Monday 25 February 2013

Blog Retirement

I'm retiring this blog. It's really a matter of a bit of a lack of creative inspiration. I feel like I've been plodding along for a while; the only posts I find the time to put up are a few beer reviews and they're not really what I wanted to write - if only because they are rarely as interesting as broader musings about beer and pubs and all that stuff that I read about on other blogs!

Having said that I do fully intend to carry on writing blog posts, they are just going to be slightly less beer-centred, although I do hope they will be at least as successful (if that's the right word) as this beer blog has been.

Thanks to those of you that take the time to read my meanderings, and I hope you'll do the same over at my combined blog at its new home under Drinks Advice. A warning though - there might be a fair bit of whisky involved, for the simple reason that I'm spending more and more of my time embroiled in the world of whisky, and enjoying myself immensely.

Cheers. I'll leave the last words to my daughter; she learns fast...

PS. If anyone fancies adding my new blog to their blog-roll that would be appreciated. Hopefully I've updated everyone on to the new roll, if I've missed you give me a shout and I'll sort it.

Thursday 7 February 2013

Revolutions 'Clash' London Porter

If ever there was a beer whose packaging was really going to leap out and sell the beer to me I think this one from Revolutions Brewing Company would be it. Not that I think it's particularly state of the art, because I wouldn't know, or even claim to know, state of the art design if I fell over it in the street, but it just looks great.

Of course it could all be a ruse, a cunning trap to lure innocent people like me who think 'The Clash: must be good!' into buying a sub-standard beer. I can never keep the cynical me far from the forefront. Well, actually, maybe I can. One way to do it would be to drink beer; this one in particular, because once you get to the point where you've poured it out and the cool packaging is forgotten, it really is marvellous. Powdery cocoa-heavy chocolate, smoke and a lovely soft bitterness.

London calling? Well, it might well be, but if it is calling, Yorkshire is not only calling, it's shouting. And with beers like this, it has a lot to shout about, probably with some singing and dancing along to old vinyl, naturally.

4.5% abv. £2.84 (50cl) from Beer Ritz.

Monday 4 February 2013

Otley '06' Porter

I had a bit of a rummage round in the cellar the other day, checking on what beers I had that needed drinking before I let myself loose on a new beer order. This is one from Otley that I picked up back in the 'summer' and I thought I'd better drink it since it went out of date at the end of January. I wasn't that worried about it being off - I've always liked HardKnott's attitude on that front: 'Best before - see neck... but probably even better after.' I have no experience of ageing beers, but some certainly seem far more robust than others!

It pours a deep, dark, almost black, ruby red. The head didn't stay around for long but there were lovely mocha coffee aromas. On the palate it's rich and chocolatey, with dark damson fruit, black cherry and vanilla giving way to a smoky finish. If this beer was better last week, before the 'best before' date, then it must have been truly spectacular!

Not quite so successful was the Penlon Heather & Honey beer, another I got while I was down in Wales last year. I had the bright idea of comparing it to Williams' Fraoch, but never got round to it. I'm not sure if it was because it was just past the best before date (it didn't taste off) or if it's because I struggled with the very floral tastes. There's certainly plenty of honey in the finish and it's probably worth trying if you're a fan of honeyed beers.

Otley 06 Porter. 6.6% abv. £2.94 (50cl) from the Real Beer Box - although I bought it somewhere in Narberth for a penny more! The Penlon Heather & Honey is 4.2% abv, and a 50cl bottle again, but I can't remember what I paid for it.

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Brewfist 'Spaceman' IPA

I love Italy, I've been there a few times and even got married on a wine estate out there, and it's great to hear that the beer scene is branching out beyond Miller's ubiquitous Peroni and Heineken's Birra Moretti. Will Glass' excellent blog Italy Brews is a great source of information on the Italian beer and it's a shame his time in Italy came to an end - I for one am hoping someone picks up the baton and carries the site on.

This is the first beer I've had from Brewfist, and the first I remember having from Italy that's a bit more interesting than your standard Euro-lager, and while it would be nice to be out there sampling it there's never a bad time to be drinking IPA so here goes.

It pours a gorgeous orange colour and that reflects the marmalade aromas and the blood orange on the palate. It's not overly carbonated, making it very smooth and easy-drinking, and not too heavy on the sweet tropical fruit which I thought gave it better balance than some American-style IPA I've had. It's got a pleasant, grapefruit pithy finish.

Brewfist definitely get a big yes vote. Next time I order some beer I'll be adding more to the basket!

Worthy of my nephew's favourite joke: What do you get if you see a spaceman? You park man! (Sorry, he's only eight.)

7% abv. £3.24 (33cl) from Beer Ritz.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Brasserie Lefebvre 'Barbãr' Bok

This one was a bit if a blast from the past. Nearly ten years ago my wife and I were drinking this beer on our first date, although it was the regular blond rather than this darker (formerly just a winter) version. It's one of the beers from the Brasserie Lefebvre stable, we used to sell their Floreffe back in my pub days too.

It pours a deep brown colour, and I got less honey on the nose than I remember getting from its paler cousin. There's a load of dark and dried fruit in there; along with rich spices - it has a certain mulled quality on the nose. On the palate I got more of those wintery flavours; mixed peel and demerara sugar and characteristic yeasty Belgian dustiness. Overall the 2.5% honey is a contributory part rather than being at the forefront, it adds to the whole warming winter brew feel, and while I can see it wouldn't be to everyone's taste, we enjoyed sharing a bottle.

8.5% abv. £2.98 (33cl) from Beer Ritz.