Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Personal Drinking Culture

Apparently drinking culture after work is changing within the banking circles at least with workshops on how to keep quiet in public places whilst having a drink.

However it is also true that the everyday drinking has changed around the country. In London and bigger towns I think this isn't as marked as bars and pubs seem to be busy most days here. But locally visit a pub during the week and apart from its regulars they are more empty than I remember on my first visits to pubs when I was younger and I'm not that old!

What I like about pubs is the fact it's not home where I have got numerous jobs to do, not at least revision but its still a comfortable and relaxing place. I can chat to the staff, other drinkers or even my partner if I wish or I can sit there with a book and a drink. Going back to those bankers I can't imagine anything worst than going for a drink with friends and be effectively gagged as topics of discussion are wholesale cut from the conversations.

If you can't relax with your colleagues and friends then why bother going out?

Now I know that my drinking culture is that a hermit but even I see that making people think twice before going out for a quick drink after work.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

We Are Mystery Shoppers

Boak and Bailey did a great post on how to deal with negative reviews, if you haven’t seen it, go and look.

Now for the side of why people shouldn’t expect the same from any blogger compared to a reviewer from my perspective.

I have on more than one occasion, seen and overheard conversations from professional reviewers in restaurants, pop-ups, bars (mainly cocktail places which are trendy at the moment) and pubs whereby they introduce themselves and sit back for their drinks and food. Now I personally believe that reviews should be fair and true, so they should go in as a mystery shop would and try out the place as a normal customer not as a reviewer.

Same for product reviews of make-up. Now, any make-up brand that spends money on advertising in a magazine will also get ‘free’ advertising in the form of a review within said magazine or one of its sisters. It is in the interests of the magazine company not to upset the applecart so I have always seen these reviews as biased. Whereas a blogger who has brought the product out of their own money is more likely to report honestly on the product, its good side, bad side and importantly whether they will be buying it again. This is why I prefer blogs, so far I have not heard one blogger go into a place and state who they are before being served even one drink, so their review will not be based on any different treatment that a reviewer may get.

As much as I can see why there has been a lot of controversy over various blog posts over the years, I think that one thing is noted, that blog posts on services or products are important. Personally myself I prefer reading a few bloggers view point on a place before going. Why? Because in general they aren’t paid to go and review it so therefore bias is avoided as per the problem above.

But and it is a big but, I read a few blog posts on a place and not just one because everyone’s opinion is subjective. And yes, I have been to places with bad blog reviews and wrote positive ones about them or just not gone back if they are bad.

If a restaurant gets a bad review from AA Gill, that doesn’t spell the end of that restaurant necessarily, likewise a good review doesn’t spell automatic success. Same with blog reviews, just because out of all the fantastic reviews there are one or two bad ones it doesn’t mean a downturn in trade, to me and other sensible folks it just means that one or two folk don’t like it.

Bloggers are the mystery shoppers of the world, we don’t look different from anyone else,

We don’t want anyone to know necessarily we are bloggers,

All we want to go somewhere are try something new, whether it’s a new beer, new pub/restaurant, new lipstick or whether that new beermat works on the table or not!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Holborn Whippet

Ever feel like the last one to the party?
That’s how I feel about the Whippet; I must be the last beer blogger in the area to turn up at its doors.

Everyone that is anyone in the beer blogger world seems to have turned up and written about this little bar/pub in London, except me until now.

Set in the lovely Sicilian Avenue just a tiny 1 minute from Holborn tube sits this lovely place. Now, I have to admit it is not the first time we have tried to drink here, first time we daftly headed up on a Sunday only to find it shut…darn. This Saturday just gone though we struck it right and wandered towards it in the blistering hot sunshine seeking refreshment and shade to see it’s doors open with people happily sitting outside with pints.

We turned up probably half an hour after opening if I’m honest and despite this the bar lady (or manager as we found out later) was super efficient and soon had us sitting down with our first halves. As everyone else has said the beers are mainly local breweries which are nice to see, London Fields, Kernel and Redemption providing the beery hit we were after.

Sadly I only had a small serving of Kernel as it ran out before the half pint measure was poured but the staff here know their trade and let me have the three quarters of the glass free, as in her words, ‘It’s too nice to waste’. It was in perfect condition and gorgeous, shame it was spent otherwise I would have loved another. The other beers we tried were all in good condition regardless of whether they were keg or cask, only problem for the staff was the liveliness of some of the beers on such a hot day.

We did have lunch at the Whippet, the menu is small but well thought out, we both plumped for the Bloomsbury Burger and very nice they were too. In fact I would say a rival for Bryon’s tempting treats too especially with the beer on offer.

This is truly a jewel in the beer crown for London, great staff, lovely beer, good food and a lovely location. I really do recommend this place and it is also pocket friendly, especially if you are used to beer prices in some locations.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Happy Birthday Mum

Happy Birthday to the lady who always;

Encouraged me to walk my own path and not follow others

Is always there

and I guess most importantly for a beer drinker:

Allowed me that first sip of beer (ok admittedly she thought I wouldn't like it because it was bitter)

Happy Birthday!

Monday, 13 August 2012

What a Fab Games!

Third place in the medals table and I don't care about the other ones, especially biased ones. :)

We did well, despite a slightly shaky start, but to be fair we weren't likely to win that first gold medal for cycling....our guys were probably cream crackered from the Tour de France!

So in a vague hint at the games I wonder what would your top three beers be for this Olympic period?

Hmmm mine in the tried and tested manner:

Gold: McMullen's Castle (this has been my stable beer of choice thoughout the games)
Silver: Fuller's 1845 (Thank you to the Beer Gods who made this 1.99 at the supermarket)
Bronze: Goose Island's Bourbon Stout Vanilla (despite it's flaws it is a memorable beer)

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Harvey's Sweet Sussex Stout

2.8% ABV

This was another beer I had on Saturday night and the one I can’t help think of ever since. This stout is not only amazing drinkable but also a lower percentage beer making it excellent sessionable beer.

It pours from the bottle a dark brown/black with a dark tan fluffy head which soon disappears leaving a nice lacing with a small proportion of foam. Taste wise this is quite lovely, roasted malt with a sweet liquorice finish, a bit thin in the mouth but the taste which lingers more than makes up for it. There is no chocolately flavour in this beer but smooth sweet liquorice takes the main stage and does a lovely job on the taste buds.

Ratebeer users say this beer is too sweet, strange, as I dislike things that are too sweet and yet I really enjoy this beer. If you are used to hoppy beers then I guess this beer would be a bit of a shocker for you, it does remind me of the milk stout style of beer but doesn’t have that milky undertone that they have and this beer is far more satisfying than the 2.8% milk stout I had awhile back!

My only real complaint about this beer is the fact it comes in a 275ml bottle, I would love to see this beer on pump so I could order a pint.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Harveys - Bill The Brewer

Less than 1% ABV

Lower ABV beers, we have all been trying them because the governments brain fart of an idea. Fullers Mighty Atom was the best of the bunch, well until now.

Saturday night after a long day wandering around Kew, we came across The Cats Back in Wandsworth, only the second Harvey’s Pub I know of in London and even better they stocked a majority of Harvey’s bottled beers as well as having four pumps of differing beers including the mild, two seasonal (one for the Olympics and the monthly one) beers and the other was Sussex Best.

Now I don’t know about you but I didn’t know that Harvey’s did not only one under 1% abv beer but two and also several 2.8% abv beers. Their 1% beers are brewed normally then before bottled the alcohol is removed, I don’t know if people view this as a cop out but for me this makes sense they end up with a balanced beer and no/low alcohol.

Bill Brewer for me is the better of the under 1% beers, it is a dark beer which has more taste than some higher percentage beers I have tried, full of chocolately liquorice flavours but a tad flat maybe a (shock horror) gentle carbonation would lift it a bit more but as the flavour coats your mouth it has a better mouth feel than you would think. Considering the heat of the afternoon it also was a refreshing drop.

John the Hop the other small beer was more like the others I have tried on the 2.8% level, pale and hoppy looking but instead of having the too bitter edge and over carbonation of the other this was actually quite sweet but not in a cloying sense. Quite a clean sweet note to the beer with a gentle hoppiness to it, better than most of the 2.8ers I have tried from other breweries but Bill wins the day between the two mainly because I prefer my dark beers.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Brewery Tap - Brighton

Brighton seems to be in the middle of a craft beer explosion at the moment, each time the Hubby and I go down to it's sunny shores we find more different beery places to enjoy.

When we stayed recently (at the lovely 21 B&B), we were down there for a conference and from looking at the day's rather packed schedule I knew lunch was going to be 'interesting', the organisers allowed 45 minutes for lunch.

45 blooming minutes seriously, on a Saturday, in Brighton, in July, to order and eat without getting indigestion...... Right so they must have been in cahoots with Tescos down the road as normally getting anything nice to eat in that time frame is not really happening.

But having said that we lucked out with a discovery of this pub, Brewery Tap, which was a tiny 4 minute walk away in another street from the venue, they serve a lunchtime snack menu with Hotdogs, burgers and sarnies which come out fast from the kitchen allowing us both to sit back and relax with a couple of beers, eat at a normal pace and chat about the talks we had just heard. Fantastic.

The staff are friendly here, chatting and knowledgable about the beers they had on, which seemed to change very regularly over the two nights we stayed in Brighton. Peaceful place in the day to chat and drink beer and very very busy in the evening but at both ends of the scale, the staff were fast and great at managing the customers at the bar.

Great place and we will be back next time we are in Brighton.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Dear Spambots and Spammers

I seriously doubt anyone with an ounce of intelligence would post your comments on their blogs when you say you have a better idea about beer than their post on your computer website.

Please stop attempting to spam my blog and others, you are as bad as the twitter hackers who hack in just to tweet about dieting aids.

It's not big nor clever, stop it.