Friday, 27 February 2009

Wales "Basterauded" giving England an chance at the championship - we need another seismic improvement this week though. I reserve judgement until tomorrow night.

Did a five mile walk followed by a 6 mile run with no knee support - knee is holding up well. Tried Marstons IPA - will need another bottle or two to properly assess it but I have to say it tasted great but I couldn't concentrate on ot because the rugby was too exciting.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Long Standing Aquaintance - Old Bob

This weekend I hooked up with a long standing aquaintance OLD BOB from the sadly now defunct Ridleys brewery. It brought back memories of beer at 35p a pint and the days when you ordered a half of bitter and a bottle of Old Bob and the bartender would give you 2/3 of a pint in a pint glass and a half pint bottle of Old Bob. Clearly drinking beer does not diminish the long term memory as a 35p pint would have been about 30+ years ago. It also brought back memories of under age drinking in the Old Lamb (sadly also gone and now 2 or more houses stand on that plot) in High Roding with the ex butcher who always looked miserable as a Landlord. People used to say it was a hard life being a butcher which is why he always looked miserable but I think he was worried about his daughter hooking up with one of his regulars. Ahh what memories, I guess that my interest in nostalgia means I am now middle aged.

The demise of small breweries and the loss of pubs is a sad fact of modern life and I can't say I call it progress. Ridleys at Hart end Felsted wa a delightful old brewery which was a bit like a museum when I last visited it a few years ago. They still had the old coppers, still hauled the hops up to the top floor by hand etc. but apparently they didn't make any money so they sold out the Greene King who make a few passable beers. I remember them buying Rayments in the 80's. Rayments used to supply the beer to our rugby club but the BBA soon became IPA and there is now no Rayments beer left as far as I know, so lets hope Ridleys is a stronger brand.

Any way Ridleys Old Bob is now available in 500ml bottles from most good supermarkets. It is a proper bitter without the sweet addition of some of my recent beers. I like the fact that it doesn't really have any head and in my opinion you could easily drink more than one of these in an evening. The clear bottle also lets you see exactly what you are getting.

Old Bob Strong Pale Ale
ABV 5.1% • Vol 500 ml • bottle •
Ridley's, brewing since 1842 till around 2005, was an Essex-based brewer of traditional English ales. Old Bob, a premium ale at the weaker end of the 'old ale' style, has a distinctive, delicate malty aroma with a touch of hop and a thick, persistent head out of the bottle. The attack is sharp and bitter-sweet. There is a lively, very rounded palate of rich, treacley, faintly caramelly malt, without being thick or cloying, and a clean, hoppy (Fuggles) bitterness fading into a bitter aftertaste, with maybe a trace of burnt malt, in the back of the throat. This tastes just how one imagines a beer should - rich, complex and bloody marvellous. Although quite sweet for a pale ale, the flavour is perfectly balanced by the Fuggles bitterness and the deeper roasted malt notes.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Sugar and honey

Two beers which sound the same from their description but are very different. It seems that the fairtrade honey and sugar are very much sweeter than the non fairtrade stuff. I actually preferred the BeeWyched even though it was much sweeter than the Waggle dance so it could be "desert beer". I would normally prefer a hoppier more bitter beer so I was surprised to find I liked the Beewyched best. I know I like Wells beers so now I will have to go off and get a few more bottles of Wychwood beers to assess the quality of this brewery

BeeWyched Honey'd Ale (Wychwood Brewery)

Buzzing with flavour this pale golden lightly honey'd ale has a delicate floral aroma and hints of citrus and dried fruit followed by the full bittersweet flavours of malt, honey and grapefruit.

Brewed using Chilean Fairtrade honey and Fairtrade sugars from Malawi, BeeWyched is our first Fair Trade beer.

ABV: 5.0%
Bottle: 500ml
Cask: seasonally
Hops: Fuggles Challenger and Cascade
Malts: English Pale Ale, Crystal
and Fair Trade Honey

Wells Waggle Dance (Wells and Young's)

Unusual name, unusual beer! The “Waggle Dance” is the movement a bee performs to alert the hive to a source of nectar. The Waggle Dance beer is a beautifully balanced, sneakily seductive, golden coloured beer. it is popular both as a cask ale (Alc. 4.0% Vol.) and in 500ml bottle (Alc. 5.0% Vol.) across a wide range of beer lovers both male and female and of all (legal) drinking ages.

A striking pump clip and bottle label designs ensure high awareness to Waggle Dance amongst drinkers in both the On- and Off-Trade

Amber beer with a touch of honey on the nose and palate. The sweetness is balanced by a healthy dose of hops to provide the bitterness that gives a wonderfully delicate flavour.”

Pale Ale and Crystal malts and British Fuggle and Golding hops, together with South American honey, combine perfectly to create this delicious golden ale with a superb honey aroma.

Waggle Dance’s renowned consistency and quality delivers high yields and is quick to drop bright (usually within 24 hours).

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

go slow

Not much jogging to report due to other time commitments and whats worse is that I am stuck on 196 pounds - 14 stone in English. However I did mange to get out with shorts and T shirt today and work up quite a sweat - I am not convinced this is spring though.
On the subject of beer I had a good pint in a Greene King pub at the weekend "Flankers tackle" as an ex flanker with tackle in tact it is appropriate. Good easy to drink bitter with very little sweetness - actually i think it might be a Ridleys beer re-labelled - it tasted quite familiar. Anyway about 4.5% from memory. I also had a can or two of Tetleys smooth flow during the game. I had forgotten it is actually quite a pleasant pint.
There was some very selective refereeing of the break down going on - but to be fair the Welsh perpetrators were forwards so they were a bit more streetwise and made it look less obvious. Good job Lee Byrne isn't Scottish though or he would have been yellow carded. Good English improvement but they could still have won. It shows that the English are not arrogant - they didn't havethe confidence to win.

So we are relying on France and Ireland to beat Wales for England to win the championship.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Beer tasting Courses

Just a very quick post to recommend who run beer tasting courses etc. Must get myself a driver and get on one of those courses


Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Jogging ???

OK i have only run a couple of times - can't really say I have been concentrating on the beer either but on saturday!!! I will be either celebrating like mad or drowning my sorrows. On paper Wales will walk it but I hope for another world cup like revival - oh well you can always dream

My Favorite Beer

It is my mission to promote as many unusual beers as possible as I love the diversity of English Ales (and some other beers)

This is an unusual beer but as ginger nut ( no my hair is brown but I absolutely love root ginger) It is the perfect beer for cold weather we are having . Best on an empty stomach and you can feel the warmth of the ginger travel down your throat into your stomach. It also comes from one of my favorite breweries - Hall and Woodhouse.

make sure not to drive afterwards though as you will fail a breathaliser

Blandford Fly

An unusually refreshing premium ale subtly spiced with ginger for EXTRA BITE

A light coloured medium bodied ale with a low bitterness and a subtle spicy ginger character that gives warmth to drink even when served chilled.

The unique ale celebrated the infamous Blandford Fly, a resident biting insect of Dorset's River Stour.

Local folklore has it that only zingibain, one of ginger's most ancient constituents, could help reduce the fever and swelling inflicted by the creatures' bite.

The inspired inclusion of ginger in this ale has made the antidote so agreeable that the locals now claim the Fly swarms all year round...thus the warning cry is oft heard in the locality... BEWARE THE BLANDFORD FLY!

Availability: Most supermarkets and a growing number of off licences and independent retailer. Blandford Fly Ale (5.2%ABV) is available in 500ml bottles for pure indulgence.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Banana bread beer

I really liked this very good if rather unusual seasonal beer. Beer was once known as liquid bread so this is a liquid banana bread. This is a dark golden ale which is very slightly effervescent but can be considered a true ale as it has no head. The aroma is traditional but the flavour is a rich bitter with a sweetness which comes from the bananas. There is a definite banana after taste. It is a very rich pleasant flavour.

Wells Banana Bread Beer

This unique brew (Alc 5.2% vol) combines all the traditional qualities and style of a Charles Wells bitter with the subtle flavour of banana. Its flavour unfolds with a sensual sparkle and a smart crispness, which balances its aroma perfectly. Tropically fruity; its ripe banana flavour, emphasised by a hint of bitterness, comes from the addition of real fair trade bananas and finishes with an emphatic, steely dryness.

"...fruity roughness of winter barley and toffeeish sweetness of crystal malt... hugely tempting aroma of bananas; creamy head; firm, silky body."

Michael Jackson
Beer Writer for the Independent

A fairly recent addition to the Charles Wells range of ales, Wells Banana Bread Beer has already achieved a number of accolades including winner of "Beer of the Festival" award at CAMRA's London Drinker Festival in March 2002.Available as a draught seasonal cask bitter, Wells Banana Bread Beer can be found on the bar and, in its popular pint bottle format, in all leading supermarkets.

The brand has also received widespread acclaim from customers throughout the UK. Here's what Tim Carter of Guernsey had to say:

"What a fantastic smell as I opened the bottle top, unusual but pleasingly natural... but what about the taste? ...I have tried quite a few but nothing, I mean nothing hits the mark like 'Wells Banana Bread Beer'. The taste is twice as good as the smell. ...You have definitely found a gap in the market, every beer drinker should try it. I look forward to buying my next (not 1 bottle) batch of 'Wells Banana Bread Beer'."

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Crisp and even

Ahh the reassuring crunch of refrozen snow. Whilst out running today I was pleased to hear crunching under foot as that meant there was a firm footing, no crunch and the foot was likely to slip on compacted snow/ice. Also running round the fields snow is good as you get a fairly decent grip instead of the slippy mud where the snow has melted. As the temperature is still low the snow is also fairly dry so my feet stayed dry and warm. After the run I was hot and I took the dog out in my shorts and a passing motorist stopped to question may sanity. I say Brits are whinging poms, the slightest adversity and many throw their hands up in despair - where is the Bulldog spirit. (ok I will admit I have whimped out of running most of the last 2 weeks due to weather and being busy but I am back to some sort of training now. I have been working on the beer part of this blog which will be apparent soon)