Saturday, 26 August 2017

Urban Gold

Having had the wonderful Pit Pony in a bottle (see here) and the equally good, but less delectable for me, Bantam with my father (see here) it was a no brainer that I would pick up the Urban Gold from Urban Chicken Ale when I saw it in my local bottle shop. Furthermore, it had to be had on the Bank Holiday because it screamed Bank Holiday ale!

If you were to go to ancient Rhodes and sail into the harbour you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a giant statue that is supposed to have stood astride the channel under which triremes sailed and plied their trade. This was the Colossus and it was supposed to have been something of a sight to behold, in much the same way I suspect that the Urban Gold stands astride my Bank Holiday ales (and I had a few) in a fashion that means I have to actually get on and review it above all others.

If you'll forgive the obvious self-referential flourish, this is an epic beer. Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Epic Beer

A friend and I had been trying to get together for a bit of pub crawl in Ilson for some time. See, last year about this time he had taken me around Derby and I, like the capricious soul I am, have never got round to writing up the experience. However, I had promised him a tour of my gaffe and some of the pubs that are to be had. Since then we have had some new pubs open, including the bottle shop, and it was time. Thankfully, our wives were also in need of meeting up and thus organised us into a night on the pubs.

We set out into the warm summer's evening and found that my usual was shut, it being Wednesday, and so had to quickly take that into consideration. A recce earlier in the day had identified some decent ales on and so it was that we ventured into town in high spirits and with some gung-ho spirit! Would you like to know more?

Tuesday, 22 August 2017


A long time ago now, I made a special trip to my local micro-pub, the Burnt Pig, to get me some Cwtch (see here) because I heard they had it in and I wanted to try it. At that point I did not know that I would ever be able to get the kind of canned and bottled ales that many of the people that I know online were having. Since then, of course, there has been a bottle shop open in my area and it has some fantastic ales on offer pretty regularly. So it was that, when they got Cwtch in, I bought some. And, today, I review it.

Obviously, with sunshine, I had it in the garden. And, equally obviously, that was not today because today has been rather grim and more usual wet summer from Britain. Still, a sunny day is when I had it and a sunny afternoon is when I did the review, would you like to know more?

Sunday, 20 August 2017


It's been a long day and I have been bombarded a little with events - football in the morning (not playing, you understand, watching my children play, exhausting enough) through to a centenary in our local park and then an arduous slog to the Crafty One bottle shop in Ilson with a small child to try and get them to sleep. I tell you, it's a hard life being a parent and harder still buying and drinking all these beers. Honestly, it's like I get no rest. So it is that, tonight, on a dark and slightly cooler evening than the rest of the week I am compelled to try a bit of brewed summer in a can from those rather clever folks at Verdant Brewing Co. again. Tonight's effort is called Headband and comes in a rather delightful orange labelled can. I got it in to have down at my father's back on Tuesday but we never got round to it. You can find out what we did get round to by clicking here. In the meantime, time to get down with this can.

I've already opened it and poured and, as as spoiler, I just said 'wow' even though there is no one in the room to hear me. Make of that what you will. Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Day in London

Following the success of the Tuesday night (see this finely crafted link) and the sharing of some lighter ales, my father and I did indeed get the train the following day to London to see the exhibition and share some meals. We stopped off for breakfast in Carluccio's in St Pancras (we agreed that this was easily the nicest of all the stations with rail links north) where I had a lovely mushrooms with scrambled egg on toast, hit the exhibition and then I took him on the longest walk you can really manage in London to The Harp - because I would be remiss not to. It was a lovely warm day, my father and I got to share our observations about architecture in the capital and ruminate on the effects of Modernism and Gerogian-style buildings mingling due to the gaps left by the Blitz and other such human disasters, all the while looking in at the occasional park and discussing the Russian Revolution because, frankly, why wouldn't you?

Surprised to meet Gandhi here but only snapped

This is very much a truncated story of pubbing about London primarily due to the fact that I needed to have the time to get the alcohol out of my system before driving back home in the evening. A feat that I managed (with suitably long gap twixt drink and drive of around five or so hours) and got home at a late enough point that Willow, Hooty and Girlie were asleep, but the Boy was awake. Would you like to know more?

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Down me Dad's

My father arranged some tickets to go and see Russia in London, and you don't turn down an offer like that, so I travelled down to his house the night before because it would be easier to get an early train. Being me, I took down some ales to try and compare notes on. As this is me, I took down a selection from which we chose what to have and then discussed the finer points of sours and pales because, well, I took down a sour and a pale.

The sour was Sur Simcoe by To Ol and the pale was an American Pale from the inimitable local brewery Urban Chicken being their Bantam. It sort of had to be done, you see, it wouldn't have been fair otherwise. Mind you, I set off from home quite late so it was properly dark by the time I got round to opening some of the delights and I very nearly forgot pictures, hence the picture of Daventry, because that's where the beers were had.

Near to where my father lives, but this is spring. It'll do.

Now that the preamble is out of the way, it's time to get to the beer. Would you like to know more?

Sunday, 13 August 2017

New England IPA V2

It was a while ago now, but we had a lovely friend come to stay and visit. You may remember her as the Belgian with whom I drank some beer back in 2014 (find that by clicking the word clicking). However, all of this is mere prelude as I wanted to share something a bit special and had picked this up from my local bottle shop with the exhortation to 'savour it'. I'd picked it up on a whim as I'd missed that they had any in, but seeing a collaboration between the giants of the craft scene, BrewDog  and Cloudwater meant that I really had to part with a sizeable fee to see what happened.

Before getting down to this I have seen many opinions expressed on this ale and I should point out that I did not have those in mind when having this. I had intended to follow it up with other ales but, for reasons that will become obvious, I did not. Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Breakfast of Champignons

Not long after the end of the school term I was being all smug about buying in a large amount of quality ale and a colleague of mine, who knows who they are, shared the fact that they had bought in a large order of Millionaire (see this link) from Wild Beer Co. because, let's face it, why wouldn't you. Clearly I couldn't let this provocation lie and, as I said, why wouldn't you? I got myself on my pedal-powered internet connection (disclaimer, nothing is pedal-powered) and promptly ordered my own booty from their online beer emporium. The most curious of their ales, to my mind, was the rather clever-titled Breakfast of Champignons and that was the first bottle to get drunk. It thus forms the first of the reviews from that particular shipment.

Let's face it, something made with wild mushrooms as well as yeast is intriguing to say the least. I think I was expecting something that tasted not a little like a Sunday morning fry up with absolutely no reason to harbour this feeling. However, I have now tasted and reviewed this rather strange little brew so that others may make up their own minds. Would you like to learn more?

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Tied in Notts

We'd planned a day out at the beach in Nottingham. Yes, I know, and it had been raining for a while. We checked the weather and it said that it would stay cloudy and we figured that would mean that the crowds would stay away for fear of more rain, so that was good. Hitting an early bus, the entire family trekked on down to the centre of Nottingham and had our way with a virtually empty mock beach in the square. then, because we could, we headed up to the castle and made merry with the playpark and the telescopes there. I took my chance and, while Willow had a shufti at the gift shop with children in tow, I chanced to visit two pubs: Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem and The Crafty Crow because it would have been rude not to.

Would you like to know more?

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Chatsworth Gold

Not long ago we were given a bit of a gift, that is, my father took our two eldest for a day at Chatsworth House. I'm not complaining! They thoroughly enjoyed their time away, playing on an adventure play park and climbing walls and such, and Willow and I sort of bodded about the house actually having the time and space to do... nothing. And it was glorious. I digress, the point is that when they returned they brought a lovely ale for me: Chatsworth Gold from Peak Ales and now is the time that I get to have and review that ale on this here blog.

More to the point, I've not really been on the golden ales as much as I was this time last year and so this is a hole that needed to be filled. Again, not a bad thing, I have been having lots more stouts and porters instead, but goldens are, I believe, a necessary part of a balanced beer diet in the summer. Would you like to know more?

Monday, 7 August 2017

Pit Pony

I have been meaning to get round to reviewing this for a long time. I heard, through the Book of Faces, that there were to be bottles of Pit Pony available and then waited with bated breath for them to be dropped. I've had this already, on draught, and thoroughly enjoyed it as it is a fine example of an oatmeal stout. You can find my thoughts about it by clicking these words. So it was, when it was in the local bottle shop, I rushed out with the exhortations of my long-suffering wife to get some in. I managed to bag two bottles, intending to share, as there was limited stock. Then life sort of intervened, I had intended to share it with a visitor but ended up trying something a little hoppier and murkier instead. Then I finally got round to having it and thus, tonight, can review the whole experience!

Look at it! The day had been windy and cool with occasional sunshine, we went out with some friends, but by the evening it was cooler and with rain threatening so there was no chance to have it out in the garden. Instead, I had it in the kitchen whilst cooking and then eating an omelette, because I know how much my eating habits feature. Would you like to join me on a journey through Urban Chicken Ale's Pit Pony oatmeal stout? You would? Wonderful!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout

This has been sitting around under the stairs since that crate of beer around Easter, I figured it was high time that I got round to it and had it of an evening. Darkness outside, lit by the glow of one of the last sodium burning lamps on the road, with a decidedly cool feeling in the air from a day of rain, the perfect time, one might suggest, for a stout. To be fair, though, nearly every time is the perfect time for a stout so that may not be indicative. Anyway, with no ABV (but I was told as I drank it by some nice people online) and no Best Before this was always going to be interesting. I present to you Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout from Rogue Ales based on Oregon.

It's a crap picture, for which I apologise, the light was bad and I wasn't anticipating getting a better shot. I was already a bit late in getting a photo and the head had gone so I was in a hurry. And, sometimes, I am just that bad at taking a photo. Would you like to know more?

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Some Fifty Summers

At the end of work and marking I went into the local bottle shop, the Crafty One in Ilson, and made sure to take my credit card. I was after some very local ale indeed brewed by the rather delectable Urban Chicken Ale but that can wait until I am reviewing their beer! Whilst I was there I noted that they had in some ales from breweries I have heard a lot about but not often seen in the wild. Naturally I bought them all and nigh bankrupted myself in the process. One of the cans that I got in was this rather lovely looking one from Verdant Brewing Co. from down in Cornwall, who seem to produce a number of craft breweries, by the name of Some Fifty Summers. Well, I thought, that's a lovely looking can and I've heard good things. And I bought it.

That was a true story. It's almost like you were there with me, right? Anyway, this evening, after having friends round, getting into an unexpected but positive meeting at the bank and running around in the sun it started to rain, quite heavily, and I thought it the perfect moment to have a proper summer pale ale. Because I am contrary like that (I'm sure I've mentioned this before). Would you like to know more?

Tuesday, 1 August 2017


For my birthday earlier in the year I picked out and bought two ales that I would not ordinarily get. Obviously, with the memory of last year's Sink the Bismarck (see here) I decided that I would go big and enjoy something utterly insane again this year. So it was that I bought me a can of Wild Weather Ales' Skadoosh because it was a mental 11% ABV DIPA with a panda on the can and what more could anyone reasonably ask for? It's been chilling for the best part of two weeks now and the sun is shining and warm in the garden, though it's been a warm and dull day so there are few flowers out, and the perfect weather for such a mad ale.

A long day with the family doing not a lot but with a chance to have a haircut and even buy me some electric clippers to try and control the mess that is what I call a beard. Time to kick back in the sunshine that has threatened through the cloud cover all day, enough to keep things uncomfortably warm, and enjoy a can, right? Would you like to know more?