Showing posts from November, 2010

Christmas Cheese: Epoisses de Bourgogne

Noddy Holder is blasting away, so it must be Christmas. Or very nearly. And naturally, one’s thoughts turn to cheese. Will M&S be repeating their Stilton offer this year? What exactly should be going on that Xmas Day cheeseboard? And how to avoid making a faux pas by matching the right cheese with the correct condiment.

It’s also a good time of year to treat oneself to a premier league cheese. Well anytime is a good time for that, but Christmas does lend a certain legitimacy to the idea. With that in mind, I humbly recommend Epoisses for your delectation and delight.

Epoisses de Bourgogne is a French Appellation d’origine controlee (AOC) cheese, which means that it can only be made in and around Epoisses. It’s an unpasteurised cow’s cheese that gets its distinctiveness from being washed in Marc de Bourgogne.

Marc de Bourgogne is a French spirit made from pressing the skins, pulp, and seeds that are left over after wine grapes are processed into wine. This produces a very harsh, fie…

Best Explanation Of The Irish Bail Out Overheard In A Wetherspoons

Bloke 1: “I can’t believe we’re bailing Ireland out. It’s unbelievable.”
Bloke 2: “Ireland?”
Bloke 1: “Yeah, have you not seen we’re lending them £7bn. What for, that’s what I want to know?"
Bloke 2: “To be fair, the Irish have always had the best songs. “I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen”, now that’s a good ‘un.”
Bloke 1: “Aye I never thought of that.”

Bury Beer Festival

The lights have been dimmed and the suppings all over. Yes, Bury Beer Festival 2010 has come to an end. Around 100 beers from a wide variety of breweries have been on offer at the Met on Market St over this last weekend. Oh and not forgetting some cider and perry.

The CAMRA bar at the festival was manned by some familiar looking faces, whilst the beer was a mix of old favourites and new friends. Marble Bitter stood alongside Mallinsons Hcmf//ale which was what you would expect from Mallinsons-light, fruity and hop edged. Their Chocolate Stout was even better.
Meanwhile Crown Brewery’s Stannington Stout also proved pleasing with its mix of espresso and bitter chocolate. Their 5.1% Sam Berry IPA, described as a “dark IPA”, did puzzle some as it wasn’t actually dark.
The undoubted hop monster, hiding like the elephant in the room, was Steel City’s Nightmare on Henry St which, with 8kg of Amarillo & Cascade etc in it, certainly packed a punch.
Swiftly passing over the Leyden bar (as mo…

London Round Up

But one pub does not London make. So, despite the obvious temptation to do so, one cannot live solely on the succulent nourishment of the Euston Tap. Well they don’t open till 4pm on a Sunday for a start.

On the plus side: Top of the pile is the Rake; maintaining its high standards. Excellent Oakham JHB (welcome back); an interesting draught beer choice and an outdoor; covered, heated area. What’s not to like? Oh and thanks for the warning that Flying Dog Double Dog Double Pale Ale (practice saying that pissed) was £4.75 a half. Well it is 11.5%.
The Bree Louise, for the second visit in a row, excelled with some very good beers. I was particularly taken with the Redemption Pale Ale (3.8%), which has a long bitter finish that really dries the back of the throat. The Market Porter and the Wheatsheaf, both in Borough, also did well.
Brodie’s Amarilla at the Old Coffee House was refreshing and well conditioned, scoring higher than the under par Dark Star Hophead in the usually reliable Ha…

Euston Tap: The Shocking Truth

Well what a week. Pete Brown tried his best to stir up a storm (hint: next time try smoking ban/sparklers), but ultimately failed to win me a fiver. In the blue corner Tandleman got in touch with his feminine side and came over all “tired and emotional” and made some very funny comments which he, rather sadly, later retracted.

Meanwhile down amongst the plebeians, there was drinking to be done. This involved a much anticipated visit to the Euston Tap. Well more than one, actually. These things can’t be rushed.
So everyone has heard about the Euston Tap. Everyone has heard that it’s outside Euston station, is tiny and has only one, yes one, toilet. But is it any good? Well the shock news is that...yes it is. It’s excellent actually.
A small downstairs bar area is complemented by a comfortable little room upstairs. This is navigated via a splendid spiral staircase which, like Everest, is no problem going up pissed, but requires caution on the descent. A beer carrier (that’s not the nickn…

Cheese-Preference or Dogma?

"Is that blue or white Stilton?"

This was the first question I got asked when I mentioned on Twitter that I had just purchased some for my supper. And when I replied it was blue, there was a supplemental question: “Is that pure Stilton or with raisins etc?”
These questions are of course of no interest to most cheese eaters, but they are paramount to a certain small section of cheese lovers. And it got me thinking-what if it had been white Stilton with raisins? Or mango? Would that have been so wrong?

Caerphilly, Lancashire, Brie; they all have their admirers, but has personal preference given way to dogma? For me it’s whether the cheese is good or bad. I’ve no problem with Stilton & raisins. Or even Stilton with mango & ginger..

However, the mere mention of extraneous food stuffs in cheese sends Crackers-members of CRAC, the Campaign for Real Authentic Cheese, into a stupor. And don't even mention pasteurisation. Their forums are full of debate over whether Stilt…

Goodbye Kelly Ryan

So it’s goodbye to Kelly Ryan, brewer extraordinaire at Thornbridge. He’s heading back to New Zealand and will no doubt be commencing his brewing adventures in the land of the Hobbit. Frankly they need him. The land of the long white cloud produces some excellent wine, but, despite having some damn fine hops, their beery output isn’t great.

This will no doubt change for the better when Kelly gets a grip of matters over there. In fact, John Key, their PM had better watch out, as I foresee a Thornbridge inspired takeover of this corner of the empire. It should be a piece of cake after helping to craft beers such as Jaipur, St Petersburg and Kipling. Ah, Kipling. Of course there was also Lord Marples, but, hey, no one’s perfect...

SIBA Northern: First Night Review

Last week saw the SIBA Great Northern Beer Festival at the Palace Hotel in Manchester. The first thing to say is that my impressions are only based on the opening night. I believe things got better and a venture of this size, making its debut, was always bound to have a few teething problems.

So what was it like? Well, the setup was great. 56 handpulls complete with sparkler, naturally, were sat atop the bar. The gimmick of a fresh glass each time was fine, although some old-timers were heard grumbling about it. It did cause a little confusion amongst some of the staff and there had to be the odd reminder that a half pint glass isn’t the same as a pint glass, despite being worth the same deposit.
Slightly surprising was the number of beers that weren’t quite up to scratch. Particularly affected seemed to be the lighter session beers, whilst the darker, stronger, ales seemed more robust. Attendances were disappointing due to poor publicity and some people were put off by the admission p…