Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Collectors corner

Fascinated by collections me, it is a peculiar and in many cases an almost irrational pursuit.

From the age of around 8 I collected all sorts of things: Beermats, stamps (boring), miniature cars, coins, rocks, weird sweet wrappers, miniatures, nicely designed things (!), tickets

I've now thinned it down to beer and stickers. Obviously the beer is pertinent here and what got me on to this is a combination of needing a board to catalogue my collection of beers, thus saving me literally hours sitting in the larder rummaging through crates, trying to decide what to drink and what to keep.

It has also been prompted by a visit to the headquarters of Mr Sukhinder Singh of Speciality drinks and the whisky exchange - who with his brother Raj, is no less than the worlds foremost collector of vintage whisky and indeed many, many, MANY spirits. Alongside the utterly comprehensive selection available to mere mortals I was privileged to bear witness to an astounding collection that lines the walls in the boardroom. 'Blown away' is a trifling understatement.

My general rule for starting a booze collection is to amass enough quality souse so that you couldn't possibly drink it in one go. You then work upwards to you and the people in your house, a small gathering of good friends, a football squad, a bar and then the sort of collection that would kill the aforementioned gatherings if they set about it in the right way. Then you get to what the Singhs have and you just stand, and be mind boggled. 

If you have the time and the incineration you end up setting up a company that specialises in this sort of stuff and you move from being an evangelist to a supplier. In many ways these guys are the unsung heroes of the trade, working behind the scenes, dealing with the labyrinthine mores of customs and excise, and attempting to satisfy the outrageous demands of people like me.
Hats off to the likes of James Clay initially and subsequently Vertical drinks - without these guys Leeds wouldn't be the international hub of great beer that it is, and North would be, heavens forfend... A normal bar.

Ok then this is what's in my cellar, or rather, larder. I'm looking to upgrade to a cellar but at present it is certainly a larder.

I post this picture simply for posterity, it's also somewhat cathartic. I am not a 'ticker' and am quite aware of the nonsense of lording it up and showing off about nicely flavoured liquids. But there's something to be said for having more booze than you can nail in one session in your house.

The likes of untapd and twitter posts without any sort of exclamation or opinion leave me a little cold, it is, to coin a phrase 'willy waving'.

I find bragging and one upmanship pretty silly, even nieve and pointless. But then it is a part of what I do in marketing a place such as North bar. This blog and my job are really just about recommending said nicely flavoured liquids in the hope that other people will see the point and of course that we grow the business and I can attain pleasure through sharing my passion.

I do however as Dr Humphries observes, have a better cellar than most bars. ;)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Charts - Oddball beers

Stuff that really doesn't fall in to any category, straddles several or is just weird - but - good.

1. Shorts, Anniversary Ale 09/10 - Blood Orange wheat wine anyone? Tastes a bit like a mad head negroni. Spectacular.

2. Bells Hopslam - Oh my fucking GOD how good is this beer? Well extremely... It makes this list, despite the fact that it's pretty much to style as a Double IPA, because of the welcome addition of honey and the fact that it's so stupidly rare that I have to bribe 'Agent A' to bring the damn stuff over! It's also on the list as it spawned a mind bending after hours drink that eventually made the menu at North. A 'ghetto' hopslam is whatever double IPA you have to hand plus a shot of honey bourbon (we use Evan Williams). Sling em together and melt your brain!! 

3. Dogfishhead, Midas Touch - Never in my life had I experienced a flavour profile like this, and never since. It's all grapey malty softness then musty honey and then it just completely dries out, seconds pass, and then just as you think it's over it comes screaming right back with a shit ton of saffron. Fucking crackers.

4. Struise, Pannepot Gran Reserva - A clusterfuck of a beer! Pannepot is what the 'sturdy brewers' call a fisherman's ale, essentially a quadrupple brewed with spices, Gran reserve is aged in French Oak for 14 months and calvados for 8 months!

5. Three Floyds, Oat Goop - I had one bottle of this about three years ago and it fucking blew my mind. What sort of maniac makes a barley wine out of oats, this sort of maniac.

6. Uinta, Labyrinth - Black ale, liquorice, barrel ageing. Fierce.

7. Marble, Ginger - this was one of the beers I tried in my formative years and the beer that first brought Marble in to the Cross Keys and subsequently Leeds in general. It's not as offbeat as it used to be unfortunately but in terms of spiced ale works a dream. Definitely ale, hot ginger, better than the sum of its parts.

8. Stone, Arrogant Bastard - A brutish, total wanker of a beer, the beer that puts the Cock in Koch.

9. Liefmans Gluhkriek - HOT SPICED CHERRY BEER! Perennial favourite in North, gets the nod in this list by the necessity of serving it warmed in a water bath. Tastes like hot cherry sherbet and is utterly delightful.

10. Evil Twin, Yin & Yang - 2 beers! One GREAT, One good - mix em and get one outstanding Black & Tan

These here charts are just lists of recommendations, things I love, things I think you should try. Ratebeer in my head, ever evolving top o the hops, whatever you like, it's pretty much for posterity but if you wanna pitch in at any time with opinions or your own charts - do!