Saturday, December 31, 2011

Golden Pints Awards 2011

 As 2011 comes to end this evening I thought I would wait till the last second and pick my picks for the golden pints award 2011. 2011 was a real eye opener for me when it comes to beer and I enjoyed every step of my journey and looking forward to new things in 2012 and hope that most of you will come on my journey of seeking the best beer the world can offer.

          Best UK Draught (Cask or Keg) Beer
    1: Magic Rock Human Cannonball 2: Buxton Brewery Axe Edge 3: Summer Wine 7'c of Rye
     2. Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer
         1: Buxton Brewery Axe Edge
         2: Porterhouse Plain Porter
         3: Magic Rock High Wire

     3. Best Overseas Draught Beer
         1: Stone Brewing Oaked Arrogant Bastard
         2: Great Divide Rumble IPA
         3: Nogne O Saison
     4. Best Overseas Bottled or Canned
         1: Duck Rabbit Milk Stout
         2: Brooklyn Sorachi Ace
         3: Schneider Weisse Tap 5

     5. Best Overall Beer
         1: Brooklyn Sorachi Ace
         2: Orval 2 year (Thanks Matt from North Bar for holding one for me.)
         3: Schneider Weisse Tap 5

     6. Best Pumpclip or Label
         1: Left Hand Fade to Black
         2: Roosters Baby Faced Assassin
         3: Magic Rock Curious NZ

     7. Best UK Brewery
         1: Magic Rock Brewery
         2: Buxton Brewery
         3: Kernal Brewery

     8. Best Overseas Brewery
         1: Stone Brewery
         2: Left Hand Brewery
         3: Nogne O
     9. Pub/Bar of the Year
         1: Grove Inn Huddersfield
         2: North Bar
         3: Mr Foley's Cask Ale House
    10. Beer Festival of the Year
          Sadly I only went to one but it was very nice
          1:Headingley Beer Festival
    12. Independent Retailer of the Year
          1: BeerRitz
    13. Online retailer of the Year
    15. Best Beer Blog/ Website
          1: The Good Stuff
          2: BeerSay
          3: Ghostdrinker
    16. Best Twitterer
          1: Broadford Brewer
          2: Geekleeds
          3: Briggatebeer
    17. Best Online Brewery Presence
          1: Magic Rock
          2: Buxton Brewery
    18. Food and beer matching in the Foley's Kitchen
          1: Chili with Black Band Porter
          2: Steak Sandwich with Propaganda
          3: Foley's Burger with Dark Arts
    19. In 2012 I'd most like to:
            Expand my beer and food pairing for the British Bloggers Conference and to have the satisfaction of doing a homebrew and working within a brewery to produce beer for the masses. Do a couple more brewery tours and try to get out and try to find the best beer in the country

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Beer in Food?!?!

Taken from Magic Rock's website.
As of late at Mr Foley's in Leeds I have been experimenting with not only matching beer with food but also cooking my food with beer. Nothing to exciting nothing to revolutionary just simple basic and sometimes interesting flavours come out with my mad scientist like ways in the kitchen. I have been putting different beers in our burgers and doing different things with our batter seemingly every week.
Taken from Kirkstall's Website.
The most popular beers that have graced the burgers at Foley's have been Magic Rock Dark Arts and Kirkstall Black Band Porter two very different beers but two very similar flavours. Dark Arts giving the burger a very distinct flavour of roasted malt and a bit of bittersweet chocolate which compliment the spices that make the mince and very good burger. Now staying with the theme of the burgers at Foley's I played around with the different beers by making different pastes that go directly on the burger while its on the grill. Black Band Porter from Kirkstall made a very interesting development with the the mixture and gives it a very nice flavour and this seems to be a very popular choice as when I make a batch of burgers it seems to sell out rather quickly and leaves me scrambling to make more.
Now that the burgers are out of the way seems that I have the small issue of deciding which pales are the best use for the batter I use to fry the lovely haddock in for fish and chips. First place prize as of late that got the best reviews from the customers Ive talked to has to be Rooster's Last Stand which I understand was Sean's send off beer after he left the brewery. The batter packs a bit of a punch which seems a bit weird because usually the flavour of the beer loses itself in the fryer but Last Stand definitely stands the test of the fryer and still has the nice flavour the beer itself has it and leaves the batter that sticks to the fish very crispy and compliments the fish rather well. With this being an ongoing experiment your recommendations are always welcome and I would like hearing from you. Over the next few weeks I am going to try and do different things and post them if they work and deny trying the things that didn't like my failed Diablo Nachos which my boss thought were OK and I thought needed something else. They all cant be winner but what can you gain if you don't try.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Yet another trip to the ye ole Grove Pub in Huddersfield.

I fought with feelings last Saturday about going to hang out with David, Gary, and Ben also known as @boodrums. I tried to get everyone that wasn't on the #twissup journey to come and join in the fun but sadly everyone was either there or had plans doing something else. So I took the painful journey on the train to get what I consider one of the best pubs Ive ever been too. Walked through the crazy lonely tunnel and finally saw my destination and walked through the doors to my first half to which I sat and drank with the gentleman that I was with. Fullers Vintage Ale 2010 which goes down a fantastic treat and makes me wish I knew what the other Vintage Ales taste like but hell Ive only been in England for 18 months so I can look forward to the future.

Next up a beer which I had no idea existed till a couple of weeks ago the Porterhouse Plain Porter which took home best stout in the world even though its a porter colour me confused but I went with it and damn it man if I didn't enjoy it even shared a bit around the table which was faithfully named Beer Tapas by the guys so hell I went with it. After I polished off the end of the bottle I reached for the dreaded bottle list and talked the table into going halves on a couple of bottles. First up was the mighty Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace which is a brilliant Saison that for some reason I thought was a totally different style of beer the first time I had it. We sat we drank and we enjoyed then back to the list we went and we found Nogne O Tiger Tripel shared that and did the exact same thing we shared we enjoyed and started to think it was time to catch our train back to Leeds.

Other beers shared and enjoyed that evening were:
Kernel India Pale Ale Centennial
Rogue Mocha Porter
Schneider Weisse Tap 5
you can read more on what they drank on David's Blog but this is where my night started and almost ended in a horrible accident that almost saw the four of us catching a damned bus back to Leeds. Thanks to my lovely wife she saw through our drunken haze and directed us to Platform 8 and then called me a dumbass and said she was going to bed cant say that I argue the fact that what I was seeing and what was happening were 2 totally different things.

As we were waiting for the bus/train we popped into The KingsHead and saw a beer that I didn't think I would be seeing there a Magic Rock Brewery CuriousNZ which in my opinion was a fantastic easy drinking ale that rivals the original but I would have to do a side by side taste test just to confirm what I was thinking that night. We shared the Tap 5 on the way back to Leeds and then parted ways with Dave and Ben while they enjoyed some much needed food Gary and I decided it would be a fantastic idea to go grab yet another beer at North Bar. As soon as I walked through the door I was greeted by Big Jim with a tiny friend called Little Jim so under his supervision I enjoyed Little Jim a very nice collaboration brew between Matt and Mark at North Bar and the guys at Marble Brewing in Manchester. This was the end of my evening I went home and cleaned some bottles did some dishes ate some food and finally laid my head on my pillow and promptly took my ass to bed.

Hope you enjoyed the journey go take one yourself and remember to invite me.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My humble opinion. #7point5

As I walked into my local shop this morning I was instantly faced with a troubling sign. 3 two litres of Strongbow Cider for a measly £6.00. I told myself not to get involved in this debate on the beer tax but after seeing this I just cant keep my mouth or my opinion to myself. I understand this country has a drinking issue but its with the people that are looking to get drunk and not drinking to enjoy the taste, flavour, and different styles of beer. This tax is going to make the brewers not experiment because they feel that they wont be able to put the prices on the cask kegs and bottles that the pubs and specialist beer shops will buy and that is a sad state. Brewing is the backbone of Britain its one of the last things Brits can call there own and the government is going to handicap them and try and say that what they are doing is the reason we have anti social behavior in this country. The truth of the matter is we have anti social behaviour because of lack of respect and lack of common knowledge from one person to the next on what their particular limit is. If you think that the new tax is going to stop people from doing what they were doing with the special brew you have another thing coming, they are now going to buy that bottle of £9.99 vodka or spend 3 for a tenner on bottles of wine. So your putting handcuffs on the backbone and tradition of Britain brewing and that is just wrong. We are already dropping pubs like flies and this tax has the potential to make breweries go the same way. CAMRGB has a e-petition going on at the moment and I have already signed it. I suggest you do the same and try to smack some sense into the people that have passed this ridiculous tax.

Friday, September 30, 2011

My final chapter of my beery week with the parents.

Now here is the end to this series of writing I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed trying to remember all the beers and good times I shared with my parents over the past week.
Okay then the soppy stuff over with on to the hoppy goodness that concluded the liver killing week.
Ive saved this part of the story for this blog but I must have spent more time in the local beer shop this week than I have ever spent in there since Ive found out about it, the place in question is Beer Ritz in Headingley. Now then my Father and I visited this haven at the very least 3 times in the week that he was here and picked up some fantastic brews. Here are some examples I'm not going into tasting notes I'm just going to list some of the beer we decided on.

Buxton Axe Edge
Darkstar Expresso Stout
Magic Rock High Wire and Cannonball
Punk IPA, 5 Am Saint, and Hardcore
Wensleydale Porter
Hardknott InfraRed
St Peters Honey Porter
Robinsons Old Tom
Schneider Weisee Hopfen-Weiss
Kernal Imperial Brown Stout and Export Stout
Gwynt y Ddraig Farmhouse Cloudy Scrumpy
Meantime IPA
Wychwood Hobgoblin
and just to top it off I think we bought a couple bottle of Jever and I'm sure I'm missing some.
Needless to say it was quite a week and many beer we drank and to be honest I wouldn't change any of it.

Friday came and it was sad seeing that my parents would be leaving on early Saturday morning but they got to see their granddaughter for the first time and it was all smiles. That afternoon we brought Lydia shopping and walked into town for some last minute gift shopping. So one last trip to visit The North Bar which was enjoyable to say the least. It was Oktoberfest so we indulged a little bit on the wares they had on tap first up was a half or Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest which just wasn't my cup of tea I think I'm getting tired of all the hoopbla about Sierra Nevada because in the states they are just known as that fail safe if they have no other beer. Oktoberfest for me was quite boring and uninspiring so I needed to try a couple of more before we left. I tried the Paulander Oktoberfest it was quite pale but an easy drink and I bought my Mom a Paulander Salvator which she seemed to enjoy because for the first time in a week she finished her pint off faster than my Dad and I. I bought my father yet another pint of Black Band Porter by Kirkstall and like he said you can never have to much of a good thing. So we sat and sipped or gulped in my Mom's case and again watched the world go by wishing we had more time with each other but I wanted to show my dad one last good beer. My mom opted for some sort of cider that I didn't catch the name of but my dad and me opted for a bottle of aged Orval seeing that this was my first Orval I wanted to make it a good one. We once again got a great pour from Jim and got the sediment in a shot glass and put it to the side. After drinking half of the beer we dumped the shot into the glass and you can instantly tell the difference I prefer the sediment in the beer rather than out of the beer personal taste and thats the best thing about beer drinking everything is up to your personal taste. We said our thank yous to Matt and Jim at North and decided it was time to go home but we did have a quick stop off into Gerry's and checked out their beery offers and bought some bottle for one last back garden cigar. We picked up Adnams Broadside,Wadworth Swordfish, and Brewdog Trashy Blonde and 77 lager. So this was the end to our week and the end to a great vacation. I really hope you all enjoyed following me on my beer journey with the parents and hopefully I will see you in the pub.

The Final List. Some may be duplicates
Kirkstall 3 swords
Kirkstall Black Band Porter
Kirkstall Pale Ale
Brewdog Hardcore IPA
Brewdog 5 am saint
Brewdog Punk IPA
Brewdog Dark Tokyo Horizon
Brewdog Avery/Brown/Dredge
Brewdog Trashy Blonde
Brewdog 77 Lager
Magic Rock High Wire
Magic Rock Curious
Kernal Export Stout
Kernal Brown Stout
Temptest Brave New World
Beer Here Dark Hops
Stone Russian Imperial Stout
Gadds/revelations Cat Double IPA
Orkney Oyster Stout
Darkstar Espresso Stout
York Centurions Ghost
Dark Star Hophead
Schinder Weisse Tap 5
Paulander Salvador
Orval 1 year
Ridgeside Single Hop
Copper Dragon Challenger
Guinness Foreign Extra Stout
St Petersburg Honey Porter
Brooklyn Lager
Leeds Brewery Pale
Leeds Brewery Best
Black Sheep Riggwelter
Adnams Broadside
Batemans XXXB
Batemans Old Perculiar
Wadworth Swordfish
Old Tom Old ale
Red Willow Smokeless
Red Willow Ageless
Red Willow Fathomless
Odell St Lupin
And again as I said above I'm sure that I'm missing out on some but when you drink that many in a week you might lose one or two.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A very interesting beery week with my parents Part GROVE INN

So Wednesday was the second most anticipated day of the trip and it started out with a bang. We started it off with a lovely walk into town to meet my fantastic wife only to catch the bus to Roundhay Park and eat at the Roundhay Fox. The beer selection there isn't that great but we decided on a pint of Leeds Pale it wasn't great but it wasn't bad either after having some horrible beers on Monday night I will take a safe bet with something that I know. After hanging out in Tropical World and getting to the house we picked up our bus passes and off to the train station we went for my very first trip to The Grove Inn in Huddersfield. Joined by a plethora of beer writers and beer geeks alike which included Rob from Hopzine, Leigh from The Good Stuff, Zak from Are You Tasting The Pith, Dean from @mrfoleys, Toby from Red Willow Brewery and everyone's favourite brew bitch Brian from the Grove. We were missing a few but I'm planning another go in November so get ready guys that missed out.

The evening started tame enough with a couple pints of Magic Rock's High Wire which hell was a fantastic start to the evening. I have always liked this beer ever since it graced the taps at Foleys I think I tried this brew before any of the others and it is by far my favourite Magic Rock Brew. Then the fun started we noticed the board I decided it was time to loosen up and try something a bit out of my comfort zone we tried a third of Thornbridge's Dry Hopped Barley Wine 9.4% which was in one word fantastic. Now I'm not normally into my Barley Wine's mostly because it has the word wine in it but damn if this beer didn't change the mind of this stubborn beer drinker. It had a silky smooth flavour that lasted just enough time to tempt you to drink faster and so I did and picked another brew from the endless list at The Grove. So scanning the board again  we decided on another third because I just didn't want to get that drunk knowing that the parents were wanting to have a couple more beers when we got back to Leeds. As we were sipping on a Gadds/ Revelation Cat Back to Basic Pacific Double IPA 9.0% ( man that was a mindful to try to remember.)  I know this was a good brew but sadly I cant really comment on it because I just don't remember the flavours but it was hoppy and it was tasty so if you see it DRINK IT. As we were drinking that beer a couple of bottles were being passed around the table which included Fathomless an oyster stout made with  actual oysters from Red Willow Brewery now even Toby the mind behind the brew said it was just freshly bottled but in my honest opinion it was dark sweet and a damn fine stout and I for one am counting the days till it hits the pumps at the regular haunts in Leeds. Next was yet again another third but this time of a brewery I have never ever heard of Temptest Brewing Co with their Brave New World IPA 7.0% which was again another hoptastic beer that made me wish I had more time and more money to drink a couple of halves of this beauty. I must say thanks to Brian for persuading me to give this brew a go because if it wasn't for that I wouldn't have even given this beer a second look. So after we polished these down my dad wanted to try a Pilsner so given the company we were in I suggested an Avery/Brown/Dredge from Brewdog and well like most of us he enjoyed the hell out of it and asked that I send him some in the beer trade we will be doing in the coming weeks. So from my Dad Mr. Avery you guys did a hell of a job on the beer and it tasted great (his words not mine.) We also bought a big bottle of Stone Imperial Russian Stout and shared it out with the people that were left. So we savoured our moment in the grove shook the hands of everyone that left and a special thank you to Toby for leaving my dad and mom a bottle of Fathomless to bring home and show people in South Carolina that craft beer is alive and well in England and its not all stupid pump clips with silly names. To finish out our night at the grove we shared a half of Beer Here Dark Hops 8.5% which was kind of like a Black IPA but it most regards it wasn't. 

While on the train back to Leeds we talked about Tetley's Brewery with Dean and trashed the fact that its closed down to possibly make way for an art exhibit I mean its cool if you like that kind of thing but its been such a staple in our fair town it would just be a shame to use the building as anything else but to brew beer. Off we went to Mr Foleys for our second trip to the goodness that is this bar to sample so more Red Willow Brews this time it was Smokeless which I think is one of the better porters on the scene at the moment it just goes down so smooth and is another beer that makes me think of food. A good chili with this a half of this poured in and the other half for personal consumption it would make the chili a bit smokey but I think it would complement the spiciness of my chili just perfectly. To end the evening we decided on three different beers and a couple of measures of whisky. The beers in question were Brewdog's Hardcore IPA 9.2%, Odell Brewery St Lupulin 6.5%, and a bottle of Red Willow Ageless 7.2% The whisky we all enjoyed was an Auchentoschan 3 Wood which smokey fruit flavour went down a treat as we retreated to the taxi waiting outside and went home. All in all the night was a great success and I'm already looking forward to trying to put another night together very very soon.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A very intesting beery week with my parents. Part 2!

So Sunday started with a bang with it being the day we celebrated the one year mark of the birth of my daughter and her christening. We had loads of people show up and I cant really afford to supply everyone with craft beer so I bought one of the only over produced lager I could stomach and that was 1664 while a certain beer blogger brought some San Miguel. This was a day I wasn't looking to be a beery snob I was just there to enjoy family and friends and to celebrate the day my life changed for the better.

 That was until Mr Dean showed up with a plastic bag full of Beer Ritz gold. I didn't want to steal any of his beer but there was a simple but yet fantastic looking box in there so I got curious and pulled it out.  It was a nice black box with three different breweries on it and a bunch of not so positive reviews, the bottle in question was Black Tokyo Horizon by the lovely guys from Brewdog, Mikkeller, and Nøgne Ø.
Now I like most of you reading this was going to somehow someway get my hands on this beer just to give it a go and see what these 3 brewhouses could do with a little collaboration.  The reviews as I said above have not been great but I personally and the 3 guys sharing the bottle seemed to agree it could be due to the fact that 4 of us shared the bottle and only had about 2 and a half mouthfuls a piece but I personally enjoyed it. Black Tokyo Horizon seemed to be just Tokyo on steroids and I personally love Tokyo I haven't had the pleasure of trying the other 2 brews that inspired this one but the couple of mouthfuls I had I really enjoyed, it made me think of food like a good steak marinated over night and grilled to a perfect medium rare with a baked potato and a bottle of Punk.  After all that goodness was done and with the party drawing to a close  everyone was gone and we cleaned up. Thank you to Dean from Foleys and Leigh from LeighGoodStuff for coming and celebrating that perfect rainy English day with us.

Off we went back home and off to the local shop to pick up some more beer which was a challenge, what could I possibly pick up from the local shop that would show my Dad what England had to offer so I picked up some classics. We picked up some Theakstons Old Peculiar, Triple XB Batemans, some Abbot Ale and 3 or 4 bottles of Guinness but not the black oil as you would think I could find in the local shop but some Foreign Extra Guinness and at a bargain as well £1.55. Sadly after we got back to the house after an exciting day we all crashed after our first Guinness and saved the rest for some other day.

Monday morning came and what else are you going to do on your holiday but open a beer at 11:40 in the morning. My dad enjoyed his Abbot Ale while I took it slow and had a bottle of Darkstar Expresso and we sat in the back garden enjoying the sunshine and planned our day. We knew we had to get some meat from my wife's requested BBQ on Tuesday so we made the plans to bring the family into the market and we to Mr Meats and picked up 3 racks of ribs and a Boston Butt which is the front shoulder if the pig. Picked all that up for a reasonable 40 pounds and went for a lunch at nando's and we all made fun of the beer selection and went home.

Monday evening was another kettle of fish indeed while we started with a couple of pints of Ridgeside Pale at The Hop where I saw a strange thing an extra cold cask of Yorkshire Blonde more on that another time and a couple of pints of Black Sheep Riggwelter at a unnamed bar because my experience there was awful. A short walk later we went to a pub Ive heard of but never been to hidden under the high rises just passed the dark arches The Grove Inn. We sat in one of the back rooms and enjoyed a couple of pints of Kirkstall's Black Band Porter talked some trash about American Football and my father and I both agreed we very much enjoyed this pub and the feel of it.

Off to The Adelphi after that to end our night where again we enjoyed some fine beers and some not so fine ales. Two pints of Brooklyn Lager that were indeed quite tasty but didn't sit right for whatever reason but hell they had a beer garden of sorts and we were allowed to smoke cigars and talk a little more trash about anything and everything in particular. We ended the night with a couple of pints of Leeds Best and some unnamed Lager that wont be sad in this blog post.  So that's Sunday and Monday Tuesday didn't hold to much because of the massive hangover but Wednesday was another story and will be told on another day. Here is a hint for whats coming...................

Monday, September 26, 2011

A very interesting beery week with my parents! Part One

Over the past 6 days I think I have drank more beer than I have done in the first 18 months that I have been in the UK. My Mom and Dad came over to meet my daughter Lydia for the first time and the beery goodness began almost as soon as they stepped off the train. Before even dropping off the luggage at the house we entered two of the best pubs Leeds has to offer those being The North Bar and Mr. Foleys.

First up something simple and light my Mom went with the ever so popular Kirkstall 3 Swords and sipped that while my Father drank the brown ale that Zak Avery and the Great Heck Brewery brewed up while I enjoyed my favourite of the Brewdog beers 5am saint. As they were sipping and I was gulping seeing that it was one of my first brews in almost a week we sat and watched the busy people of Leeds walk by the window and laughed because for the first time in 18 months I was able to enjoy some beer with my parents.


Then came the all to painful walk to Mr Foleys to show them where I worked and enjoyed some more damn tasty beer. I had a Brewdog Punk IPA, Mom had an Brewdog Alice Porter and Dad had a Jever because he enjoys Pils so I got him one of the better ones on the beer scene. We finished by sharing yes sharing a half pint of Centurion's Ghost because I wanted them to try the beer that set me on my way to the wonderful world of cask ale. Wouldn't you know after Mr Foleys was finished we again had to take the journey back to North to pick up the luggage and thought "hey why the hell not lets go ahead and try some more beer" so Mom opted for Brewdog's 5 am saint Dad opted for a bottle of Magic Rock Cannonball and I decided that it was almost Oktoberfest so I went for a Schneider Weisse Tap 5. So again lazily sipping our beers we gathered out things and were heading out the door and I noticed something different on the last pump clip I knew they had it but I just didn't know that I would get to enjoy with it being North Bar and the the amount of people they get in but there it was Flying Dog Centennial IPA so I naturally split a half with my dad while mom went and smoked a cigarette and although super tasty we didn't have to time savor it and sadly finished a half in 4 sips between the both of us and ran to catch our taxi.

Now for the finale of our Saturday adventures when we arrived home I had a couple of beery treats put away for there visit. Late afternoon it came to be and I decided to get out some bottles that I bought from the accessible Beer Ritz in Headlingley before they arrived into Leeds. First up were some Kernal Brews the 4's IPA and the India Export Stout, some Old Tom and a Darkstar Expresso Stout were all opened to celebrate them getting to the house safe and sound and that is were Saturday ended.

This will be a continuous blog about the week we had and will include my daughters birthday with a special guest Black Tokyo Horizon brought by Dean at Mr Foleys, A trip to the Grove in Huddersfield with all types of beery folk and a couple more trips to the now locally famous Beer Ritz.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

An evolution of taste!

As Neil from Eating isn't Cheating so eloquently pointed out the other day when I first met the beery geeks of Leeds I was anti IPA. I wanted to explain in detail how my beer journey started.
I like most of everyone else starting drinking over produced, over marketed lager. There wasn't much choice to good beer when I was getting my start that was until one fateful day while visiting my dad it all changed. He passed me a bottle of what I can now call a Strong Bitter from a little known brewery called Broughton Ales, it was called Black Douglas (if you find it I can still recommend it) but wow it was nothing like the watered down crapola beer that I was drinking. This beer had some bitterness to it and it was packed full of tastiness which to be honest I wasn't expecting I mean what did my dad know about beer. Ahhh the ignorance of youth little did I know this man knew what real beer was and I was eager to learn but sadly after that faithful night I sadly slipped back to my lager drinking and spirit chugging old self and the beer became a distant memory.

Come six months later I again was visiting my father and once again he had this beer in the fridge and once again he told me to pop the top and get to drinking. That night I didn't look back but looked forward to trying new things. I started on the dark end because truthfully I was not impressed with the hoppy bitterness of the IPA and it really didn't appeal to me. So off I went to the local craft beer boozers The Distillery and Moon River in Savannah Ga. To make a long journey short I started enjoying beers like Anchor Porter, Left Hand Milk Stout, Brooklyn Double Chocolate Stout and many many more. After all the searching I felt that I had a decent grasp on good dark beer and I therefore didn't care to look on the opposite end of the spectrum because again it just didn't appeal to me. So I stayed in my safe zone not looking to compromise the greatness that comes with dark malty coffee, chocolate, and easy drinking stouts and porters.

After about a year of staying true to my colours and only drinking the darkest of the dark and not straying from the thick and creamy goodness I moved over here to the United Kingdom and discovered even more dark beer. My wife and I were out and about in town while she was looking for a job and we decided it was time for my first ever pub lunch so we stopped into the Scarborough Taps and once again I still wanted something dark so I went with the tried and tested Guinness because to be honest I was scared of those damned hand pumps. It wasn't until I walked into my now place of business and tried my first cask ale and that ale was Centurions Ghost Ale from the York Brewery and I felt inside that my tried and tested dark beer drinking had been justified. I didn't need to go to the light side it wasn't worth it if all the dark beer in this country tasted like ghost or hell better than ghost I didn't need to venture over to the light side. So in February I decided to take a chance on some lighter beer and visited the ever so popular BeerRitz  I started with the perfect gateway beer ( in my opinion) 5 AM Saint from the lovely punks at Brewdog and picked up a home grown Belgian IPA from Flying Dog we all know as Raging Bitch, but with some tried and tested darker beers like the Dent Porter and St Peters Old Style Porter.

Fast forward 2 months later and I started working at all places Mr Foleys on the Headrow one the of the first places I tried British brewery beers and got hooked so it was almost coming full circle that was until I had a try out session and for my payment I received an original recipe Punk IPA the 5.6 brew not the 5.4 brew out nowadays. It was like an explosion in my mouth nothing but hops hops hops but hell it went down so smooth and left you with a feeling of holy hell what in the world was that. Then came the faithful night the night that I am now eating my words spoken to beer people like Leigh from  Good Food Good Beer, Rob from, Neil from Eating Isnt Cheating and Nick from The Beer Prole. I think I can remember the exact words from that night why would anyone want an IPA its quite disgusting as I was drinking Axe Edge and Black Rocks from Buxton Brewery and thought damn is this what I was missing when I was so closed minded when it came to the light side.

So in closing I have imbraced the IPA but I will never turn my back on my roots the smooth stouts, great porters and amazing bitters will always be my end all be all in beer but there is always room at the top for a couple of good IPA's.

I leave this blog post with my 3 favorite IPA's of the moment. Things can always change dont you think so.

1. Axe Edge from Buxton
2. Suke Quto Coffee IPA from Kernal
3. Mycenary from Odell Brewing

and some special mentions
Human Cannonball from Magic Rock
Hardcore IPA from Brewdog
7 C's of Rye from those crazy guys at Summer Wine Brewery.

Your lists are welcome so please share.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Home Brews!

 Ive been lucky enough to be able to try a couple of people's home brew in the past few months since becoming a quote unquote beer geek. Ive had the pleasure of trying some Blue Suede Brews from Dean at @mrfoleys and recently I have tried the home brew taking Leeds by surprise from @broadfordbrewer. Now I don't have any picture of either beer which is something that I'm going to have to start doing so you guys can see what I see when drinking but I found Dean's Maple Stout very balanced and tasty. Until recently I was only drinking dark beers and I found Dean's beer to fit the mould in the things that I look for in a darker beer. It had a very nice dark look to it and tasted of what it said on the label. It wasn't sickly sweet but still had some depth and flavour that I over all enjoyed.

A couple of weeks ago before the birth of his twins @broadfordbrewer dropped off some bottles of his summer ale ReTweet to some of us beery people in Leeds at @beerritzleeds and I promised myself not to open it till I had some time to properly enjoy it. If you want some tasting notes on it check out @ghostdrinker blog and he hits them all to a tee, it even has a little intro to the beer from the brewer himself. I will say this beer had some quality clarity to it was super clear for a home brew. It seems like every sip I took I found something new and it struck me as a beer that I could happily sit in the garden or in the park and drink this all day. So keep up the good work there man and I'm sure if you continue to put out quality beers like this your dreams of becoming a brewer will be realized so keep reaching for that beery brass ring and I'm sure we will see your beers in shops very soon.  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Supermarket beer!?!?!?!

I was having a conversation with @Tuff86 today on twitter and we were commenting back and forth on supermarket beer. After my first real experience with real ale I found myself in the massive place that we all know as asda and wondered down the beer isle. It was quite weird for me seeing all these beers and spirits in a store that is like my wal-mart in the states because well we just don't have it there. When walking into asda you still find the over produced lager and other type of things but usually at the end of the isle there is a little slice of heaven for us beer geeks. Real ale that doesnt carry the real price (if that makes any sense). Its perfect for the person curious about what real ale taste like if only they could muster up the courage to put the greatness into their cart or basket and just give them a try. Now I've found some real gems in these stores some I can remember some I can't, I've also found some right trash in that particular section but hey there is no rule saying that all real ale is going to taste magical. Now if your like me and like trying new brews then you can do no worse than the supermarket and then gradually move towards specialist beer stores like The Beer Ritz in Leeds and even online with So if your on the fence about trying real ale give it a go and try multiple styles of beer and find your favorite there is more out there than just LAGER.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Lets Talk About The Summer Wine Guys!

    As I was sat at work today I had a little taster of a new seasonal ale, Polestar from SW brewery and I thought to myself have I ever had a really bad beer from these guys?
I thought and thought and thought, there were beers that were not to my taste, but I don't think Ive ever had a beer that didn't come across as clean and crisp regardless of my personal opinions of the taste of the beer. Now Ive tried from what I can tell pretty much every single beer from Summer Wine and can think back and remember almost each and every one of them which is a feat in itself. I was first introduced to these brews one day at work when the first Nerotype hit the pumps and have tried every single once since and I must say they all have flavour, they are all different, they all keep you wanting more and want to make you seek out these beers when going in and about the pubs of Leeds. First came the Simcoe then a came Columbus followed by Bravo and finishing with Herkules which shows the guys at Summer Wine are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of brewing and that's something to be admired and respected. Herkules has yet to hit the pumps at the Foleys but it should be on soon and I for one am looking forward to the last brew in the series.

They have also an Imperial Stout coming on board in the coming weeks called Cossack, I for one am pinning high hopes on this beer and hopefully I will not be let down because I am a lover of stout and porters. If this beer comes across with the crispness of the other beers in their range then we are all in for a treat.
They are also doing a bit of an experiment with kegged beer they recently had a launch of their 7cs IPA which has pretty much every hop that starts with C put into and drinks more like a 5 percent abv than the 7 its labeled. I will admit when it first hit the UK craft brew line at Foleys I for one was not as impressed as everyone else but it has grown on me like a good whiskey, give it time to mature to the line and gain some body we know and love from kegged beer and damn it they have done it again. Nick at has said everything there was to say about the 7Cs IPA so go and take a gander at his take of the innagural keg at Foleys.

Now on to my two favorite beers from these guys the Barista Stout and the Teleporter. I tried the Stout for the first time a couple of weeks ago at Cross Keys Leeds after a heavy night of drinking the night before, this was just was the doctor ordered as they say. Strong expresso flavors infuse this beer with that coffee flavour that just kicks you in the face and says "Oy get over that hangover and start the day off right". After this beer I felt that my hangover was gone and I could get that second wind I was looking for to finish my American friends trip off on the right foot. Now Im not saying at all in the least this is that hangover cure that we all look for when we made that lovely decision for that last pint, but it does bite the hair of the dog back in that special kind of way that lets your body know who the boss. Now with the teleporter this is my Eleanor (if you’ve seen Gone in 60 Seconds you know what Im talking about, if you havent then just ask and I will explain.) Everytime this beer hits the pumps all I can do is have a small taster of the goodness that is this 10 malt porter. I first saw it last November in a pub that I cant remember but I said to myself tomorrow Im coming back and getting a pint of that black goodness, but being a new dad that was put on hold. Then boom 2 weeks ago it hit the pumps at Foleys and I thought I was in luck but this happened and that happened and by the time I got back to Foleys alas it was gone. I will find you and I will drink you and I will review you when the time comes Miss Eleanor.

So in closing I know that if you guys stay passionate about the beer and brew because it’s something you love to do, then people will be looking for your beer for years and years on end. Seriously you guys just keep doing what your doing keep innovating and keep inventing and your bound to take over a little portion of the beer lovers market.

Note: As of writing the final Nerotype has hit some pubs in the north and has graced the UK Craft Keg Line at Mr Foleys in Leeds.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Buxton takes over The North Bar in Leeds.......

Now I didnt even plan on going to Buxton takes over north bar launch today but as I was walking by to catch the bus I decided to walk in and to be honest Im glad I did. Its good to see a brewer that sticks to their guns and brews beer that they are proud of not a beer that is safe and boring. Tonight I tried a 5.5 black IPA (black rock) which Im guessing is a new craze among brewers and a 6.8 Double IPA (axe edge) that was surprisingly drinkable. They also had moor top and another beer that has escaped me so Im sorry. I normally shy away from the IPAs because the bite of some IPAs just make the damn things undrinkable.( I can hear the scoffs and can see the faces of the fabulous beer bloggers in Leeds over that last statement.)  I sat down with some of the beer bloggers of Leeds and Dean from Foleys and we sat and discussed the flavors of the beers well they discussed and I listened my palate doesnt compare to some of these quote unquote beer geeks. If you read my blog know that you will not get tasting notes but you will get my honest full opinion on the beer and if its drinkable.

Now on to the beers
Black rocks the most surprising Black IPA that ive tasted in a while this was not overly hoppy it was very drinkable and just overall a pleasure for your tastebuds.

Now to the star of the show the Ax Edge seemed to be everyone favorite in the entire bar a double IPA that drinks like a typical  Pale it doesnt seem like a 6.8 abv it drinks more like a 4 abv so its sneaky like a ninja. It easily goes down the throat and explodes with all types of flavor and hits every note that your looking for and some that your not. Everything that Zak Avery said in his video blog of this beer was spot on and his dangerously drinkability that he dubbed on this IPA is right on the money. I had the where withall to only drink a half of this beer but if you looked you could just tell this was the patrons beer of choice some of us got to sit down with the owner of the brewery whose name escapes me at the moment but he has some plans to do special brews with batch numbers and bottle numbers which is exciting. Dont hold me to that last statement but he seemed pretty confident that he plans on doing some unique type beers that got mine and some of the guys mouths watering and looking forward to a chance to taste something truly special is the distant future. Since I forgot his name I probably dont qualify but it was still something new to hear and something exciting to even be apart of.

So in closing:
Buxton Brewery is on the up and the beers they are producing are high good quality beers and hopefully they will be hitting a hand pump near you in the not so distant future. So as a new blogger to this town of leeds let me be one of the first to thank the North Bar and Buxton for putting on a great tasting event that got most of us licking our chops at a new brewery and some new brews.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Beer why argue?

 As of late I have been reading many blogs having to do with the UK beer debate between some of the many awesome beer bloggers and the fantastical CAMRA. I am going to throw a question out there and ask what some of us have brewing in the back of our minds....... why trigger a debate or arguement about beer? This isnt any arguement that Im trying to get into but I have to wonder whats the point in it really. Beer is the sweet nectar from the gods forget all that wine hoopla the passion and the patience it takes to brew the perfect brew and to pour the perfect pint whether it be from keg, cask, or homebrew is something to be marveled at not debated over not argued about but to be embraced and celebrated. I never thought I would get to the point of having to write about the greatness of beer, again regardless of where it comes from or how it hits the pint glass. The great debate is a mute point from the all knowing CAMRA they shouldnt feel threatened by the keg-a-lution if anything the members should get on board with it because it can only mean steps forward in the future on beer which is what CAMRA as I came to believe in my 2 years of living in the UK stood for. We as beer drinking go out not to get drunk but to enjoy proper beer I know that I could quite happily go to Mr Foleys in Leeds and get a pint of ghost ale from york brewery and then happily switch to a keg beer like Flying Dog Raging Bitch at the North Bar in Leeds followed up by a trip to the ever so  popular beer haven of Bitz Ritz in Headingley and spend a couple more pounds on beers from across the world and not feel bad about any of it. I guess I  shouldnt have an opinion on any of this being a yank and all but Im a changed man since Ive moved over here becuase in the states we dont even know what hand pulled ales are everything is kegged with the exception of the small mirco brewerys we have in the area. I joke with the customers at Foleys and tell them if you put a hand pull in front of the average bar worker in a the city Im from they will look at you funny because all we use are kegged over-produced beer.

In closing guys you know as well as I know the debate of kegged beer vs casked beer is stupid and has no merit in this beer drinkers opinion because a good beer is going to be judged on taste not the type of vessel it was poured from.

All comments are welcome just dont hurt my feelings.