Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Wetherspoon’s Beer Festival

As you can see from the attached photograph I do write notes on the beers I try, usually on the beer lists, not sure if this is including in the definition of ‘beer ticking’ but it did cause my partner to laugh whenever he saw the booklet and pen (yes, I have spare pens in there as well) come out of the handbag. Whatever you call it at least I have a good list for ordering beers off the internet when I have spare cash.

Unfortunately due to the way the pubs local to me selected their beers for this festival I didn’t get to try all the ones I wanted, however I did try 9 out of 16 short listed by myself and another 5 on the list. All in all is not a bad attempt. One thing I like about these festivals is due to the fact the beers shift faster in the festival they are usually in better condition for us drinkers.

Highlights for me were Goose Island’s Honker’s Ale which we got from the cask at my partner’s local Wetherspoons, malty scent, with fruit cakey tones to it and a lovely smooth sweetish bitter taste which had a long finish to it. St Peter’s Old Style Porter which was rather gorgeous it has to be said. Nethergate’s Red Poll which was certainly a bully pint although I just didn’t get the liquorice notes in either the taste or scent. Phoenix’s Black Shadow was the best mild I have tasted in a Wetherspoon’s festival to date and last but not least Cairngorm Brewery’s Culloden was a lovely morish pint with a wonderful portique toffee scent which again we tried from cask rather than pump.

The only real let down for me was the Maui Brewery’s Coconut Porter, it started nicely with a gentle coconut tint to the coffee porter taste but then right at the end of the finish it hit you with a bang of a bitter acrid taste which was hard to shift from your palate even with numerous cups of tea. I wondered if this was a problem with shifting the brewing location as it such a discordant note it can’t be on purpose. One day I will get to head over to Hawaii and try it brewed in its proper brewery and then I will give a final opinion on it. It was a lovely beer up until that bang.

I enjoyed the festival a lot and even now there are still festival beers on the go at various pubs so it is worth a trip to see if you can catch any of them.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Hook Norton Bottles Out to Fullers

Well done to everyone who did the marathon, you are all stars whether you ran, wheeled, walked or crawled it!

The London Pride bottle went great guns, outstriping the Hook Norton bottle by 10 minutes at mile 13 and the gap widened alot by mile 22. The Fuller's bottle even had the strength to wave and smile at folks ..... well done that bottle!

The morning started for me at 7.45am getting to the mile 13/22 for my partner's charity's cheering point, we got soaked at 8am by the heavy downpour but once the rain stopped we had blown up the banging sticks and were proceeding to enact various Star Wars and Errol Fynn fight scenes which warmed us all up. A hot cup of tea and a quick breakfast before the start of the race with the disabled runners at just before 10am and then the elite girls and guys half an hour or more before the main bulk of the runners. It was a long day until 4pm when we finally could tidy up, let the kids who had been trying since 12 have the balloons they were attempting to nick and head off to the pub for a well learnt drink and meal.

As well as all the runners, well done to the cheerers along the whole of the route. You give so much support to all the runners and make it easier for them.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Aspall's Perronelle's Blush

A saturday, a saturday, and the first cyder of the year,
Lord Aspall's Perronelle Blush came into the bar, the drink for all to see,
And when the opening hour come, she cast herself about,
And there she saw little Ratty Groves, walking in the crowd.

“Come drink me, little Ratty Groves, come drink me tonight,
Come drink me, little Ratty Groves, and drink me till closing time”

"Oh, I can't drink you, I won't drink you and drink you only tonight,
By your pink blush of colour I can tell you have Blackberry liqueur in you”

“But if I am strengthen by liqueur, then I am a reasonable abv for that
Try and see if you can’t tell that by a sip”

And a barmaid who was standing by and hearing what was said
Swore that young ratty would enjoy it until the sun would set
And in her hurry left him in no doubt that this was his drink
The drink was the pinkest ever seen, with bubbles up the glass

Little Ratty Groves, picked up the glass and took a little sip
Surprised to find a delicate taste that went down to his feet
Saying to himself “How do I like this fruity taste and how do I like this drink
How do I like this lady who sits in my hands to drink?
Oh, well I like this taste and well I like this drink
But better to see the next one lined up for me to drink”

“Well, get up, get up,” Cried Ratty’s friends, “get up as quick as you can
It’ll never be said in fair England that you won’t stand a round”

“Oh, I will get up, I will get up, I will get up for my round
For we have all been paid for the week and I have a big bonus
Well it’s true I have catch the eye of the evening staff
But here’s to the very next round on the bar including your lout
And you will drink cooking lager instead of this gorgeous drink
I will be sitting here smug and with a packet of crisps”

Monday, 12 April 2010

McMullen’s Hertford Castle

5% ABV

Out of all the ales that McMullen brew there are only two bottle only ales. One is the rather gorgeous No1 which is not available on their website and I have only ever seen it in their own brand pubs, more morish than Youngs Pale Ale and far superior to Courage. However, I am writing about their other one, Hertford Castle, this packs the punch that many miss in the other ales from this brewery.

It pours into the glass in a dark honey coppery colour with a white foamy head which lasts until nearly the end; all this is accompanied with a fresh hoppy aroma. It is a nice smooth drink which is perfect for the hot weather we had at the weekend, refreshingly hoppy, perfect for sitting in a pub garden enjoying sunshine and listening to the bell ringers. At 5% it is stronger than the others but this is not a bad thing although I would love to try a cask version of this and I think it would attract more drinkers to it.

According to one landlord originally there was another bottled beer released alongside this one which was even better but sadly this was discontinued, it is when you heard stories like that I wish McMullen’s did special editions of discontinued beers like some other breweries do. Hertford Castle is an outstanding ale which you won’t normally see even in McMullen’s own pubs, so if you see please do give it a go.