Local Beer Fest News – Brandling Villa Oktoberfest

30 08 2010

Dave at the Brandling Villa has set up another special event for us all to enjoy.  Following the success of the sausage and pie festivals etc he is now giving us Oktoberfest.  Running from 14 October at 12:00 to 16 October at 23:30 Dave has put together quite a selection of brews and some canny scran to go with it.  No confirmation of the musical entertainment as of yet but I live in hope for an Oompah band…well, kind of.

DRAUGHT BAR 1

Chimay White
DAB *
Erdinger Dunkel*
Fruh Kolsch*
Kostritzer Schwartzbier*
Schneider Weiss*
Timmermans Kriek
Timmermans Peche
Vedett Extra White*
Anchor Steam Beer*

*available in litre steins!

DRAUGHT BAR 2

Little Valley Hebden’s Wheat
Hadrian and Border Byker Wit
Wylam Wit
Wylam Bohemia Pilsner
Harviestoun Schiehallion
Allendale Adder Lager
Thornbridge Jaipur IPA
Jarrow Westoe’s IPA
Loddon Hullabaloo
Mighty Oak IPA
Triple FFF Moondance
Marston Moor Merriemaker
Caledonian Oktoberfest

FOOD BAR

Bratwurst
Currywurst
Hendl (Chicken)
Schweinbraten (Roast Pork)
Brezel (Pretzels)
Knodeln (Potato Pancakes)

For those of you have yet to venture there the Brandling Villa is a mere 5 minute walk from South Gosforth Metro station and so is within 20 minutes of the centre of Newcastle.  You can keep up to date with all the happenings at the Brandling Villa on their website, facebook page, blog and on twitter.

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Local Beer Fest News – Durham 2010

25 08 2010

As has been the case for many years the festival is to be held in the Durham University Students Union building at Dunelm House on New Elvet from the 2nd to the 4th of September.

We have always found this to be a friendly festival with a good selection of local beers supported by one or two from further afield.  The selection for this year is as follows:

Beer List

Cider & Perry List

Bottled Beer List

There is not much on to get the local tickers overly excited but it is a great selection of good local beer and personally I’m looking forward to reacquainting myself with some old friends.  For the non local there are some real gems on that list that will be well worth making the trip for.  Durham is in itself a great place to spend some time and is home to a number of lovely pubs which always stock a good selection of beer if you fancy taking a break from the festival.

As with most of the local festival information I post the beer/cider lists came courtesy of Eric Larkham whose mailing list can be requested by dropping me an email and I’ll pass on the details.

KC





Adnams’ Bottled Beauties

24 08 2010

Given that I have several months worth of catching up to do I thought I would save a little space and combine a couple of posts here.

As a result of taking part in the inaugural BeerSwap I was kindly sent a bottle of Tally Ho by those nice folks at Adnams.  Then, as spring was beginning to brighten our lives, they also sent me a bottle of Spindrift.  Both of these I drank a while back so it is about time I let Sean and everyone else at Adnams what I thought of their fare.  I’ve had the odd pint of their beer on cask over the years but can’t say they are a brewery I would hunt out and have generally thought the beers to be averagely inoffensive so was interested to see what I would make of these bottles.

Tally Ho – Traditional Dark Ale, 7.2%

First things first I’d just like to say what a natty looking bottle of beer this is and one for which my photography does no favours.  It is definitely something which would draw my eye on a supermarket/off licence shelf so job well done in that regard.

This is described by Adnams as a Barley Wine style beer which has been brewed by them since 1880, although it hasn’t been bottled for about 10 years now.  I poured mine at room temperature which I always find preferable for darker beers and was rewarded with dark brown beer with hints of garnet red and a reasonable head which slowly dissipated.  The aromas coming out of the glass were wonderfully redolent of Christmas, a slight smokiness followed by spicy, sweet fruits all coming on like a freshly baked Christmas cake.

It tasted just as good, really smooth and easy drinking despite its strength.  The Christmas cake flavours were still there and these were joined by a bite of chocolate and a swig of coffee.  I imagine this would be great with a slice of said Christmas cake and some lovely crumbly cheese whilst sitting in front of a roaring fire on a cold winters evening.  However, given that this is my kind of beer, in reality I could happily drink this at any time of the year.

Adnams say that Tally Ho will mature in the bottle and will benefit from a period of laying down so it could get even better.  Now there is a project worth pursuing.

Spindrift – Refreshing English Beer, 5.0%

Here we have an even nattier looking bottle than the Tally Ho, all blue and fresh looking which again can’t help but make it stand out on the shelves.  Someone in the design department deserves a pat on the back for these.

This one I poured chilled(ish), about 20 minutes after I removed it from the fridge and was presented with a lovely golden beer with small white head.  Aroma wise we had some citrus fruits and a malty sweetness with nothing overpowering and all nicely balanced.  I’m not usually a golden ale kind of guy and tend to find them too hoppy for my palate but this went down a treat.  Flavour wise what we have here is a beautifully balanced mix of caramel sweet malts followed by a touch of hop bitterness which gives the beer just the right amount of edge.  Why anyone would choose to down a stubby of lager over this is beyond me, I loved it and have been recommending it to my friends & relatives as the summer beer of choice.

So there we go two resounding successes which I have to say has left me somewhat surprised.  As I stated previously I’ve never considered Adnams to be a go to brewery but maybe I need to reassess their draft beers the next chance I get.

KC





Coppa del Mondo Birra Lotteria

23 08 2010

Well I haven’t visited here for a while, or much this year for that matter.  For that you can blame/thank the current inequality in my work life balance and the fact that when I’m not tied to my desk at work the good lady wife actually wants to spend that time with me.  I have, however, been maintaining a limited presence on Twitter and it was through this medium that World Cup Beersweep (WCBS) came to my attention.

WCBS was a cunning ploy by the great minds behind beer swap, Mark and Andy, to get us all drinking something different, or not, over the summer.  The premise was a simple one, buy a beer from the team you were drawn with, blog about it before the final and, if your team won, you would be in line for a prize from the nice people at myBrewerytap, Adnams, Highland Brewery and Ales By Mail.  32 participants were sought to take part in the draw and this soon grew to 64, meaning two draws, with interest really high.  This I could not resist.  As you may have noticed 2 sentences ago I made mention of the fact that this should have been posted prior to the final and those of you on the ball will also note we are now approaching the arse end of August.  I’m claiming inspiration for my poor performance in this matter from the team with which I was drawn.

Pre draw I was torn between wanting an easy time of it (beer wise) with an England or Germany and the lure of the chase in trying to find something exotic from North Korea or Honduras.  To be honest I wasn’t really bothered about winning the thing, though it would have been nice, I really just wanted an excuse to try something different.  In the end I was paired with Italy, who I had going out in the group stages in my prediction league at work, and with a sudden jolt realised I knew next to nothing about the beers of one of our European neighbours.  OK, I’d tasted Peroni Red and Blue before, usually accompanied by a pizza, but there had to be more to Italian beer than those, surely?

Within minutes of tweeting the result of my draw a number of helpful chaps and chapettes started to fire exotic names off at me as if I should have known all along about the burgeoning Italian craft beer scene.  But, truth be told, I’m just a bairn when it comes to beer knowledge so I had to dutifully fire up Google and find out just what it was that had these people so excited.  I don’t know why I was surprised to find so many examples of Italian beer out there, but I was and it left me with another dilemma, just which of these beers that I knew nothing about should I buy and from where?

I tried the usual online suspects first, companies I’ve bought from in the past and had unfailingly good service from.  Whilst nearly all offered me something in the way of Italian beer I had, by now, decided that an education is not an education if you only read one book so what I needed was somewhere that could provide me with a veritable library of Italian beer.  My search eventually led me to Nifeislife.com where I was almost spoilt for choice and after much deliberation (not) I settled on the seven beers you see below.

I intended to base my selection on different beer styles but in the end just plumped for the bottles I liked the look of after deciding it was all guesswork anyway.  So what caught my eye then? Well in the end, a mere 3 days after placing my order, I was a proud owner of the following:

La Volpina Pale Ale Amarcord (500ml)

Tabachera Double Malt Beer Amarcord (500ml)

KETO Reporter Beer- Birra del Borgo (750ml)

Duchessa Beer – Birra del Borgo (750ml)

Re Ale Beer- Birra del Borgo (750ml)

Crocco Br`Hant Malt Beer (75cl)

Ninco Nanco Beer Br`Hant (75cl)

As you will note none of these came in an easy, knock it back in fifteen minutes, 33cl bottles.  Oh no, coming in at 50 and 75cl these were going to have to be treat with some respect.  My initial thought was to invite HH around and we could blast through them in a session making copious notes and taking plenty of photos.  In the end I have enjoyed each of the bottles individually; some whilst taking in the football others as I mindlessly surf/listen to music and some definitely more than others.  I have made notes on all of these but to go through them all would make this post really unwieldy and the links should tell you what you want to know and let’s face it the whole point of WCBS was to enjoy the journey as much as the beer.  Having said that there are a couple of points that I think bear mentioning, so here goes:

  • I disliked none of the beers, although the Reporter came close, which given the random nature with which they were chosen is something of a victory.
  • The Reporter was an experience.  The smell coming out of the newly opened bottle reminded all present of decaying faeces, which wasn’t the best of starts.  It smelt and tasted better after pouring but is perhaps the one I’d try again only if offered for gratis.
  • The La Volpina Pale Ale Amarcord was the closest in taste to a UK beer out of the 7.
  • I really liked the things they did with hops in the beers and coming from me that is praise indeed.
  • Italian Craft beer is far more entertaining and successful than their football team.

So there you go, my WCBS experience.  Despite the poor performance of the Italian team their craft brewers have salvaged the day for the nation.  All we need now is for these beauties to become more readily available but until then I can heartily recommend picking these up where you can.  You won’t be disappointed.

KC