Thursday, 30 January 2014

Drinkin' From The Bottle

So I get home from work, knowing there are beers in the fridge. I look at the top shelf and there are a bunch of 'normal' bottles. Maybe it's Camden Hells, or Brewdog Punk IPA, or in this case Harviestoun The Ridge & Broken Dial.

It's been a hard day, and I need a beer.

I take a bottle.

I pop the cap.

I don't want to prolong this magical moment.

I start drinking.

I don't need glassware.

There seems to be this thing in the good beer community where drinking straight from the bottle has some kind of stigma. It's like people put you in the same category as people who drink Foster's or Heineken.

I don't understand it.

When I have a new beer for the first time, I like to pour it into a glass so I can experience all of that bullshit. The aromas, the colour etc. OK, it's not bullshit, it's really quite great. But sometimes I just want to drink a tasty beer and not think about it.

Sometimes I just don't give a shit. I just want to grab that beer and drink it. I can taste it brilliantly without pouring it into a glass.

To be fair, pouring it into a glass does add to it, as I've previously said, but it also takes something away.

It takes away the magic of just being able to drink it without thinking.

Next time you get home and want a beer, just pop the cap and neck it.

Fuck glassware.

Cheers,

Nate

P.S. Don't do this with bottle conditioned beers. You'll get a mouthful of yeast and it really will not be pleasant!

Monday, 27 January 2014

My love for Harviestoun Brewery

I (vaguely) remember the first time I had Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted on cask years ago. I absolutely fucking loved it. I then had Schiehallion, and what a surprise... I loved it!

They've both been go-to beers ever since I first had them.

And then I had Old Engine Oil, and I'll be honest, I absolutely fucking hated it. I thought it was disgusting. This was at a point where I wasn't really a big stout fan. I have no idea why I thought it would be a good idea to buy a pint of it at Norwich Beer Festival. I couldn't finish it.

This may be starting to sound like a sad story, but trust me, it's not because I've learned the way of the stout. Last summer I noticed Old Engine Oil on cask in a Wetherspoons and because I am now well versed in the land of stouts, I bought a pint and absolutely loved it which means, it's yet another beer I can't avoid drinking when I see it!

Harviestoun have easily become one of my favourite breweries.

So a few months ago Ewan from Harviestoun sent me an email asking if I wanted to write an article for their blog about my 5 favourite pubs in Norwich, and that made me do a happy dance. Y'all know Nate Dawg. Nate Dawg doesn't do happy dances, or any kind of dances. This made me incredibly happy. A chance to write for one of my favourite breweries? HELL YES!

Anyway, fast forward to now and today I got home to find a case each of Harviestoun's new beers, Broken Dial (4.5% Amber Ale) and The Ridge (5% Pale Ale). This excites me greatly. I want to share my thoughts with you.

So The Ridge pours lovely golden colour that you'd expect from a Pale Ale. On the nose you're getting some nice pale malt with some pineapple, freshly cut grass and orange marmalade. When tasting, that orange marmalade really shines through with some nice grapefruit bitterness and a digestive biscuit base. It's ridiculously drinkable!

Next up we have Broken Dial which obviously pours a brilliant shade of amber with a nice fluffy white head. The aroma punches you in the face with simcoe hops, but then kisses and strokes it better with a little caramel. You taste it and the caramel tells you that it loves you before the simcoe hops kick the shit out of you in the nicest way possible, then some white bread comes along to break up the fight and balance it all out!

Overall: Here we have two fucking delicious beers, and I'd expect no less from Harviestoun. I absolutely love them both but if I had to pick a favourite, it would be Broken Dial. Y'all know me well so it may surprise you that I didn't like The Ridge more!

Massive thanks to Ewan from Harviestoun for sending these to me! Harviestoun are brewing some amazing beers and you'd be a fool to miss out. I think they're incredibly underrated, especially when you look at the few other Scottish breweries that get a ridiculous amount of hype.

You can buy these from their online shop right now and postage is only a tenner, regardless of how much you order!

Cheers,

Nate

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Chain Vs Freehouse

I'm a big fan of supporting local pubs. I go to independent local pubs all the time, more frequently than chain pubs, because they're clearly better, but I've been doing some thinking.

You see, the question is... who can you trust to get the beer right?

So you've got a Wetherspoons which guarantees to have a decent selection of cask ales, and in my experience, it's always kept well. I mean, the two I frequent in Norwich I can't fault. They always have a selection of beer that's better than 80% of pubs in Norwich (in my opinion) and they both keep their beers very well. On the rare occasion that I've ordered a pint and I've found it be off, they've taken it off sale. They don't know who I am but because of the amount of times I've been in there drinking their beer, they know that I know what I'm talking about. Generally though, the beer is good, and cheap. It's somewhere you can always trust.

And then you've got Freehouses. Unregulated freehouses. Let's all support our local freehouse, right? That'd be a good idea if they fucking cared. I find that a lot of freehouses seem to brag about the fact that they're a freehouse and can have any beer they want, but although they may be a award winning and whatnot, they don't care about the beer. It leads me to think that these awards are purely based on the atmosphere. You may get a good selection but does it even matter when the beer is of such an awful quality that a pint of Guinness is Ambrosia?

With all this in mind, my question to you is this: If you go to a town or city you've never been before and you don't know anyone who's ever been to a pub there, what do you choose? Do you risk the freehouse that may be selling expensive poorly kept beer or do you go to the Wetherspoons that you know will have a reasonably priced good selection that's kept well?

I know what I'd choose.

Nate

Sunday, 19 January 2014

City of Ale/Nate Dawg Birthday Twissup (Norwich)


Last year I did my birthday celebration (dubbed #Dawgocalypse) in London, and it was a fucking awesome day out. Loads of people came to drink and it was amazing. I then organised a CAMRGB twissup in Norwich later in the year, and it was fun but it was also pretty shit as I was really crap at organising it. I'm not making that mistake again.

This time I am planning well in advance so that people can book time off work, book cheap travel (and hotel if necessary) and warn their families!

This time it's going to be in Norwich on Saturday 31st May during our annual City of Ale event, which is conveniently about a week before my birthday so that makes it twice as good!

City of Ale is a beer week, like those of which you notice happening in a lot of major cities around the world (mostly in America). Most of the beer focused pubs in Norwich get involved and dedicate their pumps to the finest ales that Norfolk have to offer.

Norwich is a great city for pubs, beer and history. I remember my dad saying at one point in time, there was a pub for every day of the year. Sadly, as we see pubs closing this is no longer the case but we've still got a shitload!

I've had quite a lot of interest from various people already, and I won't let anyone forget about this so as many people as possible can join the crusade in Norwich on Saturday 31st May for what is without a doubt going to be the best pub crawl you'll partake in this year, or even century!

Over the coming weeks/months, I will post profiles of some of my favourite Norwich pubs and breweries that you can expect to visit and drink from on the day (thanks to Andrew Hobbs for the suggestion).

Expect updates of pubs and breweries soon...

UPDATE 27/01/2014 - Provisional Route can be found here: http://goo.gl/maps/4o1lD

Nate

P.S. I may have to come up with a much easier hashtag closer to the day as #Dawgocalypse got very difficult to type while inebriated - lost count of the amount of times Andy Parker handed me his phone last year!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

2014 Update - Week 2

Well I've survived another week in 2014 so I get to treat you to another boring week in the life of Nate Dawg!

I'm still off the smokes, so no worries there!

I've had a few more beers than last week - Friday I had a bunch of London Fields beers which were all delicious. Saturday I had 2 half pints when were in The Liberty Belle in Ely and Monday I had a bottle of Hawke's Alcoholic Ginger Beer. Tonight I will be having the new Redwell/London Fields Collaborative Rye Pale Ale so you can look out for a review soon - the beer hasn't actually been released yet but Patrick from Redwell dropped me a couple of bottles today which was nice of him. I believe it's going to be Keg, Cask & Bottle. I actually think it's really cool that they're putting some in casks as it makes it more accessible to the bunch of Norwich pubs that still have a problem with this whole keg business!

Food has generally been quite healthy - I've mostly been eating ham/chicken salad sandwiches/wraps which have been delicious, if ridiculously spicy (I always misjudge quite how spicy Nando's hot peri peri is). I've also been eating a lot of bananas which give me a proper energy burst and are fucking delicious but really not good for the teeth as they contain an absurd about of sugar!

As for exercise, I've been walking to work and back each day.

Life is pretty good right now.

That's it for week 2...

See you soon for more rambling about beers and stuff!

Nate

Monday, 13 January 2014

Hawkes Alcoholic Ginger Beer review

Ginger. It's a flavour that brings back a lot of memories... from drinking cans of Old Jamaica Ginger Beer on street corners with friends when I was a child, to mum force feeding me root ginger when I was ill, the bottles of Stones Ginger Wine we always had in the house at Christmas (Note: I was led to believe that literally nobody drinks it at any other time of the year), to my first taste of pickled ginger in Japanese food. I think ginger is a flavour that evokes memories in a lot of British people, regardless of age.

It's a flavour I've always liked in it's pure and hot form, but then a couple of years ago the craze of Alcoholic Ginger Beers started, mainly with one big brand - Crabbies. I hated that stuff. It tasted way too artificial and sweet so I really couldn't get on with it. I questioned myself at first, thinking "Is this what ginger always tasted like?" and didn't really seek out any others.

So let's fast forward instead of telling you about my life for the last few years (I'm sure you saw that on Twitter anyway). Just after Christmas I got a message from a company called Hawkes who are making a new 4% Alcoholic Ginger Beer wanting to send me a couple of bottles. I wasn't going to refuse, especially considering the lovely Melissa Cole appears to be a fan. It must be nice!

So what is Hawke's Alcoholic Ginger Beer like?

It pours as you'd expect - a light orange/ginger colour with a head that fizzes away very quickly. Very much like a carbonated soft drink, actually.

When you stick your nose in the glass, those childhood memories of ginger beer are evoked... just so fresh and pure with the tingling of the nostrils from that little bit of heat.

You taste it and it has a nice level of root ginger, balanced with some candy sugar sweetness meaning that it's not as spicy and hot as I remember.

Naturally the mouthfeel is fairly similar to most soft drinks, yet not quite as carbonated making it slip down rather easily.

Overall: I think it's a very nice drink and is definitely one of watch rise in the ranks of top summer drinks of 2014, along with Harry Brompton's London Ice Tea. I can see myself drinking this on the beach, in the sun while reading a book. You should definitely buy this!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Liberty Belle, Ely

Today was an awesome day. I got to visit The Liberty Belle, a new Micro Pub in Ely.

It was my first ever visit to a micro pub. I'd heard they exist, and other people seem to enjoy them but I hadn't experienced it... until today.

Wow, what an experience it was.

The Liberty Belle isn't like a regular pub. It's a shopfront that looks like an antique shop, and when you walk in, you feel like you're in somebody's living room... it's odd, but really cool. There are comfortable sofas and chairs with tables arranged nicely, antique lamps everywhere and all kinds of interesting things. To the right you have a blackboard with today's beers (I had Elgood's Black Eagle Imperial Stout & Tydd Steam Piston Bob. Jade just had a Fentiman's Victorian Lemonade as she was driving) and the prices.

You walk through to the back and there's not even a proper bar, just what looks like some kind of counter with a guy casually sitting behind it. The counter hosts very little, just a set of scales that presumably were from a shop in the early to mid 1900's, and a bar towel. There are no handpulls or keg taps on show either, which is incredibly odd to see. There's also a cabinet behind the counter filled with all kinds of oddities and a few bottles on display, which include some from Sierra Nevada, Odell and Emelisse. I think it's great to see another pub that only sells cask ale, and a few bottles. It's brilliant! As much as I love keg beer, us craft wankers frequently neglect cask ales. Something I know I'm guilty of!

To order, you go to the bar and the guy goes into the tap room and fetches your drinks and brings them to your table - really great service!

Our table had a sofa either side, and a meat grinder/mincer attached... not odd at all! You can forget fancy wallpaper too, this was even better, the walls were adorned with sheet music and magazine advertisements that looked early 1900's which was really cool, as well as old license plates and what appeared to be petrol station signs. Even cooler was that above our heads there were shelves with even more bizarre items, including two taxidermy penguins. No kidding!

All in all, The Liberty Belle is an awesome pub!

I would highly recommend taking a trip to The Liberty Belle... it has so much character and charm. It's a perfect venue to go on a a date as it provides plenty of talking points.

Go there!

Cheers,

Nate

Thursday, 9 January 2014

2014 Update - Week 1

So it's been a little after a week since I wrote my New Year's Resolution post, and I thought I'd try and post weekly updates for all those interested.

So I think one of the reasons I was feeling so fucking awful last week was the fact that I'm pretty confident I had food poisoning. Y'know when you're laying in bed, necking gallons of water, can't eat and the only reason you can actually move is because you need to erm, empty yourself? Well that was horrific. I tried going into work last Thursday but had to come home as it would've been rather unpleasant for everyone in the office!

Naturally, I didn't drink last Thursday although that wasn't really out of choice but in a weird way I think being ill did me some good eventually.

By Friday evening I was feeling much better and actually managed to eat a small meal, which was great! I also felt like a few beers so I basically cleaned out my Christmas stash.

Friday was also when I started feeling really happy due to something happening, which hopefully you'll know about in next week's update.

Saturday I managed to eat even more and started feeling really good, and I didn't even bother drinking because I didn't want to.

Saturday was also when I had my final cigarette!

Sunday I managed to leave the house and go for a walk. It was only down to the Co-Op so not too far, but I did pick up a few beers. I had a bottle of Hoegaarden which soothed my sore throat, as well as 3 bottles of Adnams Explorer, so that's quite modest.

Monday and Tuesday I didn't drink. I also walked to work and back (around 2.5 miles each way). Due to not smoking, I'm generally feeling a lot healthier and a lot more up for walking. It's awesome! I've also been eating poached eggs on crumpets, and a couple of bananas for breakfast. Lunch this week has generally been something like a Sandwich, although on Wednesday I was bad and has 2 sausages and chips from the market. Today I went to Subway for lunch which isn't too unhealthy.

Oh, last night I had a 4 pack of Beck's Vier, which I usually enjoy but I didn't really enjoy it. It's really odd.

Today has also been my hardest day of not smoking yet, and I can't figure out why. I just had to keep myself occupied at lunch by going into shops and looking at stuff. Nothing in particular. Just stuff.

Tonight is another non-drinking night. To tell the truth, I don't really feel like drinking. I really don't know what's up with me. Maybe it's the fact that I've been getting a decent night's sleep, and the days go really fucking quickly when I'm not drunk or hungover or maybe it's the fact that there's someone making me really fucking happy right now. I just don't know.

So I've not smoked since around Saturday morning, I've generally been eating healthy (bar a couple of hiccups), I've been walking to work and back every day and I've not been drinking much at all.

I think this is going really well. I'm feeling that I don't really want to drink midweek anymore. Just maybe the occasional midweek pint with mates, or one at home if I'm writing about it but I'm feeling fucking good.

Hoping to post an update every week, to let you know what's happening!

Cheers,

Nate

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Changing Tastes

I thought it was about time I wrote a generic post about all 3 subjects I've aimed (and sometimes failed) to cover on this blog because, well, I've been thinking.

We all have different tastes. I like one thing, you like another. You may have liked something, and dislike it now, and vice versa.

I was thinking how our tastes change and want to share with you some of the things I previously hated but now love.

Booze:

Back when I first got into good beer, I hated stouts. Yup, you heard that right. I'd try stouts but I always found them way too strong for my tastes, especially considering I used to drink really milky coffee. Then about a year and a half ago my boss started only buying UHT milk for the office, which is fucking disgusting, so I decided to start drinking black coffee. I enjoyed it, despite it just being Nescafe or whatever and remembered "Hang on, stouts are like coffee. Maybe I'll like them now" so I started trying more and more, and I fell in love. I suddenly understood stouts.

Barley Wines were another style I couldn't drink. Found English ones way too sweet and boozy, but then discovered that American ones like Sierra Nevada Bigfoot & Anchor Old Foghorn were a bit more subdued and less boozy which was great!

And then, obviously, it's the category that a lot of people don't get on with until one day... sours. I tried Cantillon Rose De Gambrinus on keg in Brewdog Camden a couple of years back and fucking hated it. It was basically like pickled cherries. Awful stuff. I really didn't get it. Then one day about a year later I said I was coming to London and my good friend Glyn said "I've got a bottle of 2005 Cantillon Gueuze I want to share with you. Trust me, you'll love it". So I met him in The Rake, we had some other beers and shared the bottle and it was instant love. I somehow understood what I hadn't previously 'got'. I loved it, and now I can't get enough of it!

Beats:

Back between the ages of about 12-19, all I listened to was heavy metal in its various forms. Classic Metal, NWOBHM, Death Metal, Black Metal, Folk Metal, Power Metal, Thrash Metal. You name it, all I listened to was metal. It was frankly quite ridiculous. I wouldn't give anything else a chance.

Then one day I suddenly woke up and realised that I was so narrow minded, I needed to explore other genres. I started with hip-hop as I loved rap/nu-metal like (Hed) P.E., Linkin Park etc as well as things like Run DMC/Aerosmith - Walk This Way, and Public Enemy/Anthrax - Bring The Noise, so I started with those. I discovered that the Public Enemy version of Bring The Noise is far superior to the collaborative metal effort, and soon It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, and then progressed to N.W.A and the ilk, before getting into the underground and the UK hip-hop scene. I realised that hip-hop can be as skilled and intricate as those heavy metal chaps on guitars.

What's way more of a shock to my 14 year old self is probably my current favourite musical artist, Mayer Hawthorne. My 14 year old self is screaming at me shouting "You've turned into a fucking pussy, man. You're listening to love songs. What happened to you? You used to be cool, listening to Cannibal Corpse songs about sodomy!". What happened was I discovered this chap, as well as Aloe Blacc, on Stones Throw records just as they were releasing their first records. I fell in love after hearing "Your Easy Lovin' Ain't Pleasin' Nothin'" and I instantly had to get the album... I ordered the CD album of 'A Strange Arrangement' online and then, in a pure state of shock, I found the beautiful Double Vinyl Edition in the wonderful Soundclash Records in Norwich. After that, it's all been up - How Do You Do & (the album I originally hated but now loved) 'Where Does This Door Go?'. These amazing nu-soul sounds. His awesome voice that I'm somewhat envious of, and the lyrics that can even make this angry bastard go a bit soppy.

Bites:

Food is a hard one to change my mind on. For me, it's completely different to beer as there are generally much more fucking vile flavours out there.

I hated Blue Cheese until a few months ago. I thought it was absolutely vile. And then I ate it with a stout of some description, in The Plasterers in Norwich, and somehow I was converted - although I should probably note that I can't eat it on its own. It absolutely has to be with a stout.

Olives - I used to love green olives, and hate black but now it's completely reversed! I can't eat green olives for shit anymore but you give me pizza or a subway sandwich covered in black olives and I'm all over it!

Bottom Line:

Humans are fascinating - how what we see, smell, hear, touch and taste is so different and constantly changing. We go through phases. I'm sure there are things that you've enjoyed in the past and hate now, and vice versa and I'd love for you to share for me in the comments below!

As much as our tastes change, there are some things I know for sure though... I will always hate mushrooms, Skrillex and Greene King IPA.

Nate

Friday, 3 January 2014

The Session #83: Against The Grain

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 Rebecca at The Bake & Brew and is all about if our perception of a beer is changed by what friends or influencers think. Do they like stuff I don’t and vice versa?

Well the short answer is that no, I don’t think we like things just because other people do, not like pretending not to like albums because my friends hated them back when I was 14 just to fit in. I can imagine some people do but they're total cockgoblins.

Sure, there’s stuff that other people rave about and I dislike. A prime example of this is Fuller’s Bengal Lancer, an English style IPA. I first had it on cask years ago when I was just getting into beers, and I really didn’t like it. I remember it being really earthy and just horrible (bear in mind this was a time before I hadn’t really discovered hoppy beers and didn’t really like stouts). So about a year ago, having a discussion on twitter about Bengal Lancer and predictably you’ve got everyone saying “Why don’t you like Bengal Lancer? You should like Bengal Lancer! It’s a classic beer”, right so a classic beer makes it good? Hell no it fucking doesn’t. Anyway, they all seem to like it so I picked a bottle up, and back in 2012/13 I was well versed in beer so I was REALLY hoping to like it, but I didn’t. People told me about all of these wonderful flavours they’ve found in this beer, but nope. Taste was not influenced one bit. I still found those dirty, earthy flavours. I absolutely hated it, still.

So no, other people cannot influence whether or not I like a beer!

On the other hand, I developed a bit of a reputation that I’m sure a lot of my readers will predict me talking about right now – the biggest selling beer of the last 30 years in the UK is Carling, a Molson Coors standard lager. And I developed the reputation as this beer geek/blogger that not only spends most of his time necking decent beer from Brewdog, Stone, Adnams, Mikkeler and the like, but fills the gaps in between with Carling, because he likes it. I was never ashamed to admit that but everyone looked at me in disgust at first, as if I’d just told them I want to burn them alive. What’s the deal with that? Sure it’s a big brand, and it’s not to most beer geeks’ tastes but I liked it and that’s what counts. I wasn’t trying to influence them to drink it, but still with the fucking disgust. Eventually it became a bit of a joke, which is awesome but if you hate a beer, why can’t I drink it?

And really, that’s the bottom line. Some people enjoy Bengal Lancer, and I enjoy Carling.

Cheers,


Nate

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Reflecting and gazing... 2013/14

It's a New Year, it's 2014 now and I thought I should write something about last year and this. Warning, this is a fucking long post. Longer than I anticipated so feel free to skip 99% of it and read the TL;DR version at the bottom.

Reflection:

2013 was a fucking massive year for me, in terms of the amount of beers I drunk. To any regular person this wouldn't be an achievement, but more of an "Oh fuck... I should probably go to AA meetings" but to the beer geek, this is incredible. I started using untappd in August 2012 and since then I've racked up over 1,400 different beers. As much as I'm quite proud of this, I'm also kinda ashamed but we'll get to that.

I've also been fortunate enough to meet a lot of awesome beery people from twitter, people who I am proud to call friends. The sheer kindness of the beer community is awesome - the people I've traded beers with, people I've generally hung out with, those who have given me trade tickets to beer events and the great people who have given me a bed or sofa to crash on for the night. For all of this I am eternally grateful!

I've had some amazing days out this year, mostly in London. I absolutely love London. Highlights of these were my birthday where we collectively came up with the difficult-to-type-while-drunk hashtag "#Dawgocalypse" which was an incredibly mental day, along with back in August when we basically drunk all of the imperial stouts and Monday where we started a pub crawl at Brewdog in Shepherd's Bush and ended eating millions of wings in The Bull, Highgate.

Jay and I also started our Norwich Bottle Share events where on the first Thursday of every month, anyone who wants to get involved can come to our designated pub and bring a bottle to share. It's been an absolute success so far. We have our regular little gang but from time to time other people turn up which is really cool!

Oh, I've also basically quit Carling. It took some doing but I haven't drank Carling at home in months! I did have a few bottles at the football the other week, but it'd be rude not to!

Musically, I've been a bit shit. I haven't reviewed nearly enough albums. I'm not sure why but these days I find it really hard to review albums. I haven't even been to that many gigs either.

My 3 favourite albums of 2013 were:

1) Sleepers Awake - Trancension - a simply awesome progressive metal album. So talented, and they love good beer. Well, apart from Ambrose but that's OK because we love him anyway.
2) Mayer Hawthorne - Where Does This Door Go? - When I first listened to this album, I really didn't like it. I was used to a lot more... well... soul sounds instead of the electronic tones in WDTDG but I forced myself to listen to it and now I can't stop!
3) Nekrogoblikon - Power - Ever since I first heard this, I was in love. It's just a great, hilarious metal album.

As for food, I've eaten a lot of it. 2013 is when I first visited the Byron chain of burger restaurants and also discovered that the best food and beer pairing of all time is Orval with KFC. Don't even try to fucking argue with me!

It hasn't all been good though. In 2013 I've been incredibly unhealthy and I think this is why I've been ridiculously miserable for a lot of it. I have drank way too much, and not got enough exercise (until half way through summer when I got a tennis racquet) which is where the shame bit from earlier comes in. It also hasn't been good for me financially... drinking good beer and eating good food robs you of all of your cash so it's impossible to save anything. It doesn't help that I'm trying to survive on a minimum wage job.

In addition to this, as much as I've been a hilariously drunken sweary blogger, I've also been a dick to and about some people, including myself. I think this all boils down to me being stupidly unhealthy and drunk as well as the fact that I lack confidence and optimism, it makes me miserable and I type things that I shouldn't. If I've pissed you off or ruined something in 2013, I am truly sorry.

So that was 2013. It's been fun, but looking back I know some changes need to be made.

Gazing to the future:

You're probably wondering if I have a beery goal I would like to achieve in 2014 and the answer is yes, and probably the opposite to what you're expecting - I want to drink less. Considerably less. Probably about half. Now, I'm not gonna go mad and do a dry January or anything like that. I'm aware that pubs need us and, actually that's a really shitty excuse, isn't it? Truth is that I honestly don't think I could handle a whole month without beer. To most people that would call for cries of "Man, get to an AA meeting or rehab or something." but I think most beer geeks can completely understand where I'm coming from. Not only is beer my passion, but it's also something that takes the edge off. An imperial stout a day keeps the men in white coats away. And no, I can't be bothered to start homebrewing. I'm not that guy. Also I fear that if I were to homebrew, my alcohol intake would likely double.

Musically, I know I've said this before but I really fucking do need to start reviewing more again. I really need to get my arse in gear and write about music like I used to! I'd also like to do a shitload more beer tastings with bands as it appears to be a great success when I do. I also REALLY need to see Mayer Hawthorne live.

Food? I want to cook more and eat healthier. I know every motherfucker says this in their new years resolutions but I really do. I need to stop eating fried chicken so often (unless I have Orval to hand) and stop buying shitty sandwiches from tesco. I know I can make a fucking awesome sandwich, but I lack the motivation to do so when I just know that it'll fall apart by the time I get to work. I need to do what I claimed I was going to do ages ago and make pasta or chilli to heat up at work.

With all of this in mind, this will start my route to getting healthier. There are other things I need to do though, like quitting smoking (this cockgoblin says with a cigarette in his mouth). When I'm at home, in front of the computer I smoke a ridiculous amount. Which not only is really awful for my health, but also expensive. I think after I achieve this, I'll be able to work on getting rid of this awful pregnancy stomach I seem to have gained. Honestly, it's fucking hideous. I think so anyway, although a girl I was dating earlier in the year described it as "cute". She must be fucking nuts (she was). Anyway, I need to buy a bicycle. Something I have also said before. I'm also going to make sure I start playing tennis at the start of the summer too... if anyone wants to play, just let me know!

I also want to start wearing suits properly again. I've been really slack on that front. Just throwing on my trousers, shirt and hoodie. Not even bothering about wearing a tie or a nice jacket. I know, I've disappointed everyone as I'm the "Sublimely Self-Righteous Arrogant Bastard who wears a suit and drinks beer". I think I generally need to make more of an effort over my appearance like having well groomed facial hair.

Conclusion:

Basically, this is the part you read if you can't be arsed to read the rest.

In 2013 I was unhealthy - I drank too much beer, ate too much unhealthy food and generally didn't give a shit about myself and was pretty miserable mostly, but I did have fun.

In 2014 I will be a healthy, sexy motherfucker - I will get a bicycle, I will drink less beer, I will eat better food, I will get rid of the horrible stomach, I will see Mayer Hawthorne live, I will drink more gin.

Thanks for reading my blog over the past year. If it wasn't for you guys, I would've given up ages ago and most likely be even more fucking miserable. Sorry if this post made you think about me naked... actually I'm not, you know you want this.

Bottom line is that I love you guys!

Happy New Year!

Nate