Tuesday 30 March 2010

Beer of the day #9

Goose Island Summertime Kolsch.
I'm always banging on about how Goose Island IPA is one of my favourite beers on the planet.
The Kolsch is their take on a summer beer, it pours golden and isn't overly carbonated. The nose has an apple and pear drop character.
For a beer that's only 4.7% it has a remarkable alcoholic taste to it which frankly for an English summertime is just right!
Other taste profiles would be a hop bitterness that's not out of place, the beer I'm drinking is at room temperature as my delivery interrupted this post but it's still very quaffable, I can imagine that on a hot summers day in Borough Market(try not to laugh too much) that this would be a great beer to sit on the patio with!

Monday 29 March 2010

Beer of the day #8

Well, it's Cask Ale week so I guess I'm going to have to do today's BOTD on a cask beer.
I've got three on so I've chosen one that I know quite well, it's Dark Star Over the Moon.
It's a mild that pours deep ruby. There is no discernable nose to it but then it is a mild and they're not exactly known for punching you in the nose.
In the mouth you get some nice roasty malt character and some good 'hoppage' that bitters this lovely beer up.
Dark Star are a brewery that have just expanded and moved site so we're all really rather impressed that there hasn't been too much disruption to both quality or taste.
Some interesting beers coming in this week for cask ale week, keep your eyes peeled.

Sunday 28 March 2010

Beer of the day #7

Well, off work today, honeymoon just booked and we're off to California so I decided to make BOTD a Californian, and what a Californian!
Stone Ruination IPA is a hop monster is the gift that just keeps on giving, at 7.7% abv, it pours light amber and clear with an almost dirty white head to it.
There's a piney, hoppy slap around the nose as you can't help but inhale it like sticking your head in a bag of hops! What a rush! This stuff would be nectar of the Gods(if I believed in them) and quite rightly too.
In the mouth it's bitter, resiny, slightly viscous and there's almost an animalistic bite to the beer, but no matter, I'm not vegetarian, I'll just bite it back!
I've got another bottle in the fridge and I'm going to kill it in a minute, chin chin, have a good Sunday evening and I'll see you at work tomorrow!

Saturday 27 March 2010

Beer of the day #6

So it's saturday, which means we open at 10am and I therefore, most pick a beer that I can consume for breakfast.
Well, if you speak to Don Burgess from Freeminer Brewery he'll bang on and on and on and on and..well on about Duvel being a breakfast beer. Don if you're reading, it has been usurped by a lovely beer from Cornwall called GB - a 3.7% Ginger Beer, it's made by Beaumonts Brewery and its fan-fecking-tastic!
Imagine Idris ginger beer with a little less of the ginger burn having been replaced by an alcoholic warmth that is surprisingly there for a 3.7% beer.
It pours cloudy as a ginger beer should, it's well carbonated and there's sediment! oh yes lovely gingery sediment, beautiful!
Now word from Phil Seeva who brews this amazing beer is that it will be slightly more carbonated and have less sediment for batches in the summer, I would like to add my own view that there's no need but this will be a cracking beer in the summer, sediment or not!
We'll see how they turn out but I've had to order the second lot already and I've only had it on the shelves for a few weeks.
This is another great tale of a small brewery making a big beer. Win.

Friday 26 March 2010

Beer of the day #5

Beer of the day number 5, it's an oldie but a goodie. Hailing from Longmont Colorado, it's the Left Hand Juju Ginger, an ale brewed with ginger.
This beer is 4% abv, pours light copper coloured and is lightly carbonated.
There is an initial big gingery hit that punches you on the nose then it fades quite quickly(like being hit by a schoolgirl or a borough market beggar!).
It's not a hop monster, it doesn't anaesthetise your taste buds, it is what it is, a beer made with ginger. Now if I'm honest the first sip isn't up to much, but once you've had that first sip the carbonation will take over and do some of the work for the beer and the ginger hit will slap you silly and leave you wanting more.
I'm a big fan of Left Hand beers in general and whilst this isn't my absolute favourite it's still a great quaffing beer and will encourage you to try the others. Yet another great beer from the states!

Thursday 25 March 2010

beer of the day #4

Beer of the day no.4 is brewed in Henley by a brewery called Lovibonds, if you've been in The Rake recently you'd have heard me banging on about these guys. A few weeks ago Rich and I had a meeting with Brewers Jeff Rosenmeier and Jason Stevenson, two extremely nice chaps who brew extremely nice beer!
The Beer geeks of the world(and indeed Jeff) will tell you that the original Lovibonds brewery site was in Greenwich but according to Jeff he found some old Lovibonds bottles on the new site and a 'soon-to-be-legend' was born.
But back to the beer, today I have the Henley Gold on the bar, the Gold is a wheat beer. It comes in Kegs that are so ancient that even having been in this business on and off for nearly 18 years I had never seen them before, still, bloody interesting though. It has a golden hue that is mildly hazy, the head is white and quick thick, the body is light and nicely carbonated. The nose is mostly Banana, what you might expect from a German wheat like Franziskaner. To taste it is to find it's hidden treasure though, it's a gem of a beer, light, refreshing and in the mouth you get Banana Bread, a bitterness that loves the mouth almost as much as a fat kid loves cake!
The Lovibonds beers will be on keg for the next few days rotating between the Henley Gold, the Henley Amber, The Henley Dark and The Land of the Free IPA. I will say that the Gold on Keg has nearly finished but we do have it in bottles and the next on will be the Henley Amber.
So another wheat beer but this time a British one! Bloody good n'all.

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Beer of the day #3

Today's beer is draught, I'm blogging from a table in the bar, I should really be working or on the phone or something but hey, this beer is worth blogging about!
There have already been various blogs recently on this one from Tandleman, ATJ and Cooking Lager but we've put it on draught today for the customers to sample so I guess I should have my say too!
It's FREEDOM FOUR, it pours Pale Golden and well carbonated with a lovely soft white head to it.
On the nose there is pear and apple notes and a very subtle lager hopping that you might expect from a continental.
The taste belies the nose though, there are certainly fruity notes to this beer but the bitterness that comes through at the end makes this a very refreshing little number, this will be massive in summer if Freedom can put it in the right places, it's light, fizzy and bitter and I for one, urge you to come an try this beer at The Rake today!
As an aside, I also urge you all to throw rotten fruit at Alastair Darling if you happen to see him in the street.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Beer of the day #2

So, today's beer of the day is from NYC and it's Saranac Adirondack Lager. Bit of a mouthful!
This mouthful pours amber, slightly lighter than it's neighbour from Brooklyn but still darker than the average lager beer.
On the nose there are hints of peach and soap no less! The body is medium and it has a good mouth fell to it. It's my understanding that they've used Cascade and Hallertauer hops and they've certainly put them to good use, the beer itself is very well balanced, it has an almost American style pale ale quality to it which I find very refreshing and extremely drinkable. We've had it on at The Rake for a couple of months now and it finally seems to be shifting quite well.
The bitterness fades but not too quickly, I have to say this style of beer is growing on me and I can definitely recommend it.

Monday 22 March 2010

Beer of the day.

In an effort to keep my mind working through my current Deputy Manager-less exhaustion I decided to do a beer of the day post every day this week, regardless of how tired I am.
This week it's Flying Dog Woody Creek White - a Belgian style Wit beer.
Now I haven't come across many(if any) Belgian style American ales that I have enjoyed so, here goes!
This pours almost clear blond and very carbonated. The nose has some citrus and frankly not too much else although there's maybe a hint of bubble gum at the end.
The good bit is coming now though, the taste is pretty damned good, it's pineapple, lemon and bubble gum hits your palate with a nice fizzy zing and...well, it's not hanging around for long in the mouth so another sip! There's also a bitterness at the end which refreshes you nicely!
It's no big, bold, in-your-face flashy but definitely worth your time, if you happen to find yourself at The Rake or Utobeer this week I can heartily recommend this fizzy little number as a decent palate cleanser.
Now, what's for breakfast?

Image I found on www.simplybeer.com

Tuesday 16 March 2010

The Old Ship

God hates me, he must, it's true. I lived in Hackney for around 18 months and in all that time my local pub was the Old Ship. One entrance is on Mare Street where you have a small door sandwiched between a mini-cab office and a local grocers(I say grocers...it also does groceries), blink and you'll miss it. on the other side you have a 'proper' pub entrance as seen in the pic. This is in a back alley and is next to the stage door of the Hackney Empire. All a bit backwards then.
Now, the reason God hates me is that every time I have gone into my now ex-local, I tried the real ale, it should be good, they're easy enough beers to keep. On one Pump there was Timothy Taylors Landlord, a good beer that I like when it's served well. On the other pump there is London Pride, not a bad beer but certainly not a favourite and every now and again I would spot Deuchars IPA on the other hand pump(generally left turned around though), this beer has recently plummeted in my estimation, I haven't had a decent pint of this for a few years now.
Until Saturday Lucille and I had only eaten in there on a handful of occasions not being massively impressed by the menu or the service.
On Saturday this changed, we were collecting the last of our belongings from our old residence and popped in to The Old Ship for dinner as we had both been working and neither of us had eaten. Having been disappointed with the cask ale selection and standards I went for a pint of Guinness instead of the bottled meantime they have in there. I go to Guinness as a fall back from time to time when feeling uninspired and this was one such occasion.
We were given the menus by a very nice waitress who asked us if we'd been in before and took us through the range of four or five specials.
Now I won't go into the full menu but needless to say it's good British contemporary food that you might expect at a gastropub. Lucille went for the Wild Boar sausage and Mashed Potato and I went for the Lamb Shank with Bubble and Squeak.
Oh my, what a turn around, the food was presented perfectly(apart from the salad garnish on my plate, which I ate but found out afterwards from the manager that it wasn't supposed to be there!) it did look out of place and I made the point when he took our plates away at the end of the meal.
Presentation aside, the food was amazing, I cannot put enough emphasis on this, good service, great food and decent drink has rescued my opinion of this pub. The Lamb was cooked to perfection and the Bubble was awesome. It came with a veal jus too, not just a drip either but enough to make the meal nice and 'moistly edible'.
Lucille had been hesitant to order the sausage and mash(her fall back food in any pub) because of previous quality issues with the mash but apparently she enjoyed the whole meal immensely.
I don't know how long the current manager has been there but he seems to have turned this place around. The acid test would have been whether or not the cask ale was up to scratch, unfortunately I wasn't up for finding out.
The Old Ship is also a hotel which has rooms starting at about £65 a night I believe, gladly I never had to find out for sure!
So ironically I have left Hackney for the sunny climbs of St Reatham just as my local upped its game, shame that, I would have gone in an awful lot more.

Saturday 6 March 2010

A Bit of Help Please

Last Saturday something happened that certain people at Borough Market have been predicting for a while now. Two people that work at the market were attacked by aggressive beggars, I cannot go into details about it but I will delve a bit deeper into the problem around Borough Market and the Bankside area.
There are factors contributing to this that make it seem worse for the people that have to make a living in or around Borough Market, or any other major tourist attraction for that matter, they are these(in no particular order)...
a. These beggars are illegal immigrants and have yet to be removed from this country.
b. The Police apparently have no powers to remove these people from the area permanently.(ASBO's only work when the person has an address)
c. Neither the Security staff on Borough Market or the Better Bankside Rangers have any powers to get involved (other than contacting the police) should they come across a crime being committed.
d. There have been cases of traders making it worse by giving these beggars food just to go away.
e. There has been a case of a tourist taking a photo of a shoplifter/beggar with a bottle of beer outside the drinks cage then GIVING them money for the photo!
f. After the three offenders being arrested, all three were out on the street the day after, how do I know? They were once again in and around the market!

These sorts of things combined make it very frustrating for those of us who have to show zero tolerance to these beggars, those of us who are protecting our customers, staff and indeed, Licenses! As DPS for The Rake, I, alone am responsible for getting rid of these beggars should they enter my premises and they are trying to do so in an increasing manner! Even with my Deputy Manager leaving on Wednesday, I cannot be there 24-7! Richard (Dinwoodie, my boss and co-owner of Utobeer) is DPS for the Utobeer stall and is therefore responsible for it's security, but his job is not based on the stall, it is run, more than capably by Ed. Are our staff capable ejecting these vagrants? Yes, should they have to? Not in my opinion.

Next, lets have a look at the 4 Licensing Objectives to which we have to adhere to not be in breach of Personal Licenses...
1) The prevention of crime and disorder.
2) Public safety
3) The prevention of public nuisance.
4) The protection of children from harm.
Now, I will never stop carrying out these objectives as long as I am a pub manager, or indeed a DPS, but shouldn't I have some protection in order to carry them out?
If I am seen to be upholding the law by carrying out these objectives shouldn't it be safe to assume these beggars are breaking the law by making me have to, if so, why has nothing been done? I mean lets break it down to the bare bones, plain parlance if you will. They steal, they beg, they harass people, they assault people. Why they hell has nothing been done until now? Have we as a nation gotten so politically correct that innocent people are not being protected by the laws that they adhere to?
The local Police, like any around the country, are over worked and understaffed and unless someone actually calls 999 the police will never get there in time and even then it's not always enough.
How long will it be before I am attacked for doing my job? Who knows? How will I react if I am attacked? Who knows?
This group of aggressive beggars know their rights though and they will be bloody hard to get rid of. I for one will keep shouting about this subject until people start listening, I will sound like a stuck record at Pubwatch meetings until something is done. One of my personal missions in life will be to make these people disappear from the area. I don't know nearly enough about the law regarding dealing with them but I intend to find out and I intend to use it in the way it was meant to be used.

Apologies for the war zone pic but it does feel like a war zone sometimes.

Friday 5 March 2010


This is a shout out to everybody who came to The Rakes Welsh Beer Festival this year. Every single cask is now sold out! We are now running on cask ale fumes! Holy Empty Casks Batman!
So we went through 23 of the 24 casks I ordered, one was undrinkable, it shall not be named or shamed but I will say that we are more than likely to run out of casks by the end of Saturday night. Our average cask sales at The Rake is 15 firkins a week, this week, if we sell everything we would have sold 30. Bit busy then, completely unprecedented and I hope we have your patience and understanding, we have NEVER sold this many casks in one week before.
So I'm going to say thanks, I mean it from the very bottom of my heart, thanks to Buster and Melissa for the Lovebeer events on sunday, Ysbrid Y Ddraig..legendary, thanks to Nick Otley for arranging the beers I chose to get into London, thanks to the bloggers who helped publicise it, thanks to the tickers who spread the word just by talking about it and getting excited about the event, there will be more to tick next year. Thanks to my friends and family who turned up and showed their support, thanks to the people who turned up that I have never met before, I hope you had a great time and come back, thanks to my bosses who have let me do this two years in a row, most of all I would like to thank my staff, guys, you did a great job this week and without you this couldn't happen, I really appreciate it.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Oooh Blue Moon on Draught, who'da thunk!

So today I received a message via email inviting me to be the first to try Blue Moon on draught. Sounds wonderful, not sure it rings true though since The Rake was one of the couple of bars to trial this product on draught for Coors about a year ago.
Interesting this small fact that the giant brand of Coors seems to have conveniently forgotten about in their marketing blitz.
Be the first? I think not.


I've been a bit quiet recently due to the sheer volume of work I have on at the moment, I'm hoping that normal service will be resumed after the 10th of March(moving house). There will be a post this coming sunday though.
In the meantime apologies for the silence and hope to catch up with you all at our Welsh Beer Festival this week!
Iechyd da!