Hello everyone and welcome to this action packed blog of fun, action, laughter and beers. Well one out of the four anyway. I visited my friend Jack up in London. We met at Lowlander Grand Cafe which is a cool little Belgian/Dutch joint on Drury Lane. We had a nice mixed platter… Followed by, more importantly a great bottle of beer.
Brouwerij Bosteels Deus is a crazy complicated beer and certainly made with love. After normal fermentation it is refermented with Champagne yeasts in Epernay. Epernay is in the Champagne Region of France so it’s certainly authentic. Thats not even the end of it, the beer is then kept at a steady temperature for nine months then tilted and rotated for a week for yeast removal. It really is a crafted beer in the truest sense of the word. It’s served in a champagne bottle with flutes and comes in at 11.5% but doesn’t taste it. It’s light and quite wheaty even though not made with it. It’s really good and definitely worth your effort.
I persuaded Jack to move on to The Maple Leaf near Covent Garden to try some Canadian Beers. Complete waste of time. It was just an English Sports pub really. Fosters and Amstels on tap, football on the telly (Premiership). They had one tap called Maple Leaf lager, but I found its Canadian authenticity spurious.
On the stroll home we decided to pop into the local Wetherspoons, Penderel’s Oak. Lo and behold there was only a beer on my list.
Windsor & Eton’s Conqueror 1075, a stronger hoppier version of their Conqueror named after the year William the Conqueror built the original Windsor Castle. It was surprisingly sweet, on the side of being sickly, with a little bit of smoke in there.
Good to see Wetherspoons keeping up their diversity. They have a lot of knockers for a lot of valid reasons I’m not going to go into now, but you can certainly pick up some interesting beers there from time to time.
This months ever excellent box from Beer52 was centred around one of my favourite’s, Stone Brewery. It included a couple of beers including Arrogant Bastard Ale, I couldn’t wait to try.
One of the many reasons I don’t like Brewdog is what is written on their Punk IPA bottles, though I’m not sure it still includes it. On their 2007 released bottles it read:
This is not a lowest common denominator beer…This is an aggressive beer…We don’t care if you don’t like it…It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sopistication to appreciate the depth, character and quality of this premium craft brewed beer.
Now compare that to what Stone have been writing on their 1996 Arrogant Bastard Ale.
This is an aggressive ale. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory – maybe something with a multimillion-dollar ad campaign
I’m sure they’ll say thput it on as being a homage, but I just don’t like the fact a company who are so rebelliously original have to practically cut and paste another beer’s blurb.
Arrogant Bastard Ale is the best selling large bottle craft beer in the US. This beer alongside their IPA has launched Stone Brewing into the stratosphere allowing them to even open another brewery in Berlin. Not bad for a beer that was supposedly created by accident.
I thought it was a great bitter drink. The girls who I drank it with wasn’t sure though with their reviews being:-
Michelle: Lingering bitterness at the back of your throat. On impact its not that bad, it’s not horrendous, it is very hoppy but that bitterness takes away the goodness.
Heather: YEURRCHK no goodness, tastes horrible, tastes like tut tut tut Eurgh proper lingering Eurgh
So maybe Stone are right when they write on their can “You probably won’t like it”.
Stone Ruination IPA was the second Stone I had from Beer52. This was another great strong beer. I really am becoming a big fan of Stone and look forward to going to visit them in Berlin in the summer. It’s very hoppy and very bright. Everything you want wish from an American take on an IPA and more.
The next day Michelle and I took a lovely trip down to Brighton.
We were really lucky with the weather and had a great day. After a spot of lunch at Café Rouge, where Michelle particularly liked the French Onion Soup, we strolled up to The Craft Beer Co. Brighton. It was good to see one of our sister pubs and it had a nice atmosphere. Unfortunately it had no beers I needed so after a couple of stouts we pushed on.
We arrived at The Evening Star, which happens to be the birthplace of Darkstar Brewing.
I went there expecting to pick up one or two Darkstar beers but as luck would have it they had an excellent selection and I found 4 I needed.
The first Espresso was the only Darkstar beer I had from where it all started. It’s made with real coffee supplied by a Coffee House in Brighton and you can certainly taste it. In fact Michelle remarked it tasted more like cold coffee than cold coffee does. It was dark, bitter and very good.
Southville Hop by the Bristol Beer Factory was next and this 2012 SIBA Gold medal winner didn’t disappoint. It’s golden thick and very hoppy. The English name of both brewer and beer doesn’t give away the massive tropical hit this beer delivers.
Cross the North Sea into Germany next with Schneider Weisse. First brewed in 1872 this beer certainly has the heritage it will take the previous two over 100 years to attain. This beer is a classic Weissbier, it is orange in colour with banana on the palate. A great example of this refreshing style of beer.
Finally Timmermans Framboise Lambic. These brewers have been around making Lambic in the Senne Valley since 1781. It is matured for six months before raspberries are added to start a secondary fermentation before being left for a further six to months. It really delivers what it promises. Loads of raspberries. It’s red in colour and though being compared favourably to pink champagne it also closely resembles a cider you’d pick up whilst sitting down the Peterboat on a sunny day.
So that’s it. Just time to tell you we stopped off on the way back at The Darkstar Brewery where I bought some socks as I’m a nerd
Thanks for reading, as I always say it’s doubtful anyone has made it this far but if you have I am grateful. Give us a like to let me know you’re there. Thanks, see you next month!