Wikio - Top Blogs - Wine and beer The Real Ale Girl: May 2011

Saturday 21 May 2011

Live Beer Blogging!

So here it is- the infamous Live Beer Blogging Event- brewers come and effectively chat you up for a few minutes and convince you that their beer is the best. When I say live, I mean live, so please forgive grammatical errors, bizarre punctuation and mad statements!
On my table are:
Mark Dredge,
Nathan Nolan
Des De Moor
Tim Holt from The Brewery History Society
Check out their tweets and blogs to see their thoughts too.

Abbaye de St Martin Dark with the lovely Mark McLain from the Brunehart Brewery in Belguim.
A tongue party- what a zing, unsual in something this colour.
Something very old fashioned about this beer, the bottle even looks like its been in a cellar for a few years.
Bad Attitude Brewery-  Lorrenzo , an Italian irritated by the dull scene in Italy at the time. Made cans before BrewDog.  
Two Penny Porter (Birra Artiginale.) Love the bottle, would make The Sex Pistols proud. Doesn’t taste 8.15% I get the impression this has been going down a storm around the room.
Windsor and Eton.
Conqueror  Black IPA. Ive had this one before- yum yum yum! As they say, not what you’d expect, Nathan next to me just made an exclamation of surprise.
‘Changing perceptions in beer’ Paddy the brewer says. Hugely popular, will other brewers be making it?
Des De Moor says ‘It does challenge perceptions- it’s really strange!’
Brains- SA Gold.  Ffion  Jones says ‘5.7% Golden Ale , developed 5 years ago.’ Its more popular in England than Wales.

Mark Dredge asks ‘what would you pair it with? Ffion says’ fish’ Nathan and I say shellfish’
Innis and Gunn- Canada Day special (who new Canada was Innis and Gunn’s biggest market?
Tasty! Smoky, bourbon sweetness. Delicious.
Blown away by this beer! Why do we never see the wider range of Innis and Gunn?
There is a hit of fruit after too- 8.3% This has really changed my views of Innis and Gunn.
Gerry from Wychwood with his own beer pouring goblin. Hobgoblin 5.2.
They make 11 million in bottle, 6 million in cask. First brewed for a local publicans’ daughter’s wedding.  Weddings with Beer- one of my favourite subjects.
Adnams and Broadside with the charming Fergus.
Fergus explains its tasting notes etc, including that it can be used to make Christmas puddings with. I made my Christmas pudding last year with Broadside!
Just found out Dark Star were supposed to be here and haven’t made it! Darn it!

So far at the Beer Blogger's Conference...

Just over half way through The European Beer Blogger's Conference in London 

What I've learnt so far:
  • Happy bloggers are better than moany bloggers.
  • Red Shield goes well with salmon and parnsip.
  • I'd like to go to a Brewdog bar and sit next to old couples who've been shopping.
  • I quite like the flavour of diacetyl.
  • Sharps brewery are up to some very exciting, little known, cool stuff.
  • Rhubarb and custard sweets are tasty with a hangover.
  • Pilsner Urquell's new advert is beautiful and is guarnteed to make anyone want to visit Pilsen.
  • I could be more open- minded "Beer isn't bad just because you don't like it" said Kristy (Molson Coors)
  • Beer folks should remember it is fun 'Its not the Middle East issue' said Darren from Beer Sweden.

More later. This is fast paced!

Monday 2 May 2011

And one thing led to another...

I don’t really go in for all that detox lark but if ever my body has been crying out for one it is now.  What a mighty few weeks we have had. Any normal person would have come back from a weekend of 60+ different beers in Sheffield (well documented in my previous post) and drunk tea, eaten toast and watched some telly. We proceeded to fit in as many pub trips and beer festivals as we could without causing our relatives to stop speaking us.
A trip to do a boot sale near my parents’ in Kent led to a mega cider tasting (and purchasing and then drinking late into the night) at Middle Farm somewhere in Sussex.
A cooking class in Central London led to a visit to the new Old Red Cow in Smithfield Market. Well worth popping into, this is the brain child of the marvellous folks behind the glorious Dean Swift near Tower Bridge.
Meeting up with an old pal led to the pub quiz at the Grape and Grain in Crystal Palace, packed to the rafters, triumphing in such sad times of pub closures.
 A casual night round Real Ale Bro’s led to a mega tasting sesh of his Meantime College Beer club wonders.
A couple of days later, we moseyed on over to the (Stoke Newington) Jolly Butchers’ first birthday party with its amazing range of special, made for them, birthday beers, where I fell in love with Evin ‘Kernel’ O’Rhiordan’s baby.
With the brewers from Ascot and Windsor & Eton
and 'Beer Justice' Steve at Ehgam Beer Festival
Then came the Egham Beer Festival, and boy do those dudes know what they are doing. £1.35 a half for the some of the most unusual, exciting, beautifully crafted beers around. I go to a lot of festivals and I drink a lot of beer. I often struggle at festivals of this size to find anything new to drink. I struggled to find something I’d heard of, it was that well sourced a range. So good, that the brewers themselves turn up to see how their beers are going down!  I’d read about Egham fest but never made it before. If similarly, you’ve never quite made it I urge you to go. They make it easy by having three fests a year. And I promise you I am not on any sucking up mission or on any commission, just p***ed off it took me so long to go.
Then to Planet Thanet in Margate (via the Sportsman in Seasalter for a gourmet father-in-law’s birthday lunch and the delights of the gorgeous Lifeboat in Margate itself). Since our last visit to the festival a couple of years ago, the organisers had come to their senses and let us outside and also came up trumps with an impressively diverse beer selection. The Wantsum and Ramsgate joint venture Low & Behold, a 2.8% tax reducing beauty, was the perfect beer for basking in the sun- bags of flavour yet light enough not to exacerbate the sun stroke.
Back to work for a few days, and all the fun started again with Bexley Beer Fest at Sidcup Rugby Club. I wrote in depth about this lovely festival last year and again they did’nt disappoint. The added oomph of Royal Wedding brews went down well and 6 of us did a conga to the folk band while everyone looked at us with scared bemusement.
The Royal Wedding day itself saw us drinking cans of Brew Dog Punk IPA in Hyde Park at 9.30am. Quite an experience, especially as the cans look like cheap lemonade.
I woke up the next morning craving ginger and couscous (is that my own detox recipe, afterall?) Bt instead we had more beer. Hiding in the tasting rooms of the Draft House on Tower Bridge were Melissa Cole, female beer writer #1, Stuart Howe, head brewer at Sharps, and a whole lot of secret, and mightily strong, special Sharps’ beers. Stuart entertained us with his amusing stories of wierd beer creations and boy, did the selection he brought with him change my mind about the sort of beers available with a Sharps label (Massive Ale, Top to Bottom 69 Hop, Monsieur Rock... who knew?).
Finally, with the Sharps 23% Turbo Yeast Utter Abhorrence From Beyond the Ninth Level Of Hades II (yes, the full name) doing its thang, we headed over to Leyton for Brodie’s Bunny Basher Festival. I’ve never been shy to bang on about my love of these guys and their wonderfully weird and ever inventive ales. It now seems that this quirkiness has spread into the food offering too- rabbit burgers on the BBQ? Weirdos.
So, the bank holidays and random days off are all done and dusted. Back to a more sensible level of beer consumption then. Head says ‘Darn it’, liver says ‘Hurray’.