Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sessions at the North Riding Brew Pub, Scarborough

North Riding Brew Pub in Scarborough
A few days ago I had a holiday in Scarborough and had the opportunity to drink in lots of places that were new to me.
But truth be told I never managed to spread my wings as I became a regular, so to speak, at the North Riding Brew House on North Marine Road.
Now, we see quite a bit of Stuart Neilson's beer in Huddersfield, Sheffield and Wakefield. His ales are much admired by all of us at A Swift One. But I had never drunk at the fountainhead.
The pub is a stone's throw from Scarborough Cricket Club and a good javelin throw from the sea.
There are two bars. The front bar, or the snug, features a few handpulls and plenty of seating. 
The back bar is more spacious and has a longer bar, a pool table and a large screen TV.
On my first visit there were cask ales from Blue Bee, Revolutions North Riding and several others. On keg there were ales from Kernel, a wheat beer from Bad Seed (I think) and North Riding's American Pale Ale, which was one of the best kegged beers I've had.  I wish I could tell you the percentage and the hops but all I can tell you was it about 4.5% and I could have drunk much more if it hadn't of run off.
That became something of a recurring theme during my visits: the speed that North Riding's beers ran off. And no, before you ask, I wasn't a major contributing factor, as I had a fair bit of ambling to do along the Cleveland Way and had to have a clear head on those paths with precipitous drops down to the sea.
The reason for the quick turnover of ales was simply this is a popular pub. It was busy on most of the nights I was in there.
On my second visit I went for Symphony of the Night, which I think was brewed in the pub rather than the bigger NRB site at East Ayton, which is distinguished by the more modern pumpclips. I also tried their Citra and Yojimbo,which was nearly 6%.
,Just as I thought it couldn't get any better, the third day yielded NRB's Belma which was so good I had to return to it. Next came a beer I had trouble pronouncing, Iudex Gundyr, which thanks to Google I now know may be a reference to computer game character.
My final night continued the upward curve of good sessions. I'd been waiting a day or two for a beer from the larger North Riding Brewery called Dandelion & Burdock, which recalled the pop drink of my youth both in taste and smell. And it had a pleasing kick at 4.5%. I thought that was going to cap my visit only for it to be upstaged by the brew pub's Peasholm Pale. It features Citra hops and its ABV is 4.3%. This was the unfined version. I was told the brewery had done a few unfined beers to bring out more taste. I had nothing to compare it to but can only say, in simple terms, that it was one of the best beers I'd had in a long while. I didn't care if it was slightly hazy, not when it tasted as good as that. I only wish I'd seen it earlier that evening and had tried the 'normal' version so as to gauge any difference. But once again I'd missed it earlier in the week because I was so engrossed in other interesting ales from the brew pub and from the new brewery.
If you are in Scarborough do make a trip up North Marine Road because you won't regret it. I'm already looking forward to my next visit.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Beer Of The Day - Redwillow 'Faithless LX'

One of the breweries I always look out for are Redwillow. They have been around for the last few years, and used to be a familiar sight around our parts, but are gradually becoming more difficult to track down.

However, on a trip into the dark side (sorry Bradford !)  I encountered their latest beer, or at least the most recent I have seen, their Faithless LX  was on key keg (sorry purists) and was excellent.

It was an 8.0% offering. and bloody excellent. The last beer I can remember tasting as I expected

Another Timbo Apology

Due to a re-occurence of the infection in my mouth and the damage it is/has caused I will not be writing for a while. I am still in circulation but trying to objectively describe beer that I can or cannot taste properly is not fair to the reader or the brewer.

I will be back !!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Beer Of The Day - Liberation 'Pilsner'

As I mentioned last week, the Wetherspoon festival started last week, and i have managed to sample quite a few of their beers. Unfortunately, most are not quite to my taste, except for one that really stood out.

Liberation are a brewery that are rarely encountered, even though they have been around since 1871. The reason being that the are based in Jersey, so beer festivals seem to be the place to encounter them, and I have come across a few at previous 'Spoons events.

This time they have created one of my favourite styles of beers and done a fine job too. Their 3.9% 'Pilsner' is their take on a cask lager, It is a totally UK creation with the UK Pilsner malt being complemented with Pioneer and Sovereign hops.

The resulting beer is crisp, clean and light, with a hint of citrus and a background sweetness making a wonderfully rounded beer.

I came across it in Halifax, but it is doing the rounds of 'Spoons if you want to catch it.

Beer of the Day - Kelham Island ,IPA of the Dead

The Kelham Island Brewery in Sheffield has been on the go since 1990, one of the older hands in the micro brewery revolution. It has produced plenty of beers in its lifetime, but lately I have not been too impressed with some of their output. At least until yesterday.

I called in the Market Tavern in Brighouse, (as an aside, if you have not visited it, get down there, it is excellent) and discovered a new Kelham Island IPA on the bar. 'IPA of the Dead' is their new beer for October. It is 5.9% - a proper strength for an IPA, not like these 3.9% versions. And the strength gives it the chance to have a proper body, and consequently it drinks its strength, if that makes sense.

However, apart from the body, the beer has a good hop balance, according to their website 'a fusion of hops from the old and new worlds'. It leads to a clean finish, with hints of citrus in the background.

Certainly worth a second pint, or a third in my case. And the bother it caused me for missing my bus !!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry

I thought I'd resort to a literary headline to beef up my rather shambolic but nonetheless enjoyable session in Sheffield on Saturday.
Actually 'best-laid plans' suggests a high degree of planning, whereas my session was anything but.
I thought whichever platform my train pulled in would determine my route for a football-free, quiet session.
Platform One would mean catching a bus up West Street with the aim of a pit stop at The Bath Hotel, moving on to Crookes for pizza and a pint at The Punchbowl before walking down towards The Closed Shop and then up to The Blake before heading back to town.
Platform Three would mean a walk under Hyde Park Flats in the direction of Lady's Bridge for a riverside crawl to Neepsend and back along the tram route.
The train stopped on platform one but missed buses and trams soon saw me hoofing it towards The Harlequin in search of food and some Exit 33 beers, of which I am very partial.
No sooner had I grabbed a half of their Mosaic then a large group of blokes on a crawl turned up. At this point I should point out I don't subscribe to the view that real ale pubs should be like libraries where silence is golden. They are open to everyone: young, middle-aged, old and even lager drinkers.
But just this once I fancied a quiet pint or two on a Saturday without any football.
So it was time to move on, even though I would have liked to have stayed longer. The plan was to head for The Gardener's Rest for a beer by the river but a missed bus saw me changing tack again.
It hadn't been to The Fat Cat for a while, so I went there - only to be greeted by a wedding party, who had obviously made a smart choice of venue. Seating was at a premium so a quick half of Neepsend's Undine was all I managed there. That planted a seed in my mind and I was off in the direction of The Wellington (Cask & Cutler) at  Shalesmoor as I'd heard that Neepsend intend to make it their brewery tap.

My 'luck' held and, you've guessed it - the doors were closed. So I found myself in the bizarre situation of heading towards West Street during Freshers' Week in search of that fabled quiet pint.

I headed down to The Bath Hotel where there was a beer by Fyne Ales on the bar. I went for that and sat back and soaked up the Grade II splendour of the pub.
Time was pressing so I cut through the Devonshire Quarter to the Devonshire Cat.
Here, I found my beer of the day: Lincoln Green's Gin and Beer It, 5%. It said 'gin infused, hoppy with hints of juniper, leading to a bitter finish'. I quite like Lincoln Green's beers but I normally seek out their dark beer, Tuck. But after this fine effort I shall spread my wings. It was followed by a new Abbeydale  beer for me, Illumination, 4.8%. Apparently, this green bullet beer has been around since 2004, but I cannot recall having it. It was my second favourite beer of the day.
After a saunter to the market there was just enough time to grab a half at The Rutland Arms before the train home. I went for something strong from Hopcraft and pondered over my 'best-laid plans' session. On the whole, nothing went to plan but it was still memorable, all the beers were in good nick and one was exceptional.
If you'd promised me that scenario at the start of the day then I would have gladly accepted the offer.
So, next time out I'll have to come up with even more ridiculous stipulations, like no right turns or avoiding the cracks in the pavement, for a surefire quality session!

Friday, October 07, 2016

Wetherspoons Festival starts Next Week

On Wednesday 12th October, Wetherspoons promises the start of the 'World's Biggest Real Ale Festival'. We have been here before haven't we. This time though there is a twist. All the beers are brewed with British hops.

I managed to get a beer list yesterday, complete with tasting notes and the hops used. At first glance it seemed a bit ordinary, and with only 30 beers on offer, not as large as previous years. There will be 5 collaborations, two with USA brewers, and one each from South Africa, Australia, and Italy. Almost every style of beer is catered for from milds to pilsners, but reading the notes there seems to be a leaning towards the 'mahogany' coloured beers.

What really interests me are the hops used. There are a fair range, but Challenger,and  Admiral, seem to predominate but there is a fair spinkle of other varieties too, with one new hop appearing, (so new it has no name at present) . Purity includes CF133 in their beer, but as a combination rather than a single hop .

No doubt over the couple of weeks of the festival I will try a few, and should I come across a gem or two I will let you know. I will be interested in what I find, and see what British brewers can do with British hops, I hope they are good enough to start to turn the tide away from the reliance on foreign imports,

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Beer festivals are in vogue

Beer festivals are coming thick and fast over the next few weeks.
In the space of only a couple of days I've seen plugs for Wakefield Beer Festival at The Space (October 13 to 15), Sheffield Beer Festival at Kelham Island Industrial Museum (October 19-22) and Castleford Beer Festival at Queen's Mill (November 4 to 5).
I did all three last year and they were good, but I have not been doing as many festivals lately.
However, I hope to get into Sheffield this weekend for a quiet session and hope to report back shortly.
I'll leave you with some links for the festivals I've mentioned above.