Monday, 29 October 2012

Boars Head Halloween Festival

The excellent Boars Head, Tyla Garw, is having a Halloween party and beer festival this Wed 31st, starting at 6pm. This includes a fancy dress competition, BBQ, games, and beer festival featuring some Halloween beers.

My family and I are getting into costume and heading down!

Boar's Head, Tyla Garw, Pontyclun, CF72 9EZ, 01443 225400


Get off at the Pontyclun station, (you should be on the opposite side to the Brains 'Brunel Arms'),  and with your back to the high street walk ahead over a wooden bridge into an industrial estate. Keep going straight and when you get to the end there is a thin path on your right through the railings. Go through, bare right and keep going down the road and you come out with the Boars Head on the left. Sounds more complicated than it actually is.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Cowbridge Food & Drink festival 2012 - updated 27th

The last weekend in October means the festival season is in Cowbridge again, one we try into visit every year.
This time the festival is being sponsored by Waitrose who are in the process of opening next week their store in the town, which personally I'm looking forward to seeing as it means new beer lines hopefully to ponder over.

Food tents and demonstrations, entertainment and a beer festival all are there, and entry is quite reasonable, only £4 per adult, under 12's free. Opening times are sat 27th 9.30-5.30, and sunday 28th 10-4pm.

For the beer drinker stalls to look out for are Otley and Pen-lon breweries, which is a little light compared to previous years, there are also a couple of cider producers too. Full list here.

In previous years the beer and cider festivals were held in two separate pubs, the Vale of Glamorgan, and the Duke of Wellington. However last year the Brains owned newly refurbished Duke did not hold the cider festival, meaning all were crammed in the Vale, which was heaving and sold out very quickly. It seems the same is happening this year so I would suggest getting in early.

Update.  27th Oct

Its Saturday evening and we attended the festival today. Thankfully the poor weather which plagued in recent years kept away, glorious sunshine if a little chilly only. Spotted Mr Brew Wales at one of the cider stands, but I was dragged by my 5 yr old boy to the venison burgers stall before I could say hello.

 Straight into the Vale at 11.30, pint of Celt Experience Bleddyn 1075, this was great, fresh and grapefruit bitter, just right for wandering around picking at the freebies from all the cheese and meat producers in the food tents. A half later on from another Welsh brewery Monty's and I chose MPA (pale ale) which was very pleasant, not quite as hop upfront as the 1075 but good still.

Best surprise was when walking down the street we saw several people standing around one tent with chalice glasses of Hoegaarden, Chimay and Orval.
This was the tent of the twinning association, and it had several delights inside, just see the list above! I ended up getting the 3 bottles for £6 with glass included.
So if the Vale has sold out of beer by tomorrow then thats the place to head to!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Marks and Spencer Mocha beer

Looks like M&S have had a stroke of luck in the latest beer produced for them by the countries leading brewers.
New to the shelves is a 'Lincolnshire Mocha beer' made by Batemans, its 6% 500mls £2.29.

I am assuming this is the same 'Batemans Mocha beer' that just won this years Sainsburys Great British Beer Hunt, so an award winning beer in the bottle, although they may not advertise that the opposition gave the award!

Also whilst in M&S the Adnams produced Southwold Winter beer, this 4% abv 'broadside style' beer was reduced to 99p, check your local branch to see if its on offer there also, I picked up 5, plus the Mocha and took advantage of the 6 for 5 deal also.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Vale of Glamorgan Marathon Man

Welsh brewers Vale of Glamorgan brought out this beer as a seasonal in time for the olympics as reported by Brew Wales here.

However it only appeared in my local Spar shop a few weeks ago which surprised me a little as it was limited to a 1000 bottles only, and its still there now, so perhaps they extended the run on it.

Marathan Man is a bitter, 4.4% abv, £2.09 (I think), and the label describes it as a "Tawny best bitter with a kick of gooseberries and blackcurrant from a medley of late hops".

The bottle I drank for the picture was strange, it was almost like a fizzy cordial drink, with those gooseberries and sharp currants in evidence. But it seemed to have no backbone, no malt body that you would expect in any beer.

Thus I decided to give it another chance a week later and got another bottle, This was much better, it had body to it, still quite light in the mouth though, there was that sharpness from the fruit, and a strong, to me, woody quality.

Not one I think I'll seek out again, (either variations!).

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Schwaben Bräu 'Das Helle' and 'Das Schwarze'

I've already written a little about these two beers here, and mentioned in my last post that these had already sold out my local Aldi. Maybe yours still has some so lets get onto the beers.

Das Helle is a 5% abv  "Traditional South German Beer - Black Forest Helles".

Light yellow in colour, initially a head but that soon goes,hints of sweetness, bread, and a little grass too. It was easy to drink, refreshing, clean.

To me its seems like I only just typed this, the same tastes and thoughts, and its because this beer was rather similar to the Arcobräu Winterbier, both being Helles style beers.
Of the two I found the Arcobräu slightly preferable, it being a little more upfront with the hops when I considered the two together.

The 'Das Schwarze' is a 4.9% abv  'Black Forest Dark beer' according to the label, a Schwarzbier.
I drank this and was a little underwhelmed, it seemed light on aroma, taste and body.

A little internet searching gave me a description of a Schwarzbier as "Dark brown to black. Medium body. Roasted malt evident. Low sweetness in aroma and flavor. Low to medium bitterness. Low bitterness from roast malt. Hop flavor and aroma, "noble-type" OK. No fruitiness, esters." (Ratebeer)

Well this is I suppose hitting most of those descriptions, certainly the 'low' end. This had a thin body to my mind, and was quite forgettable. 

In the first post comments were made on the cost of these beers, considering they were on sale in Aldi, and I agreed, and certainly now I've tasted them I have to agree that there are better beers widely available, and I dont think I would buy them again, certainly not the Das Schwarze.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Arcobrau Winterbier

Just as my last post was talking of new beers in Aldi, this week I see those bottles are all gone and in their place is another bottle from Arcobrau. This intrigues me, will it be as good as their wheat beer?

'Winterbier' is 5.5% abv and £1.59, 500mls.
The reverse label says "genießen sie mit arcobräu winterbier vollmundigen geschmack und ein mildes hopfenaroma" which run through Google translator comes out as "enjoy it with full-bodied flavor Arcobräu winter beer and a mild hop aroma." Think I could of got the last bit myself though!!

A little research on the interweb shows its classed as a Dortmunder/Helles style lager. 
It pours a light yellow/golden colour, fizzy head that poured over the glass actually, cleaned up it took a nice photo.

Aroma is light and clean, a little grassy hops and sweetness, a whiff of honey, the taste is similar, very clean and fresh, medium carbonation, a hint of biscuits with the malt, light grass hops.

Really enjoyable, really drinkable, I'm not sure if I'll buy many more as its not one of my preferred styles of beer but all the same I wouldn't turn one down.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Aldi 'Das Helle' and 'Das Schwarze'

New into Aldi this week is two german beers 'Das Helle' and 'Das Schwarze' seemingly produced by Schwaben Bräu who according to the wikipedia entry
 'is a brewery owned by Dinkelacker-Schwaben Bräu GmbH und Co. KG and located in Stuttgart, Germany. The company owns the largest brewery in the German state of Baden-Württemberg'
 The bottles are 500mls each and both £1.79.
The Helle is a 5% abv  'traditional South German Beer - Black Forest Helles', whilst the 4.9% abv Das Schwarze is described as a 'Black Forest Dark beer'.
Anyone tried these before?

I'm hoping they will be pretty good as they seem to have replaced the Arcobrau Weissbier Hell which was a staple purchase of mine over the last six months.