Monday 30 August 2010

Blog Noir #3

It was supposed to be hotter than hell but it was cold, wet and windy. What the fuck was that about?
Anyway it was chaos on the streets, least that's what the journo's are callin' it. It's happened before of course but never like this. The crowds had been howling for a change for a year and now it had come, they were about to get some good old fashioned payback! I cracked open a beer and watched the world turn itself inside out.

The dame was dressed all in blue when she waltzed into the joint, to my twisted, beer addled mind I'd have given her 7.1 but what a body! What folks would do to to get hold of that body is probably unspeakable and I wouldn't tell a soul as long as I could have my turn! She smells like heaven should smell. This strawberry blonde was like a godsend in the most evil part of town you could hope to find yourself, there wasn't anything you wouldn't do for this broad.

Gotta stay cool though, no need to blow the load so early but I need to join the chaos outside, I need to get my hands dirty, I need to join the party, taste the chaos, get an idea, get a theory...

Thursday 26 August 2010

Apparently I Look Like a Twat

After a couple of comments about my profile picture on here, one of which said I look like a twat saluting something : 
I have decided to change the picture for a while, whilst I come up with something else.
Not quite sure which one to use though.
One suggestion was a picture of me behind the bar at The Rake, like this?
Bit too landlord for me
Also not sure I'm allowed to use this one as it was in the Independent.

There was also a suggestion of a picture of me and Mrs Rabidbarfly, like this :
This ain't Boak and Bailey though
Not sure the wife would want to be involved in in the pic though, she might have to start contributing to the blog!

I kind of like this one of me, it was taken on holiday in France : 
I like this one
Should I put it to a vote? doubt it, not sure anybody would actually give enough of a shit to vote. 
Oh well, it's not about beer this one but I'm also thinking about getting someone to design a logo that can go on here too. I have an idea of what it could be but I'm shite a drawing so I guess it's the bottom one for now.
Anybody want to design it for me?

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Beer Bloggers Conference

It's old news now of course but thought I'd post about it anyway because it's interesting, well, to me anyway. The first ever Beer Bloggers Conference is going to take place in Boulder, Colorado from 5th-7th November this year. Unfortunately I will not be going. Why? I can't afford it! More's the pity.
It sounds like it's going to be both fun and interesting though if you can get there, with a mixture of lectures, presentations, live-blogging and general beery goodness, not to mention the chance to meet like minded people!
There will be four keynote speakers, four technology companies from Boulder giving presentations and so far about 70 people have signed up to it, you can find the full agenda here. There's going to be at least four breweries there too including Great Divide, Odells with lesser known this side of the pond, New Belgium Brewery and Breckenridge Brewery.
However, one of the things that surprises me is the date, surely it would have been better to base it just before, after or even during GABF?(Not that I can afford to get to that either!), mainly because so many beer bloggers would go to it, maybe even give them a discount on their tickets if they're signed up for the conference(are you listening CAMRA?), before you say it, yes I know a lot of us, if not all, get trade tickets for free to GBBF but live-blogging and other events around this would only help raise the profile of the GABF and GBBF.
The Way forward?
Talking of 'live-blogging' I think it would be good, certainly fun, I think, if we had the chance to live-blog at the twissups, this would require finding free wi-fi in a decent location(oh and extension cables!). Does the Marble Arch have free wi-fi?
So does the UK need a bloggers conference or do we just continue with the twissups? If you look at the agenda for the bloggers conference in Boulder there's a lot of hour long 'Content Sessions' what these are I don't know, is it discussion about peoples content, lectures about what people should use as content, I'd appreciate a bit of enlightenment so if anyone knows, hows about letting the rest of us in on it? But the rest of it seems mildly interesting, the keynote speech from Greg Koch, CEO of Stone will probably be the best received, as it looks like it's going to be a major craft brewer telling beer bloggers that they're great, excuse my cynicism but this seems like the ultimate exercise in blowing smoke up a collective's arse. But hey! we all like to hear good things being said about ourselves, right? It also seems like as usual those stateside are sparing no expense in putting on buses for the two brewery tours etc..can you see anyone here doing that? The Breweries and pubs that we have visited have been more than generous with both their time (and beer) and we thank them for that but travel around this country is both expensive and irritating so how do you ensure attendance? I guess it just comes down to no reason other than a passion for beer, doesn't pay the bills though does it?(unless you're really lucky).
Hardy travellers all.
Whether you get to Boulder or not this year, what are your thoughts on the idea of a conference? Do you think the UK should have a beer bloggers conference? I'm undecided as to the value of one, are 'twissups' the way forward? Give me your thoughts people, this is one that really interests me and I know it interests a few of you too!

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Chaos Theory Returns!

After much nagging from the beer bods everywhere, Brewdog announced this morning that they are bringing Chaos Theory back for a one-off celebrity spot on their beer list today.
This is by far and away my favourite Brewdog beer and so I had to go online and buy 12 bottles as soon as I heard the news!
As Andy Mogg says 'if you like IPA's then beg, steal and borrow some money to buy a case of this wonderful beer' - I second that sentiment wholeheartedly!

I wrote about Chaos Theory here, I'll write about it again when I receive the beer!
Getting thirsty just thinking about it....nom nom nom....

Sunday 22 August 2010


Imagine a world of possibilities.

Imagine a world of choices.

Imagine a place to be unique.

Imagine a place to buy boutique.

Imagine a beer that tastes of promise.

Imagine a beer that tastes of hope.

Imagine you could buy that beer easily.


Please, imagine!

The Lord of the Beers, Part One

The age of brown and flat is over the age of craft beer has begun...

Not too long ago in a far away land, forged in the mash tuns, kettles and fermenters of a brewery a beer was born.
This was not just any beer though, this was a craft beer, the humans of the world had been searching for this fabled creation for many years and now craft beer was about to unleash it's hordes on the world.
The forgers of craft beer have long been waiting to take over the world and put the armies of corporate tasteless brews back into the hell they came from. This tale will tell you about one band of hardy craft brews and it's journey to the hallowed land of a beer bar not so very far from you.
The Brewmasters deemed the batch ready so they palletted it up with some other beers from the  same craft brewery which had been waiting for this batch to become ready to be unleashed!
The Brewmasters had given this one a special power, it had come out of their favourite fermenter, it had been given the special hops, magical malts the right yeast and a type of water that could only be described as the purest of the pure. It was IPA, the type of beer that made mens souls weep with joy. This beer would unite the beer drinkers of the world, it would give so much joy that wars would end, people would stop drinking mass produced watery lagers and dull brown ales and craft beer would become the choice of millions. The brewmasters chanted a long lost chant which had been created a millennia ago by their forefathers but they wanted this to capture imaginations and send people into Biervana so chant they did.

one beer to rule them all...

One Beer to rule them all,
One beer unite them,
One Beer to quench them all,
And in the beer bars, bind them.

This was the chant they kept up until the last bit of pallett wrap had been wound and the pallett loaded onto the refrigerated truck and it had disappeared into the foggy distance of the night to a special warehouse that would keep them at the right temperature until the boat arrived to take them to the promised land of Biervana. The truck was cool, there was a safety that the fellowship felt being locked up in a truck on the way their warehouse which was only about a mile a mile away, nothing could go wrong, could it?

To be continued...

Tuesday 17 August 2010

I Hardcore You - The Side Effects

Ok, as good as the I Hardcore You is, it has some rather annoying side effects...

1) Random Mildly Drunken Tweeting.

2) Fucked up sleep pattern(i.e.I didn't get any!)

3) Hangover.

A Lot to Answer For!

Was it worth it? you bet your ass it was! I think I had 5 or 6 halves of this last night after work and enjoyed every single one of them!

Monday 16 August 2010

I Hardcore You - Deadblogged.

A keykeg of I Hardcore You
So, Mr Dredge live blogged about the Brewdog/Mikkeller collaboration, I Hardcore You last night so I thought I'd give the draught version a plug. The dead blog, it started now 10.50am.
Into one of my 3rd of a pint glasses, I pour a dark amber liquid, I Hardcore You has already got me hooked, this looks good!
Tonnes of Citrus on the nose along with some peach, some raisin and a mango, this stuff smells like Lilt!
Initially you taste those same fruits in the mouth but they mostly give way to the bitterness that you would expect from something this strong(9.5% abv). There's also a metallic edge to the end of this which isn't too unpleasant but really shouldn't be there.
All in all this is a great beer and I'm ordering some bottles for when the draught runs out! By the way I expect to be mildly hungover tomorrow morning!
Transmission ends! 11.00am

PS  - It's only deadblogging because it's Monday morning and I'm drinking already!

Sunday 15 August 2010

Happy Birthday OBC

So yesterday I went to a five year old's birthday party, this wasn't the usual five year old's party, there were no happy meals and no screaming children(although the bands were VERY young).
Due to train timetables and my busy schedule I arrived about half an hour early and helped them set up(they hadn't got around to putting the beers on so I did it for them). Then their other guests started arriving and since I was stood at the bar in a black shirt, I think they assumed I worked for Otley, they started asking me questions about the beers, ok, so because I could answer them without any problem and did!
Someone recently asked me if I was gunning for a job as Oltey's sales rep in London! I am already, aren't I?
So we've established there was mucic, there was also a bbq that Nick was running himself and of course there was great beers(including mine).

 I was relieved to see that the SOS was going down well for ordinary people, it means that people might buy it when I get some in The Rake! When I had the first cask of it at The Rake, it went down well as a cask wheat beer but for me it needed more strawberry, a lot more! So the guys spent the week producing strawberry concentrate to add to the beer and for me it worked, Nicks not sure at the moment but I was a lot more happy with that. I think next time(if there is indeed a next time!) then I'll be happy to cut up more like twenty five kilos of fresh strawberries to stick in instead of just five.

After brewing with the OBC twice and staying at Nick's pub the bunch of grapes twice, I finally got to meet the lovely Alex Otley, Nicks wife. I'd not met her until now because Nick and I usually stay up until about 1.30am plotting our next move. She greeted me as if I was part of the family and that's one of the many reasons I like going down to Pontypridd so much, I get greeted and treated as if I'm part of the family, a friendlier bunch of people you probably won't find! So here's to the Otley Brewing Company, may they continue to make fantastic beers, may they continue to lead the way in Welsh brewing and may they continue to let me go and brew with them! I hope to go back there soon!

Thursday 12 August 2010

You're Not Big and You're Certainly Not Clever

So you buy a beer in a bar, this beer is one you've never seen before, the staff member serving you informs you that this beer is from a foreign county, for arguments sake lets say America.
You question the price, this bottle of beer is more expensive than that pint of lager you're used to drinking in your local and the bar staff tell you it's because it's imported from the states. You think that's bullshit and make some quip about it being a rip off but you pay the money anyway and walk away from the bar muttering under your breath.
The staff member continues serving people for the rest of the evening but remembers your remarks and feels angry that you took your ignorant indignance out on them. You've ruined their day. Nice.
Hope you feel big and clever, because you're not.

Sunday 8 August 2010

Blog Noir #2

For a change it was a good week for this old hound and his battered liver. When I started bumping into old acquaintances at a boozy joint in town I knew it'd end up in me feeling like a freight train had run over my head.
The joint was jumpin' it had people from all over the world here, all walks of life, the atmosphere was one that I ain't gonna forget in a hurry. No shooters here, just big ol' glasses with big ol' beer. Need to get me some of that.
You get all sorts in here, from the big jolly guy who drinks in some dodgy t-shirt but makes every drink count, he's hanging out with his two skinny geeky mates, one with hair down to his shoulders like he wants to be a rock star or something, knows about beer though that kid and the other who gets so excited about everything that I'm afraid I'll be cleaning brain matter off my clothes for weeks but he's like a puppy on speed when it comes to the good stuff. Then there's the starers, these guys creep me out, if you get so sauced that all you can do is stare, don't get sauced. And don't even get me started on the goddamn beer activists, these guys will shout at you all day long about anything and fuckin everything, 2 pint motormouths who know everything, you wanna shut em up after the first hour then you just ignore them and they turn into just more background noise.
The bar tenders are out in force too, an older guy waves as I walk past, it's like one of those TV memories, black and white slo-mo, this guy's a legend, I need to catch up with him later, but he's busy so I leave him be.
I bump into one of the hacks that this place attracts, he's looking pretty beat in his wrinkled clothes and a loud shirt that says I'm trying to look fresh but really not feeling it, must have been a long night up until the deadline, now everyone wants a piece of him, I guess that's what you get for being famous.
All the other wannabe hacks are here too, they want their shot in the limelight, they want their 15 minutes of fame and so standing near their hero, they hope some of his genius'll rub off on 'em, he's influential dontcha know.
A good time was had by all I guess but now it's time to get some shut eye, next week is gonna be a long one. My wife ain't home, she's off in some God forsaken city and there ain't a damn thing I can do about it.
My sore head says get the fuck outta here, take a pill, ease the week off gently into oblivion with a last cold beer, can my pickled liver take it? who knows, but I'm sure as shit gonna find out.

Friday 6 August 2010

Contract Brewing, Good or Bad?

So you brew a beer, you sell it to people and they say 'hey man that's great beer!' and you sell more and more to them. The demand gets to be so much that you have to 'contract out' the brew so that you can keep selling it or have to go out of business.
But who's brewing your beer? what do you think of it? If it's not right but you're getting the cash, do you say anything?
People who used to enjoy the beer stop buying it and you get a bad reputation, and yet you/they still put it out there.
Why would you do something like that? is it just the money? surely your reputation is what makes you the money in the first place.
I've spoken to one 'producer' and one brewer on this subject, Graeme Mitchell of Mitchell Krause has his beer contracted out to Hepworths and he says that when he went to the bank to develop the brewery they turned him down on the grounds that he wasn't selling to any customers yet. He was at the point where he was wanting to get going so rather than stall on the brewery and not make the beers he contracted it out to Hepworth and got a portfolio of beers going, so when he does go back to the bank he can produce this portfolio and his list of customers. For the record I like his beers they're clean, easy to drink and a very good example of contract brewing done right!
I spoke briefly to brewer Kelly Ryan of Thornbridge on the subject and he told me that Thornbridge get asked to contract brew beer on an almost weekly basis but they refuse every time. The reason being why should they make someone elses beer better? If you as a brewer can't make beer why should they for you? There's also another aspect for breweries that are asked to brew under contract too, it might keep their fermenters full and their business ticking over but you have to wonder about the quality of the beer they are producing for themselves and for the contractor, epsecially if they're not used to brewing that amount of beer.
I understand the business point of view that you need to make every penny count but the other side to that rather sharp double edged sword is that your business and my business are intertwined, your business will affect my business adversely if you send me rubbish beer and I can't have that, not again!
If you can't make a beer that is saleable then don't make it, in the end you'll do more damage than harm to an industry which has enough bad press to deal with.
I'm sure this is a loaded subject and I have for legal reasons(i.e. I can't afford a lawyer)not named breweries that I know are contracting shit beer but I would implore them to stop before it ruins reputations.

Thursday 5 August 2010

GBBF, A Good week

There's been so much going on this week that you can't really help but have a fuzzy warm glow when you think about beer.
It's a positive week for beer, all the headlines are generally good and that can only help. It's also interesting that bars and pubs much as The Rake, The White Horse, Cask and Brew Wharf have all had events going on this week that have made it almost impossible to stay off beer for more than 24 hours, it's exciting!
The Rake turned 4 years old yesterday, and we had the Thomas Hardy's Ale on in celebration of that, if you don't know, it was the first beer that The Rake ever had on draught and the cask that's on is the last current cask in existence and even if I do say so say myself, it's in superb form! This time next year we'll be five and I'm planning something big for The Rake so eyes peeled folks.
Monday night was the British Guild of Beer Writers bash at Brew Wharf, and it was nice that it was just round the corner from work so I could nip round for a couple of hours of schmoozing. I finally met Tandleman there too, what a nice chap he is, not at all the grumpy old man that he claims to be!
Tuesday was trade day, as if you needed to be told, I wne to work for a couple of hours then headed off to Earls Court where all the fun stuff was happening. I got in, got my glass and then it took 10 minutes just to get to the bar. Yep I bumped into so many people I knew that the networking was starting without a beer in my hand! Four and a half hours later I'd had my fill and started my journey home, promptly fell asleep and ended up missing my stop, and the next and the next and the next.....
Wednesday I was off but I ended up at The Rake with Andy Mogg, Mark Dredge, Tim Hampson and Adrian Tierney-Jones before heading off to The White Horsed in Parsons Green for the Brewers Association dinner. Great night had by all I think and I was happy to be at yet another great beer event.
So what does today hold? well hopefully not too much alcohol, it's time to pay back my liver for letting me party hard this week.
If you're free on friday The White Horse will be holding an American craft beer evening upstairs which is bound to be good eye-opening fun.
So a good week, all in all but it's also important that we try and keep this good momentum going throughout the year, not just the one week when we all get together.