Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Aspirational Lambic Awards 2014

I'm here to amuse myself so I'm doing these again this year. By all means be boring and do a Golden Pints award(sounds like you're enjoying your piss too much though), these are the real awards people have been waiting for; the Raspberries to your Oscars, the AVN's to your Golden Globes, the Johnstons Paint Trophy to your FA Cup...

This year was particularly difficult as i was struck by the challenge of looking at recreating last years categories or creating completely new ones whilst not actually giving a shit about any of them! Eventually I decided that a mix of old and new would probably be more interesting for me er...you, Fearless Reader, so without any further ado, here are The Aspirational Lambic Awards, 2014!!

The Shia LeBeouf Award for Originality goes to : Anyone that's grown a fucking beard this year! and yes, I am jealous that my naturally Peter Pan looks don't allow this!

Best Bullshit in 140 Characters : The double act of @totalcurtis & @ChrisHallBeer has been particularly relentless this year.

Most Boring Beer Style : Craft Lager of course! Especially the Indian Pale Kind!

How Many Craft Breweries Do We Have To Buy Before People Realise We're Craft? : AB Inbev or whatever it's called now.

Best Deserter of Normal Job For Job in The Beer Industry : NateDawg OF COURSE! Congrats dude, you'll have no life in no time!

There Must Be A Way To Use This Brewery As a Front For Illegal Activities... : You might know already, I couldn't possibly comment.

I'd Rather Have a Carling : Than anything from Greed Kerching.

The Dinosaur Award Because This Is All A Bit Tongue-In-Cheek : In A Pub Magazine and those toilets.

You Might As Well Read His Blog, Everyone Else Keeps Giving Him Awards So I Will Too! : Martyn Cornell.

The UKIP Award For Not Really Being Beer Nazis : Ratebeer.

So there they are, as i said last year, if you feel left out and really want an award, i'm unemployed now so cold, hard cash will work.

Peace and goodwill towards those who are less intelligent than you. i.e me.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Calling Time on Tipping?

So i read this article by someone i'd never heard of, this morning and whilst he says is all for the creeping Amercianism into British culture, he doesn't seem to like Americans and apparently he's a bit of a tight git when it comes to tipping bar staff.

Alan Tyers even claims to have worked in a boozer although the line 'Come on. Many of us have worked in a boozer at some point' is more of an implication rather than a statement and he goes on to say that it's not very hard work. We'll pick up that point later though.

Lets have a look at paragraph one, which ends with this sentence 'but we all have to draw the line somewhere and one thing that Americans can absolutely, definitely shove up their 'ass' is the growing menace of tipping in pubs'. Since when is it a menace to tip staff? It's a nice thing to do if you think you've had good service! Menace? Really? Over-react much, Tyers?

Tyers continues that he's discussed this phenomenon with men, British men, no less and that they didn't seem to have the same problem with tipping the bar staff that he does, they were more worried about the amount to tip. That's probably because they are nicer human beings than you, Mr Tyers!

My advice if you feel like tipping your bar tender is give what you feel is right, in the states it's a dollar a drink and whilst it can add up for the person being served the tips they get make up a large portion of their wages. We have a minimum wage in the UK so a safe bet would be ten percent of the bill, it's something i work to when i'm tipping anywhere but generally any tip (within reason) will be accepted as it shows a recognition of work being done and something that my bar teams used to do is collect towards a team night out so the tips, no mater how big or small would go into the pot.

Then he starts banging on about the wages of bar staff, something which as a former Bar tender, Supervisor, Manager and Operations Manager in the last 22 years, i can say with some authority is still a contentious issue for many employers and employees in pubs and bars up and down the UK. Let's face the fact that most bar staff in the UK get the minimum wage. This is partially down to how the job is viewed by many people in the UK. It's seen as a very transient job rather than a career. People in the UK just don't have the respect for the job that people in the states do. The work is just as hard, the hours are just as long and at time, the customers can be just as vile. How can someone who claims to have worked behind a bar be against tipping?

Let's have a look at the national minimum wage in the UK. Currently, for people over 21 it is £6.50 an hour, just £6.50! If you're younger than that the rate goes down to as low as £2.73 for apprentices! I'm all for a minimum wage, it can be a vital tool for smaller companies, helping them balance their income and expenditure more easily and is reasonably fair although personally i think the rate should be slightly higher so tipping your bar staff can be very helpful to those staff. i'm not for one minute advocating tipping shit service but £6.50 and hour isn't close to what some of these hard working people should be earning for the job they do. We lose hundreds, probably thousands of potentially great staff because in the UK service industry because the wages are terrible, why shouldn't we try to hold on to a few of them by tipping them a bit extra?

Moving on to the last paragraph of Alan Tyers nonsense, i might well say, to each their own in regards to tipping and i'd be right, if people want to tip, let them. If they don't feel they are able then they should not feel obliged to do so. obviously i don't want to hand over a tip to a sullen bar tender, no matter what country they are from, you gave away your UKIP tendencies there, Mr Tyers but lets also make the point they've probably been serving a massive arse like you all night.

Note : It has been pointed out in the comments below Alan Tyers article that he may just be spouting someone else's horse shit philosophy simply for reaction and blog hits. Being the old cynic i am, i find this eminently believable. So if this is the case lets not be too harsh on Mr Tyres, or maybe you should, i will leave that entirely up to you. To each their own.


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

CBC Beer & Food Matching at Beerhouse

Afternoon all.

last night Mrs Rabidbarfly and I had the opportunity to go to a beer and food matching at one of our favourite Cape Town hang-outs, The Beerhouse on Long.



The Beerhouse crew were hosting Master brewer Wolfgang Koedel and some of his team from the CBC, that's Cape Brewing Co, with a seven(yes seven) course beer and food matching evening and with all due respect to anyone that's done one that i've been involved in or sampled, Chef Roy MacAskills pairings were, hands down, the best yet!

Course one was CBC Lager paired with a Salmon Rissotto. The beer is a fresh, light and clean lager which is very well balanced and the mildly sweet caramel notes from the malt really worked well with the sweetness of the risotto. I'm not the biggest fan of risotto usually but i really liked this a lot. Spot on and a great start!

Course Two was CBC Pilsner paired with a curried sweet potato and ginger soup with a parmesan crisp! Now this pilsner is fast becoming my go to beer over here, it's hop character and mild bitterness is so easy to drink and it's perfect for hot days of which you get a lot over here! The soup....THE SOUP! Wow, this was absolutely stunning! The sweet potato and ginger work so well together in a soup and the pilsner really cut through that sweetness and again between them Wolfgang and Roy had come up with another winning combo! Perfect!
Sweet potato & ginger soup w/parmesan crisp
Course Three was Krystal Weiss paired with Foie Gras Creme Brûlée with salted tomato and tarragon shortbread. This was only the second time i'd ever had Fois Gras and it was extremely good having been 'creme brulleed' by Roy and his team. The Krystal Weiss pairing was ok, the richness of the Foie Gras was offset nicely by the clean taste of the Krystal Weiss. The shortbread was as you'd expect, quite sweet and i'm not convinced it was required but it looked fantastic! Additionally it came with a cheeky shot of Grappa!

Foie Gras Creme Brûlée w/ salted tomato & tarragon shortbread
Course Four om nom nom nom, Amber weiss paired with Banoffi pie and an Amber Weiss and Apple sorbet! wow wow wow wow!! This was one sexy pairing and a dessert halfway through a meal? AWESOME! I could taste the bitterness of the beer in the sorbet and these two small things on one plate worked really well. The beer ain't too shabby either...

Course Five was CBC's Oktoberfest beer paired with weisswurst, bretzel and sweet mustard. I know i know, you purists will say this isn't a real Oktoberfest beer but with 16 years as Paulaners Brewmaster I think Wolfgang can call this beer whatever he likes! It's a very good Oktoberfest beer too as you would expect and paired with the bretzel and the weisswurst sausage it was something very special indeed. One of the nicer Oktoberfest beers i've tried in a long time and i'm not a massive fan of the style.

Course Six. Now when i looked at the sixth course i may have done a little excitement wee! CBC's IPA - Mandarina Bavaria, a beer i've had a few times now and is as good as any IPA around, paired with baby back ribs!! IPA and Pig! O.M.G. Seriously chaps, my cap is well and truly doffed and i may want to have your children! Sweet juicy ribs with a (excuse me, Chris Hall) sweet juicy banger! For. The. Win!
Baby back ribs & Mandarina Bavaria IPA
Course Seven was another exciting pairing for me, not only because it was another dessert but because i hadn't tried the beer until yesterday. It was the Imperial IPA paired with Lime posset and salted caramel!  The beer wasn't nearly as bitter as i had expected, even at 85 IBU's it didn't come across as too bitter for me! Paired with the sweet and fresh lime posset and salted caramel it was the perfect ending to a spectacular event.

What a great evening! Luckily we were sitting at the same table as Wolfgang for the event and he was a genuinely nice guy who clearly has a lot of passion for what he does. I hope that Cape Brewing co continues for a long time to come and i hope that one day they'll start exporting to the UK because these beers are very good indeed.
Special thanks go to Murray and his team at Beerhouse for accommodating us at the last minute, it's a very special bar in a city who's craft beer scene is just on the point of exploding, exciting times!
As i said at the top of the blog it's one of our favourite hang-outs and i cannot wait for the next MTB event!

As an addition here are some Cape Town based Twitter accounts you should follow :

@CapeBrewingCo
@BEERHOUSE
@RoyMacAskill
@Murray_Slater
@MarkWMohr

if you're ever in town these folks can hook you up with some amazing beers!


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Blaming John...

Well, if John is the name of your head of marketing, JW Lees, I would blame him, i'd flog the fucker publicly if i were you. Let's all just take a moment to actually read this and take it in.....


Ooh how we laughed......

Not.

According to JW Lees it's just a bit of fun. Actually, it's utter rubbish, JW Lees, sack your marketing team, get with the 21st century and act like adults for a change instead of a bunch of naughty schoolboys.

Whilst i'm here, what the fuck is with that glass!!??

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Time to Grow Up?

In the last week or so I have read a couple of links posted by people that are young, intelligent and know quite a bit about beer.

The first was a blog post by Rowan Molyneux about the now infamously recalled CAMRA young members recruitment leaflet and how sexism is still going strong amongst the ranks of CAMRA members.
Had CAMRA actually paid any sort of attention to the young people it had asked about how to portray potential members in the leaflet would have been very different and almost certainly not have to be recalled over a very public shaming of the organisation.
The young CAMRA members told the HQ that the leaflet was not fit for purpose but HQ went and ran with it anyway. Putting it as kindly as i can at this point....Muppets.

Secondly was a link thrown onto twitter by Matt Curtis. The link was about a local CAMRA branch defending a pub that was putting on racist entertainment and Matt made the point to me on twitter that CAMRA HQ probably had no knowledge of the event and wouldn't have known about the branch defending the 'entertainment'. Fair enough but as a Branch Secretary and Festival Publicity Officer he's probably helped book the entertainment, of course he's going to defend it!
The language used to defend it is interesting too, it's quite belligerent and unapologetic, not an image that the membership(in my eyes) portrays generally.

Now as you may know, i am not a CAMRA member and i never will be, it has no real appeal to me and i cannot see that changing so you may see this as a bit CAMRA-bashy but i'm really trying not to be.

That said, isn't it time that these sorts of occurrences became an odd slip-up rather than an almost weekly event?

Considering the average age of the membership i find it ironic that the organisation needs to grow up, not just a bit either, quite significantly in my view. If it doesn't the organisation will be marginalised in the very beer industry it worked so very hard to help save.  Let's face it, without CAMRA the beer scene in the UK would not be anywhere near as interesting as it is at the moment!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Castle Milk Stout

So Thursday is apparently one of the two days a week that the cleaners come into the apartment so i had to make myself scarce for a couple of hours this morning and off i went to the shops.

I had to buy some milk for Lucille anyway so it all worked out well. She'd also pointed out a bottle shop to me and said that they sold beer as well as wine so in I ambled.

The fridges for the beer were decidedly disappointing but something caught my eye as i looked at the rows of six packs of bottled of Fullers ESB and London Pride the cans of the much maligned Castle Lager....Castle Milk Stout...?

What is this canned creature that dares rear it's ugly head in the fridges of a posh little bottle shop? I mean look at the picture below, that is one UGLY can! It's like it hit every side of the canning line on the way out! ;-) ok that didn't work but it's a horrible looking thing.

I was hooked though, I couldn't look away, I really wanted to try it but I didn't want to waste any of the money in my pocket. What to do? What to do? Intrigue got the better of me as I reasoned with myself that as someone who professes to love beer and keep an open mind I should buy it. So I did.

I don't even really like Milk Stouts I said to myself as I meandered home. Its a style that I generally find too sweet.


It says on the tin: Rich, Dark, Smooth. Rich yes, dark certainly, smooth it aint. It's just too fizzy to be smooth. It's not unpleasant though and i'm really, really glad about that because I like a good stout from time to time and I thought that somewhere so hot and sunny(most of the year) might struggle to produce a decent one. I was doubly glad because I'd also found a Milk Stout that I liked that wasn't made by Left Hand Brewing Co!
The head collapsed in the glass a little too quickly and as I said it was a bit too fizzy but i'll be drinking this again without a doubt!

Tasting notes : Rich, lots of burnt malt in there, little too fizzy with a sweet, cloying after taste that lingers just long enough to not be unpleasant. Pretty nice actually.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Two Days In, Two Excellent IPA's Later

As I sit here looking at the table cloth of cloud cascading off the mountain overlooking this wonderful city I'm struck by one thing.

Panic.

Not only have I quit my job and told everyone I'm going to write a book, I have no fucking clue how to accomplish this.

But I'm here and I have time on my side; I'm going to have to start the research again because the last lot was shockingly amateur but then, avid reader, you'll know just how shite my writing is so why should my research be any better?

My plan is to write something everyday and it may come across a bit diarised but I need to get the old grey cells working. You may with to tune out some(or most) of it will be garbage!

At least I've found my writing spot. Somewhere in the apartment that I'm comfortable.

I've had two IPAs from two different breweries and both were excellent. The first one was Skeleton Coast IPA from Jack Black's brewery which at 6.6% abv and in a 440ml bottle it packs a wallop(no nobody hit me over head with one!). They recommend that you pair it with lamb or spicy veg curry so I might try the 2nd bottle with dinner in that case as we're having ostrich chilli!

The second I had was so good I had a second pretty quickly after the first. it was from the Devils Peak brewery and it's called The Kings Blockhouse IPA. What sprang to mind whilst drinking this was 'Wow this could fuck you up so very perfectly!' It's so very drinkable that you don't realise you're drinking a 6% beer which, incidentally is better than Goose Island IPA(another favourite of mine).

Anyway my better half is on her way home so i'll leave you for now.

Later.