Saturday, 11 August 2018

A Fine, Friday, Sheffield crawl


      not yesterday, as am always a week behind, but the first Friday in August, I arranged to meet Christingpher at the Portland House on Ecclesall Road. Given that he had never been there, and we hadn't seen each other for five months, he agreed. I left my appointment nearby around 14.00 and having been unable to find any opening times was surprised to see C standing uncomfortably outside the closed pub. Christingpher still hasn't been to the Portland House. Does anybody know if its still open?

We headed instead to the Ecclesall Ale Club and found Dylan behind the bar, and soon had a pint and a half of Bad Seed Juice Box on keg. I had thought of trying the Burnt Mill beer but was offered a taste of the Bad Seed and it was a perfect juicy IPA. I sat outside with C supping and chatting before he decided to head off after a half - he was driving.

My next stop was the Garden Room, which was offering a beer called Cheers at £2.00 a pint. It was a keg pale and brewed by Thwaites. It was a decent drop, and between 17 and 19.00 they have cask on at £2.50 a pint, this time including Jaipur. Alas I couldn't stay around but may pop back. I like the Garden Room, in a weird way. Its like a Brit owned Spanish bar in Yorkshire. If they don't do roast beef and Yorkie puds I will be very disappointed.  

The Beer Engine came next and the pub is currently being managed by the Man of Ash. As always there was an excellent range of beers, and I had halves of BBno's session IPA and a sour, which was also brewed at a brewery.  I also had a small plate to put me on til later. It was ham and manchego and Dijon mustard potato croquettas. They were fab.

A rarer stop for me next at the Clubhouse. Having ordered a tasty pale ale I was disappointed to find a five pound limit on the card machine, but stumped together over £3.00 in loose change and got the pint a little cheaper. I did think about having more snap but was conscious of time as I was headed for my second home. The beer was well kept and refreshing.

I walked to the Railway on Bramall Lane next. I may only ever have been in winter because this was the first time I had sat in their beer garden. A pint of pale cask was accompanied by a pint of Abbeydale Heathen on keg, and some snacks. A fine stop once again. I did hope to visit the Cricketers, but it was closed, and have been told by those in the know that he only opens matchdays now.

A wander onwards found me at the Lord Nelson, also a first visit for some time. I had a pint of pale ale on cask which was served in a glass, and which entered my throat through my mouth. Am just trying to provide an absurf and unnecessary level of detail in order to pretend that I have clear memories of this event. The beer was very nice as always, and I paid on card.

From here I walked to Shakespeares where I finished on other glass housed liquids. As I was too poorly organised to take any photos am not sure what I had but Friendache tells me it was Boon Kriek. So that will have been a pint then. Evidence of photos in my garden the next day also tells me that I got home, which is where I continue to live. This also what I mostly managed to achieve on Saturday and Sunday...

Its always nice to revisit pubs that one hasn't been to for some time, and with such a massive range of good quality boozers here in Sheffield that is often the case. A big three cheers to all the pubs visited for the continuing efforts to water and feed the thirsty drinkers of Sheffield.


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Remember when beer was bottle conditioned?


     I wondered if many of the readers of this blog under the age of 30 know of or less likely still have tried, and even less likely still, have enjoyed, a bottle conditioned ale?

I had a chat back in March with one of the brewers from Northern Monk (it may have been April) about putting bottle conditioned beers in the fridge to reduce its liveliness, and then opening it cold and allowing it to return to room temperature. He seemed concerned. What bottle conditioned beer are you drinking nowadays? I had to think.....Durham Temptation I replied. He seemed to think that was the only one likely to be any good. He is probably right. And its three years since I last had one. I may have met them in May. These are just months after all....

In 1995 I started working at Archer Road Beer Stop, Sheffield's first real ale off license, then just changed from Small Beer, as Davefromtshop had taken over. In 1995 I believed that bottle conditioning was the future of beer. I know. Don't judge me. And this was despite a horror show of evidence to the contrary. If putting live yeast in a cask and expecting strangers in multiple venues to know how to keep it and to avoid multitudinous naturally occurring happenstances that may ruin a beer is risky, then doing the same with a bottle is surely madness.

Then there were the rules. Chill it first, open it col.d Certain beers, such as Burton Bridge Empire Pale Ale, needed chilling for a day, and then to be poured into two steins to hold the froth. Much beer had issues with the yeast used (who chooses to put yeast in a beer that you can't drink?) which would either die, go rank through other issues such as light or temperature, and then needed to be poured away. Usually with the rest of the contents of the bottle. Apart from King and Barnes and Marstons, and the ever so lively Burton Bridge, oh, and Durham, most bottle conditioned ale, or BCA, was to be avoided at all costs.

Although the Belgians seem to know what they are doing with it.....

This realisation of the pooernes of BCA in part prompted me to write the following post here. All the way back in 2012. Having thought carefully about it I reckon there may only have been a handful of bottled beers, all aged, and very few purchased, that were BCAs, thereafter. And that isn't all down to the horrors of the Corvedale or Litton brewery bottled beers, all of which were senselessly bad.

Its mainly because, as of 2014 or 2015 when I first tried "modern" beer in a can, I have recognised that the type of beer I like to drink tastes better in a can. Nobody wants a BCA soupy IPA. Some such beers are bottled but very clearly implore you to drink fresh - spot on advice. I want to drink the freshest beer with the hops at their prime. And the likes of Citra, Mosaic and Centennial do seem to have extra citrus bitterness when freshly mashed. So gerrit supped!

I do still have  couple of old beers that I intend to drink, and some that, unlike most of my collection, may in fact be worth something so won't be opened, although that is a narrow market am sure. My 1994 Thomas Hardy Ale is reaching maturity next year and will be shared. The difference there is, the style is suited to ageing, and the yeast also. Its a work of art. It may not have a whole bagful of zesty hops but it will still be an interesting and hopefully enjoyable drop.

Apart from Durham, am struggling to think of breweries whose beers I like that I know still produce BCAs. Are BCAs dead? No. And for different reasons, not all positive. They don't however end up in my monthly beer shop nowadays, with far far better potations on offer in can.


Wee Beefy.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Antisocial co-dependence

Hiya Kids! Welcome to the funfair of despair......

            Obviously, those who know me know that the above is my pet name for work. so its unlikely you will visit said park. Its just that having chosen the title of this amble through ideas I realised it may not sound like a tremendous spasm of fun to read. I mean, its not, but I have tweaked it in my head since meaning to write it four months ago when I first espied the two characters described in the title. On reflection, it no longer seems appropriate to jest....

The above caveat is somewhat undermined by my wanting to describe the couple as the old man who dresses like he is 29 in the seventies and the incredible shitting woman. In fact, its a socially oblivious man in his mid fifties dragging his elderly incontinent and usually incoherent Mother around pubs in Kelham Island until she wants to go home. Usually about ten minutes after they arrive. A chance discussion last week using the ISW descriptor resulted in a comment that made me think about the underlying dark tones of this unusual pub relationship, when someone said it wasn't  her fault, it was her son taking her out in no fit state so he can get drunk. Am afraid that is right. Please bear that in mind whilst reading, lest you think I may be enjoying this description of events. Its really a cautionary tale of what happens when a relationship becomes skewed in one half's favour, and the pub is the only place the stronger feels safe.

I was sat in my second home and a man wandered to the bar with an elderly woman. She was wearing slippers, a woolly pullover and loose fitting jogging bottoms. There was an odour. He was wearing a 1970s baseball cap, a shirt, wide legged trousers hoist over his belly with a tight belt and gola trainers. He ordered his Mother a glass of cordial or a tea, I can't remember which, and himself a pint of Stancill, and sat down in earshot. I took a long swig of my cloudy post 8% hoppy soup. Its like I knew.

A man still at the bar, probably older than the bloke, was on his mobile phone. This prompted our  societal orator to bemoan the reliance on mobile communications by "the young". The switch had now been flipped.  His Mother shifted uncomfortably at the table....

His next treatise was on expensive modern beers, and how the Stancill was expensive at £2.60 a pint, and how the young had no idea what they were doing wit their money. Ripe for an argument, I willed him to ask me how much my drink cost. He didn't. Instead he bemoaned the flavour of Stancill, before ordering a far more traditional pint. Of keg cider. Which he quickly despatched. Two pints down, and we were ten minutes in.

His Mother made a bid for freedom under the guise of heading for the toilets. On her return he berated her about modern life choices and philosophies, particularly those of the young. Jealousy is a very poor character trait,  although, sometimes its obvious where its seeds have been sown. "I want to go ome" his Mother said. "Not yet dear, am just going t get another pint" Do you want another drink? "No". Cue chuntering. And another five minute pint. And another rant about the poor quality flavours in modern beer. If only it were 1956. Instead of him just looking like he was still there....

After another pint, he declared he was getting a further one, and I decided to leave the odd show of social awkwardness and co-dependent ambiguity. It wasn't possible to determine if his Mother was being antisocial I should point out. She was just ungladdened to be out. He was trollied. His espousals were even less considered. He was certainly being antisocial.

Seeking refuge over the road in Bar Stewards I had purchased a can of hoppy soup. To my dismay, the odd coagulation of dystopian relationships shambled in. A strange discourse took place between the young wishing old guy and a member of staff. In the end Colin, as I had called him in my head, had another pint of cider. His Mother had a soft drink, later followed by amoebic dysentery. I had left by this stage.

I saw them twice more in the next month, at Shakespeares once again, no doubt bemoaning the cost of the Stancill, and at the Wellington, no doubt bemoaning the arrival of the 1970s. Colin was definitely in charge, and the trespass against his Mother's needs became ever more apparent. Looking back now I can see this melodrama for what it is. A man struggling to look after his semi continent Mother and longing to get hammered in front of other people, who may see the quagmire of his failures and scoop him and his Mother free of them.

I realise this is only slightly about beer and pubs but I do think that it reflects the role that the pub can play in some people's lives. For half the cost and much less mess he could care for his Mother at their home and get far more hammered at much less cost to her dignity and wellbeing. That his need to display this unequal arrangement of care and his bubbling disquiet in the pub says much about the fact that pubs are simultaneously places to meet and drink with friends, as well as a refuge for people with serious and oft overwhelming needs. A strangely impersonal shoulder to cry on.

I dearly hope that somebody who knows them has reported their concerns to social services, assuming they still exist, and that some action has been taken or support offered to meet both their differing needs without the compulsion to cry for help through the lengthy scenes on this maudlin tapestry of regret.

I haven't seen either of them for three months or more. Deep cleans of all Kelham Island's pub's toilets have taken place. There are still symphonies of nonsense, but none upon which so much hangs. I do hope they have found some respite in the midst of their struggles.


Sunday, 29 July 2018

Bar Stewards turns one year old


      although Al and Charlie have been open to the public for longer, its was a year ago yesterday that they got their full license at Bar Stewards on Gibraltar Street, opposite Shakespeares. To celebrate, a marvelous line up of ales on cask and keg and in bottle and can were amassed, live music was performed, three seasons of weather took place and crowds of thirsty wellwishers drank in the pub and beer garden.

The lads had been busy brewing a couple of special beers, including Solo - a geek story, a 6.6% pale brewed at Blue Bee, and a hazy 6.9% IPA brewed at Lost Industry called Ingenious Bar Stewards. Am not sure I tried that, but arriving at 14.30 I started on the Solo on cask as soon as I arrived. It was a wonderfully hoppy ale, and ticked all the boxes for what I wanted and expected.

Given the mad rain and thunder in the Friday morning the air was cooler and more rain was forecast, so I had to wear a short over my Tee Shirt. In fact, it was already starting to rain when I arrived, and some of the flags in the front window blew down early on, giving some notice of the weird weather that awaited us. Initially I sat inside but once joined by Vikkie and Matt we went outside where the strong sunshine had dried the seating and the number of visitors increased quickly. Although, four older gents came across the road from Shakespeares earlier and were horrified to discover that the weakest of the three casks was 5%. They left. I know they may have been on an all dayer but they could have had halves, silly old fuffers.....

I had half a Deya next, another cloudy golden swig of hops from Cheltenham's finest, before I persuaded Vikkie to buy me a pint of Verdant Even planets twinkle, or similar, a fabulous murky DIPA at 8.5%. It was, unsurprisingly, wonderful. Although I didn't dare look at how much it cost.....

A couple of cans followed, one of which was a Loka Polly DIPA featuring some of my favourite but thus far unremembered hops, and I had another half of the Verdant, and possibly shared a can of Verdant Neal gets things done. Or possibly not. I think the mini beer tasting I had Friday night and three consecutive nights drinking prior to that may have muddled my brain a little, resulting in  a modicum of misrememberance....

A couple of heavy showers fizzed over us, sending some scarpering inside as if made of sugar, but we simply stayed put and got wet, and as the crowds got ever bigger Stumbling Andy played blues guitar, whilst we and others petted his dog. Rich and Kath turned up, as did clan Seaton and Unpro, and there were numerous other well known members of the scene including Pete, and Andy Morton. It seemed as if everyone wanted to wish the Stewards the very best, and Vikkie and Matt even got them a birthday card featuring some of Matt's finger on window handiwork!

According to texts I sent to Tash I was home by half 8 so probably left bout 19.50 after just over five hours supping. Since the Solo at 6.6% was probably the weakest beer I drank all day its hardly surprising that I neither remember getting home, nor cooking and eating my tea. I did though, so there.

New micropubs continue to open in Sheffield with a number since Bar Stewards started out in early 2017. It seems the demand for small independent places to drink free of tie remains unabated, with proposed new venues in Hillsborough and Crookes on the cards. Through dedication, hard work and a genuine love of beer the Bar Stewards have built their reputation and created a reputable and reliable place to drink, meet and chat with similar minded folks.

Heres wishing them many more years of growth and excellence ahead.


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Sheffield gets another new bar.....

Hello readers,

     some of you may read into the title of the post. that I don't see any need, maybe any justification, for another new drinking venue in fab sunny Sheffield. That isn't the case at all. In fact, its a little word trap that I have set, and now entirely dismantled. And as you will see, I happen to rather like this new venue.

I say venue because Church, Temple of Fun is not just a bar by any stretch of the imagination. The building itself, on Rutland Road, houses a clothing store called drop dead and the bar features along with a frankly excellent range of bose, a vegan menu from make no bones, and there are retro video games to play, along with quirky seating (too much so for me, I didn't want to have to be rescued, although once I regain some mobility I will try out the hexagonal "tubes" which you can sit in....) The main highlight on my first and thus far only visit was the music.

The Osborn factory, or more likely Osborn woks, have terrifically high ceilings. This affords a cool atmosphere, and some frankly excellent acoustics, and the choice of music played then, mainly dub reggae and a sprinkle of ska, was perfectly suited to the surroundings. When not shopping, dancing or walking around in awe of the vast cathedralesque qualities of the venue, there is a small outside drinking area positioned over the river Don from where one can espy the fabulous Gardeners Rest beer garden.

But what of the bose? I hear you cry....

There are two handpulls, one for cider and one for Dark Star Hophead on my visit, and possibly six keg fonts. selling high quality beers such as Black Iris endless summer session IPA, Highwire Grapefruit, and the first beer I had there, which may have had a name, and been Lervig Tasty Juice. Or not. I looked at the wine list as well and it sounded fantastic, although on this occasion it was strictly a beer visit. The staff recommendation board features Cloudwater in cans, maybe as a collab, so the can and bottle selection is pretty good too. I have been told by friends Helen and Chele and also judging by the pics on their website, that they are rather good at cocktails. As an unreformed death metaller, the idea of putting activated charcoal into a drink to make it black sounds like an excellent idea!

A quick search on Google lead me to an article in the Sheffield Star, whose website I cant access except for in cache. I found out from that the person behind the bar is Sheffield musician Oli Sykes from the band Bring me the Horizon. Yep. Me too. Now am in my dotage I know very little about current Sheffield popular beat combos. There is a link here to the bar's website, and you can find them on Friendache....

I also discovered the name of the architect who designed the original works, William John Hale. There is also a link here to an article about Hale and listing his Sheffield buildings. As a former Crookes resident its interesting to see how I have followed his architecture to near where I live now. Or not.....

I will be returning to Church, a great name for any pub as used by many a person as a euphemism for the pub or club, in August and am looking forward to encountering more excellent music and more wonderful beers. In the meantime I highly recommend a visit.


Wee Beefy

Monday, 16 July 2018

A very wet week in sunny Sheffield


       just an advisory note readers, the following tome contains multiple references to and details of EXCESSIVE consumption of luffly bose. And not just ordinary bose. Naeow. Proppah bose. I digress, of course, but here are some details of what some of my dear friends told me happened during that mad week last month.....

Last month, and the period thereafter, has been hot. So eagle eyed readers will notice what I have done. Its an joge. A play on words if yer like. because the weather....was not wet. Its just that my actions were primarily aqueous.....

It Shakespeares. As, indeed, did everything. When the first wriggling atoms of life splashed free into the furthest pool of life's construction, that, was in Shakespeares. Absurd, admittedly, but you can see where my allegiances lie. Its not my second home for nothing. Its all Earth's lifes second home.

Adam had put on North Brewery Transmission American pale at 6.9% on cask, one of the world's best beers, on. I arrived for my crapulent downfall at 15.07 with S.o.J, soon joined by Helen and Chris and Malc, and had a pint. And then another. Other than the first I paid for none. And still the 568mls of joy came unabated. Carried away on a tide of friends kindness and nobody knowing who the delicious pints were for, I probably had six. Or seven. Or more...

One surprising side effect of this bibulus undertaking is that I became hammered. So much so that I "briefly" nodded off. Indeed, am still hearing about persons who turned up at or around 20.30 whom I have no recollection of seeing. Steve took me to the loo. And I dare not report what WK had to explain away about my trousers as I tried to leave for the taxi.

The next day, having somehow not died, I awoke earlyish to find Matty strimming the lawn in drizzle, and friends and WF started to congregate to board a minibus driven by Paddington. Having been too destroyed to read my Faceache messages I hadn't realised we were meeting on the main road. WF was not impressed. Although, WK offered to drive his car to him, pick him up. drop him at the bus and then drive back, park the car and run back. WF was having none of it. We left 40 minutes late.

Arriving at the Ye Olde Rock Inne at Upper Hulme at 13.00 we soon ordered food and all had fabulous meals and mainly numerous pints of Wincle Sir Phillip. Excellent snap, even if the mobile phone bound lass behind the bar never collected our plates in the hour following our meal. Heading through excellent countryside back to Sheffield, we stopped at Tescos Abbeydale, where me and Davefomtshop walked there for me to buy bose and WF embarked on a tri-millennial dawdle to the loos. We arrived back home late, with WF half asleep, to find that Tash and Matt had done a wonderful job cleaning the house and finishing the garden. Much supping, burgers and music then occurred, til I finally went to bed about 01.30.

The main part of the weeks libations transpired to be my actual birthday, where after a half of Mad Clown in the Rutland we headed to Shakespeares. Here, the Transmission pump was inhabited by a 6.9% Howling Hops IPA, which I had several pints of. Perhaps seven, maybe six. Carlos very kindly drove me home, and having watched me open the gate, clamber down the steps, open the  door and enter the house, I texted him half an hour later, to tell him I was home...

All in all I had a wonderful birthday week, although I have to zay, a wz veh, veh drank.

Your very envious health!

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Why did I Bother Understanding IBU?

Good arternoo,

     a few years ago, maybe five, perhaps six, or four, or any other number, I had a chat in my second home with Dave Unpro of Steel City Brewing. I was asking his advice on what IBU, apart from International Bitterness (or ing) Units, actually meant. I have had a drink since then, and so can't really remember much of the outcome of this discourse but I think it was similar to wind chill in that the bitterness measured in IBUs is how you perceive its level but is different to the actual level. Or it could be none of these. These are guessesmories after all. And I have had a drink since then. Did I mention I'd had a drink sine then?

Back in 2012 Unpro and Arbor Ales had collaborated to brew a 666 IBU beer at 6.66%. I even wrote about it, here. I was very impressed by the beer and pleases at how easy it was to drink. I also mentioned that BrewDog Hardcore IPA had an IBU of 150 but Punk IPA, which I had loved when I first tried it, was only 40. This may be where my reliance on IBU as a sign of quality started to waiver.

Earlier this year I tried Northern Monk Infinity Vortex, a 6.4% or similar IPA which I absolutely loved. Checking their (or another's)  website I was surprised to note that the IBU of this beer was only 25. Since the beer was double dry hopped I couldn't work out why it hadn't been higher, and also why I had still loved the brew. Did IBU still matter to me?

The answer to the question in the title incidentally is simply that it seemed to be a good indicator of good beer. And as the below highlights that is not necessarily the case.

Evidence it doesn't equate also came from my love of Verdant beers. I saw an interview with them earlier this year where they said the biggest surprise to them had been just how sweet people liked their beer. Pah! I retorted. I don't like sweet beer, yuk! But actually, having last night tried even sharks need water from the same, it was described more like a can of sweets than an IPA, and once more I glugged it down like it was...well, manna from heaven is a slightly unfortunate comparison, but certainly it was a fab concoction. Incidentally, I can't find details of this beer's IBU. And Untapped states No IBU.....

Its interesting to see how my tastes have developed over time, I now prefer a colder cloudier beer than I did 5 years or more ago, and am much less interested in hop bite, although that always tickles my tonsils when its a feature. I don't actually think that the reduced prominence of IBU in beer is a sign of taste changing however, instead its as much a miscomprehension on my part, the idea that high IBU equaled high enjoyment.

In looking at the details of the malts and yeasts used in Cloudwater Verdant and Northern Monk beers I am more clear now on what I think are the many parts that make a good beer. Flaked oats and London Ale yeast are just two ingredients that feature regularly in beers I love and contribute to a smoother and easier drinking beer. I don't think this reduces the hop or bitterness tastes in the beers, I just think it makes the palate more open to subtleties otherwise unnoticed in the beer.

Ironically therefore, am not considering the level of IBU in a beer but loving the dry hopping rate. So if anything IBU as a measurement is just a distraction from my primary consideration of whether or not I like a beer or not, that being just exactly that. IPAs have a lot t answer for it seems!


Wee Beefy

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Man drinks clear, sub 5% beer. Rubber-neckers gridlock traffic.

Good evig,

  shocking and scarcely calculable news has emerged of a man drinking a clear beer, at sub 5% in a popular Sheffield establishment. The man, known online and in Maidens Ayrshire as Wee Beefy, consumed said potation on Saturday, occasioning not only an International visa payment crisis, but also the spectacle of hoardes of onlookers whom gridlocked the road outside his den of iniquity, trying to "cop a butchers".

Beefy, as he is known, did not even forewarn road users or passers by before beginning this heinous undertaking, leading directly to the automotive carnage outside. Whilst blog and Friendache readers reacted with disbelief, thronged on the highway trying to espy the near clear liquid were hundreds of discombobulated bystanders.

Onlookers, conjoined in a group hum of wretched contemplation, even mentioned that the beer, as well as being below his usual 7% starting strength, "didn't even have a capital I in it". The elderly spontaneously combusted at this vile revelation, whilst pitchfork waving crowds thronged the pavements in shared ire.

As the harsh sun of expectation denial aflamed the slow moving outside, Beefy ignorantly chugged down his effervescent tincture inside, with scarcely any consideration of his action's impact. "ee dint simt care" shrieked Graham and Grahametta Schjok, a cretinous couple who had jack-knifed their camper van across both sides of the road to witness the seemingly unimaginable act transpire. "ee juss drank it, like ee dint gee a shit " said Norman Colon, a passing drunk with scrofula " ee dint sim to care a jot the bast" he mumbled incoherently.

On social media the pages of despair were afire with accusations of some kind of publicity seeking scam or contrivance on Beefy's part, perhaps, in some ways, trying to claw back a fall in stats on his woeful "blog" site. No agreement or contrivance has been received from Beefy, lapping up the sun in the Algarve as he is.

"aee luff you, yer fuggin suberstarp" he drawled aimlessly. I fuggin do yer top basta"."Am back ont clear suff narr an its shent me daff". No other response could be found.

Other hues of ale are available.

The Beefmeister

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Cannonball Run 2018


      many pubs in Sheffield, and, no doubt Huddersfield and elsewhere, did the Cannonball Run this year. I certainly tried the new Neo in Hop Hideout and I know the Rutland also ran the three if not all four.

In case you are lost, the Cannonball Run is having all four, or in this case the three stronger, Magic Rock Cannonball beers. I don't think there is an order, or prescribed quantity. Its just a way of enjoying the Magic of the Rock and their excellent but boozy beers Cannonball, which I recall is a 7.4% American IPA, Human Cannonball, which is a 9.3% DIPA, Neo-human Cannonball which may also be 9.3% and a New England DIPA and the big sick daddy monster of them all, which is Unhuman Cannonball, a TIPA at 11.0%. This may at least explain the lack of insistence on quantity.....

On Saturday I got to Shakespeares, my second home, about 15.00 and bought a third. Not of Magic Rock mind. Of Cloudwater Citra DIPA at 8.5%. It was very very easy to drink, and its soupy orange hue looked wonderful against the dark green succulents (not sure of name) in the pot in the garden, splashed in glorious sunshine.

Next I took advice on my second beer - and had a third of the Cloudwater and Veil Brewing Chubbles TIPA. Although not doing so well at the Cannonball Run thus far, Chubbles is a simply fantastic beer. As I relaxed in the hot sun, waiting for the couple on the bench on which I must sit to get the last two hours of sunshine to leave, Vikkie turned up with a half of Human Cannonball, and soon bought me the same. So began a lengthy and fabulous run of frankly insensibly strong beers.

On my recommendation she had half a Chubbles next and myself half a Neo Human, followed by a half each of the absurdly quaffable Unhuman. The beer got louder, redder, and stronger, and the rays got hotter as we chased the sun to its final resting place on the wall on the left, and had another two halves, of unspecified potation.

We lost the sun soon after and headed for more ....sun, at Bar Stewards. V had a half of beer (am sorry, I can't remember what) and I had a half of the Lervig IPA at 7.something. We sat in the yard in the last of the bright sunshine and talked beer and barbecues and then went to purchase a can of Verdant DIPA Howl to share.

This features a few lines from her fave poet Allan Ginsberg (or one of many other human poets) and their poem Howl. As expected, Verdant had pulled out all the stops in making this a fabulous and stupendously easy drinking hoppy DIPA which went down far too easily.

We wandered back to Shakespeares not long after where we had halves of the Unhuman, or the Neo, or indeed any one of the beers we had already consumed. It was 20.00. We were sunned and tired. And we were thirsty. After a period of time the winged warrior arrived to magically spirit me away home and the next thing I knew I was getting up to do overtime......

For many reasons May has been a good month, notably the hot sunny weather, which has baked me nicely, the compny, which has treated me so well, but mostly the ale, which has stewed me similarly. The Cannonball Run is an excellent idea, and when accompanied by the quality of beer on offer at Shakespeares and Bar Stewards over last weekend, its quite impossible to resist.


Wee Beefy

Monday, 28 May 2018

Verdant and Cloudwater do colab. World can now end.


      I worry that the title of this post may identify me as a Cloudwater or Verdant "fan boy". I recognise that by the associations of ideas and things I like, that I may have fallen into a category amongst some readers whereby I am not to be trusted on some more patina heavy issues due to my perhaps foolish love of "modern" and worse still "craft" beers. To which, I would say - what is Craft exactly? As many have found, its a liquid word. Its meaning changes per utterance. Am not a crafty darling. I just know what I like. And I don't like the term Craft.

So, having got all that out of the way, lets talk beer. At the beginning of May 2018, or other dates, a collaboration DIPA was released having been brewed by Verdant and Cloudwater Breweries. Naturally, regular readers will have correctly assessed that I had to have this. And I just have. Although it took a long time getting hold of a can....many thanks to Dave from Archer Road Beer Stop for my early birthday present!

The first thing I have to mention is Expectation versus delivery. Being a fan (not boy) of both breweries, I naturally assumed that this would rewrite the story of beer. That was my expectation. Luckily that was tempered. Expectation versus delivery always ends in disappointment I find. It was time to expect to be underwhelmed.

My other fear was that they would do something completely off kilter, and that I wouldn't like it. A marmite gose. an aubergine Hungarian IPA, a caviar stout. Luckily, and the reason that I rejoiced, they stuck to type and did an excellent DIPA. And that made me very, very happy. Because it was like all I love bout their two breweries output but slightly better. And that is all I wanted....

The label implied that the beer had been brewed at the Verdant brewery, and their signature sweet hoppy taste, maybe from the London Ale yeast they use, was prominent throughout. Despite obvious soupy orange and yellow hued comparisons in appearance, their beers are very different in how they are constructed. Verdant are sweeter, and less hoppy compared to Cloudwater. A tribute then that both of these characteristics featured strongly in Swifts or Swallows?, which is the name of the colab.

Having just drunk it I can report a lingering bitterness but also that lightly malt sweetness that frames their beers. They used Citrea and Columbus hops which may have added a lemony hint to the bitterness, along with Cloudwater standards of flaked oat and Dextrin, which are no doubt contributors to it being so easy to drink.

So two of my favourite breweries have made a highly acceptable soupy DIPA. And that makes me very satisfied. End of.



Wee Beefy