The Friday Pint #38 – In which a fictional editor criticises the quality of recent posts

It’s Friday night. 21:15 to be precise. With just two hours and forty five minutes left in the day, the editor of Good Morning walks into the office.

“Where is this week’s Friday Pint post?” he asks.

“I haven’t written it yet,” I reply, before he asks me why not. I tell him that I’m not really in the mood to do any writing, and if I did, it would probably be a half-assed attempt, and I didn’t make any notes, so I’d be making it all up anyway.

“Why don’t you just make something up?” the editor asks.

“Because that wouldn’t be right” I tell him.

The editor tells me to write something, and leaves the room. I try to find something to write about one of the beers I drank during the day. I neglected to take any notes, all I have is memory, and vague memories don’t seem enough for a post. I decided to miss another deadline and suffer the consequences.

The Friday Pint will return soon. (2127)

The Friday Pint #37 – Trent Navigation

The more observant of you may have noticed that there was no edition of The Friday Pint last week. This is because I spent last weekend camping in Lincolnshire, and as a result had no access to any sort of interwebs to upload a post.

Of course, I could have made last weeks post on Sunday evening when I returned, however I chose drinking more beer over doing unpaid work.

If I had an editor for this blog, they probably would have fired me by now.

As this week I’m at work again, and so hence unable to have a pint, I’m going to use last Friday’s drinking escapades as the basis for this weeks post. You may call it cheating, I call it bending the unwritten and constantly change rules of The Friday Pint.

As I had a few hours before meeting the people I would be camping with, I decided to spend the afternoon in Nottingham. The first port of call, and the main subject of this post, was the Trent Navigation pub, home of Navigation Brewery, situated next to the Notts County ground, Meadow Lane.

When I visited, the pub was reasonably quiet, with just three others in the pub, aside from the staff. Along the bar is 12 handpumps, with seven serving beers from the brewery on my visit. The other pumps had a mixture of other local breweries beers, and ciders.

All of the beers were priced at less than £3 a pint. As I wanted to try all seven of the Navigation Brewery beers, I opted for the “three thirds for £3″ offer.

My first flight consisted of Traditional (3.8%), Golden (4.3%) and Pale (3.9%). Of these, my favourite was the Traditional. It had slight hints of banana, and held it’s head well, and most importantly, I thought it was a good session beer.

I followed this up with a flight of Classic IPA (5.2%), Back of the Net (4.5%) and High and Dry (3.6%). Back of the Net prompted the following lines in my notebook. “Good all round beer, with flavours and aromas I either can’t, or am too lazy to distinguish”. Up until the point of the High and Dry I had quite liked all of the beers. High and Dry though, as too grassy for my tastes.

I finished up with a half pint of the Stout, arguably finishing the best for last, though that is likely to be the opinion of a beer drinker whose favourite style is porters and stouts. There was a nice level of blackberries and smokiness in the beer, strong enough to be detected in the taste, but not strong enough to linger.

Overall, I’d say the pub and brewery are worth a look in if you’re in Nottingham, especially if you’re there for the football or cricket. There’s nothing overtly special about the beers, though they were all served well, and all tasted good. Whilst there were a couple that I didn’t like, noteably the High and Dry, these were more due to personal tastes, than bad beer.

Hopefully, next week will see things get back to normal, and I shall visit a new pub, and drink a new pint. Will it happen? There’s only one way for you to find out…

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Cask Vs Keg – The Final Showdown

The Cask Vs Keg debate has been rearing its ugly head every time beer bloggers and twitterers have nothing better to talk about. It’s about time we finally figured out which was best, and so, I have come up with a series of battles to determine the ultimate winner.

1. The Hill Race.

One keg and one cask are taken to the top of a hill and released. The winner is the one that reaches the bottom first.

2. Cask vs Keg Conkers.

Using cranes and rope or wire of an appropriate strength, cask and keg will battle it out in a giant version of conkers. The cranes will be controlled by a vocal spokesperson for each of the dispense methods, and the winner will be the person who manages to break their oppenents dispense vessel.

The use of vinegar (or gone off beer) as an aid will result in disqualification.

3. Cask vs Keg Benchpress (suggested by Nate of http://www.boozebeatsbites.com/)

“Can James Watt bench press more kegs than Colin Valentine can casks? No keykeg cheating, Watt. ”

Rules will be the same as in standard championship weightlifting, whatever they are.

4. Around the world race.

With the start overseen by the Queen, one keg and one cask will be set off on a voyage around the world. The first to fully work its way around the world will be declared the winner.

5. Cask Vs Keg Stare Out Competition

A pair of googly eyes is stuck onto a cask, and another pair onto a keg. The two are then placed and battle it out in a stare out competition. The loser is the first one to blink or look away.

The ultimate winner will be the one that wins the most of these five challenges.

Let the games commence!

  (1732)

The Friday Pint #36 – Crate Brewery

This is, by my count, the eighth week of The Friday Pint in which no beer has been consumed. Like last week, this week’s post concern’s beer drunk earlier in the week…

The only day this week in which I have consumed any sort of beer was yesterday. In amongst the beer I drank was Adventure Brewery‘s East, the full range available at Crate Brewery, and Special Pale Ale at Camden Brewery. I didn’t write down notes on any of them.

I rarely make notes on a beer. In some cases, this is a good thing. Carrying around a notebook and pen and spending five minutes writing in details of each beer just isn’t practicle. There are some cases where such notes would be useful, especially those where I’m encountered with a beer that I know I’ve had before, but can’t remember if it’s drinkable or not. My theory on this is that the beers on the extreme ends of the scale (ie the really good ones, and the really bad ones) I’ll remember. Everything else sits in a rather large area known as “passable if there’s nowt else on”

As I visited Crate yesterday, it seems a good time as any to record my initial reactions. As a venue I like it. It adds another stop onto the Overground pub crawl, though given the hour journey time it takes to get from one end to the other, I doubt it’s a place I’ll end up visting often.

When I went, it was mid afternoon. There was a gathering of people sat outside by the canal, making the most of the late summer weather. I chose to sat inside and look around at the building. At the back is the kitchen, where a choice of pizzas are prepared and cooked. I went for a margerita at £8, which was, in my opinion, rather good. The bar is situated in the centre, and is surrounded by long tables and benches.

The current brews available from the brewery are a Golden Ale, an IPA, and a Lager. These are accompanied on the bar by guest cask and keg beers, an Orchard Pig cider, and a small, but respectable collection of bottles, including beers from Kernel, Hardknott and Bear Republic.

Personally, on first impressions, I wasn’t really excited. The beers were okay, but for me, there wasn’t enough for me to make that hour journey more often. This is though, merely my first impression based upon what I had yesterday. I did take away a few bottles with me to try and formulate a second opinion. One of these was an unfined version of the Golden Ale, which I tried last night, and actually prefered to the standard version that I began with.

If I’m on that side of town again I’ll probably pop in. If I’m coming from the west, that trio of stations between Gospel Oak and Camden Road is going to win every time, which is going to be a struggle if I’m ever going to get to try Beavertown Brewery‘s beers.

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The Session #67 – How Many Breweries in 2017?

This month’s Session is hosted by Derrick Peterman at Ramblings of a Beer Runner. The subject is numbers, and growth. The latest figures show that there are 2,126 breweries in the United States, a significant increase on the 1,449 that were in existence five years ago in 2007. Derrick has asked us to predict where we think that number will be in 2017, and why we think it will be that number.

Writing this as a Brit, it would be obvious of me to cover the industry in this country, which I shall do as well as touching on the American industry.

According to CAMRA, there were 840 breweries in the UK when the 2012 Good Beer Guide was published (in 2011). Since then some breweries have closed, and a lot of new breweries have started up. There is appproximately one brewery for every 70,000 people. In America, this ratio is 1:150,000. These numbers aren’t really representative of anything of real worth though. They don’t take into account that not everyone is a beer drinking, or of drinking age.

I think the key to growth is both locality and demand. The former will have much more of an impact in the US, yet I feel it should also be a factor in UK growth. The UK is in comparison to the US a small country. A beer can be transported from one end of the country to the other in a day. In the US, the same journey would take much longer, resulting in beer that wasn’t as fresh.

What I’d like to see is more smaller breweries supplying smaller communities. The best scenario I can imagine is a number of brewpubs opening across the country. Places where people can gather and drink beer. London has an increasing number of places which are like this. The Platform Tavern in Southampton is another good example of the sort of brewery/pub I’d like to see more of.

Whilst I can see the number of new breweries increasing, I can also see a number of breweries closing in the next five years, squeezed by tax and costs. I have a feeling that in the UK in five years time, there will be more breweries making less beer, with better quality. There will still be the brewers that some of us resent, but I think the current rise in “craft beer” in the UK will influence a wave of new brewers.

As for the US, I feel the distribution issue is what will drive growth. As many of the more popular brewers struggle to keep up with demand, drinkers should have to look closer to home for their regular beer. I feel this is how it should be anyway, on both sides of the Atlantic.

As for numbers, I can definitely see the UK break the 1,000 mark at some point, though I also imagine there will be a lot of closures as that number is approached. Both industries will continue to grow as long as the demand is there. I see no reason why the US industry can’t double from where it is now, and even break the 5,000 mark.

The keys are quality, locality and demand. There should be a good local beer in every village. If it’s good enough, others will demand it. If they can’t get it, they can drink their local brew. It’s a wonderful beer utopia.

It’d be even better if it could exist. (868)