Friday, January 20, 2017

Beer of the week 2 and 3 (2017)

To all those people who were desperate to read what the second beer of the year was I apologise, (but it wasn't really my fault..blame windows ..) enough said !!!

However, because I feel that we ought not to short change you, you can have 2 for the price of 1 - in blog terms anyway - if you try it at a bar I am not sure it would be appreciated.

Cloudwater are one of our breweries from over in the dark side. They have been brewing since Feb 2015 in central Manchester  and have been producing plenty of interesting cask beers. They went through a phase of brewing beers for all seasons  (often with spring/summer, or autumn/winter) combined. And beers of all styles but I preferred their hoppy beers. Light and fresh, interesting but not overly hopped. The same cannot be said of some of their keg products.

They brew some seriously good key keg beers. Their DIPA range is exceptionally good, but sadly exceptionally strong. The range started at v1 and the latest in the range is DIPA v10 , a mere 9.0% and available at the moment at The Victoria,Halifax. As DIPA suggests it is not shy on the hop front with a massive hit of complex tastes. Admittedly not for all, but worth a third just for the experience.

However, sadly, the cask beer on the bar at Grove is a swansong. It is believed to be the last cask Cloudwater beer, and pretty good it is too. Winter Sessions 'Centennial/Chinook'  is a 4.5% light bitter. Very pleasant, not too hoppy but with a fresh twist. A shame they have stopped brewing cask, in my humble opinion, but the brewers know best. It is excellent, and  the best beer on the bar, if not one of the best beers in the town. A sad day, but we can always console ourselves with their keg beers.

In case it disappears quickly a new beer on the bar at the Star shortly should be Horbury 5 Hop. A combination of American and Australian hops I believe, and the word on the grapevine is that it is well worth a try, I will keep you posted.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Beer Of The Week, Week One

This year I have decided that instead of a beer of the day, which I did throughout December, I would select a 'Beer Of The Week' . This should be a fairly achievable target I hope, so I have had the first week of the new year to road test the idea.

Quite frankly this year has started much the same as the last one finished, but I have a cold to throw into the mix which is affecting my taste slightly. It will not be a true reflection of a weeks beer since many pubs were not open for at least some of the week but I have managed to get around a few places to sample their wares.

I have sampled a mixture of cask and keg, and my first selection comes from the latter. The Sportsman has 'Somerset Wild' from the Wild brewery of Somerset on the taps there. It is an intense tasting beer. Sour but not excessively so, it is hard to pin down the underlying taste. The brewery website refers to homemade lemonade, I would not disagree but it has more depth than that.

What really made it special was the way the beer has been fermented, using locally harvested yeasts and bacteria, which gives it a touch of the Belgian Saison style.
It is 5%, so not overly strong. It comes highly recommended, (well at least by Robin and me !)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye 2016, and thank you

I am sure there are not many of us that will be sad to see the end of this year, that is those of us that have managed to survive until the end of the year, I have a record collection that is now almost 100% comprised of dead people. As I have alluded to previously, the editorial team have all had personal problems that have precluded us writing as much as we, and hopefully you, would have liked. And it has likewise prevented us getting out and about as much as usual.

On the plus side, Huddersfield has acquired a couple of new pubs and a couple of revamped ones. The Corner has hit the ground running, and the Arcade is great for keg and bottled beer. The work goes on at the Kings Head but it is gradually developing, and the Plumbers has opened again.

Out of town The Market Tavern in Brighouse is a must visit venue, and Halifax continues to spawn good micro pubs to make the town well worth a visit. Another place to go is Bradford which has now got a decent amount of real ale pubs in a lot smaller area than previously.

Sadly we have lost Ron Crabtree from the Sair, and Steve Johnson from the Grove and the Dog and Partridge.

On the beer front things have developed much as one would expect. I have encountered around 100 new breweries, not all good admittedly, and presumably some others have fallen by the wayside. Several local breweries have started key kegging, and canning beers as well as the more usual casking and bottling. There have been new hops appearing in various breweries beers, but I must admit that personally none seem to have a 'wow factor'. But it does seem that that the availability of cask beer is growing.

Hopefully 2017 will see a continuation of the good parts of 2016, and weed out the less good and we can be out and about reporting the great and the good locally. We hope to see you there.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas to all our Readers

Merry Christmas to all our readers. It has been a challenging year personally for each of the editorial team and we are aware that we have not been able to post as frequently as we would have liked. However, we have all reached the end of 2016 intact - which is a miracle in itself watching the news - and will take 2017 head on. Trying to bring you updates on beers, breweries and pubs around our area.

Thank you for reading us. Any comments and suggestions are welcome, whether positive or otherwise.

Thanks Timbo, Ale Louse, Ale Ambler

Saturday, December 24, 2016

On the 23rd Day of Xmas

This was allegedly 'Mad Friday' so I thought I would play safe and stay near to home, so I had a trip around Huddersfield. There were plenty of beers about but not many of them had the 'wow' factor. I know it is that time of year, but I did expect something a little more exciting.

The best of the bunch was on keg at the Arcade Bar. If you have not been there, why not?

It was a 8.3% double IPA collaboration between Magic Rock and Cloudwater, two breweries with excellent pedigrees, and 'Big Dipper' showed that. Sadly, although good it wasn't as spectacular as I expected.

Anyway, onwards..and with only one drinking day until Xmas, let's see what The Star can offer me today.

Friday, December 23, 2016

On the 22nd day of Xmas

A visit to Bradford gave me a chance to compare and contrast two beers from one of my favourite breweries. I visited the Record Cafe in North Parade (a must visit part of the city if you happen to be there) and discovered to my pleasure that they had North Riding 'Us Session IPA' and 'US IPA' on the bar at the same time.

The former was 3.8%, and contained Chinook, Galena, and Summit hops. As session beers go, it was pretty tasty, although when compared with its bigger brother there was a lack of malty background.

The latter was 5.5% and contained a combination of Centennial and Falconers 7 hops.

I would have been hard pushed to choose a favourite between the two. All I can say is that both of them were better than any other beers I had on my travels, and I did try some old favourites. A testament to an excellent brewery.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

On the 21st Day of Xmas...

Day 21 brought a trip to Halifax and Brighouse. Plenty of decent beers and decent pubs to visit.

Things started well with 6 new beers in the Victoria. Two of those could have been mine beer of the day, but I have chosen a cask beer over a key keg. This being from Black Jack.

They have been brewing in Manchester since 2012, and brew a range of beers - covering almost every style. I am not a fan of everything they have brewed but I really enjoyed their 5% 'Devils Bedpost'.  It was the first time I had encountered the beer but it has been around since 2014 apparently.

Not quite an IPA, not quite a bitter, it was difficult to define. It was light coloured, and pleasantly hoppy, there was no indication on the clip but I suspect they were Australian. It had a pleasant citrus taste without being overpowering.