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Showing posts from 2015

Beer Advent Calendar Window 19 - Blitzen

I swear I'm trying. I'm still drinking all my Advent beers in time, no matter the struggle, but the times for posts is eluding me. I'm afriad it's all just so damn social at the minute. It'd probably be nice to spend some time staring at my beautifully decorated living room and watching a Christmas film at last, but instead I am out celebrating. It's great Christmas, but it is crippingly exhausting. Blue Mountain Brewery and Barrel House are an 8-year-old Virginia based brewery. I know relatively nothing about them, but their Christmas beer Blitzen is welcomingly part of this Beer Advent Calendar.. It is the brewry's take on a French-Belgian Biere de Noel and is presented beautifully in corked 750ml bottle. Surprisingly for the style, the beer label encourages you to enjoy this beer before the best before date presented on the cork of July 2014. I thought that a 7% dark beer such as this may actually have got better with age so let's find out.

Beer Advent Calendar Window 18 - Avec Les Bons Voeux

With the best wishes of the Brewery Dupont...  Avec Les Bons Voeux - Brasserie Dupont 's festive beer first created in 1970 as a new year present to their best clients. A 9.5% saison tripel of sorts, it's a hugely revered beer; with a design that suggests speciality. The makers of the greatest saison in the world can surely only create brilliance when making something festive. Christmas is on its way. The number of beers left is frighteningly small. The beer fatigue amongst all these work parties is strong so garnering enthusiasm and love for a beer is becoming more and more difficult. It'll take a monumental drink at this point to make me feel magnanimous. I'm suffering for the love of this calendar but, as a popular snowman once stated... "Some people are worth melting for"  So, as this beer sung out of my Advent Calendar, I wrote the below notes and present them unedited; choosing not to reassemble the affectionate love-in that prov

Beer Advent Calendar Window Seventeen - Chimay Blue

Something that I've really enjoyed about this year's Beer Advent Calendar is revisiting and redisocvering Belgian Abbey/Trappist beers that I have sadly neglected in recent years. Maredsous Brune 8 and Rochefort 10 have both been sensational. So I'm really looking forward to rediscovering Chimay Blue. With an unsurprising 100 on Ratebeer, this is a famous beer that is year dated, as older versions are well sort after. My own version is from 2015 so it will be interesting to see how it comes up when "fresh." "Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things are those that we can't see."  Chimay Blue 9% When you're unfair to a beer and don't give it the time that it deserves, it maybe deserves an apology. See what we British like to do is combine a load of dried winter fruit and booze at Christmas. Fruit and booze unintentionally seems to form the majority of the tasting notes of my Advent Calendar beers. Raisins, sher

Beer Advent Calendar Window Sixteen - Winter Weissbier

Time for some further hard-hitting journalism. I liked the look of Kapuziner Winter Weissbier whilst shopping online for Christmas beers for this calendar. I liked its scene on the label. I liked the flip-lid. I liked how it fitted into the theme.  My German is a little rusty but, from what I can gather, the Kapuziner beer brands hail from a small, hilly brewery but are now owned by the Kulmbacher Brewery Corporation. Gosh, not very craft is it?  Now that you've all learnt so much about this beer and its history, let's find out how it tastes under Beer Advent Calendar Window Sixteen. This is one of those occasions where I like how my nonsensical notes I've written whilst drinking the beer so I'm going to keep them as they are. Enjoy!  "I'm a cotton headed ninny muggins."  Kapuziner Winter Weissbier 5.4% Pouring a flat, really murky orange colour, Banana Boonana Banana on the nose. Oh how minions would like this beer. I mean, at

Beer Advent Calendar Window Fifteen - Red Hot Poker

As the start of the post-craft year of 2016 begins, I can't wait to get back to good wholseome beer with good wholesome brewers. You know what phrase I want to revitalise next year - microbrewery. Everyone now is a macro or a craft, macro or a craft. I want next year to be the return of microbrewery. Are you a macro? No. Are you craft, then? No wafflefodder, we're a microbrewery but still making some damn tasty beer.  Tatton Brewery from Kuntsford are not at Indy Man Beer Con. They aren't subject to SABMiller bids. They won't be forming some part of an extensive Cheshire Beer Expo 2016. They are one of many making consistent beers in cask and bottle that seem to be unfashionable. Part of me wants to love this year old Red Hot Poker that has made it into my Beer Advent Calendar (it is their Christmas beer,) but part of me expects to hate it.  "That's what it's about isn't it? I mean, that's what it's always been about..."  Ta

Beer Advent Calendar Window Fourteen - #32 Create Those Moments

Elizabeth Browning has just reminded me of a period in my youth that I’d forgotten about. Her famous poem – How Do I Love Thee (Sonnet 43) – was part of my poetry book sex that I was to study for my GCSE English Literature examination. There was numerous poems in the book and only a select few would actually be included in the examination. In the end though, I wasn’t required to study Browning’s poem for one simple factor: it was considered too “girly.” Yes, our GCSE English classes were split into gender specific groups; the only subject to do so aside from P.E. Somebody made the decision that, to keep young adults interested in literature, they should be made to read “gender suitable” words. For Shakespeare, we ever-so-manly boys studied Merchant of Venice, whilst the girl group studied Romeo and Juliet. For a book, we did To Kill a Mockingbird; a book considered too masculine for the girls as they read Wuthering Heights. And in our poetry lessons, whi

Golden Pints 2015 - and a brief look at the year

*If you are here strictly to read Golden Pints winners, scroll down and skip the introduction* I know the majority reading this just want some one word answers to the "Golden Pints" questions (and they are in there somewhere near the bottom) but allow me a little self-indulgence first. It's been a very different year drinking wise for me to previous. Life changes that required me to focus my money elsewhere have led to me changing the way I drink. Fewer online orders, fewer of the big expensive "one-offs" or imports purchased and fewer Sundays nailing Port Street Beer House's bottle menu. At the same time I became a pub regular for the first time in my life. I transitioned from familiar face to regular customer to regular barfly to part of the family in twelve months. Popping in to see bar staff rather than *just* for the pint became a thing. Nipping in on my own waiting for a train and leaving four hours later than planned happened a litt

Beer Advent Calendar Window Thirteen - Naughty & Nice

As I crawled through a packed Calls Landing in Leeds in May this year, I never knew that a forced choice of beer would lead to something remarkable. A Vocation Brewery Pride & Joy was in my glass as I surveyed and judged the packed bar, but my eye kept returning to my glass and thinking "Who the heck are this brewery?"  I was soon to learn of the Hebden Bridge based brewery and their founder, John Hickling, formerly of Blue Monkey brewery, We all were. As those well branded bottles started to pop up everywhere, they soon turned to stunning cans and some of 2015's most memorable beers.  In the past week, they've had many mentions in "Golden Pints" posts - and feature in mine too (coming this week.)  With that I am pleased to see them enter my Beer Advent Calendar behind Window Thirteen with their Naughty & Nice. The can was kindly provided by Rachel (pictured) and had to be drunk in the pub itself so that this particular window cou

Beer Advent Calendar Window Twelve - Rochefort 8

We reach the halfway point of this Beer Advent Calendar. I'm managing fairly successfully to keep up with the beer-a-day drinking and have only fallen one day behind on the posts themselves. This has been much more relaxed and better structured than previous years, that is for sure.  However, Saturday 12th December was to see me out the door 45 minutes after waking up in the morning for a day in Huddersfield - knowing that I'd be returning long after midnight. Fitting in an Advent beer was going to be potentially a struggle.  Luckily I was in the Grove, Huddersfield early afternoon and could hope that they would have at least one Christmas beer on sale. They did have one; unfortunately it was Brass Castle's Christmas Kitty on cask which has already featured in this calendar. I looked to the fridges instead.  Here I spotted Trappistes Rochefort 8 and had an idea. When I asked Twitter in November for ideas of beers that aren't marketed as Christmas bee

Beer Advent Calendar Window 11 - Christmas Flying Herbert

The North Yorkshire Brewing Co . have been in production since 1989. They are a brewery that were popular with farm and/or fine food shops due to proudly stating themselves as entirely organic all over their labels. Also, coming from Guisborough, they were a brewery I saw a lot of in shops and supermarkets when I lived in the north-east.  There somewhat whimsical labels and cartoon characters make this brewery a favourite with people who know nothing of beer for present giving. I'm sure the majority of North Yorkshire's beers I've drunk have been from presents bought by others, I've not exactly been bowled over.  Still, I believe Christmas Flying Herbert - a 4.4% premium ale - deserves a stage and is behind Window eleven in this Advent Calendar.  "Snow Dad's better than No Dad" North Yorkshire Brewing Co. - Christmas Flying Herbert premium ale 4.4%  This chestnut amber ale is perfectly clear and perfectly conditioned, with co

Beer Advent Calendar Window 10 - Xmas Chaos

You can do many things when you're an anarchist. Besides causing anarchy by brewing beers (watch out government) you can also remove the religious aspect from the term "Christmas." 'Cause ain't no men of the cloth going to tell this crazy bunch how to celebrate a commercial holiday.  There's little that irritates me more than anti-religious folk who celebrate Christmas. Heck, just the other day I had a long chat with somebody who believes that all of the world's problems are caused by religion and that anybody with faith is an idiot. A week later, I wander into their house to find it coated in Christmas decorations. Irony level: Master.   Let us not let an anarchist's view of religion judge how we feel about Anarchy Brewery's Xmas Chaos - A rum & raisin porter. I certainly like the beer concept and the branding; a little nod to the chaos that ensues around Black Friday by shoppers who have problems.  This Morpeth based brew

Beer Advent Calendar Window 9 - O-Ho-Ho

  Here I am, urging myself to like a beer by Otley Brewing Co., under the most post-craft reasons anybody has ever conceived. Otley Brewing Co were conceived in a pub and have been trading for ten years. For those unfamiliar with the area - or moreso for those familiar with Yorkshire - this is not a Leeds based brewery despite the name, but one from Wales. They are pratically grandparents in this age of new breweries and their simple but cool branding has become distinctive. Yet they are not a brewery revered or spoken about often by the kids. They are not regularly seen in my North-West England home. Their beers are almost unfamiliar though their branding is not. Is it possible that their beer style and ABV simply doesn't attract me? If so, I am a terrible person. In Window Nine of this Advent Calendar lies O-Ho-Ho - a 5% blueberry flavourd golden ale. The Otley Brewing Company - O-Ho-Ho A blueberry laced seasonal ale   5% This orange sunburst colou

Beer Advent Calendar Window Eight - Winterfestbier

There's a point in these calendars where the soul starts to be ripped from your liver. All the beginning good intentions - to give background on the brewery and beer with each post - are ripped from you. Before you've even had chance to send an e-mail with a polite enquiry, you are drinking, writing and reviewing with no background knowledge.  With that, we come to Window Eight and Hohenthanner Schlossbrauerei Winterfestbier. This beer was purchased late last year and is certainly included due to its beautiful Christmas themed label and name.  Apart from that I know next to nothing about this brewery or beer and a non-negotiable website doesn't educate me. I would love to show my journalistic skills in these posts, but I personally like diving into this unknown German entity with no expectations or knowledge. Please stick with this Advent Calendar, if not for the detailed beer information and world class tasting notes then at least the entirely pointless Christ