after all.

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Thursday, 1 November 2012

Beer Review: Ghost Ship

Adnam's gave me Broadside back when I started drinking a beer a week and it was not a good call on my part to drink it. Therefore, when looking for a Hallowe'en beer, I was a little wary of trying this out. But it was cheap-ish and wasn't more Shepherd Neame, which I think I'll like regardless these days. So it was time to try something new.

Tonight, then, I am drinking Ghost Ship, a pale ale that claims to be 'ghostly' and has an eerie picture of a sailing ship on it, so it can't be all bad.

Upon opening there is a smell that smells like beer. That is, there's a definite air of hops and an underlying maltiness to it, there is yeast but it is not overpowering or anything like that. It just is. The colour is a rich nutty one - the kind one finds on desks from Victorian times - and it puts me in mind of walnut. It should be inlaid with coloured woods and lined with velvet or something. Still, there is a carbonation and if you pour it badly you'll end up with massive head that takes a while to clear.

First taste is none too shabby. It's 4.5% ABV and so it does let you know that straight up. My overwhelming impression is that this is a spicy little number, so hoppy, and then there's a feeling that its been bittered. I don't think there's anything citrus like to the beer, but that could be the take away meal having its input. Overall, there's a spice and there's a swirl of yeast to it, as one would expect I suppose, before the underlying malt smoothes things out as much as it can. The fizz is a little much, but it is bottled, and so this would probably taste better if it were on draught or something - but I can't vouch for that as I haven't had many beers on draught!

Aftertaste is far from lingering and I found myself a little didappointed at that. It is a pleasant enough beer and certainly very much inkeeping with the IPAs that I've had over time in this little adventure. It's not one of my favourites but it does the job for a dark Hallowe'en night after reading Voyage of the Dawn Treader to my daughter.

Best drunk at a moderate pace and probably with a select few. It doesn't cut the mustard for a full and frank discussion about the merits of taste and aroma and it probably did better with my meal than it would alone. So drink with food and then move onto something a little more refined if you want to talk about it later.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Journey - Part 1

So, this blog was supposed to be a place to create an epic poem for the Boy, so I'd best get back to that then.

Read on for some actual attempts at poetry.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Beer Review: Oxford Gold

Now, usually I seek out beers for review and then drink them and review them.  Not so Oxford Gold, tonight's offering, but this is because I enjoy it so much.  It means that I tend to drink it on an evening and then not be arsed putting up the laptop and getting online, meaning that I have had it a great deal and then never got round to reviewing it!

So, for tonight, I review a favourite of mine: Brakspear's Oxford Gold, an organic ale.

At 4.6% ABV it shouldn't smell or taste as strong as it does upon opening.  There is a depth to the flavour that suggests a much stronger alcohol content and this is probably down to the fact that it's an organic ale.  Most of the beers that I've heard about or tasted that are organic have this quality, they also seem to have a much more fiery sense of the hops, regardless of mix, that allows the whole thing to go right to one's head.  In this case there's also a strong sense of the ale being 'honeyed' - in that I can feel the viscous nature of honey in the liquid and there's a sweetness to it that is neither over-powering nor artificial.  The sweetness here is deep and rich and languid, with hops playing lightly over it and masking the malt enough that it comes and goes without making too much of an impact.  Like a nice guest it brings with it a sense of security and pleasantness but leaves without making a mess.

It claims to have a zesty aroma and, sure enough, there's something citrus in it that carries through and balances out that honey sweetness with a proper beer style hop.  For once the promise of a fruity flavour is carried through with something approaching oranges, but these are candied and then rolled in some clear honey, summer honey with a strong flavour of rose and sunflower, before being added.  In many ways it's a sweet beer but that shouldn't be a bad thing.  There's enough citrus tang and bitterness to it that it is not knocked sideways or too sugary, it would go well with some strong beef or a particularly nutty roast without being in danger of being lost in the meal.  Equally it would stand on its own and play nicely around the jaw on an evening when the sun is low and the air is warm.  As it is, it plays well in the depths of autumn and brings a reminder of the hot long days of summer when there wasn't much to do.

Drink this to recall long weekends and long lazy evenings, have it with a heavy meal if you must and expect slow moving, carefully considered conversation about topics that are intractable and full of mystery.  Make sure you can see some tall trees if its winter, you want to watch that weak sun go down as you sip.  Don't be uncouth and drink this at speed, take you time and let the flavours work their magic on you - it's a languid beer and probably not best served with too many people.  Certainly avoid chilling it, room temperature does the honey a favour and the colour will work well with candlelight and close company.  If ales can be romantic then this does the job very well indeed.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Beer Review: London Glory

To celebrate nothing whatsoever it is time to have a beer.

Tonight's beer is London Glory by Greene King, whose IPA I have an affection for from back in 2011 when I started drinking a beer a week and a good work colleague of mine bought me a couple to say thank you for covering for him whilst he was ill.  Nice of him.  Good beer too.

This one was on offer, having been put in a ridiculous patriotic jacket for the Olympics, and was described as a Great British Beer.  The augurs were not good.  However, it had a lovely rich brown colour to it and fizzed pleasantly as I opened the cap.  Not too much head and not a horrid smell either.  There was the fruity and slightly sour tang of the challenger and golding hops that I rather like in the air and the taste did not disappoint.  Not as a fiery or strong as fuggles but it makes you sit up and take notice.  It put me in mind of bars and pubs down sidestreets in the height of summer, with small outdoor areas.  It smelled of beer gardens in my youth, quite a feat considering how long its been since I went to one!

Weighing in at 4.0% ABV and tasting like a childhood memory makes this a pretty good choice actually.  It worked with the takeout that I had with it (pizza, ham and mushroom if you must know) and suggested that it would be a good accompanying beer to any meal.  I liked the mustiness of the flavour that gradually grew as you took more sips.  You could not insult this by having it down in one or anything quite that vulgar.  There was an underlying breadiness to this that puts me in mind of mead, but less sweet, and reminded me why beer was popular as an alternative to fruit liquors in the middle ages.

Drink this pretty much anywhere and at most times of the year either alone or with friends.  It works well as a winter warmer but would also be very much at home in the sunshine of a British summer underneath an umbrella in a beer garden somewhere in Lancashire after a day out playing in a stream.  Don't lie now, I know you do it too!  You make dams in streams to make them overflow.  Yes, after a day of doing that, retire with this.  Maybe have a second pint if you're having a first, after all, you won't be driving.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Beer Review: Holy Grail

Beer o'clock at the Atkinson's and now for something a little different.  Ladies and gentlemen it is the officially branded Monty Python beer from Black Sheep found, bizarrely, in the bottled beer section of ASDA(!), though pretty pricey.  It's-!

Holy Grail is the offering of the evening and claims to have been tempered over burning witches (presumably made of wood).

Would you like to know more?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Real World

Long live us / the persuaded 'we' / integral / collectively

In the recent palaver surrounding Michael Wilmshaw's comments about teachers leaving their place of work at 3pm there were many people joining him in roundly condemning the entire teaching profession.  On the BBC reportage online there was a comment imploring teachers to "wake up to the real world".  And, you know what, as a teacher, that commentator may have had a point.  Albeit not the one that he thought he'd made.

How deep does the rabbit hole go?

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Beer Review: Animee Lemon

Tonight's newbie is Animee Lemon because Willow noticed it and was intrigued. Mind you, it is an odd-looking thing so I kind of understand where she's coming from.

It was on offer, we got four for the kind of prices you'd expect to get two normal bottles (and slightly less all told), then settled down to try it out. It claims to be beer. Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Beer Review: Goldings

Anyway, we had some posh grub for a meal (no, really, we don't know what else to call it) that is made of some fried chorizo on a bed of green beans, butter beans, new potatoes and green pesto. We had some mozarella and beef tomato topped ciabattas for starters too. Yes, it was posh. All this posh food demanded a beer.

That beer was Goldings, brewed by the Marton's brewers who did Sovereign in the same line of 'single hop' beers, so I was expecting something a wee bit special. And, it turns out, I rather liked those so it seemed daft not to try something else from the same stable.

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Thursday, 20 September 2012

Beer Review: Iceberg

Following on from a hard slog at work I decided to get a beer for the evening.  Imagine my happy surprise when I saw that there was some Titanic Iceberg there, fondly remembered from the Cultural Exchange a while ago.  Of course, I bought it, and so it seemed wise to review it too.

Opening the bottle reminded me of the heady hoppy smell that it had and the pleasing feeling it brought with it.  Reminiscent of evenings off and time spent doing enjoyable things rather than work.  There was nothing really in the way of citrus to it, or to the taste of the beer itself.  Lovely and golden when poured out into a glass and with the hint of pubs of my youth.  Indeed, it put me in mind of some rather nice Thwaites stuff in the way that it went down.  A strong hoppy and spicy taste begins matters, followed by a mellowing and then a nice warm feeling as it passes down to the throat.  There's autumn in this beer, something like crisp leaves underfoot and a musty smell of burnt wood hanging in the air - it sounds hoity toity but it's the best I've got to fully describe the taste.  It performed well and I like it.

I imagine this is one of those beers that tastes better on tap in a bar, the carbonation was at a low enough level that it didn't smoke as I opened it but fizzy enough to be seen and tasted.  I get the idea that there is more of a creamy texture to be had from the beer that is lacking in the bottled variety.  Not sure what to make of that, I'm not generally a fan of creamy ales, but I think this one, for all that I enjoy it and will probably have it again, would benefit from a creamy texture to augment the overall mellow-ness of the taste.

At 4.1% ABV it around the mid-point of my tipples as they are developing and thus would probably be able to be repeated - something that would be a good thing.  Drink this around the dog-days of summer through the beginning of winter and you won't go wrong.  Drink in company of friends and people with whom you want to strike up a friendship.  It can be repeated, it can be shared and it probably won't be the most expensive pint on offer.  You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Beer Review: Sovereign

Tonight's beer was Sovereign and was a random pick up from my local supermarket.

The design of the label says it was supposed to be connected to the whole Jubilee thing but, mercifully, that's as far as it went. At 4% ABV it was more my usual (though you wouldn't think it to check out the reviews so far posted on the blog) and it smelled like a beer should. My beard grew when I first tasted it and declared this blonde British made ale to be of my usual taste and standard. On checking the label I was informed that the single hop that had been used to brew the beer was a British one designed to replace the Fuggles. Bloody things.

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Thursday, 6 September 2012

Beer Review: San Miguel

Beer is the answer, even if I have no idea what the question is.

I picked up a bottle of San Miguel this evening because I have never had it, it was very cheap, and I was in the mood to experiment.

I don't know what I was ex- no, actually, that's a lie, I know exactly what I was expecting. It looked like lager, it looked European, my old boss used to drink it. I was expecting something like, overly fizzy and generally a bit pap. I was expecting to not like it - it's why I only got a small bottle.

I was pleasantly surprised. The aroma was wet, like leaves after rain or mown grass I suppose, and strangely alluring. No citrus overtones or anything like that. Also, the fizz was moderate rather than overpowering. Enough to remind you it was a lager rather than a beer, ceratinly, but not as bad as some of the beers I've had. Also, the taste was richer than I wsas expecting from a lager. It put me in mind of the heavier beers that I've had, stuff like Black Sheep and Lancaster Bomber, sort of syrupy without being thick and woody without the raw warmth that I get from hops. It was nice, it was rich and it was a pleasant accompaniment to an odd pizza take away (Chicken Tikka Masala on a pizza, nice enough but not likely to be repeated). Indeed it was like the two were old friends.

I enjoyed it, it was easy enough to drink, didn't fizz up a huge amount whilst I sipped and was forgiving enough on the longer slugs that you could probably take longer drinks if that's your thing. There wasn't much in the bottle, 275ml, but it is quite strong at 5% ABV and so you probably don't want to overdo it. The taste is exactly in keeping with the strength too, so it won't sneak up on you too much. I enjoyed it. May have it again but likely when I'm out on tap, so from a pint glass, rather than at home - it's not a home beer. Well, it's not even a beer, it's a lager.

Enjoy this in a small bar, with some mates, play some pool or darts or skittles and laugh about the football. Talk too loudly, laugh too loudly, and clap each other on the back a lot. This is a fun little lager that is drunk by sporting men what do crisps and chips on an evening. Discuss the offside rule, make predictions about the Euros and be slightly misogynistic. It's on the cusp of that culture, methinks, but you can just as easily go continental and do all of the above but substitute discussion of the Eurozone for the misogyny. I'd be more continental, but just as clueless on the football.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Beer Review: Cultural Exchange

This was a multiple beer night, so I can't do full reviews of any of them.  It was a 'cultural exchange' in that the three people involved in tasting the beers brought beers that were local to them.  I think it was a great success and look forward to doing it again and posting the results here.  On a Thursday, of course, as has become (kinda) a tradition.

The guests were, in the order of being drunk: Colley's Dog from Tring Brewery; Old Leg Over from Daleside in Yorkshire; Iceberg from Titanic breweries and Side Pocket on a Toad from Tring again.

The first of these, Colley's Dog was a ruby beer that claimed to have a nutty walnut flavour to the aftertaste and also that it was "not overstrong".  I found it to be a heavier drink than my usual tipple but too dissimilar from Riggwelter for me to make the link.  Certainly there was a fruity aroma to it and the fizz was surprisingly delicate after seeing the bubbles and the amount of head that was produced.  I detected some liquorice in the flavour and it had a tendency to stick around in the mouth, almost as though it were viscous.  Alas, I didn't think to take notes so I haven't got the ABV.  I enjoyed it, but it would not really have been something I'd have had outside the exchange.  I think it needs to be drunk with a meal that involves meat and is much more suited to the wintertide than the warm evening that it was drunk on.

Old Leg Over was essentially a standard bitter with a silly name.  It had nothing special in the aroma, apart from a definite tang of yeast that was clear after Colley's Dog.  However, thankfully, the yeast was not overpowering and there was a definite taste of hop.  Lord knows what hop but there was some, that fiery spicey sort of feeling one gets from having a good beer.  My company, far better versed in this game than I, suggested Goldings in a mock deprecation, and I suspect he may have been correct.  Certainly it was not fuggles or Crystal.  It was a warm beer and, strangely, I think would go well with a strongly spiced meal such as a curry or Mexican dish.  Actually, better the latter, a dry heat to a meal would suit the slightly 'wet' aftertaste and the extra heat would compliment the smoother feel to the beer.  Again, no ABV this time.

Iceberg was the offering from the locality and by far the best of the bunch.  A lovely smell with citrus tangs about it and a lovely golden colour.  It put me in mind of summer ales and honey beers, though this didn't have the same sweetness or heavy flavour of a proper honeyed ale.  It had a fizz to it and may even have been good chilled, though I confess to enjoying it warm.  There was a good blend of hop and yeast to this one so that the two combined well to create a fuller and more satisfying flavour.  There was another claim of nuttiness but I didn't detect it, I got the extra barley though and there was a much more wheaty texture to it, if that is the right word.  This one stood well on its own and would do well before a meal.  Indeed, the warm evening and the pressure of the coming thunderstorm meant that this ale was best suited to the environment.  Well chosen and easily drinkable.

Finally there was Side Pocket on a Toad.  I think this suffered a great deal by being the last one to be tried and so I shall fall short of describing it fully, it deserves another chance all on its own.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Tales of the Dimwald: the children

Whilst reflecting on identity and fatherhood in company, my interlocutor was expressing angst at his function that would also serve as his identity, when function was not available: that is: when he had been unable to get a permanent job as a teacher he had been unable to juxtapose this with his internal identity as a teacher.

Musings follow, would you like to know more?

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Beer Review: Thoroughbred Gold

It's beer o'clock in my household.

Tonight's choice was Thoroughbread Gold, because it was on offer.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Beer Review: Banks's Bitter

Time for a beer.

Tonight's offering is Bank's Bitter.

First of all, I love the bottle for this one, it's dark and brooding and the label is nice and understated, background if you will. It doesn't shout itself to the world and, instead, lurks in the forgotten corners of the discount beers in Morrison's. This is why I have bought it, it was cheap, and I am glad that I did.

Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Beer Review: Leffe Blonde

Since mid-2011 I've been trying to have a beer a week - an endeavour I have failed to fulfil, but I have tried a lot of good beer and real ale (did I mention I had a beard?) so therefore I figure one way of posting on here, and maintaining it this time, is to review those beers.

Tonight's offering is Leffe Blonde. Belgian, blonde and stronger than it looks or tastes. It actually beats my favourite, Riggwelter from Black Sheep breweries, for strength at 6.6% ABV. It has a smooth feel, the fizz is not too strident, and the liquid is not fiery but slinky. There's a yeasty aroma, to be sure, but it's not a horrid sweaty yeast, rather it is a warm and happy smell of yeast - reminding me of when our children were young.

Would you like to know more?

Friday, 20 January 2012

On Safe Places and Mindfulness...

It is, perhaps, fitting that the arena I have chosen for the story I hand to my son is also doubling up as a mental safe-place.  I had a chance to flesh it all out and it gave me opportunity to start creating the mythology that I'm planning to hammer out.  Now we have the 'Wild Wood', beyond Dunstanane to the north and west, in which there are many creatures and sources of food.  It is majesterial and a place where one can meet with God on a formal setting.  There are rivers and wolves and deer and groves.  Berries and thorns and brambles and clearings.  Wild pigs and chickens and foxes.  It is a good place, I think, for reflection.  A place to go at night when there's a clear sky and a full moon.

Would you like to know more?