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. (2232)

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. (3996)

The Art Group Vs. The Brewpub

This afternoon I was made aware of this news story about a campaign against Dancing Man Brewery’s proposed use of The Wool House in Southampton as a brewpub, restaurant and entertainment space.

The Wool House currently lies empty and unused, after having been used over the summer by local arts group, Element Arts. It sits facing out towards the docks and ferry terminals. Previously it housed The Maritime Museum, which has now been relocated to the more central location of the recently developed Cultural Quarter (and renamed The SeaCity Museum in the process). Prior to housing The Maritime Museum, which it had done since 1966, The Wool House had been used to store wool for export since it’s construction in the late 14th century.

Many of the comments made by people on the Daily Echo website make reference to The Wool House being a “community asset”. Their tone implying that a public house could in no possibly way also be a “community asset”. I suspect that some people’s aversion to the idea of a brewpub moving into the space will be based on the idea that pubs are seedy places, full of drunken debauchary and fights, unsafe for any civilised human being. Whilst some pubs can resemble such a scene, generally on a Friday or Saturday night, most don’t, and wouldn’t want to either.

What seems to pass many people by is that it isn’t perpetually the weekend in a pub. If you visit The Platform Tavern (the pub on which Dancing Man currently brew their beers) on a Tuesday for example, you will find a relatively quiet pub where you can sit, relax, read a book or newspaper, or even work or socialise.

In many places in the UK, the pub is the community space. Turning The Wool House into a brewpub and resturant wouldn’t mean the loss of a community space, but the repurposing of one. Just because it sells alcohol doesn’t mean you have to drink alcohol. It is entirely possible to visit a pub without buying a beer, or wine, or spirits.

In my opinion, Southampton’s beer scene is significantly lacking behind many other UK cities, so I may be somewhat biased on this matter. That’s not to say I don’t have an opinion on art in Southampton. There is absolutely no reason why the two can’t co-exist (limited edition beer bottle labels, anyone?). A pub is as good a place as any to showcase art to an audience that in some cases wouldn’t otherwise see it. There is also no reason why the proposed live music space in The Wool House couldn’t be used for performances other than the live blues acts upon which The Platform Tavern has developed it’s reputation.

I’m sure each side will have their vocal minorities, and that the louder minority will win their case. I sincerely hope that the Dancing Man Brewery do get to move in and start building next year, not least because I’m looking forward to writing about the new place when it opens. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping an eye on this story, and will most likely be visiting it again soon.

(Edited to reflect the corrections highlighted within the comments) (3191)

The Friday Pint 2 #42 – Looking Forward

The Year Without Buying Beer has, admittedly, not been as successful in writing terms as I had hoped. Whilst I have drunk many things I wouldn’t have otherwise, I don’t think this has translated well to the posts within this blog. With that in mind, next year’s Friday Pint will return to the beer a week theme, though with a focus on drinking the beer produced closest (available) to where I am at the time.

Until then though, there are still a few weeks left of this year, which for me contains a week down in Cornwall with the family for Christmas. Naturally this means a whole bunch of drinking, and last weekend I packed the bottles (and minikeg) that I’ll be drinking amongst others in just over a weeks time. In no particular order, these are…

1. Dr. Rudi’s Dark Experimentation (5 litre minikeg)

This is my latest brew. I was aiming for a hoppy stout, yet I came nowhere near. Instead I got a stout which is enjoyable, but drunk in the knowledge that it isn’t what I wanted. I’ll be drinking this as and when until it runs out.

2. Brewdog and Lost Abbey Lost Dog

It tastes like Christmas in a bottle (it was aged in rum barrels) , so what better time to open one than at Christmas.

3. Anchor Our Special Ale 2008 – 2013

With the exception of a 2009 bottle, I have a run of five bottles of Anchor’s annual release, which I’ll be opening in a vertical tasting. I’ll try to do a write up of this.

4. Cantillon Fou’ Fonne

It was in stock in Bitter Virtue last weekend. All previous plans and notions of buying anything else were put to one side. This one is being saved for an appropriate dessert, or possibly just to enjoy on it’s own.

This won’t be all that gets drunk at Christmas, but it’s a start. Not long after I’ll be returning to America where hopefully I’ll get to start The Friday Pint 3 with some good local Pittsburgh beers. (636)

The Friday Pint 2 #41 – Not much to say, yet again.

The problem with this year’s Friday Pint theme is that come many Fridays, I have found myself with not much to really say. This is one of those weeks.

As I write I’m drinking Titantic’s Plum Porter. I’m sure I’ve had this before, yet I don’t recall it being this plummy. On the strength of this glass, it’s one I’d have again if circumstances arose.

This weekend will see me bottle and (mini)keg the Dr Rudi Stout that I brewed a few weeks ago. When I had a taste of it last time I was back, it wasn’t as hoppy as I was going for. I’m hoping that the end result, when it gets poured from the keg at Christmas, will be enjoyable nonetheless.

I’m afraid that’s pretty much it for this week. I’m off to open a bottle of 3 Fonteinen Golden Blend. Enjoy your weekend folks. (259)

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. (1600)

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. (482)

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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The Friday Pint 2 #37 – Another week in which not much really happened

This week, I have mostly either been at work, or getting things ready for when my girlfriend arrives on Monday. As a result, the only thing I have done this week, which may be of any interest to some of you, is check on my homebrew.

I currently have two beers on the go, Nelson Sourvin (a sour beer made with Nelson Sauvin hops), and the first attempt at Delight (a turkish delight stout).

Last weekend I took a sample of both to see how they were progressing. The sour beer has been in it’s fermenter for about four months now, and I was rather delighted to find that it was starting to sour nicely. The ultimate plan is to add grapes to this beer, though having tried it alone, I may only be doing that with half the batch.

There is a lot of waiting involved sometimes, but often the results make it worth the wait.

The stout was brewed two weeks ago, and had been fermenting for about 5 days when I came to take a gravity reading. It had come down to 1.020 from around 1.080, meaning when I took the sample, it was around 8.1% in strength. The strength isn’t really something I was concerned with though. I wanted to know if it tasted like turkish delight.

It didn’t, but boy was it good, certainly my best dark beer so far (which, considering I’ve only made this and the smoked porter last year, isn’t saying much). I added the rest of the rose petals I had for dry hopping and sealed the fermenter back up. I’ll be back home and bottling next week, before we head down to Cornwall.

If anyone has any good Cornish beer suggestions that I might not be aware of, please post them in the comments. (1420)

Whiskey Business Part 1

Two weeks ago, the challenge cards at The Rockstone were reset. Over the Friday and Saturday of that weekend I drank 30 different bourbons to become the first person to get their name up on the new boards (as I sit here typing this two weeks later, I remain the only person to have done so, so far)

Today I have returned, tempted by the Ska, Folk, Gypsy and Hip Hop of the band that will be playing here tonight. For now though, I am yet again sat at the bar, with a glass of whiskey, and a glass of coke.

For this round of Whiskey Business, things are going to be much more structured (like the first round of Bourbon on the Forth of July was). Like last time, there are 40 whiskeys for me to work through. Over the next five visits, I shall be working my way through eight whiskeys, and writing about the experience as I go along.

First up today is Aberlour 10Yr. It’s one of those whiskeys that just smells nice, the sort you sit and admire the nose for a while before tasting it. It drinks well too, nice and peaty, which is good for me as I rather like nice and peaty. The whisky below Aberlour on the card is Ardbeg, which I had to finish things off two weeks ago. I like Ardbeg, a lot.

The next bunch of whiskeys will be four from Glenfiddich, 12Yr, 14Yr, 15Yr, and 21Yr.

The 12Yr is one I’ve had before, and thanks to being gifted a bottle, the first whisky I owned. I’ll be honest here and say I’ve never really been a fan. I can drink it without issue, but it’s never had me rushing to drink more, which probably explains how I’ve had the bottle I have for so long, when others have come and gone long since.

The 14yr is new to me, though I have been tempted by a bottle when they have been on offer, or passing through duty free at airports. Either it has little aroma, my nose has gone (again), or this glass really doesn’t help, which would be strange, as it’s a branded whiskey glass. Taste wise, it has somewhat of a burn on it, yet that does give way to a rather nice oaky aftertaste.

The 15Yr is another I’ve had before, thanks to one of those boxes of 12,15, and 18Yr bottles you can find in supermarkets, usually around Christmas. Despite having drunk it several times, I can never remember if I like it or not, which probably means it’s drinkable, but not memorable.

I come to it after consuming a rather delicious plate of reasonably priced pork ribs, marinaded in a spicy BBQ sauce that has left a nice tingly feeling around my lips, and a satisfying feeling of fullness in my stomach. I can smell more from this, despite the fact that it’s in the same style of glass. There’s a slight hint of apple in there. Taste wise it seems to be overpowered by a strong alcoholic burn, I don’t particularly like strong alcoholic burn, nor can I see why anyone would.

Last but not least, the 21Yr. This time, back in a small straight glass. I always expect whiskeys with higher years on to be much nicer, which is probably why I’m always slightly disappointed. As with the previous two, the burn of the alcohol seems to distract from whatever taste there may be in this whisky, of which there is some, but I can’t quite place what it is.

Now that I’ve finished the run of Glenfiddich, it’s back to darting around the card, picking off random whiskeys until I reach the eight for this session. As a result, I’ve gone for Jamesons. I had a glass of Jameson 12Yr, and the Distillery Reserve earlier in the week. Regular Jamesons couldn’t be further away if it tried. It smells odd, not too far away from the smell of a permanent marker pen. It’s also nowhere near as enjoyable as the aforementioned other Jamesons whiskeys, which are actually deceptively drinkable. It probably says something about regular Jamesons, that whilst everything else today has been savoured and drunk straight, this has had two sips taken from it, before having coke added to it to get the experience over with quicker.

Finally, to finish off today’s session, and to bring the number of stamps on the card to eight, is the wonderfully named, Pete Chimney. From the name, I’d expect it to be a peaty whiskey, which it is. It smells lovely, more so than the Aberlour this session began with. It tastes good too, with a whole multitude of delicious peaty flavours overpowering the alcoholic burn. I like this one, a lot. I could have easily chosen a disappointing whiskey to end with, but today, I didn’t.

As I write now, it approaches half two. The lunch time crown, a much smaller one than usual, has been and gone. I am about to leave a pub that will, for a while, be relatively empty. I could easily stay for more, but this time I won’t. 8 at a time, those are the rules, and I’m sticking to them. (840)