Sunday, 28 August 2016

Beer Review: Gardener's Tipple

The plan was to have an ale in the garden in anticipation of doing some actual gardening afterward. I would take the children to the park, they would have a good time, then we would return, I'd unpack the mower and they would play in the garden for a bit whilst I did the lawn. So it made sense to have an ale that was, by its very definition, something to have with the gardening. However, such are the plans of mice and men that I totally failed to make these ideas a reality. We went to the park after I'd had a Gardener's Tipple from Hog's Back Brewery and it was there that my smallest decided to run into a wooden beam with his head and split it open. His head, not the beam.

After that it was a trip to our local minor injuries unit, where they checked him out and declared that he needed to go to the bigger hospital down the road on account of having a cut down to his skull. There we duly went, to find that all was fine (but I was glad they checked him out) and then glued him back up. We returned later that evening and I lost about two hours doing odd-jobs so that I had to nip out for tea at 9pm, too late for any gardening. Still, I did have the ale and I did review the ale, so that review now follows.

Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Beer Review: Hop Garden Gold

So, I was down at the brewery before the weekend. Then we had adventures in Hampshire involving Birdworld and the Old A3. By the time we returned to the hotel it was gone 8pm. A swift walk to get Willow some ice cream and then some pootling and it was close to 9pm. The brewery was shut, there was nothing for it but to go to the hotel bar and hope they had something on. They did. I found Hop Garden Gold from Hog's Back Brewery, being the brewery I had hoped to stop in at this evening, and they had it chilled. It was rather hot so, of course, I decided to have it. And, okay, £4.80 is a lot for a bottle of ale. But it was damn' hot, the bottles I had with me (Montezuma's Chocolate Lager) were not chilled. And it was hot. So I bought it and sampled it. Wouldn't you?

Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Beer Review: Proper Black

I was graced with another gift recently, from a family member whose help and gracious gifts of time have already made our family life much easier. So I'd been saving it until the right occasion and, having come back from a day out that was a bit cooler than expected and resulted in a long charge of the car from home for a change when the rain hit, it seemed like the time had come for a dark ale. Perhaps I should have had stout, but I'm saving that for a later point. For the time being I am content to let the Proper Black loose from those lovely people down at St. Austell Brewery. And I am very glad that I decided to do that.

On the plus side, the rain does mean that I shan't have to water the garden this evening, which was looking like a distinctly likely proposition after the long dry day, but on the negative side it does mean that I can't get out to mow the lawn with the lawn-mower (I'm allowed to be impressed with it for a while yet I think) in the morning. Anyway, it's ale and I'm happy to be able to enjoy it. Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Beer Review: Old Tongham Tasty

In the next couple of days we are heading back down south and I am looking forward to it, on the grounds that we shall be staying as we always do somewhere around the Hog's Back area, around Farnham, and that means a visit to one of my favourite breweries: Hog's Back Brewing Company. And that, in turn, means that I shall be stocking up on some of their finest ales and getting some curios from their rather well-stocked shop too. All of which means that it's about time that I finished off the brews that I got last time. One of which I have been sitting on for absolutely ages, possibly a whole two years actually, and I'm rather looking forward to trying it. That ale is the massive Old Tongham Tasty (or OTT) that weighs in at a pretty heavy looking 6% ABV and looks to defy easy categorisation due to the plethora of malts used in its production.

On a humid and overcast evening, with the Boy upstairs independently creating complicated gearing in Technic from my school's set that must date from when I was about 12 and the Girlie avidly playing with clip dolls in some complicated political saga of something, this seems like the perfect brew to settle back with and share some time with Willow, who will no doubt be working on articles and books and writing because she's just like that. Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Beer Festival: Fishpond at Matlock Bath

Yesterday I attended only my second beer festival, which is quite something given that this blog has now been running for four years. I know, I know, I am something of a late developer. We were up Matlock Bath way on Friday and as we pootled about I happened to notice a sign for a beer festival being held there and so scoped out a few local hostelries to see what was available. Not seeing much, but enough to warrant a trip out, I decided to keep my powder dry. However, come morning and Willow suggested I have a day out and I checked the transportation (buses) and decided that it could be done.

One long bus trip later I was in Matlock Bath and thence into the hosting public house, being the Fishpond just on the southern edge of the place. The sun was struggling to shine, though it was a lovely warm day, and I, apparently, was the very first person to arrive for the day. Not at all embarrassing, no sir. Well, okay, I was slightly embarrassed. However, they were open and they did have stuff on tap and so, with a notebook in one hand and my embarrassing habit of taking photos on my phone, I began my journey of the day. Would you like to join me?

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Beer Review: Das Helle

I have a mower and I can mow the lawn. Rarrgh! Fear me! Also, in so doing, I may well have murdered the lawn and anything living within or near it. Hmm. It took a bit of doing too, rather tough (as one would expect given how it has been about two years since I last did it - long story). Anyway, none of that need detain us here as we embark on another review of ale except insofar as to explain why it was that I came to be sitting with the Boy rather late in the evening having tea in the garden and relaxing with a chilled ale from a rather nice bottle, which I shall be keeping because it is an awesome bottle. I am referring to Das Helle by Schwaben Brau whom I suspect are from the middle area of Germany known as Schwabia. I once knew a fine lass from those parts who was most interesting.

Anyway, this isn't my first time at this particular rodeo it's just the first time I have got round to reviewing it on here. When I had some of this last year I was most impressed and bought in about half a dozen, but then forgot to review it. Then when I saw it again I bought in a couple. Now it's gone again. It was from Aldi, if you see it, it's totally worth trying. Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 7 August 2016


It has been a while since I went around pubbing and Willow had said that I ought to go to my local, so it seemed like as good a time as any. The observant will have noted, however, that my usual notation for just heading down the Burnt Pig Ale 'Ouse is missing: that is because I didn't stay put. A hot day, a warm night in the offing and the feeling that I wanted to be moving all contributed to me not sitting still. That and the fact that the Burnt Pig continues to attract large crowds of friendly people (and I am not very good at being alone in friendly crowds) - no criticism of the place, but it did mean that I got to see some parts of where I live that I have not seen before and have, well, a bit of an explore of an evening.

Also, there was the small matter of the lovely sunset-thing that I saw and think I even managed to capture on my new phone camera. There's a function that messes with the brightness that allows me to take some shots I would simply have been unable to capture in the past.

Now that I have thoroughly bored all five of my readers, would you like to know more about the important parts of my trip: the beers?

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Beer Review: 5am Saint

Right at the beginning, not long after Willow suggested that I needed something to do at the end of a work week, my first ales at the end of a week were Brewdog ones because they were on offer at Morrison's and they looked interesting. I remember that I got a Trashy Blonde, a Punk IPA, a 5am Saint and a fruit beer that may or may not have been raspberry. Hard to remember now. I also recall that, back then, I was not a fan of the ruby ale and was dismissive of it for a very long time afterwards so that even when I started the reviews on this place I tended to avoid the ruby ales on the strength of that early experience.

Since then much has changed. This place has become an actual beer blog for a start, showing me as a fully-fledged beer bore (who does now do that thing where you tell others about which beers you like and why) and I have also moved to another part of the country. My job has changed three times (sort of) and I have attended my first beer festival, several trips for the purposes of drinking ale and I have had a good few ales. All of which preamble brings me to my point, being that I saw 5am Saint in the shop and thought that it was maybe time that I tried it properly and saw what happened.

The following review, therefore, bears witness to this momentous event and brings me full circle to the very first ales I tried. Okay, no, my very first ale was, in fact, a pint of Black Sheep back at University which I semi-rated but thought spirits more cost effective, but certainly the first ales in my more recent conversion to them as something that I drink. Would you like to know more?