Monday, February 27, 2012


Over the next 40 days I will be taking a challenge that I didn't think would ever happen but it was set-up by my wife so what the hell I figured I could do it and I do love a bit of a challenge. This is going to be eye opening and in my honest opinion quite difficult to come up with meat free recipes and try to not run to the local Greggs and get a pastry to try and subdue my cravings for flesh. So what do I hope to learn over the next five and a half weeks, I hope to work on my flavour combinations and just try new things seeing that I just realized that I actually don't like very many vegetables and might just starve myself over the next 40 days but hey I'm chubby I could just about lose a stone and no one would really notice. Just because I'm giving up meat doesn't mean that I'm going to be giving up beer no matter how many little fish they clear the beer with .



Now this isn't going to be a traditional blog post there will be no pictures, the pictures of that night only deserve to stay in my drunken stupor of good food and even better beer, but what i will share with you are my thoughts and hope that my words will bring you on the journey that the group of us went through for #openit. When the idea was thrown out on twitter by @rickfurzer about getting together with a group of beer like minded people over some food I was all over it almost confirming my spot automatically. Over the next few week I probably confirmed then rejected then wavered and finally pretty much got told I was going by the man in question so needless to say my journey to the dinner was filled with smooth patches and many bumps along the way. I even had to go see the fine people at the grove to hopefully find some treasures lurking deep in their vast cellar so I could at least so my face to the dinner with some dignity. Finally I was able to locate a couple of bottles of beer that I hoped wouldn't get sneered at and laughed at by the group of vast geeky type people that I was wanted to make a good first impression on so that I could be invited to yet another function. The menu went like this:

  1. Potted duck, toasted rye bread, rhubarb and vanilla compote
  2. Smoked haddock fritter, tarragon mayonnaise, watercress
  3. Crispy pork belly, black pudding, celeriac and mustard salad
  4. Chargrilled skirt steak, celeriac puree, shallot and red wine butter, crispy mushroom
  5. Chargrilled bananas in rum with toasted marshmallows and white chocolate ice cream
  6. Cheese board: Smoked Ribblesdale (goat), Old Yorke (ewe), Wold Blimey (blue), Coverdale (hard), Inglewhite, Blackstick Blue, Stinking Bishop (washed rind)

All washed down with some fantastic stonking like beers first course we had Lambics to match the savoriness of the duck, beers included were a couple of Goose Island and and Upright Brewery beer that I had never heard of brought by Zak Avery.
Second course we popped the corks and tops of a couple of real good saisons that complemented the fritter almost perfectly. Saison and fish go very well together that a friend of mine just proved in his blog @leighgoodstuff with the Summer Wine Lime and Coriander Saison.
Third was a succulent pork course that was paired with  some massive tasting beers that didn't drown the flavour of the pork a big bottle brought by @misterfrosty a Mikkeller Stella 1 stole the show and did not disappoint.
Fourth course was a perfectly cooked piece of skirt steak which seems to be becoming a very popular cut of meat over here which is fantastic because the amount of flavour you can suck up with this cut of meat is surprisingly fantastic, so up came the big bad ass barley wines.
The dessert course was by far the one that surprised me the most because of the beer that was provided, now I have never had the privilege of sampling the Bourbon County Vanilla (shame I know) is was immense dark and absolutely wonderful couldn't have asked for a better beer to go with a recipe my wife makes quite often.
Finally came the cheese boards I am in the minority in the cheese category because and I agree it goes well with beer I just don't like that many cheeses I think I need to open my pallet to different types so I'm not closing the door on the idea of beer and cheese I just don't have the experience to put my words to paper. The highlight of the cheese boards for me were not one but two beers the first being a Firestone Walker 14th anny and the unreleased Kopi Kat brewed by the guys at Summer Wine Brewery, Rick himself and the man with the tache @Danielvane which is going to be released in 2 versions one coming soon and another being launch down south sometime soonish.

The craziness continued with a small walk down to Mr. Foleys and the beer there just got stupid but once again I'm sorry but I'm keeping most of these to myself unless you were following my tweets the night of then you already know but the star of the show was a beer brewed 83 years ago which wasn't great but wasn't bad it was still drinkable and no one got sick.

A big thank you goes to Create restaurant that helped put the menu together and the chef was on top of his game the entire night not one complaint was made when the food got put in front of us.
The guest list included
Rick Furzer- @rickfurzer
Paul Tuffnell- @tuff86
Zak Avery- @zakavery
Dean Pugh- @deanfromfoleys
Mark Fletcher- @fletchthemonkey
Andy Parker- @tabamatu
Jane- @i96jms
Gavin Frost- @misterfrosty
Daniel- @Danielvane
Andy- @SWBAndy
Ben Hodgkinson- @cptcheerful

other joined us at Mr Foleys with their own range of beers Rob @BGRTRob from Hopzine, the man behind the cloth @Ghostdrinker, @tunks86, and the one and only @juffage.

Thanks for making it a very enjoyable time and I hope to do it with all of you again. Until next time guys hope its sooner rather than later.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

White Stout???

Broadford Brewery
I think I might be one of the only people to get to try this beer 3 different ways and to be honest they vary on each cask, keg, and bottle. Now the cask and keg were a while ago but I seem to pull from my very drunken memory banks I preferred the cask version to the other. Keg was to cold gave it a huge hop haze and had zero to no flavour, the cask seems to flow a bit better sadly I only had a half of each of these so its hard to pull the exact flavours to really give this beer any kind of tasting notes. Last night there was a huge tasting session over twitter with bottles of White Stout going out to different venues from Stoke on Trent to Newcastle to Hudderfield to Leeds and all the way down to London Town. I sadly missed the event but picked a bottle up from Mr. Foleys and opened it with great haste while enjoying my dinner of chicken wings and a damn fine potato salad. I let it breathe for a bit while taking sips every now and again to remind my tongue of what kind of beer this actually is. Derived from an old English definition of stout meaning basically strong ale and this lives up to the definition that printed on the bottle. Now the big question is does this beer live up to the hype and initially it doesn't the cold doesn't do this beer any favours but after about an hour the beer evolves into a completely different beast all together. A very tasty 7.2 abv beverage that really goes well with Celebrity Juice blaring on in the background and the ramblings of family members om the couch. In reality drink this beer if you want to get lost in your own little world so you can drown out the conversations of a show that's not funny anymore and concentrate on the different amount of flavours that come with this beer moving from cold to cool to warm to room temp so all in all I shall rate the keg 2 out of 5, cask gets 4 out of 5 and bottle gets no rating as it gets better with time and its unfair to rate a beer that gets better out of the bottle.