Sunday, 29 January 2012

Charts - Sour Beer

Oh dammit! I knew I'd come a cropper somewhere on this, 'Sour' just covers beers with sourness, beers made with some prescence of wild yeast. So that ranges from Fruit beers all the way to Gueuze and Flemish Red... Here we go, I make no excuses. There is no way this can ever be a complete list - but then that's not exactly the point...

1. Drie Fonteinen - Any Oude gueuze. Consistently just so very, very good. Incredibly complex, insane length, just brilliant I want one now! 
2. New Glarus - Belgian Red. The most cherry beer!
3. Liefmans - Goudenband Drink it, age it, make Carbonnade flamande with it.
4. Drie Fonteinen - Kriek. See above, add cherries.
5. Lindemans - Cuvée René - one of the best places to start for a beginner. Hits every taste bud, sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami!
6. Leifmans - Frambozen (why did they retire it? FFS!)
8. Cantillon - Iris, fresh hops in Lambic? Equals Lemony delightfullness!
9. Verhaghe - Vichtenaar. Duchesse De Bourgogne's lesser known more quaffable brother.
10. Rodenbach - Barrel Land!

Lambic and sour beer is consistently one of the most surprisingly wonderful and ethereal experiences available to you - the beer drinker. If you don't like it, drink it until you do and then thank me for making you do it.


Monday, 23 January 2012

The End...

Well end of 2011 anyway! HA! How's that for SEO? It's well past that too as I wrote this quite some time ago and forgot about it... 1000 apologies.

Yes and what a year it was, and how huge was it for British beer? Well if I were to tell you that currently British bottled beer is pushing out US craft beer and Belgian beer in the fridges of North then perhaps you'd understand. In a beacon of world beer with 15 keg lines and 4 cask lines British cask is still the best selling product by a good measure. Despite the sustained influx of beer from the US, new craft products from Denmark, Norway and well, Scotland (that top bit is almost Scandinavia in my book) as well as sleeping giant Germany starting to experiment with newer styles the renaissance in British brewing is growing, becoming more diverse and very much going from strength to strength.

British cask and bottles are here to stay folks DO NOT underestimate cask beer and slag it off at your fucking peril. The British cask tradition is the heart of our beer scene and pretty unique, when done well it'll knock spots off any serving method - I triple dare anyone to show me an imperial stout that tastes better on keg than in cask.

Don't get me wrong, I've been pretty closed lipped on this subject, perhaps because I serve a hell of a lot of keg beer, perhaps because all the fuff going round last year is just that. It's certainly a distraction if not a complete waste of time to gibber away over format. Just as in North bar, the holy triumvirate of cask, keg and bottle must and will remain.

There's shit out there for sure, and however unfortunate for smaller local brewers a consolidation will doubtless occur soon. With new and interesting powerhouses of British brewing emerging it will become harder to sell dull beer, which to be honest everyone should be happy about. Beer can and should be outstanding and delicious, indifference is not an option.

I strongly suspect that 2012 is likely to be a bit of a new dawn for beer as the press and recognition people in the industry have been madly craving is slowly coming through. Trade publications (yes the ones with wine and cocktails in) have been gradually increasing their coverage and savvy entrepreneurs are cutting swaths through the traditional image of the beer drinker and leaving old stereotypes by the wayside.

It's a great time to be in the industry and what with some big plans for North's 15th anniversary this year as well as the mega coup that is getting the EBBC in Leeds - it's gonna be fun!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Mephistopheles - Partizan's Advent


Alright so I'm writing this on the 3rd of Jan. So, reader, you can surmise that the partizan's advent was a little bit of a failure in terms of being able to write every day. But it was very much an experiment and I've likely learned a lot. What that lot is, however, I will have to think on some.

So, if you will let me transport you back to the dark days of December, back, back... Way back to the 17th... When I had a total god fucker of a hangover. You know one of those when you wake up knowing you've done something severe but aren't quite sure what. All you have is a terrible feeling of guilt, broken nails and a bastard behind the eyes. 

Yes at that point there was no way I was drinking a 17.5% turbo yeast beer. Nuh uh, not me! So I blobbed and just went to work and felt like a twat all evening. 

But now. 

Rejuvenated by a whole 5 days off in two weeks I'm ready to wrestle the demon. Not even the nagging cold I developed (on Christmas fucking eve!) is going to stop me now. Actually, like the cask strength malt I was drinking last night I'm hoping that this will actually get rid of the cold and fortify me ready for a shit arse January. We'll see.

I've tried this beer before, but never on its own - just when it's popped up in a session when Andy has been in the bar that's how we roll over here:). It's a bruiser for sure but fuck the alcohol, especially as I can't really taste that much alcohol except that warmth in the chest that we got in the Milou. Very pleasant. My immediate impression of this is sherry - Pedro Ximenez to be prescise. It doesn't have the thickness of PX but many of the nutty, fruity and slightly bitter characteristics. 

There's a touch of smoke and vanilla that works a treat and with the sherry-ness this beer, more than any other, is the one that you could peg as a barley wine. It's as good as any beer I've tried of this strength, and there are few so there's some more praise to pile on the praise pile for the Partizans advent calendar. 

Perhaps I should take heart from yr man Goethe 

Hail him, who keeps a steadfast mind!
Thou, else, dost well the devil-nature wear:
Naught so insipid in the world I find
As is a devil in despair.