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Showing posts from November, 2013

Advent Calendar Introduction Part 1

In January this year, after a hectic and indulgent holiday season, I wrote a post that ended and summarised my attempted Christmas beer themed Advent Calendar from the previous month. In it I vowed that this feat would never be attempted again and that the experience had taught me it’s difficulties and pains. By mid-March of this year I realised I’d already collated 15 beers that could be put in an Advent calendar and knew that I would be doing it all over again. I’ve barely spoken of much else recently and my search through beer shops and online stores has been for anything Christmas themed once more. A recent trip to Belgium, where I limited myself to buying just 9 beers (we were flying,) was dominated by my hunt for Christmas beer. I am truly excited to meet the challenge once more and to feel the coinciding exasperation and agony again. The beer hunt has, just like last year, turned into excess. I started to panic buy anything remotely Winter themed when it was still O

LIVERPOOL - the City that Craft Beer Forgot Part II (and found...)

After visiting Liverpool, one of my favourite cities, in February this year, and not impressing people with my rather hasty but honest verdict on the city’s lack of craft beer, I jumped at the chance to return last week and hoped to come out with a more attractive judgement. A couple of friends and I visited on a day out, with neither of them having been drinking in the city before. It was left to me – or rather, I volunteered – to plan the day’s itinerary and places to visit. I had a couple of new or unvisited places in mind myself, but knew it would be unfair to miss out on some of the city’s famous gems. With around 10-12 hours in which to fit in an entire city, I opted to concentrate on the famous Georgian Quarter and see if we had time for the Dale Street end later on.    We planned to arrive in the city for around 11a.m. just in time to walk up Mount Pleasant to the new-on-me, though I believe it has been opened three years, Clove Hitch on Hope Street for breakfast.

Luciernaga - The Firefly. Make any season a celebration...

As we draw into the latter stages of 2013 and my impending month splurge on festive based beers draws nearer, I’ve been looking to drink the bottles I have in that I want to have as fresh as possible. Obviously we are talking predominantly hoppy beers here, which are hardly seasonal, but I’m not going to deny it has been a fun exercise. Tonight I drank one of the beers I'd intended to drink fresh and found that a little ageing is not always a bad thing. For various reasons, price being the predominant one, I’ve yet to have any Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, although I do have their Noel de Cabalaza lined up for Advent. When I saw their Luciernaga (6.5%) on Beers of Europe recently, I loved the label design and translated name – “The Firefly.” The description of a “Artisan Pale Ale brewed in the Grand Cru Tradition” intrigued and confused me and made it all the more alluring. A look on the brewery’s website showed that this was a June seasonal release, so I thought it best to

Blinding Wetherspoons Beer Festival

In a month where the term “beer festival” was defined by an all-out joyous event held at Manchester’s Victoria Baths , it’s ironic that Wetherspoon s launched their bi-annual beer festival in October. As per, we had 50 beers to hunt down, with the added bonus this time of one fifth of them coming from American brewers, rarely seen on these shores, making the journey here to brew especially for this occasion. I can openly admit that this festival is normally something I care little for. Whilst the concept and beer list sometimes intrigue me, I do not find myself fancying a visit to a McSpoons any more than I did prior to the festival, when bars and pubs in all their surrounding areas usually offer much better quality. This year I was weak. Not only was I weak, I was a craft beer geek. Despite the involvement of American brewers becoming a regular feature, this year’s focus on them, with ten coming over to brew especially for a Wetherspoons Festival, proved too hard to resist.  

Halloween Beer

Considering my frightening love for Christmas and it's corresponding beers, you would think I would jump at the chance to drink any seasonal appropriate ale. Unfortunately, this has never been the case, but if the opportunity was to arise I'm sure I would jump at the chance.   Luckily, the chance to make Halloween a special time to drink themed beers came about this year from the girlfriend. She'd visited a local shop and bought me two bottles of beer that she felt were perfect for Halloween night. I was very touched, especially when her own mother added to the collection. My beery excitement grew and I added to this expanding selection with a few pumpkin beers I found, to begin a new annual tradition that I can hopefully keep.   So, for once, a young British cynic like myself who had never embraced All Hallows' Eve found his holiday entry through beer. Here is what I drank this Halloween:-   Post Road Pumpkin Ale 5.0%   This famous beer, that I purcha