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Showing posts from August, 2013

Breakfast Beer Tasting: M&S Sovereign

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Single hop beers have been giving beer geeks a hard-on for some time now and with Marks and Spencer now entering the fray, it was the perfect excuse to road test a few. As if hop lovers need an excuse to crack a bottle open for breakfast. Unlike Brewdog, the M&S range are all 568ml bottles and are brewed by different breweries. Which is ok as it gives the various breweries the chance to impress. Or not.
This is a 5% offering from Elgoods. This long established, family-run, Cambridgeshire brewer might not be the first name that springs to mind when thinking of hops but although we know from the bottle that Sovereign is a relatively new hop (1995), it is definitely not one of the new wave of aggressive hops. It is softer, more gentle you might say, and so perhaps a better match for a traditional brewer.
Despite being called a “Golden Ale”, naturally it poured orange in colour with a small off-white head. The aroma was subdued: light cereal and toffee notes. This subtlety extended to t…

Beavertown@PSBH

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Last night at Port Street Beer House it was the turn of Beavertown to entertain the expectant hordes. And Logan Plant and business partner cum-sales-director Byron Knight were on hand to guide us through its history and philosophy. And to help us sample a few of their beers, of course. Beavertown is named after the cockney slang for De Beauvoir Town, the part of London where they are based. It may sound faintly American, but that’s intentional as well.
Logan and Byron were introduced to each other by a mutual friend who realised they both had a common interest. Los Angeleno Byron was looking to open a barbecue restaurant in London and Logan had quit his career in the music business to focus on brewing after an epiphany in a New York brewpub. If it all sounds a little rock ‘n’ roll, then that kind of sums them up. After all, Logan is the son of the Robert Plant. Sorry, but it’s the law that any article about him mentions that.
They started up at Dukes Brew and Que restaurant early last …

Beer Au Naturel

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With all the negativity surrounding alcohol and licensing in the press, it made a pleasant change to read the recent positive story concerning an alcohol licence application. Step forward the councillors of Birmingham’s licensing committee who are to be congratulated for their liberal and fair-minded attitude when granting a licence.

The issue before them was whether to grant a drinks and live music/dancing licence to the Clover Spa Hotel. What’s the problem there, you may ask. Well the hotel, slogan “Dare to Bare”, is a naturist retreat. Yes, they like their fun in the altogether. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it was bound to lead to a few complaints and eyebrows being raised.
The perceived problem was whether the intake of alcohol would lead to undesirable behaviour and acts of public nudity. Some residents also complained that a licence shouldn’t be granted to a premise so close to family homes and a nursery. However, the owner pointed out he was not trying to instigate a s…

Left Hand@PSBH

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Last week saw a special meet the brewer event at Port Street Beer House. Those in attendance were lucky enough to spend some time with Eric Wallace, co-founder of Left Hand Brewing. LHB are an award-winning craft brewery from Colorado who are named after the local Native American Chief Niwot whose tribe wintered in the area. “Niwot” in southern Arapahoe meaning “left hand”. Eric was a natural speaker and guided us through the various stages of the brewery from its genesis in 1990 to the large operation it is now. He is passionate about craft beer and also about getting the beer out to people as fresh as possible. But more of that later. He was obviously highly intelligent-he loves Manchester-and certainly seems to have a vision for the future of LBH.

Stranger Pale Ale This was a very interesting first beer. Pleasant enough, if surprisingly subdued, it had sulphur and biscuit malt tones. Certainly nobody complained and indeed somebody claimed it was the best beer of the year. But then Er…

Spot The Difference

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Now here’s a test for you. Can you spot the difference between the product on the left and the one on the right? I know it seems easy but apparently it’s tougher than it looks. Just in case you were stumped and thought it was a trick question, I’ll clarify it for you. On the left you have Red Bull, the well known energy drink brand. Whilst on the right you have Redwell the, and I’m sure they won’t mind me saying this, not so quite well known Norfolk microbrewery. What’s the connection? Well Red Bull have written to Redwell demanding that they change their name or face legal action. The problem is according to Red Bull-and it’s very obvious when you closely study the two products-that Redwell may “confuse” customers and “tarnish” the Red Bull trademark. Indeed I can now picture people up and down the land going to the shop for a can of Red Bull and coming out loaded up with Redwell IPA instead.

Problems arose shortly after the brewery, which is named after a street in Norwich, went to t…

Brew By Numbers & Oaka

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Last weekend’s stroll round our fair capital threw up one or two new items of note. First and foremost is that London or more specifically Bermondsey, has gained another brewery bar. Yes that little enclave that time forgot has upped its claim to be the beating brewing heart of the metropolis once again. How long before they declare UDI?

Brew By Numbers is on Enid St, literally just round the corner from Kernel in the obligatory railway arch. BBN started in late 2012 but have only been open to the public on Saturdays for the last five weeks. Founders Tom Hutchings and Dave Seymour have the philosophy that apart from beer being interesting; it should be drinkable as well. Not a bad philosophy, it has to be said.
The brew kit is a hybrid rather than a custom build and consists of ex soft drink and dairy vessels. The brewery itself is larger than Partizan and currently offers two beers on draught as well as a range of bottles. Expansion into another arch is on the cards at some point as ev…

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Brewdog Waimea

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If it’s Wednesday, then it must be IPA day. What do you mean that was last week? Oh well, better late than never. Today we return to the Brewdog single hop series. To recap: they take the same 6.7% base (a cut down version of Hardcore) and use the same malt backbone of Marris Otter, Crystal Malt and Caramalt. All the beers come out at with 75 IBUs but the gimmick here is to see how the four hops-all from different continents-compare.

Now Waimea is a brand new NZ hop, 2012 I think, that I’ve never had to my knowledge and all I know about is that it’s related to Pacific Jade. Which is of no use as this early in the morning I’m struggling to remember what that exactly tastes like. But that’s probably all for the good as it means it comes with a zero comparison slate. The bottle itself is, of course, 330ml. It poured a nice, slightly hazy, bright amber with a large off-white head. The aroma was pungent and attractive: an unusual mix of overripe fruits, tangerine and citrus notes, along with…

Not In Our Town

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You might think that the government’s recent decision to be sensible-for once-and scrap plans for minimum pricing would bring joy and happiness to the world. There would be street parties and dancing in the aisles. That kind of thing. Well, not in Bury if the council have their way. Whilst potholes go unfilled, rubbish is only collected fortnightly and cars park openly on pavements, our civic leaders found time to pass a motion condemning the government u-turn. It’s good to see them concentrate on the local issues that matter, isn't it?

The Labour motion calls on the government to reconsider its decision and calls it a “chilling reminder of big business’s influence.” It states: “This council recognises the public health benefits and reduced pressure on health and social care minimum pricing could bring and asks the government to reconsider its u-turn on this policy.” Now Bury Council does have a somewhat puritanical history. Who can forget the ban on the Life of Brian film? Probabl…

Marble Arch 125 Birthday Festival

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125 years and still going strong-strong being the operative word, but more of that in a moment-was the message from the Marble Arch’s birthday bash. Yes the famous Manchester landmark was celebrating and what better way to do so than with a beer festival? Now, some people were referring to it as “the Marble’s first birthday festival”. Technically true, but as I’m not holding my breath till the next one, I shall stick to calling it the Marble beer festival.

It all kicked off on Thursday which just so happened to be IPA Day. Not to be left behind with the world celebrating this iconic style, the Marble offered up a selection of, erm, IPAs. However, it was their first experience of a Salty Kiss, courtesy of Magic Rock that had people talking. Things began in earnest on Friday when the paying public were let loose inside. And the setup was quite different from normal.

Entrance was by the newly expanded beer garden which also played host to the musical entertainment. You got a glass and a pr…