Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Steve Johnson - RIP

Today I heard the sad news that Steve Johnson, one of the faces behind local bars, had passed away. There is little else I can say,except he was one of the nicest blokes I have ever met. And from my side 'A Swift One' is going into a spell of mourning. Even though we met through beer, there is more than beer ...and I cannot find the right words...Steve J a legend ...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Beer Of The Day - Thornbridge 'Wye'

Those of you who have read my drivel over the years may have heard me wax lyrical about Thornbridge Wye.

I have had it loads of times. I shouldn't like it. But for some bizarre reason I Do.

4.7% and light..sounds ok..cucumber...(pardon)...cucumber...in a beer

In a beer I hear you say. How it actually got there is beyond me, but that may be science and that is not my speciality.

I have checked the brewery website without success and also read several other 'beer' websites. This is a marmite beer...you either love it or hate it..but why don't you read the pump clip before you buy it and complain it tastes of cucumbers !!

But if you see it you may be quite impressed..I am

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Beer Of The Day - Fyne 'Jarl'

With temperatures reaching unusually high levels yesterday, there was really only one style of beer to look out for as a thirst quencher. I needed something light, hoppy and refreshing, and not too strong. Much as I tried I failed, but my bad luck was tempered by the taunting pole in The Grove. There taunting me was Fyne Brewery 'Jarl'

One of the core range of beers brewed by the Scottish brewery it is multi award winning and it is easy to see why. A light golden colour, it is fresh tasting, with grassy and citrus notes coming through before a dry finish. Its strength makes it an ideal summer beer, and its flavour ,ideal  to accompany a summers day.

I cannot wait for it to reach the bar, I am sure it will not stay long, and I am willing to bet it will be raining outside. It will still taste as good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Huddersfield Real Ale and Cocktail Trail 2016

This years Real Ale and Cocktail Trail started on 16th July and continues until 7th August and allows plenty of time to visit the 14 venues on the trail. Visit 8 of the 14 and get your card stamped and you are entitled to an engraved glass.

The participating venues are (in the order on the form)
Herberts Bar
Northern Taps
Revolution Bar
The Albert
The County
The Grove
The Head Of Steam
The Kings Head
The Slug & Lettuce
The Kings Head
The Slug and Lettuce
The Sportsman
The Vulcan
The Plumbers
The Cherry Tree

Beer Of The Day - Hydes 'Munchen'

Hydes Brewery are one of the country's older statesmen in brewing terms, having been brewing for over a century in Manchester. They do brew a basic core range of beers but they have started brewing small batch beers in the last few years. I encountered one of their more interesting ones yesterday in The Crown in Huddersfield.

'Munchen' is a Bavarian style beer. It is straw coloured and 5%. It uses the traditional style of Pilsnen malt and a collection of German Noble hops - Hallertau, Mittlefrau and Hersbrucker.

It is an excellent English take on a classic German style of beer, but is only available for one month, so its a grab it while you can scenario.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pub of the Week - Summer Wine Brewery Tap

Tucked away in the far corner of Crossley Mills industrial estate at Honley, Summer Wine Brewery's newly opened 'Tap' is our featured destination this week. Easily accessed by bus or train from Huddersfield town centre, the work in progress bar exclusively serves up SWB beers including a couple on handpull.

Plans are underway for a new plant to be installed in the remainder of the unit and an outdoor drinking area is currently under construction. A smart screen at the back of the bar displays what's on offer and it will shortly be possible to check the brewery's website for live updates. 

Current licensing only allows opening from 5pm Friday and noon on Saturdays & Sundays but keep an eye on the website for news and updates at www.summerwinebrewery.co.uk

Tel: 01484-665466

Beer Of The Day - St Barnardus ABT 12

(Before I start I apologise for the break in normal service but gremlins from Windows 10 have blighted my blogging. I hope the matter is now rectified - but I am not optimistic !)

This choice is slightly unusual in that it is not a cask beer, but rather a keg beer that I discovered accidentally. It is more usually found in bottles but on draught it was too good to miss.

St Barnardus are a trappist brewery from the Westphalia region of Belgium. 'ABT 12' is their flagship beer, and it is easy to see why. It is an Abbeye style Quadrupel, and absolutely rammed with flavour from the head throughout the whole beer. It does come at 10% abv however.

The head is creamy coloured and the beer dark, almost deep maroon, and the taste is complex, maybe the most complex I have ever encountered, which makes it difficult to define. Each taste brings something new out of the glass; bitter but sweet, hoppy but malty, fruity yet tart. It does have a lingering bitter finish.

I came across it in the middle of last week in the Victorian Cafe Bar, in Halifax, but it is available in bottles.

Netherton Hosts its First Beer Festival

Nethcon 1 will be Netherton's (the Huddersfield one) first beer and music festival. It will take place from midday on the 30th July at Netherton Conservative Club (14 Lightenfield Lane). HD47DU.

It will feature an outside bar with 10 real ales sourced from the Huddersfield area, and a barbeque.

Additionally some of the area's best bands will feature including Lew Rey, Wired, and Fiery Biscuits and the event will close with the village's own band, Helter Skelter.

Entry will be £2 and will entitle you to a festival glass. Just hope the weather is good.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Beer Of The Day - Wild Beer Co 'Millionaire'

One of the beers available on the main bar at the Star beer festival, and the one that seemed to be selling well was Wild Beer 'Millionaire'. Admittedly it did divide opinion but those that liked it, loved it.

The brewery are from the South West but their beers are often seen around in our area, and I must confess I have encountered this previously.

It is a 4.7% milk stout. Nothing unusual there I hear you say. Except....cocoa nibs, caramel, and Cornish Sea salt combine to create something different. Sweet and savoury mix with a background of roast and chocolate malts. It tastes decadent, and is a perfect beer for the end of a session.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Star Folly Festival Review

Last night saw the doors open on the Star Summer Beer Festival. This festival has reverted to the tried and trusted marquee system, with 35 beers available outside. all handpulled and cellar cooled.

For the first nights sampling I concentrated on breweries new to me, and light hoppy beers. There are plenty of each to sample, and the ones I tried were good. Local breweries are also well represented should these whet your appetite.

The first problem was what to start with. Well my usual system at the festival is to take the Mallinsons specials first, so I started there. I prefered 'It Takes Two' the slightly stronger one at 4.3%. Plenty of taste there. I followed this with Briggs 'Quinthop' - dry hopped with give different hops. Continuing the local theme Beer Ink 'Pin Up Pale with Citra' was next, and again it did what it said on the tin.

A quick deviation into the new breweries brought forth light beers from Dark Wave, Mumbles, Chin Chin, and Tarn 51, and all were pretty decent beers, but as I was in ticking mode I was overhearing good things about a couple of the beers that I had intended to save for later in the festival.

Arbor 'Shangri La' was 4.2% and well hopped up to their usual standards, but the real favourite was Left Handed Giant 'Pale' - it sounded a bit boring but a quick scan of the pump clip revealed it was brewed with Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe, an absolute classic.

Time was beginning to catch up with me now and there were a couple of interesting fruit beers I wanted to sample. Beer Ink 'Pin Up Pale with mint and kiwi fruit' was very minty and I struggled to detect the kiwi. Likewise, Downlands 'Papa Jr' promised passion fruit, but maybe I got a hint, but not much.

The festival is open all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with music from 'Trouble at t'Mill' on Friday night and Razorbach on Saturday night. There is still plenty of beer left, call down and  sample it.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Pub of the Week - Plumbers Arms

Conveniently situated next to Huddersfield bus station on Macaulay Street, the Plumbers Arms has recently undergone an extensive refit.

In addition to it's proximity to the public transport hub, the Plumbers also benefits from a plaza setting away from busy roads where, weather permitting, a bit of ale-fresco can be enjoyed.

A stripped back approach has been taken with the refurbishment, both inside and out, resulting in a faux rustic interior of sorts.

The beer choice ain't bad, eight handpumps,  and the quality of both Mallinsons and Abbeydale tested was undeniable. A most welcome addition to the town centre real ale scene and a must visit after a stressful bus journey.

The Plumbers Arms
6 Macaulay Street

Beer Of The Day - Brass Castle 'Life's A Beach'

Today's beer is a little different - in more ways than one. I first saw this as a keg beer and did not try it, but when I saw a cask version I thought it was time to try it. A what a surprise I got !

Brass Castle have been brewing since 2011, originally in Pocklington but then demand dictated they move premises and after a couple of moves have settled in a 200 cask per week brewery in the centre of Malton. They have a reputation for brewing interesting beers, all of which are vegan friendly.

However when I encountered 'Life's A Beach' it was not quite what I expected. It is described by the brewery as pina colada in a glass. I am not so sure about that, but it was a very fine beer. It is 3.6% unfined wheat ale, in the American style. The mix of hops includes Sorachi Ace, Mosaic and Citra, which guarantee a floral, fruity mix with plenty of tropical notes, which are accentuated by the addition of mango, pineapple and coconut.

I know it sounds weird but it works. The only drawback being that I found it in Calls Landing in Leeds, should I find it locally I will let you know.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Beer Of The Day - Newby Wyke 'White Squall'

One of my 'must have' breweries is Newby Wyke. They originated in Little Bytham in Lincolnahire but a few years ago moved to larger premises in Grantham. Their beers are often named after vessels of various kinds, or occasionally use other nautical terms.

'White Squall' is a 4.8% bitter, blonde coloured and massively hoppy, with a subtle fruitiness in the finish . It is unsurprising that it has been winning awards since its inception in 1999.

As I said Newby Wyke are a brewery I always go for when I see their beers on a bar, This one can be found at present on the bar in The Kings Head.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Star 'Folly Festival' - Summer 2016

This years Star at Huddersfield Summer 'Folly Festival' will start at 5pm on Wednesday 6th July and continue through until Sunday with noon opening on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The beer list is attached on a separate post (so much for Windows 10 being easy to use!)

Beers 1-36 are on the marquee bar.
Beers 37 onwards on pub bar as and when.

See you there.

Star Festival List

1 GHOST Spirit Of Folly 3.8
2 MALLINSONS Gradu'ale'tion 3.9
4 BRIGGS SIGNATURE Cherry Darling 3.9
5 MALLINSONS It Takes Two 4.3
6 CHIN CHIN Little Boy Lost 4.8
7 DARK WAVE Altered State 4.5
9 SENTENIAL Orange Stout 4.2
10 TARN 51 Against The Tide 4.4
11 GHOST Salem 3.5
12 SETTLE Castleberg 4
13 MUMBLES Hop Kick 4
14 FLASH HOUSE Session IPA 4.4
15 SUNBEAM Honey and Lavender 5.2
16 TARN 51 Black Snout Stout 4
17 PIG AND PORTER Dance First 4.2
18 ODYSSEY Dark Wave 4.4
19 HARESFOOT Wild Boy 3.5
20 BUTCHERS DOG One O One 4.6
21 BEER INK Pin Up Pale (citra) 4
22 BEER INK Pin Up Pale (Kiwi and Mint) 4
23 DOWNLANDS Elektron 3.2
24 GREAT HECK Mercy 4
26 WISHBONE Ahtanum 4.5
27 RAW Gin & Tonic 3.8
28 FLASH HOUSE Golden 3.8
29 ARBOR Shangri La 4.2
30 SENTENIAL Summer Gold 4
31 JUST A MINUTE Movin' On 4.2
32 ELECTRIC BEAR Elemental 4.4
33 DOWNLANDS Papa Jr 4.4
34 SETTLE Golden Fleece 3.9
35 MUMBLES Oyster Stout 4.4
36 BRODIES Whitechapel Weizen 4.5
37 XT/ANIMAL Sloth 4.6
38 WILD BEER Millionaire 4
39 ELECTRIC BEAR Livewire 5.4
40 NORTH BLYTH Ali 3.8
41 BUTCHERS DOG Yorkshire Tyke 3.8
42 CHURCH END Blue Norther 4
43 LONDON BEER LAB Simcoe Pale 5
44 PENTRICH Soma 4
45 AMBER Parisian Dreams 4
46 SHINY Solar Flare 4
47 MUMBLES Red Dragon 4.6

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Beer Of The Day - Vocation 'Chop and Change - Ella'

I have written in glowing terms before of  Vocation brewery, a recently started brewery at Hebden Bridge, that has hit the ground running and is producing excellent beers.

One of their ranges of beers is 'Chop and Change'. All the range are 4.5% and use the same base beer but with the single hop changing regularly. They are not easy to track down, such is their popularity that often when I hear of them being available in a pub, on my arrival they have run off.

I was fortunate on Friday when I called in the Market Tavern in Brighouse to find 'Chop and Change - Ella' on the bar. It was an excellent beer, clear, fresh and displaying the characteristics of the Ella hop at its best - with the fruity, floral hints to the fore.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Monkeyfest this weekend

Monkeyfest 2016 gets underway in Armitage Bridge in less than two hours.
There are more than 60 beers on offer and a series of live musical acts.
I haven't seen a beer list but I hope to rectify that shortly. 
The festival starts at noon on Saturday, July 2 and the fist day closes at 10.30pm.
The Sunday session opens at noon and closes at 9pm.
Entry costs £2 and gets you a glass and programme.
The club has good bus link from town and Metham and Honley/Holme. By rail, it lies just below the Penistone Line. 
There is more information about the festival here: http://monkeyclub.co.uk/?page_id=129

Beer Of The Day - Raw 'All Along The Herb Garden'

Raw Brewery is based in Staveley, near Chesterfield, and has been brewing since 2010. I have family connections in the area and encounter their beers quite often, but I have never encountered a beer of theirs  quite like the one I came across yesterday. In fact, I would be hard pressed to think if have ever come across a beer like it.

'All Along The Herb Garden' was at the Flowerpot beer festival at Mirfield. It is pale, 3.9% and has no discernable hop flavours. That is not to say that they are not there but the main flavours there are  created by an infusion of herbs. I checked the brewery website to assist me but it does not feature there so my notes are taken from the festival notes.

The beer has a distinctive nose, with lavender notes and lemon grass but the tasting notes also mention lemon verbana, nettle and chamomile. They all blend together to create an interesting beer. I thought it would be ok for half and then that would be it, but I found myself with a second one because I found it so interesting.

If you want to try it it will be available at the Flowerpot until it runs out, but there again there are plenty of other festival beers there to compensate.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Has the Bubble Burst ?

If you have read the previous post, you will have found that Hornbeam brewery of Manchester has just produced its last beer, That is a shame as I quite enjoyed their beers, but in the recent past they only seem to have been available close to their home area.

This revelation started a conversation with the Bar Fringe barman, who is a knowledgeable guy , about the demise of the brewery. He reminded me that there are several other breweries in the Manchester area that have ceased brewing the recent past. Boggart and Allgates are two others at least, but I am sure there are more.

The concern here is that these are larger breweries, well established in their own area,but one's that seem not to be able to cope with the massive influx of the new wave of breweries in the area. Hornbeam had been brewing for nearly 10 years, the other two even longer; if breweries of this pedigree feel unable to continue, what of the rest of the brewing world ?

There may be personal reasons I am unaware of to close the breweries, but I am sure that the newer breweries ethos may also be a reason. The older breweries brewed beer, and sold it to pubs in casks. Often via a wholesaler.They rarely bothered with kegging, or canning, just occasionally bottling their beer. The new wave seem to be totally the opposite.

I am not criticising their practices - you have to move with the times. But the new wave beers are more often seen on keg, and in cans with cask being a small part of their output. Their sales often coming through brewery swaps, doing away with the middle man. This seems to be the way forward and what the new generation of drinkers wants and consequently the older generation of brewers who are reluctant or fail to adapt may fall by the way side.

I hope this is not the case and there is enough capacity in the brewing industry to support both the old and the new, but on the strength of yesterday I am not so sure. Watch this space

Since I wrote this I have received information that my suggestion that Allgates has closed is incorrect, although brewing is currently suspended. If this is the case and I have caused any distress I apologise. Timbo

Beer Of The Day - Hornbeam 'Bowing Out'

Todays Beer Of The Day is somewhat different to those I selected previously, but more of that shortly. It is a light, hoppy beer, at 4.8%. Nothing unusual there then. It is an excellent beer, with citrus notes, and a slightly flowery nose. There were further hints of hedgerows with nettles and spice in the background of the beer. It was complex and interesting.

I assumed when I drank it in the Bar Fringe, in Manchester's northern quarter yesterday that it's name 'Bowing Out' was a reference to the Brexit vote or the Football debacle, but I was wrong..... it is Hornbeam brewery's last ever beer.....and that got me thinking.