Monday, 27 July 2009

Brewer's Swansong

Evening guys, this is one that I'd appreciate you telling any local pubs who have the power to buy in their own beer about, it's a good cause.

Iain Turnbull is dying from terminal prostate cancer and rather than wallowing in self-pity and saying woe is me he's brewing a dark mild with Tryst Brewery, Larbert near Falkirk at 6.9%ABV (a la Sarah Hughes) to raise money for the Macmillan nurses.

If you’d like your local, or your pub, to stock the beer then contact John MacGarva Tryst Brewery, Lorne Rd Larbert. FK5 4AT tel: 01324 554000, and tell them I sent you.

Please also pass this on to anyone else you know with independent purchasing power and also if any of you are Punch licensees, he’s managed to get a listing in Scotland and I’m sure enough requests may see it listed in England as well.

It's a good cause and, I hear tell, a very good beer.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Walk with Me

Evening all!

Just to let you know that I'm doing my guided walks for women at the Great British Beer Festival again this year, so if anyone's interested in signing up then you can do so when you buy your ticket.

My walks run at every evening from August 4-7 and if last year's strolls around the festival are anything to go by it should be great fun.

Hope to see some of you there - and even if you don't make it on one/don't qualify even by shaving and donning a skirt, if you see me don't hesitate to come and say hi!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Come Over to the Dark Side

Brewdog is offering a whopping 70% discount on its 4.9% Zeitgeist dark lager to readers of this blog.

And in addition it gives you the opportunity to take ownership of the Zeitgeist blog and website; the idea being the creation of a whole alternative community online.

People can blog about anything: beer, art, film, culture and you can also upload movies, pictures and anything else you want, allowing the direction of the discussions and posts to set the tone of the site.

All you have to do to be able to blog is to buy some beer for the brewery's online shop and to get your 70% discount just type in SHEEP - which I'm sure isn't a social comment in any way!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Does My Bum Look Big in this Barrel?

Some odd things happen to me in the course of my work, not surprising when you consider the amount of booze that it involves, but this is a weird one even by my standards!

To set the scene for you, a couple of months ago Luke Nicholas from Epic brewery was over here brewing for Wetherspoon's and I met up with him and his mate Colin Mallon (a Scotsman who runs a great-sounding pub called the Malthouse ) had some beers, a bite to eat and an all-round good laugh.

They went back to New Zealand, we did the Facebook thing to stay in contact and I didn't think much more about it - until a tagged photo of a barrel appeared with my name on it on Colin's page, which I found a little odd/slightly insulting!

So, a faux-indignant enquiry was made and I got back a very cryptic 'you'll have to wait and see' response - worst thing ever to say to a nosey journalist.

Unfortunately, my attempts to get more information out of Luke yielded even less fruit, which was even more frustrating - particularly when Tweets started appearing saying things like 'just filling Melissa' which, I must say, came as a surprise to me!

Anyway, I had pretty much forgotten about it until this morning when I finally got around to reading Colin's recent message - and all has been revealed.

Basically, inspired by Pete Brown's new book Hops & Glory (which I've mentioned previously), Luke & Colin cooked up the idea to put two wooden casks of beer onto the New Zealand Interislander Ferry for six weeks to see what effect it has - the decided that the barrels should be named after Pete and myself, which is sweet... I think!

I can't wait to hear what the beer tastes like because, although it won't be the same length of voyage, it will be fascinating to see if there's a similar effect on the strength of the hop character in the beer to the one that Pete experienced with his.

p.s. I'm disturbed by how much Luke appears to be enjoying hitting 'me' in the picture, I thought we got on quite well!!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Bits & Pieces - me & the post that is!

Morning campers!

This is a bit of a random collection of things that I've been meaning to put up for a while and have spectacularly failed to do, for which I apologise.

First up is the Publican's Proud of Pubs bitter - bloody drinkable, for a very good campaign and brewed under the Morrisey Fox label.

Now I know a lot of you probably saw the C4 programme that came out and, at the risk of ticking off an employer, I have to say having met Mr Morrisey several times in various places and having known Richard for a few years, they were badly portrayed.

Neil (I can call him that now you know!) is genuinely passionate about beer, brewing and the British pub and I really like the guy's take on things.

"If the British pub disappeared tomorrow there would absolute public uproar, so why don't more people support the ones they've got more today?

"We're a nation of pub-goers, it's partly what defines us, and more people should be proud of that and show appreciation for beer & pubs, I get really annoyed when it's all bad news about pubs all the time when actually the really good ones are still thriving."

Can't argue with a word of that... Proud of Pubs week runs from July 11-19 so ask your local to stock Proud of Pubs bitter, it's available through Waverley TBS.

Spicy Little Number
Anyway, onto the next bit, keep an eye out for Sharp's new Honey Spiced Wheat which is coming to a specialist beer retailer near you soon - it's absolutely lush. The honey is balanced out with the creaminess of the wheat and the spice is subtle but punchy enough to let you know it's there, an altogether cracking beer.

Gin Fling
Being the drinks junkie that I am I always like to throw in something non-beery from time-to-time and I love the new Hendricks campaign to use mis-shapen fruit and veg more.

The Hendrick's Charter for the Legalisation of Forgotten Fruits plays on the fact that the EU late last year tore up the utterly ridiculous piece of legislation that prevented 'ugly' fruits to go on sale (think bananas that only curved a certain degree etc.).

For those of you who haven't tried Hendrick's yet, it's a seriously floral, refreshing and delicious gin with cucumber and rose petals as just two of its 29 botanicals.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Tapping into the American Dream

Ooooh have I got news for you! To mark the start of the American beer festival at the White Horse this weekend (will sooo see you there!) there's a massive whisky-aged cask of Meantime's London Porter being tapped at noon on Friday.

I'm not sure what this has to do with the American festival and care even less because I can't wait to try it!

The American beers at the festival will include cask brews from Sierra Nevada,which I love, Victory which I've only tried bottled of and am a bit ambivalent about at this stage and Stone Brewery - which is bringing out the big guns in the form of a smoked porter with vanilla pods in the cask, a Pale Ale with coriander and an extra oak-chipped version of Arrogant Bastard – all of which will have extra dry hops in the cask to keep the beers in tip top condition.

Keg beers on offer will include a choice from the Goose Island,Flying Dog, Anchor, Great Divide and Left Hand Breweries and Victory Prima Pils, as well as a selection of English Ales using American hops, like Saltaire's Cascade and Brodies' Californian.

As I said, see you there!

Reader information: I did do some work with the White Horse on the American Beer Festival but was not paid for this post