Saturday, December 7, 2013

Golden Pints 2013

  1. Best UK Cask Beer- OakHam Green Devil
  2. Best UK Keg Beer- Magic Rock Cannonball
  3. Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer- Buxton Axe Edge
  4. Best collaboration brew- Brewdog/Oscar Blues Shipwreck Circus
  5. Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer- Dogfish Head 120
  6. Best Overall Beer-Their can be only one: CANNONBALL
  7. Best Branding, Pumpclip or Label- I really like Buxton Brewerys New Look, simple yet bold and effective 
  8. Best UK Brewery- Hard to beat those guys at MagicRock
  9. Best Overseas Brewery-Impressed with Sierra Nevada even though not many specials came through this year.
  10. Best New Brewery Opening 2013-Weird Beard pretty amazing things coming from them!
  11. Pub/Bar of the Year-North Bar
  12. Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2013-Im going with 2 bars that I havent been to but I know are great The Buxton Taps and Red Willows' Bar, 
  13. Best city for beer in the UK-  Its really hard to beat Leeds,
  14. Beer Festival of the Year-  Leeds International Beer Festival
  15. Supermarket of the Year-Waitrose
  16. Independent Retailer of the Year- BeerRitz
  17. Online Retailer of the Year-Beers of Europe
  18. Best Beer Book or Magazine- Didnt Read any
  19. Best Beer Blog or Website- Generally its Leigh over at the good stuff but Im going to give it to NateDawg!
  20. Best Beer App-Hate to say it but Untppd but I just found Beer Hunt which is quite lovely.
  21. Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer- It can really only go to one person RIP SCOOP!!!!!!!!!
  22. Best Brewery Website/Social media-Magic Rock those guys can do no wrong really!

Monday, May 27, 2013

It seems every six months........

I take a break from blogging as I don't have time to juggle my job as a dad, my job as a husband, and my job as someone who only wants to fill the bellies of the good people of Leeds and beyond with great fresh tasting beer.

View 1369351500902.jpg in slide showFresh tasting is the key here as I had the great privilege of supping a bottle of Magic Rock UnHuman Cannonball, billed as a Triple India Pale Ale packed full of juicy hops and by no means to be aged drink fresh and enjoy. Now the question is did I enjoy it why hell yes I did even though it took a bit of an Unhuman affect on my head the next morning as it paired well with my Madame Rose 2010.
This is the perfect example of fresh versus aged and both worked very well although extremely different.  Now I don't bother with tasting notes or any of that hogwash because its going to be the same as everyone else for the most part. Big Juicy American hop bite think grapefruit, lychee and pineapple followed by a slight sweetness think mangoes dipped in sugar in a good way not a sickly sweet way. Now the other a Flanders Brown big on sourness for the fact that they aged it for a long while while throwing some Brett at it and aging it in French Cab Sav oak barrels and letting wild cherries ferment which makes this a complex beast of greatness. It was a perfect beer to follow the big bitterness of Unhuman a huge sour start hits you in the face like a Tyson punch but subsides as a your tongue get twisted into submission and then there it is a the finish a fruity blend of sour perfection.
We followed it with a few other beers but as they are a common as pig shit on a farm so I wont bore you with the details.

As most of you have heard my relationship with Friends of Ham has ended and we have both moved on them without me and me to a newish bar on the outskirts of the famous Roundhay Park. Stew and Oyster Oakwood have welcomed me with open arms and I intend to attempt to fill the necks of the people of Oakwood with what I would call some of the best beer in the world BRITISH BEER with some of my homegrown favourites in the states. We will concentrate on beers mostly from Gods' Country for own cask arrangement and with 2 rotating guest kegs we will have our fill of British, American, Norwegian, New Zealand, and Australian beer for months to come. We will also be doing events as I want the locals to embrace us as for lack of a better term their local. I do hope some of you will make the trek to come see me as you visit the park and such but enough self promoting on to big and better things.
I don't know if all of you have heard but my buddy Leigh Linley has written a book with his home county in mind and focused on some of the best breweries the country has to offer. This book was covered in secrecy for a good long while but now its out and I think you owe it to yourself to go out and buy a copy as you will be helping out a good friend and learning a little something about some of the better breweries in the country. The official Launch is being held at The York Tap on May 30th as he has brewed a beer with Ilkley knowing Leigh it will be an easy drinking summer beer with some sort of twist. I have some how got a hold of a keg for Stew and Oyster and we will hopefully being doing an event as well so keep your peepers peeled on twitter. (You know he comes from Oakwood)

Well in closing the beer world lost one helluva a guy last week in the form of Simon Johnson and the beer world held a tribute in his honour on Saturday by tweeting pictures of themselves or a glass of Orval and followed by the hashtag RIPSCOOP. As I only had brief conversations with him on Twitter with both of us threatening to come invade each others towns to have a good ole fashioned piss up, but even though our tweets were brief I could tell he was one decent human being and everything that is right or needs to be right with our beery community so to you sir:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Golden Pints 2012


Andy Mogg and Mark Dredge set the challenge every year to narrow down the best things we have done and drank over the course of the year and here is mine.
Best UK Draught Beer: 1- Cask- Magic Rock High Wire- Keg was Buxton Brewery Axe Edge for its pure drinkablility.

Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer: The beer I kept going back to this year was Imperial Black from Buxton.  

Best Overseas Draught Beer: Cask Torpedo was pretty special.  

Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer: Ten Fidy from Oscar Blues

Best Overall Beer: Toss up between Double SCANNS by Kernel, Axe Edge by Buxton or NZPA by Hawkshead. 

Best Pumpclip or Label: Redemption Trinity got my attention just because of the sheer utter brilliance of that beer being 3.0 abv.

Best UK Brewery: Impossible choice from Magic Rock to Kernel to Redchurch to Beavertown the list can go on and on and on.

Best Overseas Brewery: Seirra Nevada impressed me with the Beer Camp stuff they put out this year and their Foundation French Saison was very very impressive.

Pub/Bar of the Year: I'm a bit biased but Friends of Ham has even surprised me in terms of the buzz worthy factor in the beer community so just because I'm going to choose it. Honourable Mention goes to North Bar and Port Street Beer House.

My dishonourable mention in this category goes to Mr. Foleys Cask Ale House never has a bar fell so far so fast in terms of the quality of beer that was put on.

Beer Festival of the Year: I only went to one this year and it was the Leeds International Beer Festival and I have to say it was a pretty good effort at a first attempt, next year will be bigger and better.

Supermarket of the Year: I'm going to go with no of them as they don't carry anything that really interest me but if i have to pick one Lidl amazes me with its selection sometimes. cant go wrong with £1.50 for a decent pilsner like DAB.

Independent Retailer of the Year: The only shop I use is BeerRitz so by default they win, and the fact that everyone there shows huge knowledge of what they are selling.

Online Retailer of the Year: Ive enjoyed Beers of Europe range but I sadly don't buy beer online.

Best Beer Book or Magazine: No time to read this year.

Best Beer Blog or Website: Always enjoy reading Ghostmailer and Leigh Good Stuff website.

Best Beer Twitterer: Broadford Brewer gets my vote a promising home brewer with bigger aspirations. 

Best Online Brewery Presence: Magic Rock gets my vote pretty ballsy putting a camera in the brewery.

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year: Mary's Maple Porter and 14 hour slow cooked pork shoulder.

In 2013 I’d most like to... Brew with Broadford Brewery get more collabs on the bar at Friends of Ham and do some videos with Hopzine.

This year we saw some pretty special collaborations from some pretty special breweries.
Buxton and Kernel
Marble and Quantum
Magic Rock and Brodies
Kernel and Brodies
Magic Rock and Dark Star
Thornbridge and Odell
Roosters and Odell
Broadford and Roosters
I know I'm missing out on some but its damn good to see and hopefully its something breweries enjoy doing and we can see this happening more often.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Follow Up. Beer Launch!

smoked porker

So the beer that I brewed at Quantum for Friends of Ham with head brewer Jay is almost ready to be unleashed into the world, it even has a date and everything so without further ado.

We will be launching Smoked Porker a toasted marshmallow porter a hefty semi sweet smoked porter weighing in at a not modest 7.3%abv on the 28th of this very month. We will be launching it on cask and keg to connect with everyone cask lovers, keg lovers, and just lovers of good beer period, Ive also somehow convinced Jay to give me some other beer a beer brewed with Colin Stronge from Black Isle Brewery called SK2(also in cask and keg) its big its bad and its has a massive tropical almost opal fruit flavour. On top of that we will have another brewer in attendance Brian the bitch behind Bitches Brewery out of Huddersfield will also be there and we will have his Graduate IPA as well as the collab with Quantum the Chocolate/ Chili Stout that won the hearts at the now UK famous IndyMan Beer Con and yes we will be running it through a Randell full of chilies and yes it will be great. Look out for the same beer next year as we are going to barrel age it in one of the same cask SWB did their KopiKat so it will meld with the flavours of Coal Ila whiskey and the excellent beer that was the Imperial Vanilla Coffee Stout.

Do check out the new Friends Of Ham website as well, its quite clean looking, our designer Ross kept it simple and easy to use just the way we like it.

So I do hope you guys come down for the launch and come back and sample more so I can go brew beer with other brewers

Monday, October 29, 2012


So last week I went to Quantum Brewery in Stockport, and brewed with the uber talented and easily persuaded Jay Krause owner, drayman, salesman, secretary, brewer, bottler, cask washer and all around nice guy to brew a beer that was concocted while he was hungover ( I don't think it was fair either) and while i was about 4 pints into my session at the Leeds International Beer festival. Needless to say it was talked about and discussed and then agreed upon then a date was set and before I knew it I was on a train way past the time he usually gets up to brew beer but I'm sure that he wasn't complaining about the lie in.  So there lie in the journey to Stockport at a modest 8 in the morning only to arrive at the station and meet Jay round the back, into the car I went and off to a unnamed store we went to pick up ingredients. Interesting wish list of items Marshmallows, Nutmeg, Vanilla, and Almonds were bought paid for and then joked about for about an hour. I mean come on think about it, 2 guys with homeless looking beards at 10 o'clock in the morning buying sweets and then getting into a van the jokes were endless and laughs were had. So onto what most of you are really wanting to read about the damned beer so here it is: its a Smoked toasted marshmallow almond, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon porter/stout thing. I'm pretty sure I know what you are thinking while reading the ingredients out loud and that its not going to work and why the hell would Jay let an idea like that anywhere near his shiny brewery and to be honest I still don't have the answer but what resulted might actually work. Now I wanted to brew a beer that would be the Friend of Ham winter warmer and this could be it but all those little balls of sugar might have something different to say. So back to the beer the malt bill was epic with loads of Pale Malt, some Chocolate Malt, Peat Malt, Wheat, Cara malt, and I'm pretty sure I'm missing one or two. The hop bill was simple Magnum and Columbus very low quantities of both, Magnum in at 30 and Columbus in at what we will call 60ish. As the Magnum went in the mallows followed it and we patiently waited and hoped they would melt and not clog up the pipes. We hoped and prayed drank some SK2 and then looked and they were gone so in went Columbus and then the mixture of the almonds, cinnamon, and nutmeg followed closely by the chef's vanilla (which was crazy stuff, just go buy some and see for yourself.) Following this we cracked open a Pond Hopper from Odell/Thornbridge which was very nice but I'm glad I decided to bring it because I don't think I could have finished it by myself, the carbonation was thick and steady until the last swallow but it was nice and nothing to look down on. So we did a transfer to FV1 and I found out that I'm the damned best button pusher in the entire known universe and there I got to see what will become beer and it was thick and lovely and great and every other nice adjective you can think of. We were pushing for 6 percent drinkable cask beer but I think the yeast and the sugars had themselves a good time and they have pushed it up to a dangerously (hopefully) drinkable over 6.5 percent keg beer. So when the beer is ready you can come find it at Friends of Ham in Leeds and possibly if others are brave enough to take some in other great beer bars near you.

Thoughts and comments on the beer. Share them with me on Twitter or comment  @TKiley1

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Its been a while and Im not sorry!

Please forgive the brashness of my title but Ive been a busy busy man trying to do my job and balance my home life. Tis a tricky thing to do when helping to promote a more than successful new bar in the booming and vibrant Leeds city centre. As my last post was almost a month ago and some of you've read it and some of you haven't but this new bar is Friends of Ham and business is good.
We have just launched the Season on Saison and Claire has picked some crackers to continue the season all the way until the end of Autumn. We started this week with a very well known gypsy brewer Mikkeller with his Saison Solstice a very refreshing saison brewed with elderflower and elderberries giving it almost a complete red colour and taste divine , there isn't much left so i figure you should get down there and get you some. We are following this with a plethora of great saisons including Saison Dupont, another one from Mikkeller and a couple of surprises that will soon reveal itself. We have a couple of exciting events line up for you lucky folks as well a tap take-over by Ilkley and possible MTB with the boys over at Magic Rock(details will be released sooner rather than later.)

Taken from Brewdog.
These are exciting time to be a person of beer in Leeds with the ever so awesome North Bar and all there cool staff, the laid back atmosphere of Mr. Foleys, the greatness that has become Friends of Ham and a very diamonds in the rough like Dock Street and a new place called 26 Aire Street that pour Brewdog over a deers' head I'm sure this is something the crazies at Brewdog would love.
Speaking of those crazy Scots  they have been granted permission to open their bar in the city of Leeds and I for one think is a wonderful idea. The more exposure Leeds can get for great beer the better, for all of us and the more breweries from the south, the states and hell even The Aussies and Kiwis will send there beer over here so we all can enjoy what everyone else is.

Speaking of people doing good things with beer, how about Mr. David Bishop (@broadfordbrewer) winning yet another homebrew contest. Some people are grumbling that things might be fixed but I for one can assure the man loves brewing and makes fanfuckingtastic beer. If you don't believe me come see for yourself when we help launch the beer to the Leeds market that he and @brauker1 made for the Ilkley Brewery competition on the 10th of October.  The man himself should be there and I'm sure he will be more than happy to talk about it and shake hands with anyone that might have any questions for him. (Breweries take note of this man and give him a job). I've been given almost all of his homebrews and I think there has been only one that I haven't been absolutely blown away by so given this fact and my high expectations he has a pretty good track record.
Lastly lets say a big thank you for the organisers of the first International Beer Festival that was held at the Town Hall in Leeds, were there hitches and glitches that made the festival not run as smoothly as hoped yes, but the vast amount of people that showed up made it an instant success. There are plans afoot for next year and it should be bigger, better, and more organised than this year so if you had a bad experience they are promising to make it better. With the likes of Kernel, Hardknott, Magic Rock, Buxton, Quantum, Vertical Drinks and many more all slated to have an even bigger presence next year than this past year I can only assume that this will be a beer festival that you wont want to miss.

So that's my update and what the hell has been going on in my hectic life and the things I've enjoyed over the past few months, so remember get out there and enjoy this fair county(I almost put our fair county I'm sure Leigh from the Good Stuff will get a laugh from that ) and all the beery greatness in it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A bittersweet goodbye but an enthusiastic Hello!!!!

Now then for those of you that might have missed it, I have left the place that gave me my start in the wonderful world of beery goodness Mr Foley's Cask Ale House on the Headrow in Leeds. I was given the opportunity to cook and attempt to make my mark while cooking some good US themed food and possibly start a cool little theme on the menu by cooking most things with the beer on the bar. I started out slow with just adding beer to simple things like gravy and adding more and exciting beers to the freshly made beer batter for our fish, adding what every pub should do home cut chips that were pretty good if I do say so myself. Time goes on and people move on and I almost did that towards the beginning of this year but circumstances came up and things got in the way so I was offered a position within the company that didn't involve being around the kitchen and involved me getting behind the bar this wasn't before the Brooklyn Lunch that I attempted to give a special group of people from in and around Leeds a taste of my home paired with some pretty awesome beers. Fast forward a couple of months and a couple came into the bar and started speaking about a new bar that they were interested in opening in Leeds and I saw an opportunity that I couldn't pass up, I asked them if they were interested in taking a chance on someone that had a passion for great beer and it seems to get the ball rolling. Enter stage right a relationship was formed and greatness was born in the new "craft beer" bar in Leeds which is known as Friends of Ham. Now this place gives a whole new meaning to different. A bar that combines hand carved meat, fantastic cheese, superb wine and a beer selection that can please more people than it will disappoint. So July came and I left Foley's and started with F.O.H and its been a helluva a ride since we started. With passionate owners and a great team we are looking to bring you something new and hopefully open some eyes to the fact that beer is more than just your everyday lager and boring cask ales. So come on down to 4 New Station Street have some pig we will have a place for you.