Sunday 29 November 2009


Morning all, I've just done two days at Bibulous, an event at Vinopolis that was showcasing beers, wines and spirits. I was doing beer cocktails, two of them, the first one being the Coconut Corsair, a mix of Sailor Jerry Rum, Mongozo Coconut beer, and Coca Cola, very refreshing, perfect for a hot summers day.
The second one I came up with was The Yeti Tar, a mix of Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout, Sailor Jerry Rum, syrop de Gomme, topped with cream, chocolate flakes and a cherry for decoration. They seemed to go down well, very well in fact, so well that the samples I had prepared weren't enough and I had to speedily make some more!
I'm thinking seriously about putting the cocktails on the beer list at The Rake, maybe by doing a Beer Cocktail Night, what does everyone think?
Off to Lunch at the White Horse, Parsons Green for Old Ales and Great food now, have a good Sunday folks.

Thursday 26 November 2009

Tactical Nuclear Penguin

So the world's latest beer is aparently the worlds strongest beer, Tactical Nuclear Penguin from the boys and girls (and pooch's) at Brewdog.
I have to say I knew a little bit about this beer before today but was sworn to secrecy. They announced the beer at the Lovebeer Tastings above The Rake on Saturday and I have to say, I'm intrigued. Having tasted the Tokyo and enjoyed it immensely I look foward to having a wee nip of this one.
What do I expect? Something very complex and smooth, perhaps with a fiery edge at the back of it, we shall see.
At £30 a bottle it does not promote binge drinking and for once the slightly edgy blurb on the bottle has been tempered slightly to include a warning which they have managed to do in their own inimitable style, saying :

This is an extremely strong beer, it should be enjoyed in small servings and with an air of aristocratic nonchalance. In exactly the same manner that you would enjoy a fine whisky, a Frank Zappa album or a visit from a friendly yet anxious ghost.

Is this a sign that Brewdog are growing up? Do we need to start putting arthritis medicine in their doggy treats? If so, I hope they can do it remaining edgy and ground breaking and if not I'll just continue watching and waiting for the next installment of the Brewdog rollercoaster.

Friday 20 November 2009

Wassup Doc?

On friday I went for my annual Asthma review and as usual it went fine. I have had Asthma since the age of one and it's very well controlled.
Whilst I was sitting there discussing it with the doctor she asked me if I wanted to have the flu jab today, no thanks. She looked at me as if I was mental, seriously! I'm well aware that as an Asthma patient I am in the 'high risk' category and therefore entitled to the flu jab and the swine flu jab but I have never had the flu jab and as long as I'm healthy I won't take them up on it. There are more needy people out there.
When swine flu was first diagnosed in Mexico there was a daily mail-esque panic about the end of the world! Ok i'm exaggerating but my point is that people die of flu every year! This is nothing new, it's not going to stop me from going out and living my life the way I always have.
Maybe, instead of treating me like I'm crazy, the doctor should respect my descision and realise that just because something has been all over the news, we are not all going to go into mass hysteria about it. Right, I'm off to start a riot or something....

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Beer Cocktails Anyone?

Good afternoon all, I was asked yesterday to come up with a couple of recipes for beer cocktails which I will then have to make in front of an audience at the Bibulous Event in Vinopolis! eeek!
Anyway, I've had a couple of idea's, I made one during the summer when I had the Mongozo Coconut on draught. It was made up of a double shot of Rum(Sailor Jerry), 1 part Mongozo Coconut beer and 1 part Coca Cola and it was lovely! I eventually named it The Coconut Corsair. The other one I was thinking about doing may involve Strawberry Beer and something really hoppy, we shall see, I'm off to play now, will let you know how it turns out...

Sunday 15 November 2009

Brewdog Week

I've been working on my day off today, promoting the Lovebeer@Borough Brewdog tastings next Saturday and Brewdog Week at The Rake afterwards.
As far as the Lovebeer tastings go the following beers will be on show...

77 Lager
5am Saint
Punk IPA
Paradox, Isle of Arran
Shark Beer, special 50 bottle release Christmas beer! aged for two years
Surprise special beer, and, no I haven't even been told about this one.

The 3pm tasting is sold out, the 1pm still has some tickets left and we may have to put in an extra tasting if demand is high enough!

We're also going to be going Brewdog Casks, Kegs & Bottles at The Rake the following week although there will be less 10% stuff on cask this time.
I personally have been waiting for this since last year when we did the first Brewdog Lovebeer tastings and Brewdog week at The Rake. I have a lot of time for these guys and applaud the innovation and daring that Martin Dickie and James Watt bring to the British brewing scene.
So, if you want to come along to The Rake between the 21st and 27th November to drink some Brewdog beer, then be my guest, literally!
Hope to see you there.

Friday 13 November 2009

Cause of Many a Hangover

I had just completed the most horrible task a pub manager can complete last night and needed something to sooth me, calm me and get rid of the gag reflex I was experiencing.
And here it is, the cause of many a hangover, certainly the reason for the current one that does not seem to be abating at all!
Goose Island IPA, this is probably my favourite IPA at the moment, it has a lovely fruity nose with hop on the nose that belies the hop on the palate. On the nose it's barely there, in the mouth the party starts and it stays on the palate partying on into the night with the hops and citrus fruitiness combining to leave me wanting another sip, then another, then 5.9% abv it's one that needs to be treated with respect because it is far too easy to drink.
I can heartily recommend this as a starting point for those who want to try something a bit more bitter.
Oh and for those of who want to know, I was cleaning the Gents toilets after some asshole(pardon the pun) had shit all over the walls and the bowl. On that Lovely note, I leave you.

Man-Bags at Dawn

I'm not feeling the love today, it's the first time in about three weeks that Lucille and I are spending any quality time together due to our work commitments, it's pissing with rain and to top the day off I've got a hangover that will not go away.
I, therefore, feel like having a bit of a rant, about what? well today it's the English language. Lucille described one of my bags as a 'man-bag' to which I replied, it's just a bag, let's not 'over-friends' it, I was referring to the episode of friends(an American sitcom for those without televisions) where Joey gets a 'man-bag' that basically looks like a lady's hand bag, cue lots of handbag gags.
Man-bag is a symptom of the Americanisms that are infecting our daily conversations and even newspaper & broadcast journalism. Now I'm the first to admit that I'm not the greatest at writing and anyone who reads this blog will testify to that but I at least try and keep up with my spelling since my grammar seems to have gone to pot.
I'm going to give you some choice words and phrases that really wind me up, feel free to join in by the way!
I'm going to start with Innit! I've been hearing this word since I was about 13 and I even used to use it, innit? Are we so lazy that we have a word for the question/contraction 'isn't it'? it's already contracted!!! Fuck off you little Oiks!
Secondly I have to say that 'guesstimate' really stabs me through the heart, guess or estimate folks, make your bloody minds up!
I'm only going to do three because I'll be here all day and you'll get bored(if you're not already asleep) so lastly I have to go with 'can you borrow me a tenner'. Er, what? can you say that again? borrow me? I don't want to borrow you, you're clearly uneducated and I don't need your money either.
Now, I know teachers and I know how hard people in education work so I'm trying not to have a go at them but do the students of today realise that they're saying these things? In fact, the 'borrow me' phenomenon I hear from adults, all the time so it's not just todays teachers that seem to have failed, it's probably the teachers who were teaching my generation.
I'm going to sign off now but before I do...spellcheck?
By the way guesstimate is on the spell checker, aarrggghhh!!!

Monday 9 November 2009

And the Winner Is.....

Morning all!
Well, I for one am feeling a bit bleary-eyed today after the 1st Utobeer Awards(otherwise known as the Christmas Party).
A good time was had by all(I hope) and although some of the staff had been out the night before, indulging in the Hedonism that was Imogens leaving party, they turned up for this too. Even Chris, staunch Man Utd Fan(scab) turned up after I told him that our hosts, Brick Lane, All Star Lanes would show the football for him.
There were notable absentees such as our Drivers Derek and Lee(probably lost), true to the end Harriet turned up fashionably late. Jodie wasn't there to pick up her award because of Flu, get well soon!
Anyway the everyone that did turn up got an award, so here's the list of who won what...

We'll do a Welsh Beer Festival just to annoy Mike Award
Winner :Richard Dinwoodie
Bloody Welsh! Award
Winner : Mike Hill
I spanked cheesus' arse and want to do it again Award
Winner : Becca Knapp
The Advertising Award for making The Rake sound like a whorehouse
Winner : Dave Gardner
The Sup then Top-up award for serving shit customers.
Winner : Joe Mulleady
For Driving Stock around London at the best and worst of times Award
Winner : Derek Pugh
Man Management Award for righteous tellings off
Winner : Lee Pugh
The I've gotten over my brain damage from working for Tescos Award
Winner : Imogen Bennett.
The Lovebeer Award for who's gonna be my bitch this saturday(probably Glyn)
Winner : Melissa Cole
Just because I have a Mohican doesn't make me a photo opportunity Award
Winner : Al Byrne
The Asparagus Award(You'll have to ask the winner to embellish on this one)
Winner : Eddie Baines
I'm a saint for marrying a brewer Award
Winner : Gina Baines
The Every Damned Saturday Award
Winner : Jane Salvesen
The Lone Star Award for trying all the new tasty beers
Winner : Denise Herman
The Proper Pint Glass not a wussy Veltins One
Winner : Hans Herman
I also work for Boris so clearly I'm mental award
Winner : Jodie-Lee Tormey
The Pear Cider Award for being from the Faarest
Winner : Lee Knickenberg
The Redneck Lumberjack Award for dodgy shirts
Winner : Joe 'Def' Leppard
The Back from the Dark Side Award
Winner : Annie Talbot
Employee of the Month for October 2009
Winner : Harriet Holt
The Happiness is a cigar smoking Utobeer Employee Award
Winner : Chris Collins
The Begbie Award for going to Awards Ceremonies and trying to start fights with strangers
Winner : Tom 'The Cad' Cadden

That's it, everyone a winner with my thanks hope to see everyone again next year, here's to 2010!

Thursday 5 November 2009

I'm staying in!

I hate firework night, celebrating a bunch of terrorists is not my idea of fun. How many young people today do you actually think know the story behind what they are doing this evening? I'm gonna hazard a guess, NOT MANY.
This evening, I am at home, in Hackney, where presumably it's fireworks going off outside, not gunfire but you never know, there are so many stupid people in this borough.
All the doors in the house are closed and yet I can smell firework smoke all over the house! yuk.
I wonder how many people will suffer burns from fireworks this year? I wonder how many irresponsible shop owners have sold fireworks illeagally to kids this year?
They are probably the same retailers who sell beers to kids and alcoholics too.
I also wonder how many of those retailers will be reported and prosecuted? I'll hazard another guess at NOT MANY!
Not much I can do about it other than report anything I see and hope that the relevant authorities do their jobs. Oh and moan like an old bastard in my blog, sounding not unlike Victor Meldrew!
Guess I'll just stay in, drink some good beer and enjoy whatever shit telly I can find!
By the way, the beers this evening are Great Divide, Titan IPA and Odells St Lupulin.

Monday 2 November 2009

What the F*?k do I know? - Part two

So it's been 6 days since I brewed with Otley Brewing and I have to say that as back-breakingly hard work as it is being a brewer it was also a lot of fun. This is probably because I already got on well with the Otley guys as I've dealt with them a lot.

Day started at 5.45am when I woke up at home. got ready to leave the house in hackney. I got the train from paddington at 8.15, about half an hour earlier than i aimed for, off to a good start then!

I traveled all the way to Pontypridd by train and got picked up by Nick at around 11.25ish. Welsh trains...better than english ones!(for punctuality).

It was a short drive from the station and when I got to the brewery I was surprised at how small it was, not unpleasantly surprised but still, i just expected it to be bigger. it's hidden in the middle of an industrial estate and from the outside it's just another warehouse. Inside, however, is where the magic happens.

I had never been to a brewery before and never attempted any sort of home brewing so Nick placed me in the more-than-capable hands of Matt Otley who took me throught the process and showed me what occured where.

The first thing we did was decide which malts and hops to use, I had been sent a list of what they had and had already emailed back saying which ones I wanted to use so after a bit of discussion we changed one of the hops and one of the malts on the advice of Matt.

Having started before I got there, the next thing we had to do was load the malt into the mash tun, 150kg Pale, 9kg wheat and 5.5kg crystal. then I had to make sure that there was no lumps in the mash, hard work right at the start of the day! meh!

Then it was a case of leaving it for about an hour and a half whilst it produced the wort.

So, we had some time on our hands and went and got the hops ready, 520g of Chinook and 630g of Centennial to 'bitter it up' and 3.442kg of Pacific Gem to add aroma...oh yes!

This was a quick process so we still had time to kill before transferring the wort to the copper. Instead of sitting around for the time drinking tea or coffee, we started sorting out the Warehouse part of the company, putting bottles and cases on shelves, this was fine though, I prefer to be busy when I'm in a strange place(something to do with not wanting to look like a lazy bugger).

When it was time to transfer the wort to the copper Matt showed me the proccess and just left me to it, when it was finished we had to boil the wort with the hops. The next thing that had to be done was the cleaning out of the mash tun! Now, I brought this on myself by wanting to go and brew with these guys as most brewers see this as some sort of rite of passage that everyone should have to do if they're brewing, having now done this, I completely agree! Hard physical work like this makes me sweat, a lot, so whilst I was cleaning out the mash tun Matt asked me what I wanted to call the brew and I shouted back 'f*!king sweat-O at the moment!' and we had what's known in TV as a working title.

Then it was time to add the hops. First the bittering hops and after a while(sorry but I forget exactly how long) the aroma hops.

I was hoping for a beer that was about 8% abv, when we checked the gravity it turned out that it was going to be more like 7-7.2%, I was a bit disappointed but then it was the first brew i'd ever done so I put this down to being a rank amateur. We tried boiling a bit longer to get as much out of the hops as possible but it really didn't want to go any higher. We had more time to kill after putting the hops in so it was more lugging stuff about whilst we waited. I now know that when Nick Otley had said over the phone it would be more convenient for me to come down on the tuesday it was because they needed an extra pair of hands to lug shit about! cheers Nick.

I did get to see one of their one-off brews getting racked by Charlie though which was good, seeing the finings going in at that point, smelling them etc.. I wanted the whole experience and whilst I won't be around when my brew is racked I at least know what is done and help Charlie do this with the American-O.

Eventually we transferred the beer into the fermenter and I pitched the american yeast which we'd run off a bit earlier and had a lovely apple-y aroma to it. That was it basically it, Charlie or Matt will probably start conditioning this week at some point and perhaps dry hop it although i'm not convinced this will be needed.

So, one day, lots of hard work and a lot of fun, then it was time to drink, eat and be merry in that order at The Bunch of Grapes(Nick Otleys pub) with Nick and Matt. I think I lasted until about 10.30 and retired drunk, exhausted but happy that i'd learnt something new.

4 weeks to go and it'll be on at The Rake and the Otley pubs only!

Next installment of this tale will be straight after tasting the beer for the first time, the name is decided, cheesily enough we settled on Motley Brew, will let you know when it's on and we'll make a night of it.