Thursday, 27 January 2011

Brew Dog Q&A

Whilst out at the weekend we spotted an advert for a "Meet the Brewer" event at The Blackfriar with none other than Brew Dog. Meeting Tom in the pub we started Saturday trail, seemed a bit strange as did sinking a few pints on a Monday evening! But soon all my worries were lost after trying the previously unheard of Camden Town Brewery's Pale Ale 4.5% ABV.

As 8pm approached the bar started to empty out and we began to wonder if the event was going to be taking place. Luckily for us James Watt (Head of Stuff as his business card states) walked in and a tray of Alpha Dog was passed round. Soon realising that we were the only people actually there for the event we introduced our selves.So what was billed as Meet the Brewer became 3 guys discussing beer, football and technology.
As well as this there was the trivial topic of his beers, talking about the soon to be launched Single Hopped IPA range and a possible future release of a chilli beer he comes across a hugely passionate about his beer and the craft beer industry. Upon asking him some of his favourite breweries he lists Stone, Mikkeller & Three Flloyds. Surprisingly none of them are from the UK, not that this is a bad thing but clearly sums up James' opinion on the UK's craft beer market. With further prompting Darkstar and Thornbridge were two English breweries he preferred.

After recommending the previously blogged Rum Porter talk turned to the recently released Alice Porter & its a story. For those of you that don't know a few guys from North Bar in Leeds went to Brew Dogs brewery to make a unique beer for his wedding, naming the brew after his fiancée Alice Porter. Demand for the beer "was phenomenal" and as such Brew Dog decided to make it in limited edition seasonal beer.
James mentioned that the beer was actually on tap over the bridge at Doggetts so with the night coming to a close we headed off to try a pint.

Alice Porter 6.2% ABV slight smoky taste but not long lasting. Huge fruity flavours, dates and blackcurrant really sweeten this Porter. I've mentioned before that there's been an influx of Porters on the market but this manges distances it self from other recipes but is an amazing example of a Porter neither of us wanted to leave our glasses behind.

All in all a great evening and we hope to attend and review some more Meet the Brewer nights soon!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Nicholson's Ale Trail

The Day Started Out Promising
Finding Tom already sipping a half of Thornbridge's Jaipur was always going to be a good start to a day.
The Blackfriar is a gem of a pub, an Art Nouveau Grade II pub built in 1905 on the site of a Dominican friary.
Unfortunately there was only one ale from the festival on tap, Thornbridge's Wild Holly 5% ABV . Drinking in the extension designed as a "snack room" makes you feel as if you're in the crypt of a cathedral. Mosaiced ceilings and effigies of friars appear all round in the pub.

Diverting from our original plan we headed to the Old Bell Tavern on Fleet Street. Another pub steeped in London's history. Having been a licensed tavern for more than 300 years. Built by Sir Christopher Wren, it housed his masons who were rebuilding St Bride's Church after the Great Fire. Again only one Festival Ale on Tap and one I'd personally been looking forward too Brew Dogs Alpha Dog 4.5% ABV with its hoppy and bitter long lasting taste. Quite a few halves were sunk whilst we waited for Jon to join us. Playing (and losing in my case) a few games of Blackjack to pass the time. Something that is rarely seen in pubs these days, the alien idea of going to a pub to play games or read.

Next up a short walk south of the rivers was Doggetts Coat & Badge, name after Thomas Doggett who issued the winner of a yearly amateur rowing race on the Thames with a coat and badge. Over looking the Thames with four floors we plumped for the bar (obviously) and this time were greeted with 3 festival ales!
Thornbridge's Hark 4.8% ABV a warming winter ale with spiced fruit & Brock 4.1% ABV a very smooth and creamy dark stout. A personal favourite from the day. As well as trying Adnams Oyster Stout 4.3% ABV which sadly wasn't that memorable.

By the time we headed toward The Old Thameside it was already dark, however upon arriving we were greeted with a dark empty pub and apparent construction notices. Luckily enough the next pub was a short walk away. The Mudlark serving another favourite Brew Dog 5am Saint (see previous post) taking advantage of the 2 meals for £10 we scoffed dinner and tried to sober up a bit! With another festival ale on the we tried a seemingly unimpressive half pint of Vale Brewery's New Dawn 4.2% ABV.

Soon we were down to two as Jon & Christine departed, moving on along the river again to The Horniman at Hays over looking  HMS Belfast on the site of an old tea warehouse owned by Frederick Horniman, a famous tea dealer. A packed bar with several festival ales on offer, deciding to sit at that bar. We quickly sought after Jersey Liberation Blonde 3.5% ABV and a disappointing half of Rudgate Jorvik Blonde 3.8% ABV. As well as Saltaire Triple Chocoholic 4.8% ABV which Tom had been recommending to me for a while and it certainly didn't disappoint. With a deep chocolate taste and a smooth finish, definitely one to look out for.
Next up were White Horse's Black Horse Porter 5.0% ABV and my beer of the day Vicious American IPA 6.0% ABV-a wonderfully hopped strong tasting beer. Not too over powering like so many other American IPA's can be.

Unfortunately because I hadn't done my homework our next two pubs turned out to be closed at the weekend!! That's the city for you. Although The Ship in Talbot Court looked like it could be an interesting place to drink. So with that and probably for the best we called it a day.

Friday, 21 January 2011

M&M Special Porter

The Rake can appear busy even when its quiet thanks to its size, but tonight the place was literally rammed. With M&M's scattered on the bar paying homage to their namesake Darkstar M&M Special Porter 6.5% ABV

This beer is brilliant, the Oak ageing of this beer leads to a lovely oaky smell, that conjures up a feeling of age and wisdom to this brew. The oaky smooth taste lingers in the mouth & the alcohol leaves a warming feeling inside. This beer is smokey yet not over powering which other porters don't always manage. With so many breweries at the moment trying to recreate this historic beer, Mark and Melissa have really managed to create something to live up to its name "special".

Also premi√®ring tonight are M&M's "woody cousins" Mocha and Vanilla 

Unfortunately I only managed to try the Mocha -

Soft delicate creamy coffee taste with the usual dark appearance of a porter or stout. Very sweet tasting and smelling. More Porters like this should be made as I'm sure this is beer my girlfriend would love. I'm just hope she gets to try it one day!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

5 A.M. Saints

I love Brew Dog every body knows I love Brew Dog. So for me to walk into a pub and find their beer on tap is heaven for me. So 5 A.M. Saint was a welcomed surprise!

5 A.M Saint was one of the first Brew Dog beers I tried (long before this blog was started) and it tastes like a Brew Dog beer from the start; and by that I mean it packs a punch. Bitter hops mixed with fruity grapefruit but the offset is well balanced. This beer does well on cask, tastes great, layers well & generally goes down a treat. Here's to more Brew Dog's on a bar near you!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Somethings A Brewing.....

This Thursday sees the start of  Nicholsons Cask Ale Festival showcasing 40 of the best British brews available. Over the course of 10 days starting on January 20th, they'll be rotating  a range of 40 of the nation's finest real ales.

Not only this but Nicholson's are offering 2 meals for £10!
So no excuse for not soaking up all that ale!

So with all  this in mind, it'd be wrong not to attempt some sort of crazy Ale Trail.
& with over 15 pubs within a mile of each other, in the Blackfriars and London Bridge area, seems like the perfect part of town to hold it!

Sunday, 16 January 2011


Another weekend and another perfect example of why I've started this blog! Meeting up with Tom at the Market Porter opposite Borough Market on Friday night I sampled possibly the strangest beer I've tasted.

Darkstar's Winter Solstice 4.2%: Sweet smelling with a sweeter taste. Bubblegum. Bitter sweet after-taste that lingers all this but strangely moreish. Looking up the beer later I discovered that the "subtle hints of flavour and aroma come from freshly ground coriander."

We then moved on to infamous Rake around the corner. Squeezing in to the bar to try San Diego's Stone Brewing's Stone IPA 6.9%: I tend to love American IPA's and this beer didn't disappoint. A flora smelling  solid hoppy & citrus IPA.

Giving up on London Bridge we headed to Crystal Palace and my home from home The Grape & Grain. Amongst the ever changing selection on offer was Sharps Cornish Stout 4.2%. Sharp are another one of my favourite brewery's, years spent in the West Country led to Doombar becoming a firm favourite tipple. This is Sharps first commercial Stout, using Coffee Beans sourced from the Eden Project which lend to its smokey chocolate taste.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Why is the Rum gone?

I seem to blogging about every beer at the moment but Kent Brewery's - Rum Porter was just to good to forget about! Weighing in a 6.5% this was a mean porter. From the first taste I was in love, the warming rum flavour with a mild porter aftertaste before the rum came back for a final kick. Think traditional Rum and Raisin flavour and you'll know what I'm talking about.
If you come across this gem of a brew make sure to try it out, as another reviewer stated "Rum Porter 6.5% is the closest thing to Christmas in a glass as I've ever had. Simply beautiful"

Monday, 10 January 2011

The Real Kernel

A brewery that's slowly becoming one of my favourites, The Kernel Brewery based under the arches of London Bridge Station. So far they've release a number of pale ales, IPAs and dark beers since their creation just over a year ago. Other than producing great tasting beers, one thing I love about Kernel's beers is the simplistic labels, simply stating the type of beer, the hop(s) used  and the date of the brew.

This weekend I was lucky enough to sample 4 of their beers:

Having picked up 3 bottles to try on Friday:

IPA Simcoe Citra Columbus Apollo Nelson Sauvin 7.5%  - Heavily hopped, much akin to an American IPA. Bursting with citrus tones! One of the best IPAs I've ever had :)

Pale Ale Centennial / Chinook 5.3% - Pleasantly hoppy with orange & citrus bite yet with a bitter after taste. A perfectly palatable beer.

A London Porter 5.5% Pours jet black with a brown bubbling head. Has that familiar smoked, sweet fruity aroma synonymous with Porter. Flavour of roasted malts and smokey chocolate, with a fruitiness of prunes and raisins also coming through.

I then found their beers on sale at Bar Story in Peckham Rye, whilst out for a friends birthday. This time I pulmped for the:

IPA Citra 6.2%  - hoppy & citrus laden with a taste of pink grapefruit. As a friend proclaimed this is an"amazing one hop beer"

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Proper Job that is!

Having tried and failed (several times) to find the right moment to crack open my bottle of AB:04 (part of Brewdogs Abstrakt range) I finally bit the bullet on new years eve.
I'd been excited about this beer ever since James Watts (Co-Founder of Brew Dog) mentioned it at a beer tasting, an Imperial Strength Stout infused with Chocolate, Coffee & Chilli.

The beer was a hefty 15% and you could certainly feel the lingering alcohol after my first taste. Obviously the chocolate and coffee have a huge impact on this beer improving on the traditional stout flavour. The chilli on the other hand was more subtle and was only really apparent after a sometime, when the familiar tingling of my lips appeared. Overall a great full bodied Stout with some great flavours. Looking forward to trying the bottles of AB:01 & 2 I was given for xmas.

Away with the fancy ales and in line with what's becoming something of a tradition once again the New Year was welcomed with a keg!
Having seen in 2010 with a 72 pint keg of Harveys Sussex Best, 2011 was welcomed with Cornish favourite St Austall's Proper Job a fantastically fresh IPA. With 36 pints resting carefully on my Networking Bible the 36 pints were gone by morning to be replaced by hangovers and Fakeon (Veggie Bacon).
A great way to see in the New Year!
However I think I speak for all of us when I say that this image will most likey haunt me for the rest of the year!!

Saturday, 1 January 2011


So a new year begins along with my need to document my life's events.

After several boozy outings in the later half of 2010, I began a feel an urge to document these outings and the amazing beers I'd forgotten about the next morning.

So here it is: A Twenty Somethings Beer Blog!

Hopefully as the year goes on this site will become a haven for memories of nights out, pubs old a new and the beers consumed.