Saturday, 27 December 2008

An Ale Advent Retrospective

Now, as the ale advent calendar (and perhaps this blog's golden age) has become dusty history, it seems important to scan back through the last month and see if anything was learnt from the rigorous task of necking a beer a day. So I did, knowing full well that this could controversially and completely turn on a head that old and tired proverb of "not being able to find an answer at the bottom of a pint glass".

I can only speak for myself, but I have (and hate) to say I'm surprised to have learnt nothing. Nothing. Only that Adnams Broadside tasted best.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

22nd December - Christmas Slapper?

My intentions of an alcohol free conclusion to 2008 came to a premature end last night; clearly countless parallels can be drawn between the futility of this exercise in frugality and the Christmas story as a whole.

A three day abstinence was broken with a Teignworthy Christmas Cracker Ale - judging by the picture of a well endowed but quite indecently dressed young lady on the beer tap, Christmas Slapper might be a more appropriate name. Her skirts probably don't always fall below the knee. The Ale, brewed locally to my Devon hometown, was more or less average - touted as having a long spicy finish, it really just tasted a bit watery.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

two non ale-advent related links.

I have to say I like a good apple pie as much as the next man (or woman), but probably not as much as this man - "Pie has historically been the democratic dessert of the common man in the United States." is just a brief extract from the article.

Talking of taking food a bit (too) seriously, here's a link to a food blog probably 79 billion times cooler than this one, a Japanese music lover who likes to construct famous album covers from food -

19th December, Do You Have Soul?

Today I sampled a Northern Soul themed Ale. In line with ale aficionado Steve Watkins judgement on themed ales this one was quite far from swish. About as far from swish as Robert Mugabe is from anything close to reality. Tasting quite burnt and not in a homely way, it's not a pint i could recommend. Pertaining to other events of the day, this Ale Advent correspondent's days are through - no more drinking for me before New Years thank you very much...

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

16th December, Can Real Ale Ever Be Sexy?

Discussed (admittedly seven years ago) over at the BBC...

Sunday, 14th December

Steve Watkins, a seasoned ale man, offers this advice on the Ex-Mass ale, available at certain Fallowfield, Manchester based drinking holes;
"Christmas themed ales, I think usually it's fair to say they're a gimmick and don't offer anything much - sometimes you can chance upon a tasty one though.."

Monday, 15 December 2008

Marstons Old Empire - 12th December

A little behind on posting this one, no matter.

Good Beer. Fearsome strength - 5.7%. Good hoppy tastes, lovely colour. Rich, vibrant colours. Inspiring stuff. Malty, caramel aromas. Very pleasant. Boozy boozy, tasty beer.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

13th December, Old Speckled Hen

Did you know that Old Speckled Hen ale was named after a 1920s MG car? Neither did I.

also, a hen related joke...
Why did the chicken cross the road?

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a change! The chicken wanted change!

JOHN MC CAIN: My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure - right from Day One! - that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here. DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

SARAH PALIN: I'm not really qualified to answer that question [wink], but I can assure Joe six-pack [wink] and all the hockey moms [wink] out there that I know what really matters to them [wink]. Incidentally [wink], I can see a road from my house, so I must be qualified to cross it...

Top Dollar Blues, 11th December

mmmm Leffe...

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Tuesday Triumphs

Tuesday night, perfect weather for boozing. I'm playing catch up. Both Sunday and Monday passed without any Advent beers.

1. Starting things off quietly with McKenna's Porter from Marble Beers Ltd. An excellent start. Dark, coffee tasting beer. Subtle flavours - a winner for first pint choice. Drinkability - Its not one to drink many of. Good December beer - made mostly from peat, coal, and logs.

2. Bearskinful - Bear Town Brewery. 

Excellent beer. Dangerously easy to drink - a winner for prolonged boozing. Good clean aftertaste.

3.  Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier. (Below are the pouring instructions) 

I am a massive fan of bananas. This beer does what Golden Glory does not. It brings soft fruit to the drinking table. Subtle, banana tastes, creamy soft textures. Best beer of the evening..

Big up your tankards,

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

A beerless Monday 8th...

I don't think either of us met the challenge of drinking a beer tonight. Instead we're going to write a bit about George Plantagenet, the renowned first Duke of Clarence. He played an important role in the war of the roses, but we don't want to talk about that - we want to talk about his death!

On trial for treason and imprisoned in the Tower of London he was believed to have been privately executed on the 18th February 1478 by being drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine! And all by request. By keeping clear of the standard and obligatory beheading George Plantagenet showed he had style by the keg load. He'd clearly have loved our beer advent calender; infact it wouldn't even be a stretch to call him the patron saint of this blog...

Soulful Christmas Tree, Sunday 7th

Adnams Broadside tastes a lot like bottled christmas - it's as fruity and complex as the mind of James Brown (who incidentally released this gem of a christmas album). Thanks for the bitches and weed, estate of James Brown!

Anyway, treading the path of anything other than subtle fruitiness is always a danger for an ale, see Golden Glory below, however the Broadside avoids that catastrophic synthetic vibe to cook up something entirely new and most delicious.

and here's a cut from Mr Dynamite himself's christmas record...

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Saturday, 6th December

A crisp, dry day calls for a complementing choice on the beer front.

In an attempt to draw a line under the disappointment of yesterday, I have selected 'Golden Glory', one of the Badger ales from Hall and Woodhouse. Winner of the Tesco Beer Challenge, and also winner of the Beer and Cider category at the Quality Food and Drink Awards. Clearly a beer of high regard.

The 500 ml bottle of 4.5% vol. beer from Dorset is certainly fruity. Its not one I'd like to drink many of. Very sweet. The Label displays a 'Peach & Melon Aroma'. I'm no fruit-shy apple dodger, however, this particular smell seems so artificial it's actually disconcerting. It reminds me of chemistry lessons on Esters. I'd give this particular bottle a score of 4/11. Smooth, and drinkable, but not what I'd call 'the one'.

Friday Night, Wild Goose

Friday evening; I headed off in search of a top notch ale. A wide selection was presented before me, I plumped for the Wild Goose. The pump label had the Purity brewery markings, although a subsequent search of the web has provided little evidence of a wild goose. Prophetic perhaps. 

Moving on, the wild goose turned out to be (in my eyes) a poor choice. Dirty goose would have been a little more apt. All I can really remember of it was an upsetting lingering sensation on the tongue. All in all, avoid.

I look forward to my next advent selection in the hope of a better result.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Beer For Breakfast

Some people say Jesus was a smelly hippy. Mostly they're bitter types and moan "hey why am i called dirty hippy today, but a dirty hippy from 2,000 years ago is called the savior." Not us. We love Jesus like the brother we never had. And we want to celebrate his birthday properly. Our first problem was the sheer hypocrisy of the advent calendar cartel which exists in this country. Where is the choice? It's chocolate or it's pictures if you're lucky; Jesus! This is despite the fact that if there was any chocolate around in our saviors time it would definitely have melted in that sweltering middle-eastern sun. Given that they hadn't invented fridges by then, and also given that Columbus didn't encounter chocolate till 1502 AD, the cliched chocolate advent calendar is really just a bullshit cop-out.

We have a better idea. Discussed here is a scholarly account of whether Jesus did drink beer. We know he did. Instead we're going to drink a different beer every day from the 1st December to the 24th. If it goes well we're gonna do the same for chipolata sausages and Hanukkah...

In The Beginning...

Monday night; A swift pint of Jekyll's Gold, by Hydes a local Manchester brewer. It's amber in colour and nutty in taste. A good beginning. Also, a little on the decision to concentrate on ales for the run up to the messiah being squeezed out - it's simple, they're more christmassy.

Tuesday night boozing; Kodiak Gold, from the Beartown Brewery. A light, crisp beer. Nicely thirst quenching. Ideal for the midweek...

3rd December; Packing a nice and warming 5.6% Theakston Old Peculier provided a metaphorical hot water bottle for a very cold Manchester night. Tasty too!

4th December; well well if we're truthful the 4th began with a Carling, but the less said about that the better - besides, we like to think of Carling more as water than beer anyway (and not in the sense it's essential for mankind's existence...) We pushed on with a pint of IPA, a beer brewed to be exported for ex-pats in the days of the Indian Raj. If this beer's anything to go by post colonialism tastes pretty sweet!