Monday, 21 February 2011

Tuesday - The Harp.

I'm sure you'll all be pleased to know that I'm going to CAMRA's newly crowned Pub of the Year tomorrow. If you fancy it I'm meeting Sid Boggle in there at lunch time for a couple(if I can elbow my way through the beardies of course) ;-)

And No I will not be asking for a pint of Harp.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

An Upset on an FA Cup day.

A tweet yesterday informed us that massive drinks company had launched a formal objection about the branding of the Lovibonds 69 IPA.
Apparently Diageo think that Joe public might get it confused with one of their scotch whiskys called VAT 69.
The awesome beer.
The Offending Whisky

Clearly I, as Joe public am confused by these labels, after all one says whisky and another says it's IPA. 
The tweet in question was a welcome one. Apparently Diageo filed formal opposition a day too late so it was therefore INVALID!
Ha! You'd have thought their legal teams would have known a bit better than that! Maybe their legal team are fans of the beer! 
As the manager of the bar that the 69 IPA launch was at last year, I know I'm not the only person who thinks it's a superb beer with superb branding and that the branding is nothing like the VAT 69.
Round of applause anyone? I think so. Congrats to Jeff, Jason and everyone at Lovibonds, long may the 69 IPA continue.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Gay Beer Anyone?

Ok, Quick disclaimer before I get hunted down with pitchforks for being homophobic, racist, ageist, sexist, animalist, alienist, wine-ist, cider-ist, what-ever-the-fuck-ist! I'm of the opinion that everyone should be drinking beer!
I read the Telegraph online's story this morning whilst on the bus and the witty retorts of some of my friends at it.
For starters, The Minerva brewery in Mexico says and you can see I'm quoting here if you read the piece : The Artisan honey ales would appeal to a section of the beer drinking public that has so far been snubbed by larger brewers. Unquote.
I'm off to brew a beer with Brodies in a few weeks for my London Beer Festival at The Rake and I know that they do a 'Pink Pride' beer with New Zealand hops, Raspberries and the help of the local gay community but not targeted at them; good for them, not a large brewer but still doing it. So Minerva are not the first. They are possibly way out on their marketing though if they think that just because they've brewed a honey beer the gay community will enjoy it. After all a friend of mine on twitter and good customer said and again I quote 'They can keep their Pink Pride and their honey ales, mine's a Bourbon County Stout'.
I of course completely agree with this notion, after all, just because someone is homosexual does not mean they are into fruit beers or sweet beers. It shows massive ignorance on the part of this company to even attempt to market these beers to the gay community and I for one think that to try to is basically trying wholeheartedly to move equal rights back 10 years, if not more.
I have to hold fire slightly here and quote Dario Rodriguez Wyler of Bodega, Minerva's distributor 'We're out in the market with great respect with the idea of offering a product directed to the gay-lesbian community that has been ignored for far too long but is important and very demanding'. So, whilst 'outing' themselves they've decided to release a nice, sweet, honey beer that manly men and womeny-women won't like.

Yeah Right.

So I'm going to try and skip the name of the beer completely for the want of all sorts of Carry On-esque jokes and try and find a positive somewhere.
Testing the water, I asked if we should stock them at The Rake(yes I was joking) and got the answer 'not sure you need another honey or strawberry beer, wait until it comes out in cock flavour'.
What's the packaging like again? Hmm, shall we wait until it comes out in a cock shaped bottle too. Oh that'll be never then!

To put a slightly more serious note on this, I wrote a piece on girly beer a while back, some people loved it and agreed with me, others accused me of being sexist for assuming that when someone ordered a 'girly beer' they meant fruit beer. Surely pigeon-holing a beer for the gay community is just as bad?
So as a responsible retailer, what the fuck am I supposed to think if somebody comes into the bar and asks for a gay beer? Answers in the comments box folks.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Camra Pub of the Year

Congratulations to all the The Harp in Covent Garden, they were crowned CAMRA's overall pub of the year.
Now, I've never actually been IN the Harp, this is something I've felt I have to rectify for quite a while now. Sid Boggle is a big fan of The Harp and I value that young man's opinion.
I'll get there in March and do a write up, from what I've heard, they deserve a good one.

Friday, 11 February 2011

What Craft Beer Means To Me

  1. Skill in doing or making something, as in the arts; proficiency.
  2. Skill in evasion or deception; guile.
    1. An occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or skilled artistry.
    2. The membership of such an occupation or trade; guild.
  3. pl.craft. A boat, ship, or aircraft
    1. A fermented alcoholic beverage brewed from malt and flavored with hops.
    2. A fermented beverage brewed by traditional methods that is then dealcoholized so that the finished product contains no more than 0.5 percent alcohol.
    3. A carbonated beverage produced by a method in which the fermentation process is either circumvented or altered, resulting in a finished product having an alcohol content of no more than 0.01 percent.
  1. A beverage made from extracts of roots and plants: birch beer.
  2. A serving of one of these beverages.
Take the first definitions of each word and you have something resembling the meaning of Craft Beer. Now the old crusties of the blogosphere are lamenting this phrase and the fact that it seems to have jumped the Atlantic so easily. Get over yourselves, the English language is one of the most fluid things in the world  no matter what side of the pond it comes from.
The indignance isn't just about the language though is it? It's more than that, it's also about the new wave of beer lovers who are prepared to make cheesy video's like I am a Craft Brewer and I am a Craft Beer Drinker to shout about something they love in a different way. Again, it's progress, it's having the means and mediums to shout about your passion, the internet didn't exist until recently but it has been possibly the greatest invention of all time in putting the word out to people about anything you want including Craft Beer.
I have a medium, I have an opinion. You might not agree with that opinion and that's your right but I will opine anyway.
But I
So what does craft beer mean to me? When someone mentions the term craft beer it brings up notions of innovation, passion, hands on, an art, something that a person has made. It gives me a sense of pride that I am helping bring craft beer to London like I know it gives the brewer pride in creating something that people are finally getting to enjoy.
Now whether you prefer the term good beer or artisan beer or craft beer doesn't really matter, they are all phrases that are out there and being used, what does matter is that you keep talking about it, keep writing about it, keep drinking it!

*pic taken from Dan Harrisons flikr, hope he doesn't mind, it's a superb pic!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

London Crawling!

Last Saturday I wanted to visit some of London's best beer pubs that aren't in Walking distance from The Rake! So I did!
I started off by getting to Cask Bar and Kitchen in Pimlico which has been getting lots of plaudits in the last year or so, The beer I had was called 22 from the Dancing Duck brewery and it was ok, not particularly outstanding but drinkable. I didn't want to stay very long here because although it is a popular venue for beer, there's something about it that makes me uncomfortable. Having the world's most boring ticker at the bar never helps - really guys, I honestly don't care how you got to the pub! But seriously I did like the fact that it was nice and quiet in there on a Saturday lunchtime, I like sitting down in a pub, just lazy I guess.

Next up was the Euston T(r)ap. This place with the outside seating is probably just about bigger than The Rake and I wanted to say hello to the new manager. Unfortunately when I got there it was closed due to a 'drainage issue'. I won't say any more than that, but this place is already busy in the evenings and it's reputation is growing.
I've mentioned this place before and I'm a big fan of it. Anywhere that promotes great beer in London is fine by me.
So it being closed I had to go somewhere else. Couldn't think of anywhere straight away so I went to the Bree Louise just round the corner from the Tap because I know the pub. It was somewhere to gather my thoughts. I had a warm half pint of Brewdog Edge, thoughts gathered I fucked off, The Bree Louise is probably top of my pet hates of pubs, it smells like a toilet and the gravity stuff is room temperature. It's gag-worthy. The bar staff were good though but I won't be going in there again.
I got a tweet from a friend suggesting that I find the Southampton Arms in Kentish Town, not knowing that area of London at all, I bought an A-Z and got the address off the interwebs. Off I went.
It's small. I was expecting quite a large pub for some reason, it serves only beer and cider from small independent companies(there goes Sharps then!). Nice place, I had a pint of W90 from Marble and sat at the bar, taking in this bustling little boozer. I have to go back when it's not so busy because I like this place, it's totally the opposite side of London but hey, if an old ticker can make the journey so can I!
So now I was off to my final destination, The Jolly Butchers in Stoke Newington, much has been said about this place and not all of it great. Now the negative stuff I had heard was about the staff being 'too cool for school' - a quote from a ticker friend, and the beer being a bit hit and miss.
Well, I am now in a position to put my tuppence worth in. It's great. I Love it.
This is a regular haunt of Pete Brown, so I texted him earlier in the day to arrange to meet for a beer or two.
The Beer was on top form, I started with a pint of Dark Star APA which was lovely, served in a dimpled pint jug(awesome!) which made it better, by staff who were attentive, friendly and knowledgeable! I sat down at a table where I could see the whole pub and enjoyed my pint whilst I waited for Pete.
Great receptacle for great ales.
Realising I hadn't eaten all day I asked for a menu(if I had to moan about something it would be the lack of a menu on the table), and almost instantly chose the fish cakes. I had seen some come out whilst observing the pub and they looked delicious! Finished my tasty meal just before Pete arrived and I went onto one of the Fyne Ales, Jarl if I remember rightly, again top notch beer, in great condition and no sparkler to be found anywhere!(do you hear me northerners? sparkler not required!). At this point I have to mention that I was surprised by what Pete had been doing all day, he was doing a course that one of my mates runs on how to pitch a story, see even the best writers around still feel the need to get better, I guess that's why they're the best!
My third pint was Fyne Ales Avalanche another great beer from a brewery that is gaining a lot of ground in London, all credit to them.
We had another quick one before it was time to go. My trek back to South London was always going to be painful and I'd just like to thank the bloke who kicked me awake at Brixton, a harsh jolt but a necessary one!
Anyway I almost wished I lived in Stokey just for the Jolly Butchers but it's not my regular or my local, for me it's a special occasion place, something to enjoy all the more because you don't get back there enough.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

The Drunk Diary Summary

Thank fuck that's over. I was starting to bore myself witless let alone you poor saps who just had to keep coming back and reading it again and again.

The Units I consumed in January were : 375.14.
That's a weekly average of : 84.68
That's a Daily Average of 13.40.
That's over three times the daily recommended limits for the intake of alcohol.

I am not dead.
I am not searching around for a new liver.
Or my dignity.

Why did I do this for a second year? Well, last year I did it because I was genuinely interested in how many units I was taking in as a bar manager. I knew it was high but really didn't have the first clue!
This year I was still interested to see how many units, less so that the first year, I was more interested in whether or not a social experiment on myself would work. It just might have.
You see you a while now I've been realising that I'm not as young as I once was, my body can't take the stupid amounts of alcohol that it was once able to and I have found myself wanting to have days off the grog. Is this possibly because I'm drinking more this year than I was last year, almost certainly. After all last years units total was 272.55.
My main thought on this year is that it is so easy to rack up the units that you do have to be really careful, I can honestly say I was drunk maybe four times last month if not then three. My lifestyle must change, and it will, eventually.
Here's another thought though, I work in a bar. A great bar with great beers. Beers which should be enjoyed for what they are *whispers* craft beer. Not to be chugged, not to be guzzled but to be savoured. Anyone can get pissed, only the damned can feel bliss. Temptation is a cruel mistress.

Friday, 4 February 2011

The Session : Cask, Keg, Bottle or Can

Really? Are we still asking this question? I am sooooo fucking bored of this argument.

Brewdog et al say : Keg is the future. Bollocks.
CAMRA et al say : Cask is superior(no that's just your attitude ladies).
Cooking Lager says : you can't beat a can of lout! you can, you just have to use an object to do it.
Bottles? apparently they're only good if 'CAMRA say this is real ale'. Again, bollocks, who cares?

Tosh, the fucking lot of it.

I am however liking the idea of the session's beer blogging friday. To put us all at our computers for an evening and see which monkey churns out some sense.

Until the next little rant, laters. 

ps, can you tell I want to kill someone?

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Drunk Diary, Day Thirty-One

Last day of this today and because of work commitments (ie not being in London) the summary will have to wait until the weekend probably. Someone said I should go out with a bang, hmm, I have to be on a train to Pontypridd tomorrow. Maybe not.

1 x Half Windsor & Eton Conqueror, 5% abv, 284mls, Units : 1.42
1 x Half Fyne Ales Hurricane Jack, 4.4% abv, 284mls, Units : 1.25
1 x Half Otley O8, 8% abv, 284mls, Units : 2.27
1 x Half Anchor Steam, 4.9% abv, 284mls, Units : 1.39
1 x Bottle Kernel Black IPA, 6.8% abv, 330mls, Units : 2.24

So total units for the last day are : 8.57

Lucky it stops today as brew days with the Otley guys and girls usually end up quite messy! So much good beer only one Glyn! Summary to follow later in the week when I have time to write it up. Thanks for reading and commenting.