Saturday, 28 August 2010

In The Red

There seem to be a lot of red beers around at the moment. A Saturday a couple of weeks ago Sheffield was awash with them.

First up Colorado Red, a brand-spanking new collaboration by Thornbridge and Odell. No doubt about it this is a gorgeous brew, but force-fed through a tight sparkler at the Sheffield Tap left it losing some of its, erm, sparkle. I reckon this would be a great beer bottled or on keg. At least on cask it could do without having the life squeezed out of it before it hit the glass.

A similar fate befell Hardknott's Infra Red. Weighing in at a hefty 6.2% abv this is a beer the brewer(y) describes as serious. The word serious conjures up images of Bono and Sting or Noel Edmonds on Brasseye - enough to make me gag - but not so this ale. It certainly deserves some respect, and being pulverised through the sparkler at the Hillsborough Hotel seemed disrespectful to me; if the brewer used a load of hops in this beer (and he did) they deserve to be tasted.
I'd like to try the bottled version but chances of that are slim, there aren't many around.

The BrewDog Alpha Dog's dry-hopping made it the tastiest and most fragrant red beer of the day. If you're familiar with 5am Saint then you'll have some idea of Alpha Dog, it's basically a lower abv version of Saint. As far as I can recall this is a beer they brew for export to Norway so I was surprised to see it in the Fat Cat.

That was Sheffield. Fast forward to Peterborough beer festival and Colorado Red straight from the cask. A more balanced experience with a graininess to the malt and a real bite from the hops. This was how I imagined it to taste and it brought back memories of one of my all time favourite red beers Red Squall by Newby Wyke.

If you see any of these beers on your travels I recommend them all. If you're feeling brave or want to irritate the bar person maybe you'll ask them to remove the sparkler. If not just do as I did and imagine how much better they are without.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


Saltaire Triple Chocoholic & Mongozo Banana.

Half and half in a glass. Share it as it's so sweet you may not manage the whole lot on your own.


Sunday, 15 August 2010

Birra Del Borgo ReAle

There's been a lot of chit chat about the Italian craft brewing scene of late so I thought I'd check some out.
First impressions have been distinctly average.

Tonight I'm drinking Birra Del Borgo ReAle. Nicely presented in a sturdy bottle with a stopper built into the cap if you can't manage it all in one go and don't want to share.
It's a 6.4% abv blonde beer that pours with a decent head that soon disappears. Some fruit and alcohol whiffs but, down to the nitty gritty, the taste.
You know when you try and swallow paracetamol and the tablet gets stuck on your tongue?

Not really the kind of bitterness I want when I'm drinking beer. I'll look out for Birra Del Borgo again as this may have been a duff batch, but not a great first impression.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Black Bogies

I'm often in London for gigs (A can of Red Stripe for £3.50+ but we won't go there...) If I have time I'll head somewhere like the Rake for a decent pint first, but it's not very often I'm in London just for the beer.

I'd left it a full year until I went on what could be described not so much a pub crawl but, well put it like this I got greedy.

First stop The Rake for thirst-quenching keg beers on a really hot day. Love this place. No nonsense , no frills, but it oozes cool. Just dead good beers and tubs of Yorkshire Henderson's flavoured crisps. It's all you need sometimes.

Next up Brew Wharf. One day I'm going to have to come here in an evening. It just doesn't do anything for me during the day. Nice beer though. Meantime on keg. I think I had a pint of Tasty. 5.5% abv I reckon it was.

Then to the place I affectionately call The Abattoir (time to get slaughtered, what?!) otherwise known as The Cask in Pimlico.

The most dangerous bar south of the Sheffield Tap (check out the photo above). It went something like this; Seaforth, Hardcore IPA, The Physics, Murmansk, Punk IPA and Paradox. Don't ask me what order, I just know I did. The Paradox was scarily morish, slipped down easy. Dunno what cask it had been matured in, Isle of Arran? There was a sweet smooth vanilla finish. Black custard. Gannet.

The Bree Louise isn't too far from Euston Road so it was on the way back.

I remember loads of casks on stillage, Trashy Blonde, Hardcore IPA again and a man at the bar talking to me about Hardcore IPA and me not saying much in return. Slack-jawed, mouth agape, tongue lolling.

Playing Spot the Brompton on Euston Road then nothing. I just know it wasn't the Hardcore, OK? It was the Murmansk. It's always the Murmansk.

My wife's left elbow jams into my side. We must be home...

I have black bogies.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

GBBF 2010

Sometimes I think to myself "shall I bother with the Great British Beer Festival this year?"

I felt a little like that this year until I saw Bieres Sans Frontieres bar. This bar really makes GBBF worthwhile to me. It's a good thing they started serving beers in 3rd pints a few years back or I would've been hammered after a couple of hours; the choice is too good you want to try them all. Well, almost all.

Stand out beers for me were;

Smuttynose Robust Porter.
Smuttynose Big A IPA (which won the Michael Jackson award).
De Molen Tsarina Esra Reserva porter.
Moor Revival.
White Horse Guv'nor.

I have to say I wasn't impressed with the new alphabetical counties layout. I much preferred the old regional bars.

Will I be going in 2011? I dunno, probably. If I don't make sure you do.

YouTube Video