Friday, 27 December 2013

Post Christmas Catch-up

I've been a bit slack with notes and blogging the last while. Moving house, internet issues and domestic circumstances have taken over. But I thought I'd do a quick catch-up post to get me back up to speed, and hopefully put me back on track!

First up another beer from "1001 Beers..."
191. Fullers London Porter
Style: Porter. ABV: 5.4%. From: Grange Wines
Description: Dark Brown, almost black, with a small tan head. Lots of roast malt and dark chocolate aromas. Some coffee and toasted malt to taste, a little sweetness and a touch of bitterness. Mid bodied.
Thoughts: Some how I'd never actually tried this so was glad to pick it up in a Holywood. Good example of the style, though maybe a little too light in body for my taste. Good stuff though.
Score: 7

Now the round-up beers outside the list:
  • 114. Slyfox Saison Vos (Lighthouse Wines) - good but not great saison. Score: 7
  • 115. Nøgne Ø Imperial Brown Ale (Lighthouse Wines) - a brown ale on steroids, really tasty. Score: 7.5
  • 116. Nøgne Ø IPA (Lighthouse Wines) - plenty of grapefruit and pine, solid. Score: 7
  • 117. Lindmans Gueuze Cuvée René (Lighthouse Wines) - LEMON! Nice tart gueze, but pretty well balanced - not everyone's taste though. Score: 7.5
  • 118. Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout  (Lighthouse Wines) - Really enjoyed this, though it had been a long day and that may have made for a higher score. Score: 8
  • 119. Shipyard Bluefin Stout (The Vineyard) - followed the Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout and paled in comparisonScore: 5.5
  • 120. Brewdog Hoppy Christmas (Gap Wines) - lots of citrus, really nice change from the heavy christmas beers. Score: 7
  • 121. Brewdog Santa Paws (The Vineyard) - really enjoyed this, dark, smooth, and just the right amount of sweetness. Score: 7.5
Right, I'm off out tomorrow for a boys day out in Belfast, hope to hit the Garrick and may be the Hudson!

Happy New Year


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Beer Club Belfast - December

I'm getting too old for this going out caper. For some reason I decided it was a good idea to do Beer Club Belfast on the Thursday followed by back to back Christmas parties on Friday and Saturday... Some how I've made it to Sunday and I still seem to be in one piece. It's not so much the booze that's got to me, its the lack of sleep. Can't wait to get back to work for a break!

Anyway, enough moaning (another sign I'm getting old) and into the beers. Myself and a mate (Hello Abs!) headed off on the train and into Belfast, it was a lovely evening for a stroll to the Hudson and we got there nice and early. Crowd was a bit smaller than the last time but still very welcoming and friendly. Along with the usual crew, stout expert Michael Kerr helped take us through the beers and shared his knowledge. 

First up was Dark Star Brewing's Espresso. This one is on the list (number 50 to be precise) but was ticked off some time ago. I remember enjoying it more last time, it's a grand beer but not really up there as something I'd go back to all that often - but it set us up well for what was to come. Next up was Founders Porter - which I blogged about recently - and it's still a seriously good beer, sometimes I can get caught up chasing exotic brews but this is just one of those beers that does balance and subtly really well. Seriously this beer is good value for money (and has been seen in both Lighthouse Wines and the Vineyard). 

Nogne Porter was the next beer put in front of us. It seemed like a solid beer, but I think it suffered for following the Founders and there was something slightly odd (a bit cough syrupy to me) at the end of the taste. I have a another bottle in the fridge so I'll give it another go and see if that changes my opinion. Brooklyn Dark Chocolate Stout followed shortly. Great brew (and on the list) one of my "go to" beers

So then we finished with two biggies - Brewdog Old World Russian Imperial Stout and Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Thought the brewdog was a really clever beer, lots of hops making it interesting and lighter than expected - good gear. I covered the Bourbon County Stout recently - coming at the end of this session I thought it was better than the last time but I still think a wee bit of age will really help this beer.

Beer of the night? Toss up between the Bourbon County and the Founders, I'd probably go for the Bourbon County but those around me (Hi Emily if you ever read this, thanks for keeping us company) preferred the Founders, it's certainly the best value for money. Another good night at the club and it was good to meet a few new people and put faces to some the the guys and girls from twitter (including Get 'er Brewed who I'm hoping to become a customer of in the near future!). Danish beers coming to Beer Club Belfast in January I believe, a good chance to try something new so get there if you can! 

The Friday night Christmas doo was fun despite some feckers try to ruin everyone's party, but who failed. Good beers were few and far between though the 7 Giraffes in The National was pretty good.

Saturday was at the Parson's Nose - the food was excellent (best steak I've had in awhile), so was the company, and the draft Whitewater Belfast Black was pouring very well too!

Right, that's me off to bed again!


Monday, 9 December 2013

Beer Club Belfast - November Style

So I made it to the second  Beer Club Belfast under new management. Myself and a mate jumped on the train and headed into Belfast and the Hudson. We actually cut it quite tight and made it though the door of the Hudson just at 8pm. I was actually surprised by the number of people in the room (and as Belfast Bar Man(ager) points out by the amount of facial hair!), clearly good beer has a reasonable customer base in Belfast!

Despite the 60 odd people in the room the atmosphere was informal, buzzy, and friendly. I'll also add warm, very fecking warm. Getting the coat off helped, but the beers certainly weren't there to cool us down!

Each night at the club is themed, I missed the first night which covered IPAs (see an excellent  review of that night by Stephen Barr on Belfast Beer Blog here). This night was Belgian Beers and a nice few surprises awaited us, including one new beer for me from "1001 Beers...".

Rochefort 10
First up were the dubbles, Chimey Red and Rochefort 6 - both good beers but the Rochefort is the better of the two in my opinion. Next up was Rochefort 8 - a kinda super dubble or a mini quad depending on your point of view, another good beer with lots of complexity and warmth. Then came Westmalle Tripewhich was described as a palate cleanser... a 9.5% palate cleaser... either way its an awesome beer. Finally came the quads, Rochefort 10 and St Bernadus Abt (which was my beer number 192 from the list).  Both are really good beers that you should try if you see in your local offie. The 10 is darker, richer and more complex, while the Abt is slightly lighter and easier drunk. You could go either way on which is best - on the night a slightly prefered the Abt as it was slightly cleaner, but the Rochefort would be an excellent if you were just having the one. 

Some great beers right there, and a snip at a tenner if you ask me. The next one is on the 12th December at 8pm in the Hudson - and its porter and stout night! Two of my favourite beers (Bourbon County Stout and Brooklyn Chocolate Stout) are on the list for the night, so basically it would be rude not to attend. If your about get down there!


Friday, 6 December 2013

Belfast Beer Fest

I recently moved house and this lead to me being exiled from the internet for much longer than planned, so this update has been a while coming...

22nd November meant a glorious half day and an opportunity to hit the Belfast Beer Fest before the crowds got there. Think I preferred the old set up of beers dedicated to a “bar” rather than the alphabetical order thing but I still managed to get to the bar and order a beer or 3! I even got to tick 4 beers off the list (it could have been 5 but they seemed to have Tribute on rather than Proper Job which I was hoping for).

Given the time delay these are going to be quick reviews!

Beers from “1001 Beers..."

187. Green Jack Ripper Tripel. Style: Barley Wine?. ABV: 8.5%
This was described as a barley wine in the tasting notes and on rate beer. I'm not sure that's how I'd describe it, but then who am I to disagree. Sweet and sticky, very warming finish. I rather enjoyed it. 
Score: 7

188. RCH East Street Cream. Style: ESB. ABV: 5%
My notes for this one are pretty unreadable! A premium bitter, some malt, some caramel, but it didn't do too much for me. 
Score: 5.5

189. Butcombe Gold. Style: Bitter. ABV: 4.4%
Another bitter, this one a bit lighter. Though I got a very ashy finish that wasn't that pleasant. A bit too weak and light for me (or as one of my party said "pish"). 
Score: 4.5

190. O'Hanlon's Port Stout. Style: Stout. ABV: 4.8%
A stout with a splash of port... what's not to like? One of the better beers of the day for me.
Score: 7.5

I'm not going to cover some of the other beers outside the list sampled this time, as my notes are crap as I was too busy talking rubbish to anyone who would listen... but two other beers sampled are worthy of a mention Whitewater's Bee's Endeavour and Otley Saison Obscura. The Bee's Endeavour was nice warming and I enjoyed the honey and ginger, pretty good stuff. Saison Obscura - a darkly tastly belgian inspired ale - was probably my other favourite beer with the Port Stout, interesting stuff and worth try if you see it.
The next post (sooner rather than later hopefully) will cover the Belfast Beer Club on 28 November @ the Hudson Bar looking at Belgian Beers! A heads up though, the next one - looking at stouts and porters - is on 12th December. Stick it in your diary now as its sure to be a good night!