Thursday, 7 July 2016

Children in Pubs

Ok im not gonna make appologies for the fact im quite militant on this issue, BUT in no problem with this nice blog from Tandleman

But i thought id follow up just why i feel like i do.

I suspect it all started when i first realised how different the UK was from the continent. When ever i asked if kids were allowed in a pub on the continent i always got a funny look that took me a while to realise was they just didnt know why i was asking compared to the UK where i often got turned away from 2-3 pubs before i found one i was allowed in my my Kids in the UK.

So i started to think on this issue more. The more i thought the more i came to think that in the UK its plain and simple AGE DISCRIMINATION.

Now dont get me wrong, some of my favorite local pubs dont allow kids, and i understand some of their concerns (and some issues are totally out of the pubs control) but i still think their wrong.

Children like any group are not all the same, and grouping them together and making a blanket decision is judging by stereotype, and i think thats wrong.
Good well behaved kids should be just as welcome as good well behaved adults, and just because some kids misbehave doesnt mean that all kids should be banned just in the same way that pubs have to deal with drunk misbehaving adults yet dont seem to ban all adults.

Yes its harder for pubs to deal with problem children, and i think thats the problem, some choose to ignore the issue and let it continue, some choose to bar all kids. But neither attitude helps. But if pubs took the same approach to Problem adults half would close and the other half would not be where most people i know want to go. So if parents threaten to go else where let them. If a drunk causing trouble said well im not coming back, would the pub care

Yes kids bring extra problems but they also bring extra business. Im the Profit heavy soft drink, maybe even  extra on the crisps plus what ever the parents are also spending.

I think the reason Children ale welcome on the continent is that Children are expected to behave. We can only get there if venues expect and insist on that behavior, and well behaved kids should not be discriminated against because some venues cant be bothered to demand their patrons behave.

I hear many arguments,and while i am not saying its on the same scale its got echos of part discrimination.

My patrons dont like kids in the Pub. Just like we used to hear about no women in public bars, of the Infamous No blacks, or Irish signs of guest houses.

Why dont we have some that are and some thats not (well apart from the trouble of finding which are and which arnt) this just strikes me of the racial segregation of US buses.

But my biggest problem, is not with the Pubs that choose not to have children(much as i dislike it and disagree) It with the Bloody Stupid licensing authorities that say, no Children because a pub doesnt have baby changing facilities etc. As i parent i have changed my childrens nappies in all sorts of weird place (and no thats not on a restaurant table). I learned to do this on my knee in a toilet cubicle the back seat of my car etc. So i dont need some random body deciding im not allowed in some where based on a facility i might not need, and can manage without. Esp as half thee time the same councils have been closing public toilets right left and center.

Its easy to discriminate against children as they have no real voice in society but that still doesnt make it right.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Toddler Tantrums

As a parent I’ve seen a few, and the one thing i quickly learned is not to give in to them, that just encourages more.

The Last few days I’ve seen what i considers toddler tantrum from Labour MP's

Ever since Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership contest there’s been a steady undercurrent deliberately undermining him, and all reports suggested that no one could beat him in a 2nd leadership battle.

So knowing they cant win, what they have resorted to is a tantrum, doing as much damage as they can  knowing that neither Jeremy or the Labour party can stop them.

Then when a 2nd leadership election is called, members are left with a stark choice. Replace Corbyn and hope the tantrums stop, or Re-elect him and face further damage by the Tantruming Toddlers, sorry MPs to the Part.

I personally home the members stick by their guns and Re-elect Corbyn cause nothing ever good has come from giving in to a tantrum.

Friday, 1 January 2016

My Life in Beer : The Gospel according to Ratebeer

Due to some cool back stage works by the people at RateBeer i now have access to some cool stats for every Year i have been using RateBeer. So i have trawled this information and compiled it into my Life in Beer.

I started Adding Beers to the Rate beer Database back in 2007 so while the first year probably reflects 3-4 years worth of beers(the notes i took prior to Ratebeer), after that it more or less reflects my life in Beer

How Much I Rate

As can clearly be seen the longer ive been on rate beer the more beers i seem to manage to try every year. I suspect this is a bit of my continuing Ratebeer addiction and the increasing availability of new beer.

Here we can see the number of different breweries i have tried each year, this i think shows the increase in number of breweries available

This Graph shows the Number of newly opened breweries that i rated in each year, reflecting once again the growth in new breweries

Where What I Rate Comes From

The below Graph shows where i mostly Drink beers from, showing all the countries that show up at least one in my top 5 countries of each year.

As can be seen the UK is a beer market as a whole despite Ratebeer separating out each of the UK regions. and the sheer number of English breweries ensures that they always eclipse Scottish breweries. Though the Graph does clearly show in Explosion in Scottish beer. With 2015s massive peak down to the creation of the Alpha Project beers from the Hanging Bat and the Expansion of Stewarts into there Craft Beer Kitchen range at the brewery tap. The Italian peak was due to a RateBeer gathering in Rome where i went wild. Though in the middle years 08-11 i did a fair bit of trading for US beers, its clear also from the graph(even after taking CBC into consideration) that the availability of US beer in the last few years has sky rocketed.

What I Rate

We now look at the Styles of beers that i have rated over time, again the styles were chosen on the ground of each style having made it into the top five styles for at least 1 year

Several things jump out at me, the most obvious being the meteoric rise of IPA,s  and the emergence of Saisons in 2012, alongside the rise of the American Pale Ale. What is less explainable if the persistence of Golden Ales while bitters and ESBs die off.

Who Was Best

This Table shows the Best brewery of each where i had tried at least 5 new beers from that brewery that Year.
Year UK Brewery of the Year International Brewery of the Year
2007 Harveys(3.7) De Struise(4.24)
2008 Marble(3.72) New Glarus(3.98)
2009 Marble(3.8) Mikkeller(3.82)
2010 Thornbridge(3.85) Narke(3.83)
2011 Magic Rock(3.98) Firestone Walker(3.84)
2012 Hawkshead(4.03) CigarCity(3.98)
2013 Moor(3.82) De Struise (3.86)
2014 Hawkshead(3.95) Cycle Brewing (3.78)
2015 Hawkshead/Buxton/Loch Lomond(3.78) Avery/Alesmith(3.86)

Interesting to Note that Colin Stronge and  Dominic Driscol both were at Marble with Dom making the move to Thornbridge in 2010 and Colin reappearing in the chart with Buxton in 2015

What Was Best

This is where it gets messy as we often have a top equal each year. So Listed below are the Top UK and International beers for each year based on my Ratebeer Score. With multiples listed if they scored the same

Year Top UK Beer(s) Top International Beer(s)
2007 Old Chimneys Good King Henry Mikkeller X Raspberry Brown 2007
2008 Bass No 1 / King’s Ale New Glarus Raspberry Tart
2009 Swannay Orkney Porter Kuhnhenn Fifth Dementia Very Old Ale
De Molen Mout & Mocca (-2011)
Mikkeller X Imperial Stout Calvados Barrel Aged
2010 Deeside Talorcan
Swannay Old Norway
Thornbridge Bolvig Saint Petersburg Deluxe Edition
BrewDog Abstrakt AB:04
De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis 666
2011 BrewDog / Nøgne Ø / Mikkeller Black Tokyo* Horizon Nøgne Ø Dark Horizon Third Edition
Samuel Adams Utopias
2012 Wild Beer Wildebeest Fanø Chocolate Lava
2013 Wild Beer / Burning Sky / Good George Shnoodlepip Struise Black Damnation I - Black Berry Albert
2014 Siren / Evil Twin Bourbon Barrel Even More Jesus VIII Coffee
Redwillow Thoughtless
Swannay Barrel Aged Orkney Porter (Isle of Arran)
Arizona Wilderness American Presidential Stout
Lervig Once You Go Black
New Glarus Strawberry Rhubarb
2015 Magic Rock Bearded Lady Dessert Edition Cellarmaker Imperial Coffee and Cigarettes

2012 was an odd Year as my top 2 drinks were not Beer.
But and Ice Cider La Face Cachée de la Pomme Neige Récolte D’Hiver and a Mead B.Nektar Cherry Chipotle.

But what is most interesting to me is the Lack of what is arguably my Favourite Beer, the Old Chimney Good King Henry Reserve. Knocked out of the Top spot by My First Experience of the Kulminator in Antwerp and the 1981. Now ive had the kings ale a few times since and never enjjoyed as much(though generally very good) but on that first encounter in that place it was clearly the beer of the Year. So sadly the GKHR loses out.


Whats very interesting is that Before i researched this and for the last few years if pushed to pick my favorite breweries it wouldnt and couldnt be a short list but the first two id mention would always be Hawkshead and Highland (now Swannay) So its interesting to see them both appear Prominently in the lists but in totally different ways. Hawkshead dominating my Best Breweries List and Swanney appearing most in my best beers list. Yet neither appears on the other list.

Its nice to know my gut feeling backed up with hard figures all be it with a twist.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

My 2015 in Beer

In 2015 i tried 3537 new beers from 1034 different breweries.

My Average beer score for 2015 (on the RateBeer scale) was 3.4

My 5 most tried styles of 2015 were
340 India Pale Ales
268 Golden/Blond Ales
239 Imperial Stouts
236 American Pale Ales
167 Saisons

My 5 most tried countries of 2015 were
England 1431 Beers
Scotland 659 Beer
United States 485 Beers
Denmark 167 Beers
Netherlands 140 Beers

My  5 most tried Breweries  of 2015 were
Stewart Brewing with 127 beers
Brewdog with 61 beers
Mikkeller with 61 Beers
Alpha Project with  60 Beers
The Kernel with 50 Beers

My Top 5 Styles of 2015 were
Imperial Stout  with an average score of 3.86
Imperial Porter  with an average score of 3.84
Sweet Stout  with an average score of 3.77
Black IPA  with an average score of 3.6
Stout with an average score of 3.59

My top 10 Breweries of 2015 were (min of 5 new beers)
Alesmith  tried 5 with an average score of 3.86
Avery tried 5 with an average score of 3.86
Põhjala tried 5 with an average score of 3.84
Prairie tried 15 with an average score of 3.8
Jackie O's tried 7 with an average score of 3.86
Buxton tried 17 with an average score of 3.78
Hawkshead tried 15 with an average score of 3.78
Loch Lomond tried 5 with an average score of 3.78
Magic Rock tried 20 with an average score of 3.76
Cellarmaker tried 7 with an average score of 3.57

My Top 10(well 11 as score changed at 11) beers of 2015 were
Cellarmaker Imperial Coffee and Cigarettes  with a score of  4.6
Magic Rock Bearded Lady Dessert Edition with a score of  4.6
Pipeworks Coffee Break Abduction Imperial Stout with a score of  4.4
Nøgne Ø Quadrupel (Red Wine Barrel Edition)  with a score of  4.4
Magic Rock Bourbon Barrel Bearded Lady  with a score of  4.4
Beavertown / Prairie Ales  Barrel Aged 'Spresso  with a score of  4.4
Fyne Ales / De Molen Mills and Hills  with a score of  4.4
Struise CapSoul    De Struise Brouwers   with a score of  4.4
Perennial Barrel Aged Abraxas  with a score of  4.4
Founders Backstage Series #11: Big Lushious  with a score of  4.4
Loch Lomond Jaffa the Hutt   with a score of  4.4 

But a special mention goes to both
Hawkshead / Crooked Stave for  Key Lime Tau
Mad Hatter for  Tzatziki Sour
Both of which Scored 4.3 as unlike the whole  top 11 these were not BIG beers.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Fun Fyne on Cairndow

I know i dont blog that much and as i told Adam at the start of the festival, i know im no great writer, and i tend to only try to put words down (with all the letters,though not necessarily in the right order, and come to think of it not even all the right ones) when i get inspired. And guess what. Thats what Fyne Fest did.

What is FyneFest? 
Is it a Beer festival? Is it a Music festival? Is it a Family Holiday?

 I guess we will never really know

But for me its of all that and more.

Most importantly FyneFest is an opportunity to relex, and enjoy the slow pace of life in good company. Its not a beer festival to dash round and try and get all the lovely new beers, its not a family holiday to be crammed with as many exciting things as i can make fit, Its one of only 2 times in the year that i truly stop and relax.

The festival is nestled between two hills giving a stunning 360 degree view of some of the most wonderful scenery that  scotland has to offer. The site of the festival is amazingly well laid out (well apart front the single entrance/exit that doesnt half get muddy) with camping not to far from the car and even closer to the bar, with a decent range of food and non beer stalls and  plenty of space for camping. 

Friends from near and Far gathered as our tent village  grew to over 15 tents, some containing people i  know well, other not so well,yet more ive only met at previous FyneFest, and more still being friends of the previous, but all there with the same aim, to relax and enjoy the event what ever the weather.

 Welcome to the Village

This is my 3rd FyneFest and each year the beer list gets better and better. Despite neither of the previous two years catering to my love of trying new beers, the beer list contained many gems and keep me very happy. This year prior to the event on seeing the beer list i couldnt help but drool at the number of new beers and few other favorites. But what surprised me most was that unlike most beer festivals i didnt dash round trying to complete the set but found myself casually picking them off one at a time, inter-spaced mostly with the delightful Mills and Hills, the number of these climbing beyond my capacity to count.

I dont know any one thats been to FyneFest that doesnt want to come back again and again, some of those who have been coming for years have build up traditions, and i enjoyed hearing from some people i was chatting to on the Friday evening about their tradition and how they stop off at the same pub on route up from Cumbria for a pint of Tennants Lager, and how on Saturday morning they had to head off to Inveraray for a Pie before returning for the 2nd day.

The Three Musketeers

But on asking one the Saturday how the pie was, i discovered Disaster had struck, and the shop had changed hands and no longer did pies. Wandering around they found a pub, had a pint and on way out passed a butcher as disaster was averted, of course now tradition demands a visit that same pub next year. 

So heres to tradition, 
and long may FyneFest continue to be traditional part to my year

Sunday, 1 February 2015

USA vs the Rest of the World Part 2

This time i took 4 Beers and ONE HUNDRED random users, ignoring any with less than 10 or that country wasnt clear.

Beer 1  Three Floyds Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout  USA average 4.25   ROW average 4.28

Beer 2  Westvleteren 12 (XII)  USA average 4.44   ROW average 4.41

Beer 3  Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout  USA average 4.0  ROW average 3.79 

Beer 4 Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (Bottle/Can)  USA average 3.73  ROW average 3.53

Interestingly the Highest Regarded beers showed no real difference but the other 2 beers showed about a 0.2 difference in favour of US rating

In everycase there were more US raters: 66, 59, 79, 68 repectivly

Now again while it hints that there maybe a small difference i dont think this proves anything. But it does make me want Database access that would allow a much more in depth look

Friday, 30 January 2015

USA vs the Rest of the World Part 1

The RateBeer best awards have always made me think.

All awards hove there Pro and Cons and im a big fan of RateBeer but the Dominance of US beer and breweries in the RateBeers best and top 50. Along side this some surprising UK entries that seem to have a much higher placing than me or the beer people i know would expect but on closer examination have a large distribution in the US.  All this has regularly made me think that maybe US members rate beers higher then Non US members.

Now without Access to the Database where im sure some large scale analysis could be done, im going to try looking at several beers  that will hopefully have a reasonable number of ratings from both US and Non US members.

So for Part 1, I have taken
Three Floyds Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout vs Westvleteren 12 (XII)

I looked at distribution of the Top 20 and Bottom 20 raters of each beer. (excluding as is ratebeers way any with less than 10 rates)

So for
Darklord all 20 top raters were from the US but only 10 of the Bottom Raters were
Where as for
Westvletern 13 of the top raters were from NON US countries but 11 of the bottom were also NON US raters

Now Its a  small sample of only 2 beers so id be fairly certain its statistically insignificant, but i hope to look at other beers in this way and others and see if a pattern emerges