Local Beer Fest News – Brandling Villa Sausage & Ale Fest 2011

7 02 2011

The first week in March (3rd to 5th) sees the triumphal return of the Brandling Villa Sausage & Ale Festival.  Last year’s event was a tremendous success despite a few teething problems and Dave has learned from that and has planned an even more adventurous event for this year.

The pub is outside of Newcastle city centre but easily accessible via the Metro system.  Take a tram to South Gosforth and you will find it a couple of hundred yards down the bank.  The BV is an imposing, double fronted stone building and has plenty of room inside to fit everything and everybody in.  Dave has done a great job with the place since he took over about 18 months ago which will surely be rewarded with an entry in the next Good Beer Guide.

Anyway on to the festival and the beer and sausage lists, these are yet to be 100% confirmed but here is what we have so far and I’ll post updates if things change enough to warrant one.  The following lists are a bit long but worth reading through to pick out all the goodies to put on your festival hit-list.

DRAUGHT

8 Sail – Victorian Porter 5.0%

Adnams – American IPA 4.8%

Adnams – Belgian Abbey Ale 5.0%

Anchor – Liberty Ale (USA Import) 5.9%

Bacchus – Framboise (Belgium Import) 5.0%

Bays – Topsail 4.0%

Blindmans – Golden Spring 4.0%

Brew Dog – Edge 3.2%

Brew Dog – Hardcore IPA 9.0%

Castle Rock – Preservation Fine Ale 4.4%

Dark Star – American Pale Ale 4.7%

Flying Dog – Doggie Style (USA Import) 5.0% (may turn out to be Old Scratch)

Kwak (Belgium Import) 8.4%

Leeds – New Moon 4.3%

Ouseburn Valley – Bangerade 6.0%

Phoenix – Massacre 4.5%

Poachers – Shy T

Roosters – Orange Blossom Cream Ale 3.9%

Saltaire – Cascadian Black 4.8%

Springhead – Sweetlips 4.6%

Summer Wine Brewery -Barista Espresso Stout 4.8%

Thornbridge – Jaipur IPA 5.9%

Thornbridge – Kipling 5.2%

Trentside – Hickman Gold 3.9%

BOTTLES

Brooklyn – Chocolate Stout

Mort Subite – Gueze

Schlenkerla – Rauchbier

Quintine – Hercule

Goose Island – India Pale Ale

Bohemia – Regent

Flying Dog – Gonzo Imperial Porter

SUASAGES

Bison & Blueberry

Merquez

Black Rabbit & Brooklyn Chocolate Stout

Pheasant & Pear

Northumbrian Beef & McConnell’s Irish Stout

Roast Duck, Spring Onion & Wasabi

Pork, Bean & Jalapeno

Wild Boar, Honey & Thyme

Wood Pigeon & Damson Jam

Venison & KWAK

Award Winning Cumberland Sausage

Craster Kipper & Dill

Full English Breakfast

Butternut Squash, Sage & Gorgonzola

Duck, Orange & Apricot

Pork & Thornbridge Jaipur India Pale Ale

Liver, Bacon & Ouseburn Porter

Allendale Beacon Fire Banger (HOT)

Pork & Ginger

Haggis, Neeps & Whisky

Northumbrian Lamb & Mint

Ostrich & Rosemary

Crocodile & Sage

Beef & Newcastle Brown Ale

Pork & Black Olive

Lamb Bhuna

Pork & Apple

Pork, Dijon & Roosters Orange Cream Blossom

Spinach & Cheddar Cheese

Mushroom & Tarragon

Kangaroo

Duck Pork & Stilton

If you are still here after wading through all that, congratulations.  There will also be a selection of Ciders on throughout the Fest to keep the Tarts happy and in all Dave reckons that there will be 38 brews on at any given time.  Musical entertainment will be provided by the Lyndon Anderson Band, ZepFreeCream and the Mojo Hand band…if they can find any room to set up.

There are certainly some great beers to try here and if Dave can get things to anywhere near the standard of last year’s event you will be in for a treat if you make it along.

KC





Golden Pints 2010

13 01 2011

 

 

 

 

 

OK so I’m a bit late with this (started before Christmas, tidied up today) but, hey, I’ve had ‘things’ to do and it got here eventually didn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

Best UK Draught Beer: There have been a number of beers that have wowed me this year; Highland’s Orkney Porter was stunning in the Bacchus as was Yorkshire Dales Brewing Co’s St’Out of This World.  However, for opening my taste buds to the delights of ‘lighter’ beer the winner goes to Thornbridge Kipling.

Best UK Bottled Beer: I’ve been drinking more bottled beer than ever this year and certainly a more varied selection than usual and up until New Years Eve the winner was still going to be my old friend Traquair Jacobite Ale.  However, I had the pleasure of sharing one of my bottles of Orkney Dark Island Reserve (2008) with HH and was totally blown away by it, a stunning drink.

Best Overseas Draught Beer: County Durham Brewing – C’est What? Steve’s Dreaded Chocolate Orange Ale.  Despite the name this doesn’t come from just down the road, rather I enjoyed this during July’s trip to Toronto.  Brewed specifically for the basement bar C’est What? this was a lovely dark malty beer which was lifted from being Nutella infused coffee by the sharpness of the orange in the background to start with and then prominently in the finish which took it to another level.

Best Overseas Bottled Beer: Rogue Old Crustacean 1999.  Again from my Toronto trip and this time served as an accompaniment to my ice cream in Beer Bistro.  There were so many aromas coming at me from this that I ran out of adjectives and was severely worried it was going to be a total mess.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  A gorgeous Barley Wine full of tangy dried fruits (dates, prunes and cherries), caramel and a stunningly pithy bitterness which complemented the food perfectly.

Best Overall Beer: For just being so damned drinkable – Thornbridge Kipling.

Best Pumpclip or Label: I really like what the Yorkshire Dales Brewing Company have done with their clips and labels, instantly recognizable and stylish with the advantage of almost always signaling a great beer.

Best UK Brewery: I had a lot of thought on this and a number of changes to the name here but in the end because they consistently come up with great drinkable beers the winner is the Yorkshire Dales Brewing Company.  Honourable mentions go to Highland Brewery, Summer Wine Brewery, Thornbridge and Bull Lane who could all have been justifiable choices.

Best Overseas Brewery: For the great beer tasted, the friendliness of all the staff and a great brewery tour the winner goes to Mill Street Brewery, Toronto.

Pub/Bar of the Year: Loved Smokeless Joe’s in Toronto for the company, the North Bar in Leeds for the drinks selection, the Cumberland Arms in Byker for being so welcoming, the Free Trade Inn again in Byker which has my all time favorite view but the winner is The Newcastle (Top) Arms…just because.

Beer Festival of the Year: Really enjoyed the National Winter Ale Festival in Manchester and on, a smaller level, regular festivals at the Newcastle Arms.

Supermarket of the Year: Meh!

Independent Retailer of the Year: Had fun rooting around Beer Ritz in Leeds and really wish I’d had more bag space but due to its closer proximity I’ll go for Rehill’s Deli in Jesmond which has a great selection of all types of booze…but no website unfortunately.

Online Retailer of the Year: Had great service from BeerMerchants, myBrewerytap and Ales by Mail this year with no problems and nothing but praise for all of them.

Best Beer Book or Magazine: Cheers has been a breath of fresh air in the North East and wipes the floor with the woeful local CAMRA effort.

Best Beer Blog or Website: Because it’s always handy to have an idea what may be waiting for you at the pub I always check Phil’s Newcastle Real Ale Listing.

Best Beer Twitterer: Enjoy all the banter so no particular favorites.

Best Brewery Online: Very rarely visit any to be honest.

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year: Cranachan and Highland’s Orkney Porter at a food/beer matching event at the Bacchus.

In 2011 I’d Most Like To…: Find time to write more here…but not at the expense of drinking.

Open Category: I think I’ve said enough.





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





It Hasn’t Led Me To Drink

13 04 2010

Well after an absence of about 6 weeks I thought it was about time I lifted my head above the parapet and made a couple of posts here.  I have a number of half written things lurking about on my hard drive that need a bit of spit and polish and a couple of ideas that I want to take forward so I hope to get them on here in the next couple of weeks.

So where have I been? I hear all none of you ask.  Well the best description of my recent location is probably Planet Zog, that well known haunt of stressed out people the nation over.  I’m not saying that I had lost my mind or anything, I’ve been there in the past and have no intention of heading down that road again, rather, I’ve been putting my coping mechanisms into place.  As a result a number of ‘superfluous’ activities have been removed from my daily routine including, as you may have deduced, writing stuff for this blog and even posting on Twitter for the last couple of weeks.  Instead I’ve spent some quality time with the Good Lady Wife watching some quality DVD’s such as…errr…2012, visiting the odd pub and generally taking things a lot easier whilst the chaos of work was pointedly ignored.

Whilst I’ve been enjoying the rarefied air of Zog I’ve noticed a distinct change in my drinking habits.  Rather than finding solace in a bottle or at the bottom of a glass the quantity of booze that has passed my lips has increased, it may even have slightly decreased; instead I’ve found that what I want to drink has changed quite a bit, at least at home.  The amount of beer I’ve drank at home has fallen to perhaps one or two bottles a week, if that, to have been replaced by wine, brandy and whisky.  Even then when I have had a bottle of beer I have been reaching for a nice, uncomplicated session ale, mostly of the *gasp* pale variety (Bath, Golden Hare please take a well deserved bow).  The bottles of Dark Island Reserve, Marble Decadence, Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron and countless other ‘exotics’ have been relegated to the back of the beer cupboard for the time being.

The wine is obviously a social thing to share whilst watching a movie and the brandy and whisky are my comfort drinks of choice; whisky always has been, but pale beer? Not sure where that has come from.  It’s also not something I’ve felt the need nor want to replicate in any of the pubs I’ve visited, I still look for which dark ales are on sale first.

So why mention any of this? Well this week see’s Newcastle Beer and Cider Festival take place and I find myself wanting to write about it plus I’m interested to see what beers I’m attracted to.  Will I head for the usual stouts and porters or will my newfound taste for pale bottled beers lead me to stray from the dark and into the light?  I’ll be there each day once again this year tweeting away and may even attempt to do some posts live from the event.

It’s good to be back.