Friday, 27 May 2011

What might have been

Well today should have been the my Last day drinking in Denmark if it hadn't been for that Damn Ash cloud.

So i though id look back and review three beers that might have been.  Now i havent tasted these beers, i havent even seen them, but this is how i imagine they might be.

The First beer is a variant of one of my favourite beers, Dark Lord. On at Mikkellers bar on Wednesday night was Three Floyds Vanilla Bean Brandy Barrel Aged Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout.

It poured a deep deep black with a thick creamy dark tan head ... Smell is sweet dark roast malts ... big chocolate and a large amount of brandy spirit... body is thick and viscous... Rich dark chocolate ... big meatyness ... heavy sweetness ... long deep chocolate malts ... lots of brandy... little rough ... little  too much brandy for me... Nice but i much prefer the original  8 4 8 4 17 4.1/5

Next up is a beer thats been was produced a decade ago, and was available at a friends tasting and thats  de dolle stille nacht reserva 2000

It pours a dark brown ... huge loose foam off white head ... dark sugers ... roast malts ... little yeast and some spiced nose ... little fizzy despite its age ... dark heavy roast malts and dark fruits .. plums and cherries ... orange peel and cloves ... nice  and held up well but not wholy my thing  7 3 8 4 16 3.8/5

and Final a beer at the festival its zero alcohol and its Nogne inferial stout

Pours a deep black with thin tan head ... very sweet roast malt  ... hint of cola ... light chocolate nose ... bodies a bit thin ... sweet roast ... light toffee chocolate ... quite complex and quite a lot lot of flavour for 0% ... light dark chocolate linger ... all round pretty decent. 7 3 8 2 16  3.6/5

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The day the sky fell in

Well here i am sitting at home. I should be in Denmark. In fact i should have been bottle shopping having picked up 40 bottles of Danish goodness to take home. I should now be at my friends house getting ready to hit the Mikkeller bar. Id been looking forward to seeing the Mikkeller bar, it sounds great. But things looked even better when i heard there was a 3Floyds event , and then started to drool when i  saw the tap list.

* Amon Amarth Ragnarok (8,2%) – Imperial/Strong Porter
* Bourbon Behemoth (12,5%) –  Barley Wine
* Dark Lord (15%) – Russian Imperial Stout
* Dreadnaught (9,5%) – Imperial IPA
* Hell’s Black Intelligenser (6%) – Coffee Stout
* Owd Engwish (10,5%) – Barley Wine
* Rabbid Rabbit (7,4%) – Saison
* Ruggoop (9,5%) – Rye Wine,
* Vanilla Bean Brandy Barrel Aged Dark Lord (15%) –  Russian Imperial Stout

For those of you who know me, know how much a fan of Darklord i am, so to see the Ultra rare Vanilla Bean Brandy version nearly had me wetting my pants.

Then tommorow i had a tasting arranged y a friends with some great beers, followed by 2 days of the Ølfestival 2011.

But oh no none of that was to be. The Ash cloud appeared, disrupted Edinburgh for all of Tuesday, but things were looking better for Wednesday and indeed things were much better on Wednesday. Only one flight was cancelled on Wednesday and that was my flight. Thats right MY flight. I tried to rebook, but because of Tuesdays disruption there was no available flight until Friday. Not much use as i had to be home on Saturday.

so can i just say Balls

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The two headed Beast

The Cask/Keg debate and CAMRAs position seems to have reared its head again, and oddly i find myself having changed position.

I used to be more in the CAMP that CAMRA needs to accept and promote the new-wave of quality Keg beers, but ive been persuaded that this maybe(and i will stress maybe) not be the right approach.

As it stands CAMRAs remit is to promote "Real Ale", Its not for CAMRA do
decide what is good and bad Real ale. Thats for the Market to decide

Its there to promote all "Real Ale".

Now, trying to widen that is tricky. We all know that there's no really accepted definition of "craft ale"

so what are we looking for CAMRA to now widen and promote. Good beer? who decided on what is good. Theyre not making that distinction in the "Real ale" world, so why should they be doing so in the non "real ale" world.

In fact if we want them to choose what to embrace as good beer in the non "real ale" world we would need for them to first Choose what is good beer in the "Real Ale" world, and im not sure i want them to go there.

CAMRA is a large membership organisation, and if your going to have the membership choose your probably going to get what appeals to the most people. So we will probably end up with a very middle of the road uninspired definition of whats considered good.

In my eyes at least, its far better that CAMRA promote all "Real Ale", allow the mass market to exist to appeal to the middle ground and allow all the extremes to exist catering to people like myself.

So if CAMRA were to widen theyre horizons,  they would find themselves having to promote all KEG beer, good and bad, effectively they would just be promoting all beer.

What matters to me is not what 'other' beers exist, what matters to me is that there is a good selection of beers i do want to drink, so someone producing fizzy lowest common denominator lager,  boring bland mainstream bitter, is all fine and well if they can find a market good on them. What i do care about is that i can find well made cask bitter, big hoppy imperial IPAs and rich deep mellow stouts. Its been said before CAMRA isnt against anything, its for something, and that thing is "Real Ale", all "Real Ale" regardless of what i think of it.  I think it does that well and that if it gets involved outside of that distinction, it may be dragged into deciding what is "good" and what is "bad" and i don't want some consumer group telling me what i should consider "good" or "bad"

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Stoned Dog

Well despite the Family commitments, and needing to get to bed at a reasonable time(getting up at 5:30 next morning)

I managed to drag myself down to the Stone all tap take over at the Brewdog bar.

It didnt get off to a good start, with me arriving at 8pm to find NO beer taps on as they had just started to change over all the taps to the Stone one. Moving into a crowded bar, the queue was 3 people deep all along the long bar. So it wasnt till 8:35 that i managed to get my first beer.

But once that little hitch was over it was a great night. I didnt have much as i knew i was up early, but i did mange to try The Lukcy Basartd Ale,  14th Anniversary Emperial IPA and IRS

The the Lucky was a bit harsh for me but the 14th Anniversary was lovely, a strange lemon custard weirdness but i quite enjoyed it. As for the IRS its difficult not to like an IRS and this one was pretty tasty.

Greg gave a little talk before throwing himself into the crowd.... and crowd surfing round the bar

All told i was a short nigth for me and im sure it stayed busy long after i left. But from what i saw a good time was had by all, and was certainly had by me

Monday, 9 May 2011

Pubs and Kids

Loving beer, having Kids doesnt always mix. At least in the UK. For some reason unlike civilised  Europe, we seem to have a problem with allowing Kids in Pubs.

This can be really frustrating. Now dont get me wrong, i dont like kids running wild in Pubs, but nor do i like drunks causing havoc. Pubs seem to mostly manage the drunks quite well, so why they think its more difficult to manage kids ive no idea.  Now i know its not as simple as that, there are some damn stupid legislation about what facilities you need to have if you allow kids, effectively banning kids from some pubs, though the pub and the parents might both be perfectly happy.

Ive found when travelling that pretty much Wetherspoons is your saviour. Im fed up trying half a dozen pubs in a new town, constantly being told , NO CHILDREN. So no i pretty much just head to a Spoons. I know we will get in, i know i will find a decent beer or two, and i know that the food while not great is at least edible and cheap.

More frustratingly until very recently it was pretty much only spoons i could goto with my kids in Edinburgh. Though if you were eating the Guildford Arms does allow kids above 5. However the New Brewdog Bar allows Children up to 8pm.

And so it was on the Afternoon of the Royal Wedding i found myself in the Brewdog bar with the wife the kids and a  few friends. We sat drinking a few great beers, having some very tasty pizza, one with a nice and spicy sauce, and best of all the Bar games entertained the kids. With Christopher taking a liking to battleships. All told we stayed an hour longer than i intended as the kids were being so well behaved. And thats an important thing, I wouldn't stay in a pub if they kids are not behaving, or if there bored etc. But Just because we have Children doesn't mean we don't want a good beer. So here to the Great Pubs out there that allow Children

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Living in a utopian society

would mean drinking Samual Adamns Utopia on a regular basis ... or at least thats what i think. Tonight i am going to find out ...

This is this tasting Specialy highlighted beer

2005 vintage bottle number 09532

deep dark brown ...sweet rich light smokey woody toffee hops ... completely sherry nose ... huge sweet front ... rich smooth spicy spirit ... rich oily body ... complex dark fruits ... huge plum and fig ... some caramel malts ... light alcohol burn on the tongue ... very nice .. very sweet ... very rich ... 9/10

sherry like some raisins ... wonderful presentation. Almost  unique to score. 9/10

sherry on nose ... lots of sweet bourbon vanilla in flavour ... crème brulee sugeryness .. very sweet  9/10

Pedro Ximenez  Sherry ... quite a lot of alcohol .. very sweet ... some white grapes ...almost a religious experience. 9/10

sweet sherry with a dry finish ... crème brulle sweetness ... much more a desert wine than a beer. 9/10

well it sounds close to Utopia to me

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

April showers

were not to be seen. Solar panel wise i had a great month. The Expected total for April was 311 units, and in April I totally wiped the floor with this figure and reached a massive 420 units 35% over the predicted amount.

Again we set a new daily record, with a massive 23.8 units in the 28th, the lowest recorded for April was 6.8 units on the 23rd.

Who ever said solar panels in Scotland were a bad idea, was way off the mark. Well at least with the current Government Scheme, Lets hope May is just as sunny