Friday, October 22, 2010

Late Arrival

Just to let people know, I'm sorry for the lack of posts lately, I'm away from home and in the South of France at the moment, so I will be writing about my experiences when I get back.
Just as a flavour, the tiny village that we're staying in has 2 wineries, and we've just been for a tasting in one with the proprietor, it was an amazing experience and I will talk about it and upload the photos when I'm back in England.
Good Health to you all.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Brief Natter

No reviews I'm afraid this time, for a number of reasons.
The primary one is that I can't drink at the moment due to having a slight issue with a tooth, and the industrial strength painkillers that I've been given. Seriously people, these things could level livestock.
This leads into the second reason, I've been in pain, and I don't write well when I'm in pain.

Right, that's my whine finished then, onto some exciting news. First, the beer is decanted out of the fermentation tub, and is barrelled  and bottled, should be ready to drink in about two weeks, I've taken lots of pictures, and I'll be sure to upload them in a post.
My rhubarb that I planted a month or so ago is growing well, rhubarb wine in a couple of years then.

Also, this year we've harvested copious quantities of damsons, and have made 2 litres of damson gin. It's currently sat in a demijohn taking on flavour, and in a few weeks, it'll be going into bottles. Yum

Finally, as some people may know, this Friday is Morcambe's first food and wine festival, organised by the Wineyard, see my earlier links for information on their website. This promises to be an exciting event, and at £5 per ticket, it's a steal. I shall be attending, despite the inherent difficulties in getting to England from the Isle of Man, and I hope that lots of people turn up. This is the sort of thing the area needs, local people supporting local shops who buy from, amongst others, local suppliers. If anyone sees me there, assuming that anyone is actually reading this, please come and say hello, and do excuse me if I'm rather tired and emotional; to use a Parliamentary expression.

That's it for now I'm afraid, and all I can say is that I did warn you that I don't write well under these conditions.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A tale of two beers.

Well, with summer drawing to a close, I thought it was time for two classic summer beers, Anchors Summer Beer, and Goose Island Summertime. Both are light coloured beers meant for summer drinking, and go well with summer style food.
Here's the links for;
Goose Island Summertime-http://www.gooseisland.com/pages/summertime/22.php
and a pic stolen from their website (some day I promise I'll take my own)

And here's the link for Anchor's http://www.anchorbrewing.com/beers/summerbeer.htm
View PDF of Summer beer flyer

That out of the way, I can start talking about the beer, and just to confuse you, I'm going to start with Anchor.
The beer is a wonderful wheat colour, crystal clear with a nice, light head. The first taste is, as you would expect, also light, but with wonderful subtle citrus fruit notes. According to the brewers it's fermented with a traditional ale yeast to give it clean flavours, and this has definitely worked. As you drink it you can feel it cleansing your palate, not scouring, but subtly refreshing. I drank this beer with some salmon and a few pepperdews stuffed with cream cheese, and it complimented them brilliantly. Every mouthful cleansed my palate and left it refreshed and ready for another one.
      All in all this is a great summer beer, its light and refreshing, with a wonderful silky wheat sensation that seems to coat the roof of your mouth just after you've swallowed, leaving a gently, light malty after taste. This is one of the nicest beers I've had in a while, clean and cool enough to be refreshing on a hot day, but complex and interesting enough to be worth writing about. All in all then, at least 18.5 out of 20, another great beer from Anchor (see my previous ravings about Anchor Bock)

On to the Goose Island offering now, this is a kolsch beer,  brewed in tribute to the many brewers of Cologne  who produce this kind of beer. Once again it is light and crisp, as refreshing as a good lager, but with more complex notes. This could, for me, quite easily become a session beer, and I think I could stand to drink quite a lot of it before I eventually keeled over or gave in. It seems more carbonated than the Anchor offering, more prone to producing bubbles on the edges of the glass rather than forming a substantial head on the beer. This made it a more refreshing beer than Anchor Summertime, and the European influence, ie the imported yeast and hops really do show through. The beer is light straw coloured with quiet citrus and fruit notes. However, I took the suggestion from the brewers of trying it with a fresh tomato straight from the garden, and this really brought the fruit out. Sat in the sun drinking great beer and eating home grown produce gave a great end to the day. (That said, I'm now drinking Flying Dog's Gonzo Imperial Porter, and loving it.)
Summertime then is another firm favourite with me, and I'd mark it at around 17.5-18. I'm sorry Goose Island, but for me, that strange-yet-wonderful wheaty/malty coating from Anchor Summertime was just enough to pip you at the post.
Another 2 phenomenal beers then, courtesy of Ben at the Wineyard. I must also thank the Wineyard, both Ben and Barry for their hospitality in my hours of need. As some of you may know, I recently became stranded in England due to a combination of bad weather and booked up boats, and this is why the blog hasn't been updated. During this time, my truck decided it would be fun to have a loose connection preventing it from starting. Fortunately this happened right outside the Wineyard as I was loading my new haul of beer, and their support helped keep me sane.
Thanks again then, next time I'm intending to talk about home grown veg, Gonzo Imperial Porter, and my home brewed IPA which should be going in the barrel any day now!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Orval & Some General Thoughts

Well, what a beautiful few days its been. This has given me more time to sit in the sun and drink, as well as working on things at home. At the moment, I'm embarking on a "Good Life" type thing at the moment, planting out a large garden for fruit and veg and, dun dun daah, starting brewing.
It still in the pipeline though, so I'll be talking about that in a the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I'm going to talk about a beer called Orval. This is a Trapist beer, so, like the breed, its a fairly aromatic ale. However, it goes beyond what you'd normally expect, and it stands out from the crowd. Where it stands is pretty much left field. It's scented, almost to the point of being perfumed, with a nice little taste of wheat in the background, just to remind you that it is a beer, and not channel No.5. In many ways it was similar to a sparkling wine, and I find myself wanting to state that it had a fine mousse, in that it formed a strong head of small bubbles. If it were a wine, it would be something in the Gew├╝rztraminer area, and incidentally I've got one of those in the fridge (again, courtesy of Ben), and I'll be talking about it in the near future. In what may turn into a tradition for me, here's a picture I borrowed to give you kind people an idea what to look for.
File:Orval et son verre.jpg

If anyone would like to know more about this particularly interesting beer, here's the website for their brewery http://www.orval.be/an/FS_an.html , of course, it's no substitute for going and buying a bottle and tasting it. However, for me it's not going to be a regular, it's a bit too perfumed for me, but I aim to drink a few Trappist beers, and then have another go at it to see if I change my mind. For now, I gave it 14/20.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A bit of a Bock

So here goes, my first real attempt at beer blogging, or blogging of any kind come to that. First though, in the manner of all great things, I should start with a thank you. This is to a little shop in Bare called The Wineyard and Delli, and its social networker and head tweeter; Ben.
Now I assume that most people reading this, if anyone can work up the urge to read it, already know the shop and the man, if you don't and you have any interest in food or drink, even if that only stretches to eating, then you need to check it out.
Ben tweets as @thewineyard, and all the relevant info; blog, FB, etc is available from there. This place is like an Aladdin's cave for foodies, in fact I don't know how they get it all in, the wine, beer, spirits, food, its literally crammed to the rafters people.
Right, that said, its time to hit the beer!
The one I'm going to talk about today is fro San Francisco, and is Anchor Brewery's Bock.
Here's a picture I borrowed from their website if your interested,

and just in case you fancied a look, here's their website http://www.anchorbrewing.com/beers/bockbeer.htm.

Now according to the blurb on the bottle, a "bock" is a stronger, darker alternative to a brewery's normal product, and having drunk Anchor Steam on the odd occasion, that's certainly true.
On first pouring, you see a dark, almost syrupy beer, with a deep rich set of flavours, malty and a lovely dark caramel scent.
When you taste it, all those lovely dark flavours remain, but the sweetness goes, and the rich dark malty caramel is balanced by a lovely hit of hops. Now this beer's only 5.5%, which is quite light in terms of alcohol compared to a lot of the craft beers I've drunk recently, but it's still no light weight. It delivers big wonderful flavours, and it's just as good drunk when you're sat in the sun, or inside hiding from the rain

All in a spectacular beer, really drinkable, and great big; well balanced flavours.
I gave it 18/20 when I first drank it, and I'd give it that again today.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

An Inauspicious Start

Right,
I've decided to start a blog because I keep running out of room in twitter for my beer, wine and food reviews.
That said, I don't know anywhere near as much about food and drink as I want to, so I'm blogging in an attempt to clarify my thinking.
Based on this, especially at the start my posts probably wont be especially regular, or maybe not even that reliable, however I will do my best, and constructive criticism, or anyone's thoughts on commestables will always be appreciated.
I think that'll do for a first post, I'll start uploading some of my reviews in the next day or so.