Friday, 27 July 2012

New Forest Show

I was at the new forest show with my country bumpkin sister. My brother-in-law was attesting to the merits of cider. Now I'm not a cider drink I find it way to acidic, but I'm with my family and don't want to appear rude.

As I'm led to a cider stall (about 10am - isn't this too early) the sun is shinning and it's a glorious day. Being a country show we pass pigs, sheep's cows, and other such animals. I much more used to seeing these in the butchers, but these are alive and fine looking specimens.

I turn round and my brother-in-law has a pint of yellowy orange liquid in a plastic glass , and with a big grin he says 'you'll like this'.

Now I have to say it was cider and not too bad to drink. I have no idea where he bought it so I have no photo's, but because I'm a professional I did drink the stuff, even if my wife did describe it as urine looking.  Now this drinking cider continued  for some time, and with all the sun I had some sun burn.

When I awoke this morning I could still taste the apples, and I find out this potion I'd been drinking was no less than 7% alcohol, which explains the slightly misty afternoon, and my dry mouth this morning.

So I'd mark the unknown cider as a 4 - mainly for my bright red arms and my glowing red head, combined with the 12 hour lingering apple taste on my buds. I'd much rather drink ale, in the tent in the shade than the ropey old cider in the sun..

Next real drinking stop the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) on 9th August.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Mr Windy and the Random Guinness #3

To our amazement, Mr Windy was still at it today. For whatever reason, he was wearing a polo shirt branded with a supplier's logo (always a sartorial no-no, and something we've recently managed to get Addie to stop doing after many scruffy years with a wardrobe full of these things). This must have weakened Mr Windy, like wearing Sauron's One Ring around your neck on an orc-hindered quest to Mordor.

The order? Guinness is kind of acceptable; established and drinkable in an emergency. But a lager shandy? No, Mr Windy, no! ("We don't usually serve cocktails," said the barman. Ho ho ho!)

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Not comfortable

Addie was not firing on all cylinders today. He'd been up all night working (anyone else would have got it done in an hour or so, but not Addie, the heroic martyr that he is). As a result of one hour of sleep, he sat with his pint, zombie-like, not really actively participating except for the occasional sip from his glass. Even Mr Windy's random Guinness (see elsewhere) couldn't rouse him, and I'm not sure how he will assess today's beer as he surely can't really have tasted it. He was about as much fun as one of his blog posts (so more of an ordeal really).

The ale itself cheered me up. A very pleasant beer, 4.2% Pale Ale from Sambrook's Brewery, a good local London brew. Seven out of ten. Light and hoppy and very drinkable, we had a second pint of it as it went down well. And I wanted to extend our time in our local hostelry as Addie was being such fun. If he ever wakes up, he has a picture of the pint; luckily I took charge of photographing the pump.

So, Addie, what have you learned today? Important lesson; fall asleep on the pub table, wake up with a sticky face. Beer law; unchanged throughout the aeons of beer drinking that have passed in human history. Pay attention next time or I'll order you a Southern Comfort and Seven Up.

Mr Windy and the Random Guinness #2

He's at it again. Every now and then he goes for a Guinness while we have a careful examination of the ales. Why does he do it? No idea. He'll probably start on the port and lemons tomorrow.

STOP PRESS: He followed it up with a half. You have to admire the man: "Hoppy, yeasty, aftertaste...?" "Guinness". That's the stuff. It's what a beer blog is all about.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Nutty and frothy. And nutty. Oh, and frothy.

Getting a beer can be tricky, especially if you're doing a spot of bodybuilding. Nevertheless, accompanied by Mr Windy, Heath, Addie and myself all went to do some serious reportage on the state of the local ales. So, before the pumping-iron-obsessed Heath vanished to drink strange frothy things which look like milkshakes but aren't (I don't believe him; the only possible alternative is the type of volcanic mud I've seen bubbling away in documentaries about New Zealand) we sat down to sample a couple of the local brews.

As Addie has reported, Heath had only a half pint. The half he chose was a Mr Milky... Oh no, wait a minute, that was later. Actually, we all (including Heath) had a Slater's Premium Bitter at 4.4%. Addie and I formulated our considered opinions over a whole pint while Heath sniffed at his half like it was a Shakespearean poison concocted for Lady MacBeth. It was ok if unspectacular, lacking any real flavour except, somehow, nuts. (Addie thinks everything has a hint of nuts about it as he drinks, but this seems to me to simply be a physical reflection of his own psychological state -- however, just for once, I agreed with him.) Quite pleasing; 6 out of 10.

Then it got tricky. The next pint was called The Two Halves by Vale Brewery at 4.0%. While Heath persisted with trying to bring himself to drink the first one he'd ordered, Mr Windy decided to go for just a half of the next beer himself, resulting in the need to repeat and clarify an order for "two and a half pints of Two Halves". Adding that he could have asked for "four and a half halves of Two Halves" didn't help, since although funny it would have resulted (if served exactly as requested) in two and a quarter pints of Two Halves. It would have been even trickier if Heath had wanted another half, as that would have been two pints and two halves of Two Halves. Of course, if we had had two halves of Two Halves and two pints of Two Halves, that would have actually been three pints of Two Halves or six halves of Two Halves. Luckily we didn't, and a dazed and confused Heath instead vanished in search of some milky chocolate froth. Perhaps the brewery should have called it One Pint, but since it was soccer themed I suppose the phrase "a game of one pint" makes no sense at all.

Despite its complexity, it was very nice. Light and fresh, but full of flavour, a seven out of ten, but getting another point for entertaining us with its name. Now Heath, was that thick brown bubbly thing you had later as delicious as it looked? No? Pity.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Oh If Only There Was More Time

Having been working hard, unlike Siddie, I hadn't got round to writjng about our last outing, so here it is.

It was last Friday we went for a break. I'd had 1 hours sleep (thank you work) and was slightly tired - these things shouldn't stop a trip in the rain.

The first was 'Not Euro Fizz' by Aylesbury 4.5%. Slight yeasty smell, with hops. No great flavour slightly sour, dry, drinkable ale. The badge indicated it was 'like a pilsner'. I was too dark, not fizzy enough, bit did have the hints of this about it.

The second was Colchester number 1 by Colchester brewery 4.1%. Beer with a standard taste nothing special, but it was definitely beer.

Whilst we were at the local we discussed the Great British Beer Festival. For those who don't know about this, the Camaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) get circa 800 beers all in one place at a time, and you wander round drinking them. Never managed to try all of the beers, but I try. Then you eat pork pies and pork scratchings just before you fall asleep on the train and miss you stop on the way home. It's a great evening.

Since neither Siddie or I are the bosses at home, we will be seeking permission from our other halves, and with luck, drinking lots of different beers on 9th August.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Then There Were Four

Unusually today Windy, Heath, Siddie and I all had lunch together.

Our first was Slaters Premium Bitter 4.4% hoppy beer with undertones of nuts. Quite pleasant beer I'd drink again marking a 6.

Whilst drinking and having the usual banter about the world and everything, we end up with the dilemma of what should be the second beer.

Heath, with his lady gene, only had a half, and was keen to get back to his milkshake and the gym to build up those muscles.

Windy being the oldest of the group (when we moved into the office he was already there and hasn't moved desk since) generally finishes with a half. This is his age, as opposed to Heath, who is more interested in checking his reflection in a mirror.

So our second round was 2 and a half pints of..... 2 Half Pints by Vale Valley at 4% very fragrant smell, and a taste to follow through. Neither Siddie nor I could place exactly what it was, so it was interesting and worth drinking. I'd mark this a 7, partly because asking for 2 1/2 pints of 2 half pints, is weird and after several probably quite funny.

.

Meantime Milkshake?

An old friend was in town having just returned from holiday and so what better an opportunity to catch up, and in the name of research, sample another delightful beverage we like to call beer.

Although there is a common belief amongst Siddie and Addie that I drink nothing but protein enriched shakes these days I'd like to think that that's not always the case and although it's fair to say its not as often as I (or they!) would like I do occasionally like to sup a beer.

Last night's offering was a Pale Ale from London brewers Meantime. Coming in at 4.3%, its not too dangerous and I found it quite hoppy to be fair and not as easy drinking as most Pale Ales due to its bitter (ish!) finish.

It didn't help that my friend decided we would be standing outside to watch the passing female traffic that passes London Bridge (very little at 18:30 in the rain!) and thus had to drink from plastic cups.

But nevertheless it was full of flavour and being unashamedly bias of all things London, I'm going to give it an extra point! So overall a middle table, 5 out of 10. It's not quite as good as Meantime's London Lager (that's lovely!) but another decent offering from the fine folk in Greenwich.

Now, where's that protein shaker gone?

How hard can it be?

We are at work, walking through what we would do if disaster struck. So here in rainy London, we pretend that the power is out and what we do next. Really how hard is this? Not much since you can't work, can't go home (no trains), so all you can do is go to your favourite pub and have some real ale.

This had us talking, as usual, down the pub. Siddie was recently replacing a light fitting. Presumably the one already in place had been there since the house was built, and consequently the new one was slightly different. Siddie is a clever chap, with all his techno speak and clever gadgetry, but this gave him a problem. How to rewire a ceiling rose. So we go, from work Tom-foolery with electrics to Siddie's dilemma. Once started, he realised he hadn't noted where all the wires had come from. To help I draw a diagram, power - lightbulb - switch. Not hard. But Siddie is determined this is difficult. So he brings up a picture of his old ceiling rose, then draws a picture of the new one. So here we have it. No matter what you know about Z O/S, TWS, and such techy abbreviations, what he failed to realise is they are exactly the same, just with the connectors in slightly different places. Now how hard is that?

This all took place over a nutty, slightly watery (in the respect of a porter) beer. It had a good, hop flavour and yes I like it. I'll mark this 4.3% Cottage Brewing, AF Grand Prix as a 6 out of 10.

Grand Prix

With our guest from the west, we were suddenly at the local ale house before I knew what was happening today. Addie had held us up as usual by being unready and always having to finish some piece of irrelevant nothing that he has his hands in. Then, in a sudden flurry of activity, we were off. So organised, so professional, the crack team of beer reporters in full effect. No wonder we never get anything done.

AF Grand Prix by Cottage Brewing, at 4.3% is a sensible beer for a lunchtime pint which comes across almost as a porter or a stout. It has a near creamy head which lasted throughout the pint, and is dark and mellow, with deep beery flavours and a pleasant aftertaste. I'm more of a conventional bitter man, but good stuff nonetheless. 6 out of 10.

So by the time I finish writing this we may well be off on our next assignment. Or maybe it'll take days before the muse hits. That's the wild roller coaster of our lives.

Addie, will you please stop snoring and take your head off the desk? You're dribbling on your keyboard. Sigh.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Milkshake

Welcome to Heath, it's good to have another real ale drinker on board, even if Fosters was his first post - I remember making a post about red wine at one point. However Heath has recently started to drink milkshakes, or at least that's what they look like. A great big glass of some protein drink, apparently no milk whatsoever.

So while Siddie and I strengthen our arms, and our debating skills. Heath is off drinking milkshake and apparently working out in the gym.

So today we had a 4.8% Red River ale by WJ King. This ruby red drink at first hit me with a sugary taste. Siddie told me how wrong I was, and I confused the strength of the ale with sweetness (nice to see he tells us it tastes of caramel). It is a very strong tasting beer, with a hint of sugary caramel. A very nice beer to finish the evening with, but not a session drink. I'd mark this as a 6 out of 10.

Of course Heath will mark his milkshake at some point, or maybe a glass of Stella or Carling, we will have to wait and see.

Knowing your cask from your elbow

Addie just wanted it today. Following Heath's off-topic Fosters post last week, he was quite determined to discuss real beer.

However, what we actually discussed was everyone's recent tiredness and lack of general wellbeing. I have had a shocking cold and spent much of the past weekend doing what only a bloke can properly do, which was feeling deeply sorry for myself. Meanwhile, Addie persists with a swollen and painful elbow story, although he offers no actual insight into what may be the underlying cause of his arm centric misery. Perhaps it's the lack of anything else to moan about which brings it on.

I was about to choose a sensible lunchtime pint when other local beer monkeys suggested we went for the Red River, by W J King brewery at 4.8%. Slightly dangerous for a midday singleton, we opted for it anyway. It was strong and caramel flavoured. Taken alongside its red colouring it somehow reminded me of toffee apples, and it had a sweetish smell. The finish was a bit acrid, so it drops a bit in my estimation for that and I'm giving it a 4/10. It was ok, but just a bit too much like hard work for a man convalescing.

Addie's elbow had no trouble with it, though. Unless he was using his other hand. In the end I suppose I should have a little sympathy. Up until recently he could never even lift a finger.


Friday, 6 July 2012

Heath's here

Allow me to introduce myself, I'm Heath Roe (I think you can see what we've done there!) I think it's fair to say I'm considerably younger than Messrs Stone and Nam and therefore will hopefully provide a different view on all things beer and ale. I hope you, our esteemed reader, approve.

I use to think ale was for the bearded sandal wearing old man (much like Addie and Sid!) until I started to attend the pub with them and while its fair to say not every variety is to my liking (I don't really like stouts and bitters) I have to say they have opened my eyes to a world full of flavour.

Anyway, after much hype I'm finally gracing the pages of this blog with my words, I hope you like what I have to say.

Last weekend I went to the much talked about Stone Roses gig and I have to say I wasn't disappointed, great songs by a great band and to top it off, a great crowd too. Quite nice those northern folk.

The one gripe I have though is at the gig, like all festivals and large gigs, there is never an ale choice. True to form, the options were Fosters, Fosters and more Fosters (there was some cider too but that's straying from the point!) so as you've probably guessed I supped Fosters, Fosters and more Fosters.

Perfectly drinkable in that cold, gassy, taste of nothing commercial beer sort of way. The amber nectar it most definately isn't, I'd say it's more like the amber fluid that then filled the empty glasses by punters who couldn't be bothered to make their way to the toilet.

So there you have it, my first contribution and it's not even about a proper ale. The cheek of it, these youngsters just don't listen.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Working from Home

On Tuesday Siddie was unable to come into work as his son was sick. We live in a civilised world so this is clearly acceptable. Parents from time to time have to stay at home and look after the little'ns until they are better. Being a father I understand this, and it usually happens when there is some big important meeting at work, that you really have to attend. Children of course don't understand corporate timetable and you just have to look after them.

Fortunately the company we work in allows working from home, they provide laptops and the security widgets that we need to connect to work and be productive. In the case of a sick child, we can then work from home whilst administering paracetamol and waiting for the smiles and laughter to return. This is what Siddie has been doing for the last day.

I have subsequently read Siddie's blog entry and suddenly I'm not so sure. Whilst his little darling has been ill, he has been to the supermarket to do the weekly shop and whilst out - no doubt - had his hair done, booked his next holiday and picked out some jewellery for his wife. Working from home ????

So whilst Siddie is hard at it, Mr Windy and two men from the south ( side of our office ) went out for lunch to discuss the hot topics of the day.

The first was Toppers Mild by Weltons brewery at 4.0%. A lovely mild, a good dark color, with a smooth silky flavour.I rather liked this one so a 7 for me.

The second topic was Eurohop by Downton brewery 4.4% very light ale, fruity bitter flavour, no lingering aftertaste. To start with I thought this was a pleasant session beer, but as I worked my way through the pint hints of a sour aftertaste hit me. So a good start but poor finish. I would drink it again, but in small amounts, so I'll mark this a 5.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Supermarket

While Addie musters the courage to drink a mournful solo pint and bemoan his tragic lot in life, some of us are out in the field doing real research. None of this comfy idling by the roaring logs of the pub fireplace. Oh no. Your intrepid roving reporter Sidde gets on the road to track down ales wherever they may be found.

So what did I find today? The local supermarket. I'm pleased to report it sells beer. Ok, I haven't tried any of them yet, but bear with me. One thing at a time. I only went out for a loaf of bread. Has yeast in it doesn't it? Look, I'm trying, ok?

Rules

I was reading Siddie's blog this morning and I notice that he completely ignored the second pint yesterday.

You'd think that a great writer such as Siddie would have made mention of said pint, for the blog and readers, given it a score on the basis that he could updated the blog later with the finer detail. No he just criticised Heath for not showing up (again), and my abundance of typo's (how hard is that).

I thought we had a beer blogging rule, drink beer and comment on it. Not many rules, just the one, but a rule none the less. Shame on you Siddie.

You will notice the lack of a blog from today, as following his pitiful blog yesterday, he didn't turn up for work.

Today I had a pint of Hop Pocket from the Vale brewery at 4.2%. This pint, and I normally enjoy the lighter ales, was full bitter flavour but the aftertaste was distinctly sour. I couldn't drink too many of these even if I wanted to, so I'm marking this as a 4.

Where is Heath?

One of my work colleagues (this is a colleague not a friend) wanted to join the blog. After some discussion, where he couldn't make up his mind on the name he will post under, he decided on Mr Fussy.

Now Siddie is the techie in the group, so on with the sandals, the hair gets tied back, a slow stroke of his beard, and Siddie is off and sorting out the interweb access for him.

All sorted and where is Mr Fussy? No one knows. So when he finally joins us for a swift one, you can look forward to the ramblings of a milkshake drinker, until then it will just be Siddie and Addie drink beer. Thank goodness for reliable work colleagues.

Today we ate and drank. First 3.9% from Adnams called Flame Runner. This was a pleasant nutty beer, in my view lacking a beery flavour, but okay I'd mark 5.

Second was Cactus Jack from Cottage Brewery. Siddie took no note of this beer whatsoever so is likely to post beer number 2. I on the other hand being a professional did take note. Coming in at 4.1% a lovely beer, no undertones of anything other than the hops it was brewed with. Lovely. Mark a 7 out of 10.


Monday, 2 July 2012

An unOlympian effort

We have another blogger in our army of beer bloggers. He is lucid, intelligent, apparently knows all the letters and can even occasionally spell many of the words he might need without resorting to spellcheck.

He has begged us to become one of the crack team of beer swilling... erm, tasting journalists, and I have therefore readied the blogosphere for his first post. It's bound to be amazing. Wordy, insightful, humorous and topical; this cutting edge journalistic stuff will be too good for us mere mortal bloggers. This will be the stuff of blog legend for years to come. Every bon-mot carefully selected, each phrase a thing of beauty, words for the sake of words, un-putdownable and unmissable. And so to premiere...

Wait a minute. Where is he? All this was days ago. Have you seen him Addie? Where is our new blog-champ? Don't tell me he's going to be more trouble than you. Oh no. He hasn't managed to post anything yet. Too busy. Right. Thanks.

Better talk about today's beer then, for what it's worth. Adnams Flame Runner, at an exceedingly gentle 3.9%. Adnams know what they're doing, and without trying too hard have made a light and easygoing beer perfectly positioned to exploit the flame-bearing pre-Olympic nation. We're poised in anticipation eagerly awaiting the Olympics. But what an anti-climax they'll be when following our new blogger's spectacular beer-words.

Maybe. Is holding your breath an Olympic sport yet?