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

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1,300 pubs closed in the UK last year.

16 03 2011

According to the latest figures from the British Beer and Pub Association there were 1,300 pubs in the UK that shut their doors for the final time last year.

The number of pub closures has fallen from 40 a week in 2009 to 25 a week now, with the rate of losses highest in London and north-west England.

The BBPA have stated that these pub closures have resulted in the loss of over 13,000 jobs nationwide.

BBPA  chief executive Brigid Simmonds had this to say:”The closure of 25 pubs every week is bad news for the economy, as the sector plays such a vital role. It’s also a blow for local communities, with pubs often acting as the hub of local life.

“With the right policies, this vital part of our tourism and hospitality sector could be creating new jobs, and helping to bring Britain out of recession.

“If we really do have a pub-friendly Government as the Prime Minister says, the time to act is now – with a freeze in beer duty in the Budget.”

So there we have it folks loss of pubs, loss of choice and loss of livelihoods. Pub closures are a bad thing at anytime but to see this many jobs lost in the midst of one of the worst recessions ever is even worse. Fair enough the rate at which pubs are shutting has slowed but we are still on a slippery slope.

If you are concerend about the closure of British pubs and the loss of jobs then please lobby your local MP or contact CAMRA to see how you can help.





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





Abbot Ale – 5% English Ale

13 12 2010

Abbot Ale is Greene King’s flagship beer and is also one of the first real ales that I ever had the pleasure of trying back in the day.

As such it is probably a little surprising that it has taken me quite so long to work my way round to writing a review on this particular beer.

I guess the biggest reason is that of choice; there are so many other beers out there and I am so keen to try them all (ambitious I know!) that if I am out in the pub I will drink pretty much anything before I consider heading for an Abbot, likewise if I am in an off-license there are literally hundreds of bottles that would come home with me first.

First things first let me state that this is a cask pint from the Hamilton Hall at Liverpool Street Station. It is NOT – note the capital letters –  from one of these cans with a widget in. I don’t really like most ales in a can and Abbot is no exception.

When poured properly, not like my first pint that was slopped into the glass whilst the barmaid was chatting to her friend, you should see a clear golden/amber pint with a decent white head of about 2 fingers width which slowly fades away to a thin layer which stays throughout.

You can quite clearly make out the smell of malts, some fruity sweetness and a touch of hops but everything is fairly muted with no one aroma standing out from the crowd.

The first flavour that really hits you is a sweet toasted maltiness but before that can start to seem a bit too much you get the hops kicking in, there are some floral notes and a slight Earthiness – some have even said it seems a bit skunky on occasion. After the hops have started to recede a little you get the bitterness of the beer coming through along with a slight hint of citrus/orange  as well.

The flavours in Abbot ale are all quite crisp, strong and well-defined the only slight issue that I have is that everything is a little bit mish-mash and all over the shop, for example there is a fairly distinct cinder toffee note that you get right towards the end of the beer and because there is nothing around to balance it or cut through it you are left with a slightly burnt after taste. Not unpleasant by any standards but possibly a little disconcerting to some.

I have an old friend who always accuses me of being more complementary of Abbot Ale than I should be as a result of it being one of my first real ales. He might have a point but then again sod him,  there is something to be said for flavours or smells that take us back to a certain time or place and if Abbot Ale does that for me then so be it!

When all is said and done I still  have my original problem with Abbot; it is a good beer, there is nothing about it that is unpleasant or even less than pleasing but it isn’t a great beer – I wouldn’t ask for a pint to be bought to me on my death-bed.

If you are looking for a good example of an English Ale than Abbot will see you just fine but there are better beers to be had.

4.0/5





Whitebait

12 12 2010

As a child I remember being horrified by the sight of my uncle sitting there munching his way through a veritable mountain of Whitebait. It just seemed to be such carnage in order to put dinner on someones plate.

Now things have changed a little bit; I quite simply can’t get enough of them, particualrly as a light meal in a beer garden with a refreshing pint.

For those of you who are wondering what exactly Whitebait are they are immature sprats, normally Herring in the UK, the whole fish is floured or lightly battered and deep fried. Because the fish are so young and tender the entire fish can be eaten as is without needing the bones or head to be removed.

I think the best way to enjoy Whitebait is really piping hot with a good sprinkling of lemon juice and plenty of bread and butter – delicious

When you are flouring the Whitebait you can add in some light seasoning such as salt and pepper or through in some cayenne pepper and chilli powder in order to have deviled Whitebait.

There is no real special trick to cooking Whitebait and in my opinion the simplest method is the best –

Dredge the Whitebait in the seasoned white flour

Shake off the excess flour and fry in hot vegetable oil until the fish are a light golden colour – around 2 or 3 minutes

Serve immediately





Shed of the year 2010…

24 11 2010

A sheddie from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, has won Shed of the Year 2010 after beating off competition from 1,250 shed-lovers. Reg Miller’s pirate-themed shed, ‘The Lady Sarah out of Worthing’ named after his partner, was judged best shed in the competition sponsored by Cuprinol Sprayable and comes complete with a Koi Carp pond and even a parrot!

The judging panel, including Sarah Beeny and ‘Head Sheddie’ and creator of readersheds.co.uk Uncle Wilco , commented: “Reg shows that a perfect shed sums up the personality of the individual that created and uses it. The pirate atmosphere is superbly evoked throughout and underlines that when it comes to creativity, sheddies have it in spades.”

The man of the moment himself  had this to say: “I’ve spent years working on my shed and to win Shed of the Year 2010 is a real thrill – it’s the ultimate accolade for shed owners! It’s still a work in progress, as I’m constantly adding to my collection of pirate memorabilia and props and the shed is slowly but surely taking over the whole garden.

It’s become a real talking point in the area and since I entered it in the competition, I’ve had loads of really positive comments from sheddies around the globe – it really seems to have caught everyone’s imagination! Funnily enough, I’ll be spending my winnings repairing my decking at the top of the garden! It has recently collapsed and I really want to spruce it up again so that I can use it for the summer and yes, I will be using Cuprinol products!”

Reg bagged himself £1000 cash and a boatload of shed care products courtesy of competition sponsors  Cuprinol.

This sort of thing could only be from Britain; it captures the slightly strange eccentricity that we as a nation seem to thrive on. I mean seriously where else in the world would a happily married man be able to get away with converting his back garden into some sort of pirate themed fantasy land…

I have long been an admirer of all things shed and have made most people in my life well aware of the fact that one day I too will be sitting in a small wooden box at the bottom of the garden oohing and aahing over my collection of assorted detritus  as I lovingly catalogue it.

 





Adnams launches range of handcrafted spirits

24 11 2010

Following on from 138 years of turning out excellent beers Southwold based brewer Adnams has recently launched it own range of artisan spirits.

Their recent opened Copper House distillery makes Adnams the first joint brewery and distillery in England, a pairing that is quite common on the continent.

Adnams handcrafted gin and vodka are now available for sale on the Adnams Website and from any of the 10 Adnams Cellar and Kitchen stores. These initial offerings will be joined by whiskey after a 3 year maturation in oak casks.

Chairman Jonathan Adnams OBE said: “We have been brewing great beers in Southwold since 1872, and our business now incorporates five hotels, 70 pubs, ten Adnams Cellar & Kitchen stores as well as our online store. Hand crafted spirits are the next exciting step in our journey and we are proud to add distilling to our expertise.

“Small scale distillation produces spirits of a quality and character that far surpass mass-produced products”

Adnams are keen to promote the fact that all of the grains being used in the distillation of their spirits are locally grown in East Anglia all of which is in keeping with Adnams tradition of being one of the most ecologically friendly brewers around.

If there spirits are anything like their beers then I look forward to getting my hands on a couple of bottles and wish them the very best of luck.

The pot still








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