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 :


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......


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.


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.


Thursday, 25 September 2014


Now, as you're aware i'm not one to have a rant.....ok that's a lie, here's a rant.

I got a bit angry this morning when a brewer who is trying to break into the London market told me that he had a 'gentleman's agreement' with another wholesaler. Previously i had contacted him about putting the brewery on our wholesale list and he'd been quite open to it. Now this.

Personally, i never ask for exclusivity on a brewery; why? because i think it's unfair to the brewer to restrict their trade in a city the size of London. Also we don't supply every bar, pub, hotel or offie in London as we're not the biggest of companies and it would be unrealistic to try. I find that wholesalers and indeed bars who do want exclusivity are a bit small minded and not really looking after the customers best interests. Breweries that do so are cutting their nose off to spite their face by showing such a lack of foresight.

Also, don't tell me one thing, one week and something else literally two weeks later! It's bollocks, it's stupid and it's bad for your reputation!

Exclusivity is one of the reasons we don't stock one of Britain's best breweries very often and one we get asked for a lot at wholesale and retail and no i won't name them because despite their decision to go with one wholesaler they are still nice people.

Thankfully instances like this are few and far between but it does make me glad i'm getting out of the business, at least for a little while.

Rant over.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Good Guys

This week amongst getting filthy in the warehouse and doing my usual ordering nonsense i've been putting together a list of suppliers for whoever takes over the purchasing role for Utobeer when i leave in 5 weeks time.

I have also been putting together a list of suppliers that i would never use and should never, ever be contacted.

I'm glad to say that the list that IS used is almost 20 times longer than those who we will never use and that really brings it home that beer and the brewing industry is generally one of the friendliest businesses to work in.

It does restore a bit of my faith in humanity, at least in some small part of my cynical, blackened soul.