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

Saturday 9 July 2011

Zoos, bars and fields- My Beer Summer Part 1

Yo! As pressure in the day job begins to ease off for another year, and all the deadlines have been met, I am back, with a little slice of summer beer lovin', my summer so far, punctuated by beers.

My last post (yes, I know it was ages ago) was on the hot, quickly turning icy cold, topic of cask v keg and my opinions, morals, hunches and taste buds were tested to the maximum when I volunteered on The London Brewers' Alliance Bar at London Zoo Lates.
Arriving on a rainy evening in the middle of June, we wound our way through summer dress and deck shoe clad visitors, snuck a peak at the new penguin beach, and found ourselves behind the bar, alongside the legend that is John Cryne, expert on all things CAMRA, and Andy Moffatt, mastermind of Redemption Brewing Co.
All the breweries invloved pledged to work behind the bar for 3 nights each over the two months of Fridays, and we chatted away with Nicola Chase, who works for Fuller's but also writes her own unrelated blog on ale,
I couldn't get enough of Twickenham's new Honey Dark, and neither could the punters as it was one of the first to go from the range of cask and keg- Camden Hells Lager, Windsor and Eton Knight of the Garter, Fullers London Pride and Honey Dew, Zero Degrees Pale Ale, Wheat and Black Lager, Redemption Alexis' ale, Sambrook's Wandle Meantime London Lager. I know I've forgotten something- feel free to fill me in if you were around.
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Real Ale Girl in keg serving shocker!
John Cryne and I eyed the keg dispenser warily; I have served many a cask ale at beer festivals but this keg lark is an entirely different matter, taste debate etc aside- its just harder to pour! You find yourself faced with spraying froth, fizz, tilting glasses, crazy heads and bizzare splutters when it reaches the end... but I felt all proper barmaid after serving a couple of pints, and it cerainly helped me understand the difference between keg and cask from the more scientific, dispensing angle.

We left our posts for a wander, and I have to say, despite it costing the paying public around 18 quid for entry to the late opening, it really was quite something watching a tiger sleeping two foot away, a crisp pint of Redemption Alexi's Ale in your hand, fairy lights twinkling above and live acid jazz behind you.

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Craft Beer Co. -Just go!

The following week saw the opening of the much hailed, much documented Craft Beer Co bar in Clerkenwell. I am not going to do some major review on here, many others have and will continue to. Meanwhile, I am simply going to continue to drink there, and all I will say at this point is, if you haven't been there yet, just go!

Then last week, one of the highlights of the year for me and my Paddock Wood dwelling family, the Hop Farm Festival. We set up the tent, stocked to brimming with cans of BrewDog Punk IPA. These little turquoise gems do the job perfectly; small enough to sneak in in your handbag (I only tried this once, late on our last night, and shocked myself with the thrill, as I am one of the most law abiding folks you’ll find) and they taste a darn sight better than the canned versions of cask beers that are readily available.
Once inside the arenas, we were initially dissapointed to see the ale offereing was Shepherd Neame Spitfire. Nothing against the brewery, or indeed the beer, but it is far less exciting than the Gadd's Festival and Sesider available last year.Then, at about midnight, we found a smaller bar, by the late night disco tent, serving Gadd's festival itself, a perfect choice for the chilled madness (if that combo is possible) of a festival, with vital rehydration powers!