Sunday, 11 October 2015

Beer Review: Dunkel Fester

What ho! It is coming up to Hallowe'en and, unlike last year (see here), I thought that I would actually have and review an ale early enough that people could act upon it to buy in ale for Hallowe'en. Novel, I know. Of course, All Hallow's Eve, held around the same time of year as Samhain, is very much a Christian festival with the superstition of 'evil spirits' woven in for good measure as the nights turn longer and darker. Samhain, being a festival of light, has more in common with the very British Bonfire Night, which is also associated with Autumn bonfires and, well, the equinox. All of which is a very long-winded way of saying: I had some Dunkel Fester in the garden today, by Wychwood, and decided to review it here for your delectation.

Thankfully, I shan't be plumbing any further into the history of the events of October (and so any errors are mine and shall forever remain errors) as I enjoy the ale more than I enjoy splitting hairs over historical things (and for those of you that know me, you know that this is high praise indeed). So, would you like to know more?

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Beer Review: Old Tom with chocolate

After the success of the Old Tom with ginger earlier in the week (see here) it seemed somewhat churlish not to try the stable mate with whom it was bought. Still no review of the original, but perhaps I can rectify this in the year ahead, maybe not. In the meantime, it is clearly time to sample another ale in my garden. This, of course, makes perfect sense as the summer slowly dies and is replaced by the cold winds of the winter that threatens... no, wait, it's just more sunshine. Who ordered this autumn?

I'm not complaining, it means I get more shots of the garden in its glory with an ale in the foreground and that is good enough for me. Makes me look like a proper photographer even though I am plainly not one. Yes, it is the turn of Old Tom with chocolate and can you tell that I am rather looking forward to this one? There's something about chocolate ales that seems to draw me to them like a moth to the light.

So, why not rest your weary bones as you settle back on the wooden chairs near the lawn (I still haven't cut it) and let me regale you with my thoughts on the ale before us. Excited? Well, let's go then!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Beer Review: Old Tom with ginger

One of my favourite ales from way back, long before actually starting the whole rigmarole of keeping a blog on the subject of reviewing ales, is Robinson's Old Tom and so when I spied that there were variants of this to taste, with ginger and chocolate, I had to try them. The fact that they were on offer was just icing on that particular cake. The first one to be thus tasted was the ginger variant, because reasons.

It's early days yet so who knows where this might lead? I suspect that it will lead to a review, who knew?

Now that we have introduced ourselves to the ale on a formal basis, what say we get to know one another better? Hmm? I shall put on some music (I recommend the Pet Shop Boys, because of course I do) and slip into something a little more comfortable... my dining room. Would you care to join me there?

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Fire in the Hole!

It's been two weeks since I poured out the Grenade into bottles, a week since I poured the IPA, now named Trench Warfare (because it's not sharp enough to be Bayonet), and I've handed it out to a number of people at work and around the place. Some people have already drunk the Grenade and have discovered that it doesn't work. But, and here's the thing, they drank it on Monday before giving it some time.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Beer Review: American Oak Pale Ale

It's been a bit of a while since I reviewed anything in the Innis & Gunn line-up, and I feel that this is a shame. That said, they were getting a bit same-y, which is a shame when one considers how nice their original brew is and how different it is to the competitors. So, I think I shall turn to this old acquaintance again tonight to provide me with grist for my mill in the form of American Oak Pale Ale and see what we can find.

I suspect that we shall find an ale and a review. I suspect that we shall find much in the repetition of words in phrases that lends itself almost to poetry, but not necessarily in the review so much as in the introductions. We shall also once again find ourselves indoors over lunch or something because that is, you see, how I roll. Also, we shall find ourselves a comfortable chair and ruminate in our repose about how this ale tastes and fairs 'gainst the slings and arrows of its rivals.

So, to business then: would you like to know more?

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Beer Review: Fire Catcher

Ooh, is that the time? Time to start a review of some ale! What do I have in? Um... Ah, yes, this will do for the moment. May I introduce you to Fire Catcher, a golden ale from the Wychwood brewery that has the sort of bottle art one would expect from such a company that likes to juxtapose the fantasy setting with the ales that they produce. There's definitely mileage, I feel, from researching the links between folklore and the ales that hang around it trying to get some of the rub-off effect but I am not the historian you're looking for to make that link and make it interesting enough to read!

No, my job is just to taste and review the ale. Without further ado, then, let us get started! Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Beer Review: Responsibly

It's been a sunny day all round today. We have a new picnic bench in the garden, the wind was fresh but the warmth in the sunshine was quite lovely. A meal shared, as a family, on the picnic bench and a glass of ale from the local micro-brewery down the road, lovely. I refer, of course, to the Nutbrook brewery and another clever title: Responsibly. We should all drink so.

So, mellowing out and preparing for the week ahead, would anyone like to know more?

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Beer Review: Golden Pippin

I have spent the day in work, preparing for the new term. It has been sunnier and slightly warmer than the last couple of days and, mercifully, there was no rain. Our garden has taken a little bit of a pounding however - we have some radish planted 'neath a cloche and some buffoon has jumped on it two nights running. From what I can gather they're using our garden as a rat-run sometime after midnight and before 6am, there's evidence they climb up and out on the picnic table at the other side of the garden in a hurry. Anyway, it seemed like a good point to continue to deny the end of summer.

To that end, I turn to the ale bought for me by my daughter back in July that I was assured that I would enjoy. And I don't think that assurance was far wrong. I speak, of course, of Copper Dragon Golden Pippin. I'll confess that I have long seen this in supermarkets and declined its allure simply because I could never work out which part was the brewery and which was the ale name. I am a little strange.

So, to arms! Let us see what this ale can offer and whether my slightly odd way of judging the bottle is in anyway justified (hint: it isn't). Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Beer Review: Ilkley Pale

Back when I was up in Leeds (link) I was given some excellent ales by my good friend there, including some fine examples of his home brew. I confess that I didn't review my final bottle of that (which I aged in the pantry) because I couldn't remember which brew it was. What I can say is that it was very nice and welcome on the hot day at the centre of the heatwave earlier this year. One of the other brews he kindly passed on was from Ilkley Brewery and was something he'd tried on tap even further back (when I was on anarchist beers) when I'd visited (here). It was sunny again, some rain, and we've recently finished an extended 24 hour (as in, it was longer than that) test drive of an EV, more on that another time, so I felt the need to have me some golden ale.

Ilkley Pale fit the bill, despite not being golden, and stepped in to do its duty as ale. That is, allowing me to ignore the rising note of panic as I approach having to be a teacher in a classroom again (aaaaaa!) and enjoy the fact that it has been good weather and I have actually been helping Willow proactively. Yay! Not in the garden though, as there were sporadic showers.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Beer Review: Crystal Rye IPA

It's still summer, honest. The longer I say it the longer it shall continue to be so! Also, it has been a sunny day with occasional big showers of rain and so, despite the sudden sharpness on the breeze, I can make believe that the Great British summer continues unabated. To that end, an ale must be had, and for the time being I'm going to stick to the lighter in colour and the fizzier in nature pales. Except that this is an IPA, says so on the bottle, and so I'm lying already. It is, of course, Crystal Rye IPA by Adnam's that I picked up a few of on account of them being so cheap. Then I saw them in virtually every pub we passed over the summer for considerably more and thought that I must get round to them. Which I did, in my new mug from Sherwood Forest, and so that didn't work for reviewing (plus it was a particularly warm day that day). The long and the short of it is that now I am going to review it.

Are you absolutely certain that you would like to know more?

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Over The Top

Well, that was an experience. For the first time ever I have got two batches of ale on at the same time and I can't shake the idea that I may have killed one. Still, I have said this before about my brewing efforts and been proven wrong so let's hope that this is a similar panic.

What can I say? Grenade is now onto secondary fermentation and I have Bayonet started - which is going to be a pretty sharp IPA if all things go according to plan.

Would you like to know more?

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Here's hopping...

Ongoing adventures in beer brewing, if adventures be the right word, following a lovely night out that just proved that, actually, I am a lightweight. Just eight halves and now I have a headache - ridiculous. Mind you, I visited a bunch of places locally that I'd never been to before so that was nice.

Anyway, yes, today was the fifth day since starting the brewing of Grenade and so a good point to add my hops.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Beer Review: Rip Snorter

In case you missed it, today was the day of the results for thousands of sixteen-ish year olds. In solidarity with that generation of callow youth I, of course, decided to have an ale and raise a glass to all those who have worked hard and deserved their final grade, whatever it may be. The governments successive, of all political stripes, have denuded the actual tests of meaning beyond shaming but still they whip the profession and the children subsumed by it into a frenzy of stress. And seriously these exams are taken. Cheers, fellow toilers! I plucked the Rip Snorter from my shelf of goodliness brewed by the lovely people at Hog's Back Brewery because it looked like the sort of ale that could do the job asked of it in my overlong introduction.

I have not been disappointed and this is definitely an ale that I could have again. Would you like to know precisely why?

Monday, 17 August 2015

The Grenade

Ready yourselves and get in some protective clothing, for I have embarked on the next brewing adventure (and a long time coming it has been too!). Further to my boasts (carefully placed with people so that I couldn't back out) I have now started the next batch of brewing this morning on my return from our progress down south, beyond London even. So, yes, there's that.

Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Beer Review: Montezuma's Chocolate Lager

Whilst on holiday last year I tried a brew local to where we were from Hog's Back Brewing Company, T.E.A. and wasn't hugely impressed. I mean, it wasn't bad, but it was nothing for me to write home about - except for the fact that I totally did though and you can see the result here. Well, we were down that part of the country again on holiday and I got the shock of my life when nipping out for some nappies ("nappies? Do you mean napkins?" Agh!) and drove past the actual brewery. Being fickle and easily impressed I arranged to bob back the following day but, believing it shut, bought some ales from the brewery in the nearby local shop, assuming the prices would be the same as the brewery.

I was wrong. I am glad that I popped into the brewery shop, alas too light in money to really make much of it, and I shall be going back. Because on this sojourn I picked up, for just over a pound, some lager. Except that it wasn't really lager. I mean, it was, because there were no hops. But it was very nice indeed and came with local chocolate. Intrigued, I bought it and tried it. Now I shall review it. It is, of course, Montezuma's Chocolate Lager.

Alas, the picture was attempted on a hot night in the hotel in which we were staying and was a bad idea - I should have waited and tried to take a better picture in the conservatory where I ended up reading Idle Thoughts by Jerome K. Jerome whilst drinking contentedly. Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Beer Review: More

I have been looking out for this since I saw it as one of the 'other' ales when I first discovered the local micro-brewery that is Nutbrook. I was rather made up when I found it in stock when I popped in at the beginning of their beer festival back at the start of summer and promptly bought the last bottle they had - or I would have bought two. I then sat on it for a while and now it has come time to review and drink it. It is, of course, the rather cleverly titled More (drink more, see) and you may be able to tell that I am looking forward to it!

Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Beer Review: Lancaster Black

This was picked up in Booth's in Keswick and billed as local. I have my doubts as to how local Lancaster can be to the centre of the Lake District, well, the northern bit, but I am not complaining. This was the good stuff and you know how much I like my stouts. Well, if you don't you do now, and Lancaster Black very much looked the part. I am indebted to a good friend (see here) for knowing to look out for these brewers and I was happy to have this alone and savour it. It is an ale to savour and enjoy.

Would you like to dive deep beneath the dark waters of the mere of stout to see what lurks beneath that smooth and featureless shore?

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Beer Review: Night Porter

I saw this and it was one of my buys on impulse because, let's face it, you see something brewed by Madness and you just know it's going to be rather good. Also, being a Porter, you know that it's nice and London-centric. Also, I needed something to make up the offer from the supermarket and this seemed like a good bet all round. So it is that tonight I introduce and review Night Porter by Madness because you haven't already guessed that, obviously.

It was had whilst on holiday in the North, obviously, hence the fact that the picture below was not taken in my house (because I know that you all secretly stalking my life through beer reviews... or not). Anyway, we're back home now and this review is due.

Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Beer Review: Azimuth & Code Black

Whilst still away in Carlisle I chanced on finding what turned out to be a semi-local brewery and a couple of their ales that appeared to specialise in being IPAs of various variations. Of course I took these in and had them because, well, why not? So, tonight, I thought that I would tell you a little about these IPAs - nicely contrasting as they were light and dark - as well as tell you a bit about our trip out to Keswick because, well, I can and this is a beer blog and I bought an ale whilst we were out that will appear on a future review. Yes, tonight, I am reviewing Azimuth IPA and Code Black IPA - no prizes for guessing which one is light and which is dark from the names.

The day has also been rather unexpectedly warm and sunny and bright so I am somewhat exhausted from it, but in a good way. Who knew the Lake District could be so hot and busy? I remember going during the off-season and being happy if it weren't raining. A lot less busy then. Much has changed for me though despite the fact that we had excellent company.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Beer Review: Charles Wells DNA

We're up in Carlisle having a progress north, like the monarchs of old, we have travelled the Lakes with company, will see stuffed animals, as in real animals being done by taxidermists, at Tullie House and have had a most convivial time swimming at Center Parcs over Penrith way (of course he's the f'in farmer!) and I got a chance to get a few ales in that will form the spine of the next few reviews. Because why not?

First on the list is a much awaited brew - for me at any rate. I caved and got some Charles Wells DNA by Dogfish Head. I mean, look at the neon monstrosity of the bottle called me like the 1990s trance movement, how could I not?

Of course, I have now used the reprehensible and cad's trick of deploying rhetorical questions twice in quick succession - the last refuge of a bounder - and shall complete the trioka, the trilogy and triplet triptych by asking would you like to know more?

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Beer Review: Cleopatra

It's time to have another ale, thank goodness, what with the week I've had? Jimmeny! Anyway, the point is that the weather is warm and my garden is lovely, lots of bees buzzing and other such quaint and garden-y things. I think I may be developing a little too much attachment to the bucolic for a townie. Or perhaps it's just the time of year. Whatever. the ale of choice tonight has been sitting about since Nutbrook Brewery's farm, Oakfield, had a bit of a beer festival. Very pleasant it was too (I've got some mead waiting from it) but I picked up a bottle of Derventio's Cleopatra and now seemed like a good time to try it.

It is, after all, a fruit beer. My track record with these is spotty despite them being very much my staple ale of choice after my brother's stag do when I found Fruli. I also, much to the ribbing of my contemporaries, had a peach number on a night out later on. I stand by those choices. Let's see if this can stand amongst that august company.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Beer Review: Honey Fayre

This was a gift to me from my daughter on Father's Day (yes, I am fully aware that this means drinking it so late means I am remiss in duties as a father) and a heart-felt one too. Both the children were picking them out with Anna down the shops for some time apparently, and both pronounced themselves most pleased with their choices because, and I must stress this, they felt that I would enjoy them. I thought I'd get the sentimentality out of the way first before getting down to the ale. The reasoning, by the by, for my daughter's choice was that I had bought some mead when we down at Oakfield Farm (of Nutbrook Brewery fame) and that had honey in it. This ale is Honey Fayre from Conwy Brewery so you can kind of see where she was going with this.

It's yet another chance to dive into the deep waters of strangeness and allure that surround the cold blue thought of my reviewing prowess. Or all the marking has finally turned my brain. Either way, would you like to know more?

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Beer Review: Chieftain Pale Ale

I feel like I need an ale. It's warm and sunny out and it's been a glorious day of marking. No, wait, that didn't sound right. Never mind, the point is that it is well past beer o'clock and I need me some ale and there is a lovely bottle of Chieftan Pale Ale from William Bros that I have by me that I got in Aldi, of all places, that rather needs drinking. Not least because I have seen from the posts of some good people I know in the Googles that this is a decent ale to try.

All that, and it's sunny out, what more could you want?

Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Beer Review: Boris Citrov

Come one, how can you, in summer, see this and not think to yourself that it would make a great ale to drink of an evening? From the picture on the label of a man with oranges for boxing gloves through the Russian sounding title to the promise of orange flavours in the description (in fairness, I thought the bottle gave it away long before you needed to read any of the tasting notes) this is clearly an ale that will be orange and fresh to accompany a meal in the height of summer. I am, of course, talking about Boris Citrov from the T. A. Sadler's stable of ales. This particular bottle was picked up at Aldi for £1.25 (and they aren't sponsoring me either, seriously, how much do I have to plug things to get paid?) but I've seen it all around the town lately.

Given the sweaty nature of humid air and the fact that our kitchen can get quite warm on a summer's eve when preparing food this had better be the kind of ale that quenches thirst and allows you to feel a little refreshed afterward. Would you like to know more of have my admissions of home life completely put you off delving further? I wouldn't blame you if they had!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Beer Review: Havercake

It's about the time of year for the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo - a battle that I mainly know about through the influences of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series (the book Waterloo appropriately enough) and John Keegan's The Face of Battle. Despite this being as powerful a shaping force on the culture of the British Isles as it is I must admit that I very mearly missed the fact that it has been 200 years since it was fought. I have, equally, never actually visited the site of the battle but I can claim to have seen the diorama of it at Leeds Armouries. I also have an attraction to it as a geeky teenager who lusted after making his own models and painting them (but who was so bad at it that he never actually did it). In honour of the occasion it is time to review Timothy Taylor's Havercake.

Would you like to know more? Because, to be honest, I don't know what this review does to potential readers but it terrifies me!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Beer Review: BG Sips

I suppose it is now properly summertime and that means that I must pass from the dark ales of the spring and winter into the lighter pale ales that populate the sunlit uplands of the fair Isles in which I reside. Time to pass into the mellow and the meadow, to repose among the buzzing bees and the breeze blown trees in the sun of the garden and the... okay, you got me, it is dark, I am working and I am having an ale on a less than warm day (but not cold) after some humidity and some rain. So sue me. It is BG Sips (I see what they did there) by the Blue Monkey people that, apparently, are pretty local to me, and moreso than I would have previously thought.

Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Beer Review: Rat Arsed

For tonight I have a good friend to thank for picking this up and bringing it over aaaaages back when they came to visit. If they are reading this then they need to know that the Boy still mentions the visit and the fact that he didn't get to share a room all night. You are, of course, welcome back whenever. However, that's not what most people are here for, you are here to read a review about an ale. This ale is called Rat Arsed and is from Beer Direct and so I am ready to drift along a sea of ale to talk softly about what this does. Big promises from an ale that prides itself on the strength of its offering and trades on the effects that it will have on the unwary. And I am a bit of a lightweight!

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Beer Review: Bourbon Stout

It's time, I suppose, to return to that lovely set of ales that I seem to have a lot and finally finish off the gift box that I bought for myself all that time ago by having the bottle of Innis & Gunn's (who still aren't paying me) Bourbon Stout. I'll confess that I had deliberately left this offering until last as I was rather looking forward to trying it and seeing what it did. After all, it stated that it was a stout and I like stouts (evidence here, here and here, if t'were needed!) and it was from a brewer that I do rather like. They don't make many varieties, they keep to their core and they brew in small batches. Also, I have very much enjoyed their Treacle Porter (here) in the past.

Not my image! I have deleted it by accident!

You know, I maybe ought to have seen this coming given that build. Perhaps you will! In any case, would you like to know more?

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Father's Day

It's not often that I get sentimental on this blog but today is as good a day as any to do so. Now, a couple of caveats: I don't hold with Father's Day because it's a bit like celebrating Men's Day to go with Women's Day - fathers get more media attention, more positive support and more societal benefits than mothers already so that pretty much every day is father's day already. The second thing, I do not believe for one moment that the day is about fathers if done right - it ought to be about sons and daughters doing things with their family and father-figure present. In that second point we had our day today as a family and, due to a snafu on my marking, I had a free day to spend on it for the first time in ages.

So my children know me very well. Apparently our eldest, on learning that Father's Day was approaching, suggested to Willow that something needed to be bought for Daddy. And, she reasoned, "Daddy likes beer" so they got me a couple of ales and some money to spend on my own ales. I am not complaining. However, I haven't managed to partake of the ales bought for me yet, they will come later. Instead we went out for a meal and on a whim for me to show Willow and the children the two local micro-pubs of which I have become rather enamoured.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Beer Review: 1215

After my last effort (here) and the fact that this week appears to be all about the Magna Carta on the news and in the papers and all around the country, it seemed fitting to try out and review something I picked up from Lincoln. I was lucky to get it, they had just three bottles left when I rolled in and they had just one on display when I left (and I didn't buy the other). So, it is with some trepidation and apprehension, but the good kind, that I embark upon this 1215 by Lincolnshire Brewing Co.

There's clearly a good deal of pride in the city of Lincoln for their connection to one of the four oldest copies of the Magna Carta and they have embraced the opportunity to go a bit ape for the 800th anniversary of the document. Given that the battle of Lincoln came as the climax to the struggle to get the rights outlined in the Carta into English Law that is somewhat understandable. And the place has surely benefited a great deal from the increased tourism that this latest big round number has afforded.

Would you like to know more?

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Beer Review: Magna Carta

It was Sunday but the anniversary for the sealing of the Magna Carta was, apparently, this Monday. I know this because I was in Lincoln that day and there was cake. 800 slices. For free. All of which was in celebration of the sealing of the Magna Carta. Now, as a History teacher, this sort of thing shouldn't surprise me. But, as a me, it does. I'm rubbish with dates.

On a slightly related note, I was at the open farm at Oakfield Farm and the home of the Nutbrook Brewery (here) on Sunday and happened to try one of their ales on pull. There was still plenty to choose from but I had a hankering after their Magna Carta because... uh... history!

It was a lovely warm day, plenty of sunshine, the kids enjoyed the bouncy castle and watched a sheep get sheared. I got talking to a couple who make mead and am strongly considering adding it as a batch to my summer brewing plans, if I can gather the funds to make it happen with local honey (because why would anyone do it with non-local?) but, in the meantime, I am reviewing the ale.

Would you like to know more?

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

The internet is awash with reviews and thoughts about this film from many people better qualified and more thoughtful than I, but it is a film that I have seen and so I felt that I had to at least show willing and offer a review of it. After all, this is the sort of film that I usually avoid - I have seen The Road Warrior and enjoyed it (it used to form part of a unit I taught on the Cold War, of all things) but was never one to recommend it to others and, despite the humour of Lord Humongous, it was never something that touched me the same way as, say, Star Wars (here).

However, reading some of the reviews online and some of the thoughts about this film made me reassess my thoughts and convinced me that it was worth seeing. I refer, of course, to the oddity that is Mad Max: Fury Road. I was not disappointed. It was, not to put too fine a point on it, far from "MEDIOCRE!" and very likely to ride into Valhalla, shiny and chrome.

Would like to WITNESS ME!?

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Home Brew Review: Bubba's IPA

I was lucky enough to enjoy some good weather with this one. An oasis of further calm amidst quite a calm, if busy, week. My good friend from Leeds had gifted me some of his home brew that was brewed a while ago and this one had been held back some time, so I was looking forward to this - nicely aged, very ready and bottle conditioned. I don't know that any more exists but some people who know my good friend and occasional host in Leeds may wish to get in touch and see what they can coax out!

I refer, in this case, to the Bubba's IPA that acts as a companion to Bubba's APA (here) and a development from that too.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Pub Review: An unexpected night out

Last Saturday I decided that I would make good on threats and promises with myself and pop out for a quick half of an evening. Of course, being me, I decided to make it a thing and ended up visiting three local public houses and, naturally, decided to compare my impressions as well as sampling some of the ales on offer.

This is very much a local effort and I may well do something similar with more pubs locally as I think I quite enjoyed the contrasts and comparisons. I ended up visiting The Poacher, The Burnt Pig (previous review here) and The Brewery Taps (previous review link). Twas a good evening and I still managed to get some work done at the end of the night.

Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Beer Re-Review: Banks's Bitter

You may have noticed that this ale formed the second published review on this site, back in 2012(!), but I have changed much since then and so I thought it wise to have another crack at the whole thing now that I kind of know a few more ales. Also, I always got the feeling that I wasn't giving Banks's Bitter a fair crack of the whip. I still haven't managed to actually acquire a bottle of their Mild variant, much to my chagrin, but this will have to do.

See, I even have my own photographs of it now. Would you like to know more?

Friday, 29 May 2015

Burnt Pig Ale 'Ouse - Opening Night

On the night of Thursday 28 May I was lucky enough to be a part of the opening night of a new micro-pub in Ilkeston: The Burnt Pig Ale 'Ouse and a very nice opening night it was too! Plenty going on, of which more in a moment, and a great selection of local ales on offer - two of which were brewed within four miles of the pub itself - and good company. I was button-holed, in a positive way, by one bloke trying to convince me to join CAMRA. I have gained beer-bore chops!

Entertainment was provided by the Border Black Pig Morris Dancers and they were a refreshing blast of typically British anarchy - the sort that really ought to have led a revolution by now if you ask me - and that was great fun. I'm not usually the sort of person who champions folk traditions, but this group from Awsworth were a riot of colour and bawdy humour.

Not sure what the local denizens of the area though of the proceedings but I can see the small premises becoming a decent haunt, and I do need to start haunting ale houses. It will make a nice pair with the Muirhouse Brewery Taps (here) locally and a couple of others. I can see that I shall be going out of an evening more often.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Beer Review: Black Wych

A long day draws to a close, a long week behind it, and I am in the mood for some relaxation. A chance to kick back was lost recently and so I am grabbing this one with both hands and hanging on for dear life! It is a dark evening, a little nippy, and there has been a lot of rain. Not the proper kind of rain, the niggly little stuff that will drench you given time but somehow fails to wet the soil effectively and thus plants still need watering. Yet the stuff is constant. Also, the Boy wished to go out and ride his bike. Excellent. I can't really complain, but it is a good time for something dark and brooding, maybe even a tad emo, if I may, and so I have brought out some Black Wych.

A shame this wasn't out during Hallowe'en as it would have been perfect for the battle royale that I cooked up then (here) but, alas, twas not to be. Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 24 May 2015

A Night on the Tiles

Which is actually a bit of a poor title as it wasn't anything like that, I was honoured to have some excellent company to try out some of the nicer and out of the way bars and public houses in the centre of Leeds, thus avoiding the Hen Nights with large phalluses (phallii?) wandering the main areas of the city, as well as starting the night with excellent curry. And then there was the following morning where there were pancakes - it's been about nine years since I had pancakes at any point of the day, let alone cooked for me at breakfast with lemon and sugar on hand.

I digress, this is a beer blog after all, and I'm guessing that people aren't that fussed about what I ate so much as they come to read about the ales imbibed. Ales were imbibed, conquering heroes were spoken to (no, really, both gentlemen that made up my company have conquered areas of the workplace and deservedly so) and good craic, as I believe they say in Ireland, was had. And how could I forget the morning conversation in the kitchen that followed the night out - brilliant as always!

Ahem, yes, onto the ales. Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Beer Review: Libertine Black Ale

This has been a long wait. I got it in from a local supermarket because they happened to have some in some time before Christmas, possibly even last November, and then I have hoarded it in my pantry (I have a pantry) because I was looking for the right occasion to drink it. I'll happily admit that part of the reason for the long wait was the strength, 7.2% ABV, and the memory of having it on a night out in Leeds. I wanted this bottle of Libertine Black Ale to be savoured and enjoyed.

Alas, finding no such occasion that didn't involve other people (and not sharing an ale with company could well be considered quite rude) I was forced to just throw caution to the wind and to actually drink the dang thing. Which I have now done and so can share the result with you! Aren't you glad?

You are? Oh, lovely, well, thank you! Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Beer Review: Criffel

What can I say, it's Thursday and it's the evening and it's been a day. Neither good nor bad, but easily identifiable as a day, and that is good enough sometimes. This calls for a bout of oddly disjointed prose, words thrown at a page in a close enough approximation of a description to warrant reading if not following. Yes, it's a beer review and I have chosen the carefully hoarded and husbanded Criffel from the presentation pack of Sulwath ales that my mother got me for Christmas. It's been rather a while since the last one (link) and it's time to break them out again methinks.

Also, it's been sitting in my kitchen looking at me and disapproving generally of my not drinking it for long enough that the guilt alone would have forced me into drinking it without the fact that I am so locked into my routine that it is time to review an ale.

Would you like to know more? Oh good, then click on the words below. Click them!

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Beer Review: Wolf Rock

What madness is this? Another sunny weekend and another chance to have an ale in my garden? Surely the end times cometh! Well, okay, maybe not, but at the very least this is a moment to celebrate and enjoy the moment. And I shall enjoy this moment with a Red IPA from those people over at Sharp's, they of the Doom Bar (link) brewers, and obviously have something a wee bit different in their Wolf Rock that has been sitting in my kitchen, biding its time and waiting for this moment. Well, it has its moment and I have a trowel and a place by the sundial to dig some soil ready for planting something and the time to spend having an ale to enjoy the sunshine and the weather.

Yes, the madness has been unleashed for another Sunday and you have, as ever, the choice on whether or not to continue into the rabbit hole. As Morpheus asked: "how deep does the rabbit hole go?" And, as I often answer when watching The Matrix, this isn't Alice in Wonderland even though you referenced the white rabbit in a convoluted sequence earlier.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Beer Review: Dublin Porter

Tonight I thought that I would enjoy something from the same stable as the lovely West Indies Porter (link) that was such a great find earlier in the year. This was similarly on offer in the local supermarket and thus easily acquired, and the label promised much old world charm about this Dublin Porter. Also, after failing to have any Black Cab Porter when I was out in London (link) I was rather looking forward to filling that Porter-shaped hole that I had developed.

Would you like to know more?

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Nationalities and War

It has recently been ANZAC day in Australia and there is an argument to say that the role of the ANZACs in the First World War first brought together some otherwise disparate people who found common ground in their nationalism. The fires of war forging a new unity of otherwise disconnected groups and an anger fostered against imperialism that would eventually lead to the formation of a new country with independence. This is given huge weight by the fact that this was not just limited to to antipodean nations of Australia and New Zealand but also affected Canada across the Atlantic from the warzone and the many colonies of France in Africa too.

There were differences of approach, certainly, and differences too in the solutions - whereas Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Guiana and others eventually achieved independence the empire of France initially achieved parity with France. One could argue for many many hours and days about these outcomes but the point is that, with the hundredth anniversary of that world conflict now upon us, many of these movements are once again taking centre stage.

The video is a song by Sting. I realise that it has nothing at all to do with the First World War on his part, but a younger version of myself caught the reference to trenches, barbed wire and reconciliation and thought that this summed up the aftermath of the First World War beautifully. I think it fitting for the rant to follow. Would you like to know more?

Monday, 4 May 2015


This election seems to be rather big. Which means, for a change, my politicised blinkered rantings may actually have some point to them. So that's nice. This is a beer blog, however, and my political views ought not to interfere too much with the reviewing of ale nor your ability to discuss my thoughts on ale.

So, with that in mind, if you are not really wanting to read politics from someone you come to in order to read beer reviews, I shan't be the remotest amount offended. Equally, if you have strong political views and you would like to argue with me, then by all means do, know that I am unlikely to take things personally as long as they are not meant personally and I am likely to argue back. Which is fine, I don't think politics is worth losing cordial relations over. However, this may not be your bag. In which case, hit the link marked 'beer review' in the cloud of tabs over to the right and carry on! This post will not be on the main page for long!

There's plenty of advice on who to vote for, but not much else. I am not impartial. My ramblings will begin after the line break and only proceed if you really really want to know!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Beer Review: Toasted Oak IPA

The weather was fine and warm, the garden was full of the scents of growing things and the buzzing of bees, I had a mountain of work to do that I was (and am) studiously avoiding on such a day and so it was definitely time for a beer. More than that, Willow had sent me out to find some compost on the proviso that I could have an ale in the afternoon, and I am not one that needs telling twice. It's a Sunday, it's sunny, my garden is free and I have a presentation pack to be getting through so it was perhaps inevitable that I would end up with something from the Innis & Gunn stable. One day I may be able to convince them, by force of will I suppose, to pay me to drink their brews but, until such time, I shall drink them by paying for them like pretty much everyone else.

The bench was rapidly running out of sun, so I ended up supping the Toasted Oak IPA on my feet and standing near the deep bed. This may sound awkward but I am made of such stern stuff and thus was unfazed by it.

Are you still in a mood to read further? You are? Oh good, then read on!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Beer Review: Peaky Blinder

This came heavily recommended, though I've had it in for a while now, and tonight was a good night to have something heavy, dark and brooding. The name, Peaky Blinder, speaks of something dark, mysterious and a big boggy and so it seemed to fit the mood. Obviously you, good reader, will be the ultimate judge of that one. But it's another from T. A. Sadler's that I knew would be more common as time goes on. And, you know, as the marking abates a moment and I can see the clear road to planning for next year up ahead I thought it was a good time to be having an ale.

Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Naval Standard

Some friends were over for the weekend with their littlest and it seemed prudent to visit a steam railway and offer some ale. The main companion of this particular beer journey was not a fan of the ale but his wife had brought along some specialist stuff she had discovered, which was eventually not tried over the weekend, but it is coming: consider yourself warned! A trip to the supermarket to pick up a chocolate gateau also garnered a return visit to the Muirhouse Brewery Taps, and a much welcome return it was, and so there was even some actual cask ale imbibed. It was a very nice weekend, the weather has been lovely, and the trains were much appreciated by all the small people. I believe that counts as a success!

Join me, won't you, for a sojourn along the wild flower side of the path, pausing only to sniff of the scent and sneeze because of the hayfever induced by city living and the slow inexorable drift to the ultimate heat-death of Universe. Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Beer Review: Imperial Ale

After the totally disappointing Snowman's Revenge I decided to take a risk and purchase this little number from the same brewery. The brewery is the now infamous Wentworth (here) and the subject of tonight's escapade into beers and their resultant reviews is the nicely labelled Imperial Ale. What the hey, it's worth a shot, right?

What's the worst that could happen? No, wait, that's the advertising slogan from Dr Pepper... Where will it end? Well, not here unless you want it to. Would you like it to go on?

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Beer Review: Rum Finish

Another week behind me now and I only messed up once. I do enjoy a good debate but am still feeling guilty for not noticing that I had offended someone in one. Whoops. Also, much in the way of marking (all my own making of course) means a long weekend. I can't complain, there's a new Star Wars trailer out and the Boy has joined me in getting all excited. I just hope it's not like Episode 1. Anyway, it's Sunday and I fancied breaking into my gift box set of Innis & Gunn that I treated myself to. I've started, at random (I just plucked the first bottle out without looking), with the Rum Finish and I have to say I'm looking forward to it.

Would ye like to come with me on a sail through the seas of insanity for to learn of an ale that be tickling yar tastebuds? Yar? Would ye be likin' t'know more?