Monday, 27 December 2010

Goose Island Honkers Ale

Goose Island is another of those US breweries which always appears in all those 'best beers in the world' books, and this beer is one of those featured, their 'Honkers ale'.

A 4.2% bottled bitter, this was the only one by Goose Island the shop had but it was worth it.
It pours a lovely creamy head and has an amber colour.
The aroma was a beautiful floral and orange affair, a little bready also.
Its got a good medium creamy body, flavour coats the mouth with fruitiness, a biscuity malt, a good medium amount of bitterness, just right.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Rochefort Trappistes 8

Opened late evening on Christmas day settling down for a movie.
Poured with plenty of fizz but the head goes quickly, i also managed to put in a fair bit of the sediment even though being careful.

Aroma was deep dark fruits, alcohol, peppery.
Taste was a little less overwhelming than expected, but good and yeasty, brown sugar, again pepper that lingers, on a short drying finish.

I'm glad I've tried it, and I'll certainly try the 6 and 10, but its not the most memorable Belgium beer I've had.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Golden Pint Awards

I was already drafting a 'best of...' but when award winning blogger Mark Dredge provided a template well that made things alot easier. I'll just add in a welsh element just as the Beer Nut added his Irish slant in his great yearly review.

Best UK Draught Beer - Moor 'Revival' - wonderful beer, fresh hoppy and beautifully balanced.
Best Welsh Draught Beer - Not sure about this, i've not anything really outstanding, although i recently had the  Tudor brewery offering 'Blorenge' which was pretty good

Best UK Bottled Beer - Marble 'Lagonda IPA' , absolute quality.

Best Welsh Bottled Beer - Untapped 'Eclipse'

Best Overseas Draught Beer - when i go oversea's i'll let you know!

Best Overseas Bottled Beer - Anchor 'Porter' was pretty amazing i thought, i'm late to the party i know!

Best Overall Beer - Actually i loved the M&S Cornish IPA which i know is their labeled version by St. Austell brewery, i've not tried their 'original' yet, but its way of bouncing flavour around your mouth was unbeatable. 
Best Welsh Pumpclip or Label - Untapped 'Eclipse'
Pub/Bar of the Year & Beer Festival of the Year - well i know i dont get out much but my few visits to The Boars Head  have been pretty good, and i've another planned soon. 
Supermarket of the Year - well its was sainsbury's until they just canceled our xmas online shop this week because of a little fucking snow, with no alternative slot offered - so its goes to Morrison's who for the first 6 months really tried i thought, did get a little dull later in the year though. Keep up with the Brewdogbeers though guys.
Independent Retailer of the Year - Cardiff Discount Supermarket
Online Retailer of the Year - i've not actually bought from an online retailer this year, except picking up a Brewdog Abstract 04 from some guy on Ebay, and at cost price too! so Ebay gets the award.
Best Beer Book or Magazine - Camra's  'Beer'

Best Beer Blog or Website - my go to blogs are Beer Nut, Cooking Lager, the Baron, Blog o' Beer, Robs beer quest. For sheer enjoyment it has to be Cooking Lager, joint winner with Real brewing at the Sharp End

Best Brewery Online - Brewdog, i mean most others barely update monthly.

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year - crisps and beer is the best.

In 2011 I’d Most Like To…obviously drink more new beers, get to the pub more, when on my cornwall holiday to do a brewery tour with the guys. Get into Cardiff to the Artisan brewery to try their bottles.

Cheers, merry christmas to all who read this stuff!!!

Edit - not sure what gone wrong with the formatting on this one, cannot seem to correct it????!!!!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The Durham Brewery - Cloister

I have had one beer from the Durham Brewery before, a bottle of St. Cuthbert, which was a very enjoyable very hoppy IPA.
Cloister is a 4.5% bitter, a lovely golden yellow in colour with beautiful fluffy big head, see the picture below.
There is a bright fresh hoppy aroma, a little floral too. Wonderful citrus hops and balanced malt undertone, and bitterness that flows down the throat. This is a really good beer, although it kinda cooled down with all its intensity as the pint went on quite noticeably. Still very enjoyable and i'll keep an eye out for their beer's.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Daleside Monkey Wrench

Daleside  brewery from Harrogate, North Yorkshire produce a bottle called Monkey Wrench, a 'strong ale' with an abv of 5.3%.
I enjoyed this, especially after a few disappointing drinks recently, it was a good solid pint, good weight in the mouth, satisfying.
A beer dark ruby in colour with an aroma of caramel and plum, creamy head as you see above. Taste is raisins, milky chocolate, sweet toffee malts, and has a light carbonation that works well. Great balanced bitterness too.
It went down well this one!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Burton Bridge Brewery Santa's Christmas Porter

From the Burton Bridge Brewery, better known probably for their Empire Ale, is this xmas offering.

I like the label for a start, simple, good Christmas red and a nice Santa having a glug.
Pours a dark brown with a frothy creamy off-white head. Aroma of light coffee and malt, and a bit woody also. Reasonable mouthfull, not too thin, dryness with a light bitterness and hints of strong rich fruits. Overall its okay, nothing stands out in it but its quite drinkable.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Bath ales Golden Hare

After a couple of mentions here and here about Bath ales recently, and that generally they were all pretty good, i gladly picked up their Golden Hare from sainsburys recently and cracked it open. As i was on the phone at the time to my friend Dougie, supplier of beers on occasion, he got a live review. Fair to say though i dont think he'll pick this one up himself after what i gurgled down the line.

Golden Hare, a 4.4% golden ale, initially a spring seasonal but now year round i think, and certainly golden in colour,with a small head that soon dissipated. Grassy and buttery aroma, and a heavy butterscotch taste, oily in the mouth. However i only got a third down before i poured it away as the butterscotch was so strong and sickly i really was not enjoying it.

Still its only one beer out of their range that is otherwise pretty good stuff and i would recommend trying.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Old Bear's Christmas Pudding

Took another run to the Cardiff  'beer shop' today for a few xmas treats, and i picked up amongst others an Anchor Steam beer, a Rochefort 8 and an Orvel, and a Samuel Smith Taddy Porter. Here's a couple of shots from inside, predominately British beers on the left photo, and Belgium ones the right.

I'm starting off tonight though with a beer from The Old Bear brewery from Yorkshire, the foil covered cap gives a little xmas feel to it straight away.
Its their 'Christmas Pudding' a bottle conditioned 4.6% copper brown ale, which has a yeasty aroma along with a sharpness. Taste wise you have sweet rich fruit, sultanas i thought, and a dry bitterness. It was okay but i was not really that impressed, my enjoyment went as i got further down the glass.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Leffe Blonde Gift Pack

Stuck for a Christmas present for a beer loving friend? I just picked up yesterday from Aldi this Leffe Blonde 330ml tube gift pack which includes a nice branded glass, quite a solid one too, all for £3.99. A bargin indeed, and i already have someone in mind for the second one i bought.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

bit of a beer round up no.1

I've been busy, or working nights, or the wife is using the computer, so a few beers over the last couple of weeks have escaped being blogged about so i thought a round up post was in order. 

Lets start with a goody.
Fullers 'Golden Pride'  (8.5% abv) was picked up at Waitrose a while back, a beautiful reddish brown colour with lovely aroma of berries and caramel. 
Full bodied in the mouth, a little oily too, warmth and reasonable amount of alcohol come through with flavors of sugars and rich fruit, a bit malty with a dryness also. Really good.

From Scotland and quite well known, and usually found in beer collection books, next was Williams Brothers Kelpie seaweed ale. I don't know if its the suggestion after reading books and reviews but the fresh sea breeze aroma really is there! A dark ale with a light salty chocolate taste, earthy aroma and taste also, this was a different beer one i would have again but not frequently i think, could become a little monotonous on the palate.

Fullers Chiswick bitter was a new one on me, and a very pleasant introduction was made. Small creamy white head, beautiful fresh orange pithy bitter aroma. Good malty and hop balance, crisp and some dryness also, lovely beer.


After really enjoying the Anchor Porter a while back i was quite looking forward to their Liberty ale that i bought at the same time. A yellowy orange in colour and good creamy head on top. Quite bitter but not a sharp fresh bitterness, its quite a heavy body in the mouth and lasts, ?some pine. I was a little disappointed with this, i was expecting to be wow'd like when tasting their porter or when i first had Sierra Nevada's Pale ale, but its still a good complex beer.

The last of the beers i picked up at the Cowbridge festival this year was Otley's O-HO-HO which i assume is their Xmas beer from the title. Thus i also assume it would be rich fruity dark ale like most other Xmas/winter ales, so was pleasantly surprised when i poured a fresh orange'gold coloured beer with a minimal head. Immediate light aroma of sweet oranges, like pulling satsuma's out of your stocking!! Dry, citrus hops, a crisp beer with hints of spice and a delight to drink. Made me rethink what a Christmas ale should be really, although i would be just as happy to drink this on a hot summers day, it would be a real thirst quencher i believe.

Friday, 3 December 2010

The Boar's Head in Tyla Garw, South Wales

The Boar's Head in Tyla Garw, South Wales was the destination for a final few beers of a condemned man, my friend Rob who gets married this weekend. I blogged about their great beer festival back in September, and last time the missus and i tried to get a table on a friday night it was jam packed in there, no space left.
So last monday we met up, and headed down icy back lanes on a short cut toTyla Garw and settled at a table next to a nice open fire. As you can see from the photos they obviously had just had a delivery from Bath ales!  On tap was Bath's Gem, Wild Hare, Spa and Festivity, RCH Pitchfork, Tudor Blorenge, Wadworth 6X, and the empty pump soon had Felinfoel Stout on.

As one of my recent posts was about Bath's 'Festivity' porter, very enjoyable it was too, i pounced on the cask version to compare. Its body seemed fuller against the bottle version, and more pronounced smoke and coffee came across, excellent pint taken warmly next to a fire - ideal in this weather.
Next up was the RCH 'Pitchfork', which i have had as a bottle but couldn't remember what i thought. A fresh zesty drink, lightly floral and bittersweet, this went down very quickly. Baths 'Spa' was one i have not tried before, a golden ale which was sharply bitter, grassy aroma and peachy, very nice indeed.

I moved onto the Tudor offering Blorenge, from a welsh microbrewery based at the 'Kings Arms' in Abergavenny. They say its a 'session beer at 3.8% abv Appeals to the lager drinker if chilled 2 degrees below normal cask temperature. Lads and Lasses love it. Wonderful with hot curries and spiced dishes' which is an interesting description, but dont it dissuade you its rather good. Golden in colour, biscuity malt and refreshing floral aroma, its dry and leaves you wanting another.

I finished off with the Bath Gem, a nice bitter, nutty and malty, always satisfying.

Excellent evening, the pubs great, the lady behind the bar was polite and friendly, you should go there.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Warcop 'Furnace' & 'Honeyed Stout'

The final two bottles from Warcop are 'Furnace' a ruby ale, and their 'Honeyed Stout'. Again the bottles have interesting pictures on them, alot of religious iconography and some other odd pictures, here is the list of their ruby ales alongside the label pictures, check them out yourself.

Onto the beers, first up 'Furnace' 500mls, 4.8%. This indeed pours a nice ruby colour, a small head that quickly goes. Aroma has a sourness about it, reminds me of a heavy oaked white wine. Taste has a solid malt element but i'm struggling to differentiate between bitterness and sourness. I put away 2/3rds of it before i knew it i must admit, but i'm really not sure about it, whether i liked it or not.

The 'Honeyed Stout' sounded really interesting, they use honeycombs from local beekeepers and its aged for at least 2 months. It had a just off white head which was light and frothy, its body was relatively light for a stout but not thin. Again the aroma has some sourness to it, plus a sort of burnt malt element. Upon drinking i get dryness and a little smokiness at the end, little sweetness, no honey at all though. Although there is a spicy edge to it there is again that same sourness i got with the ruby ale, i'm not sure whether this is a feature of the yeast they use or something else.
Some of the other beers they had on sale sounded interesting also (and i really wanted to like these), but they possibly might make me a little hesitant before buying any of them is all i can say.

Warcop Caspa Lager

One of the three bottles i bought from the Warcop stand at the Cowbridge Food and Drink festival this year was this Caspa Lager, a 5.7% 500ml bottle, with an interesting label which is another reason i bought it really. I've not had great success with 'real lagers' generally, they have been either flat or underwhelming, an recent exception being the Teignworthy Beachcomer.
This Warcop bottle uses US Hops (unsure which) and a lager yeast, providing "a subtle taste of citrus/grapefruit" . 
There was good carbonation on opening, a small fizzy head, and a pale yellow colour as you see in the photo. Aroma was lemony and crisp apples, and this followed through upon tasting. The citrus is certainly there with a nice dryness. However its body was quite thin and if i was blind tasting this i would have thought someone had given me a slightly watered down cider. Drinkable, but slightly disappointing ultimately. 

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Bath ales Festivity

Bath ales do some good beers, Barnstormer and Dark Hare being two good examples, so i was pleased to see this on the Waitrose shelves on one of my rare excursions there.

Festivity is their porter, 5.0% abv, and they say 'We create this wintery brew using floor- malted Maris Otter barley and roasted chocolate malt, together with Challenger and Bramling Cross hops from Kent. These fine ingredients have helped to make Festivity the perfect seasonal ale.'

I've always thought the design of their bottles whilst individual slightly uninspiring, but the contents always make up, and this is no exception. A nice dark ruby brown, initially a light brown head but that soon dissipates. A wiff of smoke firstly, then creamy chocolate. Body is a good weight in the mouth, not light/thin but not to heavy either, and there is a nice earthy malt to it, chocolate and coffee. A slight bitterness that sits in my mouth but not overwhelming.
Its not an 'in your face' porter blasting you with flavour but its well balanced and very pleasant, if i get to Waitrose again, or better still visit my in-laws in Bath itself,  i would definitely get it again.

Bigger picture here

Friday, 19 November 2010

Statitics damn statitics

I suppose all beer tickers are statisticians to some degree, even if its keeping a running list in their head of which beers by which brewery they have and have not tried. Whilst i dont keep a log or such, online i obviously keep this blog and probably more comprehensively my Flickr account, notably my beer sets.

I have linked to my blog the free eXTReMe tracker which shows traffic to this site and where it originated, and of course Blogger have their own 'stats' section on your dashboard. And i'll happily admit to some sort of blogger vanity in occassionaly checking these out to see if anyone is reading this crap!

Conclusion - if you want traffic post about Brewdog. That word alone should be increasing my page views as you read it.

Not including this one i have written 38 posts, and only two specifically about their beers here and here, but also have mentioned them in a couple of other posts, notably beer festival ones.
When i looked at the stats from eXTReMe, specifically keywords searched that led traffic here the top six were :  ipa, double, tesco, american, brewdog and finest. Can you make a beer out of that??!!  Those six account for 61.9% of all the keywords used.

On my Blogger stats the Tesco/Brewdog post, as the most popular, has just over 3 times the number of views than the 2nd most viewed (the Preseli Brewery one which surprises me). The Brewdog website 'Equity for Punks' for their share holders led to most of the traffic here (again three times the next listed) where someone posted a link to me following the Tesco release.
So there you go, increase your blog traffic by mentioning Brewdog. Or post sexy ladies, thats works too. Or both, which if we all did would i believe implode the internet.

What i do find odd i that since i posted the Samual Smith Oatmeal Stout review its picture on Flickr has become my highest viewed photo, twice as many views as ay other photo, and thats all photos not just beer ones.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Leffe 9°

Leffe 9° was another bottle i picked up at the Cardiff 'beer shop' as its known, i'm taking too long to get through them all, mainly because i keep buying other bottles in the meantime! 

330mls and obviously 9% abv, its has that distinct Leffe aroma about it, though this has a large alcoholic pungency also alongside raw sugar. I was quite surprised though, with the abv and aroma it gives off, that it tasted much lower, its was not quite the punch i was expecting. Taste wise it has again that typical Leffe thing, sweet malts, heavy caramel, vanilla and wheat. Dangerously drinkable.

Teignworthy Brewery tasted thrice

When one of my oldest friends recently went on holiday to Devon he kindly brought me back 3 bottles from the Teignworthy brewery. 
These were 'Beachcomber' a real lager beer according to the bottle although i've seen it also called a golden ale, 'Spring Tide' and  'Reel Ale', both bitters.

First up was the Beachcomber which i drank following another bottle conditioned lager 'Warcop Caspa' which i'll review soon.
A gold colour with reasonable carbonation, and a foamy white head. Not a great deal of aroma if i remember correctly, but a light dry malt taste, slight sweet biscuit flavour alongside some sweet fruits and citrus. Quite pleasant, would defiantly have again.

The 'Spring Tide' was opened the following night, an light amber bitter which was lively in the glass, and it had quite a long dry finish but was not terribly exciting. There was some dry maltishness about it, and plummy also but not juicy sweet plums, dry just out of season ones (i had some very recently obviously!).

The second bitter was the 'Reel Ale' and this was much more satisfying. At 4% a good example of a great session bitter, a deeper brown than the last bottle, and creamy malty aroma with some thing sharp in there too ?apples. The taste is similar, a little sweetish malt, good medium body, classic british bitterness. As i said a decent session bitter, the kind of pint you would hope to find on most bars at 3pm just as you settle in for a few.

Thanks to Dougie.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

A Christmas Ale,

well three to be precise.

One of the regular emails from Aldi dropped into my inbox, informing me that amongst their new offers were two xmas ales, namely Batemans 'Rosy Nosey' and Wychwoods 'Bah Humbug'. I picked these up earlier today, and put them alongside a bottle of Whittingstons 'A Winters Tail' (all their beer's names have links to cats btw).

I started with the Batemans beer, (surprisingly no regular endorsement from Roger Protz on the back, like their other non bottle conditioned bottles). 4.9% and 500mls. A dark amber colour with little aroma other than that unmistakable Batemans smell that accompany's all their bottles. Flavour is, well, average, some sweet maltyness, slight spices but nothing is distinctive, its quite thin and i wouldn't have said this was a christmas beer if i was given it without seeing the bottle or knowing its name.

Next was the Wychwood Bah Humbug 5.0%, again a dark amber colour, its aroma though is cloves, some cinnamon i think but clove dominates. Taste wise its again cloves, but there is no balance for anything else. The Schneider Weisse beer i tried recently has cloves but its balanced so that the other flavours come through. I wouldn't drink this again, its a little unpleasant.

Hastily i moved onto the Wittingtons ' A Winters Tail' 5.1% with its dark reddy brown colour and a creamy just of white head. Has a woody aroma with some dark malts, not quite a coffee or chocolate hit though, cannot put my finger on it. Taste is on a lightish body, its dry and malty, a very very light smokeyness with hints of fruit.

Overall i preferred the Whittingtons, a better balanced beer, the Batemans was pleasant enough, but the Wychwood will not be in this house at christmas.

Whittingtons Cats Whiskers

Cats Whiskers, yes. Cats Pajamas? quite possibly.
Sitting listening on BBC 5live to the England vs Austrlia rugby match, and watching Wales losing to South Africa on the TV this is a lovely afternoon to crack open this bitter.

A mid brown colour with nice small creamy head that clung on most of the way down. Hoppy aroma, slight metallic touch also. Good hoppy flavour, a crisp bitterness, very good bottle conditioned pint and 4.2%.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Timmermans Tradition Gueze Lambic

Okay so i only knew a few things about Lambic beers before i bought this bottle and starting writing this .
1. Belgium origin
2. Spontaneous fermentation
3. Supposed to be very sour
and thats it really, and i had never tasted one until now.

Its a 5% abv, 330ml bottle, not quite sure what made me plump for this one on the shelf, and i cannot honestly remember any of the others that were there, whether i missed a classic for this one i'll never know. But you've got to start somewhere.
It pours a more golden yellow than the photo shows, with an aroma of green apples, almost 'granny smith' like.
Timmermans Tradition Gueze Lambic 
Taste wise i'm not sure what i was expecting other than the sourness, but it has not got the bite i was expecting. It reminds me of a sparkling wine or cider but not with the unpleasant lingering harshness i find they have, if cider tasted like this i'd drink it! There is a dryness that sits at the front of the mouth, and the sourness is quickly mellowed by a sugary undertone, quite refreshing.

So overall, not unpleasant, i would try another for sure, but not as sour as i thought it would be. Perhaps this was not a good example of a gueze lambic, i'll have to google up other reviews, or please tell me if you've had this and other lambics and how they compare.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Guinness Foreign Extra

If, over the last ten to fifteen years, you'd bought me a pint of Guinness i would have drunk it, but i probably wouldn't have had a second, or bought one myself. It was okay but not really my cup of tea so to speak, and as a consequence i figured i didn't really like stouts. Guinness was stout.
Its only over the last year or two that i've tried them, and its really because of Protz's '300 beers...' when i learned about the history and the range of types, flavours and styles. And since then i've found Marstons' Oyster, Marble 'Stouter', Meantime's, and Untapped's Triple S are all fantastic, each individually wonderful beers.
Even so, i had yet to return to the one that had given me that initial impression.
So this afternoon after a good walk with the kids, and slapping a muffin topped beef stew into the oven i went on a beer run, and figured what better hearty meal to pair with a stout. And new just in my local shop is 330ml bottles of Foreign extra, about £1.39 i think it was.

A beautiful light chocolate head, dark dark brown body. A great thick body, surprised me actually how thick and chewy it was, with its rich chocolate and spice aroma. A taste that is a thick creamy maltyness, rich stewed fruit, coffee, and a good bitterness across the whole tongue. Trouble is now, do i have a 'normal' pint of Guinness or will that shatter some illusion i now have of how good it possibly is??
The stew was excellent also, and Liverpool beat Chelsea so i was a happy bunny all round. Yay.

Bigger picture here

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Schneider Weisse Tap 6 Unser Aventinus

Another beer picked in Cardiff last month, this is a Schneider Weisse (website in German) 8.2% abv doppelbock.
It poured immediatly a massive glassfull of off white head which had to be left to calm for a few minutes before i could pour any more beer in. Great smell coming off it, rich fruit, banana and spice, and the flavour is very similar, great thick body for a wheat beer. Its probably at the upper limit of what i can tolerate with spices, esp. clove, but a lovely pint nonetheless.  
Must clean my glass better though, not the best photo either

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Anchor Porter Vs. Tesco Finest Traditional Porter

This is less a taste test, more a 'one bottle after another' evening.
I settled down to watch the new Star Trek movie finally and open up another in the latest Tesco Finest range. The Traditional Porter is produced and bottled by Harviestoun , Scotland and is 6% 330mls.
Colour wise its a very dark brown verging on black, nice light brown head that quickly goes. Aroma was chocolate and light coffee. Nice and smooth, again light coffee and chocolate malts, with a slight bitterness staying at the back of the throat. Enjoyable overall.

I then opened the Anchor  Porter  ,5.6%  355mls, and wow, what a difference, all round really. Immediate aroma is immensely enjoyable but i struggled to put a name to some of what i was getting. Creamy, sweet chocolate, almost treacly smell, lovely. Colour again is almost black with larger light brown head. Taste - quite malty, coffee bitterness but a full mouthful of flavour, sweet rich fruit. Extremely good beer, and i defiantly pick some more up when i next see them.

The Harviestoun porter was quite nice , nothing wrong with it but it is dwarfed by the Anchor, even with less abv it drinks much higher such is the flavour.

And the movie was quite good too.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Marble Lagonda IPA

Well, now i'm truly jealous of those beer bloggers who got to go on the Twissup recently, supping those Marble beers in the brewery and Marble Arch pub.
I also think my wife got bored of me saying 'thats so good' and similar comments after every mouthful! 500mls was not enough.
Beautiful fresh citrus and hop aroma and a small creamy head that lasted the drink.
Taste wise, again citrussy, ?peach that give some floral aspect i think. Lovely long dryness also, great beer all round.

Bigger picture here.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival 2010

So this weekend was the Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival, which tied in nicely with a stag do i was going on, my friend Rob is the lucky man.
After a morning shooting we headed straight for the festival, although a slight detour into the Horse and Groom was a big mistake, if you want lager and pretty much nothing else then thats where to go. Straight up to the Vale of Glamorgan pub which has hosted the real ale festival now for a good few years running. Standing room only, the pub was heaving, so straight out to the marquee for the beer list . I some how only managed to photo the second and third lists. Some like the Purple moose beers had already sold out and the Otley O8 and O1 soon followed by early afternoon. Other brewery's present on the first list were Moor's of Somerset, Bullmastiff from Cardiff and Newmans of Caephilly. 

The Otley Kowhai was one of the first i tried being a new one to me, very pleasant start drinks lighter than its 4.9%, nice bitterness overall , could definatly drink a pint or two of it. I had to wiki Kowhai to find out what it was named after, a common New Zealand garden tree apparently. 
Next i had a Newmans brew called 'Last lion of Britain' which was not to impressive which is a shame as some of their other beer are quite nice. Waen's 'Blackberry stout' was up next, which was strangely disappointing, the first few sips seem quite pleasant with lovely blackberry notes coming in sweetly, but after that i really started to not enjoy it, seeming a bit watery and unnecessarily harsh, i only had a half and didn't finish that, nor did one of my friends.
After a couple of other halve's i fail to recall i tried the Gwaun valley 'Bitter' which was as good as it is in a bottle thankfully, and the Breconshire brewery 'Baroque ale' was next - unfortunately i cannot remember what it was like, i think i pointed it out to someone but i'm not sure if it was a 'have that next' or a 'avoid avoid!'.

By far the best i tried, despite being surrounded by welsh breweries was from Somerset's 'Moor Beer' . Their 3.8% bitter 'Revival' was wonderfully refreshing, great hoppy flavours, singing in the mouth, citrus, and nice dryness comes through. Really good beer.

After a food stop in the chippy we headed to the Brains' Duke of Wellington to try and find a seat after hours of standing at the Vale. This pub hosts the Cider festival for the weekend and a few of the party wanted to sample these delights. 
It was strangely situated out the back in a marquee set at the back of the garden but seemed forgotten, little signs telling us where it was, the conservatory we walked through was mostly empty and would have been a far better setting for it. Seemed very under promoted, and even the cider heads with us in the end didn't make the trek back out, just going to the inside pub bar for the pump stuff.
Anyway a couple pints of a lackluster Rev. James, couple of Dark and for once a surprisingly decent SA.


The following day i went back to the food festival side with the wife and family, always enjoyable, loads of tasting samples and great lunches to be found. Among the exhibitors were Otley, Pen-lon, and Warcop.
I bought the xmas offering from the lovely ladies at the Otley stand who very very friendly, apparently the new coloured bottle top wrapping is to aid identification of the different beers for retailers, probably needed as often you see their beers in Spar and the like, wrongly lined up to another price ticket.

I then had a nice chat with the guy from Warcop, (website a little outdated but they reply to emails quickly) about the Great welsh beer festival and my disappointment on the day i couldn't try his beers, and bought his Honeyed Stout 4.5%, Furnace ruby ale 4.5%, and his Caspa real lager 5.4% and look forward to trying them all, reviews as and when. 
Meanwhile my utility room has far to much beer in it for my wife's liking so i'm off to move some to the shed for a bit.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

From their website:
  At one time promoted as a drink for lactating mothers, oatmeal stout was described as nutritional on early labels. Oats are in the same family as barley, and a small addition yields great flavor and adds smooth body. Popular in the late 1800’s, the last oatmeal stout was brewed before the First World War until Samuel Smith reintroduced this style in 1980. 

Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout
This is the first oatmeal stout i've had, and was quite looking forward to it and i was aware of this style of beer from reading the Michael Jackson and Roger Protz books.
It is a 550ml bottle which is obviously a little larger than most other bottled beers you see these days. 
Pours in the glass a black colour with a light cappuccino colour head, slightly sweet aroma but also a roasted malt element.
Good heavy body, i was surprised how strong yet pleasant it was, it was almost vinous on the tongue. Smooth flavours of coffee and what reminded me a little of Coca-Cola. As you get further down the glass it lessens up on the heaviness but retains great flavour, creamy and silky.
I really enjoyed this, I'll be keeping my eye out for other oatmeal stout style beers from now on.

Bigger Picture here

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Pete Brown in Wales / Cowbridge Food Festival 2010

 No he's not at the festival as far as i'm aware, just a double post.

Firstly a plug for Pete Brown as his latest video blog has visited Wales, interestingly he say's he asked  but never heard back from Brains about filming, presumably this was because it was too short notice to remove all the smooth beers from site and put original decent beers on again.

This weekend is the established Cowbridge Food and Drink festival , with plenty of good food exhibitors, craft stuff, demonstrations and entertainment. Looking through the exhibitors the highlights for me are Otley brewing co., Penlon brewing co., and Warcop ales a small brewery based on the coast inbetween Cardiff and Newport. I've yet to try one of their beers, never seen a bottle and they were either sold out or 'not ready' at the Welsh festival in Cardiff this year unfortunately.

The best place however has to be at the pub surely! The 'Vale of Glamorgan' pub hosts an excellent beer festival over the last few years, and this Camra awarded pub is where i'm headed. For the cider drinkers across the road is the Brains pub and it usually hosts the cider festival at the 'Duke of Wellington'.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Good times ahead.

Just before the weekend i had to go into Cardiff for a work thing which meant i could make a slight detour to probably the best (as in most varied selection) beer shop in South Wales that I'm aware of. Please feel free to correct me if you know of another.
On 97-99 Whitchurch Road is the Discount Supermarket which from the outside looks reasonable ordinary, little hint at the treasures inside.

Aside from the usual convenience shop fare and a large wine section, is a fantastic beer selection. Floor to ceiling shelves with a choice from all corners of these isles, including as high up as the Scotland's Orkney Brewery. Then there is the Belgian beers, German, many other European, and a good but small selection of US beers.
I picked up:
two from the Anchor brewing co. Porter and Liberty Ale
Orkney Brewing co. Red MacGregor

William Brothers Kelpie Seaweed ale
Timmermans Gueuze Lambic   -   this will be my first lambic beer btw.
Schneider weisse Tap 6
Samual Smith Oatmeal Stout
Marble Lagonda IPA
Leffe 9
and the Untapped Triple S  in my last post.

I then went to Dorset for the weekend to see family and friends, and my oldest friend Dougie kindly gave me three beers he picked up on holiday in Devon recently from the Teignworthy brewery. Cheers mate!!

Unfortunately i know am working three nights and then have the next few nights already booked up so all of these will have to wait until next week!!! To be fair thought one of these nights out is a small stag do which will be attending a beer festival so that pretty good compensation!