Sunday, 29 December 2013

#12BeersOfXmas Day 9 - Grain Brewery 3.1.6

Today was meant to be Thwaites Big Ben but only had a chance to drink this before going out yesterday because Big Ben wasn't chilled. Will make sure I do that another day. I've really messed with the program!

As you may have seen me mention about 137 times, Grain Brewery, in my opinion is the best Norfolk has to offer (sorry other brewery friends xxx) so I've got Grain 3.1.6, a 3.9% extra pale ale.

This has been available on cask for a while but has only just made it into bottles. I believe this was originally brewed to celebrate the new tanks in the brewery and the name 3.1.6 comes from the grade of steel used to make them.

It pours a lovely golden colour with a fluffy white head.

Immediately on the nose you're struck with the lovely light biscuity lager malt, along with floral hoppy aromas.

You then take a sip and you're hit with the biscuity malt, followed by subtle orange flavours and a long floral finish.

The mouthfeel is quite carbonated, yet long and dry.

Overall? It's a beer I've drank many, many pints of and will drink many more. During the summer it actually kicked Grain Blonde Ash off the top of my "What to drink on a hot day in The Plough's beer garden" list. Absolutely love it. It's certainly a beer that can please both seasoned ale drinkers and lager drinkers alike.

Cheers,

Nate

Friday, 27 December 2013

#12BeersOfXmas Day 8 - Amstel Bock

So, it's day 8 already. Due to the fact that I'm out of town tomorrow, I'm actually writing this on the evening of Day 7.

I'm a big fan of Amstel. If I'm in a Wetherspoons that has a shit cask selection, it's my go-to. Yes I'm aware they sell Carling too, but that's my at home beer. I wouldn't be seen drinking it in public (unless I'm at a football game).

So we've got Amstel Bock here, it's 7% and obviously it's from The Netherlands.

The aroma give us a lot old malt and caramel, a little banana and a tiny sprinkling of hops.

Tasting it, it's basically like drinking Amstel with a shitload of caramel and a bit of chocolate with some banana. Close to what other people had told me before.

Mouthfeel is very carbonated, but you'd expect that.

Overall, I really like it and at 7% it's fucking good value!

Cheers,

Nate

Thursday, 26 December 2013

#12BeersOfXmas Day 7 - Nomada Humala IPA

So it's Boxing Day and after the excitement of that ridiculously dark and decadent imperial stout yesterday, it's time for an IPA. This is my first beer of the day after shaking my mental hangover from yesterday (16 beers, too much red wine & a slug of Spirit of Broadside) I need to get back on the horse before going for a walk.

Today we have Nomada Humala IPA from Spain. It's certainly not weak at 7.3%, but not mental either.

As you can see from the photo, head retention is no problem for this chap as it's ridiculously carbonated.

On the nose you get a lovely sweet medley of tropical fruits... pineapples, mangoes, grapefruit, blood orange and a tiny hint of caramel and biscuits.

When you take a sip, you get EXACTLY what you're expecting... all of that fruit really works well together and it's not overly sweet, the flavours are great, with just that little bit of malt and bitterness holding it all together.

The mouthfeel is lovely - incredibly smooth, meaning it's highly drinkable?

Overall? We have another winner! I think this is my perfect IPA. It's not too heavy, but not too light. It's simply incredible, and I really love the label too! I would definitely buy more of this, although not regularly as it cost me almost a fiver a bottle!

Hope everyone had a good Christmas and are enjoying Boxing Day!

Nate

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

#12BeersOfXmas Day 6 - Goose Island Bourbon County (2012)

Holy fucking shit. It's Christmas day and I'm doing le writing. Cool.

Yeah, I've just had dinner and been drinking since about 10:30am. I've had a lot of beer and now it's time to review the one I'm most looking forward to... the 15% motherfucker that is Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout (2012).

The Beer O'Clock Show guy Steve and some other chaps & chapettes are doing Magic Rock Strongman today, but I didn't have any of that and thought this was appropriate. That rebel Connor Murphy has decided to join my splinter cell to drink this too...

So... what the fuck is it like?

The aroma gives you the purest, most goddamn bitter dark chocolate and coffee. My god, it's fucking incredible.

Then you fucking taste it. Oh Jesus. Fresh brewed coffee, bitter dark chocolate, a few hops, bourbon and a sweet, creamy finish.

The mouthfeel is thick as fuck, like a friji milkshake, as you'd expect from a 15% beast, but it's also kinda dry.

Overall? Jesus fuck. This is a motherfucker of a beer. I'm in love. Seriously. I've wanted to try this for so long and it delivers on every goddamn level. I WANT MORE IMMEDIATELY (although that may not be wise).

Merry fucking Christmas, bitches!

Nate!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

#12BeersOfXmas Day 5 - High & Mighty Beer of the Gods

So Day 5 of my #12BeersOfXmas falls on Christmas Eve. Fuck knows why but everyone was so excited about it being Christmas Eve today. What is that even about?

Well anyway, today is High & Mighty Beer of the Gods. High and Mighty are from Massachusetts in the USA but apparently this is brewed by the non-existent Ridgeway Brewery somewhere in the UK so fuck knows. Their website doesn't bother telling me what style it is but Ratebeer claims it's a Golden/Blond Ale.

So what's it even like bro?

Well the first hit on the nose you get is coppery like pennies but then you get mandarins, freshly baked white bread and cloves.

Got fresh granny smith apples and digestive biscuits upon first taste, but then you start to get mandarins and a little bit of caramel at the end.

Mouthfeel is well carbonated yet smooth.

So overall? It's nice but could be punchier and have some more bitterness. I guess this is another of those fucking beers that they send to the USA and make people think that all British beers are like this though. Big problem. But yeah, happily drinkable. Not in a rush to buy another bottle though.

Day 6, Christmas Day, is a special motherfucker so stay tuned!

Cheers,

Nate

Monday, 23 December 2013

#12BeersOfXmas Day 4 - Dia De Los Muertos Immortal Beloved

So it's Day 4 and I'm not going to explain myself again.

Today we're visiting Mexico with Dia De Los Muertos Immortal Beloved Hefeweizen. The rest of theirs I've had thus far have been shit but I'm hoping they can't fuck up a Hefeweizen.

Let's see...

Just looking at it, I'm disappointed. No big, thick creamy head like I would like to see in a hefe.

The aroma? Blue Moon. Yeah, we've all tried Blue Moon. It's like that. Orange cordial and cloves. Blah.

How does it taste? Like a weaker version of Blue Moon. Seriously. I'm fucking disappointed, but I expected to be.

Overall... I think Blue Moon is alright. A weaker version of Blue Moon? No. Go away. I'm gonna neck this and get something decent.

Hopefully Day 5 will be a success...

Cheers,

Nate

Sunday, 22 December 2013

#12BeersOfXmas Day 3 - Celt Experience Apparition IPA

So it's day 3 and I'm sure you all know the score by now... review a beer a day for 12 days!

Well, you lucky people, today brings a Celt Experience (Wales) collaboration with the Mischievous Melissa Cole... Apparition IPA. A 5.9% organic dry-hopped IPA.

So... what's it like?

On the nose you're hit by a caramel tidal wave that's playing nicely with some blood orange, white pepper and lemons.

Upon taking a sip you're hit with big and fruity blood oranges, caramel and a lot of bitterness to finish. There's also another familiar flavour in there but I can't for the life of me figure out what it is and it's really annoying me! It might be strawberries... I'm not sure, but it's tasty!

Mouthfeel has a good bit of carbonation and the bitterness attacks your throat as it goes down.

Overall, this is a really enjoyable beer and I would certainly purchase it again. It has the most important thing in an IPA... balance. Also, it's not a massive ABV either which is brilliant. You can have a couple of bottles and not be wasted. Love it.

Well that's it for Day 3! See you tomorrow for day 4 when we're off to Mexico!

Cheers,

Nate

Saturday, 21 December 2013

#12BeersOfXmas Day 2 - St Austell Big Job

So yeah, you know the score, a review a day for 12 days with the Beer O'Clock Show chaps.

This time it's St Austell Big Job from Cornwall, which weighs in at the same ABV as yesterday's beer - 7.2%.

I've been wanting to try this for a while so let's get stuck in...

It smells of candied oranges laying on top of digestive biscuit base, along with a few red and white grapes. Smells like it'll be too drinkable!

The flavour starts with very dry white wine grapes, leading into a grassy hill with haystacks on top and finishing with a bit of pineapple just laying on there. It's too drinkable and smooth for the ABV due to the lack of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is smooth, with mid carbonation.

Overall? I really like this BUT it does need some bitterness to sit with the sweet fruitiness. I'd buy another bottle anyway!

See you tomorrow for day 3!

Cheers,

Nate

Friday, 20 December 2013

#12BeersofXmas Day 1 - Brewdog Jackhammer

Well here I am. Sitting at my desk at work on the last Friday before Christmas, getting ready for the Christmas Party, drinking beers. Yes. I'm drinking a beer at work.

So this is my first beer of Christmas, in the Beer O'Clock Show's #12BeersofXmas. Brewdog Jackhammer, a 7.2% IPA from Scotland.

It was meant to be something else but fuck it. This is better!

On the nose you're immediately hit by pine needles, bitter grapefruit, blood oranges and a sea of light caramel and biscuit.

The caramel sea continues flowing when you take a sip, but with the pine needles it feels like you're being attacked by a bloated pufferfish that tastes a fruit medly of grapefruit, candied oranges, sharp green apples and pineapple.

The mouthfeel is thick and prickly, yet somehow remains smooth - it's like a battle in the ocean. Will you get out alive?

It's not my first time having this beer, and I fucking love it so I had to put it in my Christmas order. This is a full on assault of the tastebuds, and yes, I got out alive.

Cheers,

Nate

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

My #12BeersOfXmas 2013



Looks like the Beer O’Clock Show chaps have been at it again… suggesting another mad scheme that ensures we all drink beer.

They have decided to a collaborative review exercise type thing where starting from Friday 20th December, you drink and review a different beer each day. You can read more about it on their blog because I’m far too lazy to explain:


Anyway, they were pressuring me to get involved and after some very serious threats, I complied.

Each day I’ll post a different review. Obviously, because that’s the name of the game.

As I've got my office Christmas party on Friday, I'll be having my first tonight, but won't post until Friday.

I just received a big box of beers from Beers of Europe so here’s my list:

Day 1 – Friday 20th December –
Beck’s Ice Lime and Mint (Germany, 2.5%) - Brewdog Jackhammer (Scotland, 7.2%)

Day 2 – Saturday 21st December – St Austell Big Job (England, 7.2%)

Day 3 – Sunday 22nd December – Celt Experience Apparition IPA (Wales, 5.9%)
Day 4 – Monday 23rd December – Dia De Los Muertos Immortal Beloved Hefeweizen (Mexico, 5.5%)

Day 5 – Christmas Eve – High and Mighty Beer of the Gods (UK/USA not sure, 4.5%)

Day 6 – Christmas Day – Goose Island Bourbon County Stout 2012 (USA, 15%)

Day 7 – Boxing Day – Nomada Humala IPA (Spain, 7.3%)

Day 8 – Friday 27th December – Amstel Bock (Netherlands, 7%)

Day 9 – Saturday 28th December – Thwaites Big Ben (England, 4.4%)

Day 10 – Sunday 29th December – Reissdorf Kolsch (Germany, 4.8%)

Day 11 – Monday 30th December – Grolsch HerfstBok (Netherlands, 6.5%)

Day 12 – New Year’s Eve – Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout (USA, 8.1%)

I have realised that I’m out of town for 3 of those days, so beers are subject to change if necessary.

See you Friday for day 1…

Nate

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

GUEST POST: Truman's London Keeper Review (Steve at Beers I've Known

Last week both Steve Lamond from Beers I've Known and I each received a bottle of Truman's London Keeper. After having a chat about it on Facebook, Steve came up with the great idea of guest posting our reviews on each others' blogs, which I thought was brilliant!

Anyway, Truman's was a legendary brewery in the heart of London on Brick Lane that was first established in 1666. It closed in 1989 and after 24 years they managed to revive the yeast and open a new brewery in August 2013.

Steve's review is below:

London Keeper is a limited edition release to commemorate the first brew out of the new Truman’s Brewery. It has been 24 years since any beer was brewed under the Truman’s name.
 To make something special an export stout from 1880 was selected from the records, unusual because it used American hops, once again showing that nothing is new in the world of beer.

It certainly looks the part, 750ml bottle resplendent in its ivory wax cap and letterpressed, handsigned label. I think they perhaps missed a trick not numbering the bottles, as this can often appeal to collectors.

So what did I make of the beer? It’s a dark chestnut tinged mahogany with beige head collapsing to a lacing. It brings rich cocoa and slightly tart plums on the nose. Very full bodied, sweet, dry tobacco and roast barley. There’s a slightly acidic edge which suggests it may sour on ageing and dry finish which seems to e very brief. This to me tastes like it needed some time to develop in the bottle, perhaps even before release, though maybe others prefer a sweeter stout?

So would I buy another bottle for ageing? No, £17.99 is far too high a price, even for a special edition as this is. Whilst enjoyable it doesn’t compete with other stouts of similar strength on a flavour basis, at least not in its unaged form.  For £8 less I can pick up an equivalent sized bottle of Marble Decadence or 500ml raspberry stout from Thornbridge. Nor has it undergone any special treatment such as barrel ageing or have pricey ingredients (coffee, vanilla, high demand hops). But for a piece of history? Perhaps £18 is reasonable then.

I’m of course grateful to Truman’s for sending me the beer and will certainly look to try their other stuff on the back of this.

Here is some more info on Truman’s from Martyn Cornell and an interesting article from Spitalfields life about the genesis of the beer. Cheers Nate for hosting my thoughts and for waiting for me to get them typed up!

Thanks to Steve for collaborating with me on this, it was a pleasure!

Cheers,

Nate

Monday, 16 December 2013

REAL GOLDEN PINTS 2013

Evening. I did a HILARIOUS Golden Pint post last week and thought it was about time I did it FOR REALS YO.

Best UK cask beer: Oakham Citra, obviously. It's probably the cask beer I've drunk most of this year because it's just so goddamn good.

Best UK keg beer: Magic Rock Salty Kiss. Basically, all the versions are awesome but if I had to pick a favourite, it'd be the lime one. SIMPLY BITCHIN'.

Best UK Bottle/Can: Adnams Ghost Ship in a goddamn can wins the can department. Bottled would clearly have to be Magic Rock Unhuman Cannonball.

Best Overseas Draught Beer: Lagunitas IPA. By god, I've drank SO GODDAMNED MUCH OF IT. It's being properly imported and is just incredible. Alec and I once drank about 4 pints in an hour.

Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer: Oskar Blues Deviant Dale's IPA takes this award. It was absolutely incredible. Thanks to Total Curtis for my first ever can. I have one in the fridge right now too!

Best Collaboration Beer: Weird Beard & Elusive Brewing Nelson Saison. Oh god, this was bloody wonderful. It was the perfect beer for a hot day, to sit drinking with friends. OH YES.

Best Overall Beer: Kernel IPA Double Citra. I once drank about 4 in a day. That was a good day. I WANT MORE.

Best Branding, Pump Clip or Label: The Rogue Voodoo Doughnut bottles are both incredibly cool - BRIGHT PINK with awesomeness occurring.

Best UK Brewery: Adnams. Quite simply, they're brewing some of the best beers in the UK right now. They're not brewing anything completely mental. They're literally just brewing awesome beers. Their Jack Brand series of Innovation, Clump Sagin Rye IPA & Dry-Hopped Lager have all been stunning. Also, GHOST SHIP.

Best Overseas Brewery: Been SO GODDAMN IMPRESSED with Oskar Blues, the can only brewery. Simply brilliant!

Best New Brewery Opening: WEIRD BEARD. Everything I've had has been bloody brilliant. Need to drink more and more and more all the time.

Pub/Bar of the Year: Earl of Essex in Islington, London. They have an awesome cask, keg and bottle selection and the prices are VERY reasonable compared to most similar establishments. They also have a bloody awesome patio out the back.

Beer Festival of the Year: Birmingham Beer Bash - it was so brilliant that Andrew and I got so drunk during the daytime session that we couldn't make it to the evening session!

Supermarket of the Year: Sainsbury's. 3 bottles of Franziskaner for a fiver. YEAH.

Independent Retailer of the Year: Bacchanalia in Cambridge. Simply brilliant. It's run by really awesome chaps and has an awesome selection.

Online Retailer of the Year: Beers of Europe, as usual. Massive selection, reasonable prices and beer usually arrives the next day if you order before midday!

Best Beer Book or Magazine: Definitely Craft Beer by Craig Heap & Chris Hall.

Best Beer Blog or Website: Total Ales by Matt Curtis, because I think he's getting almost as angry as me.

Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer: Definitely Chris Hall. Such a hilarious craft wanker.

Best Brewery Website/Social Media: Adnams. They know how to work it and are so informative. If you want to know anything, just ask them or look at their website.

Best Food & Beer Pairing of the Year: KFC and Orval. GO GET SOME!

Well that's it for another year! If you're a winner, congratulations. If you're not, you need to try harder.

Adios,

Nate

Friday, 13 December 2013

Let There Be Golden Pints 2013



Well, folks, it’s that time of the year again… Golden Pints time! We all get to share our favourite beers of the year.

Some difficult decisions had to be made, but I think I’ve done well…

Best UK Keg: Boddingtons

Best UK Cask: Greene King IPA

Best UK Bottled or Canned: Skol (canned)

Best overseas draught beer: Carlsberg Export

Best overseas bottled or canned beer: Bud Light (canned)

Best collaboration brew: Simon Rimmer & Robinsons. BEER WITH FOOD.

Best overall beer: Carling Zest Ginger

Best branding: Tennent’s Lager

Best UK Brewery: Greene King

Best overseas brewery: Anheuser-Busch

Best new brewery opening 2013: St Edmund’s Brewhouse

Pub/Bar of the year: Carling Pub, Alicante airport

New pub/bar opening 2013:

Beer festival of the year: Greene King Real Beer & Food Festival

Supermarket of the year: Asda.

Best independent shop: The one near me that does 8 Carlings for £7

Best online retailer: Americanfood4u.de – they sell Miller High Life.

Best beer blog or website: Let there be beer, obviously…

Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer: @lettherebetim has to win this. Scoop would’ve loved him!

Best Beer app: Carling Classic Arcade

Best brewery website/social media: Carling wins it all. They followed me on twitter, and their website tells you everywhere you can buy Carling! AWESOME!

Best food and beer pairing of the year: Rolling Rock with spicy Thai instant noodles in a box.

Well that’s all for this year. Some difficult decisions had to be made but I think I made the right choices, at the end of the day.

I raise my Stella Artois chalice to you all!

Nate

(P.S. Serious version coming soon)

Friday, 6 December 2013

#TheSession 82: #Dawgocalypse (Beery Yarns)

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community which was started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, all participating bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin’s nice archive page.

This month's session is hosted by Steve at Beers I've Known, one of my inspirations for blogging about beer. He asks us to tell a beery tale of past, in the style of Grandpa Simpson.

It was the eve of my birthday in the year of 2013. I had planned this epic quest for a while, a quest on the trail of beer in London for my birthday.

D-Day was upon us. The army said they'd come, and they came in swarms.

Starting off with M&S Oakham Citra on the train with Jay and Alec, the day began.

The Earl of Essex came first, where we'd find Chris & Rich sitting there in all their glory. It was a hot summers day and they wanted 3 things - Beer, Nate Dawg & their BIG INFLATABLE COWBOY HATS. Yes, it was a quest where we took it upon ourselves to wear silly hats for we had a beer launch to go to!

We were soon joined by many other people, drinking beer and having a laugh. Keela and Barry arrived, as did Dave & Andy. We drank beer. Sharona and Alan arrived, as well as Hazel, Ian and Mark. We drank many beers and had some laughs. It was the first time I'd met some of these people, they were just twitter folk until that fateful day. Now they're friends.

Continuing on with our epic quest, some people had been slain by The Fierce Dragon of Other Plans, but not disheartened we trudged through the battlefield onto The Craft Beer Co Islington for the reason we wear wearing our BIG INFLATABLE COWBOY HATS - a beer launch. The beer was a collaborative double IPA between Siren from Berkshire, and Pizza Port from California... it was called The Big Inflatable Cowboy hat. More soldiers arrived, in their masses. Andrew, Emma, Chris, Matt, Glyn and Joel. The beer was good. The battle continued. I had a new helmet, a Stone Arrogant Bastard cap that Glyn gave me for my birthday... it immediately gave me more hit points.

Onwards we crawl, through the mean streets of London , towards the Euston Tap. Not without a stop to see Colonel Ronald McDonald for some emergency rations. IMMORTALITY.

Beer. The Euston Tap. The first good beer outpost I'd discovered a couple of years ago after welcoming The Blind Boys of Alabama to our fair land. The outpost I will always love. More beers were consumed. A glass of Orval was raised for our recently fallen Comrade, Major Scoop, who will forever be in our hearts. We miss him dearly, but the battle must continue as he would have wanted.

Several other soldiers were slain right there, by The Fierce Dragon of Other Plans, but still we must go on! Our final outpost, the one where will will inevitably seize victory... Brewdog Camden. I arrive and look at the wondrous beer board... VICE BEER. BREWDOG VICE BEER. The one Brewdog beer I had been excited about since I first heard about it... Lieutenant Jen had saved some for me. For my birthday. This regenerated my health greatly. More beers were consumed. More laughs and chats.

WE WERE VICTORIOUS! WE WON THE BATTLE! WE ARE HEROES!


Nate

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

CAMRGB Xmas Twissup 2013 - Norwich


Afternoon, I know I've been slack with this post but y'all have known about it for ages anyway. Amongst other things, there has been confusion and debates and such. Planning an event like this is no easy feat when you're trying to work with other people to get cool things arranged. At the end of the day, everyone involved are being champions to help us have an awesome day!

It's all good though, The CAMRGB Xmas Twissup will be in Norwich this Saturday 7th December and obviously, this ugly bastard is hosting it since this is MY CITY.

The plan is as followed:

1:30pm: Meet at Norwich Train Station

2pm: Redwell Brewery tour, then buy a couple of pints of their delicious beer there. They've been kind enough to host us which is fucking awesome of them!

After that, probably 3pm - 3:30 we'll head off on our merry way.

Pubs include:

Coach & Horses - You may remember this from my article in CAMRA's Beer Magazine. Plenty of their own beers to choose from, in rather traditional British styles. You can also get some decent pub grub here.

The Jubliee - Lovely traditional pub with many real ales on hand pull as well as a couple of decent kegs, usually from Redwell or Adnams.

Kett's Tavern - Norwich Bear Brewing pub with a range of their own cask ales on, as well as a bloody impressive world bottled beer menu.

7PM Plasterers Arms - This is another big part of the tour because they're doing a cask and keg comparison! 4 of the same beers on cask and keg, with no fucking around. Serious, very cool beers. I don't have a finalised beer list yet, but as one of the best pubs in Norwich I know it'll be awesome! Will update with beers when I know! Thornbridge, Magic Rock, Redwell & Green Jack! £10 for cask Vs Keg comparison!

King's Head - A shitload of decent local real ale, and a superb bottle list! Might be time for a pork pie here!

Norwich Taphouse - All keg beers from all across the UK and again, a massive bottle menu. They also do takeouts on bottles, if you can handle train beer.

It's guaranteed to be an awesome day out! No fucking around with tickets, just meet at the train station at 1:30pm; or follow the unique #Norwichmas hashtag on twitter to keep up with where we are!

Any questions, tweet me (@NateDawg27) or email me: Nate(at)boozebeatsbites.com

See you Saturday!

Nate