Beers No.147 O’Hara’s Irish Red, No.148 O’Hara’s Irish Stout, No.149 East Street Cream, No.150 Okocim Mocne, No.151 Guinness Foreign, N0.152 Hog’s Back OTT, No.153 James Boag’s Premium Lager, No.154 Magic Rock Cannonball, No.155 Marble Chocolate Marble, No.156 Rothaus Hefe Weizen, No.157 Anchor Porter, No.158 Yorkshire Stingo, No.159 Thornbridge Saint Petersburg, No.160 Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale, No.161 Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock, No.162 Thornbridge Bracia, No.163 Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout, No.164 Woodforde’s Headcracker, No.165 Hitachino Nest Beer White Ale.

Beers No.147 O’Hara’s Irish Red, No.148 O’Hara’s Irish Stout, No.149 East Street Cream, No.150 Okocim Mocne, No.151 Guinness Foreign, N0.152 Hog’s Back OTT, No.153 James Boag’s Premium Lager, No.154 Magic Rock Cannonball, No.155 Marble Chocolate Marble, No.156 Rothaus Hefe Weizen, No.157 Anchor Porter, No.158 Yorkshire Stingo, No.159 Thornbridge Saint Petersburg, No.160 Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale, No.161 Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock, No.162 Thornbridge Bracia, No.163 Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout, No.164 Woodforde’s Headcracker, No.165 Hitachino Nest Beer White Ale.

So my laptop broke. I haven’t been able therefore (probably to many of yours relief) to write my usually regular, informative and downright scintillating blog.

Because of this I have a bit of a backlog so this post is more like tasting notes than my journalistic, adventure laden ones.

Lets start with the 2 I picked up from Cork Airport. O’Hara’s Irish Red and O’Hara’s Irish Stout are both nice beers from the Carlow Brewing Company. Red Ales are getting harder and harder to find and this is a nice example of how good it can be if done right. Sweet but not tart, it’s well worth a tipple. Their stout must have been a risk to launch, in a country known for the black stuff. It paid off and hold’s it’s own against the big boys with a chocolate smelling coffee tasting session beer.

RCH Breweries East Street Cream is a pleasant beer from Cider country. Not much too it really just very English. Nice and fruity throughout this was agreeable but forgettable.20161003_221953.jpg

Okocim Mocne is a popular Polish beer, pretty readily available in the corner shops around Westcliff (I found this one in the CostCutters opposite The Plough).I was certain whilst it was in my fridge that it was a stout. Just from the obvious black overtones on the can.20161003_232654.jpg

Obviously once I opened it I was to see it was light and golden. Quite strong at 7% and certainly strong compared to what we usually find in our corner shops (The word Mocne actually means strong) this does taste like it’s on the same road as Tennant’s Super.

Guinness Foreign Extra is, somewhat surprisingly, the Irish brewer’s biggest seller worldwide. This beer is stronger than the domestic at 7.5% and it certainly tastes it. Sharing a mouthfeel of what you would except from a Russian rather than Irish stout it’s not unpleasant but it isn’t as rewarding as the various Porter’s that are making a comeback at the moment.20161004_154343.jpg

I managed to get Hogs Back OTT from the brewery themselves as I past through on the way to the End Of The Road Festival. An excellent little brewery that has a nice selection of beers from round the world and from here (I also got the East Street Cream from them). Most importantly they make great beer. TEA is probably their more recognisable and accessible beer but OTT (which stands for Old Tongham Tasty) is definitely worth a visit as is their brewery. Darker in colour than I expected this Old Ale style beer is texturous and tasty like they suggest.

Chelmsford has gone through quite the transformation. Apart from the beer festival I went to earlier in the year, I hadn’t been to the city centre for about 20 years and a lot has changed. I really like it now, it has retained a lot of it’s history but has a whole new bit built (think it was called Bond Street) which feels very modern. Something about the place, feels exciting. In the new part was a big Walkabout restaurant. There we had poor food but I managed to get hold of James Boag’s Premium Lager as shown in the featured image. A nice enough lager it manages to be crisp yet smooth. Which is a difficult trick to pull off.

Up near the station in Chelmsford there is http://www.the-ale-house-chelmsford.co.uk/

It’s got a nice selection of beers, be careful if you are using the Perfect Pint App as I strolled up there hoping to find a Sharps Cornish Pilsner but unfortunately they didn’t have it so I’m not sure how often these things are updated. Luckily they did have a beer I was after…20161010_142501.jpg

Magic Rock’s Cannonball was an exciting beer to drink. Orange in colour and zesty in taste it is very drinkable for a 7.4%. It had everything about that screams craft beer revolution. Snazzy can, full hop aroma screaming American IPA. Very good, very fresh.

A few days later I went up to London with Michelle and Heather to meet my good friend Dan. We decided to meet at The Craft Beer Company at St. Mary’s Axe.20161010_175543.jpg

It was a good pub with an excellent downstairs area, but even though they had quite a few draught taps I thought their bottle menu could have been improved. There was 2 beers on draught I needed from my list though, and I do love finding a list one on draught, so rare.

The first was Marble Chocolate Marble from Manchester. I actually found this one a little thin. Though it has chocolate in it’s name I was picking up more of a biscuity taste. It certainly wasn’t bad I just think there is so many good chocolate stouts and porters out there, which was unheard of when I was growing up, that this was a little light to be memorable for me.

The second was Rothaus Hefe Weizen. Now this is a nice beer, and I’m not the biggest fan of whites. It had a malted fruit aroma but the taste was explosive. Mango, peach, opal fruits it was very nice. It was described by my merry bunch of travellers as well rounded but not quite circular. Whatever that means.

Went into The Elms in Leigh On Sea for a quick one before meeting Arthur. Luckily they had Anchor Porter.20161017_200127.jpg

A very smooth lovely beer. This is one of Michelle’s favourite porters. It’s a shame really that American’s are doing a quintessentially English style better than we are, or maybe that’s just backwards thinking. Alongside the Brooklyn offerings though I really believe they have stole a march on us, especially after the tasting of the Chocolate Marble only a few days before.

After a trip to The Alex we got back and decided to try a few bottles I had purchased earlier on my journey.

We started with Yorkshire Stingo by Samuel Smith. This is a strong ale that is aged in oak ale casks and matured for over a year. Surprisingly it was first brewed in 2008, it’s label, name and taste suggest older. We found it fruity but still with the toffee overtones we expected. A pleasant raisin taste.

We moved onto Strong Suffolk Dark Ale by Greene King. In the book this is Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale but I’m pretty sure it has just had a rebranding. In fact I’m extremely sure as I purchased this whilst on the Greene King tour of Bury St Edmunds and confirmed it on my visit. At their brewery they have a gigantic tun where they hold their 5X ale at around 12% which they add to Pale Ale to create this strong interesting ale. Dark coppor in colour, it hardly had any head. Not bursting with flavour it does hold however a sickly sweet quite syrupy taste.

Finally we had a beer from one of my favourite brewers. Saint Petersburg by Thornbridge doesn’t smell like a normal stout. It’s very black but thin with a grape flavour. It’s got a great starting flavour but is actually quite mild for it’s 7.4%. Another great offering from Thornbridge that never fail to please.

A week or so later Michelle and I had another little crawl through some previously purchased bottles from around the world.

Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock is a rare German beer at a knee knocking 12%. It is strong as it frozen, removing some of the water and leaving a stronger liquid behind, in strength and taste. It has a caramel smell and loads of flavour. It’s treacly and port like. Lots of raisin and alcoholic sweetness.

Thornbridge Bracia tastes like the reason I started and became so obsessed with this list in the first place. It’s such a shame it features in a blog as long as this where few will get to read about it as really it deserves a post all to itself. It’s beautiful to look at from a well presented bottle to a lovely thick pour. It feels thick to drink too, it has the bitterness of dark chocolate but a mouthfeel inbetween an ale and a stout. It’s so rich it feels up your mouth, coats it almost, maybe this is due to the unusual ingredient of honey being used in the fermentation. God I love Thornbridge and I feel privileged to have visited their brewery.

Next up we tried the impressively labelled Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout. We liked the label so much in fact that I emailed the brewery to see if it was available as a poster. Alas to no avail. I could probably do it myself on the old interwebs but I can’t really be bothered. Similar to their Yorkshire Stingo, Samuel Smith’s have gone for an olde timey look and feel. It’s a good beer that supposedly has influenced the Americans. Especially Brooklyn Brewery who name check it in my book. It’s frothy in the mouth but quite subtle for a stout. We took the label’s advice and enjoyed it with a cigar which did seem to work.

Woodforde’s Headcracker was another beer I purchased whilst on a tour of the breweries. Woodforde’s brewery is in the Norfolk broads and I would definitely recommend a visit. This was the only beer I needed to pick up from them though, having tried their Wherry (the other on the list) many times. It’s a barleywine and it’s very nice too. It has a big head and it’s frothy to the end, always bubbly and never clear. It is smooth, fruity, mellow and refreshing. An excellent tipple full of summer vibes.

And finally….. Hitachino Nest Beer White Ale is a Japanese number I picked up from the very same Hogs Head Brewery shop I mentioned earlier in the blog. This is a very popular beer in both Japan and the U.S. It is fruity, fragrant and a little weird. It has a white colour that is a little off compared to most white beers. It tastes a bit like orange juice and soda so I wasn’t surprised to find some OJ is added to it. It’s not unpleasant and quite refreshing but it’s only suppable.

So there we have it. 19 beers, 1704 words. If you’ve made it this far you deserve a medal. In fact, if you have, drop us a line to djschmit@yahoo.com and I will buy you a beer somehow (terms and conditions definitely apply I know how this internet works, I’ll have 10,000 emails in my inbox tomorrow). Anyway ta ta.

 

Beers No.123 Trade Winds, No.124 Harvest Pale, No.125 Pendle Witches Brew, No.126 Taras Boulba, No.127 Zinnebir, No.128 Bush Ambree Triple, No.129 Gouden Carolus Classic, No.130 Popperings Hommel Bier, No.131 Etoile du Nord, No.132 Augustiner Lagerbier Hell, No.133 Lindeboom Pilsener, No.134 Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout and No.135 Thornbridge Kipling

Beers No.123 Trade Winds, No.124 Harvest Pale, No.125 Pendle Witches Brew, No.126 Taras Boulba, No.127 Zinnebir, No.128 Bush Ambree Triple, No.129 Gouden Carolus Classic, No.130 Popperings Hommel Bier, No.131 Etoile du Nord, No.132 Augustiner Lagerbier Hell, No.133 Lindeboom Pilsener, No.134 Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout and No.135 Thornbridge Kipling

I love my wife Michelle, I will do anything for her. That’s why for her birthday I took her to the 39th annual Peterborough beer festival. To be fair it was a nice day. We stopped off at a beautiful pub called The Plough in Cambridge and had lunch. Michelle decided she was going to write her own blog called “Around the world in 80 Ploughs” where she would travel the world only stopping in places called The Plough. It’s quite ambitious but certainly original.

After Lunch we went to our hotel in Peterborough. The Pearl Hotel is pretty crazy as it’s above a Thai restaurant and it feels as though it’s combined with it. Our room was beautiful though.

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We dropped off our stuff and went to the festival. Peterborough itself is pretty mental. The section called The Broadway was pretty rough and we both felt a little intimidated even though it was about 3 in the afternoon. Then you reach the cathedral and the same street turns into a much nicer area with plenty of al fresco dining. It retained it’s edgy side all along the high street though. Plenty of skinny men with their tops off restraining dangerous dogs. It’s kind of like Southend.

The beer festival was O.K. Michelle prefered the Canterbury beer festival and I the Chelmsford festival but we did discover Scorpion Death Chocolate.

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That’s right, a chocolate so hot it’s called Scorpion Death and has a printed disclaimer.

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Of course there was lots of beers to try. Especially lot’s of foreign bottles.

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I was excited about this, but really both Michelle and I would have prefered sitting with a few nice pints of ale than pissing about with half a bottle each of extreme flavours, but that’s what we were here for!

Cairngorm Brewery’s Trade Windis a Scottish beer laden with awards including Britain’s Champion Best Bitter in 2006. It is very refreshing and easy to drink. It tasted of peach to me and the elderflower which is added to it.

Castle Rock’s Harvest Pale is another Champion Bitter of Britain, incidentally the year after, in 2007. it is flavoured with a blend of U.S. hops, but I didn’t find it that full. It was very light and seemed to have more aroma than flavour, in fact it maybe even seemed a little watered down.

Moorhouse’s Pendle Witches Brew is a very nice, creamy amber beer with plenty of grapefruit coming through. Thoroughly enjoyable but then I do like a Fuggle.

Brasserie de la Senne’s Taras Boulba is a dry beer with a low strength for a Belgian offering. Named after a Russian novel this beer dries your mouth out and has a lot of quinine flavouring that leaves a bitter finish.

Another of Brasserie de la Senne’s offerings Zinnebir is a lot sweeter. Kind of like a honey lager though it’s an ale, it’s caramel sweet with a powerful bitter kick.

Brasserie Dubuisson’s Bush Ambree Triple is a completely different kettle of fish. At 12% it’s a classic challenging Belgian beer. It is smokey and has a syrupy treacle mouthfeel. It tastes clearly strong and to be frank reminded me of Tennants Super.

Brouwerij Het Anker’s Gouden Carolus Classic is a very famous Belgian beer that is so award winning and popular it has a range of beers also bearing the Goulden Carolus name. We found it quite unpleasant though. Sweet and licouricey, it’s quite the acquired taste.

Poperings Hommel Bier is a hoppy little number for a Belgian beer. It’s quite sour but still very drinkable, surprisingly so for it’s 7.5% ABV.

Brasserie Thiriez’s Etoile du Nord is a French brew which is pretty new, first brewed in 2003. The beer pours with a frothy white head. It’s quite cardboardy but not unappealing. It has a long dry, bitter finish.

Where Brasserie Thiriez doesn’t have much history Augustiner-Brau is absolutely steeped in it. First established in 1328 and Munich’s oldest brewery their Lagerbier Helles itself is a couple of hundred years old and it’s lovely. It’s quite lemony and has a bit of hop in there too.

Lindeboom’s Pilsener is another lager over 100 years old. It’s certainly refreshing but we found it unassuming on the verge of being non-descript.

Nøgne Ø’s Imperial Stout was our last beer of the festival. It had a strange tang to it. It was smoky and had licorice tones but Michelle, who is my stout expert, exclaimed it tasted of ashtray water. When she had drunk ashtray water to make this comparison is beyond me.

Last weekend I went to The End Of The Road Festival in Wiltshire. On the way I stopped off at the Hogs Back Brewery in Tongham to pick up a bottle of OTT.

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I was pleasantly surprised to find they had a well stocked shop where I picked a few of the beers I am after for my list.

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This included Thornbridge’s Kipling. This beer I couldn’t get at Thornbridge’s brewery in Bakewell so it’s quite strange to buy it from another pub. It was the last of the beers I needed from this brewery and I must say they have established themselves as one of my favourites. Kipling itself didn’t disappoint. Titled a South Pacific Pale Ale, this beer which only uses New Zealand’s Nelson Sauvin hops is refreshing, fruity, and pretty much perfect.

 

 

 

Beers No.105 Bitter and Twisted, No.106 Wells Banana Bread Beer, No.107 Gruut Bruin, No.108 Urthel Samaranth, No.109 Thornbridge Jaipur, No.110 Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, No.111 Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, No.112 Oakham Citra, No.113 Edelstoff, No.114 Kernel Export Stout and No.115 Le Freak.

Beers No.105 Bitter and Twisted, No.106 Wells Banana Bread Beer, No.107 Gruut Bruin, No.108 Urthel Samaranth, No.109 Thornbridge Jaipur, No.110 Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, No.111 Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, No.112 Oakham Citra, No.113 Edelstoff, No.114 Kernel Export Stout and No.115 Le Freak.

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First off on this bumper epic blog is another beer I found in the always surprising Alex. Harviestoun’s Bitter & Twisted is a very nice blond beer. The 2003 Champion Beer of Britain is extremely refreshing, almost shandy like, it is citrusy but not overpoweringly, it’s one of my favourites so far. Not because it’s particularly challenging or maybe even interesting, it’s just so drinkable.

Took some beers round to mates. Arthur’s suffering from shingles at the moment so I thought he might need some challenging liquids to take his mind off things.

Wells Banana Bread Beer was first created in 2002 in attempt to attract younger customers. It unsurprisingly tastes really like bananas but particularly like those 2p banana sweets you could (or can) get in the pick n mix section of the corner shops on the way home from school. It was interesting and the flavours worked better than expected but I would certainly struggle to drink a whole pint.

Gruut Bruin is another new beer. Gruut is a medieval concotion made with a mixture of herbs instead of hops. This 2009 offering had flavours of praline amongst other nuts and milk chocolate.

Urthel Samaranth. Another beer created in the previous decade! This belgian beer brewed in the Netherlands was first poured on September 5, 2002. At 11.5% this celebration beer was fruity, maybe even leafy. Very rich with a lot in going on in the mouth.

Thornbridge Jaipur. I was looking forward to drinking this from the moment I picked it up from the brewers in Bakewell mentioned in my previous blog.This beer is named after the famous pink city in India which Arthur has visited. It was citrusy, particularly lemon and very light in colour. Though nice it did remind me slightly of washing up liquid!

Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale was the first drink of the day that didn’t come from the 2000s. In fact it was first brewed circa 1900 and predates Newcastle’s more famous Brown Ale. It was sweet but dry, and you can certainly taste the nut. I wasn’t a fan though and to me it tasted a little off.

 

Later that evening I met my friend and ex-colleague Jim (pictures at the top) for a quick pint at Ten Green Bottles. Luckily for me they had a bottle of beer I have had many times yet haven’t managed to catalogue for this journey.

Timothy Taylor’s Landlord is a great beer. A previous manager of mine described it as one of the hardest beers to keep and if a pub does a good Landlord it’s a good pub. This unrivalled four time Champion Beer of Britain has won more awards nationally than any other beer. A classic beer you should really try if you haven’t before.

As it was Arthur’s birthday in the week I took him on a little brewery tour. First we drove up to Woodforde’s just outside Norwich and what a beautiful place it is. We didn’t go into the brewery itself but the shop was very friendly and well stocked and their pub was gorgeous. The Fur & Feather Inn was a great country pub selling good food, with great service and obviously the freshest beer you could possibly ask for. We bought a crazy cool leather tankard, the like of which I had never seen before and just screams history. We also bought a bottle of Headcracker which I was after and will review at a later date.

After ploughing through our delicious lunch which had to zip down to Bury St. Edmunds for a 2pm tour. Bury was a nice place, and the tour was quite good. Unfortunately it was the hottest day of the year and simply uncomfortable. The tour guide wanted to just whisk through it and we were happy to let him. It wasn’t bad but after I had been to the Adnams one I know there are better tours out there and want to take Arthur to another one. Maybe a smaller brewer, should have gone round Woodfordes really.

Me, my beautiful wife Michelle and our friend Bill went to the Kent Beer Festival in Canterbury. Bill bloody loved it, more than he expected I think, he even signed up to CAMRA! It was a very well run festival, great food, entertaining band and a wide selection of beers. A great atmosphere in the barn built to a really pleasurable evening, in which I was happy to find 4 beers! On a sideline I know why these kids love this Pokemon Go craze. Its great discovering things, luckily mine get me drunk to boot. It’s not just about the beer though, this journey has already taken me to many places I would never consider going and I would really recommend anyone to get a similar hobby.Anyways the 4 beers I managed to catch (gotta catch em all) were..

Oakham Citra. I like the Citra hop. It’s flowery and fruity yet not as intense as Cascade in my humble opinion. This beer was citrusy and dry, we had grapefruit and goosebury  along with other botanicals coming through. Very pleasurable.

Augustiner Edelstoff. This beer that comes from the oldest brewery in Munich (founded in 1328) was first brewed in 1927, when clearly Germany was a very different place. In Theresenweire were it is brewed the breeching of each new cask is announced with the loud ringing of a bell so that everybody can finish their glass of beer and order a fresh Edelstoff. That is something I would love to witness. It’s a nice beer and though it was full flavoured it was ironically quite non descript. An interesting paradox.

Kernel Export Stout is a London brewed beer. It tastes of creamy coffee and is an acceptable yet not that noticeable Stout.

Green Flash Le Freak is a crazy beer. So much going on. It is basically an APA created in the same style as a Belgian Trippel. It’s strong at 9.2% and expensive at £8.50 but I’m glad I tried it. It was a taste sensation, not to everybody’s taste but certainly worth a go. It was certainly a long way from the Bitter & Twisted I started this blog with!

Beers No.98 Buxton Black Imperial, No.99 Moorhouse Black Cat, No.100 Black Adder, No.101 Summer Lightning, No.102 Schiehallion, No.103 Ola Dubh 30 and No.104 Ripper

Beers No.98 Buxton Black Imperial, No.99 Moorhouse Black Cat, No.100 Black Adder, No.101 Summer Lightning, No.102 Schiehallion, No.103 Ola Dubh 30 and No.104 Ripper

We visited the Thornbridge Brewery in Bakewell. Bakewell is a jawdroppingly beautiful little town in the Peak District, Derbyshire. The views on the drive there were simply breathtaking. The brewery itself is on an industrial estate but even that is unlike any industrial area  I have seen in Essex, in the photos above with the little bridge and where Michelle is sitting is part of the industrial estate!

After we bought a few beers from the Brewery we had lunch in the town. A Robinson’s pub called The Manners was our destination after a little Trip Advising and it didn’t disappoint. I had the ribs to start follow by the venison burger and Michelle had the duck to start followed by Lamb. I must say it was one of the best pub lunches I have ever had in my life. All 4 courses were scrumptious, I would highly recommend it there.

After lunch we drove to Buxton. There we went to the Buxton Brewery Tap House and had the first drink listed on this blog.

Buxton Black Imperial is strong and dark. It tastes like an IPA (which of course it is) but your palate is expecting a stout or a porter. It’s quite fragrant but drinkable for it’s strength.

The Tap House itself is a fantastic fashionable modern pub. Nothing quirky about it just clean lines and friendly faces with some good indie playing in the background. It’s from these that I bought my first Growler.

A Growler is an American term for a sealed beer jug. Like a Kilner jar these allow you to buy a few pints from tap houses and breweries and take them home. With the increasing popularity of craft breweries in America they are becoming more and more popular over there so expect to see more of them over here soon!

On Thursday I went to the Chelmsford Beer Festival…

I had a really good time with Mike who so kindly modelled my beers for me. It was free to get in, the parking was free, the food was excellent and varied and the bands were 80’s. With over 300 beers and ciders to choose from I can’t recommend it highly enough. The beers I manage to track down off my list were…

Moorhouse’s  Black Cat – This former CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain is chocolaty, tobaccoey, dark and nutty. It was pleasant but nothing unusual.

Black Adder – Another Champion Beer of Britain this beer is black. Black like an oil slick, you can imagine a hapless seagull washed up on the side of the glass. Slightly sweet with licorice undertones I could pick up seaweed on the palate for some reason but that maybe simply due to the fact it felt like I was in the middle of an oil spill in the North Sea.

Summer Lightning – With a name taken from a P.G. Wodehouse novel Summer Lightning was one of golden ales ever made in Britain. I found it fruity but quite non-descript and watery. It was very drinkable though and I got through it no time without even noticing!

Schiehallion – Winner of the WBA World’s best Pilsner Award in 2008 I was looking forward to this one. Named after a Scottish mountain this lager didn’t let me down. With peachy, pineapple and tropical fruits on top of biscuit like a cheesecake, this is a really good beer.

Ola Dubh 30 – Whisky! Whisky! Whisky! This beer is matured in casks previously used to mature single-malt whisky and doesn’t it tell! Ola Dubh is Gaelic for black oil and it has the same viscosity. Only available at the beer festival in halves as it’s 10.5% this was certainly the most challenging beer I had that day.

Finally… Ripper – Ripper is a barleywine. Not sure if I have had a barleywine before but I liked it. Supposedly it would be called a Tripel if it was brewed in Belgium but its called a barleywine as it is brewed in England. It tastes quite appley to me and I could feel it in my cheeks. That’s probably due to the fact that it’s 8.2%!