Sunday, 21 December 2014

#12BeersOfXmas Day One - Stewart Weiss Christmas Blanc

Alright, my advent calendar didn't quite work out did it? I know I've posted before but apologies, I was a little busy. I'm still busy, I have stuff to do, but I really want to do 12 beers of Xmas to support my buddy Steve at The Beer O'Clock Show.

Him and Mark run a brilliant podcast that I was lucky enough to guest on once (until my battery died and I had no charger) and I'm looking forward to doing it again one day.

Yesterday was day one and I picked Stewart Brewing Weiss Christmas Blanc (4.7%, Edinburgh). We'd shared a few bottles of this in the office as they were nice enough to send us a bunch of samples when we bought a couple of pallets from them, and I enjoyed it but on cask it really is even better.

So this beer is a German style Hefeweizen with added spices, in the spirit of Christmas. To be honest, I think it was a genius move to brew a Christmas Wheat Beer because nobody else seems to do it - Christmas beers all tend to be fairly dark.

It pours like you'd imagine a Hefe to pour... cloudy with a solid head (man, this beer is a master for head retention. Love hefe yeast). On the nose you get big bubblegum, cloves and allspice. When you take a sip, this all comes through brilliantly, with added spices and those foam banana penny sweets we all ate as a kid.

Overall, this is a brilliantly balanced spiced wheat beer from a genuinely exciting brewery. I've been incredibly impressed by Stewart because they're an exciting brewery whose brewers know exactly what they're doing!

This was drunk at Mash Tun in Norwich and I couldn't just have one pint.

Nate

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Golden Pints 2014

2014 has been absolutely mammoth for me because I finally got myself a job in the beer industry, at Redwell Brewery in Norwich. I've been drinking Redwell beers since the beginning and I've known everyone involved since way before it started so I was so happy when they offered me a job. Basically what I'm doing is covering all aspects of social media, marketing, promotions, events, beer festivals amongst other things. I've been here about a week and a half now, and it's just awesome! I'm so happy to be working in an industry that I love, with some really awesome people who I call friends.

Anyway, I do Golden Pints every year and it's always so difficult because I drink a ridiculous amount of beer. Probably too many beers. I'll give it a crack, though, as always.

Best UK Cask Beer: Oakham Citra (again) - Seriously, I have no reason to choose any other cask beer. This is probably because these days, I don't drink enough of them and when I do it's almost always Citra.

Best UK Keg Beer: Magic Rock Cannonball - Realistically, if this is on in a pub I am going to order it. No question.

Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer: This is a toss up between Beavertown Gamma Ray (can) & Fourpure IPA (can) - Both are incredibly juicy and delicious.

Best Overseas Draught Beer: Tbh, I'm gonna go with Lagunitas IPA again. It's just brilliant, widely available and reasonably priced. I can't get enough of it.

Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer: Three Floyds Zombie Dust. I bought a few bottles from Mikkeller's webshop earlier this year. I require more.

Best Collaboration Brew: Adnams/Sixpoint Make It Rain - An American IPA brewed exclusively for Wetherspoons and incredible. It rained down my throat many times.

Best Overall Beer: It's gotta be Three Floyds Zombie Dust. GIVE ME MORE.

Best Branding, Pumpclip or Label: Love Weird Beard's branding because I could never grow a beard as weird as the ones on the labels.

Best UK Brewery: Beavertown. They just do everything right.

Best Overseas Brewery: Sierra Nevada - they manage to get every style they do right and their Kellerweis has made me especially happy.

Best New Brewery Opening 2014: Was Fourpure first opened this year? Probably not but that's when I discovered them and I love them.

Pub/Bar of the Year: The Swan in Stratford St Mary's. I went twice this year, first on The Craft Wanker Day Trip and secondly for dinner on a trip away. Everything about this pub is amazing.

Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2014: The Mash Tun, Norwich. 15 keg lines, a hop infuser, 4 handpumps, loads of great spirits and Harbercue cooking American inspired smoked meats. Not to mention the soon-to-open Gin Palace upstairs which will have over 150 gins and infusions!

Beer Festival of the Year: London Craft Beer Festival was great... it allowed me to try so many beers that I otherwise wouldn't have had access to.

Supermarket of the Year: Waitrose - I don't get there often but when I do I'm always impressed by the selection.

Independent Retailer of the Year: Harper Wells, Norwich. Although predominantly a wine shop, Brian (with the help of Redwell's distribution arm) has turned it into the number one place to buy bottled and canned craft beer in Norwich.

Online Retailer of the Year: Ales By Mail - I think I've used them more than any other online retailer this year.

Best Beer Book or Magazine: Although not 100% beer, I really enjoyed The Enlightened Imbibers Guide to Alcohol by The Thinking Drinkers.

Best Beer Blog or Website: I always enjoy reading Chris Hall's blog: http://chrishallbeer.com/

Best Beer App: Untappd, obviously. How else would I know what I've drunk before?

Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer: Without a doubt it's Michael McGrorty. If we lived closer we'd be the best mates ever and hang out all the time.

Best Brewery Website/Social media: Redwell because I'm their social media guy and I'm awesome.

Food and Beer Pairing of the Year: De Dolle Oerbier with Game Pudding at The Swan.

Nate

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Bullitt at the Ten Bells

Alright, I haven't kept up with my advent calendar because I've had other things to do, but it's cool. I imagine I'll get back on it soon... rest assured that I've still been drinking all the beer!

Anyway, last Friday manager of Ten Bells in Norwich, Richard, invited me and a guest along to sample Bullitt's new menu along with the winter cocktail menu.



We arrived at 7:30pm and were shown to our table by Richard who left us to peruse the cocktail & food menus. After a while another member of staff came over to take our first cocktail orders - I went for a Cold Buttered Rum which was incredible - it was so smooth with the rum and spices coming through perfectly. My guest went for something a little different - I forget what it's called but it was marvellously sour and bitter with a little sweetness.

Our food orders were taken - I got Pork on Pork while my guest got the only suitable option for her as she doesn't eat meat, Taiwanese style hirata buns with pickled ginger, Asian style slaw and marinated salmon. Both came with fries, mine were hilariously massive King Chips whilst My guest's came with sweet potato fries.

My pork on pork was really something special - both hot & cold pork with mint & chorizo jam in a homemade bun. As I took my first bite I was in awe - the pork was perfectly tender with the cold & hot pork complimenting each other, a little spice coming in from the chorizo with a cooling mint finish. I will eat it again, for sure!

My guest's steamed buns with salmon was damn good too... I'd never had a steamed bun before but I will be having them again! The salmon was really nice and done differently to what I've had before with the slaw giving it a nice kick!

We had a few more cocktails including the Black Jack & The Chaplin Revue which as always were outstanding.

All in all, we had an awesome evening and will definitely be returning!

Thanks to Richard at Ten Bells & Bullitt for the free food and cocktails!

You can get cocktails at Ten Bells every day but Bullitt are only there Friday - Sunday... GO ASAP!

Nate

Friday, 5 December 2014

Advent Calendar Day 5 - Helsingborgs Kaffestout

So day 5 now, and my second day at Redwell Brewery as Marketing Manager and it's a beer from a strange land since David Jones is back. This is a beer he has been brewing at Helsingborg Brewery in Sweden.

Brewery: Helsingborgs
Beer: Kaffestout
ABV: 8.5%
Style: Coffee Stout
Country: Sweden
Where I drank it: Redwell Brewery

Look: Pitch black with a large tan head that sticks around for a while.

Aroma: Coffee, coffee and more coffee! Woah.

Flavour: Sweet black coffee with a handful of spiky hops.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, so drinkable.

Overall: I absolutely love this beer. It's ridiculously drinkable and delicious and I want more!

Cheers,

Nate

Advent Calendar Day 4 - Adnams Wild Hop

As I've mentioned before, Adnams are one of my favourite British breweries. They may be fairly traditional with Southwold Bitter and Broadside, but head brewer Fergus proves that he can use lashings of hops and brew new world style beers time and time again.

To be honest though, i rarely buy their bottled or canned beers (other than Ghost Ship) because here in Norwich I'm guaranteed to find their beers on cask and keg everywhere.

They did, however, contact me a couple of weeks ago asking if I wanted to try their two new beers to write about and here's the first one...

Brewery: Adnams
Beer: Wild Hop
ABV: 4.8%
Style: Amber Beer
Country: England
Where I drank it: At home

Wild Hop Amber Beer is a very awesome idea. What Adnams did was put feelers out into the internet to essentially crowd source wild hops, as well as ones that people had been growing in their gardens. Due to this, it's rather interesting as the hops used are basically unspecified - they could be any variety and mixture of British hops.

Look: Pours a dark amber with a fizzy white head that disappears quickly.

Aroma: On the nose you get grassiness, and citrus bitterness with a bit of toasted brown bread in the malt.

Flavour: Light bready grains, a bit floral, lashings of citrus, candied orange peel, a peppery spiciness and a long, lasting bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Sharp and prickly, but gets smoother as it goes down.

Overall: It's an interestingly delicious beer - due to the different types of hops used, you get so many different qualities. I'd highly recommend buying a bottle or two, especially if you're a hop freak.

You can buy it in all Adnams Cellar & Kitchen shops by the bottle, or online by the case. It's also available on cask in select pubs: http://cellarandkitchen.adnams.co.uk/catalog/product/bottles/adnams-wild-hop-amber-beer-12-x-330-ml-bottles-48-abv

Cheers,

Nate

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Advent Calendar Day 3: Redwell beers & Raging Speedhorn

"I don't like lager. I only really drink ale but this is awesome" says Jim as he slams his empty glass that used to contain Redwell Hells Lager on the table. This is why I do the beer thing, for reactions like this. I introduce people to beers they wouldn't usually drink.

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting up with British Heavy Metal band Raging Speedhorn before the first night of their first UK tour in 6 years, at Norwich Waterfront.

You'll know from my history that I don't do regular band interviews. They're boring. The guys from Raging Speedhorn agree "Why have you reformed? Who are your influences?" Jay tells me they get asked all of the time.


So I took the guys to Norwich Taphouse and figured I'd introduce them to our beers from Redwell Brewery, just to put an awesome spin on things.

We started off with Hells, which was loved all around the table. Guys, like Jim, who don't drink lager, loved it. They say they could drink pint after pint of it, I agree. Its lemony fresh crispness makes it amazing.

Redwell Pale Ale came next and again, it was a winner with everyone despite the fact that they also generally don't drink really hoppy beers. "This is really clean and doesn't have the bitterness that a lot of hoppy beers usually have" remarks Gordon. Thirds of Pale were sunk in double time whilst generally chatting about beer and stuff.

Redwell Steam, my favourite came next, and everyone enjoyed it but it wasn't their favourite.

If only we had time for more beers, but we had to head back to the venue as it was getting late and they had a gig to play!

The gig was good. I enjoyed the support band, Sworn to Oath, they were heavy and really rather brutal but Raging Speedhorn was the winner of the night. They're a band I used to listen to back in the day but I never had the chance to see them live when I was younger.

I'm glad the sound issues have been sorted out in The Waterfront Studio - it was great, despite the smaller stage and room (and poor quality beer). They played a lot of the music I know and remember, as well as a new track (they're currently working on a new album).

All in all, it was a very enjoyable night! Many thanks to the guys for sparing some time to chat and drink beer, and to my buddy Tom from Polymath PR for hooking me up!

Nate

(I decided to make this an Advent Calendar Window because YOLO)

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Advent Calendar Day 2: Thornbridge Sequoia

Woop, day two! That means two blogs in one day. Poor you.

Anyway, I'm sure y'all know what the deal is.

Brewery: Thornbridge
Beer: Sequoia
ABV: 4.5%
Style: American Amber Ale
Country: UK
Where I drank it: Mash Tun, Norwich

Thornbridge are, without a doubt, one of the best breweries in the UK. Again, it's a brewery that nails everything they do and I've been drinking their beers for as long as I remember.

Sequoia is an American Amber Ale... it's a style that's not brewed so often over here, with many breweries favouring American IPAs or even Red Ales.

I'm probably cheating a bit here as it's a beer I know and love already, but still.

Looks: Dark Amber, slightly hazy (cask was fresh on & I don't mind a bit of haze) with a lovely fluffy white head.

Aroma: On the nose you get chewy toffee sweets along with some pine and citrus fruit.

Flavour: Citrus fruits leading into light toffee with a lovely marmalade covered digestive biscuit base.

Mouthfeel: So smooth and velvety, an awesomely drinkable beer.

Overall: Yup... it's the same as when I first had it at Norwich Beer Festival about 5 years ago... I still absolutely love it and can't avoid buying a pint when I see it!

Right, that's it for today... I'm off to see Raging Speedhorn at The Waterfront tonight so I imagine I will be surviving on pints of Red Stripe. Wonderful.

Nate

Advent Calendar Day 1: Beavertown/Mikkeller/Arizona - Sour Power

Just an idea I got, I'm gonna make sure I write something every day and to do that I figured I'd write about a beer I have each day leading up to Christmas. Obviously this is a day late but YOLO. That means you unlucky people get two blogs today.

Brewery: Beavertown & Mikkeller & Arizona Wilderness (collaboration)
Beer: SOUR POWER
ABV: 6%
Style: Red Saison with sour cherries & redcurrants
Country: UK/Denmark/USA
Where I drank it: Norwich Taphouse (Half pint on keg)

So this is a collaboration between the awesome Beavertown Brewery in London, Mikkeller in Denmark & Arizona Wilderness in the USA. I'm a massive fan of Beavertown as they seem to nail every style of beer they brew, and Mikkeller is legendary. I've never had anything from Arizona Wilderness because I'm pretty sure they don't export, but I've heard very good things.

Look: As red as a cloudy summer sky, that is to say that it's pretty damn red but there's defintely a storm coming!

Aroma: You get potent aroma of red berries, with a funky undertone.Yum.

Flavour: A massive hit of sour cherries that slowly fades, making way for sweet raspberry jam and a bit of acidity.

Mouthfeel: As dry as the deserts in Arizona, but also as sticky as leaving an ice lolly to melt on your car dashboard.

Overall: Absolutely brilliant - this is a beer for drinking by the half pint, in between other beers. I reckon it'd go amazingly well with dark chocolate cheesecake. Maybe I should take one into the Taphouse to try it...

Well, that's it for day one... Day two will come later.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

This. Is. Pretty. Good.



So last week I posted a blog about the fact that I had a pint of Brewdog This. Is. Lager, a beer that I like, after having two pints of Pilsner Urquell thus rendering BD TIL pretty shit.

See, Brewdog and I, we’ve had our differences in the past but they were pretty cool about it and offered to send me a few bottles which was awfully nice of them!

A couple of days later, before the bottles arrived, I had a spare hour or so on my hands so I decided to pop into The Bell Hotel Wetherspoons in Norwich and have a pint on an untainted palate, and it was the beer I remember having pre-Urquell. It was great – it had that solid biscuity malt backbone, that hop bite and a crisp and clean refreshing finish. Somehow it was warming, even on a cold evening.

I loved it!

Then, last Thursday, three bottles arrived at my house. Sadly I was suffering from a really horrific cold so I couldn’t crack one open there and then, I shoved them in the fridge and decided to come back to them when I was feeling good again (hell, I wasn’t even home anyway as I was at Emily’s).

So the other night I had a couple of hours spare at home before making the journey back to Gorleston and thought I’d open a bottle.

Sidenote: To me, lager is drunk in pints in the pub or straight from the bottle/can at home. I don’t care if it’s a ‘craft’ product… in my mind a lager is for that purpose. No fuss, no overthinking, just to be enjoyed.

So there I was, sitting in front of my computer with a cold bottle straight out of the fridge, that has come to me straight from the brewery and I crack it open.





I take a sip and instantly I want to be at a BBQ in the summer… it’s just so nice and refreshing as it’s got bitterness and subtle citrus flavours as well as a nice maltiness and it’s so well rounded.

It’s a pretty good beer, I have to say, and to be honest I think I prefer it bottled to keg which is an incredibly rare thing to happen.

What I’d like to see, however, is This. Is. Lager in cans because they’ll be easier for me to take to friends houses or the beach in summer.

Alongside Punk IPA, 5am Red Ale, Dead Pony Pale Ale & Brixton Porter, Brewdog currently have a very strong core – or headliner – range right now and I’d also like mixed packs of all of them to be readily available in shops, but until then I’ll mostly be drinking six packs of Dead Pony in Majestic.

Cheers,

Nate

Disclaimer: I have had many free pints of Brewdog This. Is. Lager at Wetherspoons courtesy of Eddie Gershon PR sending me a bunch of vouchers to write about the new beers. Also, as I mentioned, I didn’t pay for the bottles I received because I’m a jammy bastard. I also borrowed the bottle image from here: http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article/this-is-lager

Monday, 24 November 2014

Thinking Drinkers: The Enlightened Imbibers Guide to Alcohol (Book Review)



Ben McFarland & Tom Sandham are known throughout these lands as the Thinking Drinkers. While Ben has been crowned British Beer Writer of the Year a triad of times, Tom is former editor of a cocktail magazine called CLASS.

Together they do a variety of things including writing (as demonstrated in this book), tasting sessions for those who want to learn more about booze & performed in shows from Edinburgh to the London West End.
 
The whole point of this book is to encourage people to Drink Less but Drink Better, which is a bloody good mantra and one that many of us have fallen foul of in the past.

Anyway, this brilliant book takes you through all of the main food drink groups… you’ve got beer, wine, whisk(e)y, gin, tequila, vodka… everything.

Every chapter gives you insight into the history of each beverage, along with amusing segments on famous people who are renowned for drinking said drinks, cocktails, recommendations and general hilarity!

The whole book is so captivating and I have now found myself interested and filled with knowledge on drink topics other than my core one of beer.

The great thing is that it’s not just a book for reading, but one for reference. It’s the kind of book that I think every pub or bar in the country that prides itself on stocking artisan or craft spirits should have on the bar, not only to further their own personal knowledge but to allow customers to read.

All in all, this book is brilliant and will be a perfect Christmas present for anyone who likes a drink or two!

Nate

Friday, 14 November 2014

This. Is. Ehhh.



Yesterday Alec and I had a Christmas dinner in Wetherspoons and as part of the deal for £8.99 you can get a beer… luckily, these days, it’s not restricted to Carling or Ruddles. These days you can get any of the craft cans, any real ale or either of the craft beers on keg.

I got Brewdog This. Is. Lager with mine, which I have had many pints of before but last night I realised I don’t like it as much as I thought I did.

Last night, I just found it all wrong, so unbalanced. Too sweet yet too bitter, too carbonated yet too dry, when previously I had proclaimed that it’s everything I want in a Pilsner.

And then I realised what the problem was.

Pilsner Urquell.

Yes, the problem was that earlier in the evening I’d had two pints of Pilsner Urquell, the classic, the original, the legendary Czech pilsner. So beautifully crisp, floral and creamy; a beer you can drink pint after pint of without getting bored.

A pilsner that ruins all other pilsners because of its perfection.

Of course, I am well aware that it’s a bit wrong to essentially compare the original pilsner to one from a 21st century brewery who claims to be revolutionising the style, but still.

Don’t get me wrong, This. Is. Lager is still a very good beer. It’s well made and had I not drank the Pilsner Urquell, I would have probably sunk several pints of it last night but what’s happened here is a case of “I drank something better and now I don’t like the one I liked before”

Maybe for research purposes I’ll pop in Wetherspoons this weekend and give This. Is. Lager another shot, just to see if I still feel the same about it.

I’d also really like to try get hold of a bottle of This. Is. Lager to see how it translates, and maybe do a proper, untainted review but until then…

Nate

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Haynes Men’s Pie Manual (Book Review)



When I first read the press release about this book, I’m sure you’ll forgive me that I didn’t actually read the word “Men’s”. I read “Haynes Pie Manual by Andrew Webb”. That was enough to get me excited.

I received the book and thought “Hang on a minute; this is making a few assumptions”. Firstly, it’s assuming at as a man, I don’t have the foggiest idea of how to make a pie (I do – I’ve made many in my time) and secondly it is assuming one of two things – either that pies are foodstuff for men, and men only, or it is assuming that women automatically know how to make pies from birth. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed at this.

I then started reading and was thankful that he kept the “Hey manly men, I’m talking to you, you loser who doesn’t know how to make a pie” to a minimum, aside from the occasional “RED MEAT PIE ARE ESPECIALLY FOR MEN. MEN LOVE RED MEAT.”

So yeah, he doesn’t talk directly to us men right through the book which is a good thing, but it’s all still rather irritating. Assumptions piss me off.

Anyway, as for the actual content?

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Unrealistic Expectations

As I sit in wetherspoons having a diet coke, I'm thinking. I really wanted to write something positive about Wetherspoons as I love it but half of what i want to say is negative.

The thing is, when they announced their craft taps of Brewdog This. Is. Lager. And Devil's Backbone IPA I was excited, and to be honest I'm still excited about there being something I'm guaranteed to drink on tap in any wetherspoons I go into. I mean, This. Is. Lager. Is a fucking stupid name but it has everything I want in a Pilsner. Devil's Backbone IPA isn't what I expected but it's delicious nonetheless. Sure, it doesn't have buckets full of hops in it but it's still delicious.

What doesn't excite me, strangely enough, is the prices. Youre probably thinking "what the fuck. How are you not excited at £3 a pint?" And I'll tell you why...

It gives people unrealistic expectations of the price of decent keg beer. See, I was excited when I was expecting both these beers to be around the £4 a pint mark... That would make it close enough to both wetherspoons prices and craft beer bar prices. Selling a beer like the brewdog lager at £3 a pint is going to make people expect that anywhere they go, good beer on keg can't be that much more expensive.

The problem is that so many people use wetherspoons as a comparison on price. If they see a beer on cask at £2.40 in wetherspoons they're going to expect it to be no more than £3.40 on cask in a regular pub. It's the pound rule. It doesn't just work for wetherspoons but for any service... Tesco are selling a sandwich for £2 so you expect it to be £3 in an independent shop.

Now people who aren't craft wankers are going to see "craft lager" or "ipa" on keg in a regular pub and be like "hang on a fucking minute... Why is this £5 a pint when I can get something similar in spoons for £3?"

So will spoons convert people to good keg?

Yes, but only in their own pubs due to presenting unrealistic expectations.

Nate 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

NSV Craft Beer Festival 2014 Preview

A while ago I had mentioned that I was involved in the social media side of Norwich’s first ever craft beer festival and now I have a list of beers that will be on over the course of the festival and everything is finalised for this coming Thursday, I figured I’d write a blog.

Firstly, what/where/when/how/why?

Where: St Margaret’s Art Church, St Benedict’s Street, Norwich
When: Thursday 9th October – Saturday 11th October (5pm - 11 Thursday then 12pm til 4 & 5pm til 11 Friday and Saturday)
Cost: £4 (£2 for NSV wristband holders) includes branded glass which can be returned for £1 refund
Food: Proper Pizza Co & Meat Merchants
Beers: A mixture of cask, keg, bottles & cans

We are very happy to have the following breweries with their own bars, these are:

Firebrand Brewery – A seriously bloody good up and coming brewery from Cornwall. I first sampled their beers at Craft Beer Rising this year and was impressed so I’m excited to see these guys coming up for it!

Signature Brew – An awesome aptly musical themed brewery. These guys are most known for brewing collaboration beers with the likes of Professor Green, Mastodon & Frank Turner but now have their own range of beers which I’m looking forward to trying!

Humpty Dumpty – Brilliant traditional real ale brewery situated on the Norfolk Broads. Last year they celebrated their 15th Anniversary with a very tasty barley wine that I helped brew (well, not really. I just stood there looking good).

Fem-Ale - A brilliant organisation promoting the women in the beer industry! Expect to see a whole host of beers that have been brewed by women!

Norfolk Square Brewery - Carlos will be bringing his Maverik range of craft beers including the wonderful English hopped Barmy IPA!

Golden Triangle - Popular among Norwich drinkers, and a personal favourite of mine, Kev will be bringing his amazing Black IPA... BLACK HOPS!

Redwell Brewery – We all know the awesome Redwell Brewery! Brewing delicious lagers and ales (exclusively on keg) since 2013. They are the main sponsor of NSV Craft Beer Festival and are providing most of the beers available... these beers are confirmed and I can reveal to you what they are...

Redwell Brewery (Norwich, all keg)
Hells Lager
Steam Lager
India Pale Lager
Double IPA
Dark Pilsner

Beavertown Brewery (London, keg)
Neck Oil (Session IPA)
Smog Rocket (Smoked Porter)
Quelle (Saison)

Crate Brewery (London, keg)
Nitro Stout
Cider

Fourpure (London, keg)
Pils (Lager)
IPA

London Fields (London)
Hackney Hopster (Pale Ale, cask & keg)
Shoreditch Triangle (IPA, keg)

Redchurch Brewery (London, keg)
Paradise Pale
Shoreditch Blonde
Hoxton Stout

Redwillow Brewery (Macclesfield)
Smokeless (Smoked Porter, keg)
Mirthless (Pale Ale, keg)
Endless (Pale Ale, cask)
Heartless (Chocolate Stout, cask)

Williams Brothers (Alloa, Scotland)
Draught Lager (Keg)

Magic Rock (Yorkshire)
High Wire (Pale Ale, cask & keg)
CANNONBALL (IPA, keg, yes it deserves capitals!)

Wild Beer Co. (Somerset)
Bibble (Pale Ale, cask & keg)
Fresh (Pale Ale, cask)
Epic Saison (Keg)

So, those are all of the confirmed beers and we’re very excited about it as the days get closer!

You can follow us on twitter at @NSVBeerFest or Facebook where I will be telling you a little bit more about each brewery and the beers before Thursday and updating you with setup.

I hope to see you all there!

Nate

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Two New Guinness Beers (beer review)

Guinness. It’s an internationally recognised name, it’s seen in probably 90% of pubs and bars all across the world from London to San Francisco to Tokyo.

Guinness. The iconic adverts and two part pour. The shamrock that’s drawn in the tight, creamy head on the top of your pint.


Guinness is everywhere. Guinness is unmistakable.

I don’t think I really need to explain what Guinness is, but I will say that it is a beer I love to this very day, even in all of my beer geekdom. It’s reliable and delicious.

Guinness is owned by Diageo these days, one of the biggest alcoholic beverage companies in the world. They’ve decided to try and expand the Guinness brand by bringing out two new beers and I was lucky enough to be asked if I want to try them.

And of course, I jumped at the chance. In fact, I’m rather excited about trying them. They’re both modelled on recipes from many moons ago, but have been upgraded I suppose using modern brewing processes and a shiny brewery.

To start with, the labels are awesome. If you didn’t know anything about Guinness, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were brewed by your friendly neighbourhood brewery – they look antique and historic. Of course, many people will complain that the marketing people are trying to make it look like they’re from a small brewery but fuck ‘em.

First up we have Guinness Dublin Porter (3.8%). As promised by the fact sheet I was sent, it is like a lighter version of your everyday Guinness. It has caramel, chocolate, a little bit of coffee, brown sugar and some hoppiness at the end. It’s also a lot less dry than standard Guinness which makes it an even more enjoyable experience. It seems to have the right amount of everything that I want in a stout. I thought, and was hoping I’d enjoy it but it’s genuinely surprised me just how much I am enjoying it!

West Indies Porter (6%) pours thicker and darker. The head is a lot more desirable as it stays there. The aroma gives off a handful of hops with lots of burnt caramel. The flavour gives me full on strong, black nutmeg coffee, topped with chocolate sprinkles, there’s also a kind of sweet milky flavour that comes across in the aftertaste. The whole idea is that it’s a more accessible version of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout and they’ve totally achieved that goal.

Overall: Both beers are brilliant to be honest. They’re both a step up from Guinness, bringing more flavour to the table and beers that I will definitely buy as they’re definitely the best stouts I’m going to be able to get from supermarkets.

Despite being Guinness/Diageo products, I urge you to pick them up and give them a shot. These are well brewed beers, with flavour and I am seriously impressed.


Nate

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Moosehead Lager & Pale Ale (beer review)

I'm not well versed in Canadian beer as it doesn't seem to make it to the UK often. Sure, I've drank a lot of Carling which originates from there and I remember spending a day in London years ago in the Maple Leaf pub in Covent Garden drinking multiple pints of Sleeman's IPA and Honey Brown lager, but I'd never had anything from Canada's oldest independent brewery.

What's interesting about Moosehead is that it was founded by a woman, Susannah Oland back in 1867 and is still operated by the same family. The fact that it was founded by a woman all of the way back then is great but people generally don't know this. People quite rightly celebrate the female brewers of today, but Moosehead is quite an important brewery, in Canada at least, so she deserves some recognition.

They've had quite a rocky history, changing names a couple of times and unfortunately two fires within 8 years but each time they recovered and got stronger. Also, its success in the USA can oddly be attributed to Michael J Fox as he gave it a big plug on the Jay Leno show.

Anyway, I was kindly sent Moosehead Lager & Pale Ale to write a few words about...

Moosehead Lager (5%) pours golden yellow with a small, sparse head that disappears rather quickly. On the nose you have a little sweetcorn, a few hops and some skunkiness. When you taste it, there is no corn but instead it's just a crisp almost lemony lager flavour with a little sweetness. We rather enjoyed it!

Moosehead Pale Ale (5%) pours an amber colour that's almost brown, and again it doesn't have much of a head. I was expecting something akin to an American style pale ale, but to my surprise I got an English style Pale Ale. Lots of caramel and brown sugar sweetness, with just a few hops and a bit of golden syrup. Again, it's an enjoyable beer.

Overall: Both pleasant and accessible beers. As a beer geek, they didn't make me run around flailing but they are very well made tasty beers that at the right pricepoint could quite happily be most people's first foray into craft beer.

Thanks to Louise from Pierhead Purchasing for sending me these to write about!

Nate


Friday, 5 September 2014

The Session #91 - My First Belgian



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 months session is hosted by Belgian Smaak… and is all about your first Belgian Beer.

My first Belgian? What is this, a new Fisher Price toy?

My first Belgian beer was obviously Stella Artois. I’m not going to hide from that. Some people say that it doesn’t count, but of course it bloody does.

I remember when I was 12, a friends’ parents were out for the day so we decided we were going to drink beer. We made the conscious decision to get drunk. It was irresponsible. We were 12 years old… we wanted to experience it and find out why our parents drank alcohol.

I remember hating the feeling of being drunk… that initial hit of the alcohol, rushing through your blood into your brain. The dizziness, the blurry eyes. Well, I hated it at first, and then it was fun… it was hilarious. Why was it so hilarious to watch a rabbit yawn?

And then the vomit. I was quite violently sick. Disgusting, can’t deal with it.

Eventually, I got home and passed out.

And then the hangover.

I didn’t drink for about two or three years after that.

Nate

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Tasting notes… what are you on about?



Obviously, as an amateur wannabe beer writer, I review beers and I read other people’s reviews of beers.

Right now I’m getting absolutely fucking sick of reading beer reviews, to be perfectly honest.

I see people write about aromas that make me gag just from the idea and flavours that really don’t make sense and make me want to vomit, and remember… I’m a seasoned beer drinker.

I’ve had beers that have encompassed all manner of flavours, but let’s be honest here… most tasting notes by beer reviewers are bullshit. They’re incredibly off putting and I wonder if some people come up with the most ridiculous tasting notes just as a test to see if someone else will call them out and say “What the fuck are you even on about?”

Even as someone who has drank so many different beers, I read reviews and I’m instantly put off.

You cannot write that a beer smells like damp field mushrooms covered in manure, tasting like spunk covered hedgerow and expect people to believe your conclusion that it was rather nice (this isn’t an exact review; it’s just bits that I’ve picked up from several reviews that I’ve read over the last few months from about 6 different people).

While I’m aware that everyone has a different palate and they taste/smell different things, I genuinely don’t believe that most people actually know what hedgerow or half the fucking things they describe beers as taste like.

I’m just finding it irritating, vomit inducing and just straight up bullshit. It’s not doing the industry any favours by writing such pretentious crap.

It seems that people are straight up taking the piss out of breweries by saying the most disgusting things. Hell, if I were a brewer I’d feel downright offended if someone gave my beer such nauseating tasting notes knowing full well that they’re just entering themselves into "Who can be the most pretentious?" competition.

One of the reasons I started doing this whole beer writing thing was to try and encourage people to drink more good beer, by displaying the massive array of delicious flavours that just four simple ingredients (and sometimes odd adjuncts) can create and I’m sure many others did too.

I’ve always firmly believed in tasting notes that are accessible, that someone not into beer will stumble across and be like “Well, that sounds delicious. Where can I buy it?” not “So this person says it’s nice… but it sounds disgusting. Definitely not worth the risk”

Simplify. Make the beers sound as delicious in your descriptions as you say they are at the end. Just cut the fucking crap already.

Nate

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Evils of Beer Conversion



Nearly everywhere I look I see advocates of good beer talking about “converting” non-beer drinkers… from other blogs, to nationally recognised beer campaigns, to the drinks menus in Brewdog bars that suggest what beer to drink instead of their wines & spirits.

Conversion in this sense is an evil word as it’s all about changing people’s ideas and perceptions, much like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons who knock on your door while you’re kicking back eating a fry-up on a Saturday morning… people telling you that everything you know is wrong and that you’re somewhat inferior if you don’t believe.

That’s what “Conversion” sounds like to me. It doesn’t sound like a gentle nudge saying “hey, why not try this beer? You might like it”, conversion sounds like you’re judgementally forcing someone to do something because it’s what you like and believe in even if they are quite happy doing what they enjoy.

“Conversion” doesn’t convey a welcoming sense of community, in fact it does quite the opposite. “Conversion” suggests that all of us beer drinkers are in our own little clique and that outsiders have to pass some kind of initiation in order to join us.

“Conversion” isn’t a friendly word, it’s alienating people who could potentially become fans of good beer if it wasn't for the pressure.

This isn’t to say that more people shouldn’t drink good beer, it’s saying “hey, would you like to try my beer” instead of rocking up at someone’s house when they’ve invited you and hijacking it with beer talk. It’s not forcing people to listen to “why they should drink beer” because to be perfectly honest nobody “should” do anything just because you want them to.

By all means recommend, but if they resist just leave it at that. It’s only a drink sothere shouldn't be any "conversion" process involved.

Nate

Monday, 18 August 2014

London Craft Beer Festival 2014 Review

On Sunday some friends and I decided to travel down to Oval Space in Hackney for London Craft Beer Festival. As I mentioned in my preview blog, it’s a festival whereby all of the beer is included in admission price as well as the breweries serving their own beer (or at least someone who knows about beer. Probably).

We got to the venue and collected our glass, bottle caps (third pint tokens) and program before heading up to the room of doom.

The Venue:

It was a small but comfortable venue with a decked area where food was, as well as a balcony area overlooking the old gas terminals. There were breweries all around the room and a stage in the middle for the performers.

Across the road there was also another venue that they were using to promote holidays in Flanders. We sampled some delicious cheese and whitebait.

The Food:

I would have liked to see some more reasonably priced food. There was a stand selling hot dogs in burger baps for £6.50 which seemed like a rip off, and the other option was onglet steak with veggies for £8. They did also have chips for £2, which were nice enough but the portions weren’t nearly big enough.

The People:

Along with Alec, Jay & Lee whom I travelled with, I bumped into some of my awesome beery twitter fam, Some of whom I’d never met before.

As for the brewers themselves... I don’t know whether it was because they were tired from a long weekend but the vast majority of them didn’t seem interested in talking to us normal people, aside from serving their beers. Too many times I’d ordered a beer and want to talk to brewers about them but before I got the chance they’d already turned their back to talk to the brewer next to them. It kind of defeats the point of this kind of festival set up.

The Beers:

I had a lot of beers, well it would have been rude not to since it was included in the ticket price. I’m not going to tell you about all of them but stand outs included:

Redemption Pale Ale w/ Mangos & Pink Peppercorns (3.8%) – You got the hoppiness of the pale ale, the sweet and juicy mango with a shower of spicy peppercorns. It was absolutely outstanding!

Weird Beard Little Things That Kill (A low ABV. Each batch changes) – I drank more of this beer than anything else. It’s a beer I already love and I just stood at the Weird Beard stand (the most friendly stand manned by Bryan & Chris) talking to Chris and constantly getting my glass topped up. So much fruitiness and body for such a low ABV beer.

Buxton Ace Edge (6.8%) – It’s a beer I’ve wanted to try for ages as I love the original Axe Edge and I am one of the rare people who LOVE Sorachi Ace Hops. I am so glad this was on (I may have had multiple drinks of this too).

Magic Rock Bourbon Barrel Bearded Lady (11%) – BIG chocolate and coffee followed by the oaky bourbon booziness. So fucking good.

My beer of the festival, though, was Alpha State Vanilla Mocha Shake (10%) – Jesus fuck! This was absolutely incredible... a coffee and chocolate filled mocha with a sprinkling of vanilla at the end. It really was like a silky smooth milkshake and I could have actually drank multiple pints. WANT MORE NOW.

Overall:

It was a great festival, with a really cool concept. I like not having to worry about spending money once I go in, but they could have ditched the whole token system entirely since I don’t think I even saw the brewery stands take one. They didn’t take any from me, simply asked “Big pour or small pour?” I also think some of the brewers could have been more engaging and excited about talking about their beer. Maybe it was better during one of the previous sessions.

But it was a good experience and I reckon I will return next year!


Nate

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

White Horse, Chedgrave (Burger Review)



The other Sunday Emily and I were on our way back to her house in Gorleston, from mine in Norwich and we were hungry. Not regular hungry but superhuman hungry. We decided to go the long way back instead of the straight route down the A47 so we could find a pub to go to for lunch. After passing several that didn’t look too appealing, I said to Emily to turn down towards Chedgrave/Loddon way as I recall going through there once and noticing several pubs.

We decided to stop at the first one we saw, The White Horse, as it had a rustic look yet there was also something modern about it. It turned out to be a good decision.

We parked up and walked past the pub’s own bowls green and past the families who were just finishing up lunch, with the kids running around and screaming because obviously the sugar in dessert and the copious amounts of coca cola was too much for them to handle.

We walked into the pub and up to the bar – there were a few hand pumps with Young’s Bitter, Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, Woodforde’s Wherry & Adnams Bitter… so not a varied selection by any means. And then I noticed Crouch Vale Brewer’s Gold, which is always a delight, and to my surprise it was served in a rather fetching branded glass! Standard reporting here and it was just the usual suspects on keg. Emily just had a coke as obviously she was driving.

We sat down outside in a quiet corner by the back door, away from the children (or so we thought – after a while we discovered that the kids were constantly running in and out of the pub being rather annoying) and after a while we were given menus. We’d decided upon what we wanted and a different server came to take our order.

When I asked for “the burger please” I got a look of confusion followed by “Just a plain burger?” to which I replied “Y’know, the one on the menu with onions and bacon and cheese?” at which point she was leaning right over my shoulder try to look at the menu before it clicked… “Oh, that burger”.

Emily ordered the breaded plaice fillets with chips, mushy peas & tartare sauce which she was happy with. We also split a side of onion rings.
 
It was a handmade beef burger with caramelised red onions, bacon, gruyere & salad on a brioche bun with a side of red cabbage coleslaw, onion rings and crispy skin on chips.

Now here’s the thing – as nice as presentation was, I don’t want my burger served on a chopping board with the chips stood up in a wire basket making it impossible to put salt on them, or cover them in favourite combination of ketchup and mayo.

The chips were absolutely brilliant though – crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and just delicious. I would have preferred to be able to add sauce to them and while it’s true that I could have put them on the chopping board, there was very little space with everything else on!

The onion rings were possibly the best I’ve ever had – they were massive, filled with tangy, sweet onion with delightfully crunchy batter that wasn’t ridiculously greasy.

The burger, as you can see, was rather massive! I figured there was no way I could actually eat it in the way that burgers were designed for, by picking it up and biting. It was just too… filled with stuff, which isn’t a bad thing. I decided cutting it in half would help – it didn’t. I ended up eating it with a knife and fork and loved every second of it.

The sweet bun… the salty bacon and burger, the fresh salad underneath it and the gooey melted gruyere cheese helping it get that little bit unhealthier. Each bite was a delight quite simply and I left feeling so full!

Emily enjoyed her plaice fillets too and I wish I would have snuck a bite from her, but it wouldn’t have been fair since being a vegetarian she couldn’t have a bite of my burger!

The cost of our mains, a side between us, a pint of real ale and a coca cola was around £30 so basically what you’d expect to pay really. It was definitely worth it anyway.

Aside from minor annoyances like kids running around, and the waitress not knowing the menu, it was a thoroughly enjoyable meal and I will certainly return here if the opportunity arises!

Nate

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

London Craft Beer Festival 2014 preview



Imagine being able to go to a beer festival, where all of the bars are manned by the breweries representing them AND beer is included in your ticket price.

I’m just going to let that sink in for a while.

You ready yet?

Yes, at London Craft Beer Festival all of the beer from each the 24 breweries is included in your £35 (+booking fee) ticket price. For that money you can have a ‘small pour’ of every single beer in there, if you wish, as well as 4 ‘big pours’ which amount to 1/3rd pint each… you also get your LCBF glass and a program with information of all of the breweries involved.

This kind of beer festival is based on ones you find in America. They’re not like the ones here where you pay to get in, pay for a glass then pay for all of your beer. You get to try everything if you want, for one price. I think it’s a great concept because for me, a beer festival is all about trying as many different beers as possible.

Amongst the breweries represented will be British household names like Thornbridge and Brewdog, with smaller London breweries such as Howling Hops and Pressure Drop alongside foreign legends like Sierra Nevada from California & Evil Twin from Denmark/Brooklyn.

It’s an exciting line-up this year for sure, especially since the people pouring your beers are from said breweries!

I’m incredibly excited about going to the Sunday Session and hopefully I’ll see you there!

Check out the website for more information on the event, and to buy tickets: http://www.londoncraftbeerfestival.co.uk/

Nate

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Mash Tun, Norwich (Pub review)



The Mash Tun. Such an appropriate name for a craft beer establishment. They could have used “Hop Store” I suppose, but that gives the image of being rather cold.

It’s situated on Charing Cross in Norwich and is in the building that was previously known as The Hog in Armour, a pub that I recall being awful.

Luckily for us, The Mash Tun isn’t. In fact, The Mash Tun is rather good.

When you walk in you’ll notice that the main room is incredibly long and narrow, and right in front of you is a large board displaying the names of breweries (Weird Beard was spelt wrong), the beers, ABV and prices. Oddly though, only the keg prices are listed. Not cask.

You glance to the bar on the right and you’ll notice the unique keg taps which have a chamber above it, showing you the colour of the beer as well as beer menus on tables which give you a brief description of the beer. This can be incredibly helpful for customers in deciding what to drink based on their preference BUT it does have a big disadvantage in that it kind of limits interaction between the customer and the staff. You’ll also notice the HOP INFUSER which is a hollow keg font which you can fill with hops, fruit or whatever else you want to infuse the beer with to give it a crazy twist. On my visit it was Redwell Wheat w/ Oranges, Lemons & Blueberries which made it deliciously tart and even fruitier.

15 kegs and a few casks you'll find and the beer selection was great… a load of Redwell, 3 Weird Beard (Hit the Lights, Fade to Black & Black Perle), Bruges Zot Dubbel, Bavo Pils and quite a few more on keg, with Blue Monkey BG Sips & Oakham Green Devil on cask.

The prices are quite good considering there’s a lot you can’t get elsewhere in Norwich. I certainly wasn’t complaining at £4.90 for a pint of Weird Beard Hit The Lights, anyway!

You’ve also got food which is a pop up called “Madder Mash Kitchen” that does various small plates that look delicious, but I’ve not tried yet.

At the moment, only the main bar floorspace is open but there is going to be another raised seating area which is great as there’s not much space at the moment so I can imagine it’ll be horrible when busy. There’s also going to be a Gin Palace upstairs, which will apparently have 150 different varieties of gin!

All in all, it’s a very cool bar with an awesome beer selection and definitely one that I plan on visiting whenever I can!

Nate

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Georgian Townhouse, Norwich (Bar review)



The Georgian Townhouse is an iconic building, right at the top of Unthank Road in Norwich. It was previously a rather upmarket hotel, paired with RARE Steakhouse but closed maybe last year, I don’t know, I wasn’t really paying attention.

Now it has been refurbished and reopened, not as a hotel but as a Restaurant/Craft Beer Bar, with private function rooms.

I was first alerted to it on Twitter a couple of months ago, before it opened. They tweeted me a photo of Budvar Dark, saying they’ll have it on tap when they open and I remember thinking “oh, that’s nice”, not quite expecting the rest of the beer list, but more on that later!

Walking into the car park, you get a real sense of scale when you look at the big, beautiful building. It really is a sight to behold. Although there are a few doors at the front, you have to walk to the furthest right to get in. You’re greeted by a host who asks if you’re dining, in which case they’ll show you to your seat, otherwise you’re left to your own devices.

It’s an incredibly big and bright building and you’ll not be stuck for a place to sit as there are a hell load of tables and chairs everywhere. It’s beautifully and comfortably furnished meaning you’ll not want to leave!

You walk out into the garden and wow. It’s a garden of epic proportions! There are standard picnic benches that you’ll see in most beer gardens, along with some more comfortable and bigger tables at the edges, which look like they can easily be covered in the winter. Over to the left there are rather nice looking beanbags that you can hang out on, and plenty of space for the kids to run around. Not only that, there’s a professional ping pong table to keep you entertained – I think this is a great idea!

Anyway, I said I’d talk about the beer…

On the keg front, it can rival any pub in Norwich. There is no Guinness… instead you get Camden Ink, if you want a creamy stout (this is almost always what I choose) along with Camden Pale for something lighter. Local heroes Redwell also appear, but I forget which beer was on at the time. From up north you’ve got Magic Rock High Wire & Thornbridge Jaipur, from the Czech Republic you have Budvar Dark and from the USA you can get some Lagunitas IPA! There are also a few cask pumps on which I noticed Adnams & Grain Brewery, which definitely is a good option!

While the selection is amazing right now, I really do hope they change some things around from time to time to mix it up!

If beer isn’t your thing, they also have an extensive wine list and an even more extensive gin list!

The food menu looks great too – they do BBQs as well as small plates and a more A La Carte menu and I can’t wait to try it sometime!

As for the beer prices, they’ll rival anywhere in Norwich when it comes to craft keg. I only had a pint of Camden Ink, which was a respectable £4.20 where it’s been seen elsewhere locally for quite a bit more.

All in all, I think this has potential to be one of my favourite places to drink in Norwich. Great beer selection, atmosphere and an amazing garden, something you don’t find too often in ‘craft’ establishments.

Well worth a visit if you’re in the area, especially given it’s so close to the city centre!

Nate

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The New Entertainer, Gorleston (Pub Review)



As I’m walking down pier plain in Gorleston, a couple of blocks over from the docks, on a warm Sunday evening that’s slowly getting dimmer I see the pub that I’ve been meaning to check out for a while. Emily was out cruising with her friends, like she does every Sunday night, so I thought it’d be my perfect opportunity.

I see the pub on the corner and I stop for a moment. It doesn’t look like the kind of pub I’d want to go in. It’s on a street corner and it looks beaten up, and it looks like entering will get me beaten up.

I slowly pluck up the courage to walk closer to the pub and circumvent the building to find the entrance. There is a sign pointing to the right side of the building, but there are about 5 doors. Of course, it had to be the last one.

I push the door that feels like it’s going to fall off of its hinges and walk through the tiny corridor and walk in.

It’s a weirdly narrow pub, very traditional looking, with seating around the edges, a massive mirror above the fireplace, a pool table at one end and a bar adorned with several hand pumps and keg taps.

Right off the bat I’d suggest holding your nose in this pub. As soon as I walked in I could smell the stench of stale smoke. The pub obviously hadn’t been re-carpeted or anything since god knows when. I’m a smoker, but it was vile. I almost left due to the smell, but I was meeting a friend so I couldn’t.

I walk up to the bar and notice that there are 6 real ales on hand pump including many of the usual suspects you’ll see in Norfolk, from the big breweries – Greene King IPA (the house beer, naturally), Adnams Bitter & Woodforde’s Wherry, along with the very local Lacons Pale Ale and Hop Back Summer Lightning.

I went for Dark Star The Art of Darkness, a beer I have loved since it was first released and a beer I will always buy if I see it on cask. It’s deliciously confusing as it has all of the hops you’d expect in a pale ale, but it’s black and carries the body of a beer way above 3.5%.

There wasn’t anything to speak of on the keg taps – just your usual suspects like Foster’s, but they did have Stella Artois Black which is probably the fanciest keg beer you’ll see in that part of the county.

The bottles were fairly standard too, but on the way out I noticed they were selling bottles of Greene King Light Ale. I’ve no idea what it’s all about as I can’t seem to find much information about it, but I may try it next time.

I took a seat in an empty corner and studied my surroundings. There were a group of very drunk women attempting to play pool, another solitary chap reading the paper behind me and your obligatory locals sitting at the bar chatting to the girl behind the bar.

Just looking around, it is a very nice pub. The beers were well kept too (I had a half of Lacons Pale Ale after, and it was also delicious), completely bright and at the perfect temperature.

After a while sitting there, chatting to my buddy, I started to feel more comfortable. The smell didn’t go away, but I started to realise that I wasn’t going to get any shit from being in what looks like a very tight local pub, as I had first imagined.

It’s a great pub for what it is, a street corner boozer, and if I can put up with the smell I may return there.

Nate

This is the start of my discovery of Gorleston pubs. Since I spend a lot of time there because it’s where Emily lives, I figure I may as well report on the local watering holes.