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?