Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Brain's Barry Island IPA

6% ABV

This is the second of the beers I got in the Father's Day specials, not the most important factor in beer picking but I liked the labeling for this range, it stuck out on the shelves in a good way.

Anyway onto the beer itself. Described on the website as having "a unique smooth malt taste upfront is finished off by a vigorous bitterness and a ‘tidy’ clout of citrus and berry hop flavours". I would have to agree pretty much, it looks good in the glass with a clear straw coloured beer with a fluffy white head which did have a fair amount of staying power. Tastewise its in the ballpark for an American IPA strangely given its ABV there wasn't much sweetness to it like you get with similar percentage American versions.

It worked well with the cheese and biscuits on a warm Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Brain's Boilmaker

6.5% ABV

I picked this beer up in my local supermarket during their Father’s Day promotions alongside a couple of other beers they don’t normally stock. The beers shifted fast but haven’t made it to the ‘normal’ beer stock, shame but I’m guessing that is a management decision from Head Office.

The idea of major breweries doing a little off shoot ‘Craft’ brewery is a tad odd and to be honest seems to be a way of the major brand having a on-trend side rather than anything else but there have been some interesting beers come out of these things.

Overall I quite liked this beer which was collaboration between mini-Brains brewery, Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham. As it says on the bottle it is an IPA matured using Penderyn whisky infused oak chips in casks from Penderyn. However if you are expecting a beer like some of the American or Scottish whisky beers, it is a bit of letdown if I’m honest, Penderyn is a very light whisky and struggles to impart anything other than a whisky sweetness to the beer. This is pleasant, don’t get me wrong but it’s not the bold mingling of two strong distinctive flavors into a unified beer that I was expecting from the label.

Maybe with a different whisky it would be more but it is hard to say, overall I did like it though, the beer could have been way too sweet with the high alcohol and what I have said above and the hops worked to tone it into a very drinkable beer. I would happily buy this again when I see it.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Crawley Beer & Folk Festival


First off, we had gorgeous weather the whole weekend for this. Saturday was wall to wall sunshine and Sunday was the same apart from a stiff breeze, this just helped make a lovely weekend even better to be honest.

Whilst I like folk music I don't know a lot about it, generally I turn up at events with friends who are far more knowledgable than I and listen so music runs as it was good fun, music was great and inspiring...I want to learn either the tenor banjo or a mandolin now.

The two bands we saw on the stage above were Touchstone, whom I have seen before with friends although here I think they suffered with the small stage as there is a lot of them to squeeze in. And the other was called Branched Arc who were a mix of folk, bluegrass and rock, extremely good band playing their own songs and a couple of traditional tunes. For most of the festival we sat under a tree near the beer tent (hard life) and listened to the Busker's stage which was new acts just playing about three or four songs, some were very good indeed and others so-so with nerves I think.

The beer tent was well run with cheerful staff although it got absolutely rammed by 4pm, sunny weather and a free festival bringing out lots of people. In terms of beer not much for tickers if I'm honest but a nice easy going selection for you to sample whilst listening to music. Copper Top from Old Dairy went down very well until they sadly ran out, as did Proper Job from St Austell. There was of course cider on offer in the varying strengths, I tried a couple of half pints of Wobbly Munk and Heck both of which were lovely but at those percentages just a tad high for any more than that for me.

If you are around Crawley in June then next year I would say go along, it's a lovely day or weekend out.