Thursday, 11 July 2013

Northern Monk BrewCo New World IPA review

Evening, it's been a while since I've done a full on beer review instead of just brief notes from events but I feel that this is worthy... but am I?

Northern Monk BrewCo was born around six months ago and after all of the planning, they finally got around to brewing their sole launch beer: New World IPA. A lot of you probably already know David Bishop - or the Broadford Brewer as he's more commonly known. He's one of the first people I started following on twitter when I first started tweeting about beer and as a renowned beer blogger and homebrewer he has given me a lot of insight into beer. Finally, I get to taste his beer and it's not a homebrew... oh no, it's commercial.

I've been excited about Northern Monk BrewCo ever since I first heard of it. As you can see, the branding is fucking awesome... but how is the beer?

Monday, 8 July 2013

Urban Sessions - the place to be this summer!

For quite some time now, Melissa Cole has been hinting about an exciting project that she was involved in but was sworn to secrecy but finally it was announced a few weeks ago... Urban Sessions is occurring!

Well what Urban Sessions is, is a pop up beer festival/bar/musical event/food/awesomeness in The Old Baths in Hackney Wick which will be around for 4 months. I happened to be in London at the weekend so I thought it'd be rude not to pop down for the soft launch. The idea is that they have a shitload of beers from all around the world, along with cocktails and ciders and essentially just party! Over the 4 months they have about 500 different beers on as well as pop up tasting sessions, monthly beer matched dinners, spirit education events and Meet The Brewers, so I'm going to need to revisit a few times!

Friday, 5 July 2013

The Session #77 - IPA: What's the big deal? FOR PUNKS

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community which was started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, all participating bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin’s nice archive page.

This month’s session is hosted by Justin of Justin’s Brew Review, which is entitled “IPA: What’s the big deal?” and it’s a question I once asked.

Once upon a time, in my early days of beer geekdom, I had a beer called Punk IPA from a brewery called Brewdog. I’d had IPAs in the past, but they were pretty lifeless so when IPAs got popular I thought “Why? They’re not that good. And then I had Punk. I chanced upon a bottle at Norwich Beer Festival – I forget the year – and it blew my tits off. I actually recall shouting “HOLY SHIT” as I got my first whiff and tasty of that piney, grapefruit hoppiness with nice toasty malt resting in the background. WHAT WAS THIS SORCERY THAT WAS IN MY GLASS? This beer was a magic potion, something I could only dream of. Flavours that I didn’t think existed in beer. I mean, living in Norfolk, back then there weren’t many really hoppy beers. We mostly had dull brown ales but this Punk IPA stuff was magical. After that moment, I couldn’t sleep at night, wondering when my next glass of Punk was going to come. I wanted more!

Fast forward a few months and I stroll into the Fat Cat and see it on cask (NB. Remember when Brewdog did cask?). My heart jumped out of my chest – Badum Badum Badum – That was pure happiness. I’d wanted that beer for so long. So, so long. And it was great, totally fucking amazing and at only £2.60 a pint (yes, I know!). That day, I must’ve drunk about 10 pints of it, which obviously wasn’t a wise idea but who cares for wise when you’re drinking the best beer you’ve ever had.

And then, I was again Punkless. Once I’d drank the final dregs of this concoction that Odin himself would approve of, it was gone. No punk for me. I’d have to survive because at this point, I hadn’t yet discovered the wonders of ordering beer online.

Fast forward to a few years later. I walk in Sainsbury’s, about to buy some awful shit, and lo and behold... PUNK IPA, along with 5AM Saint and Hardcore IPA.

That was Happiness. I could drink Punk all I wanted. I could bath in the shit if I wanted. I HAD UNLIMITED ACCESS TO PUNK.

Punk was my favourite beer, and I still hold it in very high regard even though it’s been flaky lately but I am currently drinking a bottle of batch 129 and can confirm that it’s fucking awesome. This reminds me of the first bottle of Punk IPA I ever had.

I love Punk IPA and you can't stop me.

I’ve told my story so now the question must be answered... IPA: What’s the big deal?

They’re mostly fucking delicious, that’s what the big motherfucking deal is.


Thursday, 4 July 2013

Is it actually a beer "garden"?

I'm sitting in the beer garden of one of my favourite pubs in Norwich, The Reindeer, drinking Brooklyn lager and a question popped up in my head... "Is it really a garden?" I mean, they call it a garden and it's nice to sit here in the sun, smoking and drinking but essentially it's just decking with some picnic tables. A garden I see as an area that has a lawn, with flower beds, as well as a patio or decking but neither on its own. I'm not sure it can constitute a garden with just flowers in pots, and hanging baskets. I mean, you wouldn't call a balcony a garden, would you?

A garden, ideally, would also have an area for kids to play so they don't run around the tables knocking peoples drinks over and screaming in their parents ears for another bag of crisps even though they've already had two bags today which is more than they'd be allowed usually. A garden would also be somewhere you can bring your dog, with a communal water bowl by the lawn.

A garden would be an open, sunny space.

I like gardens.