Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Yorkshire Beer Festival

The Bricklayer's Arms in Putney does some fantastic beer festivals and this wasn't any different apart from the weather being some what chilly.... Well ok, freezing! The beer kept in the outside tent was chilled almost to the point of Wetherspoons beer which is impressive as it was all natural but did mean you had to warm your beer up before drinking it.
We arrived ahead of our friends so could nab a table for all of us with ease, the pub was surprisingly empty at 1pm but then we passed a lot of football fans heading towards Fulham's grounds so this could be a reason as the pub soon filled up after 2pm as if folk were avoiding the fans before heading here.

First beer for me was Acorn Brewery's impressive Old Moor Porter, not a new beer to me but a favourite and I can't resist having a quick half of this before I started on the new beers. It didn't disappoint either cold or warmed up and set me up for my next half which was Ebony Stout from the Wood Street Brewery. This is a new brewery and this stout was one of the stronger beers on at 5%, nice liquorice finish to it.

Junga from Acorn was next and to be honest they should have called it Paddington as it was extremely marmaladely but a rather pleasant beer, now the marmalade flavour was there in another beer called Golden Lion from Bob's. Both good beers but really reminded me of Fullers and this is no bad thing.

Next up for me was Idle's Black Abbot which was a huge roasty beer with a fantastic aftertaste and continuing the dark beer theme one of our table got Sportsman's Pidgeon Bridge Porter which was a lovely chocolately beer, so nice I ended up getting this one next too. Old Mill's Porter was a nice Bertie Bassett of a pint and I will be looking out for this one again.

Beers that didn't work for me were Cap House's Fox Hunter, which to be honest smelt like wet dog and tasted how I imagine that smell would taste. And the other was Concertina's Bengal Tiger which was soapy and seemed like a pint that had white wine spilt in it. Neither were good for me but this is the first time I have tried these breweries and with none of their other beers were here so I will keep an eye out to try some of the others.

All in all it was a great little festival, although we were extremely grateful to be sitting inside! The poor staff looked frozen if cheerful though.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Vile Side of Twitter

A bit of a difference from beer but cycling, I follow a lot of people on twitter who are cyclists and the problems between car drivers and cyclists are slowly getting worse. The vile tweets from some sick folk on running over cyclists or saying about deliberately aiming for them disgust me though, though a seemingly anonymous twitter account people think it is ok? It does make me feel physically ill.

To be honest it was a road accident on my bike and the attitude of other road users which caused me to hang up my cycle helmet.

I used to cycle from where I live to Cheshunt where I worked as a photographer at the time (years and years ago), mostly it was though the Lea Valley park but the end part was along Crossbrook Street which is a B road. I used to cycle along the pavement until there was a police crackdown in the area about this, despite the fact most of us cycled along slowly; we were shoved into cycling on the road.

Due to resurfacing works over the years which were just pour more tarmac on, drains had a dip/hole of about 4-5 inches so understandably you cycled along in a straight line away from these, to be fair so did the car drivers. One day a white van decided he didn’t want to be behind me and overtook whilst there was a bus coming in the opposite direction and clipped my front wheel, this meant I came flying off and hit the road just a couple of metres behind white van twit. Yes, he overtook aggressively so he could pull to a standstill a few metres ahead, Crossbrook Street at rush hour could do a good impression of a car park.

The driver behind me now, stopped and helped me to the pavement, threw my bike onto the pavement and then drove off those few metres too.


No-one checked I was ok; luckily I was although shaken, cut and bruised, but also sadly I was invisible to every car driver who slowly inched past me.

This is why I don’t cycle; technically I could have a pleasant ride in the morning and evening going to work though the forest now but that still means going along some roads at the beginning and end.

To be honest though there is fault on both sides of the cyclist and driver sides, also as a walker I have nearly been run over by cyclists going though red lights at crossings.

I can’t see an easy option to sorting this out but those who think it is amusing to say things about running over cyclists, think of this;

One day you may have a child and it will probably have a bike (we all mainly did), if you think that way then others do as well and now it’s your child who is a cyclist.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Southern Tier's Old Man Winter Ale

7.2% ABV

If I'm honest so far I don't think I have had a bad beer from these guys, from the first which was a couple of years ago at the White Horse Old Ale festival to this one a couple of weekends back at the Cask.

Billed as a winter ale so I was surprised by how thin this seemed despite the relative high ABV, the burnt brown sugar top note and the almost candied orange finish hid the alcohol well but this is served inb small bottles so unlike the Burnburner which is their barley wine there is no chance of polishing off a large bottle then wondering why the world seems a more cheerful place.

Again like all of Southern Tier's beers this looks good in the bottle and the glass with it's deep amber colour and light lacing on the sides.

Whilst I am not so sure about the winter ale billing, this is still a rather pleasant beer and unlike it's stable mates of Mocha, Java and Burnburner it does finish quite cleanly so your next beer isn't muddled with this one which seems a bit damning with faint praise but it is a good beer.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Beer & Poets

I'm in a poetic mood today and wondered about the influence of beer on our poets, normally beer is associated with folk or indeed many other types of music but here I give you a couple of my favourite poems:

First is by Edgar Allen Poe and it is called 'Lines on Ale'

Fill with mingled cream and amber,
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chamber of my brain.
Quaintest thoughts, queerest fancies
Come to life and fade away.
What care I how time advances
I am drinking ale today.

The second is an anonymouse Irish poem for a smile;

Some Guinness was spilt on the barroom floor
When the pub was shut for the night.
When out of his hole crept a wee brown mouse
And stood in the pale moonlight.

He lapped up the frothy foam from the floor
Then back on his haunches he sat.
And all night long, you could hear the mouse roar,
“Bring on the goddamn cat!”

Right and so back to work for me.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Beer Festival Year Begins

Now we have the first month of the year done and dusted, January is a cruel month anyway. Ages to payday and no-one wants to go out anyway due to the post-foodfest christmas feeling. It is time for Beer Festivals to start popping up all over the place in gay abandon, yippee I say.

Our first one this year will be The Bricklayer's Arms Yorkshire beer festival, we go a fair few of their festivals as they are so good, the beers this year will no doubt remind me of the last holiday we had in York, which would have been our honeymoon actually. I like a few amount of beers from up north so this should be a good afternoon of drinking with some mates and I think probably a couple of daft card games as well.

Next up would have been the Wandsworth Common one, but we are away in Manchester for a long weekend but I am positive that I can find either a beer festival locally up there or I will fall back on the pub list I have created, not that the other half knows about that yet...cough.

According to the latest issue of London Drinker, there are quite a few going on during Easter Weekend, something for everyone I guess.

What's your first Beer Festival of 2013?