About Me

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Manchester, United Kingdom
Tyson is a beer hound and cheese addict living in the beery metropolis paradise known as Manchester
If the people are buying tears, I'll be rich someday, Ma

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

American Beer Tasting@PSBH

Monday night saw me once more at the Port Street Beer House for one of their themed evenings. This time it was American beer. Now I don’t need much excuse to drink American beer on a Monday evening, but the launch of the PSBH American Beer Festival strengthened my moral case.

With Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash playing in the background, the place soon filled with a mixed crowd. The curious, the interested, the scholarly and the disquisitive were all there. The young and beautiful, and the old and wise were all there. Oh, and Tandleman as well.

The goodies were supplied by James Clay of Vertical Drinks and we were treated to a few nibbles to get us in the mood. These were very welcome; although the rush for the cornbread slowed somewhat once it had actually been tried.

Four beers were sampled

Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey
I generally like Left Hand beers, but this one wasn’t to my palate. Described as a “balanced IPA”, it appeared that “balance” in this case meant throwing in a lot of different malts and unusual hop combinations to try and offset the 6.8% ABV. Tasted fresh and had a good earthy hop aroma, but ultimately spoilt by niggling sweetness.

Great Divide Espresso Yeti Oak Aged Imperial Stout
This is a variation on this beer and yet again I enjoyed it. A complex and heavy (9.5%) combination of roast, coffee and chocolate. This one demands respect and proved a popular choice, but I’m not sure I’d want a gallon of it.

Sierra Nevada Stout
At only 5.7%, this was something of a shock after the Yeti. Still, it was smooth and pleasant enough not to raise much objection to. However, it did really suffer when compared to the (cask) Magic Rock Dark Arts. Now that was beautifully rich and velvety and, naturally enough, reignited the dispense debate.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo
This was the hop bomb that everyone was waiting for. A chance to sample this on cask, dispensed through a handpump. It suited the style perfectly, and gave advocates who claim that these beers are best served kegged, something to think about.

So another good event hosted by the PSBH and it was great to see so many people tucking into their beers with such gusto.

The PSBH American Beer Festival is on now and visitors should keep an eye out for some more Sierra Nevada exclusives

Monday, 27 June 2011

Greater Manchester Cider & Perry Festival

Talking of cider and the like, last weekend saw the inaugural Greater Manchester Cider & Perry Festival. The first, I believe, such event to be staged anywhere north of the Watford tunnel. A welcome addition to the festival circuit, it offered a rare chance for cider heads to sample around 60 ciders and perries.

It was, as these things tend to be, a very sociable affair, and was well-run by the people on the ground. One definite problem, though, was the venue. It was held in Copper Face Jacks, which is basically the basement bar of the Palace Hotel in Manchester. No natural light and no natural cooling. It gets warm down there. Very warm.

Now this isn’t a problem if you’re just drinking the usual chilled keg stuff or a bottle from the fridge. However, offering uncooled cider and perry to thirsty punters on a summer’s day, doesn’t do anyone any favours. Apparently the heating was to blame for Friday, but even without that excuse, Saturday’s offerings were simply too warm.

Everyone wants to see the beer and cider sold at these type of events presented at their best. How else are you going to convert the masses to you cause? And not being able to manage correct serving temperatures doesn’t exactly reflect well on CAMRA. So I’d suggest that before they put their name to anymore of these events, they ensure that the basics are covered. 

Cider with Lizzie

As we all know, times are tough, and we’re all in it together. You’ve got to earn a few bob where you can. And so if you happen to have an orchard that delivers a bumper crop, what better way to utilise that than by turning the surplus into cider?

And that’s exactly what dear old HRH Lizzie is doing. Yes, this autumn our gracious queen will be flogging cider from her Sandringham estate. The orchards there now cover 65 acres and produce 150 tons of apples each year. This will allow her to produce 1000 jugs of 6% apple nectar at £2.50 a pop.

Whether she will be manning the cider bar herself is, at present, unknown. 

*The cartoon is courtesy of the Daily Mail

Friday, 24 June 2011

Tales of a Munich Virgin

Five days soaking up the culture of Munich is a sobering experience. Five days on the piss, soaking up the beer of Munich isn’t. It’s rather knackering, actually. But mix the two and you can have yourself a great time. In fact, you can save yourself some time and energy by eliminating the former. After all, what self-respecting member of the bloggerati would waste valuable drinking time on culture?

The first thing you notice about Munich is that although it’s big, it’s perfectly navigable once you get your bearings. There are the S-Bahn and U-Bahn rail systems, but like many cities, the best way is to see it on foot. Alas, like many cities, they seem to have an aversion to signposting the streets, but a good map and/or sat nav to pinpoint your position should help with that.

Another, somewhat surprising, discovery was the relative difficulty in obtaining a late drink. We’re not talking about a very late drink, but just a nightcap. Tandleman (yes, Mr München was there) and I set quite a pattern in being the last patrons of several establishments.  Of course, there are places you can get a drink, but not necessarily the places you’d choose. As this is something it shares with London, perhaps it’s a quirk of places with more money than sense?

Apart from that gripe, it has to be said that the pubs were wonderfully busy with people eating and drinking. Consumption remains at a very healthy level here, despite the relatively high prices. How long that can last, with Munich veterans complaining of rising prices, and the daily delivery of Euros to Ireland, is anyone’s guess. But hold on, what about the smoking ban? Hasn’t that caused 99% of drinkers to stay at home in an onanistic orgy of petulance?  No.

Hofbräuhaus: Much beloved by Tandleman, not so much by Mr’s T, you can’t visit Munich without visiting here at least once. Thousands of litres are drunk each day in this massive, rambling beer hall. Great for people watching, but there is better beer to be had elsewhere, I feel.

Augustiner-Großgaststätten: A well run, impressive building in the heart of Munich’s pedestrian precinct. A great place to sample their Edelstoff straight from the barrel.
Two other excellent Augustiner places were the Bräustuben, right by the brewery and the Keller, which has a terrific beer garden.

Altes Hackerhaus: Good selection of Hacker-Pschorr beers in this cosy, welcoming upmarket place. There was also an interesting menu with a rare (for Munich) sighting of salmon. Also memorable for the excellent waitress who provided first rate service all evening.

Der Pschorr: Just off the Viktualiemarkt, this was a smart, pricy, modern pub that also had a memorable waitress. Sadly for all the wrong reasons. Having spent a good few Euros in here keeping her in work, she came over, and very unprofessionally, complained about the size of her tip.

There were many more, but two outside Munich stand out.

Herzogliches Bräustuberl: This former monastery on the shores of the Tergensee is in a very picturesque setting, and the beer, particularly the Spezial, was terrific.

Klostergasthof Andechs: The hour walk up to this resplendent monastery is well worth it and, thankfully, a lot easier on the way down.

Munich really does have something for everyone. Just watch out for the cyclists. And take your brolly.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The 100 Word Breakfast Beer Tasting: Kernel Imperial Marzen

It’s still a work day, but the holiday is getting closer. So, in preparation, and to ease me into that frame of mind, I thought “let’s try something different, but appropriate”. Welcome, Kernel Imperial Marzen.

Basics: This is a collaboration brew with Dark Star. Such a combination was always going to lead to something unusual and here we have it. It’s 330ml, bottle-conditioned, and weighs in at a respectable 9.1%.

It poured amber with good carbonation and a small off-white head. The aroma was quite pungent; marmalade, caramel and some citrus tones.

Taste: It’s got a surprisingly smooth mouthfeel for a beer of this strength. Lots of sweet, fruit malt which is nicely rounded out by the citrus hops.

Finish: Slight fruit bitterness.

Conclusion: Not a traditional Marzen, but well rounded and very palatable, nonetheless. 

Friday, 10 June 2011

The 100 Word Breakfast Beer Tasting: Kernel Pale Ale Bravo Apollo

Basics: It’s 500ml, 5.5%, and bottle-conditioned. It poured amber with good carbonation and a large off-white head. Aroma was pine and grapefruit.

Taste: Medium bodied and soft on the palate. There’s a very enticing cluster of citrus hops: orange and grapefruit, in particular, that give it a dry edge without going overboard with bitterness levels. This in turn means it drinks well under its strength and is very moreish.

Finish: A medium level of lingering dryness.

Conclusion: No surprises here. Yet another winner from Kernel. A very tasty and accomplished beer. You could easily have two or more at breakfast...

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The 100 Word Breakfast Beer Tasting: Cumbrian Legendary Ales-Langdale

The basics: It’s a 500ml bottle and weighs in at 4%. It poured golden-bronze with good carbonation and an off-white head. The aroma was malt and a waft of orange/citrus fruits.

Taste: It becomes moderately bitter after an initial sweet malt start. There’s a nice biscuit malt undertone which gives way to a floral hop bite. It’s easy on the gullet without being thin.

Finish: Short and slightly dry.

Conclusion: A good session beer. It’s a well balanced mix of fruitiness, malt and just enough bitterness to stimulate the palate. Quite moreish and is best seen as a summer beer.