Monday, 31 December 2012

Les Deux Alpes

Sidde for some reason thinks its the end of the year, so there is no time to review any beer. He is, of course, wrong.

So after a day out skiing, we are sat in a bar drinking foreign beer. This is of course lager, as none of the tasty ale is available

In these days of modern technology (Siddie can explain this) I can review this insipid, but no hanger inducing, lager. So due to the fact I had a skin full last night, and this morning I was fine, this scores a 4 out of ten. It's fizzy tasteless and boring. I don't know what it is, apart from foreign lager...

Siddie Reviews the Beer Year

It's been a while, due to other projects, since I've posted anything. I thought I'd better provide an update. Why? Well, while I'm grateful to Addie for holding the fort, it's not easy to continuously tolerate his weird and wonderful application of our Western Germanic Latin-scripted mother tongue. In fact, I doubt if Addie would even know what the last few words of my last sentence mean.

Since I haven't posted for a bit, I thought a beer-fuelled review of 2012 might be in order. Where are the highlights to be found?

The people
To start us off, let's think about who we've met this year. There is myself, of course -- Siddie Nam -- your despairing host and senior editor, determined to uphold standards of literacy and to promote care, attention, knowledge and consistency when reviewing the various beers we've encountered. It's been an utter failure of course, but what can one do? This is why I operate a blog and not a national newspaper.

However, my not-very-trusted lieutenant Addie Stone has to be commended at least for his work-rate. He produces blog after blog of beer fuelled diatribe, so at least there's content for you to read. It's not content you'd want to read, but, well. He tries his best. I should mention that he doesn't believe me that British English speakers pronounce lieutentant as "lef-tenant" -- but that's because his command of our native idiom is drawn primarily from American feature films featuring fighting, explosions and bad sex.

Heath Roe, our third contributor, contrasts nicely with Addie in the sense that he has contributed precisely two articles to the blog in its entire lifetime. Where Addie is a workaholic but illiterate demon, Heath is a literate and poetic scriber, who has mastered the written word. Of course you'll have to to trust me on this, since being one hundred per cent bone idle, I have no evidence to offer you that might back up my argument. Sorry.

Other friends of the blog include Mr Windy, master of his own destiny, and random Guinness drinker, and Nobby Northerner, who likes a real ale but really only visits us in London (home of Siddie and the Beer Monsters) once in a blue moon. All must surely feel like old friends. Or not. It really depends how interested you are in any of this.

The beers of the year
I've been reviewing the year's blogging, and one clear winner in the taste and enjoyment stakes stands out: Let me announce now that the Siddie Nam and the Beer Monsters beer of the year is the Hog's Back's Brewery's TEA (The English Ale). It's just super, and from one of the larger breweries we encounter it's just a standout great beer. If you get it from a decent pub that knows how to look after its ales, you are guaranteed a decent drink and I absolutely recommend it. We've encountered it a fair bit, but for a couple of our musings on it, see HERE and HERE.

TEA is one of the biggies, of course, but it's important to showcase the lesser known delights. I think a standout favourite for the year is Mighty Oak Brewery's Juggernaut. It's one of their "Specials", so might be hard to get, but let me tell you now this was universally appreciated by the well informed crowd of beer swilling reprobates who Addie and I are forced to drink with. And they use Maris Otter malt, too -- technical stuff, so I'll let you look that up for yourself. Silly branding, Mighty Oak -- that's the only real failing with this lovely brew. Here's what we said about it (and HERE too!).

There were loads of other goodies -- but the best way to learn about them, of course, is to read the blog. Obviously!

Brewery of the year
The hands-down winner of this was Sambrook's in London. Why? because they let us visit them, plied us with loads and loads of brilliant beer (Wandle and Junction being just two fine examples from their terrific range), and put up with Heath's nonsense while telling us all about their brewery and the processes involved. We had an awesome time there, and we cannot thank them enough for their excellent hospitality. Nice one guys! We wrote about them HERE and HERE.

Event of the year
Well, you have to love CAMRA's Great British Beer Festival. We went, and drunk gallons of beer, reviewing each as we went along using just five words. Scientific? No. Fun? Oh my word yes! Start HERE and follow along chronologically to read our reviews of the event.

Was it a great beer year? Well, we had a drink didn't we? So... YES! 

Happy 2013 everyone, and to especially all the great breweries and beermakers who've played their part -- keep up the good work.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Lazy Sunday

It's Sunday, my family are away, so I have no responsibilities today. What should I do? Well visit a good pub and have a couple of beers.

Today I am visiting my brothers bar, I won't mention the name as Siddie and I have agreed not to. But here I am having my favourite beer TEA, and yes my brother has looked after it and it is lovely (unlike the one I had yesterday in a chain pub). No need to score it as I have already done so, but thank you Hogsback brewery for producing a fine well rounded ale.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Training

I've had a week on a training course with a wee Scotsman. We did manage (after the course) to nip into a bar and try the local beer, along with a friendly chat about the coursework of the day (beer talk is more interesting).

We has a pint of Gravitas by the Vale Brewing company at 4.8%. This was much too zesty for my tastes and even after my first mouthful, I was wishing I had had something else. 4 out of 10 from me.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Christmas Party

So today we have a friends Christmas celebration, we start early and finish after a disco early in the morning.

Unfortunately this is likely to be the only real ale of the day, and also needs to be a session ale, so I've a Trelawny from St Austell at 3.9%.

Tasting like a session beer, it has a light hoppy taste and is very pleasant to drink. I would prefer a stronger ale, but it is good 7 out of 10.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Yes I Am Still Here.

Siddie is still off work, either he will be appearing on Grand Designs (this is a TV program about people with great plans to create their own home, see http://www.channel4.com/programmes/grand-designs) or maybe he is genuinely ill.

Mr Windy and I managed a trip out last week, since Siddie has not been around our external lunchtime excursions have definitely dropped off. But, yes we made it out for a strole. Whilst walking down the street we stumbled into a bar, where I had a couple of Ruby Ducks. This is from the Fuzzy Duck brewery with a whopping 5.3% alcohol. This is a darkish beer, kind of ruby colour - not a surprise here - and full of flavour. A lovely pint, which is why I had two pints, so a 7 out of 10 from me.



Thursday, 15 November 2012

Mr Windy and a Random Drink

Siddie is still off work, with no current plan to come back (as far as I can tell), so there must be major renovations going on in his house.

Since Siddie isn't with us in the local, so I'll post this on his honour. Mr Windy and his random (this time it isn't Guinness) beer.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Charlie is Going on Holiday

Oh there is a happy man in work today, Charlie. For the first time in years he is off on a 2 week holiday to St Lucia. Time in the sun, relaxing and not thinking about work (it's the work bit he is really looking forward to). So what to do when a friend is off work for 2 weeks? Celebrate down the bar with a couple of beers.

Now, Siddie is no where to be seen, and no one else wants a break, so Charlie and I head off for lunch.

In between Charlie's smug 'I'm not at work for 2 weeks', he spends his time telling me how he is going to relax and do nothing while he is away. Thanks Charlie..(now I wonder if I was like this before my holiday, I hope not.)

In between breaths of descriptions of sunshine, beaches and non motorised water sport (powered sport isn't included on his all inclusive holiday) we manage a couple of pints of American Pale Ale by Milestone brewing at 4.6%. This is a pleasant ale, not hoppy and not zesty, but a good drink, and at 4.6% helped to pass the afternoon I enjoyed this 7 out of 10 from me.

It Has Been a While

So boy have we been quiet on the blogging front.

Siddie is doing some serious decorating, as he has been off work for a while (he tells me he has a doctors note, which I assume is his excuse when Mrs Nam complains at the quality of his work).

I have been very busy and missed quite a few lunches, but I did make it out on Friday for a pint of Forest Hare by Bath Ales, a session beer at 3.9%. This has the similar zesty flavour as the other recent Bath Ales beer we had and consequently isn't my cup of tea, so a 5 out of 10 from me.

Tonight I am at the Woking beer Festival, Siddie isn't here, so no silly 5 word rules. But should I taste an extraordinarily fine beer, rest assured I will let you (dear reader) know.

Monday, 29 October 2012

On tour

Since it's half term, Mrs Nam, the kids and me have been visiting pals around the south east of England. One such excursion was to Rye, in East Sussex, where one can be cheerfully overwhelmed by a heavy dollop of English history. The town itself was once coastal in medieval times, through to Tudor England and beyond. Henry VIII built fortifications there and nearby (at Camber Castle), but these days the English Channel has retreated leaving a flat salt marsh and an enigmatic and beautiful town on a hill.

In the town, near a ruined city gate, there is a hostelry called The Ypres Inn. Despite being named after a French coastal town, the locals call it "The Wipers". Pronunciations come and go, but one great constant of English pubs is that they sell beer. This one is no exception, and I had a pint of the Old Dairy Brewery's Wild Hop, at 4.0%. Classical ale, lots of malt, lots of hops and no nasties. An easy going seven out of ten. Lovely.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Mr Windy and the Random Guinness #4

I got to the pub late today and was confronted by a large crowd of those already there ahead of me, which included Heath, Addie and Mr Windy, amongst many others. I wondered what we were celebrating, but it turned out everyone had simply decided to adjourn for lunch because it was just one of those days.

Happily, Addie had already lined me up a pint, and I was delighted to discover that it was a Sambrook's Junction. So soon after our successful and enjoyable brewery trip, it was like catching up with an old friend.

Several of us including Heath indulged; but Mr Windy won't give into to the crowd. Today was a Random Guinness day. That's what he wanted. That's what he had. If you're a regular reader, you'll know that's how he plays it sometimes. There's not rhyme or reason to it, it's simply what makes his world go round.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

More Sambrook's beer? Oh, OK then.

As Addie has seperately reported, we went last Thursday evening for a trip around Sambrook's Brewery, a recent startup in Clapham, South London. I thought it was high time we took our journalistic responsibilities seriously, and even Addie has had a fair crack at a sensible review of our evening (so I won't repeat his findings). However, roving reporter Heath, co-writer of almost nothing that has appeared on this blog, had other ideas.

Still, after a few liveners in various hostelries en route, we reached the Sambrook's Brewery, a few minutes walk from Clapham Junction station, with something between fifteen and twenty of us looking forward to the proceedings yet to come. I was delighted to be greeted by this sight:


At that moment I knew this would be my type of place, and I was not disappointed. Tom, with his red T-Shirt and enthusiastic demeanour, proceeded to place a pint of Wandle in my hand (the last usable one from the barrel, much to my colleagues' discontent), and off we went. Wandle is a proper session beer, and I was immediately happy.

But Tom was dishing out pints (those who missed out on Wandle got a pint of one of Sambrook's recent creations, Lavender) and dishing out beer wisdom in equal measure. And Heath dished out heckles. And drank more beer.

Unfazed, Tom worked us through the sources and treatments of the Maris Otter barley (malt) which forms the root of all of Sambrook's beer. There were various roasts and we crunched our way through them all, trying to pretend we were sagely appreciating the various subtle notes to each one (though the one for the porter was obviously very darkly cooked compared to the other two). Then we had another pint of beer (I had Lavender this time round).

Next, we had a look at the hops. Rubbing them between your hands you can appreciate the real floral root of many great ales, the smell being released and wafting up your nostrils in the same happy, hoppy, beery way that the chemically air fresheners you can buy for your car or lavatory don't. It's a wonderful smell -- away from the beer, why doesn't someone harness this for use as a commercial scent? I mulled this over as I received a pint of Junction. Dear me, I'm really starting to have a lovely time now.


Having had our talk and our Junction, it was time for a wander round the area where all the action happens. I think this was now about my sixth pint of the day, and by this point I was trying to pay attention but finding it much harder than I had when we'd started. I gleaned that they could make about 3000 litres a time, using local (but "Burtonised") water, and that they tried various quantities of the various malts and hops, and different temperatures, amongst other techniques, to give the various commercial and experimental ales they brew their particular characters.




I listened as intently as I could through a happy haze, only temporarily woken from my stupor by an abrupt "BOOM!" shouted by Heath into one of the large empty metallic vats (what a reverb -- recording artists everywhere should consider these acoustic qualities seriously). Tom was still unfazed and took us through to a second area where the actual four (ish) day fermentation process occurs, and where (I gather, based entirely on the evidence of my iPhone's camera) it is subsequently filled into barrels.


We got to the other end of the brewery -- really not too far. To my immense pleasure, there were some barrels full of more beer. We'd been advised to bring our glasses with us, and I was very happy I had done just that. Another Wandle -- thanks very much.

And so it went on. Eventually back in the bar area, we had a go at the Powerhouse Porter (dark and moody -- a black classic, exactly as a porter should be), and quite possibly one or two others. I couldn't say; I only know that we came away happy, and that I probably said thanks and goodbye to our ever-smiling and charismatic host Tom about ten times, shaking his hand frequently.

Then we went to the pub. Well, that's what you do, right? Somehow I made it home, and let me tell you I knew I'd had a few the following day. But don't let Addie fool you. He was feeling hopelessly sorry for himself, having overshot his station by four stops on the way home, and waking up early to be a little unwell. In the office the next day he was the lightweight with bloodshot eyes.

Addie certainly can't complain he had a bad pint -- we had a wonderful evening filled with amazing ales, and we are in Sambrook's debt for a their excellent, educational and entertaining hospitality. Cheers guys! Can we come again next week?


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Ouch my Head Hurts

So, after several weeks of planning, and a selection of people saying they would come and then drop out, and late attendees, we have finally made it to Sambrooks Brewery.

You will have seen I did complete one blog on the night, but after we started the brewery tour, I was totally engrossed, so I didn't have time to write any more at that time.

  

Tom, our guide, is not a full time employee at the brewery, so he completes these tours out of pleasure. Given this was not his full time job he was able to tell us a lot about the brewery, how it started, and how the make the beer. It was interesting to think that when Sambrooks was starting there were only three brewers in London, and now there are over thirty. This shows how people have been changing their drinking habits, and how this is driving the production of more traditional ale (over the mass produced lager we get in England).

Some brief facts (as I recall them):-
  • Sambrooks use locally sourced ingredients
  • the water is.. tap water.. which is 'burtonised' (this is adding of minerals etc that gives it the perfect start in life) 
  • the beers are named after local landmarks (Wandle - river, Junction - Clapham Junction, etc)
  • each brew is 3000 litres
So we started the evening with Lavender Hill, described as a honey beer. I like light ales, but I though this had a strange back of the throat aftertaste I can only describe as cardboard like.

We then tried some malt, at different stages of toasting. The lightly toasted barley reminded me so much of barley sweets, it was lovely (I'm guessing this isn't surprising really).

We had a pint of Junction, which is a lovely hoppy beer. I have reviewed this before and since it is only three miles from the local, it tasted just as nice as it did down the pub.

We had a look at the hops, and learnt about the flavour they add to the beer.

At this point I'm going to mention Heath. He'd had a couple of earlier meetings (in the pub) and was just a little bit tipsy before he started. He spent quite a lot of time talking very loudly and sometimes over Tom. If the tour hadn't been interesting it wouldn't have bothered me but today, this chap was talking and I was learning.

We had another Junction, as we then made our way through the brewery works, after which we had a pint of Wandle. To be honest I can't really remember much about the beer at this point, but Siddie tells me he preferred it to the Junction.

On our way back to get our bags, we tried a pint of the porter. I do remember this tasted like porter, but by this point things are getting a bit hazy.

All in all this was a fantastic evening. Not only did I learn a lot about Sambrooks and the way beer is made (when they try a new mix of hops/malt they make a full 3000litres, if they don't like it they throw it away), but had some excellent beer as well.

As you can imagine this lead to a some what thick head on Friday morning, which I have finally recovered from. The good news from me, is that Siddie was in a worse state than I was.




Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Last Pint.

So we are at Sambrooks Brewery an the first man to taste the beer has drunk them dry.

So I would comment on Wandle, but not until the barrel is replace.

At least we are in the right place.

Thanks Goodness Siddie is Busy

Siddie has been In one of his weird moods. For some reason he can't do anything himself. Addie, that meeting invite can you resend it. Addie, that Internet link you sent me last week, can you resend it.

This is most unlike Siddie, as normally he is on top of these things, and uses all sorts of technology to help him out. For instance, when we blog, some whizzy stuff automatically tweets it and publishes it to Facebook (I'm sure it does more, but by this point I'd switched off).

So when Mr Windy and I went out for lunch it was a bit of a relief as Siddie was tied up in meeting. Mr Windy and I talked about normal stuff (how's the family, what did you do last weekend) which can be refreshing from the highbrow conversations with Siddie (theory of relativity, suspension of disbelief).

Now I know Siddie has already reviewed Hop Garden Gold from the Hogs Back brewery (4.6% in case you missed it), but today is my turn. It doesn't have the classic hoppy taste of TEA, it's more subtle, it has no overtones of fruit or anything else, so is very pleasant to drink. It's flavour belies it's strength, so after a few you are going to know it. A very happy 8 out of 10 from me.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

One day to go

It's just one day to go until we visit Sambrook's Brewery in south London, home of beers such as Wandle and Junction. Addie and I, as well as several other gang members, are all excited. It's fair to say we're very much looking forward to it. Watch this space, and I'll blog all about it for your reading pleasure.

Meanwhile, Addie and I had almost no time for a quick livener today due to various work pressures and deadlines, so as a matter of principal we snuck out anyway, opting for the hostelry which is, as the crow flies (or our ageing feet walk) closest to our office. We don't usually go there as it has a more limited set of fairly well-known commercial ales (albeit well cared-for and pleasant), although Woodforde's Wherry has appeared since my last visit.

I gave it a try. Perfectly pleasant and drinkable, and easygoing at a comfortable 3.8%. Not too bad, if a little unspectacular. I'll give it a six out of ten.

From the pub window, Addie and I watched briefly while a team of workmen were repairing the road (and the landlady bemoaned the effect on her trade). I wonder if we'll get steamrollered tomorrow?

Friday, 12 October 2012

Tufty

Poor Addie. He does get some trouble from me (for example, see my sister blog, Too Wordy For Twitter, here: http://siddienam.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/the-non-temporary-disbelief-in.html). But I sincerely believe he brings it on himself. I am simply trying to help him.

Anyway, Addie doesn't exactly sport the world's finest mop of lush, thick locks. But what he has got, he keeps carefully trimmed using a home version of those sheary things they have at the barbers. At least, he thinks he's careful. I was wondering if the tufty bit he'd missed made him look more like Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa Laa or Po.

We dwelt on this over a pint of Hogs Back's Hop Garden Gold. At 4.6%, it doesn't taste as strong as it actually is. It's light, and clear. It's beery and pleasant. I liked it, but I'm afraid it isn't a match for TEA by the same brewery. Still decent though, seven out of ten.

So Addie, I'm just trying to help. By telling everyone I made sure you wouldn't forget to tidy it up overnight. Kind, aren't I?

DON'T FORGET! The drink up at the brewery is this week -- Addie and I will tell you all about the producer of some London Ales very soon. Exciting, huh?

Oh No What Have I Done

Siddie is upset with me. The title of my last blog, was one he was planning to use, so he has warned me that he may take the 'mick' just a bit. So I'm expecting all sorts of 'spelling mistakes' examples of 'poor grammar' and other such nonsense.

For those who read this, I apologise for the boring Siddie blog that is upcoming, but he has a bee in his bonet and will be venting very soon.

Today we managed a couple the first was Gem by Bath Ales at 4.1%, personally I'm not keen on this one, it has a slightly caramel taste. 5 out of ten.

Second was Old Growler by Nethergate, at 3.9% more traditional hoppy beer, much more up my street, 7 out of 10

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Suspension of Disbelief

As part of Siddie's and my discussions we were talking about a recent video release, Prometheus.

In our chat it was strange how Siddie wonders about space travel and where they are off to that takes 2 years (the nearest star is 4 light years away). Whereas what bothered me was that the android used 36 hours in a description of years, months , days , hours and minutes. But we both agreed it's a good movie.

Most importantly what did this discussion take place over? Well it was a pint of Hancocks HB at 3.6%. I won't be discussing the ale, as I've had this before (in fact we sold it in a bar where I worked) and today it tasted old. I don't think this is how it should be and therefore unfair to score it low based on the way it has been looked after in the pub.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

So The DIY is Finished

In a rather unexpected turn of events Siddie turned up for work today. Did he look all bloody and bruised? No. This leads me to suspect that the DIY at home is all fixed and Mrs. Nam is now happy with Siddies' handiwork.

After a long and rather tedious meeting Siddie suggested we go out and get some lunch. This seemed like a great idea, as we could have a beer at the same time.

So at the local we had Nethergates Dragons Revenge at 4.3%. This is a light coloured beer, which has a pleasant light taste to start but finishes slightly sour and woody (maybe slightly smokey). For me a nice change, but no session beer. 5 out of 10.

Back at it

It was tough going on my first day back in the office for some time. This was partly because I had to spend several hours in a meeting with Addie, and partly because it was my first day back in the office for some time. A late lunch beckoned, and Addie and I agreed to adjourn to our classical local haunt and try out what the pumps had to offer.

It was so late that we could persuade no other colleagues to join us, but in a committed piece of investigative journalism, Addie and I decided we owe it to our readers to have a pint and report back. We opted for Nelson Brewery's Dragon's Revenge, at 4.3%. (Addie has inaccurately reported it as Nethergate's on his blog post, which also contains a photo of the pump that directly contradicts this. Excellent, careful work from Addie, as usual.) This beer starts off as a decent light coloured ale, classical and golden. If it stayed like this, it would have scored quite highly, but unfortunately it's got a weird after taste, reminding me of the kind of woody smell you'd get if you were cutting a piece of pine with a power saw. Not exactly unpleasant, but not really for me, so I'm giving it a five out of ten. A decent attempt which some people might enjoy.

Perhaps its name is a reference to this slightly burnt flavour. Unlike the next pint, the name of which is most certainly not a reference to its taste. There it was, a renowned favourite, TEA from the Hog's Back Brewery. 4.2%, and malty, hoppy and excellent, as usual. What a pity we had to rush it for more conferences back in the office. I'm only giving it 9 out of 10, because the holy grail perfect pint is out there somewhere, but I'll tell you right now, this is a brilliant beer, and one of the few things Addie and I ever agree on.

Coming next week: Addie's Drink Up In A Brewery. We're off to where they brew the magical liquid. Keep an eye out for some serious reportage. Or drinking. Or something.


Monday, 8 October 2012

Bloody Noses and Birthdays

After what can be only described as a dreadful week at work last week, I was full of hope that this Monday would bring new hope and joy in the work place.

I brought some doughnuts in to share amongst the team which brought some smiles into the workplace.

Siddie should be able to help with the feel good factor as today is a special day for Siddie, as he is one year older than he was before. This would suggest he should have his card behind the bar and be buying everyone a drink. So where is Siddie?

No one knows, a quick text and it turns out he is off to the doctors, his nose won't stop bleeding - apparently. Now I'm not sure if this is because of his age, or just Mrs. Nam is fed up with him and punched him on the nose (maybe there is a leaky tap or something that needs fixing at home and the doctors is a ruse for a day out of the office). Whatever it is Siddie was no-where to be seen, and no doubt will regale us with tales of his bravery when he can be bothered to make it into work.

So today Mr Windy had a lager, whilst I feasted myself on a pint of FireFly by O'Halons at 3.7%. This is a hoppy and very sour bitter. Interesting to drink, but not a session beer. 6 out of 10 from me.

Siddie, I'm sure, will blog again at some point, until then I'll do my best to keep abreast of the local brews, with a trip to Sambrooks and the Woking beer festival in the very near future.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Real Ale Today

Oh what a week. Siddie, being the boss, has been all do this and do that, along with a bit of , why haven't you done it yet. He even suggested he was too busy to go to lunch.

Fortunately he changed his mind.

Naked Ladies by Twickenham Brewery at 4.4%. This has the citrus Tate to it which I dislike. So 5 out of 10.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Connect 4 and Coke

Yellows win. Yay.

So, it was one of those happy days when all the gang was able to convene for lunch. Mr Windy was there, NOT having a Random Guinness. And Heath, the world's finest teetotal and word-free beer blogger, was also incumbent when we reached the bar. He looked comfy and happy, and was sipping a pint of Coca Cola through a straw and playing Connect 4 with a colleague. It was like going to the pub with your seven year old, and I wondered if there was a swing and a climbing frame in the beer garden, or whether we'd get a big roll-around-on-the-floor tantrum if I refused to let him have a packet of crisps.

Addie was there too, iPhone 5 finally working. He was determined to show it off, so I was even kind enough to dial it for him from my own phone. It made a ringing noise and I was able to talk to him from across the table. So impressive; no wonder Bond films no longer focus on gadgetry. There's no competing with a real-world display like this.

We'd gone to a different pub than our usual haunt, mainly because we wanted some decent food and this place is the best locally for home made burgers (made of things like springbok and wildebeest, since the owner is South African). Unfortunately, the beer choice was a bit limited and I had to have a bottle (or two) of Old Speckled Hen. Perfectly fine, if a bit too cold and fizzy, as Addie suggested it was going to be at endless droning length before proceeding to have a cold and fizzy bottle of San Miguel.

Scrabble and soda tomorrow, anyone?


I Don't Like Mondays

Surprisingly Siddie was in the office today, obviously no decorating at home to be done. Given Siddie is the boss, you'd think that he'd be organised. But no lunch at 12:30, then 12:15 and then now, what is going on!

When we finally get to the pub, not our usual, but one with good food. Heath is tucking in to a good quality glass of cola and playing connect 4, how cute, my daughter would love this. He regales some tale of drinking beer at the weekend, London Pride, Guinness and a real ale, none of which have made the blog. Well done Heath.

Mr Windy is with us, contemplating which beer he should have. This is (what I would call) a posh bar, they have table service. So Mr Windy, orders a beer, the bar man returns, as they have run out. This repeats a couple of times until he hits upon one they actually have (he should have stuck with Guinness).

Siddie is scouting for a real ale, no chance here, the food is good, but the real ale choice is poor. He has a bottle of Old Speckled Hen. Now I would normally like this ale, just a tad strong, but full flavoured. But bottled ale isn't to my taste too cold and too fizzy.

I do what I normally do in a bar like this, and have a lager, in this case San Miguel. As we don't make the bar, I have no idea of the strength, but it's like any other lager - cold and fizzy.

Oh well, lets make it a real one tomorrow.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

What do we have today ?

Siddie is yet again working from home. I think it's a Friday thing - he likes a long weekend.

So he is missing a leaving do for Rolf, this will upset Siddie - the thought of missing a free beer.

So Siddie isn't drinking Beach Babe by Weltons brewery at 4.4%. It is a light golden beer with citrus overtones. I really don't like this taste. As much as Siddie thinks they are great, I don't. 5 out of 10 from me.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Drunken Disorderly

Now, blogging about beer is a serious business, so I apologise profusely for any unnecessary nincompoopery which may occur in tonight's post. The thing is that Nobby Northerner was paying us a visit, he had to get his train home, so were obliged to drink four very quick pints. We decided to head for London's West End, and an occasional haunt called The Coal Hole on The Strand. Despite its touristy location, it actually sells real beer; although it's not cheap.

The problem? Two of these pints were plus 5% beers; and that has made us silly and giggly. I now have no idea what I'm going to blog about, although I now have Addie to compete with. He has a shiny new iPhone 5 (already -- the nerdy geek), so will be competing to out-blog me. I'm blogging while inebriated and under pressure. What chance do I have?

Out of four beers, I only recorded the first. It was Thornbridge Jaipur, at a silly 5.9%. Ridiculously strong, and tasting like it was full of citrus zest, it was nice but would be hard work on a long session. Addie was less keen, but I quite liked it and will award it six out of ten.

A later beer was another mad one. It was strong, and tasted like a chocolate orange in a glass. I can't be doing with these; my colleagues admired it for what it was; I however would rather pay to die. It got me drunk in an enjoyment-free way; two out of ten for me. Luckily I didn't catch its name and can't bad-mouth it further. But here's a pikkie. Avoid! What do you think Addie?

First of the Day

It was a bright sunny Monday and a welcome trip to work. Well at least in my head.

Siddie was yet again in a high profile meeting with important people (I know this as he was wearing a tie) so was unable to make lunch. We, Mr Windy and I, met Perry for lunch.

The tipple of the day was Nelsons Victory by Itchen valley brewery 4.4%. Light slightly hoppy nose. Zesty flavour, not my taste, 5 out of 10.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Old Growler

It's been a tough week at work and when I suggest to Mr Windy that we should have lunch, he grabs the opportunity. Siddie is in an important business meeting, so his lunchtime is pre-occupied with some techie widget or dongle.

The bar we go to has a beer menu on the tables listing all the ales they are selling and what is due on soon. This is all too clever for Mr Windy and I, so we pick the one with the best name.

So we had a pint of Old Growler from Nethergate brewery coming in at 5%. Full flavour porter, strong malty taste, and a slight kick at the back of the throat (although this may be because I have a bit of a cold). A touch too strong for my palate, but pleasant none the less. 6 out of 10.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Two For The Price of One

I couldn't believe it was time for lunch, but yes that time was upon us, so off we trot to the local. Siddie is working at home again, which as usual means he's not doing anything, well maybe a little bit of painting.

Since we have been busy at work, we make it a sort of happy business meeting over a pint, some talk about work issues, and then onto more interesting social topics. 

The beer we had was Sambrooks Junction at 4.5%. This is a well rounded ale, in my view up with TEA, just what I want from a beer. Nothing fancy, just the flavour of the hops and water to give it taste. Definitely an 8 out of 10. This is specifically interesting, as I'm hoping to go on a brewery tour at Sambrooks, as it's located just outside central London, near a main line train station (Clapham Junction) . When we do this, I'll blog about the other ales they have.



Later that day, an old friend of mine phone to say he'd been for a job interview over the road, so I meet Nick for a brew. It's good to see my old chum Nick, and he does like a beer, but I have to head home so only time for a quick pint of Pure Gold by Itchen Valley Brewery. Quite stong at 4.8% and has a sharp sour taste. now I don't normally like this sort of flavour, but as I work my way to the bottom of the pint, I was begining to like it more and more (maybe thats the 4.8% talking here). I'd mark this 6 out of 10. A hard started but a nice finish.


Beer Rocks

Siddie was in one of his miserable moods the other day, and you can tell, because he's all Addie did this, Addie did that, Addie can't spell, Addie pull your socks up. Boy did he go on, so when lunch time came along it was a bit of a relief to get out, unfortunately Siddie came along.

The nagging continued, what beer do you want why not this one, I've had that one before...

I felt like he was trying to be my wife !

Either way we had a pint of Lords ale by Beer Rocks Brewery, what a great name for a brewery. At 4.1% a session beer with a hint of a kinds of fruity zesty flavour.


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Addie's Parade Charade

You can only make today's title rhyme if you pronounce it using American English. This is perfectly legitimate, of course, if you are one of our many regular and very welcome American readers who visit our blog in the (slightly forlorn) hope of finding out more about craft ales and beers, usually from Britain. However, since Addie is confined to using British English (and even then it only just qualifies), he will not notice the rhythmic poetic qualities of today's title.

You shouldn't blame him. Addie doesn't easily notice things. Yesterday's post also contained the repeated but erroneous report of Olympic "dragons" being seen on the Olympic Parade route. Addie, utterly in touch with his culture and heritage, failed to observe that the "dragons" he saw were giant sized puppet-style manifestations of the stylised lion device featured on every single Team GB and Paralympic official garment. And there were two of these enormous lions, embodied as lightweight rod-controlled mannequins that were larger than African Elephants. How could he fail to spot this?

This all leads me to slightly question the veracity of basically anything Addie utters. When I arrived at the pub today, I asked who would like what from the bar. The already-incumbent Addie (I'm starting to think he may actually live there, and makes himself a little nest every night from beer mats and pub grub menus) suggested I get three pints for the resident audience of fellow drinkers. Only when I returned with a pint did I discover that occasional drinker Woody just wanted a half. At least he got the white wine spritzer right (not for us you understand; this was the desire of another occasional attendee who thinks we're all a bit weird for liking ales -- what does she know?).

With Addie almost totally discredited, it falls to me to review today's ale. Nethergate's Umbel Ale at 3.8% was quaffable and easy, if unspectacular. I liked it, six out of ten from me. Light and vaguely hoppy, you could drink a few of these. At least you could providing you don't choose to trust Addie with the drinks order. Spritzers all round perhaps? Please, no!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Olympic Parade

Following a successful 2 months, London supported our Olympic competitors, all of which (in my view) are winners, as I would not be able to compete in anything as fantastic as a world event.

Siddie, Garth and I were part of the crowd lining the street near St Paul's Cathedral, where we watched the parade go by, starting with a Chinese type dragon.



After the dragon, there was a band, and then the parade of lorries with the athletes, I took some rather basic photo's which my phone, and here is the first lorry which included Jessica Ennis.




After which we thought we should continue the celebration at a local to the parade, not anywhere near where we would normally go. Now normally this confuses the heck out of us, as there is a lot to think about, does it sell real ales, does it look busy, is it full of tourists, how far is it from the station, and other relevant questions. However today Garth knew a good bar, as his better half (if you knew Garth then it is definitely his better half) runs the bar.

So we head into the local (to where we were) and had a pint of Pride, by Fullers Brewery at 4.1%. Now I have some bad experience of London Pride, but today this was a lovely pint (not overly hoppy, and actually not too much flavour but for today this was just right), and as the name suggests, I was full of London Pride, and by the time we left I well and truly was.

I also know Siddie was full of pride, as he had a bit of a wobble when he left work. Ahhh bless him.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Where is the Scarlet Pimpernel?

It's Friday and you'd think this would be a good time for lunch. But today I look towards Siddie's desk, but where is he?  Whilst speaking to him on the phone, he tells me he got up early and is up visiting Nobby up north, where they like flat caps, whippets, and full on frothy heads on their beer.

Talking to Peter from another team in the office, he has agreed to meet up for lunch with some guys down the road, so lunch today is a proper social occasion. In fact it's lucky Siddie is not here as we agreed to go to a different pub and Siddie (based on his directions last night) would probably still be roaming the streets of London trying to find it.

Where as I was enjoying a beer from Bradfield Brewery called Farmers Brown Cow at 4.2%. This slightly nutty and hoppy dark brown ale, went down really easily and I'd have to mark as a 7 out of 10. I could drink quiet a few of these.

If Siddie ever comes back to work, then I may just treat him to this bar, as long as he lets me give directions.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Really number 2?

With Siddie having a poor show lunchtime, there was a suggestion we go for a beer with 'our friend from the north'.

Nobby has indeed paid the office a visit, and as I have no need to collect my kids from school this seemed like a worthy cause.

So off we go to the local. Siddie and I have agreed which local we should go to, there are several that offer tempting real ales, he decides he wants to go the wrong direction. Why you ask? Because Siddie, is confused, like the old man he is. We say pub A, but in his mind Siddie sees pub B. Plonker.

Since I am the guide, which is odd because I come from the country not the big smoke like Siddie, we are heading in the right direction.

At the bar they have several tempting beers, but TEA from Hogsback Brewery, is on offer, so i buy us a round (as usual 4.2%). I love this pint.

Anyway Nobby, not knowing the protocol, picks TEA as the second pint, and Siddie (who should know better) picks TEA as the third.

Come on Siddie, pull your socks up. This blog should be about different ales, not the same one over and over again (no matter how much we like it - here is a picture of 3 mostly drunk pints of TEA - hmmm lovely).

TEA after a long day.

With the crack (or maybe cracked) reporting team of Addie and me reunited, the time had come to start working back out there in the field. For one thing, Addie's post-holiday use of the English language leaves a great deal to be desired, and a good pep-talk was in order. More importantly, another colleague (Nobby Northerner) fancied a pint. He came down from The North somewhere to share an ale; it would have been rude not to.

Addie nearly fell off his barstool with excitement when we discovered that TEA was on the menu. The pub we chose, an off-the-beaten-track venue, had a few proper ales, mainly from the big name brewers, and no little special surprises, but Addie, after two weeks of drinking unbranded chemically lager in Turkey, was beside himself in ecstasy at discovering his favourite beer right there in front of him. Hog's Back Brewery's The English Ale at 4.2% is certainly a minor masterpiece, and even Addie, with his illiterate ramblings and nonsensical word omissions, knows a decent ale when he tastes one. 8 out of 10; you just have to drink this excellent if classical beer. Well done Hog's Back.

So the team is back in action. Autumn beckons. Where will the muse take us? Who knows? I'm guessing the pub probably.

1st Beer in the UK

So after some time away, I am finally back drinking a real pint - which I note Siddie didn't manage in my absence.

So it is nice to be drinking a pint of Winston Churchill by Cottage Brewery at 4.2%. I've missed the slightly yeasty smell and full on flavour of real ale, which this pint provides. Today I won't score the pint, as I want my taste buds to get used to the real stuff again.

Siddie will - one day - drink some real ale again, as he has not turned for a quick one.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Being at home

While the summer holidays continue for fellow beer blog contributors (which essentially means Addie is continuing his habitual idleness, just in a different place) I thought I'd have a little look at some of the bottled treats now available in most of the big name supermarkets.

These days, there is certainly more on offer than I recall from my more youthful days. It took me a long time to discover I was an ale drinker, and like many a twenty-something I have consumed a great deal of cold, fizzy, big-brand lager; thirst quenching but ultimately unsatisfying. So it's possible that I took less notice of the treasures on offer for home consumption. But a trip into my local Sainsburys these days reveals a selection as rich as I've ever seen. There are bottles from some of the main, well known brewers, but to their credit Sainsburys has been unafraid to present some less well known selections from London and the home counties.

With the Paralympics about to make us proud to be Londoners on the world stage for the second time in just a few weeks, I thought I'd try Greene King's London Glory at 4.0%. Being at home, it meant I could use my Great British Beer Festival glass, and the combination of easy going but flavoursome beer and cheerful glass made me happy. A conventional but enjoyable classic, it gets seven out of ten from me.

So, Addie. Are you getting a nice selection from that little grocers near the beach? Piña Coladas ok are they? Lovely. Just like the real thing.