Friday, 28 October 2016

Prague 2016 - Day 3.5 - Back to Prague

After a sleep in our private cabin on the train, we finally arrived back in Prague; thankfully not having a similar situation as we did in Germany where we woke up after our destination.

It was a Tuesday evening so of course we decided to continue drinking because what else even is there to do?

We decided to head to the one place that everyone bangs on about... Zly Casy which was quite a way away. It's a massive 45 tap craft beer bar spread over 3 floors and really does have something for everyone.

The first thing I noticed when I went in was that they had Magic Rock Rapture on tap but that's not what I was there for...

The one beer I REALLY wanted was a beer I had last time I was in Prague Matuska Raptor IPA and goddamn, I found it and it was glorious. Definitely a rival to any UK or US brewed American IPA. Juicy as fuck. I honestly could not tell you what Sammie had as I clearly didn't check into it on Untappd.

We then decided to check out the other two bars below... the middle one was full and looked more like it was table service focused but the bottom one allowed us to perch at the bar and take in our surroundings. It was brilliant, with empty beer bottles lining the shelves and walls including basically every Brewdog bottle that had ever existed.

I had Uneticke Pivo 12 Degree, a beer that people had told me about and it was a delicious, typically Czech, grassy lager with a bit of fruitiness. Sammie obviously had to find an Imperial Stout which was from FALK:ON Brewery; it was dark, chocolatey, full of coffee and red berries. Loved it.

It was getting quite late and Sammie was drunk/tired but I was pretty amped still so I ambled along for another couple of Staropramens at Pivnice U Mejly which I'd fallen in love with over the course of the week before heading to the hotel for some much needed rest.


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Prague 2016 Day 3 - Budvar Brewery & Ceske Budejovice

Awake slightly later than planned, with a slight hangover we eventually made it to the 9:30am train to Ceske Budjovice. Train tickets are cheap in the Czech Republic - we each bought an unlimited all day ticket on the entire Czech rail network which cost around £18 each.

Trains in CZ are clean, spacious and efficient; in fact I believe we got to Ceske Budjovice early.

We arrived and Google Maps wasn't being much help with public transport so we just decided to take the half hour walk to the brewery on the outskirts of the city.

We arrived and met Jan who has been working for the brewery for 42 years; he used to work in the lab but he's retired now and just does tours, which seems like a nice job. Now, a little bit of disclosure here - We didn't pay for our tour; we got a private tour for blogging purposes after I started chatting to the Budvar UK twitter account.

The scale of the Budvar Brewery was incredible and I've never really seen anything like it aside from maybe Pilsner Urquell last year. Jan explained the history of the brewery, showed us the massive maturation tanks, the fermenters, the brewhouse and the bottling plant.

Some of my favourite facts from the tour:

  • The water used for brewing is drawn from wells that are deep below the brewery
  • The water is some of the softest in the world
  • The CO2 given off during fermentation is used to carbonate the bottles of beer
My favourite part of the tour was being given unfiltered, unpasteurised Budvar directly from the maturation tanks. We each ended up having 4 glasses (well, plastic cups) which is 3 more than on a regular tour. Jan said "You've got two hands, and therefore you need two beers" and who was I to refuse.

After the tour we were led to the restaurant where they'd booked us a table. I started by drinking the Krausened Lager which is unfiltered and so fresh, crisp, slightly creamy and just delicious whilst Sammie went for the Tmavy because as mentioned before, she's a dark beer fiend. We then ordered some food - I went for a classic bavarian (sorry) dish of roast pork, cabbage, potato dumplings and cabbage which was delicious, before having another couple of beers - The Classic and the Original. We were going to have another beer but decided to head off.

On a hot day it was nice to wander down the street with brewery fresh cans of Budvar. We had a look in a shopping mall which was a bit odd. It was like it was built in the communist era, still functional yet still not complete.

We then found our way through the beautiful pastel buildings to Minipivovar Krajinska 27 where we settled down for a bit. I just wanted the 12 Degree Lager which was mighty refreshing whilst Sammie decided on the tasting flight of 6 beers. I've got to say, I wish I would have gone for a pint of their IPA as it was the most delicious on the board. We bought two bottles of the 27 Degree Special Doppelbock to take home and went on our way.

We wandered through the streets and eventually stopped at another little Budvar place for a couple more pints of Krausened Lager before getting the train back to Prague for more shenanigans...

Whilst we're on the subject, Budvar has just launched a new website called Czech Stories which is Budvar's guide to the Czech Republic which is full of wonderful stories and videos:


Disclaimer: Budvar UK invited me to the brewery for a tour and paid for our lunch and beers. I can guarantee that freebies did not affect my opinion because I have enjoyed drinking Budvar for years. The rest of the trip was paid for by Sammie and simultaneously this does not affect my opinion of her.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Prague 2016 - Day One & Two

After I visited Prague last year, I vowed that I would visit every single year and thus far I've stuck true to my word.

Sammie had decided to buy us a holiday to Prague for my birthday, which was nice of her, so it was last week we set off.

We had a fairly late flight on Monday, meaning that we didn't land in Prague until 10:30pm, but we made sure to get to the airport with enough time to have a couple of pints of Brooklyn Lager. When we landed we were picked up by our taxi - the driver being surprised that I knew the Czech for Good Evening - and dropped at our hotel.

After check in, we popped to tesco to grab some snacks and some beers before heading out to a bar. I had a bottle of Primator India Pale Ale which having loved their Weizen, was also delicious, whilst Sammie had a bottle of Herold Black Lager, which was nice and roasty.

We then headed to Hells Bells, a metal bar on Na Belide in Smichov, which is hidden below ground in a crypt. It was a typically ideal dirty dive bar, metal memorabilia everywhere, including a giant Eddie flag on the ceiling. The beer selection was made up of four Staropramen beers and their own Hells Bells 14 Degree IPA made by local brewery Bad Flash. We started with a pint of Staropramen 11 Degree Lager which is much much much nicer than the stuff we get over here, because it's generally a better beer and it's only brewed two blocks away! We hadn't noticed their own beer until that point so we decided to go for that next - fresh, citrusy hops, served in their own branded straight pint glass. It was delicious. We wanted another here but the angry metal man behind the bar evidently just wanted to head home so we left. We saw that Pivnice U Mejly across the road was opened, so we stopped and had another few pints of Staropramen 11 degree - the atmosphere here was brilliant. Local barflies, propping up against the bar, all chatting, smoking, drinking beer and doing shots of Jagerneister, the man behind the bar also partaking.

We then headed back to the hotel for a couple of beers and called it a night.

The next morning, we got up, had a bite to eat and then headed to the zoo, getting lost along the way. The zoo involved animals, hotdogs (presumably not made from zoo animals) and a few pints of Kozel 11 Degree which again, is better than the shit we get in the U.K.

After the zoo we headed to Prague Beer Museum on Dlouha which I've head good things about, but we weren't fans. 30 beers on draught seems good, but the beer tasted old and dusty, as if the lines hadn't been cleaned properly. I had a Vysoky Chlumek Flying Cloud IPA which tasted like an old American import - sweet, malty and devoid of hops. Sammie had Kocour Cherry Lager which was alright but sweet and left a weird film in the mouth.

Next stop was the fairly new Craft House which is right in the town centre. Very clean, bright and open space with 25 draught beers and a nice Czech bottle selection. Seats were comfortable, and there was a mixed clientele. I had Permon Easy Hopper Citra which was an in your face yet subtle session IPA with lashings of tropical fruits whilst Sammie had Fabrica RARA Smocze Oczy, a juicy American Pale Ale at 5.2%.

Next we moved into a favourite of mine, Beer Geek Bar, which Sammie was really impressed with. We love the way they have the changing beers on LCD displays above the bar, so they can change at any moment. I really wanted some Matuska Raptor, but there was none so I settled for the juice monster that is Matuska Apollo Galaxy; Galaxy is one of my favourite hops and its peachiness did not disappoint. Sammie had a Ginger Lager by Faltus which I didn't mind for a ginger beer as it wasn't burning my throat. We had another in here... mine was Raven Farmhand Saison which contained all of the funk you'd want from a saison with lashings of mango and blood orange whilst Sammie settled for Podlesi Podlesky Mikes 13 a chocolatey black lager.

Our next stop was another craft beer bar, Illegal Beer, where we had to walk down a street lined with the kind of strip clubs that mug off tourists, in order to get there. Sammie had Raven White IPA which she ended up spilling across the table with her wild drunken hand gestures as she explained something - it was a very solid White IPA and I wish I could have found it again that trip. I had Lobec IPA which was nice but very subtle.

We then headed back to Andel and went to Bernard Pub, another of my favourites in Prague. Bernard make so many awesome lagers. I started with the Unfiltered 10 Degree which was very light and I sunk it within around 5 minutes whilst Sammie slowly drank her Amber Lager; I don't usually like Amber beers but this was something I could get on with. I then moved on to the 12 Degree Lager which is one of the finest lagers in all the land, and I believe I had another one.

After this, Sammie decided to head back to the hotel whilst I tried to get some Tankovna Urquell but to no avail as most places were closing, so I popped into U Buldoka for a regular Pilsner Urquell on tap, which was nice and satisfying. U Buldoka was a very nice bar, a nice atmosphere and buzz going on, friendly staff, football memorabilia and a wall full of football scarves. I sunk my pint then figured I'd have a quick one in Pivnice U Mejly again before heading back to the hotel to join Sammie for some bottles and cans.

We went to bed, later than we intended to for the next day was an early train to Budvar...

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Nate Dawg in Berlin: Day One

About a month ago I sporadically decided to book a quick solo break in Berlin. It's somewhere I've always wanted to go so I said "fuck it" and did it.

I had an early flight on Wednesday morning which was delayed by about an hour; not ideal when you've only got 48 hours. Finally landed and was in need of a beer so thankfully there was an Augustiner biergarten just outside the terminal! That first pint of Augustiner Helles was gone in no time at all so it was time to be on my way.

I was going down to Brauhaus Lemke to meet a friend. I finally got there no thanks to a delayed train, and was interested to see that it was in a railway arch. It wasn't rustic and industrial like a Bermonsey arch, it was clean and nice. Only the onsite brewed Lemke beers are available here so I decided to check out the 030 Pale an American style pale ale, that was loaded with juicy, grassy hops. The Hopfenweisse came next and it was everything I want in the style... those yeasty esters with juicy hops whispering over them. I decided, quite sensibly, to finish my visit with a massive Imperial IPA; certainly not in the top DIPAs I've had but fairly respectable nonetheless.

We then popped into Marcusbrau, a tiny brewpub that also appeared to sell Asian influenced food although I didn't look at a menu. The small brewkit proudly sits behind the bar alongside two 5bbl conical fermenters, whereas to the left is a growler filling machine that they use to fill massive 1L swingtop bottles. The Unfiltered Pils was pleasant although maybe a tad yeastier than I like.

David and I departed to check into our respective hotels, vowing to meet up later but that didn't happen as I think I tried to go meet him at the wrong side of Alexanderplatz station.

Along the short walk back to the hotel, I decided to pop into Hofbrauhaus as we didn't make it to the one in Munich back in February. It was an absolutely massive, stereotypical German beer hall like you see on T.V. and it wasn't that busy. I decided to sit outside so I could smoke reasonably priced cigarettes since the weather was nice. I obviously had to go for an entire litre of their delicious Helles, because #YOLO and it was every bit as nice as I remember drinking in the English Gardens in Munich.

I did the boring yet necessary thing of checking into my hotel next, a clean and simple Ibis Budget that only cost me £30 for a night. Next I popped to Kaisers supermarket to check out the beer and snack selection as I knew that once I got back to the hotel later in the evening, I'd fancy a beer.

After a can of something in the hotel, I wandered down to Kaschk which is the epitome of hipster. Even if you've spent as much time around Shoreditch as I have, you've not seen hipster. It opens at 8am to serve coffee and is open until 2am for beers. They've got 15 draught lines, most of which were To Ol beers from Denmark as they appeared to be having a tap takeover at the time. I wasn't in Germany to drink Danish beers, however, so I opted for a half litre of Brlo Pale which was as good as, if not better than, any American Pale Ale I've had in this country. I could have drunk this all day but I figured it was time to move on.

My next stop was Alexanderplatz where I was meant to meet David again, but obviously that didn't happen so I just decided to have a wander and stumbled upon the Berlin Street Theatre Festival which was lively and interactive (although obviously I didn't get involved). There were loads of food and beers stalls around though so I figured it would be rude not to indulge in a large plate of Currywurst and a half litre of Berliner Pilsner which was crisp and refreshing on a hot day.

Moving on, back to the more craft side of Berlin, I went up to Hopfenreich which is a dive bar looking craft beer bar. It was absolutely empty when I went in, so I managed to have a nice chat with the bartender in English (after I ordered in German). I had the Bierfabrik Berlin Wedding Pale Ale which again was fresh, juicy and delicious. The Red Oat Ale by Spent Brewers Collective was interestingly deep, chewy caramel with a hefty wedge of orange and a lovely thick body. My last beer was Backbone Splitter, an IPA from Hanscraft Brewery and it was definitely the best IPA I'd had over my time in Berlin.

It was at this point when I got talking to an American guy called Scott who was on a solo pub crawl in Berlin whilst his wife was with their friends that they were staying with. We decided we'd go have a wander together and get a couple of beers and see the sights. We wandered through a large chunk of Berlin from Hopfenreich, seeing the blend of new and old architecture as well as some parts of the wall. We stopped in a bar and had a beer, then figured we'd pop into the supermarket and grab a beer for the road which happened to be Stone Berlin Arrogant Bastard Ale, a large 500ml can and probably the most expensive beer you'll find in any German supermarket! Arrogant Bastard is a beer I know well, and by god it was tasting fresh. Loved it. We then stopped for a kebab which was the best kebab I have ever had in my life.

We wandered some more and departed. It's one thing I love about travelling; meeting new people. It's great.

After that I went back to Alexanderplatz and popped in a couple of random places, had a couple street beers at the street theatre festival then I decided to do the predictable thing and visit Augustiner because Augustiner is clearly the best German brewery and you can disagree. I took a perch outside and admired the old architecture whilst waiting to have my order taken. Here I decided it was a wise idea to do my usual ordering of a large, but forgetting it's Bavarian style I ended up with a litre of delicious Helles. And that wasn't enough so I ordered another half litre. Then another half litre.

And I somehow made it back to my hotel, watched some German TV, ate some paprika crisps, had a couple of beers and passed out!

I'd fallen in love with Berlin already at this point, and couldn't wait to wake up with an inevitable hangover for the next day...

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

A Crawl Around Colchester

Since Sammie is going to be doing a course at the University of Essex from October, we decided to pop down to Colchester on Saturday so that she could ask a few questions and figured it'd be rude not to check out the drinking establishments of the town whilst we were there.

After we'd done at the university, we got the bus back into the city centre and stopped at The Castle Inn which is one of those historic pubs that attract tourists. Touristy pubs generally aren't that great, and don't care about the beer in my experience so I feared the worst, but my pint of Adnams Ghost Ship was tasting very fresh and delicious, and Sammie seemed to enjoy her Broadside. The pub itself wasn't particularly busy, but there were a few people mostly drinking lager and cider. It had one of those pub scratchcard machines that I didn't realise still exist.

Next up was Queen Street Brewhouse which is attached to the local Pitfield brewery. As I walked through the door, the barman looked over and I heard him say "oh shit" so I was thinking "Erm... what the fuck?" but we proceeded to the bar and chatted to him, when I finally realised that I do know Alex from the last time I was in Colchester - he'd previously been working at The Vic (which I'll get to later) and recalled a story of me being completely smashed, ordering a pint of Dark Star APA and spilling it all over myself. Sounds about right! Queen Street Brewhouse is a long, narrow, wooden clad pub with 8 keg lines pouring beers from all over Europe, as well as cask lines from local breweries and the wonderful Green Jack in Lowestoft. I had a half of kegged Northern Monk Neapolitan Pale which tasted remarkably like Neapolitan ice cream; incredible scenes. Sammie had a half of a local stout which was alright too. One thing that astounded me was how cheap Delirium was at £6 a pint!

We were warned that The Odd One Out is rather odd and that it's a very old fashioned pub, and that's exactly what it was. The pub is split into two rooms and when you first walk in the door, you see a bunch of keg taps sitting on the bar, all branded founts, no craft but instead, the lesser spotted Oranjeboom. You go through the arch to the left into the main bar to find a bank of four or five hand pumps adorning the bar, prices proudly displayed to the penny. A very reasonable price of £3.24 was paid for two halves of Billericay Mayflower Gold and that's when we discovered how old fashioned the pub really was; the stern faced lady behind the bar had finished pouring one of our halves into a stemmed glass and Sammie passed it to me, but the lady would not allow it "No, that's for you because it's a girly glass" she said in an almost threatening manner, before finishing pouring my nonic half and grunting "that's a slightly more manly glass, hmph". We sat down with our drinks and felt uncomfortable, too much so to even half a conversation out of fear that the stern lady would tell us to be quiet. Needless to say, we swiftly finished our beers and headed off.

Our next stop absolutely had to be The Fat Cat because the original in Norwich is our local and we were dying to see whether it looks exactly the same as all of the Norwich ones, but much to our surprise, it didn't! It was bright and fresh and new. There were 5 or 6 handpumps adorning the bar but they were out of  use, with all of the ales being served from gravity in the back room. There were a few keg beers and given how I was very hot, I just wanted a nice glass of Pilsner Urquell. The cask selection was predictably Fat Cat Brewery, Adnams and Crouch Vale, so rather uninspiring really.

Popped across the road to Alehouse next; a large pub with football on TV and a billards table. Again, several hand pumps on the bar but all of the beers were actually served from gravity. I had a Maldon Endeavour, and the lady serving us warned that it was brown which struck me as odd because all of the beers on offer were brown. It was a nice brown beer, according to Untappd. Sammie had Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde, which was what it was.

The New Inn came next with it's charming WWII bomb sign hanging off the building. We walked in to what I imagine were fairly new owners because we kept getting disturbed by someone doing DIY in the pub, putting a curtain rail up. Had a very decent half of Fuzzy Duck Muddy Duck, a stout, and watched the football whilst having the occasional laugh about the noise with the lady behind the bar.

Not on our list was The Fox and Fiddler but we just thought we'd pop in since we were passing; we sat at the bar and I had a very decent Mighty Oak Ace, a sorachi ace hopped best bitter though the pub itself was rather unremarkable.

Right next door to that, a sign peaked my curiosity; that sign belonged to a Wetherspoons pub called The Playhouse appropriately because it's an old theatre. Said sign was advertising itself as a craft beer bottle shop so we popped in. The bottle selection was the same as every spoons pretty much, but they had a dedicated 5 tap "craft" T bar sporting Shipyard, Devil's Backbone, Adnams Mosaic, Adnams DHL and Thwaites 13 Guns - the latter I was most surprised at - they also had Wetherspoons craft bottle shop branded 4 bottle carriers. I decided to go for a very reasonable pint of Thwaites 13 Guns (even though I got sick of it after drinking an entire case of 24 that I won, to myself within a week the other month) whilst Sammie had the latest Yeastie Boys JDW special, Nerdherder which was pretty damn good. The pub itself certainly is beautiful, with all of the original theatre fixtures and fittings and an island bar. It might just be my favourite Spoons I've ever been to (and I've been to a lot).

We discovered The Purple Dog next, which I wasn't a fan of and looking at the ales on offer, all of which I'd had, curiosity got the better of me and I made poor judgement in a kegged Caledonian Coast to Coast, which I assume was meant to be named for travelling from the east to the west of the USA but was more like Aberdeen to Prestatyn if it were a beer. Horrible.

Three Wise Monkeys came next, which was definitely on my hitlist. It's a massive space with tables dotted around everywhere and seemingly very few chairs. Standard keg taps on the back wall affair, with handpumps on the bar. I had Kona Longboard Lager, which I've been a far of for quite a while, whilst Sammie went for my mate Jack's Hellhound Black Shuck which was tasting brilliant as always.

We popped into The Marquis next and just had a half of Guinness because it just seemed like a dreadful place. Sammie insisted on popping in considering she used to drink there when she used to have to visit Colchester for work.

The last stop was the only pub in Colchester I've ever been to, despite not remembering the first time, The Victoria Inn which had a beer festival on. I wish I wasn't a little bit tipsy this time too as I would have absolutely loved to have stayed for a few more but alas, it had been a long day (on top of a hangover) so I just had a couple that I didn't even log on Untappd. The Vic is a truly outstanding pub, and I'll definitely go back, although maybe the first stop next time...

All in, Colchester pubs are pretty good. Managed to drink quite a few decent beers that we don't see frequently in Norwich so I can't complain! Definitely worth it for a pub crawl.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Places We Drank in Nuremberg

Christ Almighty, this post is way overdue. It's 3 months since we were in Nuremberg. I tried writing a blog that incorporated more of the art galleries, the castle and various things we saw but I realised it would have sucked; it would have been a long, drawn out babbling about things the readers of a beer blog don't really care much for (generally speaking).

You guys want to know about the beer, and maybe the general feel of the city.

Nuremberg is a beautiful, peaceful, friendly city. The large medieval castle, with it's high towers stare down in majesty over the city; buildings, pastel in colour, all have their own unique and outspoken charm, despite all being pretty similar with their 3 million windows a piece; the large front of the train station in the city centre, with its big stone face is a beautiful, big bastard. It feels homely. If I could, I'd make it my home.

We ate and drank a lot in Nuremberg. Mostly drank, if I'm honest. I just wanted to document for you the bars we went to.

Hausbrauerei Altstadthof: Lunch on the Wednesday afternoon. As the name suggests, this place has its own brewery deep in the caves underneath the city. They only sell beers that they brew there, on draught anyway. There's also a bottle shop around the back in which we found Brewdog, Tiny Rebel and erm, Greene King. The Helles was unfiltered, crisp and fresh and went well with the large plate of Bratwurst and Potato Salad. Sammie had their Schwarzbier which was even better.

Next up was Barfüßer which yet again had its own brewery, proudly sitting in the middle of the large bar. This is what you imagine a German bierhaus to be like, long tables, open and wide. Servers bustling around. Again I went for the Helles, and I wish I didn't because it was far too sweet unlike Sammie's Schwarzbier (can you see a theme yet?). We came back here later in the week to eat; I went for pork shoulder which came with a potato dumpling and I wasn't impressed whereas Sammie went for Schnitzel with potato salad, which made her a little ill as it turned out to be probable veal, which she can't eat.

A couple of galleries came next, including one which had an installation that was literally just an air bed up against a wall. Not art.

We wandered for ages trying to find somewhere that was on our hitlist, because we couldn't be bothered to use google maps. Yes we got lost walking the wrong direction of the castle, but as a result we saw lots more of the city!

We found ourselves at an Augustiner bar, Zur Schranke which was much like walking into your nan's living room. Dark, floral carpets and curtains. Gingham tablecloths. We were seated and the young lady serving us didn't seem too happy to find that we were British. When asking about the beers, she bellowed "LIGHT OR DARK?" so I went for a half litre of Augustiner Helles which I just cannot get enough of whilst Sammie lucked out on Augustiner Maximator, the 8.5% beast which was priced at exactly the same as the Helles. We swiftly finished our beers and left as we felt a little uncomfortable.

Next we found Hutt'n which I'd heard really good things about. To my delight we discovered that every night from 6:30pm they tap a barrel of their house brewed Marzen on the bar; now, I'm not the biggest fan of Marzen but I just had to try it and was pleasantly surprised; dark with chewy caramel notes and grassy German hops. I then had their Helles, which again I regretted as nothing will ever be as good as Augustiner. I believe Sammie had the Marzen then bought a bottle of a barrel aged rauchbier.

On the way back to the station it was almost impossible to find any bars that would happily let us pop in just for a drink as presumably they want people to eat because of profit margins but we did pop into Bratwursthausle where I went for a pint of Tucher Helles Weisse, which was drinkable.

Hunger struck and because we'd had our fill of bratwurst for the day, we decided to go to McDonalds where we had a double McChicken sandwich which was wonderful!

Before heading back to the hotel we decided to do something decidedly un-tourist-like and pop into a heavy metal bar that we had walked past earlier in the day. It was called Brown Sugar and quickly became one of our favourite bars of the week. Again, the draught choices were: Light Lager, Dark Lager, Wheat Beer (Erdinger) and Guinness, which looked like it was not being poured through nitrogen which is odd. I was curious of it but not that curious so I stuck with the light lager and Sammie had the dark. I believe both of which were from Schwabenbrau.

Brown Sugar itself was absolutely brilliant; great surroundings, covered with memorabilia, and the people who were drinking there were EXACTLY the same as you'd find in a similar bar in the UK.

I then decided or order a pint of Erdinger because Erdinger at €3 a pint, what?! but that plan was foiled when the lovely lady behind the bar did something I wasn't expecting - she told me not to drink it and that I should drink what the locals drink, a bottle of Guttman Weisse (at which point she warned that it was 20 cents more expensive, though) so I did and oh my, it has become my favourite Weissbier. It was simply beautiful.

The rest of the holiday was largely visiting the same bars as we had before, which featured more time in LandbierparadiesBarfüßer, and obviously Brown Sugar.

Nuremberg is such a beautiful city, and I'd highly recommend a visit.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Nuremberg Day 2: A Munich Interlude

Sorry this has taken me a while but I got distracted.

Up bright and early on the Tuesday, Sammie and I decided to head to Munich for the day. Trains in Germany are ridiculously cheap, if you get the regional ones, but they do also take forever. The Bayern Ticket we got entitles you to unlimited travel within Bavaria and Franconia for one day for €23, and you can add other people on for an extra €5, which is a bargain, although the regional train means it stops at every single stop and thus taking around 3 hours.

We got to Munich, and the weather wasn't very pleasant. Rain. Ugh. Our main target for pre-beer wanders was The English Gardens so we headed that way. Sammie, I may have mentioned, is really into art so we went to Haus Der Kunst (literally House of Art) which backs onto the English Gardens. We paid about €12 each to get into an exhibition of an artist whose name I forget, but this guy creates scale size dioramas and models, then shoots with a camera to make them look life sized. It was pretty cool but the best part was actually the free installation by French artiste Laure Prouvost, entitled "We would be floating away from the dirty past" which featured sculpture, video, text and every kind of art you could imagine. The whole idea was about inviting you in, being your friend, showing you some love. It was about how she would treat you if it was her museum. She'd give you raspberries and make you a cup of tea. I'm not usually encapsulated by art, but this was something special.

We then decided to take a wander through the rainy English Gardens where the surfers were out in full force on the artificial wave, in spite of the weather. We got to the Chinese Tower, which was beautiful despite the rain and ordered a half liter of Hofbrau Helles whilst admiring the scenery and deciding that it would be much more beautiful in the summer. The Helles was crisp and refreshing, and only €4, which if it was somewhere in England like the equivalent of Hyde Park it'd probably be about £6.

We then hopped on the tram to go to the one place that I really needed to go in Munich - (Schneider) Weisses Brauhaus. That was the dream, being a massive van of Hefeweizens. I was surprised at how easily we were able to find a seat considering it seemed like a busy day, and as it happens we were between two groups of English people, both very different groups. On one side was a couple of respectable chaps who looked like they were over on a business trip, but then there were the dreaded scousers drinking litres of lager. I knew we'd have to bump into wankers like that. They kept singing and being loud so they eventually got kicked out, much to our gratitude.

We ordered our beers - We both started with one of my all time favourites, a half litre of Tap 5 Mein Hopfenweisse, a strong hefeweizen that's been hopped to fuck. Holy shit, the freshness, the drinkability despite the ABV! I could have easily drunk this all day but there were more beers to be drunk so we decided to have one more, mine was a Unser Original and Sammie being the dark and strong beer fiend that she is, obviously went for Aventinus.

Moving on, the next pub on our hit list was Augustiner Am Platz which was quite a bit busier than Weisses and after sneakily manoeuvring the place we found a seat. First beer we ordered was Augustiner Edelstoff, a 5.6% Export Helles, and I dare say that it was ridiculously refreshing after a couple of yeast-heavy weissbiers. At this point, while waiting for my native friend Thomas, we started talking to Tim and Jen, an American couple who were sitting beside us. We got talking because I'm a nosy fucker and noticed him checking into a beer on Untappd so after hearing they were speaking English, we started chatting and exchanged Untappd usernames. We chatted beers, whilst drinking yet more beers. I went for the standard Augustiner Helles next, which is a far cry from a standard lager and I preferred this to the Edelstoff as it wasn't quite as sweet. Sammie had the Dunkel, which was too sweet for me but she loved it. I was not pacing myself so managed to sneak in another half litre of Helles before Thomas arrived. (NB. Untappd says that I actually had a pint of Dunkel too, which I don't actually remember).
We bade Jen and Tim farewell and wandered off with Thomas to get food.

Due to having not eaten yet, I was quite drunk and therefore cannot remember the name of the pub we went to next, or what I drunk but I can tell you that I had the most delicious roast pork with dumplings that I have ever eaten in my life, after Thomas told me I wasn't allowed to order the bratwurst as you only order it before lunch, and I drank a lager. He was shocked at the fact that in the UK (or where I'm from at least) you can't walk down the road drinking a beer for fear of getting fined.

We had time for one last stop before the train, and it was a weird, posh, basement hotel bar that I think was attached to the train station or at least very near. I'm sure I had a Konig Ludwig Weissbier here.

A stumble to the train station to grab some currywurst (that I spilled down myself on the train) and a beer and we embarked on our journey back to Nuremberg.

And that's where things went wrong. Towards the end of our journey, we both fell asleep and woke up in the town just past Munich. We were in a raging fucking panic but that was all sorted because it was going back to Nuremberg to stay for the night. THANK FUCK FOR THAT!

We got back to Nuremberg and got safely back to our hotel for a rather good, but drunken night's sleep...


Thursday, 21 April 2016

Beer Review - St Peters Black IPA

It's been a while since I've done a proper review, mostly because I've been a dreadful person and haven't written about anything that I've automatically been sent within the last probably year-ish but this one I couldn't not review and that's mostly because the CEO of St Peter's Brewery hooked me up with samples as he's a lovely chap.

It was just a chance meeting with Steve Magnall, formerly of G****e K**g and the wonderful Thwaites Brewery, when my good friend Matt Curtis was on a whirlwind trip to Norwich in aid of City of Ale. It was in St Andrews Brewhouse, along with International Man of Triangles Kev Tweedy, my Beer Woman of the year Belinda Jennings and Francis who does PR for City of Ale, that I bumped into Steve.

We got chatting, and he mentioned they'd decided to brew a Black IPA, which was going into 330ml bottles (as it is the preferred measure these days) to which I cheekily mentioned that I am one of them beer bloggers again now and totally independent WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE, so we exchanged business cards (he gave me his business card as I never bothered to order any. I should) and I promised to email him the next day. He then hooked me up with their marketing lady, Emily who took my address and promised to get some bottles to me.

St Peters I've always found were a criminally underrated brewery. I always remember seeing the medicine style bottles of their beers on supermarket shelves and I remember drinking their beers before I was allowed to, when dad would buy us a few bottles in for Christmas. I then remember drinking their beers in The Fat Cat on cask, and recall Grapefruit being a thing of beauty (suck it modern craft breweries... St Peter's did a grapefruit beer first). For years after that, cask St Peters was few and far between and then it started cropping up again along with key kegs (which are mostly export). The most interesting thing I learned about Peters is the countries in which they sell the most beer too. Three of them, maybe four are unsurprising but the fifth shocked me to my core for the fifth is Mexico. Apparently Mexicans go nuts over their dark beers, because very few of the new craft breweries that have cropped up over there are making stouts and porters. Interesting huh?

Anyway, I'll stop waffling (can you tell I miss writing?) and get down to it... what's the beer like?

Brewery: St Peter's (Suffolk, England)
Beer: Black IPA
ABV: 7% (5.2% on cask I believe)

It pours black as the night with a lovely massive medium brown head; on the nose you're getting spiky citrusy hops before the chocolate and coffee notes kick in along with dark fruits.

Upon tasting, it's mostly those dark fruits you get on the nose like dates and raisins but the coffee kicks in before a sweet fig and citrusy finish. It really hides the 7% well!

Verdict? It's a very bloody good beer, but for me it's not a Black IPA. For me, in a Black IPA, those fruity, citrusy flavours should dominate but they just don't. For all intents and purposes, I'm going to view this beer as an India Stout, or Hopped Up Stout, because that's what it is.

Would I buy? 100 times yes. Especially if I saw it on cask.


Monday, 18 April 2016

Brewdog Norwich - The Dream has Happened

For years and years my beer geek friends and I have dreamt of this day; the day that anarchic Scottish brewery Brewdog open a bar in Norwich. We called for it, we crawled the streets trying to find a suitable venue for them to move into, alas no luck but finally, about 9 months ago we got the news that we were waiting for, the news that Brewdog would open up in the former Hideout/Knowhere nightclub on Queens Street in Norwich.

Friday 15th April, at Midday, Brewdog Norwich is finally opened to the public with craft beer, food and a bottledog shop.

I mean, as if the need for Brewdog Norwich wasn't enough, it has a goddamn shop with around 200 bottles... something the centre of Norwich has been crying out for, for a long time too.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a secret friends and family opening on Wednesday night, by my good friend and Brewdog barman Jay, as well as the EFP/Press Launch on Thursday night.

Walking through the door, it's the same yet different as other Brewdog bars... sure it has the exposed brickwork, but the bar is different. It's clear with no obtrusive (yet beautiful) 3 out founts and instead the 25 taps are on the back wall a la Norwich Taphouse.

The opening tap list comprised of around 15 Brewdog taps with the remaining 10 being dedicated to the likes of that local brewery, Alesmith, Oskar Blues, Mikkeller, Beavertown and Almanac amongst others.

Alesmith on keg in Norwich. WOAH BACK UP A MINUTE. Alesmith beers are not common at the best of times outside of California, let alone within the UK so the Vietnamese Speedway Stout at at 12% was a real treat, drinking well below its ABV with deep, bittersweet coffee and chocolate flavours.

My other guest beer highlight was Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale from Colorado; I've had this in cans plenty of times, and previously also had it on keg but this was probably the freshest I've ever had it, with juicy citrusy hops, well balanced by a light malty backbone; great value too at £4.95 a pint.

Brewdog highlights were Elvis Juice, a grapefruit infused IPA which in my opinion was better than Magic Rock Highwire Grapefruit as it didn't have the bitterness, just all of the juiciness, it was a beer that I've repeatedly gone back for since the first time I had it. Born To Die was another real treat, so so fresh and delicious.

Jet Black  Heart, however, has been my favourite; it's Brewdog's way of saying "fuck you, Diageo", a nitro stout to kick Guinness in the bollocks, it pours jet black as the name suggests, with a creamy, tight tan head. Coffee flavours echo throughout the creaminess with a refreshing finish; something you don't find in stouts often. At 4.7% and with a nice lightness to it, it's a highly drinkable and sessionable beer and I can see myself drinking more of this than any of Brewdog's other core range beers.

Ah, I've not mentioned the food. In many pubs, food is merely a backing singer but in Brewdog Norwich, food is the lead guitarist which stands in line with the aggressive frontman; the Patty Melt is greasy, dirty and delicious with its cheesy, beefy glory, the sharp pickles cutting through. I will eat a thousand of these and die a greasy, delicious death. My only criticism is that there doesn't appear to be a pork or chicken alternative for people like my girlfriend who are allergic to beef. There is a vegetarian haggis
version and there are also chicken wings,which look delicious though.

I've also found the service to be nothing short of amazing, which I'd expect from Brewdog given my experience in their bars. A lot of hard work has gone into training the staff so that they know their shit and are extremely attentive to everyone's needs.

All in all, it's goddamn Brewdog in Norwich. It's the best thing to happen to the Norwich beer scene in quite some time, and I'm looking forward to seeing what events and beer launches they have coming up.

Brewdog Norwich is on Queens Street and is open 12-12 Sunday-Thursday and 12-2am on Friday and Saturday.


P.S. I'm not that good at taking photos. They came accompanied by a press release from Viola at We Are Romans PR.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

The Unmentioned Pubs of Norwich

When talking about pubs in Norwich, the obvious stand out. The Fat Cat & Fat Cat Tap. Reindeer. Plasterers. Taphouse. Mash Tun. but there are so many other pubs in Norwich, either that I've not been to or I don't make a habit of drinking in. On Sunday, Sammie and I went on a bit of a crawl to discover these pubs...

The Rose Tavern, Rupert Street - A pub that I believe Alec and I went into once, about a year ago but drunken memories are hazy. This is a massive pub that's catering to the Sunday lunch crowd, with a nice garden out the back. The usual suspects of beer are on keg along with the rarely sighted Leffe and Hoegaarden. There were also hand pumps sporting not so uncommon real ales including Doom Bar, Woodfordes Wherry, Hopback Summer Lighning and Timothy Taylors Landlord. Of course, I went for Landlord above any of the others and it was extremely well kept. Service was friendly and with a smile, and we agreed we'd come back.

The Mulberry - Based on Unthank Road, The Mulberry is an Adnams tied pub that is seemingly part of a group of several pubs in Norwich. Arriving shortly after midday, it became apparent that it's one of the many "Sunday Brunch" spots that have popped up in Norwich. It seems to only be table service here, so we ordered Bitburger as if we were in Germany again (not that we ordered Bitburger when we were there). I had a great realisation that Bitburger is actually a really good beer and I just hadn't appreciated it before. Although nice, I doubt we'll return.

The Mad Moose - Another pub we'd heard of but never actually been to, and it was alright. It's on a corner that's more like an island, it's massive and has a garden with a rather large metal moose in it. I had Belhaven Intergalactic Dry Hop Lager, which surprised me as I've never been a fan of Belhaven beers - it was fruity and dry like a lager should be.

The Garden House - I used to drink here years ago when it was my brother's local. Moderate sized pub with a pool table, a massive garden but said garden has a serious lack of tables and chairs. I had Kozel, which definitely wasn't the same Kozel as I was drinking in Prague last year.

The Black Horse - I went here years ago as it was one of the only places that sold Hobgoblin on cask and oh how it has changed! It's all new and clean with a good buzz going on, still got the massive garden but an arguably better beer selection which I was surprised at for an Enterprise pub. There was Brooklyn Lager on keg and a good bunch of real ales on. I had Wharfe Bank Blood Orange IPA which was great.

The Alexandra Tavern - A pub I know I've been in many times and it was just the same, with Mediterranean style food and a selection of mostly Chalk Hill Brewery beers. We found a gem in Orkney Northern Light, which was light, hoppy and delicious.

The Belle Vue - Again a popular spot for me from years ago. Matt and I used to go there, hungover on a Sunday morning for one of their famously massive fry ups. I had Newby Wyke Kingston Topaz which was great - Newby Wyke is seriously underrated - but I noticed Guinness Golden Ale on keg, something I didn't know existed.

The Fat Cat - Ah a classic that I used to drink in pretty much every single day a few years ago, but yet another pub that Sammie had not been to. It was busy, as always, with the same usual selection of 30+ beers (they don't really change anymore). I went for the legendary Oakham Green Devil.

The Lord Nelson - A pub I have walked past loads of times but I've never wanted to enter. As this was a day of discovery, we went in. It was busy, full of locals who all know each other. There was one real ale on pump, Doom Bar, but in a pub like this I doubted the condition of what isn't a very nice beer anyway, so I went for Grolsch whilst Sammie went for Coors Light (somehow she had done so well in life as to never have tried Coors Light). Garden was big, and odd. Won't return.

West End Retreat - I never knew this pub existed before Sammie accidentally walked past it going the wrong way to her physio appointment the other week. I think of a retreat as somewhere nice, maybe like a beach or just somewhere peaceful. A peaceful beach, it was not. All mass produced keg lagers with warm bottles of Trooper that have probably been there since the first ever brew. Dusty, dog smell, a canvas photo of the dog above the bar (said dog was in the pub which is odd) and a weird shelf full of tins of different brands and brand progressions of baked beans. Fucking weird. We had a half of San Miguel and got out of dodge.

The Reindeer - Obviously it's one of my regular pubs, not least because I work there. Awesome pub, anyway. Dark Star Hophead was drunk here.

Rosebery - Been here tons of times. It was busy. Don't even know what I had but I'm sure it was good!

Fat Cat Brewery Tap - The best of the fat cat pubs. Live music was on so getting to the bar was a struggle. To my surprise, I found Brewdog Ace of Simcoe, single hop session IPA on keg which was beautiful to relax in the garden with.

The Stanley - Again, walked past loads of times but never been inspired to go in. I had a half of Guinness but they also had bottles of Black Sheep in the fridge. It was quiet, with just a few locals. Apparently they do live music. I didn't hate it, but I'm not sure I'd return.

The Artichoke - I vaguely remember play pool in there once. It was dead as hell and I didn't fancy London Pride so we had a half of Sagres which is an alright lager. Not in a rush to go back.

The Leopard - Sammie was quite drunk by this point and banging on about wanting food. The plan was always to go for an Indian but instead of going straight there, we diverted here. Again, I'm not sure what I had in here but I have a feeling it was a Golden Triangle beer.

The Plasterers - Another diversion on the way to have an Indian and I feel like drinking a half of Brewdog Jackhammer was not a wise idea! Again, I don't think I really need to say much about this pub.

Passage to India - Good Indian food with a half of Cobra (which I don't mind to be fair).

King's Head - Another classic Norwich institution which I visit regularly and you guessed it, I don't have a bloody clue what I drunk. I know that Sammie had a bottle of an unwisely strong Belgian Beer which meant... TAXIIIIII!

So what did we learn from going to pubs that we don't go to often or at all?

Firstly, don't stereotype just because it looks a bit dodgy and you don't like the look of the clientèle. Despite the fact that we'd been warned that some pubs like The Stanley and Nelson are rough, or that The West End Retreat that I'd never heard of looks really dodgy and rough, it doesn't mean they are. Not a single pub we went in made us feel unwelcome, in fact on the contrary the people were friendly and talkative. Said pubs may look weird, but they're not unfriendly.

That being said, there's a reason we don't go to most of these pubs often or at all and it's that they're just not our types of pubs. These pubs are there for a reason, because the locals gather together and have a good time and don't want to bother anyone.

The thing is though, we went on a Sunday; a family day; so things may be far, far different on a Saturday night when people are getting tanked without their kids.

All in all, we had a great day. Drank some dubious beers, but also drank some very very good ones.


P.S. I may have missed some pubs as my memory isn't great, but I think I captured most of them.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Aims of CAMRA

I've been saying for years that CAMRA has become less of a Campaign for Real Ale and more of a Campaign for Saving Pubs Regardless of How Shit They Are. CAMRA knows that it has won the battle to save real ale; we all know this.

I have accused CAMRA in the past of having another aim, the anti-craft keg aim, but I'm grown up now and I know that's not the case and it's merely just the view of some members. I know that CAMRA's technical committee, whatever the hell that actually is, has said that key keg beer is OK because no CO2 touches the yeast and we have in fact seen key keg bars at official CAMRA beer festivals within the last 6 months or so; this is, of course, wonderful news as it shows that CAMRA as an organisation and some branches are more progressive than I once gave them credit for.

Now, I'm no longer a CAMRA member as I got a bit annoyed at the views of some local branch members, but I'm over that. I'm going to put it down to my youth and the fact that at the time I was working for a local brewery that exclusively brewed craft keg lagers and ales. I'm not going to go over the ins and outs of this as it's irrelevant really, but even throughout my annoyance I've always kept a close eye what's going on with CAMRA.

Recently, however, so has everyone else; even those that are strongly anti-CAMRA may potentially see the organisation in a positive light due to the CAMRA Revitalisation Project.

The whole idea is that it's a survey and a bunch of consultations around the country that gives CAMRA members the voice to say what they think today's aims of the organisations should be.

The big question, with several options, in the consultation document is:

Q: How broad and inclusive should our campaigning be?

1) Real ale drinkers
2) Real ale, cider and perry drinkers
3) All beer drinkers
4) All beer, cider and perry drinkers
5) All pub goers
6) All drinkers

Now, in recent years it has looked like option 5, all pub goers but at the same time it's really option 1, or 2 if you're at a CAMRA beer festival.

Option 3 is what really grinds my fucking gears though...

"Should CAMRA represent drinkers of all types of beer on the grounds that if they drink beer they may be potential converts to real ale?"

What a load of condescending bollocks. I don't think I know a single British craft beer lover who didn't start on real ale. It reminds me of the article in the local, and really poorly named, CAMRA magazine "Norfolk Nips" where a bunch of them went and did the Bermondsey Beer Mile which was pretty much wasted on them as the article was just complaining that everywhere they went was keg beer then, the finishing line was the icing on the cake "All of the young people we spoke to were interested in what we had to say about real ale so we may have some potential converts". Excuse me? You went down to London and did the Bermondsey Beer Mile and basically turned it into an outing to preach about real ale? Get in the fucking sea.

I've banged on about the evils of conversion before so I'm not going to talk about it again but the above statement proves that even if CAMRA as an organisation did move to option 3, to represent all beer drinkers some branches still wouldn't accept it.

Option 4 talks about representing all traditional styles of beer, cider and perry but without discriminating about whether it's keg or cask, which won't work as it looks very anti-innovation.

Really the only option that looks realistic and less discriminatory is option 5, to represent all pub goers which is what it seems CAMRA has been doing for a while now anyway. Aside from the one local example I mentioned, most of what I see of CAMRA online is not about promoting real ale but more about supporting pubs and keeping them open regardless of whether they sell real ale. Hats off to my local branch for the fact that they have tried to keep local pubs that only sell mainstream keg beer open though.

I think it's pretty much pointless, in the very diverse beer world of 2016, to have a one track mind of just promoting real ale. CAMRA has proven as an organisation that it can be open to new things and they've managed to save real ale and get it into thousands and thousands of pubs across the UK so focusing on pubs and pub goers regardless of what they serve or drink is the logical move. We see pubs close all the time; they may be pubs we wouldn't ever think of going to but they have a purpose (coming soon: blog about pubs I would never dream of going to but did go to).

So CAMRA, that's my two cents for you, represent all pub goers. Those lager louts, they're the ones keeping pubs open. They're in your local every single day necking pints and pints of Foster's, keeping the landlord busy while you're at work.


Saturday, 20 February 2016

Nuremberg Day 1 - Landbierparadies

We arrived in Nuremberg on Monday night at around 6:30pm and jumped on the U2 to Hauptbahnhof, which was surprisingly quick compared to where airports are located in every other city I've been to, before switching onto the U1 to Frankenstraße. From there it was only a 15 minute walk to our hotel, even with a dreaded wheely suitcase in tow. After chilling for a while we decided to head to a local bar in search of food and beer.

Landbierparadies has about 3 bars and a bottle shop dotted around Nuremberg, but the one closest to us was the one on Sterzinger Strasse, only a 20 minute walk away. This small chain is unique in that it is 100% local from the beer, to the food menu to even the soft drinks. The other thing that makes it unique is that the only beer served "vom fass" or rather, on draught, is a frequently changing local Franconian beer, directly from the wooden barrel.

We found the bar on a housing estate, with great ease and walked in. It's essentially within a house, below some apartments, with a small bar and several large rooms. We took our seats at a table and after attempting to speak German, the lady soon clocked that we're English and handed us an English menu. It's trying that counts, right?

We instantly knew what we wanted to drink - a litre of the local beer, served in an actual stein! The beer in question was Schübel Bräu Pressecker Drachenseidla, a crisp and refreshing 4% Landier/Kellerbier with hints of the oak coming through and it was the perfect start to what was going to be a very beery week.

We then took at look at the food menu and both ordered the Schnitzel; when it came out, we were astounded at how large the portions were! Massive, freshly deep fried, crispy pork with delicious potato salad which was unlike anything we get over here. The potato salad was so fresh and creamy which perfectly cut through the greasy pork.

With our litres of beer finished, we moved on to some of the local bottles.

I went for Brauerei Ott Edel-Pils aus dem Leinleitertal which is everything you expect and hope for in a German Pils - crisp. herbal and refreshing, whilst Sammie went for the wonderfully smokey Weiherer Rauch, a beer that much to my surprise I had drunk before.

Since I'm a bit of a Weissbier fiend I decided to try Pfister Öko-Weissbier which again was delicious as it wasn't as sweet as many of the more commonly found Weissbiers and there was a large dose of fruity floral hops. This time, with Sammie being the dark beer fiend that she is, went for Schwarze Anna by Brauerei Neder and was a great example of a schwarzbier, being as dark and roasty as it was refreshing.

It was getting towards midnight now and we could see that the staff were gearing up for their usual 1am close, so whilst chatting to the guy who was serving us we decided to sneak in one last beer of the night. I went for Huppendorfer Vollbier which was slightly more earthy that the previous beers I'd had that night, and wasn't a massive fan, whilst Sammie decided on the Nankendorfer Landbier which I actually preferred as it took me back to the first beer I'd had that night.

We had such a pleasant night at Landbierparadies as the food and beer were both perfect, the bar was unique and had charm and despite us struggling with German and some of the staff struggling with English, the hospitality was great and we had some good chats.

We both left happy, full, a little tipsy and in agreement that we would have to visit again before the end of our trip.

We didn't manage to get to any of the other branches in the chain but I'm going to assume that they're just as awesome.

You can find out more about their bars and online shop on their website: