What Gose round comes around.

I do not like all styles of beer! I know, shock horror. I don’t care too much about tradition and I don’t feel the need to justify myself. I mean I know I could spend ages learning about each style and tasting different ones but what is the fucking point. I don’t like fruit beers and I don’t like sour beers of any type. That is it. Christ I would drink a Bud Lite before I would a Lambic. This admission might mean beer lovers will hate me forever but such is life.

Last week end me and Piglet went down to The Yardarm on Francis Road in Leyton to grab a few beers. there once one can with a 1980s style TV test card which caught my eye. I remember being a little piglet myself waking up early, before the days of 24 hour TV, and sitting in front of the box watching the test card for hours just waiting for the cartoons to start. The design was just too much to resist and if I am honest I just assumed it was going to be an IPA. You can imagine my surprise when I got it home pour it out I was confronted by a sweet and salty and sour beer. Written in tiny writing at the back was Gose to Hollywood from To Øltest card

It poured a hazy golden orange and had a decent foamy head. The smell was of sponge cake, sweet and malty with hints of orange. It tasted very sweet with little or no hop bitterness but the sweetness was offset by the sourness and the saltiness. No at first I was cursing myself for not looking more closely at the can but then I remembered my first impression of Talisker whisky. All I could taste at first was TCP and it just brought back memories of being a child and for ever cut, bump, bruise, ulcer or sore throat TCP was used. It was rubbed and dabbed and gargled. It was a cure all sent from Jesus himself. However, by the time I finished the first class some switch had been turned on or off in my brain. I was in love. Well, something similar happened with the Gose. I won’t say I feel in love but by the end I developed a fondness for the beer. At 3.8% it is a very quaffable beer and one that I might buy again. If i do buy it again it will not be to just to stare reminiscingly at the test card instead it will be to see if my fondness will develop and I can Gose off my list of beers I do not like.

1 (Large white) 2 (Tamworth) 3 (Berkshire) 4 (Large Black) 5 (Saddleback)

Aroma: 3

Taste: 3

Originality: 4

Overall: 4 (it gets a four for changing my mind)

 

Advertisements

Netflix and Swill

Most of my drinking is done at home either while eating or sitting in front of the TV. It has always been this way. There used be afterwork drinks, mid-week drink, pre-dinner drinks, drinks while cooking, sitting around drinks and even some post pub drinks. Now with Piglet and the fact that my, being a human, life is pretty busy it has shrunk down to I can’t believe it is Friday and I don’t have to wake up at 6am drinks. With Miss Piggy being equally, if not more, busy we find it increasing difficult to spend time together. However, once in a while we find ourselves without work and so once Piglet has gone to bed we kick off our shoes, let down our hair and switch on Netflix and chill. This is not a euphemism! This is a oh my god the hours is quiet, don’t talk to me until I have at least 30 minutes of peace. Big Bang Theory, freaks and geeks, How I Met your Mother, Orange is the New Black along with a host of 80s and 90s classics have all been watched. This week we had one of these nights and started to watch Glow. To celebrate such a glorious event I opened a few beers.

First up was E.P. (extra pale) by Signature Brew. This brewery was founded out of a desire to marry great beer and music. This combined interested is reflected in the design of their cans.  At 3.5% this is a session beer which is a beer style that is hard to get right. You want something easy to drink but also has a flavour and body. Signature Brew get this just right. It has a light floral aroma coupled with a refreshingly light lemony flavour. This is coupled with a bold resin after taste which makes this a pretty bold session beer. It is a summer day’s let’s not stop drinking beer. It is a beer that deserves an encore. 4.5/5

I love stout. I can not get any clearer than that. It is my go to beer. It is my comfort beer. It is all that it right with the world.  There is not much I miss about Ireland but the stout is something I dream about. The fact that Beamish in unavailable outside of Ireland is a crime against drinkers everywhere. Sure cans of murphy’s are really cheap in Tesco but it is just not the same. However, it is not just the one or type brands of stouts it is the vast array now available from the large numbers of craft brewers. Stout in Ireland is what the IPA is to Americans or bitter is the the British. In pubs and bottle shops across the Uk there is a lack of stouts in general. So when I see one I have not tried before I tend to pick it up in the home of finding my new go to. I have tried a few of the Five Points Brewing Company’s before and was excited to try their Railway Porter. It poured a thick black with a smallish head.  The aroma was all dark malts,cocoa and coffee. The label states that it is brewed with East Kent Goldings and this dedication to tradition had me excited for a really solid stout taste but this was not the stout I was looking for. The bitterness levels were much too high. It bordered on a black IPA to my tastes. Which is not to say that it was not a delicious and complex beer but it was not what I wanted. I will certainly get this again and come at it with more of an open mind. Context is everything. 4/5

Gambling on a name

It is easy to see why some people think that craft beer is more style over substance or that people being pretentious while getting pissed. I mean when beers have ridiculously over the top names like ‘beatnik’, ‘my bearded granny’, ‘Bitter Woman’, ‘ice cream soda’ and ‘Angry goat’ it is no wonder people look on with scorn. 

Look at Brewdog and their list of beer names. There is no doubt that Brewdog are the new Godfathers of craft beer in Europe and they are setting their sights further afield and that they have unique ways of raising money, packaging beer and promoting themselves. Part of their appeal is creating names that tie into a certain lifestyle choice of their clientele. Punk IPA, Harcore and 5 am saint all allow kids in their 20s who are still living of mammy and daddy’s money to pretend that they didn’t grow up in the suburbs. The names scream look at me me I stay up alight partying and my hair still looks this good. By ordering a Brewdog beer they seem to think that that makes them edgy or that it will wash the stink of old money off them. I mean this is a beer brewed in Aberdeen in Scotland which is about as far away from Eletric India and vagabond as you can possible get. The image of Vegas conjured up by the title of their Red Rye IPA ‘slot machine’ is a far cry from the arcades found in sea side towns across the UK. Elvis [juice] never graced the stage that far north. I wish I could tell you what you get once we get beyond the pinky red can selling dreams but for some unknown reason I no longer have any beer glasses in the house. So this was drunk straight from the can like the ‘trashy blonde’ that I am. It smells sweet, piney and citrusy. There is certainly a bit more of a malty back bone to this compared to their pale ales. The taste is of sweet toffee and bitter resin. There is much more of a hop flavour than typical red ales. The balance between a red ale and an IPA is reflected in the Abv which sits at a respectable 5.2%. But the question is does it hit the jackpot? Well yes it does but only at a penny arcade. It does what it does but is unremarkable.

3/5

Divočák dreams of spring

20160304_165834Last weekend as we prepared to bid farewell to February in Prague, I took a quick trip to the local pivotéka in search of something that was less suited to the (still) cold nights and that gave some inkling of the approaching spring. Myself and Kosher had taken a walk up to Petřín to wander around by the small-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower and to take a look into the famous library of the Strahov Monastery. While out walking we saw some purple tulips pushing against the persistent subzero temperatures. Spring wasn’t exactly in the air, but it was trying it’s best.

I picked up a 750ml bottle of Pivovar Matuska Svetlé from the pivotéka and took it home to drink while watching some football. My first encounter with anything from Matuska came in the A-Maze in Tchaiovna on the other side of the city. The only beer they have on tap, it is usually wherever you find it (BeerGeek also carry some Matuska usually) a little bit above the average price range even for craft beer in Prague but it’s worth every extra crown you pay.

The large bottle of Svetlé set me back 100-Kc even but sometimes you prefer to pay over the odds for a bottle that while only a pint and half, is better drank slowly and enjoyed. While Svetlé (light – referring to the colour) is a fairly standard style of beer here what sets the Matuska apart is that it is both unpastuerised and unfiltered. This gives it a cloudy, dense look in the glass, while also bringing all of the flavours out fully. And despite the appearance of density it actually lies somewhere in the middle of a standard lager and a weissbier.

I’ve tried Matuska’s raptor, its IPA and APA before, but this was the first time I had the svetlé. It is like a weissbier too in that drinking it was redolent too of springy and even summer weather which is just as well because for all my hopes of Spring being in the air, it began snowing on Monday evening!

Taste: 3.5/5

Colour: 4/5

Price: 3/5

Burns Night and Seven Giraffes

Either coincidentally or an example of true cosmic ordering Miss Piggy arrived back from a short trip to Glasgow on Burns night with gift Scottish beers. Despite my love of haggis I am not one to celebrate other nation’s national holidays. I try to avoid St Patrick’s Day as best I can. OK I check out the parade but avoid the drunken mess which follows. However, I will gladly drink a range of Scottish beers that I have never heard of.

So first up in Seven Giraffes by Williams Bros Brewing Co. based in Alloa. The back states that it is made from “7 varieties of malted barley with fresh cone hops from around the world.” There is also some “wild elderflowers” thrown in “to create a refreshing, aromatic and moreish beer.”

Now what I want to know is how ‘wild’, as opposed cultivated/farmed, elderflower is going to make any difference to my beer. I am definitely interested in locally source ingredients and organic but boasting about something being wild when it makes no earthly difference is just an exercise in marketing speak. The front is not better with the tagline “microbrewed for maximum flavour” as if one equals the other. I have had many microbrewed beers that were flavourless piss water and many more where the flavours were just not well balanced. Can we just stop talking shite and say “this is a microbrewed beer with elderflowers, we think it is nice and hope you do too”

DSC_0477

With this pet peeve out of the way the general bottle design is nice with a particularly fetching logo. It would have been funny if the Seven Giraffes beer was in a long neck bottle!! But I am not sure the reduced quantity of beer would be worth the brief chuckle.

It pours a very pale translucent amber with a foamy head that does not last. Not much on the nose but there are slight citrus and biscuit aromas that remind me of Jaffa cakes. There is certainly a floral taste with a hint of honey and lemon but nothing to write home about. The mouthfeel is a bit weak which makes it quaffable but in the same way a lot of lager is. This is certainly a drinkable beer and well balanced but not at all stand out.

Aroma: 2/5

Taste: 3/5

Originality: 3/5

Overall: 3/5

Midleton Very Rare 2015

Midleton very rare 2015

2016 has been a slow burner. Most years don’t exactly race out of the starting gates for me but this year still very much feels part of the long 2015. The Christmas season had all the regular nights out and family gatherings. New Years was a panto and dinner with Miss Piggy and Piglet followed by drinks and chats at home with some friends. The weekend after is Miss Piggy’s birthday which has always been a multiday affair. There was a concern that she would have to share her birthday with Piglet but thankfully he arrived two days later. Since his arrival the January birthday season is prolonged and full of cake. Piglet’s grandparents, or as he calls them Ma Ma and Gran Gran, arrived a couple of days later.

So, here I am finally getting to write my first post of 2016 and as a way of finally putting 2015 to bed I figured I would mark the occasion with a glass of Midleton Very Rare 2015. I got a sample of this whiskey from the whiskey club run by the Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dublin. The Midleton Very Rare is an annual limited release and the 2015 one comes in at 150 euro a bottle which means I would never be able to afford a full bottle. I could regurgitate some shit here about the distillery and the head distiller but I don’t know this stuff and just googled it so if you want that kind of info go get it.

The smell just jumps right out at you. A real go getter. It is full of sweet fruits and ginger. The initial taste is all sweetness which gradually builds into a whiskey kick which is peppery and spicy. There is a lot going on here, loads more than my uneducated palate can describe. The flavour subtly changes and leaves you with a lingering finish which makes you not want to take another sip until you see where it is going to take you. This is really good and one dram was not enough. All I need to do now is find a job that pays me enough to have a bottle of this in the house at all times

5/5

 

 

 

Divočák drinks Permon 13° Permon Winter Ale

Christmas is well and truly over. Last week, the 6th of January in Ireland was Nollaig na mBan (Women’s little Christmas). In the Christian calendar it marks the feast day of the epiphany. In the Orthodox Christian calendar, this is the day Christmas itself is celebrated. Here in Prague, the feast of the epiphany is marked by students dressing up as the three wise men and collecting money for charity.

Last Monday, it began snowing heavily here in the city. While I can’t be sure that the snow was general all over… Czech Republic, or that it was falling upon all the living and the dead, it was certainly falling in heaps around me. I went out, camera at the ready to snap it. Just as well, since tonight, the snow has turned in most places to a fine slush. While I was out last Tuesday evening photographing the snow, I decided to reward myself with some beer. After taking some pictures nearby my apartment I stopped into the local pivotéka, Galerie Piva at the bottom of Krymská. ( pivotéka = beer shop. There are also vinotéka, specialty wine shops). In Galerie Piva you can if you wish when buying your beer, request a glass and sit down at their chairs and tables and enjoy the beer and chat to fellow aficionados. On this occasion, after a glance at what they had in the fridges, I opted for a suitably wintry beer: the Permon brewery’s 13° Winter Ale. It’s an American Pale Ale.

Permon Pic 2

Snow in the locality. This was taken in Havlickovy Sády.

13° translates roughly as 5% ABV. I’ve been told that if you divide the degree by 2.5 that gives the ABV, or thereabouts. If you want to get really nerdy on the measurement sysytems, the wiki is superb. The degree system is known as the Degrees Lovibond scale. Originally the idea of British brewer Joseph Williams Lovibond, his degree scale has largely been replaced by the ABV % so familiar to all of us. The Degrees Lovibond scale measures colour, so as something in the IPA range, this Permon APA is measured at 13°, with an ABV of 5%.

IMG_-4m7anx

A pretty light amber colour, but fairly dense, on first sip, the hoppy taste is present but a little burned. It’s fairly light so it was easy drinking. I’ll put it this way, I’m glad I plumped up for two. In Galerie Piva, many of the Clock Brewery (reviews to come soon) bottles (0,7cl) come in at 90,-Kc (€3.33). For two bottles of the Permon I paid the slightly higher 92-,Kc (€3.41). That’s €3.41 for a litre of microbrewed beer. Beer is generally much cheaper here than any other EU country, but even still, that’s a bargain. As I watched the snow melt, a little bit of winter lived on as I cooked dinner and drank this lovely and surprising APA.

Overall Score: 4/5.