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Thursday 25 February 2010

VBlog 13- Nanny State

Here is a joint VBlog for 2010 Nanny State. Recorded the day after the release of Sink the Bismarck

Tuesday 16 February 2010

Sink the Bismarck! Don't be fooled by imitations

Today (or rather tomorrow if Aunty Beeb hadnt gotten so excited) controversial Scottish brewery Brewdog make history once again with the release of the worlds strongest beer. Sink the Bismarck is 41% and £40 a bottle, and the price tag already seems to be putting some fellow bloggers off the trail.

It has taken a while to make and is designed to knock the smile of the face of the silly brewer at Schorschbraeu who brewed a 39.44% beer which knocked Brewdogs TNP off the top spot. This is all about a bit of fun, even reading the name Sink the Bismarck you know that its all a bit tongue in cheek. Brewdog are all about good beer and although some people are already point blank refusing to part with cash for this 41% IPA, I beg you to change your mind.....

Heres why-

Yesterday I made a little trip to see the boys up in Fraserburgh, the reasons why will all be revealed soon. After entering through the front door and being greeted by the head brewer, I was ushered through to meet James who was dressed like this.....

 Photo from Brewdog ©

Its at this point where James must have thought 'we have bottles of Sink the Bismarck all over the place and I am dressed like a fool, what can I say?' After swearing a secrecy oath, all was revealed. I felt myself smiling from ear to ear. Mainly at the thought of the angry german brewers at Schorschbraeu who will now have to go back and try again. We talked for a while and after trying another top secret brew from the tanks James disapeared with my tasting glass and came back with a very interesting looking beer.

It was Sink the Bismarck. It sat like a spirt in the glass, golden and thick with absolutely no head at all and fantastic spirit legs. I have to point out at this stage that I had it before it was carbonated as I believe its going to get a light carbonation before bottling. It smelled wonderful, bitter and slightly alcoholic (oh the irony!?!). How did it taste......

Simply wonderful. There was no other first thought that popped into my head. Its very difficult to get really passionate about a beer when the two men who make it happen are sitting an arms length away from you but I just wanted to get up and dance about the room. It was perfect, bitter concentration with a healty dose of malt, sweetness and alcohol kick. THIS DOES NOT FEEL LIKE 41%.Its oh so very hoppy and as the title of the blog suggests, I like that! As much as I the love the pengiun, the Bismarck plows through the ice where the pengiuns struggle and slide about. This blows the penguin to Africa...who knows maybe even further.

I ask people to stop talking about the age old Brewdog related question of publicity or good beer and actually get your hands on a bottle of this. If you cant justify buying one yourself, hey, chip in with half of your street. It is worth it I promise. Also this beer isnt mildly xenophobic or racist, its simply a bit of fun. If you can't laugh at it, dont buy it and go and watch a Michael McIntyre DVD or something. Dont start flinging up bits of wikipedia past, just accept it for what it is.

I think its great and I look forward to welcoming a little Bismarck into my cellar. Now whats next?.........

P.s Dont mention the war....some beer bloggers don't like it

Sink the Bismarck from BrewDog on Vimeo.

P.s.s This is not an advert for Brewdog no matter how much it seems like one!

Saturday 13 February 2010

Beer Holiday 1- Brussels

If you follow the tweets or read the blog regularly you will know that I've just been to Brussels. I make no effort to hide my love for Belgian beer and although not every Belgian is going to fit into my favourite aggressive hoppy style, they are consistant if nothing else. This is really the first beer pilgramige I've done. I've visited my favourite wine regions but never travelled a lot for beer. This is something that since my trip to Brussels will change. The trip was worth every single minute and every single euro.

The European Parliament

I travelled up from the south of France to meet another beer geek friend, David Bald. We met in the train station on the Friday and the rest is history. I learned so much in my weekend. My main realisation has been that in future I'm going to stop drinking mass marketed rubbish totally. I will from now on be having good and tasty alcohol or no alcohol at all. As a student this is something that prior to now I've never adhered to. Don't get me wrong that doesn't mean that I will only drink 'expensive' or 'fancy' drinks but there are many pints that are now off limits (except in dire straits). This decision has mainly come from the sensory experience that I have in Brussels. I just think if its not good then whats the point really?

 Me enjoying a non-Belgian in the Hoppy Loft

We visited many great places during the course of our weekend there. I had been given many places that we simply 'had' to visit, so we did! 

Day 1- We met in Brussels Midi station just after 4pm. We found our hotel after fighting our way on the metro and we were pleasantly surprised as to how central we were. I was a little apprehensive as to what we were going to find after the views of an industrial wasteground on the way into Brussels on the train. Nevertheless the centre of Brussels itself was great. First stop was food, after 5 hours on a train with only pringles and a banana, I was a bit hungry! We decided to play it safe on our first night. I had detailed directions to Café Delirium, which although a tourist trap, was great and very close to us. The first drink in Belgium......Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA. Ooops! Sacrilege! That night went well, quiet really as we were both tired after travelling and had a terrible dinner that evening. The highlight of the evening though was our first vist to the Hoppy Loft in Delirium and mainly our first visit to Moeder Lambic. The most memorable part of this evening was ordering my travelling companion an apple juice off the menu even although I speak French, woops the alcohol must have started to set in!

 Deliriums Hoppy Loft- Full of American and Belgian Hoppy goodness

Day 2- It stated early. Too early. We visited Cantillon Lambic brewery in the morning which I am going to write a separate blog for as the visit was so good. We went from there on search of the 'holy grail' and we almost succeeded. At Beer mania in a shady part of town we found Westvleteren 8, which it seems is not actually that hard to come by. It was great but it still left me yearning to try its big sister (as wrong as that sounds). For those of you reading the tweets you may have noticed the tweet ' I seem to have walked into the past' this was in reference to the lovely place we chose to eat that afternoon. First clue that it was to be a bad idea, we were the only people there! We both ordered the same, a Grimbergen Brune and the lasagne. The lasagne was made with ham rather than beef mince, need I say any more about our walk into the 80's. We went from there to A la Mort Subite and it was a refreshing change. Busy, great beer on every table, non matching tables and decor, Bliss. I had their white lambic which was refreshing and well needed after the Grimbergen. The rest of the afternoon is a bit hazy to be honest. Back to Delirium? To Moeder Lambic? Tick, Tick. 

Then we made our way to find another beer geek (I hope she doesnt mind) @ tania_nexust. She was saving us a seat in La Porte Noire, which I'm sure she immediately regretted when we poured ourselves through the door. I ordered a Duvel Green?!? Sorry come again?!?! And David made a slight faux pas by ordering a 10% beer in a pint glass. No wonder we had some issues getting back to the hotel. However, drinks aside meeting Tania was great and I hope to bump into her again on a twissup somewhere along the line.

Day 3- My Birthday- Waking up with some hesitance we decided that sunday would be a calm day. What a lie that was. We did a lot of walking and some drinking too. Orval cheese and some Orvals, even if my one year aged bottle wasnt quite a year aged (thanks Delirium). We ended off our time in Belgium with a visit to a strange museum bar near our hotel, which was very atmospheric and arsty and then our last drinks were...............
Cocktails. Yes thats right! Im ashamed but they were girly mixed drinks. Sometimes too much good beer is just too much of a good thing.

Overall my trip to Belgium was fantastic. I tried so many great Belgian beers and even lots of American stuff too. Westvleteren, St Bernardus, Westmalle, Orval, Flying Dog, Great Divide, Cantillon, Mort Subite, Rochefort......the list goes on and on. We made a pact that we would both order two different beers everytime at the bar so we could try as much as possible and I think minus our Grimbergens and our comparing aged Orval, we did it. If you havent been to Brussels, or in fact Belgium, you must go! I had the time of my life, learning about beer and my tastes all the way. I say thanks to people for reading my blogs and tweets. Thanks to Belgium for allowing two Scotsmen into the country for a weekend. Thanks to Tania for putting up with two babbling Scotsmen and finally thanks to my fellow Scot, David Bald for coming along on our journey! Cheers everyone

This is David before the booze kicked in!

Monday 1 February 2010

This is only the start

Ive been feeling melancholic recently and thats nothing to do with my unhealthy passion for Morrissey and The Smiths (for once). However I also find myself looking back at the journey this little hobby has taken. In fact its no longer a little hobby for me. This beer malarkey has already taken over.  Mark Dredge from Pencil and Spoon warned me about this and he was right. Whilst I know I will never be able to have the levels of dedication to this blog that Mark does to his, I have still come to realise that craft beer is a passion which slowly but surely takes over day to day life and thoughts.You may have noticed today the site became a .com and although I still use blogspot to post etc, Im hoping to attract some more traffic this way.

I now have confirmation of my first beer related job (more details to follow when Its all in black and white). Its fair to say though that I may soon be fighting off 'the peguins'. I will also be back in the UK in a week and I am going to use my 10 days in Scotland and my 4 in London to full advantage. Mainly by trying as many new and different beers as possible. Top of my list is the Thornbridge offerings that I have waiting at home and also the chance to finally try some Jaipur on tap. I am also trying to arrange a little viewing at Williams Brothers, Harviestoun and Tryst when I am back so that I can do some virtual tour style blogs (how posh!) Ive just given lots away now, woops.

 At the forefront of my thoughts though is still my trip to Belguim and my very close proximity to most of the great beer bars. Its fair to say that this blogpost has been a little bit rushed and its a little bit all over the place. Bits of news here, bits of new there. Nevertheless, I think it shows my passion for the world of beer, or at least thats my excuse. I am just about to turn that scary age, yes 20! And I think its fair to say that my interest in beer is a little bit 'kid in a sweetshop' at the moment. I am hoping that time and experience will help focus the content of this blog. Thanks to everyone who has been reading in the early stages and for putting up with my, often rambling posts.

If anyone is in or near London from the 19th of Feb give me a shout and the first pint is on me.



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