The Friday Pint #42 – Inbetween Beers

Earlier this week I paid a visit to the recently renamed Barley Mow in Chiswick, which has now installed a small brewplant just inside the entrance from the high street, and is now known as The Lamb Brewery. I was going to write about that trip in this week’s edition of The Friday Pint, but in looking for information on the original Lamb Brewery, I soon realised that it would have to be put off until I had time to read what there was to read.

Later tonight I shall be on my way to Birmingham, where depending on how full the Second City Suite is, I shall be drinking some beer at the Birmingham Beer Festival, before a more full day of drinking whatever is left on the Saturday.

As a result, I am somewhat inbetween beers, and don’t really have anything significantly beery to write about. I do though, have a request. Next week I shall be in North Wales, and would like to try one or two local beers. If you have any reccomendations, or suggestions, please leave them in the comments. Chances are, one of them may end up as next week’s Friday Pint.


The Friday Pint #41 – An Overground Brewery Crawl

This Friday, I’ve decided to actually make an effort to go out and drink a proper pint, a few 20121019-180649.jpgactually, including one place I’ve not yet been to. As I’m writing this introduction, I am currently sat in Tap East, drinking a pint of London Extra, one of three beers available today that have been made at the onside brewery, which is visible through the glass from the bar itself.

The beer is more or less just what I want for a first beer of the day. It’s not too challenging, yet there’s also enough flavour there to make it interesting and enjoyable. It’s the sort of beer that I can still enjoy, despite having a cold.

Enjoy it I did, along with a somewhat overpriced, yet tasty bratwurst. I now find myself at The Cock Tavern in Hackney, home of Howling Hops brewery, and sister pub of The Southampton Arms in Kentish Town. It shows. If you haven’t yet been to The Cock Tavern, but have visited The Southampton Arms, just imagine the latter, on a bigger scale. I like it, and it’s the sort of pub I’d like to see more of in West London, or Southampton for that matter.
Here I have decided to opt for half pints, and have started with a Howling Hops Five Hop IPA. I had the option of cask or keg, and decided to stick with cask for now (even though I’ll be forced to go onto keg later on, I’d rather not feel bloated too soon). I can’t tell you what the Five Hop IPA smells like, but I can say it tastes rather good. There’s a lot of flavour packed into this small glass, and quite a bit of bitterness too, but it’s not to the extreme levels that might put some newcomers off.

Following this, I find myself with a half of Otley‘s 20121019-180943.jpgExperimental Stout, which has been described on the hand made pump clip as being “a bit Bretty”. It’s not wrong, though “a bit” may be a slight understatement. Brett is short for Brettanomyces, a form of yeast that can add sour characteristics to a beer. As a result of the Brett, this stout doesn’t really smell or taste like a stout at all, but it still tastes extremely good, and may be a struggle to beat for the other beers I drink today.

The first to try and challenge it, is Howling Hops Poacher, a green hop ale, made from hops sourced by local poacher, Jonathan Cook. The flavour isn’t really to my taste (too much bitterness with not much flavour to compensate), but it’s a well made beer, and nicely conditioned. It’s an enjoyable beer, and I am enjoying it, yet I enjoyed the Experimental Stout much more.

I’m finishing my time here at The Cock Tavern with a bottle of Kernel’s London Brick, a collaboration beer brewed with a selection of other London brewers. It’s a red rye ale, and much like its bigger counterpart, Big Brick, which I got to try last year, it tastes good. It’s relatively strong at 7.3%, but the flavour and enjoyment more than make up for it.

And so my afternoon comes to an end at Camden Brewery, where Gentlemen’s Wit is on tap, and so I have myself a Gentleman’s Wink. It’s a delicious black and tan, with the sherbet from the Gentleman’s Wit balancing against the burnt malt of the stout. It’s been a personal favourite of mine since I first had it this summer.

Following on at Camden, I’m currently on a half of Jopa, a 5.1% English pale ale. It’s not quite as flavoursome as some of the beers I’ve had today, but it goes well with the jerky I’m currently eating. To finish, I’ll be having an unfiltered Hells Lager. The Richmond to Stratford overground line is becoming a good beer line. It’s worth trying one day.


The Friday Pint #40 – Vibrant Forest Black Forest Porter

Just a few days after I was here last, I’m back at The Platform Tavern in Southampton, home of the Dancing Man Brewery, who were yesterday featured on MailOnline, in a story laced with inaccuracies (as The Platform Tavern say themselves on their Facebook page). This time though, it’s the turn of another local brewery, Totton’s own Vibrant Forest.

Some of you may have seen me talk of this brewery before, and with good reason. They’re local, and they’ve made some good beers, and Black Forest Porter just may be the best so far.


It’s not the brewery’s first porter. Last year saw Dark Castle Porter, which I first tried as part of Porter Weekend back in January. What I felt that was lacking, was some sort of flavour. That has definitely been sorted here, with a slight taste of blackberries coming through alongside the usual burnt malt tastes and aromas you’d expect from a porter.

In terms of strength, it’s 4.9%, and could easily be drunk all afternoon, whilst sat by a fire, with a book. It also has a good viscosity as well, it’s not too thin, but it’s not too syrupy and thick either, both qualities that have put me off other porters in the past.

Despite having tried most of the beers in the Vibrant Forest range, this is the first chance I’ve had to try any of draught. Whilst there are some pubs who serve their beer, I’ve never been able to visit any of them when they’ve had it on.

If you’d like to try Vibrant Forest beers for yourself, bottles can be bought from Bitter Virtue in Southampton, and Romsey Beer Emporium.



The Friday Pint #39 – In which some people drink beer, and tweet about it, whilst others have to work.

I am not in Manchester.

I will not be drinking rare and exciting beers this weekend.

I am working.

I will not be tweeting about what exciting beers I’ve been drinking in Manchester this weekend.

I will not be checking in exciting beers on untappd this weekend.

I will be working.

To contrast this, I will say the following.

I have quite a few beers waiting for me in America, and I shall be there for Thanksgiving. I’m already planning the bottles, and the order in which they shall be drunk.

As for now, I’m working. I didn’t have any holiday left.

That is the only reason I’m not in Manchester.



The Session #68 – Novelty Beers

It’s the first Friday of the month again, and with two months to go until Good Morning… hosts The Session, it’s the turn of Tiffany at 99 Pours to host.This month, The Session is about Novelty Beers. I decided to take a trip into the past, with a completely made up story, filled with factual inaccuracies…



In a long established brewery, popular amongst the local people for the flavoursome beers it produced, the brewing team discuss attempting something new.

“Rather than using all of these sticks and spices and beans to flavour our beers, why don’t we try using these flowers?” One brewer suggested.

“Flowers in beer?” asked another, “Don’t you think that’s a bit of a novelty?”

“Sure it is,” replied the first brewer, “but soon it won’t be, and in a few hundred years time it will become so standard that the brewer’s of the future will have to use what we’re using now to create novelty beers of their own”

“Ah, I see” said the second brewery, hesitantly.

“And the best thing about it,” added the first brewer, “is because it’s a novelty, we can charge more for it.”

“Will the people really fall for it?” asked the second brewer.

“We can only wait and see” came the reply.

And so it was that the novelty beer came to be, and with it was also born the beer geek, who would seek these strange new beers, and declared them the best thing ever, mainly because they had tried them and most other people hadn’t.

This story may be factually inaccurate.