The Friday Pint 3 #5 – Happy Birthday To Me

So, here I am again. To clarify for those who read the post earlier in the week without realising what day it was, it was an April Fool. I am very much still drinking beer, as I’m doing right now (Bingham’s Vanilla Stout), and the last couple of days.

As you might have guessed, or assumed from the title of this post, it’s my birthday this week, today in fact. Unfortunately I have work tomorrow (and don’t want to use holiday I’ll want to use later in the year), and so I’m not able to go out drinking with those I’d normally go drinking with, which is why all of that happened yesterday.

Granted, for the most part of the day, it was just me, progressing through Southampton on a somewhat unintended pub crawl, taking in The Rockstone, The Junction, The South Western Arms, The Butchers Hook, and finally The Platform Tavern. They may be rather spread out, but Southampton actually does have some good pubs in and around it.

The highlights of yesterday’s little adventure were the last two stops. The Butchers Hook was, bar the one customer already in, empty. As a result I was able to take a seat and look around. The ceiling is “tiled” with old (and I mean old, many of them look much older than me) beer mats. It’s the sort of place where you could probably noticed something new each time you go in.

The only real problem I have with The Butchers Hook is that it’s somewhat of a trek for me to visit. It’s a trek that I’ll be making when I can, but it won’t be anywhere near as often as it would be if I lived closer to it. For those wondering, the beer I drank whilst there was Burning Sky’s Aurora. I enjoyed it, but wasn’t bowled over by it. I have seen others say good things about it though, so it’s probably best you try it yourself and make up your own mind.

The final stop, and my favourite, for many reasons, was The Platform Tavern. It was here that I was joined by my good friend Chris. Over the course of our session here, we enjoyed Pilgrim’s Pale Ale on draught, followed by 16 Tonne Stout and Pole Axed in bottle.

Long time readers of this blog may recall me raving about Pole Axed in the past. It’s one of only two Citra hopped beers (the other being a Kernel IPA) that I’ve really enjoyed. Every other Citra hopped beer (that I can remember) has made me feel that the hop is rather overrated. The bottle I had last night rekindled my love affair with the beer, to the point where I’ll be buying several bottles of the stuff when it goes on sale in Bitter Virtue.

I could easily rave about Pole Axed all night, however there are two other beers that need some time. Pilgrim’s Pale Ale tasted the best I’ve had it, possibly ever. It’s not really a beer that gets me excited, but it is a beer that I enjoy that can be drunk as a session beer, something which can’t really be said for Pole Axed. The 16 Tonne Stout (a chilli chocolate stout) also tasted good. The balance was, for me, much more enjoyable that the last time I had it on draught, when the chilli was a bit too strong.

To finish the evening (and this post), the first bottle of Jelly Baby Massacre 2 was opened. In my opinion it is a tad on the sweet side. I definitely over compensated when I was adding jelly babies to the boil. It’s still an enjoyable beer, and thinking about it, would probably make a good basis for an ice cream float.

As for now, I’m still drinking that Bingham’s Vanilla Stout. It’s somewhat disapointing in comparison to Bingham’s regular stout, which I rather enjoyed. It doesn’t really taste of vanilla, not even a hint. Once I finish this it’s a choice of Mud City Stout or Southville Hop. Alternatively, I save those for a mixing experiment and enjoy the Bourbon County I have on the shelf.

It is my birthday after all… (701)

An announcement

Since starting my beery journey I’ve had some great and memorable moments. I’ve made some great friends, tried some great beers, and visited places I wouldn’t have done otherwise because of beer.

The problem is though I’ve become bored of beer. I no longer wish to talk about it, write about it, or even drink it. It is with that in mind that I have considered the future of this blog. It shall remain as is, however I will be handing over the reigns of beer blogging to guest bloggers, whilst I shall be starting a voyage of discovery down the road of non beeryness.

I hope that you will continue to read this blog, and I thank you for the time you have given it in its short life so far. (433)

The Friday Pint 3 #4 – A post which isn’t really a Friday Pint post, but is being posted on a Friday, so it might as well be.

I like kids.

Allow me to put that into a little more context. I like the inventive and inquisitive nature of kids. I like their lack of cynicsm. I like the joy and hope that they represent. I like the idea of kids playing and having fun. It’s what they should do. Playing and having fun is what being a child (or being childish if you’re somewhat older), is all about.

I hate parents who allow their children to play in restaurants, pubs, supermarkets, and anywhere else that is highly inappropriate for a child to be running around.

I’ll be honest, I know I shouldn’t, but whenever I’m somewhere that a child is running around when they shouldn’t be, a part of me hopes that they fall, trip and hurt themselves. Of course, whatever the circumstances, it wouldn’t be an accident, or the child’s fault for running around when they shouldn’t be. It’s your fault for walking into the path of that child, or for having your chair out a bit.

I say the following to all parents of young children, present and future. Allow your children to play. By all means, encourage it, but realize that there are appropriate and inappropriate places for them to do so. If others in your vicinity scowl or tut at you whilst trying to avoid your child, it’s probably a good idea for you to tell them to calm down.

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The Wool House – The Plans

Time for another update on The Wool House and Dancing Man Brewery’s plans to move into the building…

The planning application is now available to view on the Southampton City Council website. You can view it yourself by clicking this link.

At the point of writing, 10 comments have been submitted on the application online, with a 50/50 split between those opposed and those supporting the venture. Whether this reflects the response of those voicing their opinion offline is unknown to me.

Several of the significant dates have passed, and just over two weeks remain before the Neighbour Consultation Expiry Date. After this, the deadline for making a decision on the application is the 17th April.

As for the plans themselves, the long curved bar with the brewery behind it, seems very appealing to me. In fact, the whole of the bottom floor seems very enticing to me, particuarly the three sofas that are on the drawings.

I’ll be checking in on the Southampton City Council website regularly, and if anything of note occurs, I shall be posting it here. Hopefully, the next post I write will be one reporting the approval of the plans, and then the start of the building works.

In the meantime, the success of The Butchers Hook in it’s first two weeks of operation has shown that there is a thirst for more quality beer in Southampton. If you can get in when it’s open, it’s worth a visit. If you’d like to read a review from someone who spent longer than I did there last week, fellow blogger Biere Belle wrote about The Butchers Hook on her site. (3887)

The Friday Pint 3 #3 – A Trip to Twyford

Last night I drank the other two beers I bought in last month’s trip down to Windsor and Eton Brewery, namely Canberra and Conqueror 1075.

The Canberra is a beer I probably need to try again to formulate a more solid opinion on. With each mouthful, the thoughts inside my head alternated between “mmm, this is quite nice” and “meh”. In comparison, the Conqueror 1075, a stronger version of the brewery’s black IPA, was met with a much more positive response.

And so onto today, where this morning I popped on a train down to Twyford, and walked up to the Binghams Brewery to pick up some more beer. I ended up leaving with one of each bottle, and a two litre bottle of Twyford Tipple, this being after trying the others available on draft, and finding that the first one I tried was the one I felt I could drink all afternoon/evening.

There’s nothing overly special about Twyford Tipple. It’s a 3.7% session ale, the kind of which can be found all over the country, some better than others. It’s more malt driven than hop driven, with some rather nice caramel notes that compliment the bitterness.

In the fridge there’s a bottle of the brewery’s ginger stout. I also bought the standard, coffee, chilli and vanilla stouts, along with Brickworks Bitter and Spacy Hoppy, their IPA. I’ll be opening these over the next couple of weeks and updating accordingly.

Until then, I’m going to enjoy the beer in this glass. (3210)

Hops to Heaven

Way back in 2004, when I was but a young 18 year old first year student at Southampton Institute on the Media Technology course, I was part of a group that decided to make a piece on beer for their video production coursework.

The rushes tapes have been sat in the small cupboard beside my bed for virtually a decade now (I can’t remember exactly when we shot the footage seen in the video, but I’m pretty sure it was early 2004, before my 19th birthday in the April of that year). This week I decided to get them transferred to a format that I can share with you, the reader of this fine blog.

I have a feeling that I may have ended up with presenting duties because no one else wanted to do it, though it may have been the case that I just wanted to be the star. I honestly can’t remember.

Hops to Heaven

(420)

The Wool House – An Update

Before Christmas I wrote about the campaign against the proposed development of one of Southampton’s historic buildings into a brewpub and restaurant. Since that time, much has happened.

The Dancing Man Brewery Team put forward their views in a letter published by The Daily Echo on the 9th January. They highlight that a lot of work is needed on the building, especially to the roof, which has suffered substantial damage in recent years. The one line that stands out in the letter for me, is the following:

we want to keep the Wool House for the community and will welcome anyone of any age who just wants to pop in to see the building.”

After having popped into the building last summer, to try and get an idea of what the potential new pub may be like, I think that The Wool House has the potential to be Southampton’s destination pub, visited not just for the beer, but for the atmosphere it has.

The 21st of January saw the petition against the proposed development close. 414 people signed the petition between 3/12/2013 and 21/1/2014. In their response to the petition, the council refer to the project as an “innovative and sustainable use of an historic building that has seen a wide variety of uses in its 600 year history.” They also highlight the fact that the team behind the Dancing Man Brewery are supporters of local musicians and bands.

Hopefully, work will begin soon on the building, and an extra stop will be added to an already promising pub crawl, which next weekend will be gaining a new stop in The Butchers Hook, a micropub in Bitterne that has some exciting beer never seen in Southampton before.

It still has a long way to match the beer scene of some other cities in the UK, but things are certainly starting to look up in Southampton. (2609)

The Friday Pint 3 #2 – The Friday Pint on a Saturday Night

This week, The Friday Pint was going to be coming to you in video form, in an attempt to test the UStream live video streaming service. As it happens, both last night and tonight, I found myself unable to reach a point where I could record any sort of video via the netbook I’m currently writing on.

As it is, my experiments with live streaming video have been postponed, and so it is that I now find myself writing for you, the reader, whilst drinking one of the many (five) beers I purchased from the Windsor and Eton Brewery yesterday.

Windsor and Eton Brewery is currently the closest brewery to where I currently reside, close enough indeed that I enjoyed a nice walk there to buy the beer. The brewery was established in 2010, and has since developed a respectable portfolio of beers.

The ones I left with were Zinzan’s Drop, Kohinoor, Republika, Conqueror 1075, and Canberra.

The Zinzan’s drop was a two litre bottle, priced at £6.50 (a little under £2 a pint). I enjoyed it enough that I drunk the whole bottle last night. It wasn’t anything life changing, but for a session beer, it serves it’s purpose well. It’s the sort of beer I could drink all night, unlike Kohinoor.

Kohinoor is an IPA. It’s a rather nice IPA. It’s a rather nice IPA with jasmine in. Which seems nice and different at first, but soon became a chore for me to enjoy. I’m pretty sure, if Kohinoor was made without the jasmine, I’d drink a lot more of it.

Both of those beers were enjoyed last night. I currently have the Republika in a glass. Whilst it doesn’t make me want to shout it’s praises from the hills or rooftops, it is a rather enjoyable and flavoursome beer.

The Conqueror and Canberra are being saved for another night, which may, hopefully be another attempt at a live stream. Until then I’m going to enjoy the rest of this beer I have in front of me, and possibly the Old Foghorn that’s sat in my fridge.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

To find our more about Windsor and Eton Brewery visit http://www.webrew.co.uk (600)

The Friday Pint 3 #1 – This is how things are probably going to be, so get used to it.

When we last met, way back in the dying embers of 2013 I said I’d be writing a post on the vertical tasting of Anchor’s Our Special Ales I planned on doing over Christmas. As it happened, I only opened three of the five bottles I had (2013, 2012, and 2011, with 2013 being my favourite of the three), and didn’t write that post.

I also said that the first Friday Pint of 2014 would be written in America, and in some ways it was, and then weather happened. I had a post all written out, just waiting for the finer details of the actualities, like beers and descriptions of ambiance, and then it went and got cold.

I was going to focus on a planned trip to 99 Bottles in Carnegie, PA, and some beers from Full Pint Brewing, but alas, that was not to be. That being said though, there were many local beer drinking opportunities over the nine days I was in America.

The highlight of which was undoubtedly the chance to try Weasel Boy Bourbon Barrel Aged Anastasia Imperial Russian Stout, an experience I can only compare to the first time I tried Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout, on tap at The White Horse back in 2010.

We had an hour to kill and so ended up in the World of Beer at Easton, Columbus. Whilst there were many tempting beers on the draught list, this one (or rather, it’s none barrel aged sister) was one that had been on my wishlist for a while. In normal circumstances it may have been a tad on the strong side for Noon on a Sunday, but the experience was completely worth breaking any accepted social drinking rules.

The other highlight was visiting Church Brew Works, a brew pub set in an old church on Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh. As a venue, it is perhaps the most beautiful brewpub I’ve had the pleasure to drink in, and certainly one of the nicest.

Whilst there I had two beers, Brettbrosia, and Black and Brett. I also walked away with a six pack of the multiple award winning Pious Monk Dunkel. Of those, my favourite was undoubtedly the Brettbrosia.

As, like last year, I’ll be trying to save money (I do after all have a wedding to be saving for), this year’s Friday Pint posts will be much less frequent, with the aim to do at least one a month. The over all theme for this year’s Friday Pint is local beer, and so I shall be focusing on local breweries depending on where I am throughout the year.

I already have my eyes on Dancing Man Brewery, who will hopefully be well into the construction on The Wool House by the time I reach them, Vibrant Forest, who have just moved into larger premises in Lymington, and Lovibonds, who I’ve wanted to visit for ages but just never got round to.

I also have my hotel booked for the Maltings Festival in April. Hopefully I’ll see some of you there, and discover another beer as good as Bristol Beer Factory’s Southville Hop.

Until next time, thanks for reading. (4353)

The Friday Pint 2 #43 – An end of year list awards type thing

So, that was 2013. The year in which I got engaged, was part of a successful new beer festival, and met The Doctor (in order of awesomeness, in any other year, each one would have been top of the list). As this is my last Friday Pint of this year, I thought I’d take a look at what have been my (mostly) beer related highlights.

1. Birmingham Beer Bash (July)

Really there couldn’t be anything else at the top of this list. It was nerve wracking, it was tiring, but most of all it was satisfying. We achieved something which on paper seemed absurd. 10 amateurs, most of who hadn’t even met or spoken aside from Twitter just 18 months previous, came together to put on one of the most enjoyable celebrations of beer I’ve had the privilege to be a part of.

Plans are currently in development for next years Bash, which I will endeavor to be a part of. If you’d like to know about the Bash developments when they’re announced follow @birminghamcubed on Twitter.

2. Jelly Baby Massacre

The result of what happens when someone asks me what I’d brew for the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who.

Jelly Baby Massacre was a beer brewed to use stuff up. There was no recipe, just half full bags of malt and hops, and a bag and a half of jelly babies. One bag went into the boil, some went into the fermenter, and one jelly baby went into each bottle at bottling time. This was sheer crazy experimentation, which could have easily not worked. Somehow though it did, and it received positive comments from those who tried it.

I have two large bottles left, and have since been formulating plans for further Jelly Baby Massacres, and other sweet shop influenced beers (Parma Violets or Humbugs for example)

3. Bristol Beer Factory Southville Hop

When I went to the Maltings Festival in Newton Abbot on the Thursday, I began by choosing breweries, and drinking all of the beers available. This was also the case on the Friday. By the time Saturday came, many of the beers were starting to sell out, and my method of choosing what to drink simply wasn’t possible.

This led to me settling on Southville Hop. I’d done two days of trying new beers (of which Southville Hop was one). I figured it was time to enjoy myself. I can’t quite remember how much Southville Hop I did drink that day (not a crazy amount though), but I can remember loving it.

In a way, I credit that weekend with changing my approach to beer festivals. Whilst I still want to try new beers, I also want to drink the old favorites again. This was certainly the case at the Falmouth Beer Festival at the end of October, where a number of the beers I drunk were “old favourites”, including a certain Southville Hop.

4. Drinking All The Alcohol.

At some point over the summer, The Rockstone announced that they would be introducing new challenge boards for their Rum, Whisky, Bourbon and Gin challenges. At this point I was halfway through a structured tasting of the Bourbons.

Between then and the end of September, with about a week to spare, I drank all of the Rum, Whisky, Bourbon and Gin, 120 drinks in total.

On the first weekend of the new challenges I became the first person on the new boards by drinking all of the Bourbon, in what was effectively just over 24 hours. I will say now, it’s not something I’ll be doing again soon.

5. Rudi Can’t Fail

One Malt, One Hop, water and WLP001. The most simple of my homebrews so far and also the most satisfying. A reproduction with more hops and a reduced alcohol content simply wasn’t as good.

6. Drie Fonteinen Golden Blend

I could have all the bottles of this in existence and it still wouldn’t be enough. Without a doubt my favourite gueze in existence. I have a couple of bottles left. I want more. I love this beer.

7. Dancing Man Smokin’ Banjos

When Aidan first mentioned to me the idea of brewing a smoked US style barley wine I was somewhat intrigued. Could such a thing really work? I went up to Bitter Virtue soon after and bought a bottle each of Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot and Anchor’s Old Foghorn to drink and try and figure out if it could.

The end result was better than I expected, and probably my favourite beer to come out of the brewery this year (just in front of Easy Rye’der). I bought eight bottles of it in the end, one of which has been put by for a long period of ageing.

8. Visiting Warminster Maltings.

In April I was still lacking an entry for Malt in The Others (a series which still has some stories left to be told, and that I shall return to next year). Thanks to the wonders of Twitter, Chris Garratt came to the rescue and offered to show me around Warminster Maltings.

I came away from that day full of information, much more than I could have dreamed of (much like when I visited Paul Corbett at Charles Faram last year). I also came away with a changed perception of how many people there are behind each pint, something which I then wanted to try and convey to my readers, and still do at some point.

9. Erm

I’ve run out of things that spring to mind. I have had many great beers this year, but clearly no more that have stood out enough for me to declare “I love this beer”. So with that I’m going to say that was my 2013. There should be at least one more post from me before the year is out, featuring a vertical tasting of Anchor’s Our Special Ale.

2014 will bring a focus on local beer (with the first post coming from the USA), the relationship between beer and art, more on The Wool House saga, and much much more.

From The Friday Pint, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all. (10752)