Here is a first attempt at an audio review. This is for Elixir Brew Co's Minception 6.2% Fruit Mince Porter. Brewed with smoked malts, Irn-Bru, raisins, sultanas, currants, cranberries and citrus zest.
Firstly, sorry about the terrible glass/class pun! I've written about glassware before on this blog. I am not ashamed to admit that I think glassware is terribly important to drinking a high quality beer. A good glass won't make a terrible or off beer taste brilliant but when you use a good glass with a high quality beer I often find it easier to pick out individual flavours.
I was first introduced to high quality glassware at the 2012 European Beer Bloggers Conference where we had a short guide to glassware from the German company Spiegelau. I should make it clear at this point that I have not been paid by or asked by them to write about any of their products in the interest of blogging ethics. I am intrigued by one of their new products though.
The new IPA glass was developed with two giants of US Craft Brewing Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada. It is quite honestly the first piece of glassware which I have ever considered 'pre-ordering'. The glass itself will not be available until May 2013 but Riedel (Spiegelau's parent company) have already started taking pre-orders.
I have to say that I am still slightly unconvinced by the aesthetics of the glass but having watched the following video explaining why the shape and various components of the glass were chosen, I will be getting myself a pair to enjoy hop forward IPA's from. I am sure that I will let you know how it compares to my current Spiegelau Lager/IPA glass in due course.
As of today (Thursday 1st November) Aldi stores in Scotland are running a beer festival of all Scottish beers. I should point out in the interest of impartiality that I was sent some of the beers directly from Aldi to review. This doesn't take away from the fact that it is exciting to see more and more food retailers taking beer seriously.
The promotion will run until all the beers have sold out and there are 27 to choose from. Most of the beers are priced between £1.29 and £1.79, which I think is pretty fair for the beers on offer. Don't get me wrong not all of the beers exactly tickle my fancy and not all of them are that hard to get elsewhere, such as the Broughton beers, but it is still great to see a retailer taking in 27 beers for a once of festival.
The breweries taking part in the festival are- Barney's, Deeside, Broughton, Innis & Gunn, Caledonian, Cairngorm, Harviestoun, Colonsay, Inveralmond, Kelburn, Strathaven, Williams Brothers, The Isle of Arran Brewery, Tryst, Traditional Scottish Ales and Sulwath.
Aldi have also prepared one of their usual marketing magazines which details exact beers, prices and handy tasting notes.
I for one would like to see more and more retailers taking beer this seriously and giving smaller microbreweries a chance to get listed in national stores. I will be reviewing 6 of the beers that Aldi sent me during the course of the festival via the blog and YouTube reviews.
If you are near a Scottish Aldi store in the next few days/ week(s) I would go in and have a look and grab some bottles for the looming dark evenings.
A little update on progress with SUCBS (Stirling University Craft Beer Society).....
Around a month ago we were extremely lucky to have Jon Gamble, the sales director of Spiegelau UK, come to visit us in Stirling. We did a comparative tasting evening which I will be writing about when I have the pictures sent on to me! We had a great evening and I will give you a run down of the beers and the reaction as soon as I get some of those photos.
Another event which we are just getting ready to launch is our 'Brewing Competition'. All members will be invited to submit a recipe idea for a beer to be brewed on the pilot brew plant at AllanWater Brewhouse in Bridge of Allan, Stirling. The actual recipe can be as specific or as vague as members want, depending on their specific knowledge of writing home-brew recipes.
The winning brew will be served at our Xmas party for everyone to taste. We are very grateful to Mr Douglas Ross, the owner, for allowing us to do this and we hope the ideas don't cause him too much of a headache.
So Chai infused milk stout anyone? Dry hopped wheat? Ale with locally foraged Stirling goods? Or just a simple balanced winter porter? The brewer, Douglas and his staff will be the judges and the winner will even get to go along and help brew the beer.
I will make sure I personally take the photos this time! Members will be contacted by email to get the ball rolling
This is a late post on the second European Beer Bloggers Conference which was held in Leeds in May
This years conference had a great attendance and it was great to catch up with other bloggers and people from the industry (more on this later). Leeds is a great city for beer and this would still have been the case even if the conference wasn't in town. Mr Foleys, North Bar and The Grove in Huddersfield are a must do if you are in the area. Its taken me so long to write this post because I went straight into exam period after the conference. In fact I left Leeds at 7pm on the Sunday and was in an exam hall at 9am the very next day, and I still passed!
We tasted glass with Spiegelau
Firstly I must say a big thanks to Zephyr Adventures, the company who organise the event, and also to MolsonCoors and Pilsner Urquell, whom without this event would cost a bomb to attend. One of the things that came up most often at the conference was the idea of ethics and writing. I have always believed that this is important and I always declare when I have received free samples. I should make it clear then that MolsonCoors did pay for my attendance but I feel that both my readers and I, as the writer, are adult enough to see that this has minimal influence on my writing here on the blog.
Another theme was referencing other bloggers in our work. I agree with many that this should be kept to a minimum as it risks alienating readers who are here because they want to know what I think about beer and not what Tandleman did at the conference. I am going to heed this in future and engage with other bloggers via their own blogs but not turn this blog into a giant 'circle jerk'.
My favourite event by far was the Comparative tasting with the glass company Spiegelau. We had five glasses and four beers- you get the idea. We had 4 Spiegelau glasses which a stunningly thin and so light- Tall Pilsner, Wheat Beer, Lager and Tulip and then the usual thicker glass you would find down the pub. The four beers were Camden Wheat, Krombacher, Lotus IPA and Stout Mary (both the later from Ilkey Brewery). This event cemented in my mind that good glassware is as important as most factors. I know have quite a hatred of standard pint glasses. If you havent tried it already try pouring your favourite beer into different glasses tonight and smell, look and taste the beers; you will be surprised.
Like 2011, the Pilsner Urquell evening also rocked. Fresh Pilsner in the wooden barrels, need I say more? The evening resulted in several drunken bloggers and pretzels being worn on top of party hats. Pilsner Urquell have a special birthday coming up and you should look out for more fresh Pilsner hitting our shores soon.
I will be writing about the Magic Rock trip in the next couple of days but I have a graduation ceremony to get ready for soon. Over and out for now.