Sunday, 29 January 2017

Can conditioned

        You might like this one Beefy - its can conditioned....

So were the words, or similar sounds, uttered by Sean Clarke at Beer Central. I had been into collect a can of Big Dipper and decided I wanted something else - to be honest, its apparent conditioning didn't attract me as much as the fact that it was Moor Brewing Entanglement Red IPA at 9.something percent. It was only when I got home that I thought - what the chuff is can-conditioning when its at home?

In an inescapably poor situation of no research whatsoever (stick with what you (don't) know after all) I don't actually know what can conditioning is. I can hazard a guess, having drunk cask conditioned, and bottle conditioned (and ruined) beers over the years with yeast sediment present. The beer in question was excellent, and poured cloudy, but that doesn't mean there was any yeast in it. What I can say is, for a strong over 9% beer, it drank very easily. It was smooth, but not widget artificially smooth, rather pleasant and refreshing.

Bottling with yeast is meant, in perfect conditions at least, to make the beer fresher, and more carbonated and to continue to "brew" in the bottle using live yeast. Bottle conditioning is not, in my experience, a guaranteed art. Its fraught with potential hazards, probably more so than cask, where at least a decent proportion of those handling it have some idea about what to do with it. So far, by way of absurd comparison I have tried two cans of can conditioned beer, both from Moor, and liked them both.

The other was their Illusion session Black IPA, and this was more casky, if that's a word, than the stronger one. I understand Marble also condition their or most of their cans, and another well known brewery that aren't well known enough for me to recall have also taken the practice on board. There is promise therefore that the practice may take off, at which point a more accurate comparison can be made.

Meanwhile I am still not sure about the likelihood of exploding can conditioned cans, probably down to discombobulation about brewing processes, and a general lack of relevant knowledge re yeast. I know there is no point putting live yeast in a keg (so said Stuart from Magic Rock, probably) because it makes it too fizzy, but that hasn't been my experience of the two Moor beers.

The best thing that I can see coming pit of this is the fact that the CAMRA may now start taking canned beer seriously, now its no longer Worthington Creamflow and Skol. Obviously one can never tell in such areas, but to me there are now four excellent ways of serving perfectly brewed beer and at least three should meet one or other definitions of real ale.

Which means more choice for the consumer. Which is, after all, what we all want.


We Beefy

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Neepsend Brewing Century IPA


    a while ago, although probably this year, I was in a public house with Rich, erstwhile member of the Neepsend Brewery brewing team. He was enthusiastically telling myself and Tash about a new beer they had brewed which was going to be monstrously hoppy. Dry hopped, pre hopped, wet hopped, with kilo upon kilo of hops in the mash and at every stage.

OK, some of the above is guesswork. My memory is not geared up any longer stuff and thus all I can remember is Rich looking elated, laughing, and drowning us in brewing terminology. He may have told us what it was going to be called, but if he did that fact has also since escaped me. Until, that is, this week. In Shakespeares, pre and sadly post antibiotics (I know, I know) I had a pint of the 6.5% Century IPA from Neepsend Brewery on cask. It was £3.60 a pint (or similar) and tasted amazing.

I don't know if that same beer Rich was enthusing about so was, in fact, the Century. I also don't know which century is being celebrated in this lupuloid loop the loop. I also don't care. Because Century IPA is a humongously good beer.

Am guessing it may now have run out, as have I of days to drink now am taking 8 antibiotics a day for an infection. It will of course be on somewhere else soon. It may well have been, or will be, at the Wellington, and the Sheaf View. Wherever you try it, and am assuming you will, I trust you will love it.

By way of description it has a dry and then citrus hoppy finish after an explosion of hops. Don't let that put you off - the hops are fantastic but well balanced, and the beer is incredibly tasty. Whatever dark hoppy practices went into making such a beer they should be repeated. To make a beer of that strength so overwhelmingly hoppy whilst retaining a balance of bittersweet and dry hops in the aftertaste is a trick worth pulling off again.

I remember trying the Neepsend Sharpshooter when that came out last year (or earlier) and thinking that for a beer of its strength it carried quite a hop punch, whilst retaining, and this is key, a balance of flavours. I have no idea what hops were used in either brew but I would suggest that the Sharpshooter was a precursor to, or practice for, the Century.

Well done to Gav and Rich and other persons who have names at Neepsend for making a wonderful ale for me to chew and delight in.

Your very good health.

Wee Beefy

Tuesday, 17 January 2017



        and a very Happy New Year! Aah, a phrase best about 16 or 17 days ago. But never mind, have been otherwise engaged and this is my first blog post of 2017. Here is what happened when myself and Mr P did our first Wanderiains of 2017.....

Twas the first Friday and I met Mr P after work to catch the 20. Didn't wait long, didn't take long, and we ended up at a pub I have never previously visited, the Sportsman on Harvey Clough Road. I know the late, great George, or rather Keith Laycock went there to do the quiz - although that may have been the Mount Pleasant, but either way, it was my first visit and Mr P's first for a couple of decades or more. For info, before setting out, George often used to say "am just going to change a tenner" or, "am just going to see a man about a dog". We all knew he was going to the quiz....

Inside I understand little has changed, Mr P recognised the layout, and on the large bar there were two real ales, of which we both had halves of Abbeydale Moonshine at a price which may have been below £3.00. The beer was well kept and this was an enjoyable start to our crawl. I also paid on card for two halves, which very much suits me down to the ground.

Nearby we visited the Mount Pleasant. In through the front this time (!) and I didn't see Gwynneth (?) or her Sister behind the bar, instead a jolly lass who was discussing the merits or otherwise of the Chrizznussly themed ale from a National Brewery. I think Mr P had a pint and I had a pint of the excellent Adnams Ghost Ship.

The pub seems unaltered since my first visit five years or more ago and that's to its credit. Its has a   traditional layout with a lovely lounge on the left and a very small bar in Room. An excellent place to stop for a beer as always.

Further down the Road Mr P asked if we could go in the Prince of Wales. I can't say I was blown away by it last time but I agreed, if nothing else to hear him read his poem he wrote after being told not to come in anymore when he was in his late teens. An excellent poem, I have to say. On the bar this time were two beers and I think one of them was from Wychwood, which we had a half of each. It was OK, a bit Wychwoody, but that's not a criticism of how it was kept.

Further down the road is the Cross Scythes. Still a Thornbridge pub selling numerous real ales and kegs (and flavoured pork scratchings), I went "mad" and bought myself a pint and Mr a half of the 7 or above% Huck from Thornbridge.  I have to say I really liked it, but agree with Edd that you could expect more from a hoppy pale ale at that strength.

Having bumped into Steve in the loos, we headed his way - down Derbyshire Lane, to the main road and walked along to the White Lion. A guy whose surname I think is Miles (who I saw at the Bath Hotel do an excellent version of John the Revelator, unaccompanied of course) was doing a set at the back. We got pints - myself am fairly certain of Abduction., and sat near the stage having watched the first five or six of his songs from the steps.

As always the Abduction was on top form and it was good to see the pub absolutely heaving - testament of course to the sterling work done by Jon and Mandy since they took over (and Jon may have lost an H, sorry Jon....)

So ended an entertaining and enjoyable crawl of some new and old favourite boozers in Sheffield to kick start Drinkuary in fab sunny Sheffield.

Drink! Drink! Drink!

With regards,

Wee Beefy