Monday, 31 March 2014

EBBC - European Beer Bollocks Conference

So I saw a tweet from Pete this evening that led me to actually read an email i'd got insisting that I went to the European beer bloggers conference in Dublin. An email i'd totally ignored until this evening.

Firstly and I'll say this right of the bat, i had, and have no intention of going to another beer bloggers conference. There's just other stuff i'd rather go to and as far as i can tell, beer blogging has died a slow, messy and tired death(he says ironically posting for the first time in months...)

Now i'm sorry but there more I work in the business, the less time i really want to spend drinking in my spare time, it's a fact folks, after a while you get bored, well i do. Fucking bored.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand. one of the 'Pulls' for this one is the visit to the great Guinness brewery, now, sorry but Guinness sucks ass, it's a shit, tasteless beer brewed by a spirits company, I drink it when there is literally nothing else on the bar to drink(including gin). 

The main reason for me not going is of course that i don't really consider myself to be a blogger anymore, after all this is the first post since 20th December last year so more than 3 months ago, quoting and changing one of the great film quotes of the nineties...

"All the great themes have been used up. Turned into theme parks. So I don't really find it exactly cheerful to be living in the middle of a totally, like, exhausted writing genre where's there's nothing original to look forward to and no one to look up to"

Now, granted this may sound a bit teenage, after all it was the nineties when Pump up the Volume came out but it resonates quite easily with the state of the beer writing community(in my opinion) simply because i'm not seeing anything new, and the people that try and do something new just look like they're trying too hard for a story, or a by-line and the people that aren't trying something new just seem like they're stagnating. How can the end of the email possibly make any sense when only 35 people have actually signed up? "The European Beer Bloggers Conference is our highest rated conference out of the six we run each year and you as alumni know it is an awesome time with fun people for very little money. To be honest, if this is not what you want - meals, beer, content, and Irish culture all for little to no money - I am not sure what you are looking for. :)

Highest rated? really? Couldn't give a shit but that may well be because i've been artistically constipated for the lasted 18 months! Have fun with that image!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Brewers of the Year

My beery year has been somewhat deflated this year, I've had great beers with good people and that is what it's all about, right? But the industry is getting somewhat diluted by assholes too who need to crawl back under their rocks.
In what has been a great year for growth in sheer number of breweries this is one of the hardest and possibly my favourite category to pull out of the yearly naval gaze that is the Golden pints.

There are several nominations for my brewer of the year and they are as follows….

Mark Tranter - Burning Sky Brewery.
Aurora and Plateau are two of the best beers i have tasted this year. In my opinion, Burning Sky will be the next cool brewery for the geeks, sorry Mark!
Outstanding beer : Plateau.

Angelo Scarnera - Brew Wharf.
Based in a restaurant that gives it's name to the brewing industry, i find it insane that the staff couldn't give a shit about the great beers that Angelo is brewing. The collab of 21st Amendment's Imperial Jack really was a stand out beer for me.
outstanding beer : Imperial Jack.

Oliver Fozard - Roosters.
Oli was my choice at last years BGBW awards for brewer of the year and whilst Sara Barton was more than deserving, i still would have voted for Oli. He's making some stunning new beers whilst keeping to the traditions and recipes of the previous owner, Sean Franklin.
outstanding beer : Buckeye.

Tara Mallinson - Mallinsons.
Taras beers are simple, tasty and stunning. I wish i could get them every week!
Outstanding beer : Alias.

John Bryan - Oakham Ales*
Oakham Citra is one of the finest beers on cask at the moment, it's always on top form and always worth spending that £4+ at Oaka in Kennington. With an experimentation of kegged beer coming i think that Oakham and John will become very cool, very quickly, he'll fucking hate that! 
Outstanding beer : Citra.

Sara Barton - Brewsters.
Always underrated by the beer snobs and still carries on brewing great beers. Keg beer is pretty damned decent too so if you see Brewsters on the bar, go for it!
Outstanding beer : Marquis.

Tom Newman - Celt Experience.
Toms enthusiasm for creating new beers is infectious, thankfully his beers aren't! The Silures and the Gold are two of the most improved beers of the year and simply stunning.
Outstanding beer : Golden (Keg)

John Keeling - Fullers.
The dry wit of John Keeling is only dwarfed by the sheer knowledge of brewing that the man has, he once wrote 'Are we too traditional for this wall' on the wall of The Rake, no John, you're a perfect fit for it. Brewing isn't just about the next big thing, it's also about sharing the knowledge and he's so very good at that!
Outstanding beer : Vintage '99

So there you have it, my top eight brewers for 2013. Not that it means much in the grand scheme of things. if you were to push me for a winner it would be Tara Mallinson as her beers have been a revelation to me this year! So many great brewers there though and i'm glad to either know them or get beer off them from time to time(or both!).

Happy Festive piss-ups everyone. Play nice.

* - John doesn't do social media(yet, there's always time John!) but you can follow the OakhamAles twitter for updates, they are getting better at it!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Beers of the Year, 2013

I'm not going to do Golden Pints but i am going to do a few posts with some highlights of the year.

Starting with beers of the year, 2013. Beers, plural because i'm doing 1st, 2nd & 3rd for eight categories.

PALE ALE
1) 5 Points, Pale Ale - was blown away by this on cask in August.
2) Oakham, Citra - consistently great beer.
3) Mallinsons, Alias - very recently i had this for the first time and it was sublime.
Very special mention to Burning Sky's Aurora & Plateau! This brewery IS the next big thing.

IPA
1) Otley, Motley Brew - I am biased, yes but i also drank more of this IPA than anything else this year and I love it!
2) Bear Republic, Racer 5. Stands up against any good American IPA.
3) Brewdog, Punk IPA - Amazing bottle of this at Heathrow whilst waiting for a plane to Cape Town.

D.A.B - No disrespect intended here, these aren't the most exciting beers around but are still very good beers.
1) Fullers, London Pride - had this at the Hock Cellar and it's hard to beat a fresh pint of this!
2) Butcombe, Bitter - excellent when fresh.
3) Oldershaws, Great Expectations - a bottle of this hit the spot a while back, what a lovely drop!

PORTER
1) Tap East, Smokestack - a collab with Greg Hall, again, yes I am slightly biased but this beer just got better and better!
2) Birra del Borgo, Keto Reporter - this is amazing on draught.
3) Titanic, Plum Porter - Just, wow.

STOUT
1) O'Hanlons, Port Stout - Had this for the first time in a while recently and it's still a great beer.
2) Titanic, Chocolate Vanilla Stout - Very moreish.
3) Hardknott, Dark Energy - On keg this is hard to beat.

FRUIT
1) Cantillon, Kriek. - love it, sour and cherry, what's not to like?
2) Flying Dog, Pineapple Saison - this really surprised me actually, Flying Dog are a great brewery so it shouldn't have but it did.
3) Van Honsbrouck, Kasteel Rouge - gets on the list because i haven't seen any Echte Kriek all year, where's it gone???

LAGER
1) Jever, Pils - in a bottle, very important, loses loads of aroma on draught!
2) Fullers, Frontier - Very easy to drink this one. 
3) Sly Fox, Helles - Canned lager, who'da thunk it. 

SOUR
1) Cantillon, Gueuze - goes down like water for me, possibly the beer of 2013 for me.
2) Timmermans, Lambicus - What a great beer and so easy to drink!
3) Horals, Mega Blend - I said this about another beer but it must be said again, just wow!
Special Mention - Kernel Sour & Beavertown Sour - finally the London breweries are starting to make great sours!

It's been a great year for brewing all over the globe and i'm still proud to be in this industry, no matter what sort of hard time it gets from people. Next up my brewers of the year.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The Aspirational Lambic Awards!

It's that time of year again, cue random people throwing up in random places, the office snog you people wish you never had and once a year amateur drinkers invading your personal space in the pokey craft boozer that they never knew existed!

The golden pint awards are in full flow now everybody is starting to realise just how insignificant they are because they're not on anyones awards list (hint fucking hint people!!)

FEAR NOT! I am here to save you all, if you want an award just ask for one, after all it's meaningless horseshit isn't it?

My awards are a little different this year as you can see from the title. i aim to please after all! Without further ado then, here are my Aspirational Lambic Awards….

BEST BULLSHIT IN 140 CHARACTERS : Why @LetTherebeTim of course! - you should all follow him if you're on Twitter.

WOULDN'T SERVE IT TO MY WORST ENEMY : Sam Adams Boston(ahem! Kent) Lager.

SKINNY JEANED, CRAFT LAGER SWILLING HIPSTER : @Natedawg - he bought skinny jeans, he's jumped his shark. Traitorous fucker.

MOST BORING BEER STYLE : If i see another fucking Saison in London…

TASTES LIKE VINEGAR : Sarsons obvs...

HAPPY MISTAKES : Any collab by Melissa ;) x

MORE LIES THAN ANY POLITICIAN YOU'VE EVER IGNORED! : Let There Be Beer. - I have never wanted to put my fist through my laptop so much in my life. I feel dirty having the link on my blog if i'm being honest.

YOU THINK IT WAS THE KEBAB THAT GAVE YOU THE SHITS BUT YOU'RE NOT ENTIRELY CONVINCED : The shots of Sambucca in that 'spoons the other night….

I'D RATHER HAVE A CARLING : Yeah right!

GO HOME YOU'RE DRUNK! : Me actually, ha! losers! Close runner up - Natedawg - You've seen his tweets, the guy's a piss artist!

IF IT LOOKS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT'S PROBABLY A LIE :  The definition of craft beer in the UK.

So there it is, like i said, if you feel left out and ignored by all means ask for an award and i'll happily ignore the fuck out of you.

Happy Jesus Birthday everyone!

Friday, 29 November 2013

The Good, The Bad & The Greene Eyed Monster

Just read Pete Browns blog which included his visit to the Beer House pub in Waterloo the other day and what strikes me looking through the comments is that people are still feeling the need to define craft beer and indeed are having trouble with bigger (regional or family) brewers calling themselves craft.

Now, I was bleating about 'craft beer' or 'speciality beer' when i started at The Rake, over 5 years ago and i will be the first person to put his had up and say 'fuck that shit' now. I am so utterly bored of people arguing about this that it makes me want to put my fist through my laptop, don't worry, i know it's not worth it.

I really don't care if you think Brewdog are more craft than Brains or Greene King, as Pete so eloquently says, it's all about the intent and what i think people seem to conveniently forget is that these bigger breweries have got to where they are by (mostly) hard work and dedication. there seems to be a bit of Greene eyed monster(pardon the obvious pun) coming from people who are opening new smaller breweries and slagging off the big boys because they're just bigger. Yes they might be making more traditional ales for the most part but what do you care that they want to try and make something a bit more 'out there'? …Oh wait! I get it! You're scared they'll steal your business….they could argue that you're stealing theirs.

I'll be the first to say that i cannot stand Greene King beers, there's something about the beer that gives me belly ache nowadays and i don't particularly like the taste but i used to drink gallons of Greene King IPA back in the day and i'm not going to sit here and say Greene Fucking King are worse than any other brewery. They have their place as do the micros. After all they are at least consistent, not what a lot of craft breweries can claim to be.

When you open a brewery you do it for various reasons but there will always be one over riding reason, money. If you've opened a brewery because you think it'll be a romantic occupation that will get you laid at your Hackney warehouse parties, Fuck Off! Now, off you go….Human nature and indeed, life in most countries in the world depends on currency, there is a cost of living and making money is essential so anyone 'not in it for the money' is lying to you.

Do you think any of the micro breweries around at the moment would moan if they suddenly started making heaps of cash, nah, (as someone who part owns a micro) me either.

The main point I want to put out there is that we as the 'Alerati' for want of any other description - that's people who have enough knowledge and experience to be able to talk about both the micros and the mainstream should be putting the micro's out there for the rest of Britain to see, therefore making them mainstream eventually…Wouldn't you love to walk into ANY pub or bar and see an array of great beer on the bar? I know i would, rather than having to wedge my fat arse into one of the handful of tiny so-called craft beer bars that are packing people in and not overly comfortable.

To craft or not to craft, that seems to be the droning, unending question. Sigh.



Craft brewer parody, a badly needed repost!

I have posted this before but i think it needs re-circulating.



Dear 'Let There Be Beer' you will never be this well informed!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Opened it!

Dark, bold, viscous, tonnes of chocolate, side of port and fantastic with a bit of blue cheese!

Scooper would have loved it! happy Birthday to the old bugger! x