About Me

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Manchester, United Kingdom
Tyson is a beer hound and cheese addict living in the beery metropolis paradise known as Manchester
If the people are buying tears, I'll be rich someday, Ma

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Brewdog Chaos

Basics: It’s 330ml and 7.1%. It poured clear amber with good carbonation and a large, foamy, off-white head. The aroma was pungent pine and tropical fruit.

Light-medium bodied. Unlike the aroma, there is a blast of tropical fruit flavours first and then the pine resin kicks in. There’s a good, if not massive, amount of grapefruit bitterness that comes through to wash over the tongue.

Finish: Surprisingly smooth at first, but leaves a medium hop bitter aftertaste.

Conclusion: A variation on Punk IPA that is easy drinking considering its strength, but lacks the hop crunch that Punk can deliver.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Islay Saligo Ale

This beer is named after Saligo Bay which lies on the west coast of Islay.

Basics: It’s 500ml, 4.4% and, once again, bottle-conditioned. It’s made with pale, lager, and wheat malts and a combination of Goldings and Brambling Cross hops. Light gold in colour, but not clear, it had good carbonation and a frothy off-white head. The aroma was bubblegum and a little spice.

Taste: Light on the palate, there was some malt and a little bitterness present. However, the main flavour was slightly subdued bubblegum.

Finish: Mild. Slight spiced bubblegum aftertaste.

Conclusion: Not bad and could be quite refreshing if served chilled. Although not advertised as such, the bubblegum flavour is pronounced enough to make it a wheat beer in my eyes.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Crouch Vale Yakima Gold

As I said yesterday, Amarillo is a great hop, and one of my favourites. Today I thought I would put Crouch Vale’s offering to the breakfast beer challenge.

Basics: This is bottle 191 out of a limited run of 500. It’s 500ml and a session strength 4.2%. Quite unusually for a beer of that strength, it’s also bottle-conditioned. It poured a very pale gold with plenty of carbonation and a slow forming off-white head. The aroma was light citrus tones and a touch of spice.

Taste: A very smooth mouthfeel with a moderate, but pleasant, citrus kick. All you would expect-grapefruit, lemon etc combined with a slight biscuit undertone. I was worried that this might be too thin, but it just errs on the right side.

Finish: Quite smooth with just enough citrus edge to keep you happy.

Conclusion: Not a hop monster, but an accomplished use of Amarillo in a relatively low ABV beer. Very pleasantly refreshing; it proves good bottle-conditioned beers can be achieved without pumping up the volume.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Stringers IPA

Stringers are from Ulverston, Cumbria, and apparently all their electricity comes from renewable sources.

Basics: It’s a 500ml bottle and is 5.5% by alcohol. I like the label design: clean and unfussy, it tells you all you need to know. It poured a clear orange-gold colour with good carbonation and a healthy, foamy head. The aroma was light marmalade, some sweet malt and spicy hop.

Taste: Medium bodied, the mouthfeel appears very smooth before the hop flavour bursts out. Grapefruit and lemon come to the fore leading to a tangy, dry hop explosion on the tongue.

Finish: A sharp, lingering dry bitterness with a hint of lemon.

This is a crisp, very accomplished, IPA. Amarillo is a fantastic hop when used correctly-as here-and the result is a thirst quenching and very moreish breakfast beer.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Red Hot World Buffet

It’s not often that this column gives out relationship advice, even though, in my mind, I see it as the cheese and beer drinkers’ equivalent of Dear Deidre. But call me Marjorie Proops-and people often do-on this occasion, I’m going to give out some advice that could prove critical in saving your relationship.

We’re all familiar with the problem. It’s that time of year again when you’re obliged to perform your conjugal duty and take the other half out for a meal. She’s sussed out Wetherspoons isn’t a restaurant and the McDonalds drive-through just won’t cut it anymore. But, never fear, salvation is at hand.

Yes, it’s now possible for you to offer them the cuisine of the world. English? Indian? Italian? No problem. Thanks to the Red Hot World Buffet, you can offer them no less than a choice of seven cuisines and 300 dishes. All for the princely sum of £7.99 during the day. Just remember that drinks are pricey, so play the health card and opt for the free water.

But hold on, I know what you’re thinking. What if she refuses to take time off work and insists on the evening session at £13.99? Well in these modern times, it’s quite permissible for the ladies to take the initiative and take you out. Failing that, an appeal to their feminist side should see them going at least Dutch.

The beauty of this setup is that it has such wide appeal. No matter who your significant/transgender other is. You can even bring the family-just remember the drinks trap. And it’s even open on Christmas Day; thus giving those of us who usually spend it slumped under a table in Wetherspoons another dining option.

World cuisine buffets. Like garlic bread, they are the future.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Bury Beer Festival

This weekend saw the third annual Bury Beer Festival hosted by the Met. This year’s format saw the main hall divided between individual exhibitors-local brewers and the Shoulder of Mutton pub, whilst the other beers were shared amongst the Met’s various internal bars.

All in all there were about 100 beers, ciders, and perries. The main hall was the centre of much early attention as it was the first opportunity for many people to sample the wares of Bury’s latest brewery, Brightside. They had a new beer, the Beast (3.8%) on show, as did Outstanding with the aptly named Selling Out.

Elsewhere, Leyden caused a stir by having a beer, Brewer’s Gold, which was adjudged to be actually ok, and Greenmill didn’t disappoint by being disappointing. The best newcomer was undoubtedly Nook Blonde (4.5%) brewed by the Nook Brewhouse in Holmfirth. It was a zesty English style wheat beer with a citrus twist.

Overall, though, the micro brewers were put in the shade by the likes of Adnams and Dark Star. And it’s hard to see past Oakham Citra, despite being served by gravity, as beer of the festival. However, the Jessica Jane-Clement prize must go to Dunham Massey for their 6% IPA which tasted like it was knocked up in a garden shed using a Shepherd Neame recipe.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Odell IPA

Time to fire up the countdown to the weekend with a little IPA action.

Basics: Well regarded in many circles, this is a 7%, 60 IBU, IPA that has been given an American twist by the Odell Brewing Company from Fort Collins, Colorado. It poured a nice golden-orange with a large white head. There was a distinct and appealing aroma of pine and citrus.
Taste: Surprisingly not as immediately powerful as the aroma might suggest. Light-medium bodied, the subtle malt undertone perfectly complements the pine and zesty tropical fruit flavours. Bitterness builds to a sharp, but not overwhelming level.
Finish: Dry and lingering.
Conclusion: Fully deserving of its reputation; this is an expertly brewed beer that balances its flavours perfectly. Very moreish in nature, it drinks less than its actual strength.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Kimberley Club

The Kimberley Workingmen’s Club in Stacksteads, Rossendale is the stuff of legend. Few, outside of those interested in such things, have heard of it and fewer still have visited it. Even many locals aren’t aware of its location and yet internet forums are full of people willing to travel across the country to visit a genuine slice of social history.
Established in 1897, the KMC started out as an afterhours drinking venue for quarry workers. Legend has it that it was carried down into the valley on poles. There are various theories about its South African connections-there is a Kimberley Street close by, but what we do know is that surprisingly little has changed since those early days.

Once you have got up the steep hill, over the dirt track and through the gate; you are confronted with two very small rooms. There’s probably just enough room to squeeze all 36 members in. This helps to explain why visitation is strictly by invitation only. We were privileged to enjoy a special Sunday opening. Normal hours are Tues. Thurs and Fri after 9.30pm.
When you are sat in the inner sanctum with the locals (and their dogs), you really are transported back in time. In fact, time becomes meaningless as you sup under the light of the single gas light. Naturally there’s no electricity-the vacuum cleaner is oil powered and the only nod to food is a packet of nuts. They can’t keep crisps, they’d get too damp.
However, some modern elements are present. They received planning permission to build toilets in 1934, but actually only got round to building them in 1999. Prior to that, it was "ladies use the short grass and gents use the long grass".
They also do now have (a few) bottles of lager for anyone from outside of the valley. Of course, there are no handpumps, so all the beer is brought up from the cellar. Taylor’s Dark Mild and Best Bitter are the choices, and I have to say I was impressed with how well they kept them. £1.50 for the Bitter may have the £5-a-pint craft beer aficionados spluttering into their Bollinger, but I didn’t hear many complaints.
A great day out and thanks to the Kimberley and Uncle Albert for arranging it.  

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Saltaire & Shipley

Saltaire is a part of Shipley in West Yorkshire and is famous for its model village that is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s named after mill owner Sir Titus Salt, whose former mill complex is now home to a large David Hockney collection. I’ve been and it’s very nice, but today the mention of Saltaire brings up thoughts of beer (frankly, most things do) and Saltaire Brewery.

The brewery was founded in 2005 and has produced a wide range of award-winning beers including their Triple Chocolate and, one of my favourites, South Island Pale. Intriguingly located in a Victorian building that once housed the generators for the Shipley trams, it’s been on the Tyson visit wish list for awhile.

The brewhouse is a 20 barrel affair and has a mezzanine bar that was soon full of thirsty punters. It was a record attendance-nearly 40-and included most, if not all, of the usual suspects: The Whitefield Holts Bandit, Pythagoras, Archimedes, Uncle Albert, the Wallsend Wonder, Jan & Dean, and even Moaning Myrtle-for a short time. All watched over by the timekeeper’s timekeeper, Stopwatch Sid.

A grand drinking session followed with all the beers tried being in excellent condition. This is not surprising as owner and head brewer Tony Gartland is passionate about beer and clearly knows his stuff. Certainly his brewery talk had enough meat on it to keep us professional brewery visitors entertained. Oh, and he’s a sparkler advocate, so you sparkler denialists can blow one off.

It was difficult to leave the brewery. Top notch beer served at only £2 a pint? Slightly embarrassing for some breweries nearer home that charge considerably more for considerably less satisfying beer. But Shipley itself has quite a bit to offer with several GBG pubs in the area. So after thanking Tony and his staff, take our leave we did.

Then followed a leisurely crawl from the Junction (not so good JHB) to the Shipley Pride (Salamander) and the Victoria, where I enjoyed some excellent Castle Rock. Of course, the famous Fannys was visited (Phoenix) where the barmaids won the award for best of the day. Ask Beth nicely and she may show you her tattoo.

It was then back to the Shipley to stock up on Acorn Blonde before our chauffeur driven transport whisked us away. A pint or more was then had in Idle before we had to finally say goodbye to Yorkshire. After a long and winding trip back to Bury, a hardy few staggered into the Art to finish the night, and themselves, off.

Thanks to Tony & crew for the beer and grub, and for a very enjoyable visit.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Hofbräu Berlin

Fans of Munch and its legendary Hofbräuhaus may get a surprise on their next visit to Berlin. For last Friday saw the opening of Hofbräu Berlin. This, the third in a franchise-there are already two Hofbräuhausers in Hamburg, hopes to offer Berliners and any curious tourists a little slice of Bavaria.

Except, as befitting any homage to the original Hofbräuhaus, it’s anything but little. What they have done is create Europe’s largest beer hall. 6000 square metres is spread over three floors and incorporates some 2 kilometres of benching to seat 2,500 punters.

Despite the legal wrangling that forced a change of name and some local doubts as to what a Hamburger is doing involved; general manager Björn Schwarz is confident it will be a success. His figures tell him that there are plenty of Berliners ready to eat 120 tons of pork shank, 25 tons of the white sausage called Weißwurst, and drink a million litres of beer per year.

And if they don’t? Well its location at the heart of Alexanderplatz should guarantee that there are enough tourists to pick up the slack. But the true Hofbräuhaus is about more than just food and drink. So its Berlin clone offers a stage on each floor where yodelers, alphorn performers and glockenspiel players will entertain customers.

To complete the Munich experience, Schwartz says: “customers are encouraged to link arms and sway” in true Bavarian style. How the cosmopolitan Berliners will take to all this Bavarian jollity is anyone’s guess, but I suspect they may well enjoy the experience.