Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Saturday, 11 December 2010
Why don't you go and read a book?
Or just listen to sense and start questioning the system we are allowing to rule us... http://www.dancarlin.com/
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Friday, 24 September 2010
Thursday, 23 September 2010
Yet again you find me in another improbable beer drinking situation, a Czech style brewpub in Ho Chi Minh city, known locally and formerly as Saigon. I'm quaffing the local Hoa Vien Tmavy Lezak... That's a mouthful, quite literally!!!! Ha ha ha ohhhhhh. Yes dark roastily bitter Czech style beer in Vietnam and brewed in the lovely copper brewhouse right on the premises...
Beer is great eh? It's something that seems to transcend boundaries, borders, classes... Every great pub, brewhouse or bar seems to me to have a similar mix of young and old, both sexes, loners and boozy groups. It's commonly said but I'm going to do it again, beer is an unrivalled social lubricant!
It must remain as such.
In the whirlingly stupid morality of today we are within the reach of legislation to curb drinking. I see it regularly in reactionary local policing and council anti binge policy. Did you know that it's now illegal for me to pour booze in to someones mouth in a pub?
Nice work the council!
When I was in Erding a couple of weeks ago on a bit of a jolly I was stuck by the unity of the people of the town at their annual harvest festival. Erdinger beer IS the focal point of that little Bavarian town, young and old rally around it and all hang out together in their massive beerhall, eating stupid amounts of pork! They are inspired to wear leather shorts and chicken hats! Even the cool teens get in on the act sloshing down litre after litre of the stuff.
Now what the hell is wrong with that?
Anyhow, I can say with pretty much complete Euro-beer-snob authority that I am drinking the best beer that Vietnam has to offer, lovely shit and no mistake.
Now, where's my fucking weiner schnitzel?
Friday, 17 September 2010
Travelling through the forests and jungles of Vietnam is amazingly like watching the films I so loved in my youth. You almost expect hueys to come panelling over the horizon and hard bitten GI's to start shouting shit about DANANG and LV'S!
Of course they don't and clearly the 'traveller' world has moved on a bit since I took a drug addled year out in Mexico some 11 years ago. Back then (yes I cringe to say it) all we had was an out of date rough guide and a will to get smashed on anything we could get our hands on. Cue dangerous incidents in shanty towns, loud hallucinations and worrying weight loss.
Right now I'm sitting in an agreeable colonial-ish bar on a strip of road, adjacent to a beautiful beach, listening to a big Mexican chap playing Eric Clapton, Louis Armstrong and Hey Jude and bleeding Lady in Red! Fuck it eh - wherever you go in the world there's always a fat Mexican playing the Beatles...
Even nicer as this particular bar is Joe's and Joe, knows good beer. We have all the Belgian biggies and a spot of Hofbrau too... Granted in comparison to the, very good, Saigon beer it's a bit pricey but hey what's £2 when a lobster costs you £4?
So Saigon export red is tops, clean and full and not so far from a Dortmund lager, saigon green is pilsner-esque and lighter but unfortunately not better than the local brewed heineken.
My Chimay has travelled many miles and is better for it, we get through plenty at north so it's aleays pretty fresh and the stuff I've put down to age really isn't ready yet. So of course I have to come all the way to Vietnam to try the aged stuff...
Genius eh? While all the nobs in Europe are buggering around with this and that there's brilliantly conditioned Trappist ale right under their noses at the other side of the world!!! Goddamittttt.
This Chimay red is woody to smell with a sherry barrely thing going on, get inside it and there's tons of fruit. Predominantly and unexpectedly it's strawberry that really comes through followed by layers of malt and softer fruit flavours, hints of pear, Blackcurrant, berries etcetecye.... Nice? O god aye...
I'll go do a blue...
Sunday, 15 August 2010
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
Replemished by madeira and joyous of a public transport system that works, we are in full effect and have a crate in tow so we can haul some treats back to Leeds and a loaf of brilliant sourdough to soak up the booze.
For a few days a year Earls Court turns in to the centre of the beard wearing world as thousands of beer botherers descend to get rotten pissed in a celebration of beer. It's like any local CAMRA beer festival but MASSIVE and today is trade day so it's full of jockeying press types and strug out bar/pub workers dearly in need of some time off.
We quickly realised that buying thirds is the way to go... Taste as many as possible, and you know, pulling a third ain't so easy, the venerable voulenteers at the GBBF quite often miss the line, which for our purposes, is just the ticket.
Flash forward 2 hours and we've motored through through 14 beers and now been joined my mr Ed. Standout beers so far? Tons!
Thornbridge have managed to make a balanced eldeflower ale in which the elder matches the hop in a way that is so fucking good that it seems obvious, I've never tasted an elderflower beer like this and it's brilliant. I'm not always as convinced as most as to the brilliance of everything Thornbridge do but this is tops and highly recommended.
There's a beer from Spectrum in Norfolk called Stoatwobbler which I urge everyone to try for its sheer brilliance in malty depth, powerful fruit and balanced bitter core.
Flash forward another 2 hours and the sourdough loaf from st john is really showing its worth. A third of old hooky is a little bit of a levller after some discombobulating ales from Liverpool organic - their IPA is as true to the traditional style as you can get and delicious to booot.
Shoom! Forward to 4pm, an hour left and things are starting to go west I think I just confused Pete Brown or someone who looks like Pete Brown with some heavy ipa form Green Flash. He's smaller than I expected and the IPA much bigger, I feel that the combinatiknof these achievemnts makes me level. So. on to de molen....
Crap... The de molen is better, it points out the
K utaec I'd British berr when something ha suceh abcenyw. Nwybny. KoeUZ
The. End. Only my good friends know the rest x
Thursday, 22 July 2010
Good, now I've got that out of my system I'm going to talk about raspberry beer or rather framboise or even frambozen if you fancy.
I was dismayed when duvel moortgat decided to kill off Liefmans Frambozen. This beer was a thing to behold, a Flemish brown ale laced heavily with raspberry and for me one of the truest expressions of fruit beer. Sweet and perfumed with the fruit and the complex sour maltiness befitting the king of Flemish brown ales. Unfortunately the big boys didn't see it that way and tossed the little pink beverage into the canal... Beautiful packaging and all.
This left somewhat of a void in the world of raspberry beers. The better known Timmermans falls at the first hurdle by 'virtue' of being utter rubbish. Bacchus stepped in and made a perfecty good brown ale based Framboise that North still sells on draught. There's also a very good one from lambic superstars; Lindemans but it's two and a half percent alcohol so really it's a fizzy drink. Incidentally it's a good beer for anyone who's lost faith in rehab or indeed has only just fallen off the wagon - we have a good offer on at North, I won't tell...
The other I know well is Girardin, this is a famous lambic house that makes spectacular, balanced gueuze - blended young and aged lambic. The Girardin framboise is light, bracingly sour and almost champagne like in its sherbet fizziness, this is truly a beer to rival the frambozen BUT it's not got everything I want, it's amazing but not so balanced and not as good as what I'm drinking now...
A while back I met a lovely chap called Alan Kovan, it was actually about a year ago during our US beer festival. I took him on a boozy tour of north's finest tipples and, bless him, he gave me a bottle of unbelieveably brilliant Belgian red from New Glarus in Wisconsin. It was a cherry beer of true distinction and considerable rarity. I've only ever seen empty bottles since as it cannot be exported from Wisconsin. The empty bottles are usually on the shelves of the type of people who speak about beers like this in slightly hushed tones if you catch my drift...
Cut to the chase - my good, old friend Mr Simon mentioned a few weeks back that he was on his way over to that part of the world. I duly lashed him to his chair and made him promise to bring back New Glarus beer... Thanks Si!
I'm drinking some Raspberry Tart right now... It's delicious, the smell of the damn thing hits you before you take a sip and is so bleedingly perfumed and bright that it actually makes you stop before take a sup. The beer is a raspberry shotgun full of sherbert and sorbet and bang! It lasts forever on your palette and has a brilliant almost salty bite... Yes Salty!
If you are ever in a situation where you can get hold of anything from this brewery... You bring me some back... Fucker...
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
Thursday, 27 May 2010
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
Thursday, 8 April 2010
One of the first beers we tried with Garrett Oliver was Brooklyn Blast! A US double IPA that really exemplifies the style. US IPA was the first time for me that I was convinced that the US has a style to call their own, extremely bitter, dense and sweet with a complex depth of flavours.
Blast is a wonderful honey orange beer with big big hops. The hoppiness is on the floral side and for me that's something you don't get so often with US beer. Garrett had a lot to say about balance in ale, he's schooled in the UK you see and that subtle approach has translated in to something quite profound in the US - full flavoured, distinctly American beer with a nod to the past. So Blast! is choc a bloc with tropical flavour, sweet malt and flowery cannabis-y goodness. It also has a notable dry finish which make it super moreish...
I was also incredibly privileged to try a beer called Wild 1. This is a bit of an experiment that has been kept within the brewery and is not available to the public! OH! In simple terms it's Brooklyn Local 1, wine barrel aged with brettanomyces added. Oh god how we love the wild yeast - it does something like no other to beer. Wild 1 has a nose like nothing I ever smelt before; full, dusty, winey, sour and utterly spectacular! The beer is ultra complex and intense with spice and citrus alongside fuller black grapey, raisiny, woody notes. A bit of a Willy Wonka beer.
I suppose you'd call it a double saison or something then... Cheers Garrett!
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
It's natural in most cases, it's FACKIN BRIDDISH MAYTE, in most cases it's very good indeed, in many it's exceptional and unique and it's ALIVE!!