Sunday, 30 November 2014

Beer Review: Quint Essential

What? No pubbing this week? No, sad to say, no pubbing this week. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to sample two locals but the illness of Willow has meant that it would be impolitic to go out on the tiles and sample ales. Instead, of course, I shall stay in and sample a single ale. Uh... Brownie points are in minus figures I would guess. Ten points from Hufflepuff. Poor badgers.

Also, last night Derby County lost to Leeds United. This happened in football. I have a passing frame of reference, I once saw Manchester United play some people and briefly flirted with the idea of supporting Tottenham Hotspur because I liked the name Jurgen Klinsmann. So I had to try and level that playing field a little by trying Quint Essential from Derby Brewing Co. that I picked up for a princely sum from our local supermarket.

Are you sure you wish to plunge on after my last Belgian beer review waxed lyrical about something as mundane as a standard Duvel? You are? Oh, good, make yourself comfortable and don't mind the toys left on the floor from the children.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Beer Review: Speciaalbier

Tonight I am sharing a beer given as a gift from our friendly Belgian with Willow. The last time I had something like this was on a staff do in the old days and I enjoyed it, but couldn't shake the fact that it was pricey and a bit out of my normal range. It was described to me then as a blonde ale, but it's a Belgian golden ale. So... blonde then. For those keeping track, no, this was written before Willow got ill. She is feeling better but not quite up to sharing a decent ale.

It is, of course, Speciaalbier by Duvel. And I have been rather looking forward to it.

Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Raspberry - insert your own noise

It's been a while since I discussed my own brewing efforts. A combination of factors, mainly my own laziness and the distance (in a car) to travel to pick up the ingredients, as well as having difficulties maintaining temperatures (and a heatwave earlier in the year) have meant that I haven't really got into the whole brewing thing properly. A colleague at work has made me insanely jealous with images of her own brewing efforts (they mash their own stuff and have created their own brewery kit from household items!) and yes...

Anyway, we had company and I finally had a chance to use the last two bottles of the reaspberry ale I'd been brewing. Batch Two Berry Bad Bucket-Brewed Birthday Beer was thus on for tasting with an independent adjudicator on hand to make sure that I was neither too harsh nor too forgiving of my own creation.

Why do I feel like Dr Frankenstein when I say that? Anyway, there were two bottles. One of them had been conditioned straight from the bucket and the other had been bottled two weeks later from the barrel with some added sugar to help it condition. The bucket bottle had been stored in the outhouse and then the kitchen and the other bottle was the one that ticked on bottling.

Would ye be wantin' ta know more, Jim-laaad?

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Beer Review: Black Pepper Ale

Right! Back on track. Something a little different, certainly, but I feel that the lateness of the hour combined with the lateness of the year calls for something of that nature to be imbibed. I've had a Batemans on draught at a lovely inn in Belper with colleagues before and Victory Ale was a nice enough brew chosen for me by my daughter, so when I saw this little number sitting on offer locally I had to try. Tonight I shall be attempting to describe to to you the sensation of drinking Black Pepper Ale or BPA as it advertised.

It is, as you would expect, an ale that is sold on the gimmick of adding a small amount of black pepper to it, from a small pouch secreted in a specially made cardboard jacket effort about the neck. The reason I say all of this is because, in order to pour it and use the pepper, I had to rip the jacket-y thing off and so the below image is not representative of the appearance in a shop.

Because you all buy beer on my recommendations and seek out what I drink out of sheer jealousy, I know, it's a hard life being a trend-setter and an all-round beer-savant. Which is why, being lazy, I'm very glad that I am neither.

Would you like to come further below the depths into the madness?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Muirhouse Brewery Taps

This could well become a weekly thing, you know. I've never really had the wherewithal to go to a pub of an evening and there are a variety of excuses that I have deployed over the years to justify this. Being within walking distance of some good public houses and having a place of work where there is space on a weekend to have a beer without guilt means that most of these are no longer relevant. And, after the Festival down at JDW, I am now minded to go out and sample the ales on offer.

To that end, I chanced across a local brewery with it's own pub attached. I believe it to be featured in CAMRA's Good Pub guide and, certainly, it was a place where ale was discussed. The publican was there holding forth on his brews, brewing technique, pricing and beer in general. Not to me, I hasten to add, but in a way that was quite reassuring about the pints on offer.

This sums the place up well, and shows what I was trying...

I am very much feeling my way on this one, it may turn into a regular thing too. In the meantime, I shall be mostly babbling about some halves that I had, do you want to know more?

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Beer Review: Traditional English Ale

Back in the mists of time, when Willow and I were married, we went to a lovely hotel on Hog's Back just south of Guildford. Set on an odd local geographical promontory we were able to view London from the balcony near the swimming pool. Also, after lugging suitcases and cots and bits and bobs up and down for two days, I can say that three staircases were a tad excessive - the lift was unfortunately at the wrong end of the building to really offer much help. There's a main road there that does rather spoil the effect, but allows for lovely views when driving along it, and apparently there's a brewery in the vicinity, aptly named Hog's Back Brewery - will wonders never cease?

So it should come as no surprise that when I happened across an ale made by these people I was naturally drawn toward it and thus I review it here: Traditional English Ale or TEA for short (which I find faintly amusing, so sue me). Also, like last week, not drunk at home.

Would you like to sit with me a while and listen to me pontificate upon this chance discovery?

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Beer Review: India Pale Ale

It's yet another IPA here, I have had a few, and I continue to enjoy the style. I was given this as a gift from m'colleague when I last visited (was it all that time ago?) and I finally got round to having it of an evening and reviewing it. It's Remembrance Sunday today and any attempt to 'do things properly' has been torn asunder by family illness, getting lost in an unfamiliar place looking for medical centres and vague guilt at having not marked Year 10 essays. The less said about the mood of the eldest fruit the better.

Tonight it is thus the turn of India Pale Ale, the imaginatively titled ale from Faversham Brewery and Shepherd Neame. I detect a certain element of escaping from the cosh of Spitfire (here), one of the better known ales and one of their least attractive offerings (though that's a tight distinction as most of their offerings are excellent) - that is, not identifying themselves with the mainstream despite being very much part of it.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Beer Review: Whitstable Bay

So, back to Kent for this one, but one that oddly reminds me more of the Norfolk Broads. Perhaps it is the label or just my contrary nature. For whatever reason, tonight I am reviewing the lovely offering from Shepherd Neame (being brewed under a subsidiary known as Faversham Steam Brewery for reasons unknown) known as Whitstable Bay.

I should, in the interests of fairness, point out that this was drunk at someone else's house. I'm not sure what difference this makes (if any) but thought it worthy of attention.

Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Festival Beer: A review of some JDW Ales

So, it appears as though JD Wetherspoon's is hosting a beer festival, of sorts, and has been for the whole of October. I noticed this on a meal out with family late into their festival. At the time I assumed I would be driving and so I singularly failed to try a single ale. Tonight, though, I intended to rectify this and went to our local Wetherspoon's to sample what they had. I noted that they had a 1/3 pint offer, that is sample three ales for the price of one, and so I sampled two such triads of ale. Of course I did.

This is by no means the entire range of what was on offer (one need only check out the posts from another blogger to verify this) and so I know I fall short. Still, in service of you, my limited readers, I am but prostrate and eager to share. Would you like to know more of my fact-finding mission?