Showing posts from September, 2013

St Georges Hall Festival

On a much larger and impressive scale was the Liverpool beer festival held in St Georges Hall. This is a fantastic Grade 1 listed Neoclassical building that is regarded as one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in the world. Full marks to the organisers and Liverpool Council for making it happen. I can well believe the festival programme when it describes it as a “daunting challenge”. The first festival in any venue is always hard and this was particularly ambitious in nature.
With around 300 beers, ciders and perries on offer, it takes a large venue to host that in one room and still have room for the punters. Seating was arranged Germanic bench style, so it was a case of squeeze in and get chatting to your neighbour. One big advantage of this kind of venue is that they have the luxury of having a separate room for the musical turns. Being the St Georges Hall, they had a posh and acoustically sound Concert Room. Sadly for me, it wasn’t the day that the Liverpool Ukul…

MOSI Festival

Last weekend saw the third beer festival to be held at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. The MOSI fest is an interesting one: held in the Power Hall, it gives the visitor the chance to admire the cracking locomotives, jet engine and the generator made in Bury. The downside is it’s a very narrow bar area with virtually no seating, so it gets packed easily and queues can be lengthy. My advice, if you’re planning to go next year, is get there as early as possible.

Beer of the festival: Offbeat Out of Step IPA

Quality not Quantity

It’s often been said that quality-or rather lack of-is the biggest problem that real ale faces. For far too long it was common for every struggling pub or wannabe bar to bang a handpump or two on the counter in the hope of enticing the wandering imbiber. The problem was that often the bar personnel knew nothing of the product and cellarmanship was lacking. Thereby leading to the old circle of poor quality/diminishing demand. Things have improved somewhat over time. You only have to look at London for testament to that.
However, sadly, problems do persist, whether it is in the beer range itself or just with our old friend, quality. Often this is simply down to having too many beers on. You would think that a professional outfit in the business of selling beer would realise this. But apparently not. Step forward Greene King. The much-loved St Edmunds brewery and pubco have gone down the path of many of their rivals by offering guest beers in their pubs. Well who wants to drink their own…

Owner of a Lonely Heart

Touring round the numerous breweries of Bermondsey the other day, it was mooted that perhaps the gentlemen of the party could do with shacking up with some local lasses to save the drunken stagger home. An excellent idea, we thought. Perhaps the prospective advert in the Evening Standard could read: Northern gentleman seeks lady for companionship. Age and looks unimportant but must live close to Kernel, Partisan and Brew by Numbers.

Project R@PSBH

Monday saw an unusual variation of meet the brewer at Port Street Beer House. Yes, the Roosters lads were there and there was beer to be sampled. But it was all the same beer. Well, kind of. The story behind Project R is that Roosters were approached by hop merchants Charles Faram and offered the chance to brew with some experimental hops. Looking round you may be forgiven for thinking that New World hops are the be-all and end-all of the hop industry. However, there is a lot of work going on to develop new strains of European and English hops and shorten the time it takes to bring them to market.

This is where Project R comes in. All the beers on offer were 4% and grounded with Golden Promise malt and Magnum hops with the experimental hops-four from Slovenia and two from England-added two minutes before the end of the boil. We had CF117, CF118, CF119 and...can you guess? That’s right: 121. The two English hops were labelled CF128 and CF130. It’s impossible to make any meaningful comp…

GBG 2014

So the new Good Beer Guide is out. That’s your drinking for 2014 sorted, right? Last week’s launch was somewhat overshadowed by a spat with the editors of the Good Pub Guide over the future of the traditional boozer. It was something of a no-contest as CAMRA came over all positive and supportive, while the GPG came over all elitist with a rather hackneyed view of the situation. Not good for a publication supposedly extolling the virtues of the British pub. Of course the GPG is elitist and any credibility it may have aspired to went by the wayside when it started charging for entries.

But what about the GBG? Well as I sit here perusing it whilst supping my rather tired pint of Windermere Pale, a few points struck me. Yes, as usual, it does contain articles about beer and pubs and the 4500 pubs chosen by CAMRA members. It’s somewhat economic with the truth on that issue as it mentions the National Beer Scoring System as if that is the universal standard in the selection process. When, in…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Weird Beard Hit The Lights

Time to gear up for the weekend with something special. An IPA seems the likely candidate. But no ordinary IPA, obviously. Weird Beard are yet another of the seemingly endless supply of London brewers keen to make their mark on the craft scene. Results so far have been very promising and this one boded well. Described as a “mixed up IPA”, it blends English malt with American yeast and Target and Aurora hops. The hop kick is given a boost with the addition of dry-hopping.
It’s a 588ml bottle and comes in at 5.8%. It was very lively and poured cloudy amber with a large off-white head. The aroma was an appealing mix of marmalade, light toffee and a healthy dose of fruity hop notes. Surprisingly this didn’t continue into the beer itself. Instead you are presented with a clean, crisp bitter-rather than fruity-bite that intensifies as it washes over your palate. The American yeast is there to hold back the esters and it works well in that role as the strength is barely noticeable.
Tyson says:…

Curry Warfare

Eagle-eyed curry aficionados in Bury have picked up on the fact that Indian Zest on Bell Lane has quietly renamed itself “Ash’s”. Coincidentally very similar to “Asha” on Tottington Road. Why a not very well-respected takeaway would try to confuse itself with Bury’s premier Indian restaurant, I leave to your imagination.

But to avoid any confusion; Ash’s advertises “High Class Authentic Cuisine” but it is Asha that actually sells it.

A Manchester Wander

Ah Oompah bands, waitresses in dirndls, the sound of clinking steins. But hold on, this isn’t Munich, this is Manchester. The Printworks to be precise. Yes, this is the new Bierkeller that has opened in Manchester’s forgotten “entertainment centre”. It promises a lot in its advertising including, most intriguingly for this beerhound, the “largest world beer selection anywhere”. Suitably impressed, I entered its modest frontage. The first thing you notice-apart from having two bouncers, I mean door staff, on in the afternoon-is its size. The ground level bar is deceptively small, but once you go downstairs you realise that the place is enormous. Basically it’s a complex of three completely separate bars. Shooters: the sports bar with pool tables etc. The Bierkeller and the Rest of the World bar. All accompanied by gigantic screens to showcase sport. If sports your thing, you’re always guaranteed a good view in here. But what about the beer, I hear you ask? Well, dare I say that the adver…