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Sunday 27 December 2009

Happy Brewdog Xmas!

I hope everyone had an excessive Christmas. I know I did! Theres nothing better than having permission to kick back for one day of the year and eat and drink to your hearts content. This year rather unintentionally I seemed to have a bit of a Brewdog Christmas season! Although I will also give a shout out to all of the other excellent beers I had to.

I came back from France to find three lovely boxes of beer for me to enjoy over  the Xmas season, one from the boys at Brewdog, one from Beers of Europe and one from Beer Merchants too! I shall start with my Brewdog box- 6 Bottles of 5am Saint and a very cold Penguin. From BoE and Beer Merchants there was a mix including some more Brewdog- Paradox and Nanny State, and a general mix from Mikkeller, Flying Dog, Stone and many more.

Ive not hoovered them all away yet (although I am trying), but I can quite honestly say that so far there was only one I didnt really like- Its Alight by Mikkeller. Just wasnt to my tastes, I described it in my tasting book as 'funky'. I obviously don't like funk! There have been a few that I have really liked so far though- Oaked Arrogant Bastard from Stone and Beer Geek Breakfast from Mikkeller were excellent. One that really surprised me though was Nanny State.

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Lots of people are very divided on this beer. I thought it was really good though. My tasting notes got a little bit arty, I called it 'modulated'. By this I meant that the taste changed in my mouth very agressively and it had a very distinct taste. One minute it was calm, the next it was as though someone was rubbing my mouth with hops, there was a nice calm sweetness and then finally another big hoppy spike of an aftertaste. It was like a piece of 80's synth pop, 'modulated'. I think I need to lie down!

Honestly though, this has been one of the biggest surprises of the festive season for me. I wasnt expecting it to be great as I have heard lots of people refering to it as a publicity stunt. Quite frankly I do not care if it was; I liked it! I liked it alot!

Merry Christmas and all the best for 2010. More festive beer (rants) blogs to come in the next few days!

Sunday 13 December 2009

Videoblog 9 - Augustijn

Check out the confused face at the start as I was messing about with YouTube uploader. Oops

Beer and the Internet- A match made in heaven or hell?

Without doubt the internet has made the world a smaller place. This is also true when it comes to the beer industry. I have been able to try beers that I would never have even heard of nevermind tried.

Nevertheless the internet can have a negative effect on beer too. Recently I have had first hand experience of negative posts on sites like Whilst I realise that the world cannot be positive all the time, in my opinion it is better to offer constructive critisism or say nothing at all really. Ive seen lots of comments such as 'I do not like this beer or the people who make it', this just winds me up. Personally I would rather see comments like' I thought it was a little on the peppery side' or 'I thought the alcohol was a little too much' . At least this way brewers can take on board what people like and what they do not like. It is much more difficult for them to do this when people just say 'I dont like this beer'.

It is very easy to sit behind a keyboard and type out harsh and hateful comments. It is however much more contructive to give some real feedback rather than just ranting. I admit I do not spend a great deal of time on sites like Beer Advocate as I tend to find, like YouTube, they attract people who are just out to bitch about things and not to engage in a constructive conversation.

Slanging matches do not help anyone and in fact usually make the poster look a bit of an amature. I therefore do not know whether it is best to encourage fellow bloggers to get on and raise the standard of disucussuion or tell them to stay away and leave them to it! Any thoughts?

Friday 11 December 2009

The Golden Pint Awards- My results

Here are my votes for the first Golden Pint Awards. These have been started by three great bloggers and are an attempt to look back at the best things of 2009! 

Best UK Draught Beer- BrewDog Zeitgeist
Best UK Bottled Beer- BrewDog/Stone Bashah
Best Overseas Draught Beer- Pauwel Kwak
Best Overseas Bottled Beer- Rochefort 8
Best Overall Beer- Rochefort 8
Best Pumpclip or label- Delirium Tremens
Best UK Brewery- BrewDog
Best Overseas Brewery- Mikkeller
Pub/Bar of the Year- Holyrood 9a, Edinburgh
Beer Festival of the Year- GBBF
Supermarket of the Year- Sainsburys
Independent Retailer of the Year- Cornelius Beers and Wines, Edinburgh
Online Retailer of the Year-
Best Beer Book- Hops and Glory
Best Beer Blog- Pencil and Spoon
Best Beer Twitterer- Mark Dredge
Best Online Interactive Brewery Presence- Brewdog
Food and Beer Pairing of the Year- Rochefort and Corsendonk
Open Category: You Choose- Most in depth and intersting reviews-
Next Year I’d Most Like To… Visit London finally so I can visit all the great beer bars!

There are my results in no particular order, well actually the order Mark Dredge wrote the questions in! Hope none of you disagree too much. I was slightly stuck for some of them as I have spent a lot of this year out of the country!

Wednesday 9 December 2009

When is 'too much' really too much?

I have been thinking a lot about the brewing industry recently and the direction in which it and modern day drinkers are going in. Everything seems like it is constantly pushing the boundaries all the time. Whether it be the 30 year old who should know better in the pub boasting about having been on an 18 pint bender the previous weekend or whether it be a 27% strength beer, everything seems to be getting more extreme. We like our cars extreme, our sports extreme, but the question remains: do we really need our drinks industry to be extreme?

My answer.......Yes, I think we do. We have to remember the good old phrase of days gone past and that is- Everything has a time and a place. There are plenty cases which I can recall (or not) heading out with a friend on a weekday afternoon after lectures had finished for the day and sinking a good 6 pints of Ossian, Peters Well or Schiehallion before dinner. Those day were great, equally like taking a lot of time over a complex and strong bottle of beer is great. The problem is, the way people view it! We have to stop pandering to the political correctness that has been created in our society. Don't get me wrong......alcohol should ultimately be respected, that is what this blog is all about. Nevertheless alcohol should also be enjoyed and this is something that our government do not seem to understand.

We have a problem with binge drinking right? Well yes we do, but the stats and figures regularly pulled up are really off the mark because they tend to regard someone who has gone down his local boozer for a couple after work as a 'binge drinker'. We all know that is just plain wrong. Everyone knows their limits and it is their responsability as an adult drinker to stick to these. We all know that we have limits when we need to go to the loo, but you rarely see someone standing around excusing themselves because they pushed this limit. Head into any city centre on a saturday night though and you will find someone slumped beside a bin saying 'im ssoory, it wiz that last glass of wine'.

We need to remember how special alcohol is. Thats why I tend to drink craft beer or small batch spirits because when you are drinking them, they command respect. I think about the work that has gone into producing the beer and even if im drinking a pint of BrewDog in a pub in Edinburgh, I still go back to my visit to the brewery. Thats what it should really be all about.

Back to the question though.......when is too much really too much? I think it is really everyones own choice ultimately. There can be all the guidelines and alcohol tracking apps that you want, but it will not stop people from enjoying themselves. Thats what alcohol is ultimately about....enjoyment,pleasure and socialising. We need to stop thinking about alcohol as a taboo because frankly it just encourages those who want to abuse it to do so. Good beer needs respect whether it is drunk in a litre or 330ml. All I ask is just dont be the person sitting beside the bin!


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