Friday, December 09, 2016

On the 9th day Of Christmas ....

Sorry purists, have been drawn into the keg side. No I have no reason to apologise, I am quite partial to the odd keg beer, and looking at the clip, this was a little on the odd side.

Wild Beer are from Somerset, and a pretty fine brewery. I have sampled plenty of their beers in the past but always on cask, bur when I was a little short of choice in the Victoria Cafe in Halifax today I was drawn to their 'Sleeping Lemons'. 

The version I had was 3.6%. And checking on the brewery web site this is the summer version.(The winter version is 6%). It is a lemon gose. Sharp and sour, fresh, clean and with plenty of zing. It would be a perfect summer beer, and to tell the truth, it's not a bad beer for a grey December day either.

If anyone has a sighting of the 6% version let us know, I would be interested to try it.

On the 8th Day of Xmas......

I don't  really believe in Santa Claus, but as my previous post proved, there is always a place for  kind person to provide me with excellent beers, as is the case with Vocation. As I said, I had fully intended to return to the Market Tavern for another dose of their 'Chop and Change' but circumstances dictated that I had to trip into Huddersfield. And it would have been rude not to sample the odd beer or two.

My first call was the Sportsman; good beers but nothing with the wow factor, but I had overlooked the two empty pumps. I was returning my glass to the bar, I am a tidy creature, when I espied a green pump clip that had a familiar look. 'North Riding' Mosaic Pale had arrived. It arrived quietly without bells and whistles and almost eluded me. It was as excellent as ever. A great hop, a great brewery, and a great beer. There is a Santa Claus after all...

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

It is the Season to Be Jolly - Ho Ho Ho !!

Well its about 3 weeks before Christmas, so I thought I would be wrong I was.

Readers of 'A Swift One' in previous years will know of my passion for Christmas Beers (sarcasm - tongue in cheek, etc) but .... Today I had a trip round Leeds. I started early to miss the crowds in the pubs I wanted to visit. I planned to avoid all the stuff with rum, raisins, cinnamon, turkey and stuffing in it and hit the hoppy stuff.

It was a bit weird. I never saw a Christmas beer. Not that I am complaining. In fact after 1 pm it was bloody hard to see a beer at all. I have whinged before about once a year drinkers but it seems they have been replaced by a group (or may be several - every pub seemed to have one) who want to hang around in front of the bar so I can neither see the beer on the bar, nor get to the bar to order it. And this includes women of the opposite sex too who seem to think that texting is more important than me getting to the bar.

I understand this may occur in the few days before Christmas when the one a year drinkers appear but not now...if this is a foretaste of the next three weeks I am off to bed to hibernate. I had to totally change my route and plans because of them but may be it was for the best.

I did find a pub (thanks Jason) where there was a combination of excellent beer and for most of the time free of Xmas. And no Xmas beers either.

Sadly my hop search for hops was not too successful here, but on returning to Brighouse a quick call in the Market Tavern revealed a Vocation 'Chop & Change'. Result.

It wasn't until I returned for a second one that I read the strap line, 'Mosaic and Citra'. That is why it tasted so good. Now that is what Xmas is all about. Thank you Mr Claus. I may return tomorrow, and the day after and the day would be a waste to let the once a year drinkers have it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Connecting the dots

North Riding Mosaic Pale at Harry's Bar, Wakefield
CAMRA's pub of the season. Picture: GBK 
On Sunday I had my first proper session in ages. Well, since the last Star Beer Fest - and two weeks is a long time between drinks!
My beer journey in rural and central Sheffield last weekend saw me trying some good beers from the likes of Abbeydale, Thornbridge, Salamander, Howling Hops and a new brewery whose name escapes me - it was that sort of a session.
But there was one beer that I had no trouble recollecting as it stood out above some very good  ales.
My fan worship of all things out of North Riding Brewery and its brew pub in Scarborough is a matter of record on here. But I won't be changing the record any time soon as the Mosaic I had at The Kelham Island Tavern on Sunday was among my favourite drinks on cask this year. It's very easy to get reflective as the year end looms but I'll stand by that assessment, the mosaic was that good. 
I don't keep a record, so it's difficult for me to reel off a list of what I was drinking earlier in the year, but North Riding's name just keeps cropping up.
I was delighted to see not one, but two beers from the NRB stable on at the KIT. A dark IPA from its brew pub in Scarborough was on the bar with its paler colleague. The mosaic was up first and it was a shame it came towards the end of my session. It was the sort of beer I would have gladly built a session on. Take your pick of the hoppy adjectives, this beer was spot on in terms of taste and condition.
The black IPA followed. It was good but it's a beer style I've struggle to come to terms with no matter who is the brewer. I just can't get quite get my head around a dark India Pale Ale. I like to think I don't drink with my eyes. For example, I don't have any issues with hazy, unfined beers, but the Black IPA seems to be a mystery just out of my reach. But I'll keep trying.
But I've digressed, let's get back to North Riding's Mosaic Pale. It has cropped up twice more over the weekend. A tweet from the Sportsman in Huddersfield shows it has recently taken delivery of nine NRB beers, including Mosaic Pale.
and tonight I saw a tweet from @Gingerbeerking about Harry's Bar winning Wakefield CAMRA's latest pub of the season award. Among the presentation pictures was one showing it's dedicated NRB pump. I'll leave you to guess which beer was featured!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Star Winter Festival 2016 Review

Well, I managed to get my tastebuds sorted out just in time. Last night saw the opening of the Star Winter Festival, and, true to form, ' A Swift One' was there sampling the wares.

This festival was held inside the pub due to various external circumstances, but there was still a large selection of beers available, and the internal festival led to a more intimate atmosphere, which seemed more in keeping with the season.

There are 14 beers on a pop up bar, all handpulled and cellar cooled, along with those on the bar handpumps, and supplemented by another selection on cellar runs. Plenty to satisfy any taste. The pop up bar beers are £2.90 a pint.

I spent the evening on the light side,almost, leaving the darker stouts and porters for later in the festival. I had plenty of new breweries to sample and a plethora of new beers. I especially enjoyed Musket 'Trigger', a very easy drinking session beer; Brew York 'Yarsa' was 3.7% and again, very pleasant, and High Weald 'Chronicle' a similar strength beer, but a little darker, all the way from Sussex.

A couple of the breweries on offer had their own stories. Urban Huntsman has taken the cuckoo brewing system to a new level being a 'gypsy' brewery, brewing on whatever plant they find available. This time from a pipe factory in Warwickshire. And Don Valley has taken over the plant and the recipes of the erstwhile Owenshaw Mills Brewery, whose brewer seemed impressed with their take on his beers.

Oh,and if you need a recommendation for beer of the festival, I have a couple of personal observations. Mallinsons 'First We Take Manhattan' is a dry hopped special, and is absolutely hop packed, and should you fancy something a tad stronger for a night cap then Five Towns/North Riding 'Mad Monk' should hit the spot. It is an 8% Imperial Russian Stout, and is excellent, but to be treated with respect.

It was good to catch up with plenty of old friends and even better to be able to taste and enjoy my beer again. Thanks to Sam and the team for another great effort.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Star , Huddersfield List

The Star Festival starts tomorrow at 5pm. (and 5pm Thursday) and All day (noon) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday...This time the festival will be held inside the pub (ask the staff, they will explain why ) but as many beers as usual are available ..but some will be via cellar runs..

The list is as follows,(hopefully)

Brewery Beer
Cornish Crown One Hop, One Grain 4.1
2 Dowlands Hidden Colour 4.2
3 Musket Trigger Pale Ale 3.6
4 Serious Moonlight Stout 4.5
5 Urban Huntsman The Nomad 3.9
6 True North  Intergalactic Planetery 3.9
7 Don Valley Hitchcock 3.9
8 High Weald Chronicle 3.8
9 Tonbridge Coppernob 3.8
10 Blue Angel Abyss 4.8
11 HopJacker Pyrites 4.1
12 Mallinsons First we Take Manahttan 3.8
13 Chin Chin Pretty Visitor 4.8
14 Brew York Jarsa 3.7
15 Serious Redsmith IPA 4.5
16 Alechemy  Photon 4.3
17 Black Flag Chameleon 3.8
18 Yorkshire Dales Askrigg Greets 4.4
19 Drygate Himeros 4.2
20 Brass Castle Lemon Spritz ( w Black Jack) 5
21 Neepsend Iffrit 4.6
22 Wild Beer Millionaire 4.7
23 Five Towns/Revolutions Five Years
24 Scarborough Paper Tiger 4.4
25 Red Squirrel Raspbeery 4.5
Main Bar
26 Nelson Midshipmans Dark 4
27 Downlands  Watchmakers Bounty 5
28 Five Towns/ Nt Riding Mad Monk 8
29 Nth Blythe For A FewDollars More 4.1
30 Don Valley Ribble Head 4
31 Shipstones Orginal 3.8
32 Blue Square Moonlight Blonde 4
33 Chin Chin Screaming Eagle 4.7
34 Yorkshire Dales Green Mea 3.7
35 Whippet Winter BBA 4.5
36 HopJacker The Long Con 3.8
37 Mallinsons So Long Marianne 3.9
38 Oldershaw (Home Ales) Maid Marion 4.2
39 Whippet Little Curre (Rum & Raisin) 5.2
40 Revolutions In a Big Country
41 Lancons Pale 4.1

Any Mistakes are mine...have an angry lap top !!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Now and then

During the past fortnight  I've visited four pubs and a beer festival.
Destinations have ranged from Sheffield, Huddersfield and Otley.
My first port of call was The Wisewood Inn, Loxley, which is a mile or so from Hillsborough
I've been past on the bus a few times but had never called in until recently. I was told it's a free house and had just had its first birthday under its present management.
I won't do a full review as I've got a fair bit of ground to cover but I was impressed by the condition and clarity of the beer. My standout from among the four or five handpulls and keg lines was Abbeydale's Evil.
After a good Sunday lunch there I headed back into town and The Wellington at Shalesmoor, which reopened at the end of October.
The pub, formerly home to Little Ale Cart beers, is now the tap of Neepsend Brewery. I was pleased to see that it was a tasteful conversion. Not a great deal had changed bar the absence of Little Ale Cart beers. From memory, in their stead were two or three casks of Neepsend plus some guest ales and keg lines.
I just had enough time for a pint but managed to have two Neepsend beers which were new to me. 
The Neepsend theme continued a few days later when I called in at The Star, Lockwood, Huddersfield. There was a mandarin beer from Neepsend on there, plus a very nice beer from Shiny whose name escapes me. I don't think it was Pail, which I like too.
I don't normally do midweek drinking but I was tempted out by the news that The Star has recently started doing food on a Wednesday night. I think it's a single dish menu which changes from week to week, but it is the sort of tasty and value for money fare that we associate with Sam's beer festivals. Talking of which, The Star's winter festival starts on Wednesday, November 23 and runs until Sunday. 
I'm not privy to a beer list but I intend to report back after an early visit.
Last weekend saw me going off patch to Otley. I was part of the Five Town's 'posse' and thankfully Malcolm knew the way.
The festival was in the clubhouse of Otley Rugby Club. There were nearly 70 ales on in various forms of dispense. There was a long bar with beer on gravity, a smaller bar with handpulls, cider in boxes and a pop up craft keg bar. Malcolm kindly bought me Abbeydale/Brew Dog Sheffield's 'Peach Iced Tea Beer' collaboration. I was so impressed by it that I broke with tradition and actually voted in a beer of the festival competition.   
 On the way back to the bus station we went to a lovely bar, which Malcolm was familiar with having dropped off beer there. The Old Cock was my idea of a country pub: low ceilings, beams, a good fire, plenty of people and good beer. We had one eye on the bus back to Menston railway station so it was an all too brief visit. However, we did  manage a bit of 'quality control' on Five Town's Old Norrell, which I hadn't had for a while and enjoyed, a beer from Blue Bee (Dana?) and Rat Brewery's After Rat Mint.
That leads me neatly on to my last nugget of news: The Rat and Ratchet on Chapel Hill, Huddersfield will launch The Grapes of Rat, a barrel-aged 10% barley wine, on Thursday, December 1 at 8pm.
These brewers are keeping us busy!