#THB20

Today (Tomorrow in the UK, due to the 29th August 1994 being a Bank Holiday) sees the 20th anniversary of the release of Manic Street Preachers’ third album, The Holy Bible. This week, in a break from the beery posts, a short little post on the album, and my relationship with it in the time I’ve known it… 

Over the course of my recent life I have often considered what my top five albums are. The albums that I’d take with me if I had to leave behind all the others. The list has changed over time, as new albums are released and old albums heard for the first time. The list has also changed due to changing tastes personally. One album that has remained in that top five list throughout though, is Manic Street Preachers’ The Holy Bible.

Much has been written elsewhere about the darkness of the album, and the troubles within the band in the period surrounding it’s recording and promotion. As with any record surrounded by tragic circumstances (Rhythm guitarist and primary lyricist on the album, Richey Edwards, went missing in February 1995. In November 2008, he was officially declared “presumed dead”) there is an element of listening to the album with a certain degree of hindsight. With songs like 4st 7lb, Faster and Die In The Summertime, The Holy Bible can be seen as a deeply personal album. That said though, it does still have it’s moments of political and historical influence in songs such as Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedaywoulditsworldfallapart, Revol, and The Intense Humming Of Evil.

I bought my first copy of The Holy Bible in either 1998 or 1999. I’d became aware of the band during their Everything Must Go era, and became more interested in them when my then crush also had an interest in them (This was during the This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours) era. In an attempt to earn cool points, as seems the thing to do when you’re young and have no idea such things don’t work, I bought all of the albums from Generation Terrorists to Everything Must Go.

The other three albums I clicked with instantly, there were songs I could get stuck in my head for days after hearing. The Holy Bible though proved to be a somewhat more difficult listen.

I can’t remember when it clicked, but at some point, it did. I have no idea how many times I have listened to the album, yet on a personal level, it has served many purposes over the half of my lifespan with which I have owned the album. From the low, melancholic moments, where it has offered escape through headphones, to the angry, fuck you world moments, courtesy of Faster being blasted into my ears, drowing out the sounds of whichever group of people are annoying me, to the reflective mood of This Is Yesterday, The Holy Bible has been an album that I’ve grown up with, and will continue to be a part of my life.

I’ve often felt that a life in which nothing makes you feel something isn’t worth living. Some people are moved by words, some by images, others by sounds, smells or touch. Not many get the chance to create something that people connect with on a mass scale. Fewer still create a work that still feels relevant and important 20 years after it was first released.

There are more lines on this album that have meant something to me, that I have been able to interpret as relating to my life as well, than any other album I can think of. I could spend the second half of this post going through the album, quoting each one, but instead, I shall just finish with the line that says everything it needs to say, without any need for explanation from me.

I know I believe in nothing, but it is my nothing. (196)

If a beer looks like it tastes awful, it probably does…

For some reason, a couple of weeks ago, I decided that a blog post where I drink questionable beer, which is obviously going to taste awful, would be a good idea. This post is the result of that plan.

I have had in my fridge four beers which many respecting beer drinkers would refuse to even look at, let alone drink. They are Carlsberg Blackcurrant, Fosters Gold, Cuvana Rum Flavoured Beer, and Dead Crow Bourbon Flavoured Beer. As per usual with my posts, I’m writing this as I go along, so things may get interesting as I get more drunk, or more disgusted by the beers.

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First up in my glass is the Carlsberg Blackcurrant. It has been poured into my Birmingham Beer Bash 2014 glass from a clear 660ml bottle that has been sat on the top shelf of a B&M store. Fluorescent lights shining their light rays through the beer, day after day until I decided today would be a good day to drink a beer which is obviously going to taste awful.

Preconceptions. Sometimes they are met, Sometimes they are awfully misjudged.

The beer certainly smells of blackcurrant. A part of me is slightly trepidatious about actually lifting the glass to my lips and taking the first sip. Compared to how bad I was expecting it to taste, the actual taste isn’t that bad. If anything, it’s slightly disappointing, and nowhere near as blackcurranty as I was expecting. The question is though, can I drink an entire 660ml bottle, or will I end up pouring half of it away?

The answer is the latter, though I have managed to drink around the equivalent of a 330ml bottle.

Next up into the Beer Bash glass is the Cuvana Rum Flavoured Beer. Once again, it is poured from a clear glass bottle, that has been sat in the glare of fluorescent lights for goodness knows how long. For some reason, it smells like limes, rather than, as would be expected of a rum flavoured beer, rum. As a result, I’m even more cautious about drinking this than I was the Carlsberg Blackcurrant.

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I start with a small sip. There’s lime in the taste as well. If I’m supposed to be tasting rum, I’m not. It is, I’m slightly pleased to say, as awful as my expectations thought it would be. After three or four sips or mouthfuls, I have reached the half pint line of the glass. I may have found a contender to Floris Chocolate for the worst beer to have ever passed my lips.

Swiftly pouring that abomination down the sink, I move on to the Dead Crow. Natuarally, my expectations are as high for this as they were for the Cuvana. Aroma wise, the Dead Crow is much more subtle than the previous two beers of the night. Sure, it smells of something, but it’s not as obvious.

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I take a similar sized sip to last time. This is the first time the taste of one of these beers has made me screw my face up in disgust. I take another to confirm the horror that revealed itself in that first taste. I can only imagine that most of the trade for these beers is from first time buyers, or friends and family who don’t know better buying gifts for those who like beer and rum, or beer and bourbon. If we live in a world where people can actually manage to get through an entire bottle of either of these beers, and then think “I’d like another of those”, we live in a world of people who either hate themselves, or are idiots.

Last but not least, it’s the turn of the Australian beer Australia doesn’t drink. What that says about the beer is up to you and your conceptions of Australians and beer.

Compared to it’s predecessors, this is a relief. A beer approaching somewhere near drinkable, even if it is somewhat bland, and leaves you wondering if you did actually have a drink of it. It smells of nothingness. It tastes of nothingness, though there is a slight moment where it hints that there might be something there, before leaving a nothingness aftertaste and a dryness in the mouth.

Already I have drunk more of this than the Cuvana and Dead Crow combined. That being said though, when this glass is over, I’m moving back to the good stuff.

Tonight has been an experience, and as some people say, you can’t truely criticise a beer until it has passed your lips. These four beers have now passed my lips and I can safely say that I’ll never willingly or knowingly drink any of them again. Usually I’d tell you to try the beers yourself and make your own minds up, but in this case, I’m going to say trust me on this one. (256)

Time is marching on…

If you’re anything like me, you may have been thinking “I’ll buy myself a ticket for that Beer Bash thing in Birmingham at the end of July this weekend”. The weekend passes, and still you haven’t bought that ticket.

Well I’ve got news for you, if that’s you, and you wanted to come to the Beer Bash on the Saturday afternoon. You’re too late! With the other sessions set to follow suit, don’t you think it’s time you actually bought a ticket?

If you need more convincing, you can listen to me read (or should that be ramble under the influence of alcohol?) through the beer list below. Alternatively, you can just be left with a single word.

SCHNOODLEPIP!

http://mixlr.com/mrdavidj/episode-3-the-bash-is-coming

(790)

The Friday Pint 3 #11 – More Mawsons

In the middle of the warehouse in Chiswick from where once many sporting events were beamed to the world, a solitary frame remains from the once full and lively Central Apparatus Room (or CAR for short). In it sits a router, too heavy for anyone to move (the question of how did they get it in it the first place comes to mind, but it is not one for today).

For myself, today is a day off. A day with which I decided a couple of weeks ago I would use to come to Chiswick for a few pints in The Mawson Arms, that pub on the corner by the Fuller’s Brewery. It soon came to my attention, that seperately, there were other people who had muted plans to pay a visit to the old workplace, and to the pub in the process. How many of them will end up here is yet to be seen. It is still “pre-lunchtime” as I type, whilst occasionally stopping to pick up the pint glass, sat to the right and slightly up from the netbook on which I’m writing.

In the glass is a beer brewed for the World Cup named Two Halves. It has that Fuller’s taste. It’s a taste that I didn’t really realise was there, but a few months after my last shift in Chiswick, and that time without having a Fuller’s pub on my doorstep, it’s a taste that is the sort of taste that once you take the first sip, you realise you’ve missed it. That being said though, as drinkable as Two Halves is, it’s far from being amongst my favourite Fuller’s beers, or amongst the ones I look forward to seeing again, like Spring Sprinter and Jack Frost.

Across from the table I am currently sat at is a window. Outside of that window, dozens, probably hundreds of cars depending on the length of the session, pass by on the A4, headed either towards London, or in the other direction to Richmond and the South, or the West on the A4. I always found there to be something theraputic about sitting in here, or the nearby George and Devonshire, and watching the world pass by. Inside the pub, everything feels like it has stopped, outside however, everything continues as it was. A siren wails as the veichle it’s attached to rushes to the emergency it’s been called to. Taxis drive holidaymakers to their hotels, or business men and women to their meetings. Lorries drive shipments to their destinations, and occasionally, people will walk past, some on their way inside, some on their way to another place altogether.

The first of a few people have arrived. In the name of social politeness, it seems like a good time to finish this post, and also finish this pint beside me. You now have less than a month to buy your Beer Bash tickets and book any travel and accomodation you may need. I shall remind you of this fact again next week, and every week until the festival has passed.

Until then, have a great weekend. (1155)

The Friday Pint 3 #10 – Back Again

I said at the start of the year that this year’s Friday Pint would focus mainly on local beer. As a result, it probably won’t surprise many of you who are regular readers of these posts that I am back in The Platform Tavern.

As I  currently write, I have beside me a half drunken pint of a new beer (to me at least) from the Dancing Man Brewery, a beer named “Respect Your Elders”. It’s not an undrinkable beer. Indeed there are many qualities to it which are rather nice, the tropical fruit aftertaste, for example. As an overall experience though, it’s the first new beer in quite sometime from here which hasn’t made me immediately want another. As I always try to point out whenever I’m not too keen on a beer though, your tastes will be different to mine. You may very well love this beer, so try it yourself and make your own mind up.

Also on the bar today is DNA, a brown ale brewed with marmalade which, along with Big Casino is my go to of the more regular brews when there isn’t a new brew to try.

On the subject of new brews, we are now just five weekends away from the second Birmingham Beer Bash. Tickets are available from the website now, a link to which you can find at the top of the sidebar to the right of this post. I had a quick runthrough of the announcements so far on the first Mixlr show (check the last Friday Pint for that). Over the next few weeks I’ll be aiming to record a few previews, similar to the preview posts I did last year, which I will also be doing again this year. I also hope to be able to do a show live from the Bash itself, talking to as many people as I can in the hour.

I now have a pint of the previously mentioned DNA beside me. It tastes as good as DNA does. In the restaurant part of the pub, a wedding party is going through the cake cutting part of things. It doesn’t seem like a bad place to have a wedding reception, though The Wool House seems like it will be even better.

On the subject of The Wool House, progression is being made. The kit is in storage, ready to be installed, and the end (or the beginning) is almost in sight. As soon as I know the opening date, I shall let you know. Alternatively, you can follow @dancingmanbrew on Twitter for more information.

Next week I shall be returning to Chiswick, for a long overdue return to The Mawson Arms. Until then, have a good weekend. (6703)

The Friday Pint 3 #9 – Wales

A couple of weeks ago (the second May Bank Holiday, if anyone wants me to be more exact), I spent a couple of days in Cardiff with my fiancee. Naturally, I took the opportunity to visit a few bars and in keeping with this year’s Friday Pint focus, drink some local beers. I also picked up a number of bottles, some of which I shall be covering in this post.

The first place we visited for a beer was The City Arms, a pub that I had visited before, though not since it’s redevelopment. When I last visted, The City Arms had (if memory serves right, it probably doesn’t) only around 3 or 4 cask pumps. Now it has at least double, plus a couple of keg lines serving beers from the Brain’s Craft Brewery range.

I like The City Arms for a number of reasons. For starters it has a good beer range, which should always be the case in any good pub, whether they stock one beer, or one hundred beers, if the quality is there, I’m already halfway to being won over. Secondly, it’s in the city centre, but it doesn’t feel like it. If you’re approaching it from the city centre’s main shopping area, the fact it’s situated at the end of a side street makes it feel slightly out of the main “hustle and bustle” (not that Cardiff really has “hustle and bustle”). Thirdly, it feels like a pub.

Which is more than can be said for the Urban Tap House, Tiny Rebel’s Cardiff bar, which is literally just across the road from The City Arms (and I use literally in it’s literal definition there). I like the Urban Tap House, and I really like Tiny Rebel’s beers, but if I had to choose between the two bars to spend an afternoon or evening, The City Arms would be the winner. If money was no object however, I would certainly be spending some of my time working through those fridges in the Urban Tap House.

One place which only came to my attention due to it’s twitter account saying it was playing Manics songs on the day of the band’s Cardiff show back at the end of March is The Gravity Station, a bottle shop/tasting bar not far from the Cineworld and Motopoint Arena.

The Gravity Bar is owned by The Waen Brewery, and has a good selection of Welsh beers available to buy in bottle, alongside some from further afield. There is also around 6 draft beers available to drink in the shop. It was from here that I bought most of the bottles I came home with. A few more were bought from Wally’s Delicatessen.

In Good Morning… tradition, I’m now going to open a few of those bottles and continue writing this post as I go along.

First up into the glass is Waen’s Landmark, a beer which instantly made a good impression as I lifted the glass to my mouth. The aroma is the kind of fruity aroma that I’ve not had from a beer in quite a while. Tastewise, the first thing I got was peach, then sherbert, before finally bitterness. After a few more mouthfuls, that good first impression has been followed by slight disappointment, as none have been as good as that first taste. That being said, Landmark is still a beer that I’d drink again.

Following the Landmark into the glass is another Waen beer, Janner’s Pride, described on the bottle as a “Conker coloured best bitter with hints of ginger and whiskey”. It’s the first time I’ve seen conker used as a colour reference. When held up to the light, I’d argue it’s lighter than a conker, yet without light shining through it, they could be onto something.

Aroma wise it certainly smells “brown”, if that makes sense. It has a mix of burnt and caramel malt aromas that sometimes feature in the more malt focused beers. Tastewise, so far, it is failing to live up to the promise of that bottle label description. I have a suspicion that had I not read that, and was trying this blind, that I might have a differing opinion to the one I have now.

Next I’m moving on to the Brain’s Craft Brewery range. I have two bottles that I’ll be opening, and tried a few more whilst in Cardiff. The first bottle for this post is Brabo, a Belgian style pale ale.

I have to say, I rather like this. It’s not something I’d drink a lot of, butit’s certainly something I’d drink and suggest others try. It’s also a beer that could be used to introduced new drinkers to a wider ranger of beer. There’s a light biscuity sweetness in the taste, which makes the beer rather moorish. (The beer was brewed with beer writer Des de Moor, so I suppose you could say it was Des de Moorish if you wanted to make cheap puns, which I don’t so I won’t, but the option is there).

The second Brain’s Craft Brewery beer is Bragging Rights, a braggat style beer. The beer is brewed with honey, nutmeg, coriander, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon and ginger, all of which combine to give a beer which is by far my favourite of the night so far. The sweetness of the honey makes this a beer that can easily be shared with people who are usually put off by the bitterness of other beers.

The only other braggat style beer I’m aware of, is the one brewed by the Blue Anchor in Helston Cornwall. It’s a style I rather like, and it’s one I’d reccomend to any beer drinker.

To hear what I thought about the last two beers I picked up from Wales (from The Celt Experience), you can listen to the first Mixlr show here

Show links

Birmingham Beer Bash

Boak and Bailey’s Blog

Ronald Pattinson’s Blog (1347)

The Somewhat Late Post Fulfilling A Couple Of Obligations

A while back I was offered (and eventually accepted) free beer, in exchange for a mention in a blog post. A few weeks ago, I wrote the following whilst in a pub, with the intention of posting it when I returned home later in the day.

I bought a bunch of beer from Wales when I was in Cardiff earlier this week, so expect that as a Friday Pint soon. Tickets for the Beer Bash are still on sale, and you should totally buy one, because that’s what awesome people do, and you are awesome, aren’t you?

Anyway, here’s the post…

 

Beer, the great lubricator of the mind, he types, as he sits, writing about himself whilst sat drinking a pint of Pilgrims Pale Ale in The Platform Tavern. In the near or perhaps distant future, a reader will take in his words, wondering why he has chosen to write the post in this way, and whether or not he’ll be able to continue referring to himself in the third person until the end of the post.

As a narrative voice, in this blog post about the experiences of a man they call Mr. David J, I would like to take you back a couple of months. David was offered a free case of beer, in exchange for mentioning belgianbeerz.com. The e-mail sat in his inbox until David also recieved an e-mail offering a free case of beer in exchange for mentioning beer52.com (That fulfils my obligation right?). David had a thought. He could take both companies up on their offer, and use the experiences of the delivery, communication, and packaging, in s comparative blog post.

To start with, a brief comparison of online beer shops, and high street beer shops. Online Beer Shops can be great. They can offer a great selection of beers that otherwise wouldn’t be available to you. High street beer shops on the other hand, are often more limited in what they can offer, but what they can offer is an opportunity to study the products, and actually talk to people about them, people who could give you reccomendations based on personal experience, rather than the experience of an algorithm that remembers that people who bought Fenwick’s Mousetrapper also bought Perry Tate’s IPA.

One of my main deterrences from using online beer stores is the reliability of delivery companies. This is, some would say, not the fault or responsibility of the online retailer, however, if there were a significant number of issues with deliveries, the retailer would be hard pushed not to consider changing their choice of deliver.

In the case of BelgianBeerz.com, Lode seemed like a very nice guy to deal with, and the range and prices of the beers on the website seemed reasonably fair. The one thing that would put me off using the site to order some more beer, is the fact that the UK side of the delivery is handled by Yodel. A company who I have yet to actually recieve a delivery on the day I actually expect it.

Admittedly it would be unfair to place blame on Yodel or Lode due to the confusion that took place over which address to send the package to. Regardless of what mistakes were made, it’s still Yodel, and I still try to avoid Yodel where I can.

Moving onto a physical retailer, Bitter Virtue in Southampton is probably my go to shop for beer these days, especially as it’s a good source for local beers from breweries like Dancing Man, Vibrant Forest, and Bowman’s Ales. Compared to some other physical retailers, some of it’s prices can be slightly higher. This would matter if I was reguarly travelling to where other retailers were anyway, which at the moment, I’m not.

Despite it’s size, Bitter Virtue has an extensive beer list that continues to grow, and as it’s not in a trendy part of the beer world, it can often be possible to still pick up the sought after hyped beers (Unhuman Cannonball for example) without having to be hitting F5 at 8:30 on the day of release.

One shop that can fit into both physical and online retailer is Teign Cellars in Newton Abbot. Prior to heading down there for this years Maltings Festival, I looked at their website to see what they had. The prospect of Wild Beer’s Ninkasi Premier Cru at around £2 a bottle less than I would pay for it at Bitter Virtue appealed to me a lot..

I went to the Teign Cellars pub (on which the bottle shop is located, in fridges, down the steps to your left as you enter), expecting to find some there. I was out of luck. I bought some Modus Operandi and Sourdough anyway and sought about the best way of obtaining the beer I craved. (Ninkasi Premier Cru, for those who have yet to experience it, is like Ninkasi, only ten times better. For those who have yet to experience Ninkasi, it’s like your favourite beer, only ten times better).

I later discovered that I could have preordered what I wanted and collected it at the store, rather than have it delivered to me for the £9.95 (or however much it is, the point is, I could have avoided the delivery charge, making the beer cheaper. As it was, each bottle still worked out around 50p cheaper than Bitter Virtue).

The problem with the Teign Cellars online store, is that there are some bottles that are listed as being in stock, that were actually out of stock. To the companies credit, they did offer me alternatives, and the communication was adequate.

One problem I had with all three retailers, is that none of them offered me a tracking number by default. Lode of Belgianbeerz.com did tell me that as my delivery was seperate from the system, I didn’t recieve an e-mail informing me of my tracking number (which he supplied to me). Neither Beer52 or Teign Cellars supplied me with a tracking number.

Did I mention earlier how I’m hesitant to order beer online due to the reliability of some delivery companies?

Onto my fourth and fifth retailers of the post, Stirchley Wines and Cotteridge Wines. Two shops that are within walking (ten minutes) distance of each other, so really, if you’re visiing one, it’d be rude not to visit the other. It would be easy of me to lend bias towards Stirchley WInes and Krishan, given that he is one of the Birmingham Beer Bash team (Tickets to the festival now available from here), but really, I’d be letting you down if I didn’t tell you to visit both.

There are some beers that Cotteridge stock that Stirchley don’t, and vice versa. Likewise, there are some beers that are cheaper at Stirchley than they are at Cotteridge, and vice versa. With the two shops within close proximity, it makes sense to go between the two and try to get the best deal for yourself.

Last but not least, the other company who offered me free beer. Beer 52 isn’t an online store as such. It’s a subscription service that you can cancel at anytime.

I must admit, that I was skeptical when I first recieved the e-mail. Then I read around, and recieved the box, which contained 8 beers that I hadn’t tried before for just £24 including postage. The beers were well packaged, along with an A5 four page guide to each bottle, including details on the beer, the brewery, and what foods to pair it with.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I have to worry about being in when the delivery comes, Beer52′s service would be rather tempting to me. As it is, I probably won’t be subscribing anytime soon, but don’t let that put you off. £24 for a box of 8 beers is a rather reasonable price.

And so there it was. He finished his little review and returned back to the third person, having completely failed to maintain writing the post in the style throughout. Join us next time intrepid reader, when we shall be exploring the world of whatever happens between now and then, or maybe something else.

belgianbeerz.com and beer52.com both sent me free beer in exchange for a mention on this blog. Visit them, don’t visit them, google them to see what others are saying. Have a nice weekend.

 

Edit: Since writing this post, I’ve been made aware that some people have been unhappy with the way that Beer52 is run, in particular when it comes to cancelling a subscription. As I was not part of the subscription process I can’t comment from personal experience, though it is easy to find other people’s complaints if you search around. (2737)

The Friday Pint 3 #8 – Drinking and Driving on the Kessel Run

I’ve probably misspelt Kessel Run, and you probably “fly the Kessel Run”, rather than drive it. Frankly, I don’t really care. I never did like Star Trek anyway, so quite why there’s a “Star Trek Day” this weekend, I don’t know.

Still, it would be an excuse to drink a can of Vulcan Ale, or Klingon Warnog, if you had one…

Closer to home (for me at least), the South Western Arms in St Denys are holding their beer festival this weekend. I went on Thursday night. There’s nothing quite as exciting as the beers on offer in Copenhagen this weekend, but that doesn’t mean there’s some mighty fine and tasty beers on offer.

I started with Dark Star’s Hophead, as I like Hophead, and finished with Bingham’s Vanilla Stout, as I seemed to recall liking the Vanilla Stout when I drank it from the bottle. Turns out I like it on cask too.

As for future times (assuming you are reading this before the events take place), Tickets for this year’s Birmingham Beer Bash are still on sale, you should go and buy one, or two, or a bunch…

http://birminghambeerbash.co.uk/tickets (3824)

The Friday Pint 3 #7 – Maltings Fest!

Last weekend, the annual Maltings Festival took place in Newton Abbot. I was there for three of the four sessions. What follows is the unedited text written during the Friday afternoon session…

 

As I sit here, writing this introduction to the blog post you are now reading, it is just approaching ten minutes past eleven, on Friday the 25th April. The second session of the Maltings Beer Festival in Newton Abbot is underway, and beside me I have two half pint glasses, filled with beers from the Quantock Brewery.

Quantock’s Wills Neck is the beer that recieved the honour of winning overall first prize in the SIBA southwest region competition, which was judged on the Thursday afternoon. As it sold out last night, whilst I was enjoying the beers from Rebel, Art Brew and Bristol Beer Factory, I have to try their beers without trying that.

The Nightjar, which came 3rd in the bitter category, seems like an okay, inoffensive bitter. To me there’s no wow factor, but it’s not undrinkable either. It’s a beer that sits in that vast middle category of existing. It’s a category that contains the beers that I’ll often know I’ve tried, but have no memory of what it’s like.  In comparison, White Hind seems much more like the sort of bitter I enjoy.. There’s a nice caramel note and sweetness that’s complemented well by  the bitterness. It’s unlikely I’ll be going back for more tomorrow, but over a session in a pub, I wouldn’t object to drinking a few.

The last Quantock beer for this session is named Ginger Cockney. It does have a ginger taste to it, though unlike other ginger beers I’ve tried, that taste fades all too quickly, leaving no hint or clue that you’ve just sipped a beer with ginger in it at all. In many ways, this can be seen as a good thing. The Ginger Beer that Brodies made a few years ago was nice, but the ginger was so strong that the beers that followed it were marred by the lingering gingerness.

(As an aside, “The Lingering Gingerness” seems like a good nickname for someone, if only I knew someone with ginger hair who stuck around a bit too long. )

The next brewery for today is the one that has had the least distance to travel, with their beers being brewed on the same site, thus making it perfect for this year’s Friday Pint focus of local beers. Teignworthy Brewery have four beers here today, Reel Ale, Amys Ale, Pippa’s Pint and Imperial Russian Porter, which came 1st in the Premium Strong Beer category.

For those wondering what the time is, it’s just gone ten to twelve. If you’re wondering what the time is where you are right now, I’m afraid I can’t help you with that. Do you not have a clock or watch you can look at? The device you’re using to read this should have the time on, unless someone has printed this out for you, or you have printed it out for yourself, and you are reading it elsewhere.  If you’re reading this in the far future, do they still have printers where you are? Have you cured cancer yet, or are you busy spending your money on developing time travel?

Back to beer, and cheese. Friday is market day in Newton Abbot, and so earlier I bought two pieces of cheese to consume alongside the many beers I’ll be drinking today. What were those cheeses you are probably thinking right now. I can’t remember their names, I would reply to you, but one, the one I am nibbling on right now, is made with ale and mustard.  I’m not a fan if I’m honest. I’ve had much nicer ale based cheeses, and much nicer mustard based ones.

As for the beer, I’ve kicked off the Teignworthys with Reel Ale. Either my nasal receptors have gone or it smells of nothing. The taste isn’t much either. It’s not an awful, undrinkable beer, but it doesn’t really inspire a string of poetic adjectives either.

It’s the turn of the two girls next, Pippa and Amy. Visually, they both look alike (Is there such a thing as a beer equivilent of racism?). Aromawise, they’re both very similar to the Reel Ale. (This isn’t boding well. I don’t mind beers of this style, but I’ve already had a number of bitters today, thankfully, I have the imperial russian stout to come next.).  Tastewise, my receptors are giving off a resounding “meh”. There are differences between the two, but after a string of bitters, be it in best, standard or premium form, I’m ready for something else now.

Whilst I  drink these two beers, I shall give you a description of what’s going on around me. I am in the tent outside, sat down at a table. I am one of those who got here early enough to claim a chair and table. Across from me are a couple who have travelled up from Plymouth. On the table next to us, a group of men, ranging from late 20s/early 30s to late 30s/early 40s have come prepared, with bread, fruit, pies, and crisps adoring the table. A constant flow of people ebb in and out of the tent, returning with beer or sometimes food from one of the two vans adjacent to the tent. A loud mumur fills the tent. Occasionally a laugh is heard. It’s difficult to focus in on one of the many conversations happening simultaneously. As I approach my third hour of my second session, I start to ponder what my third brewery of focus will be. Arbor and Moor are on the hitlist, then there’s Tavy, who’s Porter came 1st in it’s categpory, and 2nd overall.

After “finishing” the bitters, I’ve now moved on the the Imperial Russian Porter. A beer much more to my taste, and one that I’ve decided to accompany with some chocolate drops from Merry Berry Chocolates. The Ecuador and Costa Rica go rather well with a dark 10.5% beer. The beer is my favourite of the day so far. This is probably unsurprising, given that imperial stouts and porters are one of my favourite styles of beer.

Where I am, right now at the time of writing, it’s approaching 13:30. Outside the tent a number of grey clouds are gathering over the festival, and a group of Morris Dancers are Morris Dancing, with crowds of people inexplicably watching them. On the table beside me now is a half of Tavy Best Bitter, and a half of Tavy Ideal Pale Ale. The best doesn’t seem too bad,. At the very least it’s not making me think “oh god, not another best bitter”. The Ideal Pale Ale seems like a nice beer, though the choice of hops clearly aren’t to my liking. It certainly makes a nice change to a run of bitters though. Outside it has started raining. The soft sotherners are all moving inside the tent, making it much more crowded. On the plus side, it will have stopped the morris dancers. It has certainly got a lot darker than it was when I arrived.

Having just stepped outside, I’m going to say it’s actually not that bad. Sure, it is raining, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it sounds. If the rain has done anything, it’s made the festival seem much more busier than it actually is. That murmur that was referred to earlier is somewhat louder. I now sit here drinking a mix of “proper” lemonade and sparkling water. An arguably much needed and required break following the nine beers I’ve just had. I have the porter left to try from Tavy Ales, and then, I think one more brewery before I call it a day at the festival and head towards the Teign Cellars.

Back to now (14:30 for those keeping record), and it’s the turn of Tavy Porter. A rather delightful beer that has provoked the return of the chocolate buttons purchased earlier. Chocolate and stout/porter go well together. Deliciously well. I will say that I’ve enjoyed the dark beers much more than I have the bitters today.

Brewery number seven of the weekend is Moor Beer, and I’ve started with the rather lovely Nor’hop. A beer in the Best category that I’m tempted to go back to. It’s tropical and fruity, but it’s not overtly strong in  flavour or bitterness. Something I found I wasn’t really enjoying last night. If anything, it’s nice to be drinking a pale bitter beer that I don’t feel like disposing of into the grass beside me, as I have done with a couple of the beers mentioned earlier within this post.

Outside it has stopped raining, and things certainly seem a lot brighter now.A number of people have returned to the outside world, making the tent and the maltings much easier to move around in. I’m finishing this session with Moor Beer’s Dark Alliance. A beer that appropriately has coffee in the description, as it also does in the taste. As I’m not a fan of coffee, it is much more likely that I’ll come across a beer like this that I won’t particuarly enjoy than it is one that I will. This is a beer that falls into the former category. For people who do enjoy coffee, I can see this being a beer that they would enjoy, but for a non coffee lover like me, it’s a poor end to a session full of average beers.

As for now I’m going to walk up to the Teign Cellars and load my bag with cheap (compared to Bitter Virtue) Wild Beer Ninkasi and other such beer. I’ll be back here tomorrow, to finish off the Moor and drink whatever else takes my fancy.

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So that was Friday. I didn’t end up buying the Ninkasi (I have since mail ordered it though, along with some others).

A few points to note surrounding upcoming events. The Rockstone’s Cider Festival, which was scheduled to be held last weekend is now scheduled to be held at the end of May (30th May – 1st June).

This weekend in Southampton sees the South Western Arms (right next to St Denys station, and about a 10-15 minute walk to/from The Butchers Hook) hold their May Bank Holiday Beer Festival, from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th May.

That’s your lot for this week. Please return in the future, at some point, even if it’s just as a brain transported into a spiderlike robot. I’d prefer it if it were sooner though.

Thank you for reading. (4564)

The Wool House – Southampton’s Soon-to-be Latest Pub!

Southampton is getting a new pub!

As posted on the Platform Tavern’s Facebook page approximately two hours ago, a panel of six councilors voted unamiously in favour of Dancing Man Brewery’s plans for The Wool House building.

They hope to open doors at some point in July. I’m hoping that it doesn’t clash with the Birmingham Beer Bash. If it does I’ll be making my way down at the first opportunity.

Today is a good day for the people of Southampton. (1625)