Sunday, 23 October 2011

Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival 2011

The last weekend in October, the 29th and 30th, is again the Food and Drink festival in the Vale of Glamorgan historic town of Cowbridge.

We've been every year for quite a few years, with baby in papoose one time!
Always a great selection of exhibitors, demonstrations, and stalls to buy from. My 4 year old son has to be dragged away from the cheese producers freebies, and we always succumb to either the hot pork rolls or the Thai dishes and soups.

Always an abundance of Welsh producers, you can see the list here.
The important ones for me will be:

Otley Brewery Award winning real ale bottles & presentation boxes
Penlon Cottage Brewery Bottle conditioned beer

and of interest to cider fans might be:

Gwatkin Cider Co Ltd Real farmhouse cider & perry
Gwynt-Y-Ddraig Cider Ltd Draught & bottled Ciders & Perry

A couple of the talks certainly appear worth attending:

2.15pm James "Arfur" Daley,   (you may know him as Brew Wales)
Gwatkin Cider with Llanblethian Orchards
Arfur and his partner are local cidermakers, collecting fruit from local orchards. With the help of Gwatkin Cider, they will talk about the process of cidermaking, their local plans and offer tasty cider samples.

1pm Bev "The Beer" Robins
Otley Brewery
Exploring brewing traditions in Wales as part of the "housewife's duties". And celebrating Otley Brewery's past, present and future with the launch of "Oxymoron". Including a few good slurps of light ales and traditional bitters, including past winners of the Champion Beer of Wales.

There is usually a couple of beer festivals going on although its not on the website, so i'm just assuming the details are the same as past years. Ring and check before attending to confirm they are going ahead.
If they are, I'm hoping to attend the one at the Vale of Glamorgan pub on the high street as i did last year. An excellent real ale pub normally they have stillage out in the courtyard, it was packed last year.
At the Duke of Wellington literally over the road is usually the cider festival. This Brains pub has recently had a complete refurbishment so i'm sure we'll go and check that out also.

EDIT:  No cider festival at the Duke this year, see comments below.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Maisel's Weisse & Weltenburger Kloster Anno 1050

Two reviews sitting around in draft form, and must be a month or more since drinking.

Maisel's Weisse original, a Hefeweizen and 5.4% abv.
Vibrant orange colour, a little hazy, sitting on top a creamy white head.
Aroma of banana, cinnamon, quite yeasty and citrus.
Flavour wise I got a lot of vanilla and clove, banana again, lemon.
Soooo drinkable, smooth and enjoyable.

Weltenburger Kloster Anno 1050 - 5.5% abv.
Clear golden colour, foamy white head.
Sweet malty aroma, caramel.
Flavour was a little thin though, some more caramel sweetness, some herbal tones.
Overall a little disappointing, I found it a little bland, the sweetness a bit cloying too.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Bullmastiff Welsh Black

A quick lunch out was taken today at the excellent Boars Head in Tyla Garw, South Wales.

We both had the excellent Aberdeen Angus burgers, and to accompany it i had a BullMastiff Welsh Black stout.

Bullmastiff are a Cardiff brewery, run by two brothers since the late 80's, and naming the brewery after their own dogs as well as a lot of the beers (As far as i can see they have no website). Your most likely to find their beers in the Wetherspoons in Penarth.
I first came across their beers in another less than salubrious establishment in Penarth a few years ago, perhaps it was the (dodgy) atmosphere, and the name of their main beer 'Son of a Bitch' but I didn't form a great first impression back then. I have not really seen their beers outside of the Penarth/Cardiff areas really so a surprise to see 3 on tap today, but i went for the Welsh Black.

Light to medium body, light cappuccino creamy head that lasted very well.
Aroma was fruity, sweet berries that certainly had me thinking blackberry, and little roasted notes.
The fruit i first thought was blackberries now appears in abundance but its not as earthy as i would expect so raspberries would be my second guess, its not sharp enough to be blackcurrants.
The sweetness does dominate the mouth, but you do get some creamy, oily texture alongside light bitterness.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Banks's UCB - Ultimate Curry Beer

In my previous post I mentioned that Aldi were selling today a beer from Banks's that on ratebeer hasn't been reviewed in 5 years, although i did see that the cask has been very sporadically  available in those intervening years.

Banks's UCB Ultimate Curry Beer, 500mls, still 5.3% abv, not bottle condition. Available at Aldi for £1.49.
I bought two bottles today, drank two bottles tonight, will buy more very soon.

I wasn't expecting much to be honest, an average beer perhaps trying to pick up sales in an area of a market that is associated with beers such as Cobra and Kingfisher. An ale that would fail and be overcome by the spices and flavours of a dish that's sometimes hard to pair a drink with.
We were not planning on having a curry any time soon, but i needed a beer after a day of violence and aggression training at work.

Light golden brown in colour, reasonable white bubbly head that reduced to a ring. Aroma - well here was my first surprise - really hoppy, rich orange, really nice.

Good solid mouthfeel, good carbonation. Its not light and clean but neither is it heavy and sticky. The hops are reasonably upfront, but not overly assertive and in your face.

They are coupled with a toffee sweetness, hoppy resins are sitting in the roof of my mouth as I type, its a little spicy although i'm struggling to pick out anything dominate.

Even to the last drop I drain now the hoppy bitterness and surprise is the same as the first mouthfull.

Its one of those beers that you know is not best beer in the world but its a hell of a lot more than you was expecting, and really enjoyable.

Is this a beer to go with a curry? It could well be, the strength of flavour didn't diminish  as it went along, and its reasonable strong to possibly stand up alongside distinct spices. Its certainly worth giving it a go.

Buy some, tell me you weren't surprised.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Tesco (and Aldi) beers offers

The Tesco 4 for £5 seems to be back on, stocking up for Xmas for £1.25 a bottle seems like a good idea.

Most of the main shelf fillers, Fullers, Badger, Thwaites, Adnams, Brains, are on offer, plus many others. One new to the shelves and in the offer is Bath Ales 'Ginger Hare'. Some good winter warmers included are Adnams Broadside, Fullers ESB and 1845, and Morelands 'Old Crafty Hen' which normally retails at £2.79!

Brewdog's Punk IPA is also on the offer which means 4 bottles is currently cheaper than you can get their Punk four pack cans at Sainsbury's.
Also new was cans of Sapporo 'imported', which are huge, 600mls + and look very special, just like the price of £2.25, but seriously, check out the can!

As well as some of the above i predict a few Thwaites Wainwright and Fullers Bengal Lancer might be sitting in my shed before too long.

Also popping into my inbox was news that Aldi this week are stocking Banks's Ultimate Curry Beer!! I checked it out on ratebeer i see no reviews for the bottles for over 5 years, a line revived from the back of the brewery obviously. £1.49, 500mls, it used to be 5.3%, wonder what it will be now.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Atlantic Discovery Rich Cornish Porter

This was another of the bottle's I bought in May on our Cornish holiday, from the Atlantic brewery its one of their Discovery range. These are their 'fine dining ales' produced in collaboration with chef Michelin starred chef Nathan Outlaw. 

This range also includes a smooth blond beer with elderflower and lemon; a pale ale with lime, chilli and ginger; and a red Celtic bitter with cinnamon and orange. All have food matching advice, and the Rich Cornish Porter was supposed to go with stronger meats, venison, beef or wild boar.

I'd been waiting for suitable meals to try one of the 'dining ales' i've accumulated, including the Blond Beer above, and another two, some Sharps/Rick Stein bottles.

For a change on a Sunday roast we had beef, normally its chicken or pork, the last time we had beef the kids were not keen on it, but we tried again this time slow cooking brisket. That turned out fantastic if I do say so myself!

Onto the beer itself.
Lightly carbonated, perfect for the style, small head that soon faded away though.
Its body is light to medium, not to thin just right.
This porter is brewed with blackcurrants and molasses, and you certainly get a rich sharp fruity aroma.
The blackcurrants follow through in the taste, sharp, with the dark malts giving it body, nice bitterness, all went with the rich meat really well.
Overall its a nice porter on its own, and it went very nicely with the roast beef.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Bad King John rules all

The winner has been announced by Sainsbury's of the Great British Beer Hunt, and sitting with the crown (sorry) is the Ridgeway Brewery Bad King John, a 6% black ale that now has space on national shelves for 6 months.

The runner up  was from Williams Bros Brewing Company with their Caesar Augustus, a 4.2%  lager IPA.
Unfortunately I never got the chance to buy any of the bottles in this years competition, but there has been plenty blogged about them here and here amongst many others.
I have however had one of the 12 originally selected beers for the competition before, by coincidence it was the winner!