Saturday, 31 December 2011

Can't Sleep....

99 bottles of beer on a wall, 99 bottles of beer! One falls down me neck 98 bottles of beer on the wall!
98 bottles of beer on a wall, 98 bottles of beer! One falls down me neck 97 bottles of beer on the wall!
97 bottles of beer on a wall, 97 bottles of beer! One falls down me neck 96 bottles of beer on the wall!
96 bottles of beer on a wall, 96 bottles of beer! One falls down me neck 95 bottles of beer on the wall!....

Well, you get the point......


Stop counting them....saddos!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Rabid's 2011 Quiz - The Winners

Morning folks!

Well with the deluge of answers that I had to choose from (2) the winners of the nice beer are Simon Johnson and Ian McCann.

Well done chaps. See folks, winners drink beer, losers don't.

Twitter DM or email me your addresses chaps and I'll forward on the beer!

Cheers!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Rabid's 2011 Quiz!

In a shameless effort to get more hits on the site, here's a 10 question quiz all based on posts I have published this calendar year. Now, you can do one of three things....
Firstly, trawl through all the posts and find the correct answers. Secondly you could just make up any old bollocks or thirdly, not take part and be a Christmas grinch!

The winners will win prizes, I do after all, have a lot of beer at home! There are two prizes - First prize goes to correct answers(picked at random), and the runner up prize goes to the most creative load of old tosh(also picked at random) that you can be bothered to make up!
Answer in the comments box! All judgements are final as it's my blog, so nuurrr.

Question One.
What was the highest number in units of alcohol I consumed in January?
Question Two.
Who is the British Guild of Beer Writers, Writer of the Year?
Question Three.
On what date was International IPA day?
Question Four.
The session #52 was based on beery collectibles, what is beery stuff do I collect?
Question Five.
Which celebrity's name did I suggest Chunk use to help him get more hits on his blog?
Question Six.
How many hours were there until opening Tap East when I posted my 'still to do list' in September?
Question Seven.
What is the name of the brewery in Mexico that brewed a beer specifically aimed at the Gay community?
Question Eight.
What was my April fools joke?
Question Nine.
What were the 'Tramp Juice Trio?
Question Ten.
In my IPA a Day series, which beer was number nine?

Good luck if you choose to take part in this bit of silliness, and remember it is just a bit of silliness.....
Winner will be announced before the new year!

Have a fantastic Christmas folks!

Monday, 19 December 2011

I Can do Cheap Marketing Too.

Oops they did it again. Just as I was starting to warm up to them again, James goes and pulls another stunt. Lets not for a minute be naive enough to think he thought it was a harmless bit of fun, he knows exactly what he's doing, after all, he's built his business doing these sorts of things.

Good luck with the latest one James. Here's my response.

Tap Easts Marketing Budget went further than expected.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

I Can See the Future

Can people really learn from their mistakes?

Back in the eighties and nineties there was the trendy wine bar phenomenon which saw a lot of old banks and pubs closed down and refurbed into aforementioned Trendy Wine Bars.

Tap East Craft Beer bar and Brewery
Now in the early part of this century, we have had an explosion of craft beer bars all over the UK, including the two I currently oversee.

A lot of those wine bars are now closed or became part of chains run by big drinks companies.

Are we in danger of becoming the next fad for the newly rich? After all craft beers, some of which are quite strong do tend to be sold at a premium because of the Govt's ridiculous duty rates on beers over 7.5% abv. Let's not forget all the tax we have to pay getting the beer into the country and the VAT rises that we're currently seeing.

I'd like to think that we can learn from our mistakes and that the current trend for Craft Beer isn't just a fad but who knows? Will people become bored with craft beer? Will it, in the words of Tap East brewer, Eddie Baines, become as 'passe as a three cornered hat?'

Will the Geek inherit the Earth?

Discuss.....

Young and Old

Last Saturday night some friends of mine were playing a gig in a pub that we all used to drink in as teenagers. It brought back a lot of memories for me, some great and some pretty horrific imagery for me! As far as I remember I was never really one for the ladies, I was just an ordinary kid with ordinary problems (spots, bad dress sense, average all round) but I remember copping off with what I remember to be some of the most gorgeous girls that hung out in our group - how the fuck I managed this, I'll never know - indeed if I did know I'd probably be a Hugh Hefner style gazillionaire by now.
Every Friday night we would gather at The Rose and Crown in Tooting to go and get hammered, dance to the cheesy DJ that was on and hopefully pull a bird that you're mates would approve of. Young, dumb, full of well...you know.
Last night the DJ's crowd was all growed up and the DJ and the band were part of the crowd from 18/19 years ago.
In these perilous times customers come and go, as to breweries and pubs so it's nice to see my old local is still there, still open and still run by the same person!
Last time I saw Bernie was about the last time I was in his pub, so, 18/19 years ago. The softly spoken Irishman is a natural landlord, a true character in the pub trade. Someone the punters respect, someone the staff can count on and someone who can run a business!

But looking back at my 'yute' inspired me to compare two very different but very good breweries and their stouts.

Kernel Export Stout, 7.1% abv.
Aroma - roasted coffee and chocolate, there's also some hop aromas there too, well it is a beer by Evin after all! Over all it's a beautifully well rounded beer that I think the unusual amount of hops for a stout really make the beer taste fresher and at 7.1% abv is far too easy to drink!

Worthingtons P2 Imperial Stout, 8% abv.
Lovely looking stout, blacker than a black thing with a nice creamy laced head on the top! Thinner and less bitter than I expected. Have to say I'm a little* disappointed at the lack of body and viscocity of the beer, after all I've heard amazing things about this beer. I guess I was believing the hype!

I may well compare their IPA's next... White Shield vs Kernel IPA anyone?


*only a little though.

Images taken from Leighs blog because they were the nicest I could find, hope he doesn't mind too much!

Citizen Blogger? I think not!

Morning all.

I've been reading about the European Beer Bloggers Conference next year in Leeds. Whilst I may well go this time I keep seeing a phrase that annoys me.

Citizen Blogger.

For some reason this really irks me. I couldn't really tell you why but it does and I'm going to try!

Movember started in 1984
Indeed for me the phrase 'Citizen Blogger' conjures images of 1984*, a booming, echo-y, God-like voice calling you 'citizen' instead of your name.

Now, I know I'm sounding a bit curmudgeonly and that but frankly this moan isn't much better than the 'calling craft beer, craft beer' argument but why not just say 'bloggers', where did the citizen come from? Is blogger not an amateur enough title for us?

Now before you all jump down my through for being thick, I realise that 'citizen blogger' is meant to tell us apart from the 'professionals' amongst us but why not brand the professionals instead. How about 'professional computer moaner'? 'paid moaner'? or 'Pete Brown Wannabe'?**

Don't brand me! I'm not one of the herd!

*I want to re-read this now
**before you say it, yes I'm well aware Pete does not get paid for his blog, I am merely using him as an example of a successful writer.




mooooooooo!!!!!!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Golden Pint Awards


I wasn't going to do this but Ghostie made me(by making me a runner up in the blog category) - What I do of course mean is that Ghostie inspired me to stop feeling sorry for myself - cheers buddy.


Best UK draught :
Winner : Thornbridge - Chiron. - pretty much spot on for me.
Runner Up : Brodies - Black IPA(keg) - no matter what Queally says, I like this version.
Best UK bottled or canned:
Winner : Kernel - Imperial Brown Stout
Runner up : Brewdog - Chaos Theory - Oi Brewdog! - make more!
Best overseas draught:
Winner : Maui - Imperial Coconut Porter
Runner Up : Russian River - Pliny the Elder
Best Overseas Bottled or canned:
Winner : Firehouse - Hops on Rye
Runner Up : Epic - Hop Zombie
Best Overall Beer 
Winner : Firehouse - Hops on Rye. - Steven Donohue is a legend, thanks for this beer, it's truly amazing.
Best pumpclip or Label :
Winner : Magic Rock Cannonball - The artwork is superb.
Runner Up : Kernel (anything) - The lack of artwork is superb.
Best UK Brewery:
Winner : Otley (Pontypridd) - Home from home.
Runner Up: Summer Wine Brewery (West Yorkshire) - For Northerners they really do making fucking great beer! ;)
Best Overseas Brewery :
Winner : Russian River - Sourz!
Runner Up : 21st Amendment. - Love these guys, and their beer!
Pub/bar or the Year
Winner : Southampton Arms - London
Runner Up : Falling Rock - Denver
Beer Festival of the Year
Winner : GABF
Runner Up : GBBF
Supermarket of the Year
Winner : Lidl - yeah, like I buy beer from supermarkets.
Runner Up : Aldi - Ditto above.
Independent Retailer of the Year
Winner : Beer Ritz - I'll never vote for a company I work for but really glad Zak and the team brought this business back from the brink!
Runner Up : Utobeer - My local, what can I say but 700 + beers can be pretty hard to chose from.
Online Retailer of the Year
Winner : BeerMerchants
Runner Up : Ales by Mail
Best Beer Book or Magazine
Winner : Pete Brown - Man Walks Into a Pub - laughing out load on holiday in Spain can be quite embarrassing.
Runner Up : ATJ - 1001 Beers to try before you Die - Awesome reference book.
Best Blog or Website - I have picked joint winners because these two cannot be separated and they rock equally.
Joint Winner : Ghost Drinker - he might be a northerner but he's cool and his writing is second to none.
Joint Winner : The Beer Monkey - Might be a spurs fan but he knows about beer.
Best Beer Twitterer 
Winner : @SWBrewery - James, Andy, just keep doing what you're doing, never stop!
Runner Up : @Simonhjohnson - Merkin tastic my friend Simon is.
Best Online Brewery Presence
Winner : Summer Wine Brewery - Never short of an opinion or two, or a Kevin or 6.
Runner Up : Lovibonds - close run thing between these guys and Epic(NZ)
Best Food and Beer Pairing of the Year
Winner : My spicy chicken and any hoppy as fuck beer pairing.
Runner Up : Shit loads of beer and a kebab.
In 2012 I would Like to
Be taken seriously for a change. This does of course mean getting a complete personality transplant but who knows what medical marvels will happen in 2012.
Open Category
Best beer experience - Watching the guys behind the bar at Falling Rock strut their stuff during GABF. Legends all.

So there it is, we still have 21 days to go and my golden pints are in, cheers for the beers, opinions and general friendship guys, you have all made my year better!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Guild Dinner 2011

I had quite a nice evening in the end last last. I was persuaded to attend the British Guild of Beer Writers annual dinner by a mate and beery fun was had all round.
There was the good, the better and the extraordinary of the beer world all stuck in one rather large room.

With me.

Ha!

Whilst I was 'interested' in most of the awards, I was most interested in the first one, partly because I think I was the first to suggest the recipient of the Brewer of the Year Award. Evin O'Riordan. As it happened Guild Chairman, Tim Hampson very graciously informed me that he used the couple of paragraphs I sent in the email recommending Evin, I'm proud as punch for Evin, I have helped brew at The Kernel Brewery twice now and it's a great day full of collaboration and hard work. Here is an article about the evening, see paragraphs 8 and 9(on brewer of the year) for my contribution, every word meant then and still mean as much today, I'm very grateful to Tim for using my words actually, it gives me a minuscule sense of achievement even though I didn't put anything forward for any of the categories.

Well done Evin, Ben, Marverine, Mark, Des, Glynn, ATJ, Gavin, Martyn, Pete, Chunk and Will (in no particular order in case you all start squabbling like the divas you are!).

Oh and the food weren't half bad either!.

Best beer of the evening - first one, something by Sharps, I forget what, some new IPA Stuart has concocted. Worst - sorry Thwaites - Lancaster Bomber, average in every way.

Good time had, now hopefully all these posh writers will start writing about Tap East! ;) You know you want to peeps.

Maybe next year i'll actually write something half decent and enter it.


Friday, 25 November 2011

Because Gingers Need Love Too

This is turning into a bit of a birthday blog, last week it was 'less-young' Dredgie and this week it's the one who scoops reluctantly.
Yes you all know him, the Monty Python of Beer Blogging, donner of the ginger merkin and drinker of weird and wonderful beers!
Today is Simon Johnson's Birthday! Happy Birthday dear sir!
Now I'm fairly certain he's going to be drinking special brew, sorry some special brews, all day long but I thought that him being a ginge n'all, I'd recommend some decent ginger beers for him to try so here it is.

Beaumonts - Alcoholic Ginger Beer. 4% lovely refreshing hangover cure, just ask Moggy.

Marble Ginger, 4.5% - one word. Nom.

Williams Bros Ginger Beer, 3.8% apparently it's lovely, never had any myself.

Crabbies - If you must. Personally I think it's horrible.

Idris - Add a shot of Vodka.

I'm sure there are others but I'm supposed to be working and I don't really have the time to look them up. 

What I will say is follow this man on twitter @simonhjohnson read his blog, it's pure gold(with a ginger tinge) and if you're really lucky, have a beer with him today, a better drinking buddy you could not have!
Happy Birthday Simon!


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Happy Birthday Not-so-Young Dredge!


So, it's Young Dredge's birthday, what's he doing, celebrating with beer of course! I don't know exactly what he's drinking this evening but I'm pretty sure it's going to be brown and dull....
After all, he's 27 now, not-so-young anymore methinks, time to start wearing sandals and investing in that beer belly, time to stop shaving and grow a 'Larkin-like' beard.

It's ok though Mark, you can wear socks with your sandals during the winter like Tandleman or that bloke that used to be Cooking Lager. 
If you do manage to make it over to Tap East this week I've invested in a note book for your ticking so you can join your mates stumbling from one skanky boozer to another dribbling over barmaids and sexy pumpclips. 

Just do the rest of us and most of all the lovely Lauren a favour, remember to bathe as you get older, I know, I know, it leaves less time for ticking but remember, no one likes the buzz of beer flies around a person!

Hoppy Beerday my friend. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Overrated? Pah!

I'm drinking a bottle of Bear Republic Racer 5.


It's Lush.



You might not like it. 



I might tell you to get a tastebud readjustment.



It's Lush.


That is all.

Beer School or Charm School

Just had a short but thought provoking text chat with Tony Lennon, GM of craft beer bar, The Euston Tap regarding a visit from a sales rep(tile)* he's just had.
Tony's point was that this lady had a very good brand to work with and indeed very good beers that she was trying to sell but she knew fuck all about beer! Apparently she was trying to use her female charms and i'll quote Tony's text here so there's no confusion, 'she literally batted her eyelids at me. Like I'm some sort of sex starved Wetherspoons manager. Please....'

Please indeed. We all know he's gagging for it!** ;)

pic found at tiffanyandlupus.com - SuperTony
But getting back to my topic and Tony's point which is a very good one, a bit of beer knowledge goes a long way. If a brewery hires a person to cold call into pubs with their beers, surely they should take the time to teach the person about about the beer they are selling?

I have had a similar experience with a brewery which will remain unnamed. When the rep first walked through the door at The Rake(it was a couple of years ago) she was young, giggly, dappy and frankly I found her extremely irritating.

If a sales reptile has to use their charm as a sales technique then they have already lost the battle with me, especially if their product does not stand up to scrutiny, as it didn't in my experience.

In summary then...
Reptiles! Know your product! Because you do not know me! I don't care if the reptile is female or male, know your bloody product! I'm too busy for that sort of shit, stop wasting my time!
Breweries! Train your reptiles! Because I won't order from you if your reptiles do waste my time!

Flirt with Tony by all means because he's gagging for it but he's a very knowledgeable chap so don't treat him like a piece of meat, he'll just feel used and dirty, tell him about your beer, your brewery and the birds and the bees!

Going to go and wash my brain now.


*reptile is what I call them, because I'm mean.
**Just too easy.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Session #57 - Guilty Secrets.

So I have a couple of minutes spare, although I don't know where from to be honest! Thought I'd try and get back in the swing of this blogging malarky! It's amazing how much time work takes up nowadays!
This months session is brought to us by Steve Lamond from Beers I've Known and the subject matter is once again a bit of fun - guilty pleasures or guilty secrets, call them what you may, we all have them and they do rear their ugly, unwanted head from time to time.

A couple of years ago I probably would have cited Guinness as my guilty secret but then I started doing the drunk diary in January and it quickly became apparent that I drank a lot of Guinness for want of any decent beer on the bar.

Nowadays my guilty secret and it's not really even that secret, is probably the fact that when I'm really thirsty, I don't go for a nice refreshing pint of lager, but rather a fruit beer, alcoholic ginger beer(sometimes for breakfast! Thank you Beaumonts for sorting me out on many a hungover occasion) or, shock horror, a cider!

However, I'm not one to really hold with the idea of guilty secrets, if you like a beer, then you like a beer, who cares what it is? I will say that if you have to hide the fact that you like a beer because your mates might not think it's cool means that you're not really giving the brewer of that beer the respect they deserve. Get over yourself and remember that somewhere, somebody will be thankful that you are drinking it!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Commissioning Day

The sun is yet to rise.
The Brewer is on his way.
The Malt, Hops, Yeast and Water await,
Commissioning day is here.

The brewery sits shiny and bold,
Copper waits to be filled,
The world is waking up,
Commissioning day is here.

No turning back now,
The moment is here,
How long does it take to brew a beer?
Commissioning day is here.

Outside it is calm,
Before the inevitable storm of people that will come and point, stare and gawp,
I will sit in my sanctuary and make notes of the day,

Commissioning day is here.


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Found : One Craft Beer Bar Manager

Sorry, who are you, I've been away for a while, You're face is familiar but just can't place the name. Normally I would now make some unfunny quip like 'unless you've been living on Mars'.

So unless you've been living on Mars you'll know that I've been busy opening a sparkly new brew pub with Eddie, Mike and Rich from Utobeer.
We were initially approached by Westfield in the middle of July, they had come up with this idea for a market within a mall. Not just any market, a Great Eastern Market, somewhere you could get away from the throng, yes I said throng, somewhere you could enjoy the calm and tranquility of artisinal produce with a well made beer or two. Yes they wanted a micro-brewery/bar in a shopping mall! I wasn't at the initial meeting but the conversation went something like this(cue creative license...)

WF: We want to put a bar and micro-brewery in a shopping mall.

Utobeer: Bit revolutionary.

WF: We think so, what do you think?

Utobeer: Ok then, how long have we got?

WF: We open on September 13th.

Utobeer: *Laugh collective arses off* Oh, you're not joking....

WF: No, what do you think?

Utobeer: Let's ask Glyn and see what he says.....*picks up phone and asks Glyn*

Me:(phone voice) Fuck off! it can't be done! *puts phone down*

Utobeer: Ok then, we'll do it.

WF: Great! You open in 8 weeks with a temporary bar.

Utobeer: Great, see you in 8 weeks.

And so it began, the race to open a bar in 8 weeks. I have to say Westfield have been extremely helpful with the whole project, they want it to work as much as we do.
Tap East was settled on for a name, something that I think Melissa Cole came up with via various email conversations. We liked it because it does what it says on the tin, it's a brewery tap in the east and it's an awful play on words if put together TapEast(Trappist)...*throws up a little in mouth*.
Because of the time scale involved we had no choice but to open with a temporary bar which we really have to thank Nick Otley for, without Otley Brewing Co's temporary festival bar it would have been a lot more stressful!
We managed to open with 6 hanpulls, 2 keg taps(two more were added later) and two bottle fridges that are slightly smaller than The Rake's.
So we traded for three weeks and closed for four days whilst the the finishing touches were applied (brewery, cold store, permanent bar, toilet, bi-folding doors and brewery glazing).
We now have six very smart copper handpulls, ten very smart copper keg pumps and a shiny copper brewery for Ed to play on....sorry brew on. The first beer should be ready around the 9th November when we'll have a tapping party for it, you are ALL invited. If that date changes for whatever reason i'll post the info as soon as I get it.
So where are we? Westfield, obviously , Great Eastern Market, obviously but the easiest way to get there is to get off the DLR at Stratford International as we are right across International Square as you exit the station! So If like me, you hate shopping and shopping malls you don't even need to go into Westfield!! How cool is that?!
If God forbid, you actually like shopping you can get off at Stratford station and wander through the mall at Zombie pace shopping to your hearts delight until you get to Tap East where you can sit down and enjoy a well made beer or two. What could be better than that? Something for everyone!
PS : do not use google maps to get there because you'll end up in Putney since the google car ain't made it through the security yet! ;) Joking of course, because it's a brand new build they haven't found us yet.
I would post some photos of the finished article but I can't currently find the cable that downloads them from my blackberry so I'll leave you to visit for yourself and take pics of your own!
Hope to see you there soon!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

More Pics...

I promised more, here they are...
Furniture still to be unpacked
Half finished snug
Daylight dawns Tuesday 13/9/11
Not a bad first night crowd

Vinyl snug pics from outside
Joe puts Perry and 'brother of Boak'' through their paces
Steve from our design team, The Yard Creative 
Ed replies to whether or not he'll be brewing a lager


So, we're open but we're far from finished! Still to come in are...
Cold store. Installation begins 6th October.
Permanent bar. Installation begins 10th October and we'll be closed for 3 days so this can be installed.
Brewery. Hopefully going in at the same time as the bar and the permanent front and interior windows.

I can't wait until we're finished, I'm going to be even more proud of what we've achieved in such a short space of time. From the moment I walked into 21st Amendment on my honeymoon, I've wanted to run a brewpub, in a few short weeks, I will be.


Friday, 23 September 2011

Some Tap East Pics 1

Thought I'd share some of my recent pics with you.

Ed Inspects the roof

Still a building site

There's going to be a bar there, honest!

There's going to be a brewery in there, no really!

Ed lets one off in what will become the cold store

Back corridor?

This was a week before opening

Starting to take shape

from outside

Mike really does work

Seven Down

Hours 'til opening

More to follow...

Monday, 12 September 2011

27hrs to go. Still to do.


Make sure windows are in.
Hoarding art work in place.
Blackboard painted.
Tills programmed.
Fridges into place.
Glasswasher plumbed in.
Keys for unit.
Keys cut for my duty managers.
Beer menus.
Furniture into place.
Picture frames up.
Pictures into frames.
Order more stock.
Stock put away.
Light for stock room.
Get beer lines.
Clean beer lines.
Shelving up.
Put crap on shelves.
Train staff on tills.
Unit clean.
Find time to sleep.

There must be more but I'm too tired to remember it right now...


Thursday, 8 September 2011

Apologies

Just a quick note really just to apologise for the lack of blogging recently. I am insanely busy at the moment opening a new brewpub in the new Westfield at Stratford City.
It's all happened in the last 7/8 weeks or so so I hope to see you there, I'll blog a bit more about what we want to do with the site(aside from make money) when I get time.
Until then, we open Tuesday with a temporary bar(that's how last minute this is) and I hope to see you at Tap East when we're up and running.
Until then, be careful what you wish for...



Monday, 15 August 2011

The Miracle of Beer.


I got sent this by email and really had to share.

video

Also if you drink enough beer you'll be able to have sex with girls like her because beer makes you all really attractive. No really!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

GBBF Week.

It came, it saw, it fucked me up.
Sunday - The Rake was supposed to be hosting the bar managers from GBBF but they finished so late that they found somewhere local instead of coming to The Rake - These guys work hard and I for one want to thank them for what a great job they did with the festival.
Monday - It was the British Guild of Beer Writers event at Brew Wharf for me but obviously I was working during the day and by the time I actually got to the event, most of the food was gone and most of the beer was gone too, I did manage a Redemption though which are always worth it!
Tuesday - Trade Day at GBBF, the one day of the year where I get to catch up with lots of people that I haven't seen for ages and talk beer all day long. For me and I remember saying this to a couple of people, the event ends up being about catching up with friends rather than drinking beer. That's my excuse for drinking only 7 beers in 7 hours and I sticking to it!
The beer I had were a pint and a half of Thornbridge Chiron (Kai-ron) which was pale, light totally drinkable and a only 5% abv - heaven in a glass boys, keep up the great work! Then I went off to Des de Moor's tasting which was celebrting the release of his latest book, London's Best Beer Pubs and Bars of which The Rake is in the top 25 and Des tells me was the original pitch for the book! I went for a bottle of the Camden Helles, beautiful, just what I needed as the festival was starting to heat up. Then I had Lagunitas something or other, I don't remember which though, I do remember thinking, this isn't hoppy enough. After the Lagunitas I stumbled across the bottled real ale bar and went for a bottle of Kernel Pale Ale, this is a beer that does the trick over and over again, it's one that the geeks don't rave about anymore because Evin and his team have pushed so many beer frontiers in the last 19 months that in order to be raved about they are going to have to brew a 2000 IBU bitter chocolate, strawberry tarte, lambic frosted, whisky freeze distilled in a chipmonks arse brown and dull bitter!Oh and it'll have to be named 'Dryer than a nuns chuff, to get into the Pumpclip parade n'all! Pale Ale does for me, it's cold, it's hoppy, and thirst quenching, perfect! My last beer of the day was De Molen Hout & Hop, this is only 4.6% and a beautiful, lambic, cloudy as hell(it looked like I might have to chew it) Luckily for me I don't drink with my eyes(a lot) and as I took the first waft up the nostrils I was smelling just what I wanted. Nom. By the time I finished that I was ready to move on. It is and always will be a painful experience for my feet because I don't like to site down, I prefer to mingle and meet the people. Somewhere in the middle I went back for a third Chiron and it had run out so I plumped for Kipling instead. Another great Thornbridge beer.
At some point I remember hearing that a Mild had won champion beer and this of course got the predicted reaction from me....boring!
Don't get me wrong I like Mild's and I do like the Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde, it's a good beer, I just happen to think that there were better, more interesting beers that should be winning in these competitions. After all it is called the GREAT British Beer Festival! So anyway, it was time to have a sit down and get a good meal so off to the White Horse in Parsons Green I went. Now for the really poor part of the day, shit floor service by the girls who were running the floor down stairs, very unhelpful and thoroughly up their own arses. So I went and sulked upstairs, now for the really great part of the visit - The service I got upstairs was amazing, there was one girl up there running the floor by herself, she was friendly, polite and efficient. The food was, as always stunning and the Orval topped it off nicely. Finished off with a Gin and Tonic, grabbed a cab and got my sorry arse home.
Wednesday - We were hosting the Brewers Association at The Rake in the evening and we had the pleasure of Dave from Smuttynose and Doug Odell turning up for the event, but I was flagging quite badly, my feet are starting to feel the week of schmoozing and boozing and I ducked off early(9pm). Great people though.
By the time the first international IPA day came along I was so sick of beer that all I wanted was a glass of orange squash and a lie down, hey! I'm not as young and pretty as I once was alright? I tried the St Austells Proper black and their Cornish Bock I like the Proper Black, it's their (black) version of Proper Job and it works well, although it does finish a little too roasty for my liking. I went for Lovibonds 69 IPA too, this is another stunning beer, Lovibonds are a great brewery, they only produce Keg and bottled beer and they make no bones about the fact that there's no cask available. If brewers believe their beers are served better by keg than cask, who am I to argue? It's their beer and their choice. But As I said, I was all 'beered out' by thursday and all I wanted was my bed.
SWAndy, Me and SWBrewery James
Friday was different, because I'd had a couple of early nights I was ready to party on friday night! Once Simon Johnson turned up the working day was pretty much a write-off and when we were joined by the likes of Andy and James from Summer Wine Brewery, Mrs Rabidbarfly, Leo aka @caskcrusade, Recently Drunk Bob and his mate...whose name I shamefully still can't remember it was game on! It was one of those nights that I'll remember for a long time, it was excellent, there was laughter, ranting, more laughter, signatures on the wall and more laughter. Lucille and I ducked off at about 10...I think as I had to get up early for the football but a good night was had by all.
Saturday was all about football - I was enjoying the Castle Rock Harvest Pale that was on when I got to Kingsmeadow - incidentally another Champion beer of Britain(2010) that whilst I've enjoyed on numerous occasions, just don't think it's champion beer stuff. When the Harvest Pale finished it was onto Caledonian Flying Scotsman, not a beer I'd had before but I actaully enjoyed the sweetness of the pint, it was just dry enough to hit the spot as the weather turned a bit grey and cold.
So, that was GBBF week for me, caught up with old friends, made new friends, drank good beer and generally had a good time.
I am however, raising a glass to everyone who was working a bar in London last week, I thank you for your hard work and dedication, be you a CAMRA volunteer, a kid earning minimum wage behind a bar or a bar manager, Cheers!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

An IPA a Day #28


It's here! International IPA Day is upon us!
My last beer in this series is again one I helped brew. The first time I went to Pontypridd I was hoping to brew a hop monster. We didn't fail either with a slight haze, deep tawny colour and a Pacific Gem aroma to die for this was my first proper religious experience.
As I've said before I had to go and sit down on my own and absorb it. After that I got the enjoyment of watching other people enjoying something that you worked so hard to create, it really is a very gratifying experience.
Over the next 18 months - 2 years I've gone back to Pontypridd a lot and the Otley guys and I have worked on the recipe of the Motley Brew, we've got to the point where we're finally really happy with the recipe and there will be no more tinkering.
Motley Mark 1
I'm not going to give you any tasting notes, I'm going to say get your arse down to The Rake and taste it for yourself.
Happy IPA day everybody - Don't forget the Hashtag #IPADay today!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

An IPA a Day #27

Penultimate day and we'll I'm doing some self congratulation here. I've been lucky enough to brew with Kernel Brewery twice now and we've managed to create a beer that won't stop selling.
The original recipe was based on 21st Amendment's Back in Black IPA, and was shared with Phil Lowry, then of Saints & Sinners brewery who produced, Military Intelligence, the oxymoronic IPA.
Evin and I got the recipe from Phil and the rest as they say, is history!
I've written about it a couple of dozen times and it's a beer that Evin and the rest of the Kernel gang can't brew fast enough.
Kernel India Pale Ale Black is it's name and hops is it's game, it's an IPA that we used Carafa malt with to give it its colour and I happen to think it's a fantastic beer.

International IPA day tomorrow, bet you can't guess what I'm going to end on.....Night.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

An IPA a Day #26

Quick one today as I'm off to GBBF trade session in a minute. Back to Russian River and Pliny The Elder's nephew, Pliny The Younger!
It's a triple/imperial IPA and usually gets beer geeks cumming in their pants. It's a once a year, small batch release beer that I have only been lucky enough to try once.
What a great beer.
I own a Pliny the Younger shirt, which I now wish I was wearing and it kinda says it all on the back really.
Wonderful things, hops.

Oh, and if you're wondering, it's released in the spring, now form an orderly queue.

Monday, 1 August 2011

An IPA a Day #25

This beer really brings back some of the best memories of my life and it's the beer that brought me onto IPA's and spicy food matching with a chicken dish to die for and an IPA that I'd happily kill for.
The dish was a spicy, jerk style chicken dish at the 21st Amendment brew pub in San Francisco which I'm sure you're all bored of hearing me bang on about and the beer was Brew Free or Die IPA.
The Brew Free or Die was my beer of choice when I happily wandered into 21st Amendment on honeymoon lats year.
It's one of those beers which at around 7% abv is dangerously drinkable, especially if you're sitting at the bar and don't notice your legs going numb!

My blog about this is on this link and as it's GBBF week and I'm too busy to go through them again.

All I can really say is if you ever get over there go and order the beer and the chicken and enjoy.

Trade day tomorrow so don't expect me to be compus. Have fun everyone!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

An IPA a Day #24

Viven Imperial IPA is not something I drink a lot of, but I'd like to. I've only been lucky enough to have had this beer a couple of times but it's a beer that has class in a glass written all over it.
The packaging might not be cool by recent standards but when a beer is this good, who cares?
Pic from Beermerchants.wordpress.com
Indeed when I look at the label it's one that just looks 'classic' and it immediately makes me think of sitting outside a Belgian beer cafe in the sun, even though I've never done that.
So what is this masterpiece like?
Well, when you pour it into the glass you get a lovely copper coloured beer and the aroma gives you complex flashes of pine, orange, grapefruit and peach! 
It's as complex in the mouth as it is on the nose with the some sweet citrus at the front giving way to the piney resinous bitterness that makes the best IPA's as good as they are! For all the complex flavours and aroma's going on in this beer along with the 8% abv it's still a totally drinkable and very balanced beer. You can get it from beermerchants.com and I recommend that you try this one.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

An IPA a Day #23

5 days to go and we're off back up to Fraserbrough and the gruesome twosome at BrewDog. I've gone over Punk IPA already in this series and Hardcore IPA won't be making an appearance so what beer is in between the two?
Chaos Theory.
Here's a brief run down of the beer

Look : Deep orange almost copper with a slight haze to it.

Aroma : there's Orange, there's also a really nice earthiness and a sweetness, a bit like a bag of Skittles.

Taste profile : The Nelson Sauvin hop is the most prevalent of this balanced beer and so there's gooseberry, a bit of spicy pepper and grass. All in all a top beer and one that Brewdog should make ALL the time.