All I Taste Is Cold

How cold should a keg beer be if it be coming from a cold beer keg?

The temperature of my drink has never been much of an issue for me.  I seldom drink tea or coffee (I guess 3 cups per year), they aren’t products I keep in my home.

Yep, not even in emergencies do I “put the kettle on.”

You come to my house you have a choice of milk, water or ale; possibly a cordial, fizzy pop or orange juice if I happened to have impulse bought that week.

The temperature of my drink has only ever bothered me when, as seems to be tradition when I was a child, the nights started closing in and the thermometer was dropping.  That is when my grandma used to make up Vimto or Ribena with boiling water.  Which I then had to let equilibrate to something nearer room temperature in order to actually drink it.

Soup is the only hot thing I really consider drinking, soup and maybe the dregs of a Pot Noodle (the impulse shop purchase strikes again).

Hot chocolate is OK, but as a child it was again something I let go cold and then refuse to drink until I’d managed to fish out the ‘skin’ that had formed.

Oh, maybe custard.

And gravy.

But likewise I’m not one for wanting freezing cold drinks.

The idea of ice in a drink strikes me as just meaning there is less room in the glass for actual drink.

Apart from the sugary fakeness, I don’t want a modern bottle of cider because I wish to have one hand free to gesticulate and use on a pub quiz machine, not holding a bottle because it all won’t fit in a glass filled to the brim with ice.

Beer is the one drink I buy where I’m conditioned to the temperature, I expect the wheat beer, bottled import brew, or even the occasional lager, to be colder than if I were to get a bitter, mild, porter or stout.

But at the Leeds Beer Festival, as great as that was, my overall lasting impression was that much of the keg ales I consumed (the booklet given out stated if they were cask or keg) were close to giving me an ice-cream headache.

This isn’t a rant against Keg Beer, this was actually just supposed to be a small comment about how being too cold can ruin the enjoyment of any cask, keg, “real” or “craft” beer I buy.

I don’t know if there is any way around it. But I still wish to have one hand free when I’m drinking a beer, not both of them clasped around my glass trying to get the contents to some sort of temperature which allows me to properly enjoy what someone has put their heart into brewing and making taste nice.

Or maybe its just me, my personal taste and my next impulse buy should be some Sensodyne toothpaste.

2nd Leeds International Beer Festival Review (and the Crown and Kettle, Manchester)

This event took place over the 5th to the 8th of September.  I actually found out about it on the 5th, so in a actual display on non-procrastination I actually bought a ticket for the Saturday evening and then set about working out how to get there and back.

I get the train to work. Getting the train at any time other than to work is a bit of a bore for me, especially when the services are provided by Northern Rail and at £18-19 for a return I baulked at that and when on the coach instead for the measly sum of £4 there and £3.50 back – not bad for a journey that lasts about the same time.

I actually went to the Crown and Kettle in Manchester for their beer (and pie) festival first. Had a very good Ossett Brewery Treacle Stout a 5.0% glass of bitter and sweet tastiness.  This was followed by the Tickety Brew Bitter Twist which was 4.5% of “faux” Belgian beer goodness.  These were offset with a Jerk Pork Pie, but I’m here to review beers.

The beer festival was held at Leeds Town Hall, a beautiful setting, it rivals the Victoria Baths where the IndyMan is held (well, also for its second time it will be this October) for architecture, but both those surroundings pale against the MOSI one which is at the end of this month.

Got there at about 1730 (for a 1800 opening) and was instantly met with the decision of which queue to join – a few more signs to highlight which was pay-on-the-door and which was bought online would have helped, especially those that turned up later on. Still, the handing out of wristbands while in the queue was a very sensible idea.

Upon entry the choice was a pint with 1/3 and 1/2 markings or the stemmed sommelier type glasses which could do up to a 1/2 pint, with a 1/3 marking too.

Also got a very lovely booklet, printed on the wonderful paper that means I can’t stop smelling it.

Then I was greeted by I think it was the Bundobust food stall giving tasters of their upcoming Coriander Pale Ale – sadly not enough to really form an opinion, my taste buds aren’t that sensitive.

Then it was off to get the funny money that passed as currency. Printed paper notes of varying values. Nice individual touch – also makes it easier to get refunds at the end of the night.

Now here I’ll get my disappointments out of the way – the Quantum Brewing Co./Manchester Homebrewers Red Rose Rye had sold out and I also spent a fair part of the night on the hunt for Black Jack Brewery beers, but was eventually informed that they’d been and gone.

So I opened with a light 3.8% Magic Spanner from Magic Rock Brewing and was able to sit down and relax with this fine pale ale.

Then I took in the India Pale Ale Black (6.5%) from The Kernel Brewery – black IPA’s also boggle my mind as the brain via your eyes is tricked into thinking on thing and you’re tasting something completely different. Good though, cold.

Next up was East London Brewing and their 4.5% Nightwatchman which as straight forward and honest a pint of bitter I could hope for.

I then went over to Weird Beard Brew Co. stall and quaffed another black IPA in the shape of the 7.3% Fade to Black, which while not up to the greatness that is the Metallica song, was still very good, if rather too cold

Seeing as Kirkstall Brewery was a sponsor and expecting good beer I tried the Black Band Porter (5.5%) and it was good and swiftly (probably too swiftly) followed up staying in Yorkshire with a Holy Cow, a 4.7% Cranberry Milk Stout from Ilkley Brewery. This was very nice, and I don’t even like cranberries.

It was about this point that I figured I should stretch my legs and check out the US and European Beers. I didn’t try any of the US beers, mainly because I was looking for something a bit lighter and all that was for sale was bastard strength.

I grabbed some quick Indian nosh which filled a hole and then went for the Brewfist Italian Ales Fea(5.2%, ok not exactly light). This was a Milk Chocolate Stout and very good if ever so massively cold.

Over then to Roosters Brewing Co. for a Londinium (5.5%?) which wasn’t even in the booklet but was an excellent coffee porter.

Back outside to the Summer Wine Brewery for the Nelson, which again wasn’t in the booklet and I actually failed to make any notes about it.

I ended the night with two beers from Tapped and thought why not go “off-booklet” again with the 4.9% Bullet (and IPA) and then bookend my night with a 5.2% Treacle Stout. Again all very good and all very cold.

Then it was a stagger back through the town to the National Express bus home again – ready to blog about what a good festival it was, how I will go again next year and how too fucking cold some Keg beers are.