12 Beers Of Christmas (Day)

My twitter feed has been a buzz with this #12beersofxmas recently.

Apparently as I’m a “beer blogger” and a reassuringly increasing amount of followers/following now includes people far more adept at it than I, it is something that appears to be a tradition.

Along with “Golden Pints” which I may also get involved in, though probably won’t.

Sensible beer bloggers are doing 1 beer each day (lets be honest, they are doing far more than that, they happen to have a specific 12 beers in mind), but seeing as the 25th of December has presented itself as a time to drink over an extended time it felt prudent to jump on this ale-powered ship and “get it out of the way” in one 24 hour period.

At first I thought I could try and do just local bottled beer, I could have done, but as I like my dark beers more it appeared that my choice of bottles from the North West had been limited by my own predilections.

I didn’t even stick to the North.

What I did manage to do was taken some god awful photos using my useless phone, which caused a fair few people to remark that either; I’ve used instgram (I won’t ever use that) or some kind of filter (nope).  That they are not chronologically ordered (they are, the light sources and locations vary about the houses they were taken in).

Worst of all, for me especially, is that all the drinks, if not dark or particularly pale, looked like Rose wine.

I can only apologise to the brewers in advance for the poor representations these photos make of your brews, hopefully their write up will go some why to correcting this.

Boggart Brewery were up first with their Rum Porter (4.6%).

Rum Porter

Its an award winning porter and one rightly so, one of the best representations of its kind. Sweet and smooth, like drinking a melted down selection box of rum-chocolate liquors.

Wilson Potter Brewery were second with the Natural Progression (4.8%).

Natural Progression

A good contrast to the Porter (the award for stating the obvious goes to…), this red ale had a good bitter punch to it and a delightful floral aroma.

Guinness was third with what is an Xmas tradition of having a drink of this at home, on Xmas Day as I have done for was seems like I’ve been legally allowed to drink. This was Guinness Original in a bottle, so no widget head on it (4.2%)

Guinness

Whatever you think about the drink or the company, this is Xmas for me as much as ‘The Snowman’ or a Pixar movie, Morcambe & Wise, Singin’ in the Rain, Wizard of Oz, It’s a Wonderful Life or 6 days of creative turkey/goose/Capon recipes.

BadSeed Brewery provided the fourth drink, their Saison (6%).

Saison

Everyone who has mentioned BadSeed drinks to me always bangs on about the Espresso Stout, that is in my bottle collection, as is all of their beers, but I cracked open this beer and was immediately hit by some of the most wondrous smells that I could never do it just to try and describe. It tasted fantastic too – felt like a proper Sommelier (not that I have any idea just how much skill and training is involved for that) or just a proper beer sniffing twat, but it was that stimulating.

Weird Beard Brew Co were number five with the Little Things That Kill (3.4%).

Little Things That Kill

British Nirvana rip-off act Bush had a song called Little Things, its painful how bad a copy of a generic ‘grunge’ song it actually as. This was Batch 3, it would appear the lowest ABV of this label so far, with hops added at the whim of the brewer. I’m not a fan of massive hop flavours, but I’m beginning to think that I’m much more accommodating to them when out of a bottle rather than when served in a pub. Or that Little Things That Kill was a lovely beer that even tickled my taste buds.

Tickety Brew helped my to half way with their Stout (5.4%).

Stout

Another beautiful myriad of aromas greeted my every mouthful of this dark brew. Every beer I’ve had by them, either from bottles or from the pub has been a good solid brew, but this is actually my favourite of theirs so far.

Quaffing Gravy were seventh with their Pale Ale (4.2%).

Pale Ale

Perhaps the full title of this drink is Quaffing Gravy Pale Ale, I don’t know, what I do know is it was yet another pale drink that I took pleasure in drinking. In fact it was the drink I finished in the quickest time, which hopefully should speak highly about how tasty I found it.

Buxton Brewery were eighth up with Rednik Stout (4.1%).

Rednik Stout

A straight forward, no nonsense, stout. Does that translate as boring? Maybe it does, in this era of trying to big and flashy with the flavours (and smells), you forget that all you are drinking is 4 or 5 basic ingredients and sometimes there is far too much twattery going on (it is my job to be contradictory). This was a good stout, simple and honest.

Harviestoun Brewery
were in at number nine with the Old Engine Oil Porter (6%).

Old Engine Oil Porter

Another jolly fine porter, with big malted and roasted flavours.

BrightSide Brewing helped me to ten with Odin (3.8%).

Odin

After a run of dark beers I needed this. A clean and crisp drink, a palate cleanser of subtle hoppy flavours, BrightSide hit another one out of the park (or back of the net if you wish to keep it British).

Ilkley Brewery were eleventh with the Longhorn (8%).

Longhorn

This is a Whisky-aged Cranberry Milk Stout (I hope I’m right in saying they take their Holy Cow (4.7%) and, well, age it in whisky barrels). I don’t like whisky (I’ve checked, I’ve got another of the Ilkley Brewery whisky-aged range too) and I’m not a fan of cranberries either. But this was one of those drinks that, when you combine the flavours like this it works.

Anarchy Brew Co were the twelfth and final beer of a very long day with their Crime Scene (5.5%).

Crime Scene

Anarchy Brew Co call this a Hybrid American Amber. Its got a good solid bitter hit to it and along with their Smoke Bomb (3.9%) and Urban Assault (5%) they are certainly ones I’ll be looking out for and it turns out they used to be Brew Star, whose name also rings a beers previously drunk bell.

This 12 beers odyssey was helped by a massive meal, some good tele, my family and a massive dump just when I started to feel too full and too tired to carry on.

The body and its systems are wonders of evolution, as it the evolution of brewing.

Merry Xmas to all (and Happy New Year) and to all a good night.

Beer Festivals and Blow Jobs

No, this isn’t some salacious post by me trying to increase passing traffic to my blog (though the stats may make for interesting comparisons).

I’d also like to state that this is not to be seen as a slight to anyone attempting or who has worked hard at putting together a beer festival, I know full well that a task like that can not be easy at all.

Speaking in advance I also hope that I resisted the temptation to make as many pseudonyms for fellatio or penis that I know are floating around my diseased mind at any given moment…anyway…

A friend (an actual, legitimate friend, not ‘a friend’) once made the statement that…

There is no such thing as a bad blow job.

The intent behind this was clear; if you are with someone willing enough to put your penis in their mouth then that in itself is a good thing and it can’t really get any worse from there on.

There then followed much debate about general (excessive) use of teeth, saliva, technique, grip strength, angles employed, surprises, snowballing, lack of actual time spent and fear of the inevitable (a la Mr Bill Hicks)

But the friend could look passed all of these, happy that, as previously stated, at least there had been an attempt.

Now I like beer festivals and it has got me thinking…

Can you actually have a bad beer festival?

You can have bad beer at a beer festival, that is a given.

There is always at least 1 beer I find myself running to the nearest sink, disposing of the contents before rising my glass out with water to hopefully completely eradicate the taste from poisoning anything else (yes, make your own comparisons with oral sex).

We know that there are bad pubs, a myriad of reasons can be put forward for what makes a pub bad, but we walk out of pubs we don’t like, we haven’t paid to get in (unlike clubs).

But is paying for entry and wanting to convince yourself you are getting ‘value for money’ a reason to stay at what could be a bad beer festival?

What could be bad about a beer festival?

General price of entry/drinks.
Lack of choice of beers/ciders.
Too many people.
Too few people.
Wrong ‘type’ of people.
Poor location.
Etc.

I’ve been to many beer festivals this year and each of the above has featured at some point or time during some of them.

Mainly its people, but even that isn’t enough to make me leave – mainly because it has never been more than 1 of the things on the above non-exhaustive list.

Sure we all have the things we prefer to have at beer festivals – I personally prefer card money that is crossed off by the bar staff, using funny money or plastic tokens with different denominations may make a festival more individual but it isn’t half confusing as the night wears on.

But again, this is something I adapt to.

Perhaps I’ve been fortunate with the beer festivals I’ve attended in that they are all good.

As for blow jobs – there is always room for improvement.

Till next time…

Beer Festivals 2013 – A Debrief

I started this blog at the back end of May this year (2013) and consequently I missed out on reviewing quite a few beer festivals.

I’m not going to do that now, I’m just going to look back fondly on them.

Beer Festivals 2013

The joys of attending beer festivals is you are never going to be short of etched glasses, or for that matter beer programmes (or t-shirts if you are that way inclined).

A quick roll call for the above photo, much like a sports team’s yearly squad photo is:

Front Row (l-r): Wigan CAMRA Festival, Salford Summer Beer Festival, Manchester Winter Ales (sharp eyes may spot the glass is from 2012 but I went in 2013, no idea where the glasses went)

Back Row (l-r): IndyMan Beer Con, Bolton Beer Festival, Marble 125th Birthday Festival, Boothstown British Legion Festival, Love Beer in Chorlton, MOSI Beer Festival, Bolton CAMRA Festival, Bent & Bongs and the Leeds Beer Festival.

This doesn’t include the ones that either didn’t do their own glasses or had run out, such as Allgates Festival/Pub crawl and the Scrumdown Festival.

The Wigan CAMRA was new to me but has been going years, Salford Summer was an inaugural event and the Winter Ales festival I’ve been to a few times, but I believe the ‘winter ales’ side has located to Derby for a while and so the new incarnation for the upcoming Manchester festival will be the one at the velodrome.

I don’t suppose the Marble Arch will have another one for at least another 25 years.

IndyMany is in its 2nd year (as is the Leeds one, though it was my first time attending that), Bolton CAMRA has been going a while as has the other Bolton one and they are nicely spaced at different times of the year and different ends of the town.

MOSI is in its third year, with a maybe permanent change of late summer from its original early summer dates.

Allgates did its first two Festivals/Pub Crawls this year (as far as I’m aware) and I can see that being quite the regular event, for which I will get their provided transport for.

Love Beer was also an inaugural event (I always seem to miss the other Chorlton Beer Festival), Boothstown is in its 2nd year, Scrumdown is in its 6th and Bent and Bongs will celebrate its 25th birthday in 2014.

These all take place in a myriad of different locations, some very (too?) well attended some not so much, some easy to get too, some worthy of a trek.

But there are now quite a few new ones popping up everywhere and this blog will endeavour to travel even further afield to sample beers and the atmospheres.

This kind of begins with my trip to Sydney (Australia) in February, so if anyone reading this can recommend so good brew pubs or beers to try when I’m over there please comment.

Here is to 2014, long may we be kept in beer.