They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Chav Beer

Please note: If you like good beer, this is what your government thinks of you.

Yo geezers! I was in t'market t'other day and I saw this stupid looking beer stall. It had loads of stupid looking beers from loads of foreigners, I passed them by cos I don't want to associate with foreigners.. I did see one though which was a tinnie. I drink my beers from a tin, it's the way God intended it! My beer of choice is Stella, I usually get through 6 pint tinnies a night and bloody love it! I picked up this beer tin because it said on the side it was 15.5%, I thought bloody hell! that will get me pissed real quick, I'll buy one of those tings.

I thought it would be real cool to drink this before a night out in Oceana, after all I needed to get drunk before I went out, those stingy bastards are always charging too much for vodka and coke. I was proper disapointed once I opened the tin, there was a bloody bottle inside! Rip off or what! And the bottle was tiny as well, I paid nuff for this, and the tin wasn't even full of beer.

Oh well, I bought it now and I aint returning it, I'd look like a proper muppet. The brewers from this 'O' brewery must be cool anyway, cos their label is covered in proper Egyptian graffiti innit. It had a real cool name. I poured it out and it was proper dark innit, it was like a Guinness me dad drinks.

I started to drink this stuff and thought right away I'd made a bloody mistake. Why the hell did I buy this, it smelled like a a hazelnut coffee me mum used to drink. I had it out of my prized Stella glass which I robbed from t'pub down the road, I drink all my drink out of that glass, even my high end Smirnoff vodka like. I tell you what this beer got me pretty pissed quite quickly blud, even if it did taste like a coffee that my mum had made with ten sugars in it.

The beer got me reaching for my fridge before I went out, so I went for the only thing I ever eat with my beers:

I bloody love a few tinnies and pizza, I'd eat it for the rest of my life if it didn't kill me by 45... The beer might have been in a stupid small bottle, and it might have been really bloody expensive, but it did get me really pissed, and after that, and loads of WKDs in Oceana I managed to pull a proper fit bird - I'm gonna have to start every night with one of these from now on, It's a guaranteed lay maker!

Once again, if you drink beer, this is what people in any sort of power think of you, regardless of what beer you may drink.

Saturday 26 November 2011

Twigs and Berries

- Hey! I know. Lets make a beer from barley. We'll make it strong, about 9% or so and we'll chuck in loads of honey in the mix while were at it. On second thought, let's put loads of muscat grapes in there too, and some saffron, yeah saffron for good measure! -

It sounds like a bit of a bizzar way to make a beer, but the Dogfish Head boys are no strangers to making crazy beers. Look a little more into this Midas Touch though, and you realize there's a lot more method to the madness that this beer seems to be. It's apparently the first beer they made in their Ancient Beer series. According to DFH the beer was made using the same ingredients found in some epically old (2700 years+) drinking vessels found in the tomb of King Midas. Somewhere between a wine and mead it certainly smells sweet, I wonder if they used any hops in the production of the beer, it does have a little old IBU of 12....

In the aroma it doesn't really smell like a beer at all. Sweet honeycomb, grape and especially melon skins are the most predominant items on the nose. The only real indicator that this is still a beer is the slight buzz of the carbonation on the tongue, which over all, is still rather light. I have no idea of what saffron tastes of... and I don't want to get into the argument of "What does saffron taste of?" - "Saffron" - "But what does it taste of?" etc etc.. I have heard that it tastes a little like a savory vanilla, I suppose I'll just have to get a pot of the stuff from t'market.

It's a very interesting beer, very sweet and quite vegetal. You get the feel that it's just a really rustic beverage, whilst still being made only months ago. Like most meads I've tried, the alcohol is dangerously hidden, but it's been a long day and I'm not complaining. I look forward to the day when DFH can start getting their beers back into this country!

I'm a big fan of things like this, I like historic styles of beer, it gives a good insight into the past, and is something I've always wanted to try myself. Which style to reproduce is the question though. I've always been interested to try a traditional Gose, and me and Matt have even had a joking conversation of making some Sahti beer - the king of twig and berry beers! (and yes I know these styles aren't extinct yet, but It's damn hard to find them!)

Till next time, Nastrovia!

Friday 25 November 2011

Single Hop Blendige!

It seems single hop beers are still around, still going strong. I've gotten a little bored of them recently though. We've just got three more from Mikkeller in the shop and before I even tried them I had an inkling of what they would be like; "More Mikkeller single hop beers, hoppy - yes, great tasting - yes, informative - yes.... boring - yes. (I can recall saying, with a sigh, to a regular "yeah they taste awesome...") I've gotten a little tired of the massively hopped uber beers. It should be said that it's my own fault, it's all I've been drinking recently, and for my point of them being informative (in the way of how a certain hop tastes) that's sort of loosing it's value; if you try to many of them, it's kinda hard to remember what each tastes like.

I did try these three Mikkeller beers last night, and yes they were awesome, and you couldn't really fault them. (apart from having no real malt presence) It got me thinking about the whole single hop beer thing though. These three beers had the exact same recipe, even alcoholic strength as each other, apart from the variety of hop. Apparently a tweet from @MagicRockRich also informed me that the bitterness levels for the beers should be adjusted to around the same levels. This then came to me in a moment of clarity, no a moment of pure genius (in my opinion)...

Oh Yeah!

I had found out what these hops had been like by themselves. I now wanted to find out what these hops tasted like together!

Result?: Bloody awesome - without having to sigh!

It was my very own uber glass of Amarillo, Nelson Sauvin and Tomahawk (isn't that Simcoe?) IPA - tasting fantastic. The reason I thought of this was for reasons of home brew. Yes a single hop beer can give you an insight into it's own particular taste, but that's where it ends, and most home brewers I know like to use a few hops these days. There are plenty of single hop beers out there at the moment, and they usually have the same recipe, apart from the hops. Blending these beers together can give a proper insight to what different hops taste like together. It's up to you really. If you want to know what hops taste like, try them on their own, just don't try to many that you forget what the first tasted like. If you want to know which hops work well together, this is a pretty perfect method. Or chose not to, make some beer on guesses, but be warned - Some hops do not go well together!

Sunday 13 November 2011

Ghostie is a 1 Year Old!

Yes it's my first birthday. And no, I'm not an incredibly talented toddler, but a beer loving maniac.

It was one year ago today, on the 13th of November, that I posted my first post and Ghost Drinker was born. I guess a little reflection is called for then. Looking back at my first post, I thought about how it was full of punctuation and spelling errors and quite rubbishly written, but the sentiment still held true. (I'm still not much better on the spelling and punctuation, and writing well, these days. oh well...)

I thought about what I've learned, about the beers I've drunk and the places I've been in the search for said beer. But most importantly I thought about all the people I've met, talked and chatted to, read blogs from, and been inspired by, all from the love of a simple yet amazing drink; Beer.

Here is a little list of some of the people, some I've met and some not, who through reading their blogs about beer, I've come to respect and admire. I'd like to think I can call them all mates, and would happily by any one of them a pint of their favourite beer. After all it takes a special sort of person with a big passion to write blogs about beer ;)

Dredge - A man who loves to put beer cans in chicken arses.

Leigh - Cannot stop eating Pork Belly.

Rob - Makes some unusual facial expressions in his Hopzine video reviews.

Curmudgeon - For someone who doesn't smoke he's pretty obsessed with the subject.

Tandleman - Loves to argue with Dave Bailey about beer on Twitter.

Dave Bailey - Hates CAMRA.

Cooking Lager - Has an equal love of squeezing beer cans, and squeezing his squeeze. (or at least we thought he loved beer cans...)

Stuart - Is a biologist not a brewer.

Broadford - Will Re-Tweet anything you write about beer.

Pete Brown - Loves a bit of self promotion.

Neil - Is more of a ghost than me for the amount of beers he reserves at the shop.

Nick - Is a Leeds man and proud of it, and loves to put a "corsenDONK" on it!

I still don't know why Ron Pattinson has a beef with Barclay Perkins.

Martyn - Loves the 'Z' word.

It doesn't seem like Simon Johnson ever stops drinking beer.

Fuggled - Has a massive Pilsner lust.

Ormskirk Baron - Can't say no to a free beer. (and actually is a stand up gent who helped me sort out technical issues of my blog, so thanks Baron)

Andy - Nearly killed Tom Fozzard with some lethal Bombay Mix.

Rabid Bar Fly - Loves to run around terrorising shopping centers whilst drinking cans of Special Brew.

Mark - Prefers his beer straight from a 9 pint metal container rather than a glass.

And last but not least, the boss man, Zak Avery. To be fair I think I've worked with him long enough now to know what makes him tick. He might not like to admit it, but this blog was started because of him. When I started reading his blog a couple of years back, it was because of the so called 'blogaratti' and reading his and all of your blogs which made me want to write my own.

That's my list then. Of course in some cases I jest... maybe...

There are quite a few more that I've not had chance to mention, but this list got a bit bigger than 'little' fast, so if I missed you out my apologies. This blog goes out to everyone in my blog roll really. While it may be my blogBday I will be raising a glass to all of you tonight.

It's been a hell of a year, and one one I see as just the start of my online beer journey, so here's to many more.

Now where did I put that special reserve Imperial Stout I was saving for my first Birthday celebrations drink?... oh yeah, the fridge.


Wednesday 9 November 2011

My First Berliner Weisse

Berliner Weisse was always a style of beer I had wanted and longed to try. I had heard tales of it being so dry that it had to have sweet syrups added to take the edge off the acidity and make it palatable to drink. Michael Jackson described not just Wheat Beers, but Berliner Weisse's as some of the most refreshing beers the world has ever seen, and probably ever will. The only thing I've ever seen (and tried) come close to the style was Dogfish Head's Neo-Berliner Weisse; Festina Peche, which in all honesty, I was not too impressed by.

This was all set to change however, as I heard that North Bar had an actual Berliner Weisse from Berlin in the bottle for sale. I had never even seen a proper Berliner Weisse in this country, let alone a bar in Leeds.
I was down there the very next day.

Berliner Kindl Weisse has got to be the most bizzar beer I've had this year. Probably the most bizzar beer for many years!

It comes across with a pale, cloudy, greeny-yellow appearance. It smells a lot like many Gueuze beers I've had in the past; really vegetal and mineral like with lots of apple and green plum skins. Some lemon rind, and a flowery aroma is thrown in there too.

The flavour is unlike any other beer available to me. It starts with a puckering light sour tartness, which eventually fades into a sort of vegetal acidity. Lots of fruit tartness comes about too, think Granny Smith apple skins mixed with lemon skin and that's about right. It's intensely drying, a quality which coats the sides of mouth for quite some time, making it obviously moorish in a big way.

While I was in North Bar I managed to sample some of this with a dash of Grenadine mixed in. It certainly added an initial sweetness which was then overcome by the previous acidity and fruity aftertaste. What followed was a conversation with me, Foleys Dean, Good Stuff Leigh and North Matt about what we thought was the more 'traditional' way of consuming this beverage, with or without the syrup or sweetener.

Of course you can serve the beer with other accompaniments; some like a Berliner Weisse laced with Kummel (caraway) schnapps or in the winters, have it served hot with lemon juice! Some even come with herbal essences of woodruff, but most will just be served with fruity syrups. (Kevin definitely wouldn't approve!) The 'tradition' conversation was certainly an interesting one. It was argued that the first brewers will probably not have brewed a beer which intentionally needed a sweetener to balance out the acidity, but if people used these syrups - and looked at you funny when you didn't want one - which was the most traditional method of serving?

A little food for thought I guess, but it's certainly a beer style worth trying if you can find it. It's been called 'the champagne of the North', a beer as good as any sparkling wine, it's usually brewed with lactic cultures such as Lactobacillus delbruckii and more often than not has a low abv like the Kindl's 3%. An extreme beer, very much so. One I'd have more of, Hellz yeah... and I preferred it without the syrups...

Have you tried the style before?

How do you like it?

Monday 7 November 2011

Wasting Time, Productively

There are times for us at the shop (and it's probably about 1 hour in every month - we're hard workers you know) that the stocking is done, the deliveries are put away, no customers, not much else to do really. We usually use this time to read up on a few beer books, read about styles we could know more about - you know use our ("free") time productively.

But sometimes, like everybody, we do like to have a bit of fun. It's not 'normal' fun  though, as no one who works at our shop is 'normal people' (you have to be a bit crazy in the alcohol industry)

This is the kind of thing we get up to when we really wish we could have customers to talk about beer to, welcome to our own little insane world:

The Tongue

We've all probably heard of palate fatigue. I certainly get it after a few hours at a beer festival. What I've never understood is why some drinkers are adamant that you should start with lighter coloured beers and then move to darker ones in a session.

I'm really never bothered when I start with a pint of Stout and then move onto a Pale Ale, and I don't think it changes my opinion of taste of the latter beer. Of course there are exptions to this. I'm not going to have a bomber of 14% barrel aged Imperial Stout and then move onto a bottle of Lager, but I'm not talking about that here. I'm just talking about the regular cask beers you might find in your local, usually the same sort of strength, some light some dark. (if your lucky to have a range)

Some of us might like to think of our tastebuds as delicate things, which, give it a taste of something a little roasty and you'll be unable to pick out anything else for the evening. Hogwash. (...always wanted to say that) I believe my tastebuds are pretty hardcore and can manage a difference in flavour, be it light to dark or dark to light. I know there's plenty of people out there who will disagree with me, but once again it's about 'personal tastes' at the end of the day.

Next time you are having a pub session though, just think that if you want to hold off on that dark cask till the last pint, remember - it could have run out by that time.

Be brave, have a pint of Porter or Stout first. Drink what you want, when you want.