Don’t Know Much About History…

31 10 2009

Old Inns and Taverns

I picked up this little beauty at a local market recently for the princely sum of £4 along with a couple of other beer related books, but this was undoubtedly the star buy.  Published by V. Graham (? relationship) and printed by T&G Allan it is a card backed, 42 page pamphlet, printed on rather nice gloss paper and dates from 1959.

The contents list and comment on many pubs which are still in existence today and it makes for great reading. Amongst other things it tells us which Newcastle pub used to have a cock-fighting ring and which had a louping-on stane, a stone mount which ‘allowed farmers’ wives to easily get on the pillion behind their husbands for the riding home’.

When we eventually get around to doing some in depth reviews of the local pubs we will also reprint the comments from the book in a following post.  A seasoned, second opinion if you like.  For those pubs no longer in existence we may very well set up an ongoing series of posts reprinting the comments from the pamphlet.  That may well prove very handy when we run out of inspiration for anything else.

KC

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Local Beer Fest – Beers That Go Bump In The Night

30 10 2009

Another local Beer Fest to bring to your attention, this time with most of the beers having a Halloween theme.  Being over the water it is outside of my usually territory but my South of Tyne correspondent tells me that the venue is well liked and friendly.  Proceedings started yesterday but I’m sure there is still plenty of beer to go around from what looks to be a great selection.

STEAMBOAT, SOUTH SHIELDS 29th October – 1st November 09
Halloween Beer Festival, up to 20 beers available during the festival.
Beers List below:

Adnams Old Ale
Anglo Dutch At T’Ghoul & Ghost
Anglo Dutch Ghost On The Rim
Big lamp Embers
Castle Rock Hemlock
Cathedral Ales Black Imp
Durham Magus
Fullers ESB
H & B Border Reiver
Hamilton Nightmare Porter
Hop Back Entire Stout
Leeds Midnight Bell
Mauldons Oktoberfest
Moorhouses Black Witch
RCH old Slug Porter
Tim Taylors Golden Best
Wychwood Hobgoblin
Wylam Magic
York Centurion’s Ghost

This info comes from Phil’s excellent site which keeps us all informed of the beers on offer in the Tyneside region.

KC





Local Beer Fest News

28 10 2009

Tomorrow sees the start of Newcastle Cricket Club’s Real Ale Festival and ADB and at least one Cider Tart will be taking in the atmosphere, and one or two beers, over the weekend.  It’s not the largest of festivals but does have some interesting brews as you can see below.

BEERS

Brewdog Punk IPA

Brewdog Trashy Blonde

Marble Ginger Marble

Timothy Taylor Golden Best

Timothy Taylor Ram Tam

Hadrian Tyneside Blonde

Hadrian Ouseburn Porter

Theakstons Old Peculiar

Rudgate Ruby Mild

Oakham IPA

Oakham White Dwarf

Thornbridge Jaipur IPA

Stables Bobby Dazzler

Mordue IPA

Mordue Coffee Porter

Saltaire Titus Black

Wylam Gold Tankard

Jarrow Rivet Catcher

Copper Dragon Golden Pippin

Exmoor Gold

Jennings Sneck Lifter

Jennings Cocker Hoop

Marstons Old Empire

Wychwood Hobgoblin

Brakspear Oxford Gold

CIDERS/PERRY

Ross on Wye

Barkers

Brook Farm Dabinette

Brook Farm Balls Seedling

Wilkins Med

Solway Howzat!

Solway Googly

Solway Dibbly Dobbly

Hecks Perry

A review will hopefully follow in some sort of timely manner next week.

EDIT: I didn’t make the festival in the end a combination of being well and truly hung over, bad weather and a suggestion from Twitterer @jeffpickthall that I save myself the bother winning the day.





Sunday Munchies

26 10 2009

IMG_0057

For the first time since they introduced it last month, my wife and I popped into the Bacchus yesterday for Sunday lunch.  Nothing strange there you may think but trust me, getting a lunch in Newcastle on a Sunday has been one of life’s onerous tasks.  For such a reasonably sized city, with an apparently thriving Sunday shopping scene, the choice has been sparse to say the least.  Sure, you could pop into one of several chain restaurants, Wagamama’s, Nando’s etc, but try and get a Pub meal? Not a chance.  So given that we’d spent years bemoaning this fact we thought we should support the one pub that was making an effort.

The Bacchus is currently the local CAMRA pub of the year and has been serving food in the evenings since it reopened a couple of years ago, often preparing beer/food matching menus*.  When we got there things looked to be ticking over but not exactly busy which was just as well considering there was only one barman present.  Still, the beer and cider lists were scoured, orders placed and a table secured within a couple of minutes.  Food wise it was a choice of roasts, beef (her), chicken (me), lamb or pork complete with mash, roasties, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, Yorkshire pud and a lovely rich gravy all for the very reasonable sum of £6:50 each.  When washed down with a very nice pint of Hornbeam’s Black Coral Stout and a half of Cirrus Minor it made for a thoroughly enjoyable repast.

Beer List - Baccus 25 10 2009Cider & Perry List - Bacchus 25 10 2009

I can only wish the Bacchus well in its venture and will certainly be returning to try out the other roasts available.  Given the lack of competition, the timing with the run up to Christmas and the inevitable increase in trade that brings I think they are on to a sustainable winner.  I also think there are enough potential punters out there to allow someone else to run with the idea too.  Whilst further out of town, The Cumberland Arms in Byker has announced it is going to start Sunday Lunches in the coming weeks, so it looks like the message is getting round.  Finally.

KC

* The good lady wife and I have just booked ourselves onto an 8 course ‘meet the brewer’ food/beer matching event with Pete from The Brew Company on the 8th on November, should be fun.





I’ll Show You Mine, If You Show Me Yours

25 10 2009

We started a Twitter account to test the waters of the beer blogging community i.e. were you a friendly bunch or were we going to be met by Slaughtered Lamb like silence? Thankfully there seems to be a really great sense of community out there borne by the love of beer.  One of the great things to have arisen out of this sense of community is Beer Swap.

beer_swapLOGO

It’s a simple enough idea really.  Get a group of like minded people from different parts of the country to choose 4 local bottled beers and post them to each other.  See? Simple!  Simple of course if you don’t have to coordinate the whole damned thing, so hats off to Andy Mogg and Mark Dredge for pulling it all together.  I’ve sent my details in now and have already secured a couple of bottles for my lucky recipient…quite exciting really.

So if you fancy getting involved and would like the chance of tasting some hard to find bottles of beer from never heard of micro’s (and some you no doubt will have) you still have time.  Check the links above and get yourselves signed up, the more the merrier.  But be quick, the clock is ticking and you don’t want to be left out of this one.  That means you too HH, get your finger out mate.

KC





Traquair Jacobite Ale

24 10 2009

The greatest beer in the world?

The finest beer in the world?

I thought I would start things off with a review of what I consider to be the finest beer I’ve ever tasted, Traquair Jacobite Ale.  I had the pleasure of staying at Traquair House for a couple of nights earlier in the year and used the opportunity to come away with 2 cases of this stuff from the brewery shop, along with assorted other bottles I’ll review at a later date.

So let’s start with the dark brown 33cl bottle itself.  The front label is a black and white woodcut image of Bonnie Prince Charlie with the dates 1745 & 1995 signifying the 250th anniversary of the man himself setting out on the Jacobite rebellion.  The label also tells us that the contents within are an impressive 8% Vol, so not a drink to be taken lightly.

Turning the bottle we have another black and white woodcut label this time depicting Traquair’s famous Bear Gates and the Stuart Crown.  We also get to see the ingredients which make up the contents: Spring water, malt, hops, yeast & spices.  Simple, but oh so effective.  Finally we have the following block of text –

The famous Bear Gates guarding the approach to Traquair House, near Pebbles, have been closed since 1745 – when the last person to pass through them was Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Now, 250 years later, the ancient Traquair Brew House celebrates the Jacobite cause by producing this potent spiced ale to a traditional fine recipe. Sip slowly and remember the old toast to the “King O’er the Water.”

Opening the bottle and pouring the contents releases some wonderful aromas.  Dark fruits, predominantly figs, dates and prunes, meld seamlessly with molasses and the subtle spice of coriander.  The colour in the glass is that of burnished, dark mahogany or, as my wife tells me, a Terry’s Dark Chocolate Orange.  There is little in the way of head and what there is doesn’t linger long.

On to the taste and while the dark fruits are still there they sit further back than you would imagine from the aroma.  What really comes to the fore is the dark roasted malt tempering the fruits sweetness with chocolate mouse, caramel and hints of liquorice.  Surprisingly, given its strength, this is a medium bodied, easy drinking and smooth beer with no cloyingness on the palate.  This may be helped by the spiced finish redolent of a dark, sticky ginger cake and fresher coriander which combine to tingle the tongue as you drink.

So there you have it, the finest beer in the world, or at least my world.  I don’t really have the words to tell you just how good this beer is, I can only encourage you to pick up a bottle should you ever come across it in your retailer of choice and see for yourself.

KC