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

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Brodies@PSBH

Monday night saw a sell out crowd attend the Port Street Beer House for a meet the brewer with Brodies. Not so long ago, you rarely got to sample their beer north of Watford. But now, thanks to a distribution deal with Boggart, their wares are reaching an even more appreciative audience.

The evening started with the origins of the brewery and then, via a few anecdotes, proceeded to highlight several of their beers. They are unashamed hop devotees and that certainly came through in the beers. You can check out some photos from the event here.

Citra: This is a very interesting 3.1% hop-bomb. Packing 6kg of Citra into such a low vol beer proved too much for some, but I lapped it up. Will I be proved wrong and forced to eat Eddie’s, the eager legal beagle, tartan long johns when a 2.8% version of this appears?

Hoxton: Excellent amber ale that was quite “meaty” and full of Citra and Galaxy hops.

Dalston Black IPA: A tasty variation on Hoxton that highlights the Galaxy hop.

Romanoff: A 13% barley wine that demanded respect.

There was also an IPA made with rye and Citra. This was the only one that didn’t really work for me. The rye did add some dryness and it was interesting to hear why Citra was chosen, but perhaps Simcoe or even Nelson Sauvin might work better?
Oh and a big shout out must go to the Crusty Cob whose pies were excellent

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Ramsbottom Beer Festival (2)

Well the tables and chairs are empty, and the glasses packed away. And the results of the festival are:
The Good
(1) A good venue with a separate room for escape from the music. All beers were served by handpump and sparkler. As God intended.
(2) Allgates & Acorn beers
(3) Lots of money raised for the RNLI

The Bad:
(1) No cooling for the beers: opening the windows does not count.
(2) The quality of the Tandleman sound-alike competition: think more Taggart and less Sean Connery.

The Ugly
(1) Black Edge Pike: homebrew.
(2) Potbelly Pigs Do Fly: homebrew made with dough balls.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Ramsbottom Beer Festival

Today sees the start of Ramsbottom Beer Festival. Hosted by Irwell Works Brewery, it takes place in the rather grand Ramsbottom Civic Hall. We’re promised 50 real ales mainly from Lancashire breweries with a few foreigners from Yorkshire thrown in. 
 
Opening hours are 12-midnight on both days and there will be food and bottled beers available also. Entry is £2.50 or £2 with the magic CAMRA card and that allows you entry to all the sessions. Music is promised for Saturday and proceeds are going towards the very worthy cause of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
 
Proposed beer list

Acorn
Barnsley Bitter
3.8
Acorn
Delta
5.5
Acorn
Yorkshire Pride
3.7
Allgates
Marynka
4.1
Allgates
Summit
4.5
Bank Top
Barley to Beer
3.6
Bank Top
Dark Mild
4.0
Bank Top
Leprechaun
6.0
Bank Top
Old Slapper
4.2
Black Edge
Hop
3.8
Black Edge
Pike
4.0
Blue Bee
Bees Knees
4.0
Blue Bee
Lustin' for Stout
4.8
Blue Bee
Nectar
4.0
Boggart
Boggart
Brightside
Brightside
4.3
Brightside
Darkside Stout
4.6
Brightside
Maverick IPA
4.8
Brightside
Solstice
4.5
Coachhouse
Blueberry Bitter
5.0
Coachhouse
Gunpowder Mild
3.8
Dunscar Bridge
Clocking off
Dunscar Bridge
steeplejack
3.8
Dunscar Bridge
Wicket Keeper
Hopstar
Alien Rain
4.1
Hopstar
Lancashire Gold
4.0
Irwell Works
Copper Plate
3.8
Irwell Works
Iron Plate
4.4
Irwell Works
Steam Plate
4.3
Irwell Works
Tin Plate
3.6
Leyden
Nanny flyer
3.8
Leyden
Rammy Rocket
4.2
Moorhouses
Blonde Witch
4.5
Moorhouses
Pendle Porter
5.0
Nook
Best
4.2
Nook
Strawberry Blonde
4.5
Nook
York
3.7
Outstanding
FCB
Outstanding
Red
4.4
Outstanding
White
5.0
Potbelly
Best
3.8
Potbelly
Crazy Days
5.5
Potbelly
Pigs Do Fly
4.4
Prospect
Blinding Light
4.2
Prospect
Nutty Slack
3.9
Prospect
Pickaxe
5.0
Prospect
Silver Tally
3.7
Star Inn Brewery
Golden Crown
3.8
Star Inn Brewery
Starry Night
4.5
See you there

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Physician heal thyself

Barely a day goes past these days without the media bombarding us with scare stories of binge drinking, out-of-control, revellers dragging the country down into Hades. Recently Alistair Campbell waded into the debate with his own sob story designed to scare the middle classes off their Pinot Grigio. Of course, we all know there’s very little substance to these claims, but it’s useful propaganda for a government hell bent on further prohibitionist measures.

But it appears there may be a problem after all. Well in certain quarters, anyway. MPs have always enjoyed 24hr cheap booze in the parliament bars and it was with some reluctance that they allowed the plebs the benefits of deregulated licensing. After all, who are we to be entrusted with such dangers? So it’s with no little irony I read about Eric Joyce and his antics in the Strangers Bar of the House of Commons.

Mr Joyce, Labour MP for Falkirk, was apprehended by the police on suspicion of assault after an incident in the bar at around 11pm last night. The fracas started after Joyce apparently complained that the bar was “full of Tories”. This allegedly led to him pushing one Tory MP and throwing punches at others. Drinks were then thrown and it’s also alleged that he planted a Glaswegian kiss on Stuart Andrew, MP for Pudsey.

Now this sort of behaviour is intolerable and indicative of the worst excesses of binge drinking. Knowing how keen the government is on stamping out this sort of thing, I have emailed my MP with my suggestions. Basically I have suggested restricted opening hours-say l2-3 and 6-10.30 and minimum pricing. To be effective, this needs to be means tested. So I suggest a £100 a pint/shot minimum, rising to £10,000 a pop for the mega-loaded like George Osborne.

I haven’t heard anything back yet, but I am sure MPs will want to lead by example. Wont they?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Meet the Brewer: Emelisse

Last night saw the folk of Manchester given the rare opportunity to meet and sample the wares of a bona fide Dutch microbrewer. Emelisse aren’t too well known around these parts, but are a major player in the burgeoning Dutch scene and some of their beers have appeared on the bar in the Port St Beer House.

The reason for head brewer Kees Bubberman & co to make the trip from their base in Kamperland all the way to the Marble Arch was simple: beer. They’re here to brew some collaboration beers with the Marble brewery. The most interesting of which promises to be Earl Grey IPA. And yes, it is brewed using Earl Grey tea.

But what would any meet-the-brewer event be without some sampling? So, in no particular order, and without the use of a safety net, here’s some of the ones I recall sampling.

Blond: Hazy with a sharp and refreshing bite. Brewed with Nelson Sauvin hops. A favourite amongst many, including me.

Rachbier: Made with five different malts, this was less smoky than you might expect, but still not for me. Lovers of this style seemed to appreciate it, though.

Holland Oats: This is currently on draught at the Marble Arch. It’s an amber ale made with toasted oats and apple syrup. This probably explains the initial sweet toasted flavour and slightly spiced nut finish. Not at all bad for 6.6%.

Black IPA: Everyone’s interpretation of this style seems to differ. Here the emphasis was on the roast flavour with bitterness coming through later.

Espresso Stout: This was an interesting, very strong beer. It really gave you the full on, intense, espresso experience. It was explained that this is because it is made with a heavy dose of Italian coffee beans. An interesting comparison was made to the Flying Dog version which uses Ethiopian beans for a much smoother taste.

Of course this is just one night’s tasting. Purely in the interests of brewing science, I will continue to sample on your behalf.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Chester

Chester is a lovely city and you can easily while away a day exploring its historic and cultural gems. Or you can choose to get pissed in one (or more) of its many real ale outlets. With 48 to choose from, it’s probably better for your legs-and liver-to be somewhat discriminate in your choice of venues.  

Never mind six of the best. Here’s nine of the best that were put through their paces on Saturday.

Marlborough Arms
An interesting, narrow, one-roomed pub on St John Street that specialises in Stonehouse beers who are based in Oswestry, Shropshire. Sunlander, described as the first summer beer of the season, was tried and its tropical fruit and dry, but not aggressively hopped, nature was adjudged to be very conducive to calming our midday thirst.

Brewery Tap
This very impressive Jacobean property is must stop on any tour of Chester. Run by Spitting Feather brewery, it features their beers as well as a range of guest beers. The Citra infused offering from Yorkshire Dales was excellent and considered the beer of the day by the hophead lovers.

Cross Keys
Owned by Joules brewery, this is a smart pub on the corner of Lower Bridge Street. Pale Ale was the order of the day here and found to be in good quaffing order.

Pied Bull
This is a pub on the main drag that has transformed itself by becoming a brewpub. Hoppy and refreshing was the verdict on their beers here.

Red Lion 
Handily placed next door to the Pied Bull, this is now part of the Nicholsons estate and has been refurbished to a high standard. Posh as the Bolton folk would say. Or posh and expensive if you’re from Oldham. But there were no complaints on the beer front.

The Mill
Something of a Chester institution, this is a canal side hotel that used to be a favourite of late night barflys and ladies of the oldest profession. A sterile atmosphere is somewhat compensated for by the ten handpumps.

Harkers
A Brunning & Price establishment that offers a good range of well kept beers. The relaxed vibe and good food make it a draw for many and seating is at a premium on a Saturday night.

Canalside
One of the two bars that flank Harkers. Utilitarian in nature, it has recently started brewing its own. The lack of customers may have said something, but we felt duty bound to try some. Unfortunately, on this visit, of the two on offer, one was so-so and the other was vinegar.

Artichoke
The other bar that flanks Harkers. A silly name but now I’ve leant to stop calling it Asparagus, I’ve grown to kind of like it. A modern, but warm interior attracts a good crowd and the beer I usually go for-Outlandish Pale from Offbeat is a tasty treat.

Kash
An ex Italian restaurant, this is now a rare outlet for Bluball beers from Runcorn. There are two on handpump and several more on draught. They seem to major on speciality beers, but I doubt Kate Green would approve of their pumpclips.

In terms of pubs, Chester is a great compact crawl and probably only beaten by York in terms of sheer numbers. But, as a famous publication might say, this is only a snapshot of one visit. Why not try it yourself?