Talking about my generation….

9 07 2012

  3 DEAD

  9 STABBED

1 MISSING

There are plenty of events I can think of that might give rise to such headlines, war, rioting, civil disobedience etc etc

But never,even in my wildest dreams would it have occurred to me that I might have cause to be writing this about a concert.  Not I hasten to add a 7 day biker festival someplace in the middle of nowhere but a one-off concert in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.

Saturday night saw Snoop Dogg, Tinie Tempah,Calvin Harris and Swedish House Mafia take to the stage in what for around 50,000 fans should have been a fantastic night.

Instead 3 men in their teens and early twenties are now dead as a result of drug overdose. One of the men in his early 20s became ill and sought medical assistance inside the concert arena as early as 7pm.

There were 9 separate incidents of stabbing including one incident where a 28 year-old concert goer from the Isle of Mann was stabbed 5 times causing severe injuries to his head and chest including damage to his liver. His assault was unprovoked.

These attention grabbing incidents are to say nothing of the dozens of eye witness reports of people being bottled and beaten throughout the evening with fights, scuffles and in one case an 8 man brawl breaking out both in and outside of the venue.

Meanwhile Gardai are seeking information regarding 19 year-old Aoife Finan from Cobh who has been missing since the 11pm on the night of the concert.

Drug use was rampant and blatant, often taking place in full view of event staff, security and Garda alike. On the radio this evening one concert goer reported that as bouncers were handing out free glasses of water to crowds at the crush barrier they were openly being used to knock back pills.
Much like at any Irish event massive amounts of alcohol were consumed to excess and underage drinking was rife. This of course lead to people vomiting, urinating and even defecating in full public view without care or consequence.

According to a report in the The Evening Herald and numerous other first hand accounts the number of people openly engaged in sex acts was staggering, there are even several reports of people having full blown intercourse as a sort of sideshow to the main event.

What the fuck is wrong with people?!?!?!?

The majority of the crowd were aged from late teens to late twenties, this is the same demographic I fall into, I grew up and went to school with them. I am one of them.

Except I’m not.

I just can’t fathom it out, I really can’t. I go to concerts, I go down the pub with friends or to a nightclub, I drink, hell sometimes I get drunk .)

I’m not claiming to be an angel, I’m not. I am sure there are several people who crossed paths with me in my younger day when I was working as a bouncer who can well remember ending up on the wrong end of a well aimed right hook if they were acting the maggot.

There have always been lads who drank too much and got a bit out of hand or the two fellas who just can’t stand each other and go at it after a night out. There always will be.

But the sort of scenes witnessed at Phoenix Park the other night are just not right. In fact they are very, very wrong.
It makes a terrible statement about ‘my generation’, reinforces all sorts of negative stereotypes and raises an awful lot of questions:

What possesses people to act like this? Where were the police and what were they doing? Why the hell weren’t security searching people as they went in? – Somehow I feel that answers will be, as ever, sadly lacking.

I would love to say this is an isolated event, that things like this rarely happen. That would be a lie though wouldn’t it. You only have to look at the riots in the UK last year to see the sort of common criminality which on the face of things is endemic amongst young people today.

Maybe they are disenfranchised, maybe they are the product of poor schooling, bad parenting or are symptomatic of a culture which seems to revel in sex, violence and excess.

Whichever it is I can tell you one thing for free. I want nothing to do with any of it.

Bring on the Zombie apocalypse, at least we will know where we stand then.





Drinking on a deadline…

10 05 2012

We have all been there, we want to get completely wasted but downing 4 Jaeger bombs and a few Sambucas will just take waaay to long.

Now normally you would start reaching for the bottle of meths but hold your horses their is a new kid on the block….

WA|HH Quantum Sensations

No, this isn’t the next James Bond blockbuster. Behind this rather odd name lurks the brain child of Harvard professor David Edwards and designer Philippe Starck. A neat little gizmo that promises to turn you instantaneously drunk for a few seconds, without any of the harmful effects of alcohol (no hangover!).

The Wahh Quantum Sensations contains 20-25 sprays each of which delivers 0.075 ml of alcoholin the form of micro-particles and reportedly simulates the sensorial pleasure of alcohol, giving the user a brief moment of light-headedness and distraction.

Professor David Edwards came up with the idea of using his micro-particle spraying technology to distribute alcohol after meeting with Philippe Starck and discussing the possibility of recreating the positive sensations associated with drinking – but without the drunkenness and negative health implications. The result is a spray which contains tiny amounts of alcohol, that can be sprayed directly into the mouth or onto food.

“Everyone has an occasional need of light-headedness, distraction, and another place … but our societies and codes of amusement have led to the over-consumption of alcoholic beverages as a kind of social placebo,” said Philippe Starck.

Because each spray of the device contains nearly 1,000 times less alcohol than a standard shot, it’s said it would take hundreds of actuations to deliver the alcohol content found in a typical drink. But while some reports have claimed WAHH Quantum Sensations spray actually gets users drunk for a few seconds before they sober up just as fast, the team behind it is keen to stress this is not actually the case.

“WAHH does not stimulate drunkenness. It is precisely to avoid drunkenness. It stimulates the pleasure of alcohol without the alcohol. There is almost no alcohol in the product, yet the aerosol gives an instantaneous lightheadedness, slight, not disorienting, and is intended for anything but the experience of being drunk”… So no fighting lamp-posts or waking up with your face stuck to the bed by some rogue curry sauce.

There are two types of WAHH Quantum Sensations spray – the Flash, which offers a tonic flavor and a strong and instantaneous sensation, and the Demon, which is described as having a spicy, wooded and slightly fruity flavor and said to be best served vaporized on salty or sweet foods. In describing WAHH Quantum Sensations, David Edwards said, “Its ability to deliver flavor with each actuation that grows in intensity with the vapor cloud of millions of tiny micro-droplets makes WAHH an exciting food spray for the future.”

WAHH Quantum Sensations can currently be sampled at the “Experience 14 WA|HH by S+ARCK + EDWARDS” exhibition at Le Laboratoire in Paris – but will soon go on sale in Europe for €20 (about US$26).





BrewDog Abstrakt 06 – 11.5% Imperial Black IPA

9 05 2012

I mentioned a while back about the release of BrewDog Abstrakt 06, well I have finally gotten round to drinking one of my bottles and as such I can give you all my two pennies worth.

 So where to begin… well if you have read anything about Abstrakt then you will know that it is series of special edition, limited volume concept beers being brewed by BrewDog.

06 is oddly enough the sixth in the series… you see how that works.

 The price per bottle is a little steep – I paid €12.99, but don’t that put you off, you really do get what you pay for!

Nice black coloredbody with a reasonable creamy head. Good lacing which lasts  well through out.

There is a big aroma of pine, dark chocolate, orange and molasses.

Pine and lots of orange flavor combine with the plentful doses of chocolate and slightly floral kick. Nice citrusy aftertaste, sort of like sumac. A full body and well hidden alcohol make up the texture of this beer.

I know that this is billed as an Imperial Black IPA but if I were to try and pigeon hole this I would have to go with a very heavilly hopped Imperial Stout.

Good beer that is worth the money, can’t wait to see how these age.

4.7/5





Duvel double pack

17 07 2011

A few weeks back I wrote about the Maredsous and Chimay triple packs that have recently reappeared in our local off licence.

Well hot on their tasty little heels is a new arrival; the Duvel double pack with glass goblet…

 

The glass is great… odd as it sounds to say that it really is, anyone who hasn’t tried Duvel from one of these chalices/goblets is really missing out, the flavours open up a lot and a beer that is already great becomes truly excellent -you can read my review of Duvel here.

The price on this was particularly good, I paid €6.25 which seems like a little bit of a steal when you work out that each bottle of Duvel by itself is €3.80 and that last time the goblets were in stock they wanted a whopping €7.50 for them





Maredsous taster pack with glass

28 06 2011

Being the kind chap that I am I thought I would bring to your attention an offer I stumbled upon in my local off licence the other night.

They are selling a “Taster pack” of 3 bottles of Maredsous packaged with an attractive branded glass.

Now personally I am a sucker for beer related glassware and can regularly be seen poncing around with my oversized Chimay chalice or some other piece of promotional tat but fancy glasses aside these packs represent both great value for money and a great introduction for anyone not familiar with Maredsous.

The pack contains 3 x 33cl bottles, one each of the Blond – 6%, Bruin – 8% and Tripel – 10% all of which are great examples of Abbey beers and are cracking beers in their own rights.

I also mentioned that these packs are often good value for money; in my particular off licence each individual bottle of beer would set you back  €2.80 and glasses – when they have them, are normally a fiver so that would be a grand total of €13.40. 

Now this taster pack is selling here at €9.99  so that is a massive saving of €3.41 or in real terms the difference between me going home with 3 bottles of Maredsous and a glass or me going home with  3 bottles of Maredsous, a glass, a bottle of Fullers 1845 and a packet of scampi fries.

Not that I advocate the eating of scampi fries.





Bateman’s XXXB

3 01 2011

Batemans is an independent brewery from Wainfleet in Lincolnshire; the Bateman family have been operating the brewery on a pretty much continual basis since  1874 and along the way have turned out some cracking beers and picked up rather a lot of awards – the most recent of these being “Best Regional Brewer” at the Publican Awards 2010.

XXXB is their 4.8% premium bitter and has previously been voted as being one of the top 50 beers in the world.

I have sampled XXXB on a number of occasions over the past few years, both on tap and most recently bottled as part of a deal from our local off licence – all Batemans beers €2.00 a bottle, a real bargain by Irish standards!

XXXB pours to a nice clear coppery finish with a mid-sized head that lasted reasonably well with a fair amount of lacing.

The initial aroma that I picked up was that of a slightly bitter  black tea with some citrus and a bit of sweetness coming in afterwards  – possibly toffee.

On drinking this beer the first thing I noticed was that there is very little sweetness to it, the citrus comes through quite clearly along with a slight nuttiness and some biscuity richness from the malts.

There is a lot of bitterness present through out along with the slight taste of black tea, this with the slight element of citrus makes for a very refreshing pint although some might find it a touch sour towards the finish.

The body is reasonably light but the carbonation is spot on resulting in a very pleasant mouthfeel overall.

In my opinion XXXB is better than average but there is certainly room for improvement.

4/5





Darth Naga vs 16 Million SHU pure crystal capsaicin extract!

30 12 2010

From February 2011 pure capsaicin crystal is going to be illegal to buy or sell in the UK.

In advance of this latest bout of meddling from UK authorities Darth Naga tries a whole teaspoon of extract dissolved in vodka.





Santa’s Sack Christmas Ale

16 12 2010

I had this recently as part of Wetherspoon’s selection of festive beers.

It is the last of Thwaites  “Signature Range” for 2010 and  having enjoyed several of the earlier offerings I was looking forward to an enjoyable pint.

My first impressions were pleasing as the pints that were set in front of me a really dark ruby red with a nice  thick foamy white head on them.

There was a fairly distinct aroma coming off  the beer which was a mixture between chocolate and what smelt like ovaltine, suggesting to me that there should be a really malty depth to the beer.

Well it turns out that looks can be deceiving, I led to believe I was going to be spirited away to a magical Dickensian Christmas  full of luxury and richness. Instead I was dragged on a 3 hour bus ride to Weston-Super-Mare, in the rain, with the windows open and the heater broken.

The predominant taste was that of cheap sugar and burnt toffee, none of the rich fruits, spices or chocolate notes that I would expect to get from a Christmas ale or winter warmer.

The body was so light as to be non-existent and if there was one that sticks out in my mind most about this pint it is wet.

I know that a number of people online have been raving about this beer but I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy it. So much that I took my pint back unfinished as did my mate.

1/5





Make your own Mulled Wine

15 12 2010

What is more festive than a warming glass of hot mulled wine?  With its heady mix of fruit and spices it is quite literally Christmas in a glass.

I know that a lot of people buy those prepared bags of spice mix that you can get in the supermarket and they are all very well and good but once you have made your own mulled wine from scratch you will never even think of going back to the pre-made sachets or bags.

Ingredients:

75 cl bottle cabernet sauvignon red wine

75 cl bottle of port

25 cl apple cider

1 orange

12 cloves

2 clementines

3 lemons

6 tbsp honey

1 cinnamon stick

2 tsp ground ginger

3 fresh bay leaves

1 vanilla pod

2 star anise

1 whole nutmeg

2 measures of brandy/cognac – optional

Method:

This really couldn’t be any easier to make;

Take the orange and stud it with the cloves and chop the clementines and two of the lemons into slices, this can be done in advance

Add the port and the wine to a large saucepan and pour in the honey, cider and brandy, if you are using it, along with 2 pints of water. Give everything a good stir and pop the saucepan over a low heat to simmer.

Zest the remaining lemon and squeeze in half of the juice

Grate approx 1/3 of the nutmeg into the pan

Split the vanilla pod in two and  add to the pan along with the sliced fruit and the rest of the dry ingredients.

Allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not let the mulled wine boil or you will cook off all of the alcohol.

Serve warm in 1/2 pint mugs





Duvel

3 12 2010

 So as to prove that I’m not some xenophobic “little Englander” I have decided to turn my attentions to the unsuspecting nation of Belgium.

 In particular I have in my sights their very good, indeed often excellent, selection of beers. I am starting with Duvel for no other reason than my own personal love of the stuff, even if too many bottles do result in the mother of all headaches.

 So where to begin, well Duvel is as I say a Belgian beer but it took its original inspiration from English ale of all things.

After WW1 English ales were getting fairly popular in Belgium and Moortgat decided to get in on the act so off they popped to Scotland and got their hands on some yeast and the rest is history…

I have seen Duvel listed as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale and this is probably the closest you will get to pinning a label on it, one thing is for certain at 8.5% it sure is strong, I have known more than one person snort at the diminutive 330ml bottle and knock it back only to find that it has knocked them out for the count – there is a reason it is called the Devil after all.

The aroma of Duvel is rather interesting you get strong citrus notes, some cider like apple, a bit of hay/grass and a strong clean alcohol element that comes through.

Normally I couldn’t give a rat’s arse about the branded glasses that breweries knock out seeing them as a nice little collectible but nothing more, not so this time. 

To really enjoy Duvel at it’s best you need to get your hands on the correct glass, it is the perfect size for starters allowing you to pour the whole bottle in with ample room for the impressive frothy white head; not only that the embossed D on the base of the glass helps create effervescence which aids that head in sticking around. As if that wasn’t enough of a reason the rounded glass helps fully release the flavour and aroma of the beer.

In terms of looks the beer is a lovely clear golden colour that could almost be mistaken for a lager, the carbonation is clearly visible (aided by that aforementioned D) and the pure white head stands tall and lasts throughout with impressive lacing.

The taste of Duvel is to die for; the malt is clean and crisp and lasts from beginning to end, the alcohol is warming and combines with the bitterness of the hops to give a refreshing dry finish that leaves you begging for another sip. There  are hints of pepper and a really pleasant earthiness that are present throughout along with the same citrus notes that you can pick up in the aroma.

There really isn’t a single thing that I can fault about Duvel and trust me I can normally pick holes in anything and everything, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is the absolute best beer in the world but it damn close

5/5








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