Thursday, 28 January 2010

Here Comes the Girls

On this site (for more info: ) they are trying to find the type of glass which would make women happier to use and consider drinking beer. One of the problems with special glasses is they are costly to produce and stand more chance of being nicked after the thief has that one drink in the glass but my main gripe with this, is the fact there are already some great glasses out there, which are being used by both men and women. Rather than do research into more appealing glasses for women why don’t they research glasses that people like to use?

Badger brewery do nice glasses for example their goblets for various beers and they did a fantastic pint glass for Fursty Ferrets with said ferrets climbing up the glass seemly to your pint. These are appealing to both men and women;

Fuller’s pubs do both pint and half pint goblets which are appealing to use although only really use these with Honeydew but will put other Fullers beers in if asked nicely. Both men and women seem to like the ESB goblets as well. A bit of a bad picture I know but it shows their tulip glasses which I will be getting a few of;

I guess the main upshot of this post is just to say we don’t need a special glass to enjoy drinking beer. We just want to have a drink in peace and enjoy it, not be used as an advertising point.
Sorry about the awful formatting, still trying to get used to this!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Hopback – Entire Stout

4.5% ABV

I enjoy stouts but so often you only find Guinness on the bar selection which just is not the same is it now? My only other experience of this brewery was their ever popular Summer Lightening before we stumbled into warm fire lit Sultan in South Wimbledon on a cold Saturday afternoon and once I saw the stout I knew I would have to give it a go.

This stout was a good way to finish off a very good day of fine beers and company, the first pint came over the bar a seductively dark with a good head. As you would expect nice red flashes when the pint was lifted up and wonderful roasted coffee scent but the taste knocked me for six! It has a rich strong burnt taste which coats the mouth pleasantly and tapers off smoothly leaving a nice chocolate nib impression which lingers.

This strikes me as a drink to go with a robust meal, perhaps steak but equally I think this would go well with some of the spicy veggie dishes I have tried at Terre A Terre especially as according to the Hopback website this is a vegan beer.

For more information:

Monday, 25 January 2010

Dark Star Brewing Co – Winter Meltdown

5% ABV

This was a lovely pint to warm up with in front of a roaring fire after a hard morning’s shopping. The pint itself poured into a very inviting drink; chestnut coloured with lovely flashes of red/yellow as the firelight reflected though, foamy soft off white head which didn’t disappear until the end. It looked inviting and it tasted how it looked, gorgeous.

There is stem ginger in the make up of this beer and you do get a faint gingery tang to the scent of it but it’s only when you have a sip that it comes to the fore. The spicy flavours develop after the initial ginger tang settles down, a subtle warming flavour with a little sweet chocolate nudge at the end. It is not as aggressive as some beers that contain ginger can be; this makes for a beer which isn’t reserved for a bet but something highly drinkable especially in this cold weather.

Winter Meltdown doesn’t feel like a 5% beer something which says a lot about the good skills of the brewer I think. As I said in the beginning this was a welcome treat at the end of a hard shopping trip and as I approached the middle of that first pint I could already feel the stress knots leaving. The only shame was the pub we were in didn’t do food otherwise I would have been tempted to remain by the fireplace drinking this for the afternoon.

For more information:

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

McMullen Cask Ale

ABV 3.8%

I have been drinking a fair bit of this recently as I’m at home and my local pub calls. I know that sometimes McMullen beers get a bit of a knocking by some tasters but when they are well kept they are lovely session beers because of their low abv’s and the charm of the beers are best brought out by having a couple of pints during a good conversation with friends.

According to the brewery blurb there is Styrian Goldings alongside English Fuggle hops used to create this beer and I much prefer this to their Country Bitter which uses two other hop varieties alongside the English Fuggle. The colour of the pint is a light biscuity amber colour with a good foamy head which settles to a smooth covering after a couple of seconds.

The tasting notes on both the beer mats and the brewery’s website talk about the citrus flavour to this beer but it is light and enough to be refreshing rather than dominate the taste. I also get a biscuit taste to this beer too just a small hit at the end of the taste I am assuming from the malts in the brewing. Overall this is a light beer both in colour and abv but not in taste although some may think it is too subtle but more fool them if they aren't prepared to sit down and enjoy.
McMullen's do some lovely beers like this one and I am glad this seems to be a regular at many of their pubs, I just wish their 'specials' were more easily available as well. I see from their website that a IPA is available until 26th February so far I haven't seen it which is a shame.
More information:

Thursday, 14 January 2010

January Ales

Better than the January Sales usually.

My cold is slowly disappearing so hopefully I can hunt down some more of these before they disappear from the pumps for another year. Some of these are only available on pump which is great news for pubs as you have to venture further than your supermarket to try them.

Special seasonal beers available in pub only seem to me a good way of getting people though the door although you can increasing find some in bottle these aren’t as special as that pint which is only around for a month or less depending on pub. This is a list I have made so I am aware I am probably missing quite a few but this shows some of the selection which is around in this month.

In no particular order;
Wychwood’s January Sale 3.8%
Hook Norton’s Double Stout 4.8%
Marston’s 175 Not Out 4.2%
Greene King’s Abstinence Ale 3%
Loddon’s Chantry Cheer 4.2% (Really want to try this one)
Bateman’s Winter Cheer 4.2%
Little Valley Brewery’s Mellow Yellow 3.6%
Vale Brewery’s Ale-Conner 3.8% (Apparently a Ale-Conner was a person appointed by a town to test ale quality – wouldn’t mind that job personally)
Titanic Brewery’s Full Steam Ahead 4.4%

There are more out there I see from a quick google and I have seen a few breweries I didn’t know existed most of which don’t seem to do a January beer/ale but from the looks of it February is going to be bursting with new ones to try. Now just to get rid of the last of this wretched cold and I will be able to try some of these one’s here!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Badger, Badger, Badger….

You should try this, go on just try a sip/pint, there’s no harm in trying…blah blah blah!

I really do dislike this approach; it reminds me of a parent trying to get their child to eat something new, all that happens is a tantrum and who can blame them?

Getting someone to try something new especially if you like it, is only human, but beer drinkers seem to forget the reason why other folks drink lager is because they enjoy it. Why not take a different approach? Remember there are cracking alternatives to the usual lager suspects. And sneakily, by trying these alternatives you are more likely to get that reluctant friend to try something new by trading a tit for tat sip.

More importantly you are doing what you are asking your friend to do. Moaning at someone just because they won’t try something different, yet you are doing the same thing by not trying their tipple of choice. You can see the problem.

Go on, stop badgering and try something new yourself!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Meh - No Smell, No Taste

I have a stinking cold and can't taste or smell a thing, hence I have been very quiet on this blog.

Oh well that's another cup of tea for me then.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The Crown - Waltham Abbey

This is the best pub in Waltham Abbey in my opinion, like many of the other pubs in this town it is a McMullen & Sons pub and unfortunately doesn’t do any other ales apart from their ones. However this is not a bad thing as they are extremely well kept indeed. The Crown is the only one in the Abbey to sell all of McMullen’s standard range of beers which is a plus for me since I discovered Hertford Castle ale in bottle which now happens to be one of my favourites out of their range of beers.

They have very friendly staff who always make you feel very welcome from first moment you wander though the doors. As mentioned in some of the reviews I have seen on the web the football team of choice here is Spurs which is pretty obvious due to the old White Hart Lane station sign, this is only a small part of the pub however and this place is certainly not a 'sports pub' as per say. Sports are often played on the pub's tv but the volume is usually low or not on, so it suits both sports lovers (my partner) and those of us who aren't (me). I usually nab the sofa around the corner if Chelsea are playing, this means my partner will get in the rounds as he wants to see the score and you can't hear nor see the tv from the sofa... sneaky I know but alls fair in love and blooming sport!

The pub itself is a country style decorated place and it is a fairly old building so expect beams yet the outside does look a little shabby with the signage needing a new lick of paint but this is at odds with the inside which is very comfortable and warm… perfect for a few warming pints on a chilly day or evening. It is slightly off the main centre of the town but this just means you don't get crowds of underage teenagers trying to get served or pub crawls, instead you get a more friendly bunch of pub goers instead.

Whilst they do serve food it is only at lunchtimes and during the week not on weekends, it is a basic menu which is always done well. I figure the reasoning for the food hours is for the workers lunchtimes and this is borne out by the menu, all good filling food which can be prepared fast so that precious lunch hour can be spent relaxing rather than trying to bolt down a meal as it has arrived five minutes before you need to get back.

And also I admit this is my regular….. :)

The Crown
Waltham abbey

Monday, 4 January 2010

Loddon Brewery - Razzle Dazzle

ABV 4.3%

This beer was a really good surprise present for me, December had been a bit of a wash out for seasonal beers despite my best efforts to find some festive cheer in a glass but this one really turned my head.

Quite a lively beer to pump by the looks of it from watching the barman but once in the glass it settled to a golden syrup colour with a slightly off white head. From the first sip it had a gorgeous syrupy spicy marmalady taste which bittered off slightly at the end and was very moreish indeed. This is easily a two or three pint beer whose taste doesn’t tire out at any point. Highly enjoyable from first to the last, just a shame this was the last of it in the pub, as we left I noticed the pump clip being turned around. Sadly it is a December beer so looks like unless I come across it elsewhere that’s it for eleven whole months.

For my first beer from the Loddon Brewery it certainly made its mark and I will be hunting out more of their beers trying them all with be a task though! I see from their website they do a monthly beer and seasonals as well as five regular beers. These guys are busy bunnies when it comes to brewing!

For more information: