am writing this in the hope that a good bit of beer mumbling will stimulate my writing follicles sufficiently to enable me to complete a job application form which I have to go into work tomorrow on my day off to complete. If it doesn't, well, no harm done, because I have a few crumbs of news for you.
On Thursday last we were oop Nether Edge again and being too early for the Union I once again skillfully cajoled Chala into the Broadfield on a flimsy premise created using a mixture of wily cunning and flagrant deceit. She loves it really though.
It was quite busy I noticed given that it was only 5PM, and there were all handpumps in use as we arrived. Having worked out that, with the greatest respect, the best beers appear to be on pump one and two as you enter plus the pumps on the right hand side, I quickly chose a pint of Black Iris Brewery Peregrine. I am starting to love Black Iris Brewery (erm, not in a fruity way mind) as all their beers seem to be delicious. For more info see the link here . The Peregrine had a really fruity bitter taste, perhaps a match made in heaven given the grapefruit, mango, orange and apricot sometimes present in really hoppy beer, and this went down a treat.
I did waver slightly and head off for a Springhead Leveller but its a shame that it seems less good than when I first tried it in the Broadfield back in January. After a slow sup I decided that more crisps were required and another delicious Black Iris beer - Chala meanwhile dispatched an alarming quantity of Pinot Grigio...
Wait For It
On the way home, slightly fuzzy of focus, we went into Waitrose to spend far too much on meat, wine, pesto and beers. The cringingly expensive wine has not been tried yet (well, one has, but never mind), but I have tried both of the interesting beers I bought.
The first on Thursday was the West Brewery of Glasgow's St Mungo lager. This is a totally new brewery to me (although as always with Beefy come lately they have been going since 2008) and it strangely coincided with my reading a review of their beer on Barm's blog (which I almost never read, not because its not good, but because the nanosecond I click on his blog my Internet explorer session grinds to a halt, and, like this time, I lost some of my post, so that's great) here .
I have to say that I am a trifle jealous of anyone who can easily get to West, because although I get the distinct impression they don't sell real ale (prove me wrong!) am fairly certain that their lager must be very very nice indeed based on this bottle. More info on them here .
St Mungo has none of that horrid Samlesbury water, cereal malt, absurd carbonation and hopless wort that chracterises most UK brewed lager, this had a bitter flavour balanced by decent German malt, with a sensible amount of carbonation and a satisfying refreshing aftertaste. Its more the shame that I only bought one, because I could have sunk many of these, which is absolutely not the case if I am forced to drink lager even in decent pubs in town.
Saturday night - preloading shock.
I was off out on Saturday with Wee Keefy for his birthday and not meeting til late, so I decided it wouldn't matter if I had a delicious beer wi me tea. I had one bottle available, the Chapel Down Winery Curious IPA. This 5.6% beer was a revelation. It used traditional beer ingredients, Fuggles and Bramling cross hops, but also a large amount of Citra hops and wheat malt. The result is very enjoyable. The Fuggles likely gives it that strong Fullers like taste which appears in their stronger beers, the Bramling Cross they claim gives some blackcurrant flavours, and there are subtle fruits in the mouthfeel, but the Citra is perhaps what gives it that zesty citrussy hit. The Wheat malt maybe balances out the weighty flavours of the Fuggles? And for all you beer geeks, you will find that the back label is rammed full of hop information. Brilliant.
Anyhow, given that this was all I supped prior to setting out, its clear that preloading hasn't been on my radar - but that's interesting, because of course what I am saying is not literally correct - I have partaken of alcohol before I have gone out. The difference is, I have not sought the highest alcoholic content in my drink and not intended to get shit faced or even drunk. That's because I want to be sober enough to enjoy the first 3 or 4 hours at least of my night out, and because due to having been paid only last week, I can afford to have a goodly sum whilst out. Perhaps the next time the Government want to assess the reasons and contributory factors behind preloading they might consider the high costs involved in actually going out and having a good session.....
So, I was at the Beehive at 21.00 and it was busy but not rammed. I got a pint of Kipling from the range on offer (didn't see any Blue Bee beers on?) as every pint was £1.99 and Kipling, as well as being a favourite beer of mine, seemed very good value at that price. I found Wee Keefy and companions and noted that they were mostly all finished. Beer planning faux pas number one....
Still, I didn't linger over my brew and next we were off to the Wick At Both Ends across West Street. Carlos had never been so I reassured him that there was real ale for me, cocktails for, erm, well no-one exactly, and much better music.
Please note, despite being shamefully poor, the above picture is, in fact, "artistic".....
On arriving I found the beer choice was Thornbridge Brother Rabbit and Sheffield Brewing Co Seven Hills, both on at about £3.20. I had the Brother Rabbit. It aint cheap, especially considering that Sequoia would have cost the same, but the Wick is slap bang in the centre and is a decent venue, especially since it appeals to many different drinkers (there is a decent range of American and European bottled beers available as well). The music was just as good as I hoped which meant we stayed for another, before heading up to Crookes.
This Greedy King pub has probably the widest selection of beers in Crookes, even if its likely not the best. When Kelham and GK do decent seasonals its usually quite good, and there were about 3 beers on offer that I fancied tonight. I went for the Nottingham Legend, a beer which I think I tried at Cropton beer fest. This was an uncompromising complex beer that was a well received strong un after he Brother Rabbit. I also had a pint of the excellent Bath Ales Barnsey dark ale, which proved very popular.
It was noticeable however that the pub seemed quiet, and this was a trend I had found on Good Friday and elsewhere that night. Also of note, the Nottingham brewery beer had a tag above the pump clip saying "I'm brewed in Nottinghamshire", the Bath likewise for Avon and Somerset, and another beer - but this only applies to guests! Consequently, the three regular Greedy King beers plus their two "guests" (one of which I don't think prominently displays the brewery - why so embarrassed?) were all devoid of Geographical identification. Perhaps the paucity of info about the beers antecedence was the reason for this blanket denial on the GK pumps? Why no "I'm brewed in Suffolk" tags one wonders?
Poor old Punch Bowl, stripped gradually of real ale and then renamed "Mr Q's", a name so bereft of relevance and forethought that it rendered its application almost pointless. Now, it may not yet be back to being called the Punch Bowl, but that's what its called - in my mind. So there.
Anyhoo, the range for the night in here was Copper Dragon Golden Pippin (which had run out) and Kelham Easy Rider. I had a quick pint of the Kelham (well, er, duh...) and sensing an oncoming last orders threat got another, and then two more at last orders. This may seem slightly desperate, but it was a good pint and also, I didn't want it to run out leaving me with no beer. At least, that's my excuse...
So, overall, Easter has been a refreshing time with plenty of good pubs and ales along the way. I have had some interesting bottled offerings as well. I am now off for the next week, so may well have a few more updates to come....