Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Hell's Bellers....

Good morning,

       I realise its Christmas day and I should therefore be wrapped up in bed awaiting Santa to come down my chimney (or something) but am wide awake and the festive mood is making me feel a little mischevious.......

With thanks first of all to Mr Q for the word Bellers, I thought I would share, almost as literally as I can, this run down of all that happened when six or seven corpulent whingers entered a bar popular for its kegs and cans and bemoaned almost every aspect - only for some to stay for more than a pint each.

I was sat near the bar, likely with my friend T-Dawg, but also likely by myself, enjoying a chat with the staff. The unwieldy hills of flesh arrived in a doughy trail and immediately started moaning at the range of beers. "You aven got enni bitter on then?" one asked in a thick West Midlands accent. The barman admitted his failure in life, but pointed the assembled party in the direction of Brass Castle Comet, a single hop pale ale, nearer to the unedifying dullness of bitter than anything else.

One by one the portly complainers tasted the beer and mostly scowled. "ooh, ooh, its gorra twang, its gorra twang this as" said one, about 47 times. "ooh thass oppy innit. Ooh no. Far too oppy....." Much mumbling followed, yet mysteriously, apart from one who had a gin (but was likely not part of the group) all had the Comet, apart from one who had a stout....

We none bellers continued our convivial chat whilst they sat down, saying loudly "iss really disappointing this place innit" and "oi expected a traditional bitter like that Barnsley they ave over the road". Even more perplexing than their choice of venue, was the comment by one that "ooh no, Commit is faar too oppy to be suitible forrah single op beer". As opposed to what? Target? First Gold?

Its important for me to point out by the way that this is not a criticism of their preferred beer style. Not at all. If all they drink is bitter then they probably damn well know a lot about it, and its good to be clear about what you like, and would prefer. My issue is, why come to a bar renowned for its keg lines and range of cans and bottles to drink bitter? They were heading to the Wellington next - and Gav from Neepsend who turned up as they were leaving was quick to point out that Neepsend don't brew a bitter and were very unlikely to have one in at the Wellington.

A couple of rogues in the crew stayed for another pint if memory serves, whilst the majority of the lumpish crowd shambled off with their broken dreams hanging in the air, and their ripe disdain fizzing on the seats they had sat on.

I think that my Dad is very set in his ways when it comes to beer but his main enemy is strength rather than the horror of ingredients or the rueful spectre of interesting flavours dirtying his long loved beers. These guys and girls far outstripped WF in terms of narrowness and determination to not enjoy anything new. And that is saying something.

It's their loss in the end, so I feel sorry for them, but equally there's no need to go round pissing in everyone else's sherbet because the ice cream is too cold. Perhaps its time to lighten up a little?

On a number of levels.

Your very best health!

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Fruit Loop Friday - sniffed up on misery

Hello there,

         I would like to point out that I always did, and continue to do so until this day, think that sniffed up was a reference to a current or previous cold infection. It was only when in the toilets with two of the world's loudest ever men, on the last Friday before Christmas, that I heard one of them roar that they wouldn't be able to eat their meal because they were "snifft up off mi tits man" referencing, one imagines, recreational drugs. So the title is about injecting misery into your veins. AKA going out on Fruit Loop Friday. Hope that helps....

Oh, and a warning to any delicate souls reading - this post does feature a large swathe of what I might politely call "maritime language". AKA swearing. Look away now if you are scared of the f word.

So, who would want to go out on the last Friday before Christmas? Who? And why? Well, the thing is, am thinking that I may have gone out on every such cataclysm of coarse language and crude behaviour in the last ten years - not least because Wee Keefy's work mates almost always have their Christmas pub crawl on that day. And am struggling to recall a year when I didn't see them. So if its not such a big deal in terms of times completed, what is it that I hate about the last Friday before Christmas so much?  Let me tell you....

Not wanting to go over old territory (that much) I think most of all I dislike the large numbers of obnoxious people infringing on my personal space, and the fact that a number of these irregulars believe that the season to be merry is, instead, the season to act without reason. Am not going to try and assume a high moral line against drinking to excess - even if I never say it I am aware that I drink too much and my birthday week this year was an excellent example of my drinking well beyond the bounds of sensibility by anyone's standards. What I would say, however, is that apart from the odd argument with those around me, I never become aggressive, and never physically attack people when am drunk. This is a rule that I observe as a member of human society. And its not one that I consider the festive season is reason enough to abandon entirely.

Many of you will have heard the phrase pub voice. This is a voice that most people have, at a reasonable volume, that should be used when in the pub surrounded by other humans, whom have ears. Inside the pub is not a place to try out your foghorn overpowering bellow. Not even once. And definitely not all bloody night. Yet for some reason, the festive season seems to be overladen with the shoutiest and most annoying people ever. And the last Friday before Christmas is their pied piper of pointless, piss taking, rambunctiousness.

Then, there is the lack of spacial awareness. As a hundred and something year old pub building, Shakespeares has a number of rooms and a relatively small bar area. Using even the most infantile logic its easy to spot that congregating at the bar once you have your drink is entirely the behaviour of fucktards. Apologies for my Middle-English. I have sat at the bar, in times of quiet. The last Friday before Christmas is not that. Get your drink, and piss off out of everyone's way OK?  Its a simple rule to follow.

A lack of knowledge of beers and pub etiquette and manners is also piss boilingly annoying. As per the below:
Fucknugget: Steeef. Steeef. Dyerwanna beer?
Far away Fucknugget: Whorrivthi go?
F: Ave yer gorrany lager pal?
Barkeep: Yes we have Becks Vier, Paulaner or bottles of Corona....
F: Fuck me, errr...ooh, this uns 11% Steeee-eeee-eeeef! Steeee-eeee-eeee-eeef!
Barkeep: it is £8.90 a pint though
F Yer fuckin wha? yavvin a fuckin laff er wha?
Barkeep: you could have a pint of Becks for £3.40
F: aye go on then (laughs, turns away and points over shoulder at barkeep) this guys tranna sell mi a pint for £19.00 a gu.....
FAF: wosztha go meh?
F: nnanuvver pint er tha please pal
FAF : eh?
Some 11% shit, a dorn fuckin norr.....
This goes on for the next 7 hours. This is one of many reason I don't work behind a bar. The above is not a criticism of lager drinkers, by the way, before you get your angry crayon out....

And finally, mass. Too many people in too small a space. For the love of made up deities, just go somewhere else!

The weight of the air, sticky with overweight men's sweaty farts and Thorseby market perfume splashed on by the litre. Blokes pissing in the sink because there is a queue of two for the urinals. A ten minute scramble to the loos. People who can't pronounce available, thinking it features the letter D. People who are proud of knowing nothing. People who start anecdotes in great enthusiasm, only to not finish them or drift off onto another subject, like John McCabe. Sitting behind a near impenetrable barrier of massive lumbering chimp men with the brains of a cat and the hygiene of a dead rat. Its really not very good fun.

Yet, despite all of the above, I was out in this shambles. I was drinking and enjoying Almasty Pale on cask from the past, and enjoying the company of my Brother and his workmates. We finished the night in a reassuringly quieter Bar Stewards on a mental pint of Wylam Reality Asylum hoppy soup at 7.4% and it was amazing.

And that is the ironic thing. I enjoyed my night out because I was drinking what I liked in my two favourite pubs with people I love. Partially the same remit as the noisy simpletons blocking the bar.

Although, to the best of my knowledge, I don't have breath like a miner's sock with a poo in it.

Just saying....

Bee Wifi

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Supermarket craft


      I apologise for using the c word in the title of this post. Its just that I thought entitling it Supermarket cancer or Supermarket c*nts may provoke something of the wrong reaction. Worse still, I could have entitled it Supermarket Christmas. Eeeurrgh. That makes me shudder....

Anyhoo, as am bereft of funds I popped t'asda to grab some essentials and a few cans of beer. Alas they had run out of Bass but Ringwqood Razorback was on offer at 95p for 500ml so I got two of them, and then I found some beer in the "craft" (whatever that is) section which was £1.25 a 330ml can for a 5.6% West Coast Pale ale from BadCo. I don't mind their output, although its not a go to brewery, so I bought a can and took it home. Its only when I looked at the can in detail I noticed it said on the front "Brewed exclusively for Asda".

I immediately feared crystal malt. Its not a pathological fear you understand, but it is valid. I can on rare occasions, even detect it in disappointing potations, and share a dislike of it with many in the drinking and brewing circles that I rotate in.

One thing I don't know is, why would anyone add it to a "craft" (whatever that is) beer? Is it cheaper than pale ale malts? Or does it just remind less up to date drinkers of mass produced golden ales? Looking down the ingredients the beer has a decent hop line up, summit, cascade (not sure if UK or US) and chinook, but in the malt list was Light Crystal. I feared the worst.

Light crystal may explain why the beer retained its pale colour - because I have found that other supermarket own brewed, i.e in secret, pale ales, are bitter coloured. Am not sure if crystal malt is to blame, but lets assume it is. And to be fair to BadCo the hops were prominent, and I could appreciate them. And this was better than Razorback, so all is fine.....

Back in August Wee keefy, horrified at my spending £6.00 a can on Verdant and Cloudwater soups, took me to his to enjoy some supermarket own brand "craft" (whatever that is) ales. I was assured that they cost as much for 4 cans as one of those ones that I wasted my money on did. The selection was laid on mainly to prove a point, and stimulate a blog post. Alas, no point was proven, except that they in some cases, tasted five times less good than Verdant beers. The interesting thing though, was the ingredients used.

Having got them from Aldi or Lidl or Rialto, which is a shop I have made up for vaguely alliterative reasons, the four tried were Red Rye captain pale ale, a 4.6% pale with "notes of caramel and toffee", Twisted knots, a 5.5% American IPA with " a grapefruit aroma" and notes of "citrus zesty fruits", Bitter Iron IPA at 5.4% and Plunged Orange pale ale at 6.0% which was "refreshing" and featured "tangy orange sweetness".

The red rye captain was the joint worst - it was hardly pale and worse still featured what I can only guess was crystal and caramalt, to mask the pale colours, and hide any vestige of hops.  The twisted knots was better, mainly because it featured a decent line up of hops including Columbus citra and centennial (but also Dark Crystal malt), and the Bitter Iron IPA was the second joint worst, featuring as it did a more underwhelming hop load but crystal malt again. The best of the four was the Plunged orange pale ale which managed to hide some of the sweetness of the orange with Rakau and Mandarina hops, and also managed to avoid the temptation of using any type of crystal malt whatsoever.

The thing is, churning out hoppy pale ale in a factory is never going to hold the same appeal for me. And I have to admit that. And I also have to pay more for the beer that I like. Which means, funnily enough, that I also drink less beer than I used to (although its generally stronger, so am not trying to claim any health benefits).

I think the positive thing though, from this brief snapshot of supermarket own brand beers, is that things have really really improved in the last five years, and that this improvement has likely been started by the likes of Lidl and Aldi. Although am never going to seek them out, its good to know that I still have some beers to go to when funds run low.

Many thanks to WK for his generosity, and kudos where kudos is due, to the supermarkets mentioned for taking the time to work with brewers (identified, and sadly in secret) to produce decent beers at a knockdown price. Now, where's that can of Verdant and Equilibrium Keep Left....


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Doing the Heeley run


     last Sunday I went out with my dear friend Vikkie for a short tour of pubs starting on Derbyshire Lane before making our way towards Chesterfield Road and who knows where after. Here are some details of what happened on that wander...

I started the trip by paying to catch a Stagecoach because the Wirst bus never showed up - we were catching the 18 at 12.35 in town so I left home at 11.30 and made it with 5 minutes to spare. The 18 was late after changing drivers, and then the new driver forgot the route. Chaos from the dreadful Wirst bus as always, but we got there on time.

From a range of real ales at the Mount Pleasant, our first stop, we both had pints of the Sadlers Drop Hammer at 4.1%.  This was refreshing and easy drinking starter which went down well. The Pleasant remains an excellent traditional boozer serving 5 real ales, with a lovely view from the bench out the front and a lovely unspoilt interior.

We walked down to the Cross Scythes next where Vikkie enjoyed a bottle of the Thornbridge Versa, wheat beer, and I had a pint of their Rattlesnake. Am not sure whether my tastebuds have changed since the staff at the Bath Hotel brewed this, or whether its another less hopped weaker version of formerly excellent Thornbridge beers - which ever it was it was pleasant but underwhelming. The Scythes was a little quiet, and was also the place where I spotted my first pub Christmas tree of 2018. Mutter mumble....

From here we walked down to Archer Road Beer Stop, now owned by Richard. We had planned to go to the Ale House but information on the internet, which is a person, told me it didn't open til 16.30 so we had to miss it out. We bought some cans, and had a quick chat with Richard,  before heading off down the road to the Broadfield. Here I had a half of the Brew York Hazy IPA on keg, whilst Vikkie may have had half a sour. We sat outside as the pub was boiling, but it was also packed. The Brew York beer was excellent.

We passed Hop Hideout next - ironically the windows displayed only four letters, that spelling out Hope...and then went to the Gin Bar next door. This wasn't a planned stop but it was nice to pop in for a look, and to have to halves of a beer with Shed in the name, on keg.

By now it was dark and we walked along Broadfield Road to the bridge over the river to come out on London Road - and our next stop was at Pour next to the White Lion. Here I had an excellent 8.5% DIPA from True North on keg for something like £4.20 a pint? An excellent beer, and one which accompanied our food perfectly. We both had pizza - Vikkie had the green spicy one with extra olives and I the ham mushroom and olive one.  The bases were likely hand made but the dough used made them so light and incredibly tasty, they were very much appreciated. Definitely reasons for a return visit

Our penultimate stop was in the White Lion next door where we spoke to Jon and settled down in the snug on the right with what was likely pints of Abduction - always a go to fave beer of mine, although had we been staying longer am sure we would have tried some of the others. The music in the White Lion was excellent as always.

As time was getting on we caught a taxi to our final pub, the Beer Engine. In here we had beers, served in glasses, which we drank using our mouths. The beers would have been brewed by breweries and would have had names. We also saw Adam and Lucienne, although I didn't recognise her, and me and Vikkie left them to it after drunkenly thinking he was on a hot date....

Vikkie left me here to finish my quantum of liquid, after which I popped over to the Albion for a finisher, which was a can of Lupoloid from that brewery. It was nice, but slightly reflective of a poor line up of ales on offer.

We managed to miss out Guzzle, the Ale House, Tramsheds, Brothers, Sheaf View and Jabeerwocky so we may revisit starting on Woodseats on a Saturday to get them all in - in the meantime, this was a fab wander around some fab pubs selling unequivocally fab beer.

Your very best health!

Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Shakespeares Beer festival November 2018


           one thing that makes me happy is a beer festival at Shakespeares, which is my second home. I mean, fair enough, a beer fest at mine would probably be better, especially if the beer was free, but its not, and this isn't where this took place.

I managed to cobble together sufficient funds to visit on Thursday night, the 29th of November. The unspeakable horror that is the day before pay day. I manged to purchase an excellent half of the Turning Point Soothsayer Cascade Pale on cask from the cellar, and went to join Ally and Malc, who as dark ale aficionados were already on with trying some of the more troublingly strong offerings from Atom and Imperial and Steel City. The Neutron Star, Rum Tiramisu and Rogue 3 offerings were very easy to eat. sorry, drink, but even just a taste of each a going to my legs.

I meanwhile was very kindly bought half a Kurios Oranj, a Mandarina hop, orange and oat IPA at 6.0% from North Brewery which was once again very easy drinking and not as sweet as it may sound. I then had a half of the Siren suspended in Citra which was excellent, followed by more Soothsayer and a half of Wilde Childe Adoption Process passionfruit IPA,  now joined by Steve and Sonya.  

I returned on Friday where I had more pints of the Soothsayer and two pints of the excellent North Brew Co Hallertau Blanc and Mosaic pale which was on excellent form, very refreshing and packed full of two types of hops that balanced the beer out perfectly. I also tried the Atom Pathfinder Mosaic pale at 4.5%, the Cloudwater AW18 DDH Pale at 5.5% (which may have been on "cask" or some such), as well as their excellent DIPA on keg, from the future.

I finished on pints of the excellent Almasty Breakfast IPA, Howling Hops Pale XX APA and North Riding Brew co Biotic Orb which was a 5.8% mango American pale, which sadly featured too much mango and too little bittering hop, but was still a nice sup.

Rodney said that he had enjoyed it but that there had been nothing that made him say "Wow" but I disagree - the North Pale, Turning Point Soothsayer and Almasty Breakfast IPA were all stunning beers which I had more than one of, and apart from the soilly taste in the Abbeydale plum sour I didn't try a bad beer all fest.  

Well done once again to Adam, Chris, Nate and the rest of the team at my second home for making this another classic beer festival, and I look forward to visiting you once more before the unspeakable horror of harassment descends upon us, that being the C word.


Wee Beefy