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Showing posts from August, 2012

I'm a snob, so let's not do the Rail Ale Trail or Blackpool.

As a resident of Stalybridge, who frequently goes drinking in Mossley, Greenfield, Marsden and Huddersfield, and with relatives in both Dewsbury and Batley, I have seen in great detail the effect that the Rail AleTrail , which has been making local headlines , has had on the communities involved. James May did not design the Rail Ale Trail. Considering I’ve been participating in miniature versions of it for 8 years to enjoy, especially, the Riverhead at Marsden and the Railway at Greenfield, perhaps I should lay claim to its creation. I always maintain that if, as a concept, it was patentable, I would be a millionaire. But I use the local stopping train required for this pub crawl regularly and around 4 years ago they started to promote it in CAMRA magazines. I can confirm that it’s always been a great day out, with some great pubs at extreme convenience. For those that aren’t aware, over the past 2 or 3 years this Rail Ale Trail has become popular amongst large groups of no

Since when was defining a beer’s style and definition definitive?

Before I begin, let me just warn you that this is a bit of a rant. I could have taken the time to form this into a well-thought-out and constructive argument, with quotes, pictures and tastings to back up my thoughts, but because this is mainly going to be contradictory, I’d rather just spew this broken bile in one go. Let me also say that this will scapegoat the likes of Magic Rock, Summer Wine, Marble and Millstone, which are all breweries I love. And it’s for this reason that I know their beers so well and am using them as my examples. They are still amongst my favourites, no matter what is said in the next few paragraphs. This stems from a conversation with my brother surrounding Magic Rock’s latest offering, Clown Juice. But let me take you back a few years first. In 2009/10 used to work just 100 yards from the Marble Brewery owned Marble Arch in Manchester and would be in there at least once a week. I got to know their beers well and frequently enjoyed pints of Summe

Beer and Cheese Pairing: Continuing an Education

The recent push for matching beer with food is something I’ve rather neglected. “Now good beer is gaining more commercial recognition, it’s time to push the food pairings,” I read on a blog at the start of the year (can’t remember which so can’t credit this.) It’s not that I don’t see the benefits; it’s just that I tend to enjoy my beers on their own, call it my failure to multitask. I’m the kind of man who’d eat lemon sole with a side of chicken curry and not care how they complement each other.                 But late last year, before this blog existed, I went to a Schneider Weiss beer and cheese pairing evening at the Cross Keys, Leeds and really enjoyed myself. So when I heard Brewdog Manchester were doing something similar with The Queen Brie I signed right up. I’m not writing my experience of the evening down to cast an expert opinion over beer and cheese matching, rather to give my opinion on an area where my knowledge is so limited.                 So, here’s a