The Friday Pint 2 #40 – Insert title here.

So, what can I tell you?

As I write I’m drinking Brooklyn Lager, from the bottle, whilst watching Saturday Night Live from 1994. That’s what sort of day it is.

Last weekend I was at the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary celebration, which also served as an excuse to visit some beery establishments over on the Excel side of London.

On the Friday we visited Tap East, which was pleasantly not as busy as I was anticipating. I had the Simcoe IPA brewed on site, followed by a glass of Rodenbach, which tasted much less sour, and much more fruity (raspberry) than anytime I’ve had a bottle of the stuff.

This was followed by a trip up to the King William IV to drink some Brodies Beers. If it was my first time in the pub, and I hadn’t previously tried the beers and known they were good, I probably would have left before I got served.

As it was I ordered two rounds at the same time (one half and three thirds, as apparently you can’t order a half of beers that are sold as 2/3 pints rather than pints). The Black Tea Oyster Stout and Pumpkin Porter were passable. The Mojito Pale was a delicious refreshing minty palate cleanser of a beer, and the Romanov was as ever, awesome.

Saturday night, post special, saw a trip down to Greenwich to drink some Meantime in The Old Brewery. For me this was an excuse to drink some London Lager, which can be found in bottles in some branches of Tesco and Sainsbury.

We returned to Greenwich on the Sunday to do the Meantime tour. It’s changed since I last went on it, with my now fiancé back in 2011. For a start there’s now a proper bar with taps. Two years ago we were sat round a big white table pouring from jugs and bottles.

Overall the tour was fun, though I did prefer the way it was conducted two years ago. Saying that though, it remains the only tour I’ve been on that touches on some of the scientific elements of brewing.

And so that brings me to yesterday, where it was Thanksgiving in the USA. Naturally this was an excuse to spend the evening drinking American beers whilst watching the American football.

The list consisted of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (one of the best beers you can find on a supermarket shelf), Goose Island IPA, Brooklyn Lager and the Dogfish Head/Sierra Nevada collaboration Rising Bines.

The Rising Bines whilst enjoyable, wasn’t quite the beer I wanted from a collaboration IPA between the two breweries. To be fair on it, I am drinking it several months after it’s release, and it may have tasted better fresh, but on this bottle it’s not one I’ll be rushing to drink again.

So, that it would seem, is what I can tell you.

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The Friday Pint 2 #39 – words in some order

I shall start off by being honest. I can’t really be bothered to write a post this week, and so this post may end up being one of the worse posts found on this blog, as I run through it, just wanting the whole terrible idea of having to think of suitable words and type them in order to end.

I am, yet again, at The Rockstone. Since moving back closer to work, visits here have become rarer. Today I find myself here on the way back to my new place of residence in Slough, a town so grey and miserable that it requires a certain blood alcohol level to distract from the fact you are in Slough. This fact is further emphasised when you realise that there are no good pubs in Slough in which to achieve this.

The order of today is more Whiskey, as I progress towards complete the Whiskey Business challenge. First up today, I shall be drinking the three Singleton of Dufftowns.

The 12yr isn’t bad. It has an aroma that I can best describe as warm apples, though I’m sure that’s not what it is. It’s rather easy to drink for a whiskey, and enjoyable whilst doing so.

The 15yr seems pretty much to same to my untrained palate, only with slightly stronger versions of the tastes in the 12yr. That is to say, to me, it seems more of warm apples, though I’m still sure that’s not what it is. Whatever it is, the 15yr tastes more of it than the 12yr.

At this point I decided I really wasn’t in the mood for drinking whisky, and decided to pay up and head back to Slough, where I have since been drinking some of my Dr Rudi/Maris Otter SMaSH. On the subject of Homebrew, yesterday I used Dr Rudi in brewing a hoppy stout, which I’ll be hopefully drinking at Christmas. I also opened the first bottles of Delight Mk. 1. The first thing I discovered was that this batch was somewhat over carbonated, with most of the first bottle ending up in the sink (the second bottle was opened into a jug first). The second thing learned from this batch, is that it needs a lot more rose petals. The base beer is fine, and as it stands it’s a rather nice Impy stout, but it’s not the Turkish delight stout that I want.

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The Friday Pint 2 #38 – The Special Relationship

So, I’ve been on holiday. My girlfriend came over from America, we went places, we drank beer, and rum, and ate food, and we got engaged, in the beginnings of a hurricane, at Lands End. I also opened the first bottle of AG#3, aka The Special Relationship, which I brewed back in March to celebrate our engagement (and subsequently our wedding, and an anniversary which is yet to be decided, there were three bottles essentially).

More on that later. First though, some of the highlights of my last few weeks…

On the first Tuesday we ended up at The Old Brewery in Greenwich, so that Shannon could have some London Lager. Whilst there we also had a bowl of chips, which as it would turn out, would be the best chips we had during the two weeks. As well as the lager, we also bought a paddle of four thirds, the only one really worth remembering for me being the stout, which I rather enjoyed.

Thursday night was “Drink all the rum” night. We didn’t, I crossed eight off my card. We did all enjoy great burgers, and learned that the 2008 film The Wrestler was based on the book written by Robert Siegel. After we had eaten, we started playing Trivial Pursuit. The same question based on this fact appeared at least three times during the game, and became a running joke throughout the holiday.

Saturday was Falmouth day, specifically Falmouth Beer Festival, where the day before, Rebel Brewery’s Mexi-Cocoa had been awarded overall gold (and rightly so). As a result, by the time we got there, there was none left. That was until there was midway through the session. On hearing the news I made no hesitation in finishing what I had and getting a half for myself. If you like chocolate, and beer, it’s certainly one you should try.

Whilst there I also enjoyed a pint of Bristol Beer Factory’s Southville Hop, which was my favourite beer of the Maltings Festival back in April, more from Rebel Brewery (all of which was great), and a rather nice perry, which I forget the name of.

Beered out, we headed back up to the town, via The Front (with more beer and some chips), to Beerwolf Books. It’s a bookshop that sells beer, or a pub that sells books. Whichever way you look at it, it’s a nice place to spend a bit of time. Shannon and I went for a cup of tea each, which came to a surprising £2 (for some reason, I always expect to feel slightly ripped off when ordering non alcoholic drinks in a pub). If Falmouth was closer/cheaper to get to, I imagine I would spend a lot more time in Beerwolf.

Sunday was the big day for me. The one that I had been preparing for since the start of the year. Unfortunately, my plans of an engraved trumpet mouthpiece had been scuppered by delays, but that wasn’t going to deter me. I had my ring(s), buying a second after I decided the first wasn’t good enough. We stood at Lands End, wind blowing, rain imminent. I proposed, she said yes. We got our photo taken under the signpost, and a few more in other places, before the rain had us running for shelter and warmth. Thankfully it didn’t last long, but there it was. We were now engaged, and we had a memorable story to tell to people.

That evening was when the first bottle of The Special Relationship was opened, having spent around seven months in the bottle. Having not been convinced when I bottled it back in March, I was pleased with how it turned out. It was intended as an American style barley wine, and whilst it’s not quite what I wanted, it’s still a beer I’m happy with. I look forward to seeing how it tastes when it comes to the big day.

 

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The first part of our second week was spent in Bath, a rather beautiful city that is well worth a visit. Whilst you’re there, do the Abbey Tower tour for the chance to see some great views of the city and it’s surrounding area.

In terms of beer, the only beer I actually had in Bath was a half of Bass, served directly from the cask, and a half of a local beer, Abbey Bellringer, which neither of us could bring ourselves to finish. You may try it and enjoy it, but for me, it was undrinkable.

We did however find a rather nice Pizza, Pie and Cider Bar at the top of the hill, not far from where we were staying. It’s called The Stable, and on Tuesdays they offer a pizza or pie, plus a salad and drink for just £10 (considering the pizzas we opted for were normally £14 each, this seems a good deal). It’s either testament to how good the pizzas were, or as to how hungry I was by that point, that I actually finished a whole pizza, and wanted to order another. It may have helped that the base was a rather thin crust, and didn’t seem as filling as many other pizzas I’ve had.

In terms of the ciders, there was a very good choice, with 10 keg taps, around 20 boxes, plus bottles. They also offered tasting paddles, with five thirds of cider or perry for just £7.50. The staff were also very happy to suggest and recommend which ones to try as well.

As I was in the area, I felt I had to make the short trip across to Bristol, and pay a visit to The Grain Barge and the Bag of Nails. The two are conveniently not far from each other. We went to The Grain Barge first, which is actually a boat on the river, converted into a pub. We spent a good bit of time in there, and it seemed like a nice place to spend an afternoon.

We didn’t spend as long in The Bag of Nails, though I would have liked to. It’s the sort of pub I like, with a record player, and good beer, and full of things for the wondering eye to catch (posters, toys, the rules written in chalk on the pillar by the bar for example).

The end of the second week was spent up in the Midlands, taking in the Birmingham Beer Festival (which was, in my opinion, slightly disappointing this year), Beavertown’s tap takeover at Brewdog Birmingham, and a trip to Shrewsbury to see some friends of ours.

It was at Brewdog that we ended up spending four hours, and that I realised that four hours is perhaps too long to spend in a Brewdog, especially when you’re trying not to get too drunk before the beers you want to try come on. As a result, I ended up making one beer, a half of lager, last a full 75 minutes.

The Beavertown beers when they came were a mixed bag. I liked the Damson Sour, but it wasn’t sour enough. The Barley Champagne was nice, yet whilst drinking it, I wondered if it was better from a bottle, rather than keg. My favourite of the ones I tried though, was the pumpkin beer,

So, that is what I’ve been up to. I’ve now been engaged for just under two weeks. I have a wedding to plan. I’m rather looking forward to it, and I’m rather nervous at the same time. If anything I’m at least looking forward to choosing the beer I’ll be drinking…

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