Sunday, 21 February 2010

OK, Bored Now!

I feel like it's been a while since I posted last, of course it hasn't been, it was only yesterday, but the Welsh beer festival post was a re-hash of a previous post that had the final details on it. So what have I missed? well I missed Fridays big story, that is to say I knew it was happening but was too ill to attend or even want to attend. The launch of the world's strongest beer would usually have got me out of the house, especially when it was launched above my bar but this time it felt different, tainted somehow. I was bored by the whole thing by the time the day came around. I have a lot of time for the Brewdog guys, they're nice folks who make good beer but their marketing really leaves something to be desired sometimes.
Apparently Sink the Bismark(shite name boys, and that's all I'll say on THAT matter) was five months in the making but it just happened to be released a matter of weeks after the Tactical Nuclear Penguin had been 'bombed' off the top spot of the worlds strongest beer by the German brewer Schorschbrau with their 40% beer Schorschbock, so as much as people wanted a 'bock-off' there would be no childish one-upmanship this time, it just felt like it.

Earlier in the week I was lucky enough to have a couple of snifters of the Pliny the Younger from those Russian River beer gods. Now this is a beer that gets hype every year, it's a once a year release and this year it sold out at the brewery tap in a matter of hours. Is it worth the hype? you bet your fucking ass it is! It's like stuffing hops up your nose, into your mouth and hoping to hell that no one in the room lights a match. I'm more of a fan of Pliny the Elder but the younger is still a winner every time.

We, Rich Dinwoodie and I, also had a meeting on Monday with Jeff and Jason from Lovibonds Brewery in Henley, they make a range of spectacular beers with the Centennial hopped IPA currently being my favourite closely followed by the smokey, rich but absolutely drinkable Dark, there's also the Sour Grapes, a beer they brewed by mistake one time that just happened to turn out to be a fantastic beer.

All in all it's been a decent week at The Rake and an exciting one in the general beer world, so why the malaise? illness? maybe, over-hyped? probably, tiredness? definitely. It's all a bit much today so I'm off for lunch at a friends house with his brother and their significant others, and I'm on a day out of the beer world as of now.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Welsh Beer Festival 2010

It's nearly here, one week to go before the big kick-off to a week of Welsh Beers at The Rake.
Doors open at 12pm on Sunday don't try getting in any earlier because you'll get told 'mynd allan a lluosi'. Well not really but I just wanted to put something Welsh there!
There will be two Lovebeer Meet the Brewer sessions with Buster from Breaconshire Brewery and he'll be going through the following beers :

Golden Valley
Ramblers Ruin
Winter Beacon
Night Beacon
Ysbrid y Draig

The tastings will be at 1pm and 3.30pm and you can get tickets at The Rake or by calling 020 7378 9461 there are only 15 tickets per tasting so get in there quick, knowing Buster this'll be a lot of fun!

The beer list for the week is as follows :
Otley : O1, O-Garden, O-Rosie & Motley Brew
Purple Moose : Dark Side of the Moose, Snowdonia & Calon Lan
Breaconshire : Cribyn & Ramblers Ruin
Monty's : Mojo & Midnight
Warcop : Caspa Lager & Raiders
Tudor : Blorenge
Tomos Watkin : 1879(kegged fizzy for Cooking Lager) & Cwrw Ceridwen
Vale of Glamorgan : Grog Y Vog & Wheats Occuring
Great Orme : Celtica
Ryhmney : Dark
Bryncelyn : Buddy Marvellous
Conwy : Telford Porter
Plassey : Offa's Dyke Ale
Swansea : Deep Slade Dark

There will also be a hot food offer provided by Andy Wright owner of Loaf Supplies and Tom Harding of Mootown will also be doing a cheese selection for your enjoyment.

Remember if you can't get down on the Sunday then don't panic there will be Welsh beers on all week!
I personally am really excited about trying some of these beers and it should be a great week in general. Iechyd da!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Chaos Theory

I have a theory, it has several key factors for it to work too. Here are the factors, firstly, factor in a 15 hour shift. Secondly, factor in that 15 hour shift being a Friday. Next factor, the shift is at The Rake, one of the smallest, most cramped spaces in the country on a Friday night. Thirdly add the quality beggars you get around Borough Market who are always looking for that elusive pint that's been left lying around outside by someone needing a piss. Then sprinkle a bit of usual Friday night hilarity, oh yes, our customers are ALL hilarious, I'm constantly laughing at them.
Anyway for this theory to work you need all of those factors working in perfect harmony, this theory is Chaos Theory from Brewdog, I hate to sound like an advert but this beer was just what I needed after work today, it's going down a treat and next I may just have another big IPA.
The stats : IPA style, 7.1% abv. I won't tell you about the units because that's SO last month!
The taste : Hops, grass, there's also a deep peppery alcoholic warmth right at the back of the pallet that urges you think about the next sip.
Excuse me whilst I finish this remarkable beer and slip quietly into the weekend.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Blog Noir, Number 1

The cold afternoon was outside, blowing a blizzard that would have frozen over Hades itself. Inside our hero is going over the days events, playing them out in his mind, where did it all go so right?
He managed to pick up a bottle of the Hop Devil IPA, made by those cats at Victory, these guys know how to make beer, He'd had this stuff before but it goes down better than a thirsty toothless hooker and he had to have it again.
It's bitter, almost as bitter as the footballer in the newspaper headlines yesterday who'd wrecked his life on some binge or other.
It's a bit darker than the tango man but not nearly as irritatingly slap-able and our hero could neck this stuff all day long. He'd done it so enough times, it was just a matter of keeping himself under control so that he didn't turn into a jibbering wreck like so many others in so many different bars all over the world, drinking to drown their sorrows for lost love or the unrequited type, drinking to forget the mundanity of their lives as they wander from place to place doing menial tasks given to them by people who were just as bored with it all as they are.
Where would it all end? Not at the bottom of this bottle sister, there's plenty more booze where this came from from, you wouldn't find it in some shitty little dive either, there would be no-one slumped over the bar sleeping in their own vomit, not here, not yet, here there was our hero, here there was the beer.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Wizards of ID

Apparently, according to this :
ID Cards are available from today for people who live in the North West of England or for 16-24 year olds in our wonderfully sparkly clean capital shitty....sorry city.
Once again this is a case of a scheme being launched before it is ready. I personally as a licensee should before now, have had a load of 'bumf' come through The Rake's door about this scheme. Surely as someone who is going to ask to see ID on a regular basis I should have been informed before I watched the local news this morning?
Personal liberty issues and my personal lack of information aside, I have some other points to make.
Firstly, Why are the cards only available in these two areas? What the hell is the point of rolling out a card that the majority of the country doesn't recognise?
Secondly, what is the reasoning between people in the North West being categorised as most in need apart from 16-24 year olds in London? Are the Government in their infinite (ahem) wisdom saying that all the people in the North West of England look as young as 16-24 year olds in London? Or is their opinion is that the Mental age is about the same? Either way if I was from the North West of England I'd be a bit put out by the comparison.
A third point that I'd like to make is that you can apparently use them as a passport in the EEA(European Economic Area) and Switzerland, what's the point of that if you can't use it in other parts of the world? You may as well have a passport. Especially as, like passports, the ID cards cost £30, personally I'd rather have a passport that could take me anywhere.
The last point I'd like to make is a question - what about all those jealous people in other parts of the green and pleasant land, why can't they have one, surely they feel aggrieved that the Nanny State doesn't deem them worthy of identification?
So Big Brother, do tell, what's the point of your latest legislative inconsistency?

Friday, 5 February 2010

Talk to Frank

So, I've been particularly busy this week, not just at work but at home too. Too busy to write my reply to the foul words by the foul ex-new-labour, actually old bastard labourite Frank Dobson re : heavy drinkers causing the world to end.
OK so not about the world ending but we (heavy drinkers) You’ve just claimed (Dobson) – and we are all quoting your words exactly here – that "heavy drinkers cause a vast amount of disorder, get involved in sexual assaults, get involved in accidents and are a major nuisance with loutish behaviour."
I'm basically much to busy to follow up with the excellent research of Pete Brown on the subject because I have a pub to run and a wedding to plan but he(Pete) basically put down the words that were in my head much more eloquently than I ever could.
What I would like to say in my own, uneducated manner is this, Frank Dobson and not just you but any other politician thinking of using alcohol as an excuse for anti-social behaviour, as a way of winning votes this year(or any other year for that matter), you are barred from my bar, The Rake, until you offer a public apology for your outrageous and unqualified remarks about heavy drinkers.
I am also urging any pub manager/owner/operator to do the same, we cannot allow these unwarranted, slanderous attacks against the vast majority of the public who enjoy drinking responsibly in the company of their friends and family to go unanswered.
Politicians must be made aware that they cannot make these outlandish claims in an election year for votes only to not qualify them. Anybody with the experience of listening and watching politics in the last 30-40 years(hell, ever!) knows that once the election is over the politicians will forget about the alcohol as a 'problem' until it is time to win more votes at the next election.
Alcoholism is caused by many things, not by pubs, not by beer but usually by deeper problems of 'the self'. A person will not sexually assault someone because of alcohol, they would do it anyway, they will have a pre-disposition to go out and sexually assault someone. A person will not violently assault someone because of alcohol, if they want a fight they will go out and find it regardless of how much alcohol they have had to drink, again not the cause.
I will not be voting labour or conservative this year, they are as bad as each other, I have a general cynical distrust of politicians and that will not change until they actually start listening to the people that vote for them.
I will do as Pete has done by posting Frank Dobsons contact details and hoping that you all do the same. Talk to Frank people.
Good luck Dobson, lucky you're not my local MP.
Yours Sincerely

Glyn Roberts

Write to Frank at -
Frank Dobson MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

Ring Frank on -
020 7219 4452 or 020 7219 5840

Fax Frank on -
020 7219 6956

Email Frank on

Monday, 1 February 2010

The Drunk Diary Round Up

Well the drunk diary is over, I'll probably do it again next year to see if there have been any changes to my drinking patterns.
So, why did I start the drunk diary? Firstly I wanted to know how many units of alcohol I was having each week. Partly because I had to change doctors recently and when they said how many units of alcohol do you have a week sir? I didn't have the first clue.

Here's how many units I've had this month.

January Total Unit Intake : 272.55
Daily Average : 8.79

That was the reason for starting this. As I went on during January and kept the diary (which is 99.9% accurate, I may have missed a half at the twissup) I became quite aware that I was worrying about my intake, even for a bar manager I drink a lot as those of you who have read the diary will have noticed(God I hope there's no doctors reading it!).

OK so the weekly average is nearly three times the recommended intake and well above what is 'considered harmful'.
Bearing that in mind, I have only been drunk or tipsy 4 times this month, and looking at the average alcoholic unit intake I am apparently 'at risk' of many health problems - this is according to the government do-gooders who make it their point to meddle in as many parts of our lives as possible(robbing us for taxes not being enough n'all).
So what am I 'at risk' of? Diabetes(type 2 being the main threat), chronic pancreatitis, liver disease and cirrhosis(although this is mainly in middle aged people, I am getting toward THAT age and these sorts of problems are occurring in younger people too nowadays).
For a while now I have been aware that I am thirsty, a lot, and tired, a lot. Now I'm not sure if these symptoms are related to diabetes but I intend to find out.
What else did I learn from doing the drunk diary? Well, in The Rake it's insanely easy to get pissed without even trying, before you know it you've had two or three drinks which can take you close to your recommended weekly alcohol unit intake, now most people will only go out and drink maybe once or twice a week but when you run a pub with so much fantastic beer on sale I have found out that it was all too easy to go over your recommended intake.
Lets deal with this first though, one, I have a choice to say yes or no to another drink and it has been my choice to have another. Secondly, most of the times this month when I have stuck around after work to have a beer, I have been quite sober when I left the bar, as are a lot of people who go into bars everywhere.
What else? lemme see... I have learnt, certainly in the last week, that you can have a 'hop overload' yes I know, it's out there, I said it, I can't take it back but there it is, I had it yesterday. It's depressing, I love hops so when I don't feel like drinking a hoppy beer it makes me sad.
I need to take more days off, not work wise, I love my job and I frequently work from home but I do need days off the sauce. I know quite a few people who have taken a month off drinking for whatever reason, they might want to prove to themselves that they can do it, they might want to detox after Christmas. I think if I start by taking one day off the booze a week then it's a step in the right direction. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to give up drinking, I enjoy it too much, I'll probably cut down a bit now I know how much I drink. I have also felt recently that my life has revolved around booze far too much, there IS more to life than beer and drinking. For example in the last month, I have celebrated the birthdays of three people I know, heard about the birth of a baby of a friend, paid the rent, watched the news, rediscovered the sitcom M*A*S*H, thought about what I'm going to get my niece for her 16th birthday and continued with wedding preparations for May. It's not all beer, sometimes though it's good to have a beery time, on the 23rd January I attended the '#twissup' a meet up of beer bloggers and tweeters from all over the country. We went to Sheffield, have lots of beer to drink, visited three brewery's in one day, I made some new friends and we all had a very social, very nice time. Yes at the time I had way more than the recommended daily intake but it was a one-off. I had a mild hangover on the way home, one of only two this month and that really only proves nothing other than I know how to stave off a headache but still beer, pubs and bars are not the enemy of the state even if some neo-prohibitionist halfwits think they are. Pubs and beer are social things, society's problems around alcohol are not actively coming straight from the pub and I would challenge anyone to prove me wrong with actual facts and figures.
As someone who drinks nearly three times what he should a week I am qualified to tell you that beer and pubs do not make people go out and fight, if people want to fight they'll do it whether or not they've had a beer.
Pubs and bars do not cause alcoholism(although they should sometimes look at who they're serving, how much and at what price).
Beer and pubs do not cause under age drinking, if kids want to go out and get hammered they will find a way, most of the time (certainly in London) it's too expensive for them to go to the pub of an evening and get shit-faced, plus their little taste buds aren't developed enough to enjoy the beer(bless em!). Usually they will start drinking at home under the total indifference of their parents who are usually setting the example. But even the best parents will know that if a teenager wants to get pissed they'll find a way (not that I'm a parent).
I'm not deluded enough to think that this blog will make any sort of dent on the half-wit neo-pros out there but I wanted to write it none-the-less.
The really worrying thing about this is that I now feel like I want a pint of something cold and hoppy, am I bad?
I hope that you didn't get too bored of the Drunk Diary, I'd quite like your opinions if you feel like giving them.
Here's to Beer! Here's to Pubs! Here's to a great 2010!