Tag Archives: Fine Beer

Stockport Silver Beer Festival

Round one. After three years of coming to Stockport beer festival, I was pleasantly surprised that this year I made it to the opening day, when the beer supplies were not in danger of running out. First 1/3 had to be Quantum, AAA 5 %, style: American Amber Ale, launched for its debut at the festival by good friend of mine and Port St; Mister Jay Krause. It was really good, deliciously hoppy with Bravo and Summit whilst staying true to its name with a rich Amber colour, it went down a treat and so I went back for another half. Ordinarily my rule is to move on, but this was extra special. Over to a nip on the dark side, which came highly recommended by the Port St crew Pied Bull, Black Bull Porter 5.2%, with an amazing sophisticated dry smokiness to it. I went from excellence to a mere ick with a nip of Off Beat, Way Out Wheat 4.5%, style: watered down coriander, so I plucked for 1/2 of the Outstanding, Silver Magnet 4%, brewed especially for the beer festival and The Magnet Freehouse, Stockport. This was a real good palate cleanser, on the nose a whiff of citrus, a really good example of a session ale that has something more complex going on. Next to a pass on by my sister, who was battling her way through. I had no problem with this amply malty Hardknott, Infra Red IPA 6.5% with Cascade and Centennial hops and Crystal malt leading to a rich ruby hue. Moving nicely onto the dark, Summer Wine, Barista Espresso Stout 4.8%. I’m a big fan of Dark Star, Espresso 4.2%, so this had some to live up to; I was not disappointed as this coffee stout had everything going for it. It was bitter as decent coffee brewed with ground Arabica, dark and not too creamy, there was nothing forced about the taste. Last one for the night Acorn, Simcoe IPA 5%, always a nice move, this is the 4th in their second series of American IPA’s, golden in colour and taste.

There were plenty more to try with 150 beers, ciders and perrys, they hadn’t put any Marble on yet and I like to try the Summer as it changes year by year. I never got round to some of the good old faithful brewery’s like Dark Star and Thornbridge, so I made up for this with a delightful Friday evening in Port St where they had on the exceptionally good Ramsgate, Common Conspiracy 4.8%: Amber American Ale. I tried a nip but alas it ran out, only to be replaced by Thornbridge, Sequoia 4.5%, which was excellent. I made up for Summer in bottle form, with Brooklyn, Summer Ale 5%, delightfully good on what felt like the hottest day of the year.

Large beer festivals are always a strange occasion, as they are most definitely about drinking the beer and the chances to talk about it are quashed by the masses. It was good to see a large selection of old and new beers on at Stockport that were more than your average. They had a wide variety of ciders and perrys, which although are not for me are great for those who prefer these to the ale. The next beer festival I will go to will be at The Albert Club in West Didsbury, as it was a real hidden gem last year and quiet enough to sit in the bowling green with time to ponder the flavours. There won’t be as many beers to try, but it’s free entry and definitely worth a couple of pints, 24th-26th June.

For a full listing of the beers that were on at this year’s festival go to http://www.stockportfestival.org.uk/BeerList.pdf

And for the flyer that advertises the West Didsbury beer festival http://www.thealbertclub.co.uk/home/noticeboard

 A blog post for http://portstreetbeerhouse.co.uk/blog/

Twitter Follow @babamonchichi @portstreetbeer


Things to do this February with Beer and Art

The People You’re Not: www.cornerhouse.org/people

Good friend and top notch artist Bren O Callaghan’s exhibition at The Cornerhouse, until Sunday 27th February is well worth a visit into the world of unfulfilled ideas presented through beautifully constructed mini theatres and stages around Gallery 1.  I think I’m right in saying Bren worked with youngsters through a series of workshops  to produce the unrealised until now proposals of Edward Barton, the eccentric Manchester poet and musician, Norman Clayture, wooden pant clad balladeer and comedian Harry Hill.  The exhibition is a sensation through seeing many depictions of memorable people in settings unusual for some (and probably not so unusual for others) and pinpointing the bits of ourselves we both are and are not.

There’s a free evening with Edward Barton Sat 12th Feb 6pm, book though.  There’s also a gallery discussion on Wed 23rd February 4-5pm, book.  Other than go for your own perusal at the drunks and delirious ramblings that The People You’re Not creates, it’s a great place to excuse the next recommended on my to do . . .

Portstreet Beer House: http://portstreetbeerhouse.co.uk/

Wohoho, not a good week to be on antibiotics with this new exceptionally good ale joint.  I could not believe the selection, true to their word craft beers are a plenty and with the amount of new comings and goings it’s going to be enough to keep the most well rounded craft beer drinker on their toes.  Brought to us by the delightful Common bunch, we have this new baby in the Northern Quarter.  On Friday when I had my first outing, I had 5am saint on draft and a bottle of one of my old time favourites Dark Star Espresso beer, though it failed to keep me from being too goosey come the amount I’d consumed in total that evening.  I will definitely be enjoying a few delights here on Saturday evening and my hope is to try the much raved about Caldera IPA, craft beer in a can, so don’t buy it all with their new card machine.

Back to Art with tonight’s sampling

Rotar at Whitworth: www.manchester.ac.uk/whitworth

Great 40 minute live piece in response to Siobhan Davies’ new dance work The Score.  Four dance artists sing, walk, move, harmonica play and shout their way through the performance.  I really enjoyed the fact that there was the continuity of four performers in translation of different artists work in quickish succession.  I really responded to the last section Songbook by Matteo Fargion, but that is to do with my own love of word play and sound manipulation.  All the pieces brought something unique and played with my concentration levels, commenting on the minds wanderings and bodies.  I only got chance for a quick squizz around the exhibitions, but I will go back as they are there till 13Th March, I was struck by The Babel Flower and would like to spend more time with the pieces.  Great performance, the live show is only till Sunday and if you go smile when you make out the word plums in Songbook, I did as I had them in my bag.

To Beer of the home variety

The Bottle Stop, Bramhall Acre Lane:

Should have blogged about this place way sooner, and I will do in more detail at some point when I don’t want to listen to Front row  where Bren and Harry Hill discuss the realisation of the idea bought for £50. The Bottle Stops exceptional both in being well priced and well stocked, especially in Continental, Marble, Bollington beers and loads of amazing wines.  I had a lovely Shiraz for less than £8, so probably £7.99 called Dignite, which we had at Christmas number 2 bought on Christmas day, which they were open for!  Also they do changing cask ale to take home, we bought 3 pints of Dinner Ale by Bollington Brewery, which we had with Christmas dinner 1.  It is well worth a visit even if you live 50 miles away. Taras Boulba.

Quantum Brewing Company: twitter.com/quantumbc

Last but not in any means least the exceptional Burnt Amber IPA by the newly formed Quantum Brewing Co, absolutely amazing.  It tasted chocolaty with no use of chocolate malt, it is a new formed favourite, thanks Mister JK can’t wait for the next release.

 


BrewDog and Beer Evolution 2011

Having bought Nanny State BrewDog’s 0.5% (I think a Swedish import) and sampling it for the first time last night, it seems in fitting to blog about BrewDog’s plans for 2011. 

With BrewDog’s Turnover up from £1.7m in 2009 to £3.6m+ in 2010, 2011 sees the launch of limited edition beers in the first 5 months of this year.

Alpha Dog

Launched on 1st January (yet to find and try)

A cask only 3.8% beer. A spin on the ESB style combining Scottish malts and bucket loads of US hops.

I Hardcore You

Launches 25th January

A 9.5% Imperial India Pale Ale, a blend of BrewDog’s Hardcore IPA and Mikkeller’s I Beat You. After the blending, the beer was then dryhopped a further twice. Available in 330ml bottles and kegs.

 29th January – launches a 4 pack of single hop IPAs. Using the same base 7.5% beer, IPA is Dead showcases BrewDogs 4 favourite hops from 4 corners of the planet. Available in 4 packs and kegs.

Alice Porter

Launches 1st February

Alice Porter is a 6.2% sacred union of one 300-year old recipe and two cross continental hop varieties. Described as a delicate mirage of chocolate, red fruit and burnt sugar. Available in bottle, keg and cask.

AB:05

Launches 16th February

The latest instalment in BrewDog’s conceptual beer series. Details yet to be released.

Dog A

Launches 27th March

A new 15.1% Imperial Stout with a BrewDog twist!

Launches in April

Bitch Please

A  Rock ‘n Roll collaboration with Three Floyds. The beer is a 10% barley wine with New Zealand Hops, Shortbread, Scottish Highland Toffee and  some peated malt from Islay. Available in bottle and keg.

Paradox Jura

A new edition to the Paradox series. A 13% Imperial Stout aged in Jura single malt whiskycasks. Available in bottle and keg.

Launches in May

Dark Tokyo Horizon

A beer brewed with from Mikkeller and Nogne O. The beer is a fusion of the 3 brewery’s respective big stouts, Black, Dark Horizon and Tokyo*. Available in bottle.

AB:06

The 6th instalment in BrewDog’s conceptual beer series. Details yet to be released.

So BrewDog are set to keep the marker in craft beer evolutionary.  The market for ale that does something different, that is an experience as opposed to a dull level of numb taste buds, is something that is in continual growth. Though there still continues to not be enough of beer that does that extra bit of work, especially at gig venues and theatres, and there are still a lack of pubs that are prepared to take a chance and maybe make the beer drinker think twice before he/she orders a Stella or Bud. 

For changing the beer you drink is a reflection on your philosophy of life, a commentary suggestive that you are open to experience and taking a chance.  With this in mind it will be interesting to see how 2011 pans out in the brewing industry.  I have a special interest on BrewDog and a personal interest on Quantum Brewing Company that is being set up by Jay Krause a great friend and awesomely refined craft beer drinker and master brewer.  2011 looks set to be good for the changing.

PS Nanny State was good, but it lacked that certain, which is an easy guess reflected in the ABV.


Food and Drinks Berlin

Although the guide books I had been reading did not credit the traditional Berlin cuisine as being anymore sophisticated than ‘Pig and Stodge,’ Berlin offers so much in the way of adventurous, hearty and affordable food. 

There are many multinational restaurants. We visited Thai, Japanese, Indian and Greek as well as traditional  ‘lokal’ fare.  The areas we found best to explore were anywhere away from the centre, but not too far that it became slum-like.  Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg and just off the side streets of Mitte, avoiding where the prostitutes trawl, there are excellent places to dine and sup.  Although my favourite area to explore had to be, where we stayed, in Fredrichshain.  We found the staff, quality, wealth of places and prices made Fredrichshain a great area to trawl.  Here are some places I liked and remembered.

Fredrichshain

Bariton Cafe Bar Restaurant, Weserstr. 23 – nice bar, cool innards and has cocktails for  €3.50 at happy hour, though I stuck to Augustiner.  Here’s their facebook link  http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=47253738116&v=wall#!/group.php?gid=47253738116&v=info

  

 Hirsch Bar, Kopernikusstraße – reviewed in Ex-Berliner as a gastro pub, this was a lovely addition to our stay.  The bar opened earlier in 2010, and is extremely accommodating and lovely inside.  The food sizes are smaller than most places in Berlin, but are excellent quality and filling.  The house pilsner was crisp and €2.50.  Here is a link to their website http://www.hirsch-friedrichshain.de/

  

 Hops & Barley, Wühlischstr 22/23 – excellent and friendly micro brewery, try their spezialbier it changes all the time, mine was fantastic and a nice change to the taste buds as I had been drinking so much pilsner.  This place even offers accommodation, it only serves bar snacks.  Here is their link http://www.hopsandbarley-berlin.de

 

  Kino Intimes, Boxhagener Straße 107 – the bar with the cinema, excellent to sit outside in the biergarten on a sunny day.  They do the biggest meals I have seen and exceptionally well priced and wholesome.  This area is full of great bars to plod onto when you’ve finished.

Kreuzberg

Eckstück,Wrangelstraße 20 this cafe only opened in August 2010 and if you like it gritty, this is the place to dine.  We were the only people in there and I did get a mobster vibe.  All that said the food was really good and cooked fresh in the kitchen that is in the bar, if you want burger and chips or massive chicken salad you could do worse, but you could also do better.  Here’s their website http://www.eckstueck.de/cms/

Cafe Taz  Presso, Rudi-Dutschke-Straße 23this place had a Manchester “Green Room” vibe, which we returned to numerous times in our stay.  The food and coffee were excellent and the price amazingly inexpensive.  The menu changed daily and for €3 for chicken kneidel soup and a baguette don’t expect to come away hungry.  One of the best coffees I had in here. http://www.taz.de/zeitung/tazcafe/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    T A I S U, Rudi – Dutschke – Str. 28 this place was sold to us by the 50% off lunch time menu, I had 12 pieces of sushi (albeit veg option) and miso soup for  €5.  It had the feel of a chain, but the lunchtime menu had good options, though annoyingly as in every chain like Wagamama they never serve your food at the same time as the person you’re with.  All I can say is that my sushi must have been rolled fresh as it took so long to get from the server to me, it was very nice though and a good place to sit back and watch the neighbourhood bustle by.  Although this was good enough there were a lot of Japanese restaurants about that may be lots better so check them out, just head to the area and see what you can unleash. http://www.sushiwok.de/

Knofi,Bergmannstr. 98 – this was a lovely little Greek deli serving 5 tapas dishes and a lot of pitta for €11.  Me and Adam purchased a bottle of €6 merlot, but stick to the house in a carafe, as the wine is poor and the corkage is €8.  This place was so charming and looking at their website it appears that there are three of them.  It was a lovely place to sit in wicker chairs and reflect on the day. http://www.knofi.de/

Phuket, Mehringdamm 67 – We visited this lovely Thai restaurant on our first time in Berlin and were tempted to go back, but we branched out to Knofi instead.   The food was well prepared with lots of lemongrass as I remember, and Adam’s massaman was true to the Thai taste.

 


 


Back to Blog and how the world has changed

By becksie

Here are 10 ways Becksie’s drinking world has changed since June 2nd 2010:

1. Grindsmith is alas no more, it remains but a very short and treacly memory.  I’m sure we’ll see them back in some shape or form; the coffee was too good for a return not to happen.

2.  There’s a new kid in town, namely, North Tea Power on Tib Street, serving loose tea, espresso tea, green tea latte, tea pigs . . .  tea in every essence you can imagine and the coffee selection is expansive too.  On my first visit I was a little shocked when I ordered Americano only to find it was Tea Americano, so do say if you want coffee.  I had to laugh with my dad, who I took there recently, as he was terribly confused by the bits floating in the percolator.  He thought his tea had been infested with flies, we have both learnt from our mistakes.

3.  The world of supermarket beer is evermore expanding with Morrisons now stocking 3 Brewdogs.  I grabbed a few 5am Saints and Trashy Blondes from the local one in Cheadle last week, £1.59 a bottle.  They also stock Punk IPA, but Tesco and Sainsburys are better for this at £1.37 each.

4.  Tesco have their own Double American style IPA brewed by Brewdog, it clocks up 9.2% and is a denser style than their own Hardcore, but it’s good and when I managed to grab them they were on 3 for £4, so excellent value.  Tesco are also doing a ginger beer that’s really good for this time of year, brewed by the William Brothers it’s got a fiery ginger kick, not like with Crabbies, its full hearted wintry and only 3.8%.  Sainsburys have also got an impeccably good ginger beer, though the front cover designs a bit naff. It’s brewed with the Freeminer’s brewery and it is lovely, bizarrely warming when chilled with a slice of lemon.

5.  My favourite beer for this time of year has to be Dark Star Espresso beer, combining my 2 adorations beer and coffee, it’s the perfect combination.  I picked up a bottle from the newly expanded microbar in the Arndale, their beer selection is really good and keeps growing.  I also picked up 312, goose islands urban take on a wheat beer, and looked longingly at Brewdogs AB04.

6.  Weatherspoons Real Ale festival is running till 14th Nov, and they’ve done a really good job.  You can get three 1/3 glasses for £1.69 and the selection is impressive.  Last week in our local Didsbury branch, we had the Brewdog Edge, woo hoo such a plumy mild 3.2%, a biscuity White Horse Sniveller’s Corner 4.7%, and American Rye Humour beer 4.5%.  Look at the revolving selection they have on here: http://www.jdwrealale.co.uk/

7.  I’ve discovered a new coconut water, I think it’s called cocofino, £1.49 from Holland and Barrett. I’ve been getting 2 as its buy one get one half price at the moment.  It’s really nice and comes in a can: toasted coconut you are what my taste buds like.

8.  I dropped off the bus the other week in Rushholme and with a chill in the air I wondered what on earth to drink.  I bobbed into an over enthused sweet delight emporium, although the board sent me dizzy and the array of sick colouring made my hangover swell, I ended up walking out a happy bunny with a tea massala with soy milk in.  Lovely and spicy, but in a soothing way, I went on my merry way to moomin land. (I actually did. I love discovering new drinks.)

9.  Mulled wine season is upon us, and by God does this make me happy.  I stretch it out more than anyone I know, from now until February.  As I’m going to Berlin in December it will be my on call drink to warm up my hands and my cheeks.

10. Coffee Frescato – had a bad experience in Costa recently and so wrote a dedicated email of complaint, demonstrating my dismay at being given a Frescato of watery consistency with globs of powder and no friggin coffee beans.  If you’ve ever had one you’ll know the new recipe requires grinding the beans, and then you get a little nibble as well as a drink.  They are a slight nuisance when they get in your teeth, as you can’t shift them, but yummy they are.  Anyway they responded and gave me a £10 voucher for their coffee.  As I’d be crazy to go down the ice route at this time of year, though I had one last Saturday, I’m now resigned to sticking with the newish flat white, drink of the season for the time being.


Vote for the microbrewery in the Arndale

DSCF2068OK, if I were to say I was taking you out for a decadent drink you may not be overly impressed to find yourself sitting in the Arndale’s food market, with the waft of fish and hyperactive kids drinking those stupid cake in a shake drinks.

But this little bar is a diamond, and deserves all the votes it can get

It serves Boggart and Brew Dog beers all for £2.50 a bottle, you can get two pints to take home, and they have ever changing guest ales voted for by it’s drinkers.

On order for a very special treat, me and Adam have purchased two bottles of Brew Dog’s Tokyo ale, which retails in at £10 a pop and knocks up 18.2%abv.   bottle

I think my favourite drink so far is Brew Dog’s Dogma, which has been described as speedball, it’s excellent, I also like the Boggart’s Rum Porter and I found the Dark Star Espresso beer bottled and available to take away from this nifty little bar.

Drinking in or taking away the landlady is a pleasure and she knows her stuff

Please try it and vote for them in the MFDF the link is http://www.foodanddrinkfestival.com/awards and it’s the macro brewery

Cheers drink responsibly, drink good beer


Back a bit more spritely and stuffed with Shakespeare

Yesterday, I missed writing for the thought, as I was editing using Shakespeare and drinking Crabbies. The whole image doesn’t really fit it’s like this mathematical equation for which I will use pictures to illustrate

 AT0998RCA3RW7W4CA9JW0YDCAUOB6PCCAYGZBXJCAXFOH34CA9WIUKVCAY3KY3UCAKM7XW6CATIO14BCA75OS8ZCAEYSUQWCA7LPSIVCAYB9G1QCALBIBZRCA9G1M0BCA9L59M9CAG7WUHQCAMZODNB                 + 

  ABST848CA0Y6SRDCAC6VB1PCA3KD02UCACB6O0GCAXT9I2VCACQRZUYCALVTOC8CA6MOROUCAFGERX9CA8KP143CAFKKB88CA1O5WV1CADX5PCKCANYLK2QCA8TGHKYCAEI3REDCAFAY3FJCA659OTK

                  = harking back to the hours and times

                      where lashings of ginger beer

                      makes summer welcome

                      flowed your dearest desire

                      and ham rolls thy beauties

                      were an ever fixed mark


Silver Apples and Silver clouds

 Andy Warhol’s silver clouds

Every cloud has a silver lining.  Well no every cloud is silver for me.  This is a good thing I assure you.

Silver Apples I thought I’d give it a big up, because I have had some lovely times in this place.Silver Apples - Manchester

They serve mighty fine beers and good beer, good place + lovely boyfriend = Happy Becksie

Today was the 3rd time I’ve been in and I had 1pint of nutty black, 4 stuffed vine leaves, carrot salad with mung beans and butternut squash and rocket, yum yum. This cost me £6. This is good.

What happened to Oscar?

First time was my introduction to chocolate floris and how to fit too many people comfortably into relatively little space.

Second time was sat outside with a dog (not you Adam) who I diagnosed with cysts, and drinking I think it might have been Bruge wheat beer that tasted of orange peel and coriander.  It makes the main road seem like a really decadent place to sit.

Third time today, sat inside lovely stuff, had as mentioned above and felt nice and satisfied.  Left confused thinking that David Gray was amazing because I thought I heard the bar guy say a good song was him, but no, Davy Graham is the beautiful culprit.


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