Sunday, 10 March 2013

Varsity Brewing Challange 2013.


    I coined it thus since I think a positive note about the brewing challenge is that it could maybe  happen again. With a different commercial brewery perhaps. For now I'll just quickly tell you about the two beers I tried. Plus divulging some other info....

First up, Karha was brewed by the Polytechnic. Do you see what I did there? I pretended it was the 1980's! Oh, how we laughed about higher education reform as our families lost their jobs under Thatcher, etc...

Anyhoo, so as I was saying, Hallam Uni brewed Karha with Thornbridge. Points are deserved for it being in a similar vein name wise (Thornbridge often use gods goddesses saints and deities for their beer names, although I reckon that I'd mischievously suggest Anemoi as a name for a beer.....) and in some ways, in not being particularly pale, it was slightly bolder.

As I said before, I don't rate non dark (it wasn't dark) spiced beers, but the spice wasn't too intrusive. It was easy enough to drink, and seemed to be stimulating debate when it was on the bar in the Bath Hotel next to Brearley, which is sort of a backhanded compliment.

Brearley was brewed by Sheffield Uni Real Ale Society also at Thornbridge, this was a pale hoppy ale. It wins the prize for its name simply because its named after such an influential Sheffielder. It perhaps looked a little more appetising than Karha, and its description was better, but...

I didn't really like it. I am guessing it had Nelson Sauvin or Simcoe in, because it had that familiar BrewDog style cat pee aroma. In the mouthfeel it was a bit thin, but also had a strange unbalanced wet hop sort of flavour, but not in a good way. It lacked carbonation, but to its credit, and this applies to both beers, you could see what was trying to be achieved.

So as not to look like a completely miserable old twat, I'd sum up by saying that both were good first efforts and frankly, in brewing anything at all whatsoever, both sets of students demonstrated that they knew more about brewing than me.

So, on next to a quick round up of pubs and beers.

At the Bath that same night I had some of the last of the Halcyon. I was a trifle miffed because it was on sale in a nearby Thornbridge pub for £3.80 a pint. It was near its retirement here, not off, but not enjoyable enough to finish, so I swapped it for half of the Dark Star Hophead.

Prior to this I'd been in the Closed Shop chatting to Paultous, Chris and Nathan, and managing to somehow make every beer I wanted to try go off. I started with a Bees Knees Biter, possibly also brewed with help from the Uni real ale society, then a Broadside, my second choice after I looked at the Blue Bee Lustin For Stout the wrong way. The broadside was a nice change, but when it was realised that the Stout hadn't run out I found it was bitter and slightly burnt and not how it should taste. Humph.

I was off straight to the Bath from here but bumped into Adam from the C&H so decided to pop in the Hallamshire House with him for one. Here as alluded to earlier I also had tired old (but cheaper) Halcyon. He made a better choice in having the excellent Imperial Oatmeal Stout, but I didn't want to be trolleyed and avoided it. In essence I was on an unlucky run, and didn't really enjoy any of my beers. Shit happens, it seems.

Last night I was out watching a man. He was from elsewhere and he said things that made you laugh. Prior to that I was in DAda enjoying pints of Acorn Blonde and Acorn Bullseye, and would have had a Dark Star Porter - had that not also gone off the minute I coveted it. We also played an entertaining game of "shutting the 'kin door hobby" which involved me moaning a lot about the door being left open by young uns, or generally not closing. I live a fast paced and heady life....

After the gig we went to the Rutland - I had a pint of a dark beer that has escaped me, Mr Cain a pint of Becks. Great music on the jukebox as always and the beer was in good condition - it may have been a Raw beer come to think of it.

We finished for a last one on the Sheffield Tap where I had a pint of an aggressively bitter but pleasant drinking Buxton Moor top and Mr Cain a pint of Bernard Light. We got to sit in the brewery room on a surprisingly quiet sessoin, before wending our way home.

So, I have reached the end of a week where beer wise, not everything was good. But never mind, there's always Tuesday to redress the balance. And Thursday at BeerX. Friday maybe. Saturday....


Wee Beefy


  1. Good to bump into you in Dada. Tried "Twin Peaks", the Thornbridge / Sierra Nevada collaboration there. Unfortunately I found it very disapointing.

    1. Hello mate. Didn't bother to be honest. The best Sierra Nevada I tried was on cask. Not likely that a potentially dry over fizzy offering would beat it, so saved me cash!

      Sorry had to scoot, but was labouring under the illusion that the gig was on at City hall. It was at the Crucible. Doh....