Sunday, 9 December 2012

Broughton Scottish Oatmeal Stout

Broughton Ales Scottish Oatmeal StoutI was actually given this last Christmas as part of my 'secret santa' present if I remember correctly, but that could be completely wrong as my memory is dreadful my wife keeps telling me. At least I think she's my wife, that's what she tells me.

It was one I was looking forward to, as it was one listed in the '300 beers...' book I have, the other beers in the boxset were reasonably good also.

Broughton's Scottish Oatmeal Stout is 500mls, with an abv of 4.2%.

Perhaps I was expecting to be amazed by the beer, built up my expectations, but it was rather ordinary to me. Still though quite drinkable.

The body seemed a little thin, other oatmeal stouts have been heavier in the mouth. It pours with a nice brown head with aromas of rich roasted malt and coffee.
 I got again the malt and coffee, chocolate, but it did not taste or feel as smooth as an oatmeal stout as I thought it would. Rather too fizzy, with a light bitterness on the finish.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Stone Brewing Co. Pale Ale

Stone Brewing Co, a giant in the US brewing industry, the largest in Southern California, have several beers that are probably well known to most of the beer drinkers who read this such as their 'Arrogant Bastard Ale', 'Ruination IPA' and the 'Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale'.

This is their 'Pale Ale', 5.4% abv.
A deep amber colour, nice white head, strong caramel aroma, with pine and a lighter citrus hop.
Taste, on a medium body, is of initially some sweetness but then the oily pine bitterness comes through, its sticky also, marmalade oranges, with a good toffee malty body.

Cracking beer, a great example of the American Pale ale, why do supermarkets stock some of the rubbish they do when they should be stocking this I really don't know.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Brains Barry Island IPA

Quick review, drinking as typing.

This is from the 'craft brewery' of Brains, run alongside their main South Wales brewery. This beer was brewed in conjunction with Simon from the You Tube 'Real Ale guide'. Described as an 'American Style IPA' it is 6%, 330mls, and available currently in Tesco's across South Wales.

Marmalade orange body, very small head that soon goes. Nice but light aroma, some orange, a little pine, tropical fruits. Taste is on a medium body, obvious malt backbone, toffee sweetness, with gentle citrus bitterness that takes a while to come on, it needs time to break through but its nice when it does.

Overall its a nice beer, I wouldn't go so far as to say its an American style IPA, the malt and sweetness is too forward while the clean hop punch in the face bitterness you would expect is lacking, but I certainly enjoyed it.
Nice labelling too for the 'craft brewery' beers so far also.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Wye Valley Dorothy Goodbody's Wholesome Stout

A surprise during the weekly shop today, Tesco had rearranged their beer isle again, but also had quite a few new bottles, and timely too as a fair few could be indulged for International Stout Day.
They had the beer reviewed below here, but new stouts also were Belhaven Black, Glencoe Wild Oat Stout, Brains 'Jack Black Oatmeal Stout' and Castle Rock Black Gold.

The Welsh contingent has also been increased with a new one from Tomos Watkins 'Blodwens beer', two each from Great Orme and Conwy, and Brains have extended their range on the shelf with bottled versions of  Organ Morgan, and from their 'craft' brewery the Barry Island IPA.
They also had three of their 'Simply' range including a 'Dark Ale', which were 3 for £3.

Lets get back to the black beauty in hand though, a beer that's often listed in 'best beers in the world' books, Wye Valley Brewery's Dorothy Goodbody's Wholesome Stout.
4.6% abv, 500mls, and I got it as part of the 4 for £6 deal but individually I think it was about £1.89.

Although it got a good head for the photo I did have to pour it from a little height to achieve this as it was not appearing otherwise. The aroma was a little difficult because I have a cold currently, but I got the light coffee and roasted malts easily.

The body is light to medium for a stout, dry, coffee again, light hints of milky chocolate, cream.
It sounds strange to say its just an ordinary stout as it ticks pretty much all boxes you would expect, and then it seems odd then if I say its not terribly exciting. What was I expecting? what is it missing? perhaps a little more body if I was being overly picky, but this is a beer I would drink again any day, absolutely. Contradictory yes, but its only beer.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Hardknott Code Black

I've been a bit hit and miss with Black IPA's so far, but scored a big fat hit here.

Hardknotts's Code Black is 5.6% abv, 500mls, and I handed over £3.29 for it. Although seen on the blogging merry-go-round alot I had not seen any bottles myself before, and I also got their Colonial Mayhem, the mild that weighs in at 8.1%!

Pours quite lively as you can see, lovely mocha head, an aroma that was sharp fruit and malts, some coffee. The body was thinner than I was expecting, but lovely tropical fruits, something that's burnt (if that makes sense), perhaps the coffee. The lightness moves round the mouth very well, and a long bitterness, although not a harsh one, carries on.

Hugely enjoyable.

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.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Liefmans Goudenband

Liefmans Goudenband describes itself on the label as 'one of the world's most complex beers, an aged strong Belgian Brown Ale', its 8% abv in a caged corked unmarked bottle wrapped in paper. I couldn't see anyway of dating this bottle.

I was surprised how dark it was, sitting mysteriously in the glass hugging the curves.
The aroma had several things going on, I found myself sniffing it longer than I was spending drinking it! It was sour and dry, there was a cider element, certainly sharp apples. There was a sharp deep sweetness like cider vinegar, marmite and a strong deep metallic edge. There was probably loads more that I wasn't getting too.

When I got round to drinking it, there was light carbonation, dry and dusty, cherries, not too sour actually, a medium body, something that reminded me of coke too. I found it more acidic as time went on.

A seriously good beer, as they say 'complex', so much happening in the glass that makes it enjoyable.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Red Willow Wreckless

One I bought in the Cardiff beer shop a while back, and one I had heard about on a few blogs beforehand which was getting some pretty positive vibes.

Redwillow from Macclesfield have been going for a couple of years now, and I must admit to liking the style of their bottles and range, clean and distinctive elements to the logo.

This bottle is their Reckless, a 4.8% pale ale, 500mls, I paid £3.19.

A vibrant orange colour with frothy white head.
Loads of fresh hop aroma, tropical fruits, certainly some apricot and mango, a seriously great hit on the senses.

And it tastes just as fresh and juicy too, nice moderate bitterness that sings round your mouth, oily, bouncing with fruit.
Really really good stuff this.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale 2012

One beer I'm sure a lot of you have tried in the past, certainly one I think you should seek out if you have not.
US brewers Sierra Nevada and their Barley wine style monster (!) beer, this the 2012 release. Its 9.6% abv, 355mls, and I paid £3.89.

Beautifully glowing in the glass, a deep amber brown colour, with full head it looks so inviting.
From the aroma you get all that you might expect, dark fruits, malts, pepper, toffee.
Taste is a lot of those things as well, big punch in the mouth of richness and thickness. Very warming alcohol roundness.

Excellent example of a barley wine, I would love to try some older vintages based on what I had, and I'll certainly try to pick up future bottles too.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

St. Austell Korev Cornish Lager

I cannot remember if this is one I brought back from holiday or whether I purchased it since then, but it doesn't matter. This is Cornish brewers St. Austell's lager, 4.8% abv, brewed with actual Cornish grown barley.

Thin head of tightly packed bubbles, small aroma of grass and a little creamy too.
Pleasant and light with little hits of honey, cream, its crisp and dry, no nasty after taste.
Whilst not that exciting I'd choose this over most other lager's on the market if in a pub and it was an option.
Nice label design too.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Marks and Spencer Greenwich Raspberry Wheat Beer

Again this is a post that's been lingering in the draft list for a few weeks, and as we're off down to my folks for a week I'd thought I would throw a post out before I drink in the land of Badger and Ringwood beers.

Alongside Adnams, the Meantime Brewery produce a substantial number of the Marks and Spencer excellent line of beers, their Red Ale I recently drank is a real cracker.

This Raspberry Wheat is 330mls, 5% abv, and it's really good, really enjoyable.

Last Christmas Day after I got back from a night shift I helped my mother in law do the cooking, and when the others had a Bucks Fizz, myself not liking champagne, I had a Raspberry lambic beer which really woke me up. I certainly can imagine myself with this Raspberry wheat beer, it would also have been an excellent early morning celebratory drink.

What about an ordinary evening drink? Yup still good. Loads of sourness, acidic raspberry edge, with a sweet crisp freshness helped by the brisk carbonation. What about the wheat side? There is a yeasty side to it, but if there is a criticism its that its too understated with the 'wheat beer' side, i'm not getting the banana or bubblegum to it. But thats a small thing, this is a big fun beer, early afternoon liven up the day beer, a really good beer.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Newcastle Summer and Founders Ales

I drank these about a month ago after seeing them on the shelf in Tesco, and whilst I've never particularly liked their classic Brown Ale, when I heard they were bring out some new beers I was keen to try them.

When I looked back at the draft post I had on them, it was kinda lacking any detail, so when i saw these bottles now reduced to £1.50 each at the moment I thought I'd give them another go to see what I missed out the first time for the post.

Not much it seems.

The Summer Ale is a Golden Ale and 4.4%, 355mls.

It has a sweet honeyish aroma, a richness, the mouthfeel is medium and crisp, well carbonated, but the taste is not great and certainly not reminding me of many golden ales I've tasted recently.
Buttery, with a mild bitterness, a bit of grass, but otherwise I'm struggling to put a name to the flavours I'm getting, and they're not great ones either.

Newcastle Founders' Ale, is 4.8%, same size bottle, same price.

Deep amber colouring, minimal head, sweet caramel malt aroma.
Much more bitterness here, nutty, spicy, light in the mouth and not much else, the flavours vanish pretty quickly.

Not really two bottles that impressed me much, they both had little depth to them, and barely any flavours that made me want the next mouthful.

Monday, 13 August 2012

..not more bloody glasses!

is what my  wife is saying, as over the last month I've picked up a couple of new one from various charity shops. She's threatening to throw some of my older one's out unless I make some room my self!

The Duvel was the latest find, actually there was three of them but I thought that would be pushing my luck so got just the one.
The Rochefort and Maredsous are really nice but not sure how much I'll use them.
I saw the ten sided 'fluted' half pint mug in our local shop, something rang a bell about this and I found what I had previously read about these on the excellent Zythophile.

Lastly I also found this ceramic mug (handle is out of shot) of the Weihenstephan brewery, not quite sure what I'll do with this one!

(They also had glasses from this Moeder Overste beer but it was a frosted style glass and not that nice to be honest.)

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Bear Republic Racer 5

Bear Republic Racer 5 is certainly what you would call a modern classic, an American IPA (7% abv).

Loaded with Chinook, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial hops this is a beer you see mentioned in books and across the internet as a favourite of many, one I had to buy when I saw it on the shelf.

It was more orange than the photo shows, nice tight head. Aroma was mango, orange and quite floral.
It has a good body on it, again mango, tropical fruits, sticky, moderate amount of bitterness.

When drinking its hard to believe its as strong as 7%, if you bought a six bottle pack as they sell it in the US, you'd probably sink half of those very easily. A very good beer, perhaps not as stunning as I'd anticipated but great none the less.

Plus - Like the new glass? I picked it up recently, a ten sided 'fluted' half pint mug. For those interested, read a little history from Zythophile.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

He was so drunk......

When in Tenby the other day I took this photo of the side of the Coach and Horses.

I mentioned this whilst I did my review on Pubs in Tenby, (which when looking at my stats and tracker has been quite a popular post) and thought I'd put it up here.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Grafenwalder Weissbier

So this will be a quick review (because i've sunk a few).

Currently on offer in Lidl is a 5 litre mini keg from Grafenwalder, with a Weissbier of 5% abv, only £11.99.

Whilst driving home after buying it I thought 'where the hell am i going to chill this??!!'  Certainly wont fit in the fridge!

In the end I popped it in the freezer for a short while to bring down its temperature and then let it stand for a while. Easy to use instructions on the side, after pouring a half pint of froth, a cloudy pint emerged.

A good thick head on the beer, good colour, but its very very light on aroma and flavour. Its saved a little by having an okay body, its not to light or watery which was a worry when you taste it. Some banana and vanilla but only just a bit. A very small bit.
There is an underlying sweetness but you struggle to pick out the spice and flavours you would expect with a quality weissbier.

Is is a good Weissbeir? No.
Is it a bad Weissbeir? Umm, well its very drinkable, and if given this at a BBQ over a bottle of generic lager I'd take it, but compared to any other you can buy at Tesco currently (other supermarkets are available!) then no, its not a good one.
But I will have no problem sitting down and finishing this keg, and I'm not thinking that I wasted money to be honest.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Drink with Mother

My mum recently visited for a weekend last month. She's come to appreciate a nice beer, it does help when your married to a former employee of Hall & Woodhouse mind you!

I decided to get in a couple of Welsh beers, the Rhymney Brewery with its newly designed label Bitter, and from the Celt Experience their Cryf, an ESB style beer.

The Rhymney was 4.5% and poured a dark copper brown, with very little aroma. Its mouth feel was thin, it was more malt than anything else, a moderate bite from hops, but a very drinkable session beer. It hides the abv well, and probably a lot better on cask that should give the body it needs.

 I have generally found the Celt Experience bottled beers pretty good, this one is called Cryf and is 5.2%, and both these bottles are found in Tesco's in South Wales usually.
Like those other excellent Welsh brewers Otley they have a good distinct branding too.

Light golden brown, rich fruit aroma, its flavour punches with seville orange like a  heavily sugared marmalade.
A medium body, a tickle of spice, fruity, nice 5/10 on the bitterness.

I've bought a few more of these recently,  they went down very well while I watched others exert themselves in London 2012!!!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Quiet but busy

Surprised its been almost 3 weeks since i posted,  I was however away on holiday for the last week.

Before we went away I managed to get in a visit to the Cardiff beer shop, I couldn't quite believe the amount of new beers he had in, from abroad and home also.
I picked up bottles from Bear Republic, Hardknott, Stone, Sierra Nevada, Nils Oscar, Red Willow and Magic Rock, all breweries I'd not tried before (except SN).
I had to leave behind so many bottles from so many amazing breweries that I want to try. The shop has really expanded its already outstanding range, with some special imports too, especially from the US.

Last week we went on a family holiday camping in the Gower, South Wales. Extremely lucky with the weather, we had a week of glorious sun, and we finished the week with a few days in Tenby, just spending the days on the beach.
Well when you've had a (non) summer as we have had in the UK this year (record rain falls, floods in June and July) you had to grab the opportunity while it presented itself.

While we were in the Gower we were lucky to be close to a pub called 'The Greyhound' which is home of the Gower brewery. With 5 of their beers on cask eagerly sampled and a quick chat with the landlord/brewer, I'll expand on this in another post soon.

I've also got a few reviews and photos to get up so I'd better crack on with those.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Pubs in Padstow, Cornwall

On our holiday back in May the guys got a night out, last year we went around the pubs in Wadebridge, this year we went to Padstow.

A beautiful fishing port town in North Cornwall, in recent times its probably fair to say its more well known because the celebrity chef Rick Stein has based his operations there. His influence is everywhere in 'Padstein' , his fish shop, restaurant, deli, culinary school etc. We'd bought some mackeral and a sea bass for a BBQ, and they were quite reasonably priced actually and damn tasty.

Padstow, taken from Rock beach
The last few years we drive to Rock on the other side of the harbour, spend some time on the beach and then water taxi it across to the town for ice creams, shopping etc. (plus you pass Sharps Brewery shop on the way to Rock!)

Despite his involvement with Sharps brewery to make Chalky's Bite and Chalky's Bark, two excellent beers, I don't think he's branched out his reach into the pub business yet.

So onto the pubs of Padstow. I tried to do a little research beforehand but there was little information and reviews online, beyond saying the 'London Inn' was a good locals pub.

We started at 'The Old Custom House', a St. Austell pub, large and spacious main bar, with a few comfy chairs which we sank into. A large TV screen silently showed some cricket as we ordered, from the choice of Tribute, Trelawney and HSD. I went for the Trelawney, a 3.8% bitter, i got alot of toffee and malts, medium body with light bitterness, a nice start to the evening.

We went next door but one to the 'Harbour Inn' which is another St. Austell. There is literally one art gallery shop between their two pubs, but the styles of them both are quite different, the Harbour being smaller, more 'local' vibe going on, its décor heavily showing the fishing port they are based in.
 They also had on Tribute and Trelawney, two seasonal - Torchbearer (olympics theme as the torch was to start it journey in the south west) and Dartmoor, and Korev on tap.
Dartmoor bitter, 3.5%, sweetish malt, fruity, fairly standard bitter, all the beers here in good condition it must be said.

We moved onto the the 'London Inn' just up the road away from the harbour. We started to spot a pattern here as guess what, its St. Austell again! Smaller place, reasonably busy, a lot of fishing paraphernalia around the walls, and the first sighting of Proper Job. Now that's what I wanted on this pub crawl, a pint of hoppy goodness.
Except it wasn't. Both my mate and I had it and felt it was quite muted in aroma and taste, and our other companion wasn't overly impressed with the Tribute either, it being rather lacklustre also.

A pub, mate and invisible friend.
We hot footed it out of there, up and across the road onto the Golden Lion Hotel. It was quite inside, a free house where the bar area was a little tired looking whilst the back courtyard, toilets, all look very modern. We got a friendly welcome from the barmaid, and someone's dog, and on cask they had Doom Bar, Skinners Betty Stoggs, and from the Tintagel Brewery 'Castle Gold'. All three of us had this, and found it in good condition, its a 4.2% golden ale, crisp and clean, a light citrus hoppiness, and honey sweet malts. Overall it appeared a relaxed and friendly place, it was good for a couple of pints and banter with your mates.

Moving back down towards the quay we went into the Old Ship Hotel. This seems to have had a little face lift since we were last in it, a big spacious place that I think is a free house. Its going for the 'gastro' look in my opinion, the menu looked nice if a little pricey, and to drink the choices were that day Sharps Doom Bar and their 'Special' and Brains SA which amused me, being so used to seeing it everywhere here in Wales to then find it on a night out in Cornwall!
The beer we felt seemed a little on the overly cold side, but after warming up a bit the 'Special' was great to try after enjoying it previously only in bottle form. Fruity, toffee, good solid body that gives you strong malts combined with rich plum and sweetness, excellent.

We then stopped in Rajano's restaurant for a pizza fuel stop, then on to the last pub in the town, the Shipwrights Inn, right on the dockside. Completing their domination of the local scene with the 4th out of 6 pubs in the town it was another St Austell joint. But in a way I was glad it was because their Proper Job was in great form, juicy, hoppy, clean and thirst quenching. It sat alongside Tribute, HSD, in a large open building, which also has a great outside seating area right on the harbour side. I can imagine on a sunny day sipping proper job, with that view, it would be heavenly.

Overall we had a great evening, you cannot ask for more than drinking good beer with your two best friends.

I was surprised considering the close proximity to Sharps brewery we didn't see more of their beers. To have 4/6 pubs in one town might normally not be a good business model but i think the regular tourist trade they get in Padstow its obviously sustainable for St. Austell.

Beer of the night - for me its between a good conditioned Proper Job, and the Tintagel 'Castle Gold'.

I would happily drink in any of the pubs again, I'm sure the London Inn was just having an off day beer wise, it would have been easy to sit there for a few otherwise.
I think I would visit the Harbour Inn before some of the others first though, purely because they seem to have a couple of the less well known and seasonal casks on rather than just the Tribute, Trelawney and HSD that the others all had. Shame no one had Black Prince on that day though.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Kernel Brewery Pale Ale Summit Galaxy NZC

Kernel Summit Galaxy NZC
Another one of the many pale ales produced by the excellent Kernel Brewery.
This is 5.3% abv, 500mls, bottle conditioned and I paid £3.69.

The hops listed are the US variety Summit, the Australian Galaxy and New Zealand Cascade.
And they put out some serious aroma, I was pouring this out at almost a good arms length and caught the tangerine orange immediately. Huge amount of sediment it must be said.

This has all that you want or expect, that lovely aroma, mid orange colour, hoppy orange and resin, pine, juicy, the texture is slightly oily, and the bitterness is lovely but not dialled up to ten, its a seven and that's perfect.
One thing for sure is that the Kernel Brewery rarely disappoint.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Conwy Brewery 'Rampart'

I have had a couple of bottles from North Wales brewery Conwy before, and their Honey Fayre beer was the re-labelled Welsh Honey Beer for M&S.

This bottle 'Rampart' is a 4.5% bitter, I cannot remember where I bought it, 500mls and bottle conditioned. In fact the conditioning is quite good, the beer has just a little carbonation, not to much but just enough to give it life and a little lift. Golding and Fuggles are hops used in this dark bitter.

Aroma has a hint of caramel and spice, and quite malty, there remains a smallish head throughout, on a dark copper colour.

There is more caramel and spice in the taste, on top of rich figgy fruit, and a small bitter finish. There is a strong woody element, and the alcohol shows its strength too. Quite enjoyable bitter overall.

Friday, 15 June 2012

King's Arms, Pentyrch

For my wife's birthday we had decided a week ago that we'd go for lunch at the King's Arms at Pentyrch just outside Cardiff. I'd read a while back that although it is a Brains pub that Otley brewery had taken over the lease.

So bit of a surprise yesterday not five minutes after I'd rung and booked a table that Brew Wales blogged about their 'Grand opening' this weekend, with live music, BBQ and a beer festival.
Now with a new paint job, the small 'snug bar' being very homely, the larger bar with a smart and classy looking interior, it's certainly pub you'd be happy to wile away a few hours.

Today they had the permanent pumps, Brains bitter and Otley 03, joined by guest beer Butcombe bitter.

Ordering from the spring lunch menu I had the Goan beef curry, with rice and a few chunky chips. I ordered the Butcombe to start with whilst waiting, in great condition, long dryness, clean, good and bitter. You can see other menu choices on their website.

The curry was really good, properly dry and perfectly cooked beef, my wife enjoyed her meal also, and we ordered a raspberry cheese cake with new season raspberry's, and chilli and something else compote,  and this was excellent also.
The Otley 03 BOss, labelled chestnut red, was good also, perhaps a little sweeter than the Butcombe, but similar dry and good hop bitterness.

Overall a good lunch, well worth checking this place out again if you know where it is. Good choices on the menu, reasonable priced for the quality your getting also, and good conditioned beers.

And chatting to the staff behind the bar today it sounds like, despite the weather, they are planning a great weekend so get there if you can.

p.s.  Anyone know how i get rid of the wikio text below??

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Friday at Great Welsh Beer Cider Festival 2012

It was friday, it was Wales, it was raining.

hey - deja vu!!!

Actually the clouds lightened up a bit as I walked to the festival, texts informing me that my partner in crime this year (cruelly his wife made him go on holiday last year) had arrived and started without me. Well I would too!

Just the same as last year I made sure the first drink was one from Otley that I'd been unable to locate before, this one being '07 Weissen' (5%). And a great start and a kick in the senses for your first afternoon drink it was too. Cloves, orange and great wheat taste in a hazy yellow half glass. The bitterness was great, drying my mouth completely.

My next was more out of curiosity for the brewery more than anything.
I'd not heard of the Pixie Spring brewery before and they were listed as being based in Llantrisant which is quite close to me. Their Prince of Bengal IPA had already sold out so I went for the Deliverance APA. This had the cask labelled as 'Hazy' although it was only lightly so,  its 4.5% with 4 hops in it, some I suspect are the 'C' crowd as it gave some lovely lemon, perhaps grapefruit mostly, with a good dryness, light and fresh, very enjoyable. Later I found some of their flyers which listed a 'Black Army Stout', which was a beer I tried last year from the 'Llantrisant brewery' so I'm assume Pixie Spring is their new name. One to watch in Wales.

Gazz at Tiny Rebel stand
The Tiny Rebel brewery from Newport have only been going a few months, I did a 'Meet the Brewer' Q&A with then back in February. I'd only had their FUBAR before, fantastic it was too, and the display looked might impressive and extremely busy. Looking at various tweets before I even arrived I knew that FUBAR through the Hop Rocket, beers infused by being pulled through fresh hops in-line at the bar, had been the first beer to sell out on the first day. Restocked, I realised I had better get there soon before it went again. The hops being used were Amarillo according to the chalk note, the beer being the replenished FUBAR, a 4.4% APA, light yellow in colour, citrus and grassy, biscuit malts, very good.

By now I'd managed to introduce myself to a very busy Gazz and had a good chat, top bloke, happy to explain the workings behind a bar at a busy beer festival, their beers and future plans. I'd moved onto their 'Dirty Stop Out' after talking about smoked beers with Gazz, its a 5% smoked oat stout.
There is a good amount of smoke with it, small hits of dark chocolate with nice bitterness, with great smoothness alongside some vanilla, plus some spice that tickled the sides of my tongue.
They want to make it smokier, I've no complaints with that, but this was by far my beer of the festival as it was.

By now we'd jumped into the seats of a couple who barely hinted they were putting their coats on, you have to be that quick. Obviously there was more tables than last year again but with the popularity of this festival plenty more tables and chairs are required. The new token system seemed to work better from a punters point of view, no more losing torn off tickets.

Next up, Celt Experience 'Silures' , listed as a golden hoppy ale 4.6%. Grassy on the nose, golden yellow, but I got a lot of butter from it, too much for my liking, it was a struggle to finish this to be honest. Shame as all their beers I've had before are pretty good, I'll have to try it again and give it a 2nd chance.

Cant quite remember which one this was! (Possibly 'Cwtch')
The foreign bar was considerably lighter on choice than previous years, Czech Budvar providing 3 (well technically 4) options. The Original and Dark were on offer, plus a 'half n half' tap that drew from both lines. The other beer they brought was 'Yeast' 5%, an unpasteurised version of the Original, and this was the one that tempted me. Cold, obviously, crisp and clean, bitter finish, malty but balanced lager. Wasn't terribly exciting though.
Hopefully next year the organisers will go back to having a larger selection of foreign beers, on tap and bottled.

As I said in my pre-festival post the Waen 'Chilli Plum Porter' sounded like one to seek out. When I went round it seemed to be very popular, and I now know why. At 6.1% its a gorgeously fruity beer, subtle on the chilli, lovely spice floating around the mouth with a dry edge to it. Very good beer, I'd love to sit back with a pint of this again.

Going light again I plumped for Ilkley 'Mary Jane', 3.5% pale ale which was pretty good, very dry and hoppy, thin body but great flavours for a low abv beer. Would be a great summer session beer.

I turned back to Tiny Rebel at this point for the new 'Cwtch' a red ale 4.6%, brewed also with only 'C' hops. Great malty tones, herbal notes and taste, with matched citrus/lemon from those hops. Some caramel sweetness also. See Beer Lens for a great shot of the pump clip.

Up to the Brains bar next for one new to me, Jack Black, an oatmeal stout at 4.3%. My notes say a lighter body than the 2 previous stouts/porters I had that day, good roast flavour, good long bitterness, very pleasant. I also took a half of the Organ Morgan, a 4% golden ale, my notes underlined 'floral' in their description of the beer, it was a nice and smooth and a good way to end the evening.

The awards of the festival were announced whilst I was there, overall winner being the Barley Wine 'High as a Kite' from the tiny Heart of Wales, which was nice to see a speciality beer winning a national award.

If Tiny Rebel can maintain the high standard they have set so far with their beers I predict they will be picking up some awards next year, no doubt about it (to be eligible you have to have been brewing for a year).

Thanks to Cardiff CAMRA for another great festival.

My Beer of the Festival - Tiny Rebel 'Dirty Stop Out'

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival 2012

Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival 2012
This Thursday 7th June will see Cardiff host its yearly CAMRA festival, at the Motorpoint Arena (CIA) until Saturday.
Organiser and Brew Wales blogger Arfur Daley has already blogged a few posts on its progress and his hopes for this year, and I must agree with him that the Brains and Tiny Rebel Breweries stands and beers are looking impressive, amongst the many others, giving us a massive choice headache (or is that to follow afterwards?!)

I’m hoping to attend on the Friday, and I’ve already been looking at the beer list on the official website which was last updated yesterday.

A few have interested me such as the Celt Experience ‘Silures’, their bottles are generally very good and this one is new to me and worth seeking out I think.
The new Kite Brewery have a few to try, their Thunderbird was very good when I had it in Tenby. As always a great selection from Otley, the O7 Weissen is one I’ve not before though and will probably tempt me.
The Waen Chilli Plum Porter sounds very interesting!!
And if you haven’t had the Mango beer from Zero Degrees then I can highly recommend it.
Most intriguing name listed? Surely is has to be Brecon’s Genesis 1.ii The Prophet's Porter!

On the website they list only three beers from the foreign bar, all from the Czech brewery Budvar, and the unfiltered pilsner certainly must be worth trying. This is a fairly limited choice compared to previous years so I’m not sure if this is all that’s on offer.

 Last updated 1227 hrs 05.06.12
Abbeydale Absolution 5.3
Abbeydale Moonshine 4.3
Acorn Barnsley Bitter 3.8
Acorn Gorlovka Imperial Stout 6.0
Acorn IPA 5.0
Big Bog Swampy 4.7
Brains Craft Brewery All at Sea 5.2
Brains British Summer 4.1
Brains Dark 3.5
Brains SA 4.2
Brains SA Gold 4.7
Brains Strong Ale 6.5
Brains Craft Brewery Barry Island IPA 6.0
Brains Jack Black 4.3
Brains Organ Morgan 4.0
Brecon Beacons to the sea 4.1
Brecon Bright Beacons 4.5
Brecon Bronze Beacons 3.9
Brecon Diamond Beacons 4.3
Brecon Genesis 1.ii The Prophet's Porter 5.6
Brecon Gold Beacons 4.2
Brecon Twilight Brecon 4.0
Brecon Wandering Beacons 5.0
Breconshire Ramblers Ruin 5.0
Bryncelyn Buddy Marvellous 4.0
Bryncelyn Holly Hop 3.9
Bryncelyn Oh Boy 4.5
Bullmastiff Son of a Bitch 6.0
Bullmastiff Welsh Red 4.8
Celt Experience Bleddyn 5.6
Celt Experience Red Castle Cream 4.7
Celt Experience Golden 4.2
Celt Experience Native Storm 4.4
Celt Experience Silures 4.6
Cerddin Cascade 4.8
Conwy Beechcomber Blonde 4.2
Conwy Cwrw Mel 4.5
Copper Dragon Black Gold 3.7
Copper Dragon Challenger 4.0
Copper Dragon Golden Pippin 3.9
Elland 1872 Porter 6.5
Elland Bargee 3.8
Elland Nettlethrasher 4.4
Facer's Clwyd Gold 3.5
Facer's Dave's Hoppy Beer 4.3
Facer's Landslide 4.9
Felinfoel Double Dragon 4.2
Gloucester Dockside Dark 5.2
Gloucester Gloucester Gold 3.9
Gloucester Mariner 4.2
Gower Gold 4.5
Great Orme Celtica 4.5
Great Orme Welsh Black 4.0
Grey Trees Rechabites Bitter 4.0
Heart of Wales Aur Cymru 3.8
Heart of Wales High as a Kite 9.5
Heart of Wales Irfon Valley 3.6
Heart of Wales Welsh Black 4.4
Ilkley Best 4.0
Ilkley Black 3.7
Ilkley Mary Jane 3.5
Jacobi Light Ale 3.8
Jacobi Red Squirrel 4.0
Kelham Island Kelham Best 3.8
Kelham Island Pale Rider 5.2
Kelham Island Riders on the Storm 4.5
Kingstone 1503 4.8
Kingstone Stout 4.4
Kite Cwrw Haf 4.1
Kite Gold Wing 4.2
Kite Thunderbird 4.5
Kite Jubilicious 4.4
Leeds Leeds Best 4.3
Leeds Midnight Bell 4.8
Leeds Yorkshire Gold 4.2
Llangollen Grange No1 3.2
Monty's Midnight Stout 4.0
Monty's Mischief 5.0
Monty's Sunshine 4.2
Nant Mwnci Nell 5.5
Neath Black 5.5
Neath Gold 5.0
Ossett Silver King 4.3
Ossett Yorkshire Blond 3.9
Otley Croeso 4.2
Otley Motley Brew 7.5
Otley O Garden 4.8
Otley O1 4.0
Otley O3 Boss 4.4
Otley O4 Columbo 4.1
Otley O5 Gold 5.0
Otley O6 Porter 6.6
Otley O7 Weissen 5.0
Otley O8 8.0
Otley Oxymoron Black IPA 5.5
Otley Odessa 9.7
Otley Thai Bo 4.6
Pixie Spring Deliverance APA 4.5
Pixie Spring Prince of Bengal IPA 5.5
Plassey Mild 4.2
Preseli Baggywrinkle 4.5
Preseli Rocky Bottom 4.5
Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose 4.6
Purple Moose Glaslyn 4.2
Purple Moose Snowdonia 3.6
RCH East St Cream 5.0
RCH PG Steam 3.9
RCH Pitchfork 4.2
Rhymney Export 5.0
Rhymney Gold 4.2
Rhymney Hobby Horse 3.8
Rudgate Battleaxe 4.2
Rudgate Ruby Mild 4.4
Rudgate Viking 3.8
Saltire Raspberry Blond 4.0
Saltire Triple Chocoholic 4.8
Sandstone Edge 3.8
Snowdonia Carmen Sutra 4.4
Swansea Deep Slade Dark 4.0
Timothy Taylor Dark Mild 3.5
Timothy Taylor Landlord 4.3
Tiny Rebel Cwtch 4.6
Tiny Rebel Dirty Stop Out 5.0
Tiny Rebel Doc Brown 3.8
Tiny Rebel Fubar 4.4
Tiny Rebel Full Nelson 4.8
Tiny Rebel Hadouken IPA 7.4
Tiny Rebel Urban IPA 5.5
VoG Cwrw Dewi 5.0
VoG Still Reigning
Waen Blackberry Stout 3.8
Waen Chilli Plum Porter 6.1
Waen First of the Summer Waen 3.9
Wentworth Bumble Beer 4.3
Wentworth Oatmeal Stout 4.8
Wentworth Rampant Gryphon 6.2
Wye Valley DG Lager 4.2
Wye Valley DG Stout 4.2
Wye Valley HPA 4.0
York Centurion's Ghost 5.4
York Guzzler 3.6
York Yorkshire Terrier 4.2
Zero Degrees Mango 4.5
Zero Degrees Pilsner 4.8

Thursday, 24 May 2012

New bottles.

Quick post, popped into Tesco tonight and bought a few of the bottles new to their shelves.

Castle Rock brewery 'Diamond Reign'  a Jubilee pale ale 4.1% 500mls £1.50.

Wandering down to the 'world beers' section where they are having a run of 'price drops' on quite a few of their bottles i bought:

Sierra Nevada 'Torpedo' extra IPA 350mls 7.2%  £2.18

and for some reasons also in the world beer section are:

Newcastle Brown 'Founders Ale' a 355ml pale ale 4.8% £1.51
Newcastle Brown 'Summer Ale' a 355ml golden ale 4.4% £1.51