The landlord of a local CAMRA award-winning hostelry has taken the unusual step of removing the drip trays from his pumps in order to minimise wastage. The idea, as explained to me, is that staff will be more careful and pull a better pint if there is no tray to catch any excess. The claim is that 15-35 pints a night are being wasted which impacts on the quarterly profit margins; which the under-pressure manager, naturally, wants to maximise. Unfortunately it seems to have had the side effect of creating beer puddles on the floor that require bar towels to help soak them up. This iniative seems to have been taken at his own behest and I’m not sure a pubco would sanction such a potential safety hazard these days. The staff have apparently signed waivers in that regard but you can’t sign away your rights that easily and it would only take one accident to bring the house down. It doesn’t seem very sanitary to me, either, and although there is a tray available for “lively” beers, I think they should be reinstated across the board.
Thursday, 31 July 2014
Tuesday, 29 July 2014
It takes a particularly interesting news item to rouse me from my cheap-can induced Wetherspoons stupor. But one such item this lunchtime did get me to raise my head from the sticky, as yet uncleaned, table. The Barbacoa restaurant in Crosby, Merseyside has apparently become the first in the UK to ban smoking in their beer garden. Owner Gordon Tartt explained why he took the decision: “Customers were complaining that the outside of the restaurant was becoming an al fresco smoking lounge, so we’ve created a place where people can eat and drink in a smoke free environment.”
Apart from a lot of free publicity for the restaurant, the move has earned it an award from the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. Rewarding it with a Clean Air Award, Melody Holt, tobacco control manager at the RCLCF, said: “This is the first smoke free beer garden that we’re aware of and we would encourage other establishments to follow their lead. We believe it’s really important that when people step outside for fresh air, that’s what they should get rather than clouds of smoke. The dangers of passive smoking are well-known.”
Being the first guarantees that the Barbacoa will be generating several opinion pieces in the next few days. And it certainly won’t be a popular move with the usual suspects. Even though they have allocated smokers a smoking-zone out front. But most people won't be bothered and can anyone really believe that this is anything other than the beginning of a growing trend?
Thursday, 3 July 2014
The Sixpoint can price crash in Wetherspoons has started. Well in certain outlets, anyway. If the sell by dates are the end of July, chances are that your local will have already started selling them off for 99p. Grab ‘em while you can.
( (1)No cans were harmed in the building of this wall. It is for illustrative purposes only and should not be attempted by non-professionals
(2)The daily alcohol unit guidelines may have been exceeded in this exercise. If worried, have a drink and forget about it.
(3)There may be a dichotomy in the evangelism of spreading the craft gospel and the actual reality. Try to smile nonchalantly when you discover that the old soaks that normally drink John Smiths have already supped all the Bengali Tiger.
Tuesday evening saw Port Street Beer House kick off its annual American Beer Festival with a tutored beer tasting. Held upstairs by none other than Jeremy Strull, co-owner of Manchester speciality beer emporium Beermoth. Jeremy, a Kansan native, was the perfect host for such an event as he has vast experience in this particular field. Not that he’s a slouch in others; the first part of the talk was given other to how his beer journey began and how he got to where he is now. It’s a journey that encompassed Chicago, Belgium, Holland and, erm, Cains. Anyway, all the beers were interesting and, as a bonus, all new to me
Jack’s Abby Jabby Brau
A 4.5% lager from the Massachusetts brewery that’s specialises in brewing lager. A classic Pilsner base given a twist with locally grown hops for aroma but keeping the bitterness down to an even-tempered 20 IBU. Clean and crisp. Any bitterness soon dissipates to give a refreshing, perfect for summer, session ale.
Stillwater Stateside Saison
This is a 6.8% American take on a Belgium classic. It combines farmhouse yeast and European malt with American and New Zealand hops. The result is a perfect blend of the old and the new. You get the spiced funkiness of a traditional saison but a much dryer, hop-led finish. Very pleasant. Indeed one of my posse thought that it was the best saison they had ever tried.
Heretic Shallow Grave Porter
This 7% Porter hails from Fairfield, California. It was pleasingly dark on the eye and pleasingly silky on the tongue. Rich and bold, it had a shovelful of chocolate, molasses and a slight malt sweetness. What really raised this, as Jeremy pointed out, was the tart finish that left you wanting more. Another winner.
Knee Deep Hoptologist DIPA
Back to the land of movie stars and swimming pools for this 9% heavyweight. It boasts malt from Canada, Chile, Germany and the good old United Kingdom. Not to mention Cascade, Citra, Columbus, Magnum and Hersbrucker hops. This all adds up to a palate cleansing, dangerously drinkable little number. Often these types of beers are let down by an alcohol rush but the malt backbone does its job superbly allowing the pine resin rich flavours to come through. Zesty with a crisp bite, this could be the beer of the evening.
Pipeworks Reaper vs Unicorn
The psychedelic label apparently celebrates the tale of a unicorn rising from the dead to avenge themselves on the grim reaper. Hmmm. It’s a 10% rye barley wine. Hmmm. We all know rye belongs in bread and not a beer glass and this reinforced that truism. Not only did the alcohol come through too strongly, the rye left an unpleasant burnt candy taste that made it hard to love. Too reminiscent of the dreaded crystal malt effect for my liking, I couldn’t finish this. And I wasn’t the only one.
Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada Obscura
Now this 8.1% barrel-aged sour Stout was more like it. Dark and vinous, it was a real treat. Lots of swirling chocolate flavoured with plums, raisins, cherries and dark fruit. A really tart fruit finish completes this tour de force. Unusual and compelling.
Perennial Saison de Lis
This 5% beer was a bonus from Jeremy’s own collection. The twist being here that it’s brewed using camomile flowers. The overall impression if of apple and cinnamon: an apple crumble, if you will. Definitely a speciality beer, but certainly light on the palate and enjoyable.
So thanks to Jeremy and his wife and to Duncan and the gang at PSBH for another enjoyable evening.