The Absurdly Late Post About The 2014 Birmingham Beer Bash

Into the imaginary room I call my imaginary office, the location of which varies from week to week, my imaginary editor walks in…

“It’s been almost four weeks since the Bash and you’ve still not written a post about it yet. Your work rate on the blog has been distinctly lacking recently” he says.

“I’ve been busy”, I reply.

“Balderdash!”, he exclaims, “All you’ve been doing, when you haven’t been at work, is been lying on your back watching old episodes of The X Files, or drinking more beer. There’s been plenty of opportunities for you to write a blog post about the 2014 Birmingham Beer Bash, and besides, you found time to write a new Friday Pint post”

“Erm,” I hesitantly utter, knowing I have no come back.

“Well?” he asks in anticipation.

I sit at my netbook, wondering how to segue from a fictional conversation about my lack of professionalism with my imaginary editor into a descriptive account of the events of four weeks ago. Can I remember enough of the details to make it worthwhile. Do I have anything to say that hasn’t already been said before?

I should just jump into it, I think to myself. Start at the beginning and see what my memory comes up with. Is my trip out to Lye to visit The Windsor Castle, home of Sadlers Ales, to drink Mud City Stout relevant? In many ways it is.

You see, Lye is near Stourbridge, and one of the reasons I came up for the AFC Totton away match at Stourbridge was so that I could also visit The Windsor Castle and drink Mud City Stout. There was also a twissup in Birmingham that day, where I met a certain group of people.

I joined the set up for this year’s Bash on the Wednesday, helping out where I could. The fact that we seemed to have one of the hottest days of the year so far didn’t really make things enjoyable, but the end result made them worth it.

The heat caused a few issues over the weekend, which I only saw from across the way behind the bottle bar. Some of you may have seen me there. It was certainly good to see some familiar faces, and some less familiar ones.

One of the fun aspects of working the bottle bar for me was seeing how much I could bluff my way out of the fact that there was a large number of the beers on sale that I hadn’t tried. Fortunately, I was soon able to tell people that Beer A was selling well, or that Beer B tasted good (In the case of Sacre Brew’s Sirenia).

For me, what made this year’s bash better than last year’s bash was that I was able to get out and talk to people more. Last year I was stuck in the cash office for large amounts of time counting tokens and money. This year, it was Lisa that took on that soul destroying task, for which credit must be given (Those fresh trays don’t appear behind the tokens desk by magic you know).

I had many beers this year, though only a few stand out.

Wild Beer Shnoodlepip, which I missed out on last year, finally made sense of the hype it received after it seemed disappointing from the bottle I bought. (Having tried another bottle last weekend, it seems that Shnoodlepip is a beer that is far superior on draft to it’s bottled equivalent). Despite drinking a fair bit of Shnoodlepip, I do feel I didn’t have enough.

Siren Odyssey 01, was a glorious 12.4% imperial stout, which I found myself often returning to (for quality control purposes). At some point on Friday night, the idea (I can’t remember whether it was mine or Shaun’s) came to mix Shnoodlepip and Odyssey. The result, which actually worked rather well, was dubbed Shnoodlepipodyssey.


The other beers that I wish to mention, are the two squid ink beers.

The first one I tried was the Beer Bash/Hardknott collaboration “Squiddy”. You may have seen “Squiddy” walking around the Bash at a couple of points over the course of the Bash. If you didn’t, picture your worst nightmares made flesh, like the underwater imitator of Purple Rain era Prince. I feel kind of bad saying this about one of the Beer Bash collaborations, but I just didn’t enjoy Squiddy at all. It wasn’t really helped by the fact that it’s appearance seemed similar to murky puddle water. I’m all for not just judging a beer on its appearance, but in this case, it was hard not to be put off.

The other squid ink beer, which proved itself to be the “Marmite Beer of the Festival” was Bexar County’s Tinta De Sepia Con Miso Gose. I, myself, loved it, as did many others. There seemed to be just as many though, who couldn’t stand it. Of the many beers I tried this year, this is the one I’d like to try again.

On the Sunday, after two and a half days of set up, and two and a half days of people drinking beer, the whole thing was taken down. The after party this year was a much quieter, more relaxed affair than last year, with a constant (slow) flow of beer until the half full kegs we brought with us were empty.

I left town on the Monday, thinking in the back of my mind that, should there be another Bash next year (we don’t talk about next year), I should be around for the setup days that I missed this year and last year. Being part of the Birmingham Beer Bash has certainly been an enjoyable and rewarding experience, and I hope that it is something that runs for years to come.

If it does run again next year, I’ll be there. I’ll be there in future years too, if it runs, even if it means having to fly across from America each year.

If you’re reading this the day, or day after, it is posted, there’s a Beer, Blues and Bangers festival at The Platform Tavern in Southampton this weekend, starting on Thursday 21st August at 18:00, and running through the weekend (or until the beer runs out). I’ll be there Thursday, come and join me if you’re nearby.

If not, I’ll probably be writing something about it for this week’s Friday Pint. Until then, have a great weekend.


The Aftermath

I initially began writing this on my phone whilst at the after party for last years bash. The party itself had a very celebratory feel to it. Regardless of whether we have made a profit or not, we set out what we achieved to do, and the Beer Bash was a much bigger success than any of us could have dared dream.

Whilst it all went smoothly from a customer point of view (mostly, I’m sure there were people who are complaining to their friends about aspects they didn’t like), there were many learning curves behind the scenes, which we all adapted to accordingly to ensure that the Beer Bash went well for the customers.

Despite the final figures not being in from this year yet, there is already talk of next year. Many of the brewers, food stalls, and volunteers from this year have already said they’d like to come back, and all of the team want to as well.

From my perspective of being based in the Cash Office this year, I have already asked for a bit of help (A lack of volunteers meant that I ended up doing everything myself, which I fear may have been responsible for errors creeping in as I rushed around to keep tokens in circulation, and actual money safely locked away. ). An underestimation of how much beer the Friday evening crowd would drink meant a frantic rush around all of the bars, counting the tokens, and then returning freshly filled trays to the token desk.

Tomorrow, I return to my full time job. The one I do just because it earns me money. Last weekend I worked harder than I have done in ages. It wasn’t done for any money, yet it left me with the most satisfaction I’ve had from a job in ages. It has been a delight and privilege to have been a part of this team, especially as someone who is a visitor to the area.

There is a strong believe amongst the ten of us behind the Beer Bash that we changed something, we achieved something, and we defied peoples expectations. After all, why would you expect 10 normal people with very little experience in organising a festival to pull off something like the Birmingham Beer Bash?

As I write this, I’m sat in The Platform Tavern in Southampton. Having been a part of bringing great beer to Birmingham, I’d love to be able to do the same here. Maybe not on the same scale, but one step at a time…


Birmingham Beer Bash – Tickets on sale now!

What do you get when you combine several like-minded people, beer, and a social network?

The answer to that could be many things, but in the case of around 10 people from around Birmingham, and one from Southampton who was in the area on the weekend of the Twissup* that they attended, the answer is the Birmingham Beer Bash.

It hasn’t always been called the “Birmingham Beer Bash”, nor was it conceived at that Twissup back in April of 2012. Perhaps fellow blogger Dan Brown put it well when he said in his review of that Twissup: “when a gathering happens in the name of something, then perhaps it means err something.”

Discussions of organizing a festival, independent of any influence from campaigning groups or associations, began one night in May. Soon, with all the twitter names that were in on the tweets, it became impossible to discuss, and the forum was set up. There, the committee was able to pitch ideas and desires much more easily, with much more than 140 characters.

Fast forward almost a year later, and after much discussion, many meetings, and a lot of hard work by the team (not least David Shipman, who you should all buy a pint if you go), we finally have tickets up for sale.

Over the weekend, there will be four sessions, each with a limited number of tickets. A number of breweries have already been named, including festival sponsors Purity, Thornbridge and Freedom.

Also named at the time of writing: Beer Geek, Weird Beard, Redwillow, Tiny Rebel, Compass, Blackjack, and Durham. There’s a stream of updates coming from the @birminghamcubed twitter account, so if you want to know who’ll be at the Beer Bash first, go and follow them.

EDIT: This afternoon alone, Partizan and Harbour have also been added to the list of those who will be bringing their beer. Many more names will be added, and much more exciting news will be revealed.

It’s certainly a very nervous and exciting time behind the scenes. We’ve come a long way since the idea was first formed, and yet we’ve also got a lot left to do. Of course, all of the hard work being done to bring this festival to Birmingham will be worth nothing if people don’t turn up. The Birmingham Beer Bash is promising to be something special. There’s a lot being lined up that will be announced between now and July. In the meantime though, you may wish to secure your tickets before they sell out.

The Birmingham Beer Bash takes place at The Bond Co in Digbeth on the 26th and 27th of July.


* A Twissup is a gathering of people organised through Twitter to drink beer, essentially derived from “Twitter Piss-up”.


The Friday Pint #33 – A Post About Nothing

There’s an empty spot in front of me where a beer could be. Even if there was a beer there it would be out of place. I’m at work, and as such unable to have a pint. Not that I need one of course, and after last week, this three day break is probably very welcome for my body.

In place of the low murmur of conversation, there is the quiet cacophony of multiple fans, and air conditioning, and electrical hum. There is no one in the room except for me. No one to talk to. No one to avoid being talked to by.

I begin to think of the weekend. My weekend off. Providing my ticket actually arrives, I’ll be spending Sunday afternoon at the Etihad Stadium, watching Saints first game back in the Premiership since 2005. If it doesn’t arrive, I’ll be walking around Manchester, seeing its sights, and drinking its beer.

I’ll be drinking its beer anyway. I’ve booked a hotel room so I can do so after the match, and also on the Monday afternoon. I have been to Manchester before, and found a pub selling Robinson’s beers. I drank the range before moving on to the Marble Arch, where I regretted drinking as much as I did in the Robinson’s pub.

This time, I’m assigning most of Monday afternoon to drinking in the Marble Arch, and spending Sunday in Port Street (what with it being closed on Mondays, this seems like a reasonably good idea).

In writing about beer, I begin to want a beer. There are quaffing days and sipping days, and today is a sipping day. At least, in here it is. Outside earlier it was hot and sunny, far too hot for the sort of high strength imperial stout or barley wine I’d like to savour, slowly sipped from my favourite glass.

In reality, I’m longing for winter. I’m longing for the long cold dark winter nights which make imperial stouts and barley wines just a bit more satisfying. The long cold dark winter night that make a rustic pub, with a real log fire, and a dog, seem even more welcoming. I’m longing for something that doesn’t really exist, except in the romantic writings of beer writers.

When those cold dark winter nights actually come, the last thing I think of is going to the pub. Especially when it’s bitterly cold, with patches of ice on the paths, and I’m already warm in my room. Those pubs exist, but they’re rarely within easy walking distance of most people, especially when it’s cold, dark, and potentially dangerous underfoot.

Most of us have to make do with The Local, or if that won’t do, The Regular. The beer choice won’t be exotic, but it will have “Old Reliable”. The beer we’ve drunk the most over our lives. It’s the beer we go to when we “need a beer”. It’s not challenging, but it’s more satisfying than most other beers we’ve drunk. It holds memories.

Generally, The Local (or The Regular) won’t have the same atmosphere that the romantic ideal pub has. There will be a fire, but this will often be for show, with heat coming from behind the radiator, in front of which are three bar stools, on which are sat regulars with pints in their hands, which never seem to be drunk. They are always talking, yet never seen drinking.

In some places, there will be a TV. Some will switch it on only for special occasions. Big sporting matches and royal weddings and the like. Others will have it on all the time, tuned into a news channel on mute, with some eyes fixed to the scrolling stream of headlines as they consume their beers.

Music will be provided by a jukebox, that sits on the wall unnoticed, along with the music it plays through speakers that have their volume set so it can be heard by people who want to hear it, but not heard by people who don’t. For atmosphere, some places will turn up the volume of the jukebox at certain times.

Behind the bar there will be a selection of crisps, nuts, and either boards of Cheese Moments or Pork Scratchings, or if you’re lucky, both. All are priced at slightly more than you’re happy to pay for such things, but you end up doing so anyway, in an attempt to stave off the inevitable feeling of drunkeness that is to come.

Some people you will know by name, some people will know you by name, but you’ll only seem to ever know them by face. Some people you’ll never know at all. It’s people that make The Local, and sometimes, there are too many of them. On some nights, the bar at The Local is two, maybe three deep. The Local draws people together. It makes friendships, it reunites friendships, it breaks them up with a fight and the sound of a young woman shouting “Leave him, he ain’t worth it”

If you look around The Local, you’ll begin to notice little characteristics, small things that differentiate it from The Pub Down The Road. Picture frames on the walls, little knick knacks on shelves surrounding the room, patterned carpet from the 70s with wallpaper to match.

I’m not sure if such a place really exists either, yet a place like “The Local” is much more likely to be encountered by beer writers than their romantic ideal. Location is important though, as is circumstance, and company. Some might say this is nothing compared to the actual beer, but consider this.

You have a beer. In one situation you are on your own, drinking the beer, and either enjoying it or not enjoying it. In the other situation, you are with friends, or family. Each of you has a different opinion of the beer. Which seems more satisfying and rewarding?

Even the worst beer can have its purpose in the best company.


The Friday Pint #26 – A Glassful of Clichés

I’m going to start off with a warning. This weeks post contains what I consider to be a cliché in the world of describing drinks. It’s a term that I have long considered to be a full back term for people writing tasting notes when they have an okay beer, with not much else to say about it. I shall get to what it is in a while, but first, a little bit about Friday.

I yet again found myself in the Windsor Castle in Lye, home to the Sadler’s Brewery, makers of the rather good Mud City Stout. Unfortunately for me, it was yet again off (in terms of taste, I’ve been rather unlucky with this recently, and I wonder how many people have been put off it from drinking a bad pint. When it’s good, it’s a sublime stout, and dangerously tasty, yet when it’s off, it has a horrible taste, which I can best describe as what I’d imagine moldy socks to taste like.)

I was here to meet a couple of fellow drinkers, who I had first met at the Birmingham Twissup a few months previously. There are several write ups about the event, but this one from blogger Danny Brown is my favourite for the line “when a gathering happens in the name of something, then perhaps it means err something.” It has taken on somewhat of a meaning in recent months, with rather exciting developments happening. I’m sure as soon as I can, I’ll be promoting the hell out of those developments on here.

I arrived early, an hour earlier than the other drinkers (@ckdsaddlers, @robertoross and @midders57, for those of you who are curious) and used this time to get some drinking done for this post, and a potential Black and Tan Experiment involving Hop Bomb and Mud City Stout.

Now, as the Mud City Stout wasn’t on form, the Black and Tan was essentially rendered worthless, and so I’ll be waiting for another go before I write about that. As for this week’s pint, I had the monthly special, Solar Bear, which is easily the better of the Sadler’s monthly specials I’ve had this year. There was a nice citrusy, mostly grapefruit aroma initially, which faded slightly not long afterwards. The beer had a nice bitterness that seemed nicely offset by the slight sweetness of the malt. It was, in my eyes (cliche alert!) a well balanced beer.

It was the first time that those words have made any sort of sense to me. Most of the time, when I drink a beer described as “well balanced” I have found it to be anything but. Of course, one person’s “well balanced” maybe another persons “slightly skewed one way or the other”, but at least now, I do know that there are actually beers that can fit that description.

Saying that though, I’ll still view those words with some skepticism when reading tasting notes.

As for the rest of the day, we finished at the Windsor Castle with some Dr. Hardwicke’s, before moving onto the Waggon and Horses in Halesowen. Despite having passed through a number of times, this was actually the first time I had visited there. I took the opportunity to try Batham’s Mild, which I found to be okay, but not impressive enough for me to rush back for more, unlike the bitter. This was followed by a trip to Stirchley Wines and a final pint in the Post Office Vaults.

So, a little bit delayed, but that was this week’s Friday Pint. It shall be returning to the West Midlands in a few months time, probably.



Beer Drinking In America #3 – The Land of Big Beers

So, after parts 1 and 2, what else is there left to cover about my recent escapades in the United States?

Well, firstly, there are a few beers that I’ve not yet mentioned. Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout was an almost perfect chocolatey beer. I say almost, as although everything about it was right, after a while the chocolate flavour seemed to become more and more artificial. Perhaps a whole 660ml bottle (it might have been 750ml, but the point is the same) may have been too much for one person.

I also got the chance to try Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum, and 21st Amendment’s Back in Black. The former I found to be very hoppy and bitter (it has an IBU rating of 100). Surprisingly, it didn’t seem that strong in aroma, but it was strong in taste and alcohol. As for the Back in Black, I’ve seen many people praise it here and there, and I was actually pleasantly surprised to find that I rather enjoyed a beer praised by so many others.

Next there’s the venues. We went to a wide variety of places serving beer whilst I was there. World of Beer in Columbus, and Jekyll and Hyde’s in Erie, are worthy of mention for their wide variety of beers on tap. Another venue which I’m looking forward to returning to in November, is McGrogan’s Taphouse in Canonsburg. Whilst their number of taps may be considerably smaller than the other two places mentioned, they have a nicely sized bottle selection in their fridges, and generally, I quite liked the place.


Whilst I enjoyed my trip, and the beers, I do have one gripe with the beer drinking scene in America, and that is the size of their beers. Whilst World of Beer offers the option to buy paddles with 4oz “samples” ranging from $2 to $5, and one place we went sold stronger beers in a 10oz measure, most seemed to serve everything in either a 16oz or 20oz pint. The TGI Fridays at Pittsburgh Airport served their beers in 23oz glasses.

Now, I’m fine with pints for most beers. The only trouble was, I also wanted to drink most beers. When drinking here (in the UK), I generally have a vague policy of basing my glass size on the strength of the beer. Anything over 8% I will have as a half, whilst anything 6% or under is full pint material. A lot of the beers I wanted to try in bars were strong 8% plus beers. Knowing that I’d have to drink a whole pint, and combined with the dehydrating heat at times, I was put off them a few times.

Being forced to drink pints, or rather, only having that option, makes me appreciate the choice to have a half, or even a third, somewhat more. I’m sure in November I’ll be more prepared, and it’ll be cooler. Until then I’ve several bottles to be opening, including two big Dogfish Head’s.

162 days to go…


Beer Drinking in America #2 – Enthusiasm Counts For A Lot

On the Thursday of my first week out in America, we drove (I say we, my girlfriend was the one doing the driving) up to Erie in Northern Pennsylvania. Whilst there, we paid a visit to the Erie Brewing Company.

When we arrived we walked into the shop area to find no one around. We went back out and pushed the bell outside the door and were greeted by Mike, who proceeded to be one of the nicest, and fun, guides I’ve ever had the privilege to meet.

I told Mike that I was there to try the beers, and I was told to buy a tasting glass for $5. Mike then proceeded to work through the beers that they sold.

The first was Presque Pilsner, which seemed much more like a Pilsner than the My Antonia that I had drunk the evening before. It seemed smooth and light, and just right for the hot humid weather there was those few days.

We followed this with Misery Bay IPA, which following a failed attempt at ordering an IPA in another bar, was actually my first American IPA of the holiday. There didn’t seem to be much aroma, but it was wonderfully bitter, and exceedingly tasty.

The third beer I tried was Derailed, a 5% Black Cherry Ale. The beer had a feint cherry aroma, and a strong cherry taste, followed by a slight biscuity aftertaste. Essentially, it was a good dessert beer.

Railbender is a 6.8% Scottish style beer, which “exists to enjoy, but doesn’t provoke words”. This was followed by Oak Aged Fallenbock, which had been aged using oak spirals. I found it to be rather good for a bock beer.

After exhausting the taps they had, we moved on to some bottles. Mad Anthony’s APA (which had run out on tap) wasn’t the best in the range, but was still entirely drinkable and enjoyable. The real fun came with the Ol’ Red.

Ol’ Red Cease and Desist is a 10.1% Wee Heavy Ale. We first opened a bottle from the latest batch, which we were told was made with odd yeast, and so didn’t taste how it should. Saying this though, it was still a very nice, rich and flavoursome beer. Halfway through drinking this version, Mike went out and came back with a two year old bottle, made with yeast that hadn’t gone wrong. This version prompted the words “wonderful, wonderful beer”. It was.

We finished off with a blend. taking two parts Misery IPA and one part Ol’ Red, to create a mix that Mike called Old Misery. It didn’t seem to be greater than the sum of it’s parts, but it’s good to see people experimenting with mixing beer.

I didn’t take any notes walking around the brewery. They were bottling at the time, so it was rather loud. The one thing I do remember though, is Mike telling us that Fuggles is one of his favourite hops. With all the criticism it seems to get from some circles, I was initially quite surprised. Thinking about it though, it’s probably more a case of saturation.

Mike’s clear enthusiasm for the beer and the brewery helped us to enjoy the experience and the beer. He also helped us with where to go after we left, suggesting several venues in the area with large selections of beer on tap. We chose Jekyll and Hydes, which served good burgers, and a nice selection of beer.

Contrast the enthusiasm of Mike to the more rigid scripted tour style that we experienced at Great Lakes in Cleveland the following day, and it’s clear what leaves more of an impression.

One more America post to come from this trip, in which I’ll be covering the beers I haven’t done in the first two posts, and anything else that may come to mind…




Beer Drinking in America #1 – Making the most of an opportunity.

So, I’m now back in the UK after almost two weeks in Western Pennslyvania and Eastern Ohio with my wonderful girlfriend, who drove me around to many bars and breweries. A fair bit of beer was drunk over that period, and much griping about the lack of smaller measures in some places, especially when it came to beers of certain strengths. I didn’t really want to be drinking a whole pint of them, especially when there were others I wanted to try as well.

Enough moaning however, and on with the beer. To make things easier, I’ll be splitting my notes into several smaller posts, with this one focusing on the Dogfish Head beers I drank whilst in Pittsburgh.

Dogfish Head is a brewery I’ve wanted to try more of for some time. I managed to try at least seven different beers that were new to me, and reaquaint myself with 90 Minute IPA. There were some odd beers, some very welcome beers, and one that was nice, but didn’t really do anything for me.

The week started with Midas Touch, a 9% Ancient Ale made with ingredients found in the drinking vessel of King Midas. I’d say that this was an acquired taste. The first impression is that of a rather musky aroma, and the taste is quite dry at first, but a sweetness comes through in the aftertaste. This isn’t a beer I’d rush to drink more of, but perhaps it would work better paired with some food.

The same night I shared a bottle of My Antonia. My Antonia is an Imperial Pilsner, which has been continuously hopped. As a result, the aroma reminded me a lot of 90 Minute IPA. In the 90 Minute IPA, I think that the continuous hopping is a good thing. I like how it tastes and smells. In My Antonia however, I found it to be too much. It wasn’t how I expect a pilsner to be. I liked it, but as a pilsner, I wasn’t a fan.

The next beer came in the shape of Chicory Stout, a good enough stout, though I’m not too sure what happened to the chicory. Saying that though, I’d still drink it whenever the opportunity arose.

On the Saturday Evening we shared a bottle of Bitches Brew, Dogfish Head’s beer brewed in honour of the 40th anniversary of the Miles Davis album. My notes have just two words by this beer, “wonderfully tasty”, and it was. My girlfriend was asked to perform at a show that evening, which turned out to be longer than she had been told, and the second worst show she had performed in. By the time we got back, I think any beer would have been “wonderfully tasty”. We have another bottle which is being saved for my return in November. Hopefully it will still be “wonderfully tasty” then.

For Memorial Day we returned to Pittsburgh, and once again I raided the beer shelves of the Shop and Save, this time picking up the Victory and Dogfish Head versions of Saison Du Buff. Saison Du Buff is a collaboration beer between Victory, Dogfish Head and Stone, first brewed at Stone in 2010, and then replicated at the other breweries using the same ingredients. The beers have been brewed again this year, and the Dogfish Head version isn’t bad (I’ll say one word about the Victory version, soap.), there seemed to be a malt base that the Victory Saison was lacking, which gave the beer a much better overall taste.

A return in the other direction to Columbus brought with it another return to the Shop and Save, and this time a four pack of Burton Baton, Dogfish Head’s IPA flavoured with oak spirals. I found it to be a rather nice IPA that gives way to oakiness in it’s after taste. I’ve left two bottles behind to see how it ages. I think it could go well.

As well as all of these bottles, I also got the chance to try Urkontinent on tap at McGrogans Taphouse in Canonsburgh (a place I’d like to be taken back to in November, due to it’s nicely sized bottle selection). It’s a nice little beer, which really came good once it had warmed up to it’s optimum temperature, and the flavour started coming out. I didn’t think to take notes when I was drinking it, I just enjoyed it. After all, that’s the whole point of drinking beer, isn’t it?

As well as this lot, I also bought back with me bottles of Sahtea and Black and Blue, which I’ll be drinking when the right time comes. With the amount of Dogfish Head I drank you could easily be mistaken for thinking I was in Delaware rather than Pennslyvania or Ohio. I was though, and beers from those states will be coming up soon…


Pictures will come later, when I can actually upload something.


Reasons I’d be a terrible salesperson (plus a summary of EBBC12)


This portly fellow stands in Leeds, surrounded by a CEX, a shopping centre, and a Sainsburys. He is about a five minute walk in either direction from Mr. Foleys or North Bar, and was about 10 minutes walk from The Met, where around 100 beer bloggers met to talk beer, listen to people talk beer, and drink beer. When I saw him, I knew I had to take his photo for this post, and so here he is. He certainly seems more apt than the structure below, which I’m still not entirely sure what it’s supposed to be.


Okay, so a summary of my weekend. Thursday, I arrived and drank some beer. Friday, I drank some more beer. Saturday, I drank more beer. Sunday, I drank more beer, but not as much as Friday or Saturday. By mid-afternoon Sunday, I had effectively been beered out.

There was a lot more to the weekend than just drinking though, with several talks and panels on different aspects of the beer industry and blogging taking place over the two days.One of the talks on Saturday morning, was a talk on Social Media.

I like social media, though as a fellow blogger commented, it’s rather anti-social. An often occuring amusing sight over the weekend was that of many people on their phones, tablets and laptops, tweeting or posting facebook statuses about the event. I was one of them, and was even using the time during the Social Media talk to add another aspect to this blog.

Every time I make a post on Posterous, it automatically posts to various other locations around the internet. Over the weekend I added Tumblr to that list, and at some point I’ll be trying to work out how to get it to autopost to the Good Morning Facebook page.

Over the course of that one hour though, I began to dislike the internet and social media. Some of the points were apt, and if I was actually taking notes I’d probably be looking at some of the websites and services that were mentioned. As it is though, I found myself wondering how something that should be enjoyable could be made quite dull.

I’m not concerned with numbers. I’m not concerned with where my readers come from. Maybe I should be. Maybe I should take this more seriously and load up on analytical tools and stratagies. I could do that, but in my mind it would be losing touch with why I started this blog in the first place.

Before Good Morning… became mostly about beer it served a purpose as an outlet for my thoughts, and a place where I could write and keep my creative brain active. In early 2010 I started writing about my beer drinking. I didn’t intend for Good Morning.. to become a beer blog, yet it soon became apparent that is what it was becoming.

This year I’ve already started two strands within the blog, “The Friday Pint” and “Black and Tan Experiments”. One of these was started to further improve my writing, whilst the other was started because doing this blog has made me more adventurous as a beer drinker.

I also think it’s made me more passionate. I could talk for an age about beer, and would happily do so to (or for) anyone who asked me to. Once that talk becomes about selling a beer though, it doesn’t seem as fun. I can wax lyrical about some beers (just ask anyone who’s heard me talk about Sadler’s Mud City Stout), but if it was my job to sell these beers, there would be something that wouldn’t quite sit right with me.

I’d love to work within the beer industry. I’ve met some great people in bars, brewerys, and on twitter. If all industries were made up of people like this, I think the world would be a much better place. I am aware though that saturation can kill passion. If I had to talk about a beer I loved, and drink it every day as part of that work, would I still love it, or would I become tired of it?

I’d be a terrible sales person. Not just because I hate the whole world of marketing, but because I’d also not be believing anything I said. When some one seems to believe in what they say, I feel much more inclined to want to listen to them. When it seems more like a sales pitch, I’ll switch off. Maybe this knowledge would make me a better salesperson, who knows.

I should probably just enjoy the beer.


European Beer Bloggers Conference – Live Beer Blogging

Okay, so this isn’t “live”. I’m writing it whilst drinking the beers I’ll be talking about in this post, but I’ve opted to not try and actually tweet anything about the beers, as the wifi in the room we’re drinking in is horribly unreliable.

The first brewery at our table is Marble Brewery from Manchester. They’ve bought with them a beer made in collaboration with Emilisse Brewery from Holland, an Earl Grey IPA. It’s been made using earl grey tea, and has a lot of citric bitterness.

Second to pimp their beer is Roosters Brewery, with a single hop IPA called Baby-Faced Assassin.  It’s a Citra IPA, made with a single variety of malt. As with most Citra hopped beers, it’s not really my thing, but it does seem to be at the more likeable end of the range for me. Now I’ve had a few sips, it actually tastes more like grapefruit juice than it does a beer.

Next to the table is Great Heck Brewery, serving us Stormin’ Norman, an American Style IPA, hopped with Cascade and Columbus.  I don’t seem to be getting much hop aroma from this, and to be honest, the taste isn’t really doing much for me either.

Brewer number four is Slater’s Ales with Top Totty (queue Parliament jokes and pump clip taste debates).  To me, it’s a nice, lager like ale. There’s not much aroma, but it’s clean, crisp and very refreshing. I’m not a fan of pale ales, but this I enjoy

Next to our table is Mark Dredge, representing Camden Town Brewery with a bottle of US Hells. I’ve had one bottle of this that I’ve “got”. The others haven’t quite met expectations, and this is the same. It’s nice, but it doesn’t quite match that bottle that made me “get” US Hells

Half way through and Adnams are serving us with Ghost Ship, a “Ghostly Pale Ale”. It contains a combination of Moteuka and Citra hops. These combine to create an aroma and taste that I quite like. It’s still not my style as a pale ale, but in the right circumstances, it’s a beer I’d enjoy.

Seventh to the table is Innis and Gunn, showcasing their Scottish Pale Ale, which will be available to buy soon. As with all Innis and Gunn beers, it’s aged in oak barrels, in this case, Bourbon Barrels. It has a sweet, whisky like aroma, with a hint of vanilla in the aroma and the taste. It’s a good beer, but the fact it is sold in clear bottles does put me off

The Leeds Brewery are the eight people to the table, bringing with them Hellfire, a “Fiery Pale Bitter”.  It had a subtle aroma of grapefruit, and a bitter taste. After several pale ales I’m starting to get tired of them now. Variety is a good thing. Thankfully, I know Otley have bought Oxymoron with them

Talking of which, Nick Otley is at the table now. Oxymoron is a Black IPA. Aromawise it’s one of those annoying bastards of a beer which I can recognise the aroma, but can’t quite place what it is. It seems to be a mix of coffee, chocolate, liquorice and aniseed, with something else as well.

Finally, we end with Brains and Brains’ Dark, the brewery’s Mild. It’s full of rich, chocolates and burnt malt flavours. This is the sort of beer I enjoy, and I’m pleased to finish on this.