Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Try and Say Goodbye

This is my first post about Tryanaury in which I will be trying a ahem modest number of beers.  Then a brief, hopefully humorous write up of them here before Liberté, égalité, beer not tea is sent to the farm to live with uncle Bongo.

It will be totally unedited, hopefully still with photos. It may end in a barely legible rant about how Nestle are total cnuts for taking over Roundtree's and replacing raspberry fruit pastilles with Strawberry. All I ask is that if you read this post and are amused at it or any of the past ramblings here that you leave a comment on this post, saying goodbye.

There's a choice of eight untried beers of different styles from seven breweries (four local, one London, one Cornwall, one Norwegian). There's no work tomorrow and enough snacks left over from Christmas to soak up at least six of these beers. There is enough blood in my body to challenge the gods of Olympus. So let's dust off the goblets and glasses, hide the spirits and take this crappy old blog out for one last buggering blast.

This will not be a budget special and thus all beers were sourced from a local shop for local people and cost twelvety.

Blackjack's Jabberwocky. Pale Ale 4.1%
Citrus flavours mix with tropical fruit and spiky.  No nonsense.

Dunham Massey's Milk Stout. Sweet stout 4.0%
Dark treacle then dryness along with charcoal notes .  A sweet treat.

Stubborn Mule Brewery's IPA. Single Hop, US IPA 5.7%
grapefruit then bicarbonate soda.  Standard.

Thirst Class's Raspberry Saison. Fruit Farmbeer 6.4%
Slightly sour, subtly spiced definitely raspberry totally tasty.  Awesome Saucesome.

BlackJack's Barleywine. British Barleywine 9.6%
Aged in white wine barrels for a year and it shows.  Groundbreaking. 

 Amundsen Bryggeri & Spiseri's Dessert in a Can, Imperial Stout 11.6%
You open the can and you get the full on aroma of toasted marshmallow.  Tastes like Irished up chocolate pudding from heaven.  Like okay I suppose ;)

Monday, 19 November 2018

Tryanuary, world champion winning Cheshire Brewhouse and getting on with drinking beer.

I figured all this exploring new beers, trying new styles and verbosely expounding on these experiences would lend a great addition to the Tryanuary movement.

New year is a time of much merriment, my birthday is at the end of January.  Why should teetotalism be forced on me in the first month?  Can’t we enjoy the pursuit of new and raise money for charity?  Well apparently we can!  I am a little late to the party and have only just volunteered but as soon as I hear things, I will pass them on via the usual Bat-channels.

I knew about Tryanuary and was reminded about it, prompting my volunteering, by the social media output of Cheshire Brewhouse whose Govinda (historically acute traditional English IPA with heritage Chevallier malt) been crowned World Champion in the RMI Analytics Heritage Malt Brewing Awards. 

September 2013, two years after I started recording and reviewing beer, I drink a bottle of George’s Nectar, the first Cheshire Brewhouse.  Real ale, as it was bottle conditioned, craft beer that was made locally in a small batch.  Consisting of complimentary bold and subtle flavours, solid bodied, the step from great beers to truly outstanding. 

Since then I celebrated Christmases with Cheshire Brewhouse beers, drank it with my dad when he could still enjoy an ale, and marked many significant events with one of their fine beers.  I've served it at all of the Salford beer festivals to raise money for charity.  Five years and 35 beers, Cheshire Brewhouse is going strong and getting the recognition it deserves. 

Here is the usual round up of the beers I’ve been drinking recently and where to find them. 

Bad Brewing Co.'s Love Over Gold.  £1.75 for a 330ml can (or four for £6) from Asda. A nice easy drinking slightly sweet, slightly bitter and slightly hoppy beer. Nice.

Harpoon Brewery's Take 5 session IPA.  £1.75 for a 330ml bottle (or four for £6) from Asda.  Flavourless, joyless and as for a session, you are not going to drink more than one. Bogus. 

Wild Beer Co.'s Nebula. £2.35 (currently 40p off) for a 330ml can ftpm Waitrose.  A murky lemon and lime tasting spiky beer that's well bodied and full of flavour. Juicy

Sadler's Hoptical Illusion. 99p for a 330ml bottle from Aldi.  Normally even the best lagers suffer from a lack of flavour, here dry hopping stops that with an awful, overpowering perfume mess. It's fucking distracting. 

Shindigger's Concrete Playground.  £3.10 for a 440ml can from Bargain Booze.  At last a dry hop lager/pils that isn’t a mess of perfume & semolina flour flavours. Some nice subtle lime and zest here.  Sublime. 

Thursday, 8 November 2018

The Further Adventures of EmperorBevis

The imbibing of a beverage created by the fermentation of yeast and malt often flavoured with hops.


It is my hobby, my distraction, my vice and my recreation.  However it is not the entirety of my life.  I also have a love of poetry, comedy, equality, politics, my family, pizza and an eclectic taste in music that incorporates Thrash Metal, 90's Indie and Blue Grass.  Far from surprisingly, most important to me is my family.  Which brings us to my long suffering partner Julie, who neither likes drinking beer, eating pepperoni pizza nor listening to Thrash metal.

Julie likes to drink wine, fruity ciders, sweet cocktails and has an eclectic taste in music that incorporates Goth, Shoe Gazing, 90's Indie and David Sylvian.  So are there alcoholic drinks that can cater to such tastes yet still be classified as beers.  YES!  My, or rather our recommendation is Früli.  Below is our joint review published onto my Beeradvocate account.

Van Diest's Früli Strawberry Beer.  £1.80 for a 330ml bottle from Tesco.  
Bottled and co reviewed by my life partner;  Julie.  Pours a cloudy red body with decent white head. Julie: Aroma is strawberry, toffee and cherry.  Flavour tastes like toffee apple. Bevis: Aroma is strawberry fruit chews.  Flavour is first of all strawberry cordial, then at its lowest flavoured point a lot better taste than any other commercially available strawberry lager.  Great body that is neither thin nor heavy complimenting a nice level of sweetness.

Also 'mentioned in dispatches'  Brouwerij Lindeman's Pêche and  London Beer Factory's Berliner Heist.  Easy drinking fruity beverages great for those not attracted to more traditional bitters, lagers and stouts. 

Beer Nouveau Brew Tap, 75 Northern Western St, Manchester M12 6DY.
A place that actually can facilitate my love of craft beers and Julie's desire to drink cider that is made from real fruit alongside our love for 90's Alternative music. It's open 16:00 to 22:30 on Fridays and Saturdays.  The ultra practical decor of comfortable worn in sofas with coffee tables and bar stools makes it relaxed quirky atmosphere.  I've not felt so at  home in since the demise of the 'Subway' under Grand Central.  Music is kept present but unobtrusive with tracks that are very similar to my own collection with the omission of riff heavy screams from long haired metal heads who are mad at their cat. 

The Brewery serves their own beers on cask, keg and bottle.  Also on offer is a limited selection of wines, spirits, ciders and locally produced mead. 

The beer available is down to what is being currently brewed by them.  Beer Nouveau masterly blend together historic, traditional and contemporary styles to produce beer that is of great quality, with an ephemeral palate of flavours and also good value.

One of the most memorable and beautiful tasting beers I have drank was Beer Nouveau's Lite Wit, a wheat based beer that defied all the preconceived notions of the style.  Instead of a boring banana and clove tasting affair I was treated to a sublimely complex subtle spice and berry tasting beer.

*The image of comedy character 'Bugger All Money' is used without the explicit permission of comedian Harry Enfield.  I would like to state that any legal proceedings would be best avoided as they could potentially result in a loss of legal costs due to the fact I am fooking skint and can pay bugger all money out. 

Monday, 5 November 2018

Beer talk talk.

Going back about ten years ago a relative, well an in law said to me "Beer is for drinking not for reading or writing about".  At the time I wasn't a million miles from that mindset however, obviously this definitely isn't the case now.  I've tried to keep this blog as practical as possible, who is selling what and is it any good.  That withstanding please allow a little discussion on the label of 'Craft'.  

So what is Craft?   It seems far more of an elusive term than real ale, cask and bottle conditioning, which a lot of the times does make a better beer.  Craft doesn't have to be real ale but, in my humble opinion, it  helps.  It can even be lager, just not big corporate brewed by the billion gallon batch and pasteurised, made with five pence worth of ingredients per pint and then shoved full of additives lager.

"Oh you like beer do you Bevis? American Beer? Same here! Bud, Coors Lite and Miller".   Perhaps this statement off a former work colleague shed a little light on the craft label.  The word beer has been so associated to pretend pilsner that ale and quality lager needs to be distinguished by a term of its own.  For me Craft beer, basically has to be supremely good, so working in my regular theme of 'do you get better beer paying more?'.

I put £9 into a budget supermarket Lidl  purchase and £9 into a purchase from Didsbury independent bottle shop The Epicurean.  The former bought a Belhaven Craft beer Discovery Pack of six 330ml bottles.  The latter bought three genuine craft, local, small batch 500ml bottles.

The three bottles from Epicurean are Cheshire Brewhouse's Bugtown Brown and The Revolution Will Not be Televised alongside Torrside's Say No to Cake.  The cold hard facts are that the Belhaven box sets provide 1.98 litres of beer and 11.9 units of alcohol.  Whilst the three bottle conditioned microbrewery beers give 1.5l of ale and 7.9 units of alcohol (or one pleasant night of drinking).  Let's start with the budget supermarket box set.

Belhaven's 5.2% Scottish Ale.  A bizarre flavour of unfurnished Shredded Wheat biscuit, it is not wholly unpleasant just not my pot glass of beer.

Belhaven's 4.8% Craft Pilsner. Tastes tinny and I consider it a flimsy, flaccid waste of calories and alcohol units.

Belhaven's 5.6% Twisted Thistle.  Slightly weaker than the standard issue of this beer and fractionally stronger than the European version.  What we have here is a competent IPA with some noticeable grapefruit tasting hops. Decent.

Belhaven's 6.5% Speyside Oak Aged Blonde Ale. Sublimely sweet with a subtle caramel flavour.  It is an ale that is both delicate and also complex in a very relaxed manner.  The flavours however could go unnoticed if drank after an aggressively hoppy beer.

Belhaven's 7% Scottish Oat Stout. Quite a harsh charcoal flavour, not unlike burned oatmeal toast.  This I like, but the big alcohol strength and dark, dark flavours don't have the stout bodied substance to it, I wouldn't say watery but decidedly lacking that aspect.

Belhaven's 7.4 90 /~ Wee Heavy. Well, a full on Scottish style that gives the full malty toffee flavour. Outstanding in this collection.

Overall you have one great beer, two fairly good, two barely above average and one abysmal lager.  It would be quite a smart little introduction to the varied flavours of different styles of beer.  But to anything more than a new comer on the craft scene, you would be better off individually sourcing the better bottles. On to the genuine, small batch, bottle conditioned ale.

Cheshire Brewhouse's 5.5% Bugtown Brown. I must warn you, American Brown Ale is pretty much my favourite style of beer and Cheshire Brewhouse is pretty much my favourite brewery, so I'm not sure this can be classed as 100% impartial.  Of course I love this ale, it's a joyful affirmation of life.  With such complex and complimentary flavour elements as chicory, un-roasted coffee beans and dry roasted nut coating.  Balanced in every sense, I cannot recommend this beer enough.

Torrside's 5.5% Say No to Cake. A beer inspired by Sticky Toffee Pudding referencing Brasseye?  That is going to generate massive expectations!  But Torrside is a brewery that is so adept at whetting the appetite and making good on those promises. Incredibly, not a sickly or heavy beer, this is a great easy drinking mocha slanted UK brown ale.  Highly enjoyable. 


Cheshire Brewhouse's 5.4The Revolution Will Not be Televised.  A New England IPA (a murky, orange juice looking beer full of citrus flavour) that has clearly present Brut IPA notes (dry Champagne like elements).  There is a lot going on in this bottle and it is all wonderfully citrus bliss.

Unsurprisingly I am going to recommend a trip to The Epicurean for three bigger bottles of beer that both qualify as real ale and genuine craft over stretching that £9 over six bottles from Lidl or nine bottles of their slightly above average budget craft or 36 cans of economy bitter.
You get a relaxed beer session of both UK and US styles and so much flavour and body in those ales.