Tuesday, 22 May 2012

I Have a Dream!

It's been bugging me for some time now, probably 2 or 3 years. With between 3800 and 7000 pubs(depending on who you believe), numerous craft beer bars popping up here there and everywhere, 23 active breweries(and more to follow) and two active home brewing networks London is coming to the forefront of the craft beer scene in Great Britain.

As we should be.

So why then do we not have something akin to New York Craft Beer Week or as just announced Beijing Craft Beer Week! Beijing!! 

Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted that Beijing is enlightened enough to have a craft beer week but it makes me extremely frustrated that we haven't got something at least similar in the UK.

Yes we have a week where CAMRA puts on the Great British Beer Festival but it's limited in that it won't serve kegged beer and some of London's best brewers only keg beer.

Is the fact that some of us are so preoccupied with just arguing about the meaning of 'craft beer' rather than just enjoying the beer holding us back from hosting such an event?

We have the London Brewers Alliance so we're already halfway there. Should we set up another group for bars, pubs and restaurants? Would it help us get to the stage where we can pool our collective resources and actually market and put on an event which could help get craft beer noticed by the wider public and not just the beer geeks who already know about it?

Is our inherently 'British' or 'Conservative' nature holding us back?

So how do we make this happen? Someone needs to get the ball rolling because otherwise London will once again look like we're stagnating or indeed going backwards again.

Come on London, let's get our act together!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Live Blogging(Circle Jerking) - #EBBC12

So this is the first event where I have tried live blogging with a laptop and not felt like the geekiest  fucker in the room!
The first thing I have to say about it is it's bloody freaky being in the same room as someone reading a post I've just written!

Beer 1. Leeds Hellfire, 5.2%
designed to be drunk out of the bottle! eek! Very light pale ale, lots of citrus, wet dog nose(courtesy of Tandleman). Very nice to taste though, Glad I bought a bottle from Beer Ritz. Sam from Leeds Brewery says they designed it to be drunk from the bottle because they think there's something very 'nice' about that, can't say I agree but it's a very drinklable beer!
Beer 2. Otley, Oxymoron, 5.5%
Black IPA, very big on aroma, one of my favourite Otley beers, less bitter than some Black IPA's and quite a nice light body on it. There's still enough roastiness to give it some oomph though. Everything I love about black beers and then some.
Beer 3. Brains Dark, 4.1%
The Otley has been good enough to give this a bit more flavour than usual but it's definitely a beer I could drink time and time again on Cask.
On the nose I'm getting quite a a lot of fruit. Mild, originally called Red Dragon but the regular customers didn't like the name and renamed it themselves. For me a bit too much carbonation and not sure if the Otley beer hasn't given this beer some wine characteristics.
Beer 4. Marble, Earl Grey IPA, 6.8%
A beer so new they don't have labels for it. Brewed with Emmelisse, Earl Grey tea went into the fermenter. Can I see 'dry tea-bagging' becoming popular? probably not. Lot's of citrus on the palate for me, which is good since it's a single hop (Citra) beer. Very easy to drink. Top drop.
Beer 5. Roosters, Baby Faced Assassin, 6.1%
Another 100% citra beer. Roosters say there's mango, apricot and mandarin on the nose, I get all that, really lovely nose, quite sweet on the palate but has a bitterness at the end that belies the initial sweetness. I'd drink it again!
Beer 6. Great Heck, Stormin' Norman, 6.5%
American influenced style IPA. Not getting anything really on the nose, in fact it's something that smells distinctly ordinary, very light, does not taste 6.5% and it's not one that I'd rush back to but it's not a bad beer. Served by a Krankee.
Beer 7. Slaters, Top Totty, 4%
A blonde beer from a family brewery. Lot's of parliamentry controversy on this one. I am well documented on 'slating' this beer and most others from slaters so I've got to try and be as objective as possible. Have to say I'm not enjoying the beer though, it has a lovely nose but there is  literally nothing on the palate. The chap next to me says, you could choose to swallow it if you want. I agree, you could also swallow the bull I'm hearing from the brewery folks. Pants.
Beer 8, Camden Town, USA Helles, 4.6%
All American hopped helles, unfiltered. I like this London based brewery, I think they're doing the right thing with their beers. Really light, nicely refreshing and clean. Tandleman doesn't like it but he doesn't have tastebuds.
Beer 9. Adnams, Ghost Ship, 4.5% 
I'm not Adnams greatest fan but there are some of their beers that I do enjoy. This is a pale ale(my fave style of beer). Not much on the nose. on the palate I get Jasmin and Apricot, not too much bitterness, very easyto drink and I would definitely buy this if it was on the bar!
Beer 10, Innis & Gunn Scottish Pale Ale,Hate the nose, too sweet with vanilla and grants whiskey(bad memories from a whiskey binge 20 years ago).
Sorry not my bag.

They Thought it was All Over....Psych!

Well not quite but I've currently got a £100 cheque in my pocket courtesy of Molson Coors to write a blog post about the European Beer Bloggers Conference so I guess the old adage of 'Every man having a price' is true.

A lot of people have said to me 'why are you here? you don't blog anymore'...erm no, I said I was taking a break. Anyone remember the line 'I may still post every now and again'? I do, it's there, just look!
My general feeling about beer blogging and in particular, my own has not really changed. What has enthused me (ironically) to break my silence after a week or so is the people here at the European Beer Bloggers Conference not the beer!

Now every conference needs it's sponsors, people gotta pay the bills right? So the beers we've been drinking have been beers I've had many times, some of them might not be the most exciting in the business but they're here and this isn't the craft beer bloggers conference, it's the European Beer Bloggers conference and we have to remember that we're very lucky most of the time in the beers we choose to drink and the pubs we choose to drink them in. Indeed some of them I've also never had before, I was particularly impressed with the Badger Ales Flyer which I really needed at the time because it was so hot in the meeting room at the registration that I was gasping for something cold and refreshing.

We've had some really interesting sessions here at the conference, my personal favourites were Saturday morning with 'Taking it to the next level' with Mark, Zak and Marverine and the session directly after it was also really interesting on the use of social media and marketing your blogs. The other notable session was with Adrian Tierney-Jones and Simon Jenkins about improving your beer writing.

My personal views on my blog is changing and I'm not sure how often I'm going to post anymore. It's never been a regular occurrence and I think if you're doing this as a hobby it should be just that, the minute you start forcing it is the day you should stop.

I am looking at improving the content because I joined the Guild to help improve my writing and if anything, it's gone backwards in my opinion so hopefully it will be the case that less is more from now on. The reactionary bollocks I used to spout will be gone and I will mostly be ignoring people that who only post to get a reaction or look for publicity from their posts.

So still to come is Sharps Head Brewer, Stuart Howe and a beer dinner sponsored by Pilsner Urquell which I'm very much looking forward to!

Quote from Stuart Howe, Head Brewer at Sharps, 'Teetotalers die 10 years earlier than beer drinkers because they're miserable bastards' - Too right. Live blogging next which should be interesting.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Taking a Break

As most you, dear readers, may have noticed, I am blogging a lot less nowadays. This is mainly down lack of time and the fact that most of what I write is utter shit.

I've been thinking about stopping this blog for a while now because most of what I read in the blogs just isn't that interesting, including this one. The only time I post a blog now is if something has wound me up enough to have a rant at it and frankly, it's a bit too negative for my liking.

My new job also dictates (although not in my contract) that I have to have some level of discretion or 'self control' when dealing with some customers and suppliers, my 'Bull in a China Shop' style of writing really doesn't suit it and it's probably best I take a break.

I may still post the odd blog now and again because I think that this is still a good form of expression for myself but if I do, it will be sporadic and probably as rubbish as usual so don't go holding your breath.

Thanks for reading & commenting it has been appreciated.

So until next time, dear reader.

See you round.