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!