Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bloody typical

So, typically, just as I start blogging a bit more regularly again, I lose my internet connection at home.

I went out last Thursday evening and met up with a friend at The French House in Soho. A lovely little bar, with lots of character, but it only sells John Smith's extra smooth on tap or Theakston's Old Peculier in bottles. They also don't do pints, and they don't allow mobile phones. It was a hot day and the cold John Smith's was quite refreshing and went down surprisingly well. I used to drink proper John Smith's all the time, but I'm not a fan of pressurized bitters. I had a couple of bottles of Old Peculier, and a Duvel too. While we were there Peter O'Toole popped in and stood right next to me! Which was nice.

Friday evening I discovered our internet connection was down, and it has been down ever since. Tiscali technical support are useless, except to tell us that it is a problem at the exchange and their engineers are working on it. They appear to have no idea what the problem is or when it will be fixed.

In the meantime I've drunk a few more ales from Suffolk, but I guess I'll have to sample them all again if I'm going to review them.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ridley's Old Bob

Ok, I know. Ridley's were an Essex brewery, but, like so many breweries, they are now owned by Greene King and Old Bob is brewed in Bury St. Edmunds, as are the other 2 beers in the picture. I hope I don't offend anyone by counting these as Suffolk beers, but I was too lazy to walk to Hammersmith to look for more beer.

Suffolk Ales

I had this beer with a vegetable casserole and the two went together well. The initial aroma was quite chocolaty, followed by the scent of hops. The taste is full bodied, not as overpowering as some of the stronger ales, which this isn't at 5.1%, but it's good for sipping or gulping, which is the kind of beer I like! It's a good, proper, no-nonsense bitter. The bottle says that it is "rich and spicy", but since I've been drinking stronger beers the last couple of days I can't say I agree. At least it doesn't say it has a fruitcake aroma. It does say it is a twice gold medal winner, but it doesn't say where.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Adnams Broadside

Tonight's beer is Adnams Broadside, possibly not the best accompaniment to pasta and pesto as it is another strong dark ale. It has an earthy aroma and a treacly taste. Like many strong ales, the bottle describes it as having an aroma of fruit cake. While it is a good beer, it's a little strong tasting to drink more than a couple of bottles of, which is probably just as well as it is a strong beer at 6.3%.

Limpets by Christopher Wormell

As an aside, Adnams use the wonderful iconic lino engravings of Christopher Wormell on their beermats and advertising. You can't fail to recognise an Adnams beermat. He is also (I should say primarily) an illustrator and has produced some wonderful children's books like The New Alphabet of Animals and Teeth, Tails and Tentacles.

Pebbles by Christopher Wormell

You can buy Christopher Wormell's work from The Illustration Cupboard.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Beer, beer, beer

I think I've found something to write about since I'm not moaning about London Underground so much. Beer. At the moment I'm drinking a bottle a night, for purely medicinal purposes of course. This week I'm trying out Suffolk beers, as my wife is from Suffolk, there are plenty of breweries there, it's fairly local to London, and I like Suffolk beers.

The following "reviews" have already been posted on the Beer thread at Neil Gaiman's boards.

Suffolk beers

Greene King Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale, bought by my wife as she is originally from Suffolk.
To start with, the bottle says that it is "a unique blend of two classic ales, BPA and Old 5X. Old 5X is aged in oak for 2 years". I don't think I've ever had a blended ale before, or a 2 year old one (except perhaps from one of those pubs that only sells 1 pint of bitter a month, so the beer has been sat in the cellar for 2 years in an aluminium cask).

This beer is good. Very good. It's strong at 6%, dark, and quite sweet. On first taste it reminded me of honey, but the notes on the back say it has a spicy, fruitcake aroma and flavours of oak, caramel and burnt toffee, which I can't disagree with. I probably couldn't drink more than a couple of them at a time, but it goes very well with food. Highly recommended!

Tonight I have a bottle of Adnams East Green Carbon Neutral Beer.

Immediately on popping the cap I could smell the fresh, crisp aroma. it's a fairly light beer, both in colour and strength at 4.3%, with a fresh, crisp taste to match the aroma and a light citrus hoppy flavour. (I decided to describe the flavour in my own words and found I was very close to the way they described it on the bottle, so this thread is educating my palate.)

It is made at their new brewery in East Green, Southwold, which is the UK's newest and, they believe, most energy efficient. The Adnams bottles across the range now use 33% less glass and feel quite lightweight and delicate. The ingredients for this beer were locally sourced (Maris Otter malted barley, Boadicea hops) and the with a little offsetting it makes the beer carbon neutral.

I think this will become another favourite, as it is light enough to drink at lunchtime. MrsK says she has had so many sips of real ales in the last 2 weeks that the baby will be born with a beard.