Monday, 28 November 2016

BEER OF THE WEEK

Northern Monk, Imperial Whisky Smoked Honey Porter.



It may surprise one or two of you that I am reviewing a beer out of a can. However, after tasting this delicious imperial stout from the Leeds based brewer. I had to tell you all about it.

It was one of ten beers I had delivered from the Imperial Beer Club. And as soon as I had cracked open the can, I knew it was going to be a beer with the wow factor.

A honey sweet and whisky aroma greets you. It pours black with a creamy beige head. And leads to a delicious melody of flavours. Smokey whisky, rich caramel, honey and a hint of burnt treacle, balance beautifully. 

It's a silky smooth, deeply rich and creamy delight. A full flavoured, boozy beverage. I've never tasted an imperial stout like it - and I've tasted a few! It was a sensational slurp.

Finally, if you are drinking this stout sitting down. Make sure you arise slowly. It's 10% ABV may have given you a bit of a wobble.

More information on Imperial Beer Club can be found at: www.imperialbeerclub.com

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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Is there a lack of decent pubs in your town centre?

There are instances in life when you feel it is totally necessary to redress the balance. A balance relating, in this instance, to a topic of conversation I overheard in a pub recently.

The conversation in question related to the lack of decent pubs in our local town centre's. Oh yes, that tiresome, tedious and repetitive old chestnut, that in my opinion, is a grossly exaggerated one.

Now, I was very tempted to interject and give my four-penneth, in order to explain that most of our town centre watering holes appear to be doing fine, thank you very much - and in many cases they give the impression they are running very successful ventures.

However, I refrained from intervention. As I got the impression from their woolly musings, that this gaggle of aging doom and gloom brethren, would more than likely treat my opposing view with total disdain. 


So, here I present to you, what I would have basically relayed to the chunnering, misinformed posse, in the bar area. Who, I hasten to add, didn't know from Adam!

Where is there evidence that there is a lack of decent drinking dens in my local area, namely, East Lancashire? What a load of old baloney. Absolute unsubstantiated drivel. Your views are unverified. Please permit me to explain an opposing and factual retort.

So, allow me to ascend to my soapbox and commence with a town in my region, namely, Colne. It's an environment with a plethora of beery, central town destinations. The Red Lion, Duke of Lancaster and the Wetherspoon's outlet, The Wallace Hartley. Are a trio of tasty taverns. 

A hop, skip and a stagger from the Wallace Hartley, you will find a triumvirate of micro-bars. Boyces Barrel; Cask and Keg and Tapster's Promise. The trio on Newmarket Street, are all next door to each other! Each having their own individuality and varied drinking experience.


Do you know of an example of THREE microbars (left) all next door to each other? I would be surprised if 
you did.

Neighbouring Burnley town centre offers an excellent choice for the discerning ale drinker. The New Brew-m and the multi award-winning Bridge Bier Huis, are among two of the finest in the region. Add to that, two Wetherspoon's outlets, namely, the Brun Lea and Boot Inn. Plus the Coach and Horses,Swan Inn, Talbot Hotel and KSC 110 club. And you are simply spoilt for choice, no argument.

(Landlord, Simon Scott(pictured left), at the award-winning, Bridge Bier Huis)

Accrington town centre replicates Burnley, with their fine drinking emporiums. The Abbey, Commercial, Canine Club and Arden, are a quality quartet. With, dare I say, the icing on the cake being the outstanding and award-winning Grant's Bar. Home to the Big Clock Brewery.

Over in Padiham, decent pubs are in abundance for a small town. The Bridge Inn, Flying Dutchman, Hand and Shuttle, Molly Rigby's and Katy Kelly's, are all pretty central. And it's certainly worth a few extra strides to enjoy fine cask ales in the Free Gardener's Arms. And in one of the area's premier pubs, the Hare and Hounds. Where seven rotating cask ales are on offer.


A relatively short trip to Whalley, will present you with a good variety of drinking establishments. The De Lacy, Dog Inn, Swan Inn and  Brady's Bar, are all within close proximity. A fifth, Jack's Bar, betwixt the De Lacy and Dog Inn, is a recent addition to the village's vibrant drinking scene.

A few miles away in Darwen, you will find more fine drinking dens. The town centre boasts a good selection of tasty taverns. A trio certainly worthy of mention are: The Bridgewater, offering eight cask ales; Number 39, Hopstar Brewery Tap. And Wetherspoon's, The Old Chapel.

Finally, there is always a good choice of hostelries in Clitheroe town centre. The recently opened Beer Hall at Holmes Mill, has been getting rave reviews. Over forty, yes forty, cask beers are available.

(The stunning horseshoe bar at the Bowland Brewery, Beer Hall. Does it measure up to being the longest bar in the UK?)

The New Inn, close to the castle, serves ten cask ales. And The Ale House, close by, dispenses a great range of both cask and bottled beers. Plus the central area, just for good measure, boasts two fine clubs, namely Catholic and Conservative.

So, there you have it. Case proven m'lud. Just some of East Lancashire's town centre's, that offer an abundance of fine drinking destinations - and choice! I  am sure many reading this can offer similar examples too.

Examples, that totally disprove the opinions of that gaggle on moaning , misinformed muppets, I encountered recently.










Friday, 21 October 2016

Halloween period is spook-tacular for Moorhouse's.

Well, it's always nice to be back in dear old Blighty, after a jolly jaunt in Brittany. Back to taste all the fine qualities of a thirst-quenching pint of British ale.

And on my return I had the opportunity to visit Lancashire's leading independent brewer, Moorhouses's of Burnley. During their busiest time of the year, namely, the Halloween season.

Moorhouse's is recognised as the preferred Halloween brewer for pubs and clubs across the nation. Their range of Halloween themed potions are immensely popular. And there was lots of it bubbling away in their 'cauldrons' when I met head brewer, Dan Casaru.



Dan has been at Moorhouse's for almost twelve years. And the respected and affable brewer has witnessed the surge in demand, over this fang-tastic and most spook-tacular period.

He said: "It gets busier year on year. Last week we brewed 800 brewery barrels of beer. That's over 230,000 pints in five days. Our normal run in the week is 500 barrels(144,000 pints).


Dan added: "As well as the demand for our cask ales. We have seen increasing popularity for our bottled beers. It's huge. We have just won national contracts with supermarkets, Aldi and Morrisons. The latter will stock Blond Witch. Aldi will stock White Witch.

"The White Witch brand won the gold medal at last month's national bottled beer awards. Its popularity goes from strength to strength, both in cask and bottle."

So, what ghoulishly delightful potions were bubbling away on my visit? Well, brewers, Graham and Jordan were only too happy to give me a personal tour. 


The ever popular Pendle Witches Brew was in the mash tun. One hundred brewery barrels, almost 30,000 pints are produced on a brew run. It's a delicious, full flavoured and robust ale. Malty sweet and fruity. Perfectly balanced and decidedly moreish. 


During the brewing process I was given the opportunity to make a contribution to one of my favourite Moorhouse's beers. Graham and Jordan allowing me to add some of the crystal malt into the grist hopper. Moorhouse's grind all their grain at the brewery.

One of the most popular Halloween brews, Ruby Witch, was bubbling in one of the fermentation tanks. It was at the second of three days fermentation. It's a devilish and spellbinding potion. Tangy orange and spicy notes are dominant. It's frightfully tasty.
Ruby Witch is just one of many brews to watch out for over the Halloween period. Other tasty, tantalising tipples include, Broomstick Bitter; Black Witch; Witches Cauldron; Witchfinder General and Witch Hunt.

It was a most enlightening and enjoyable day at Moorhouse's. The staff were most friendly, helpful and welcoming - and very passionate about the brewing of their popular ales.

So, just to say, it will be undoubtably less cackling and more quaffing for me over the Halloween period. As I intend to carry out a witch hunt for these boo-tiful beers. 





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Friday, 16 September 2016

Waen Brewery will be sadly missed.

Genuinely stunned and saddened by the recent closure of the multi award-winning Waen Brewery, from Mid-Wales. 

Owner,Sue Hayward, is a most talented and innovative brewer. Her brews will be missed - and she will be too!

A recent prestigious award for Sue and her team.

Pamplemousse, Blackberry Stout and Chilli Plum Porter were among my favourites. Their beers had something special about them. I always hunted them down at the many beer festivals in my region.

Blackberry Stout was my introduction to Waen Brewery beers

It does raise the question that there is perhaps too much inferior and cheaper beer flooding the market. And that some quality breweries are being squeezed out of the industry by inferior beer being flogged to pubs, for less than they can produce it for! Agreed?

I'm sure Sue's innovative and fine brewing skills will be very much in demand. And I will look forward to her first collaboration beer.


I wish Sue all the very best in the future. And hope that some of her stellar beers will be saved and brewed elsewhere.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

A whiff of a flawed business model. Agreed?


The news of this pub closure came as a shock to the local newspaper, namely, the Lancashire Telegraph . 

However, was it really a shock? This historic landmark watering hole, in Blackburn town centre, had been like a revolving door for its tenants, in recent times.

The last tenants were given a three month trial. Sadly, it didn't work out. Possibly their landlords had put some unworkable conditions in their lease.

I visited the pub about six months ago. Alarm bells were ringing then.

 It looked tired and rundown. No greeting. Person manning the bar, on their mobile. And beer with that papery taste, that told you it was past its sell by date - as it was in the previous two visits!

Admiral Taverns need to flog this pub pronto. Their business plan here, is obviously flawed. 


Sell it to someone who has some passion and belief. Someone with vision, who can hopefully save the Adelphi Hotel from being another addition to the pubs closed figures.

Admiral Taverns state it will only be a temporary closure. They are seeking another tenant. 

Alas, I fear if this pub company remain in ownership, this town centre hostelry is destined for an uncertain future.

Let's hope my fears will not be realised. As it is a most attractive and historic landmark. 




Friday, 19 August 2016

Get a life, you killjoys!

I recently came across this statement below. And it really made me titter. As it reminded me of some, 'no life', wearisome neighbours, who live adjacent to a local cricket club.




These residents, on occasion, contact the club to complain about the noise.

'Noise' as in folk enjoying themselves responsibly, at a social event. They even complain about the groundsman(volunteer) playing some music, as he tends the wicket in-between innings.

      ( Ian'Bugsy'Burrows. A tireless worker at the cricket club)

Of course, contact is made by phone - and not in person!

The cricket club is located in a most beautiful setting. And their cask ales from local brewers, are always in fine fettle. The ground is often described as England's finest beer garden.



However, some, I say some, of the residents do not appreciate how fortunate they are living so close to such a fine and attractive facility.

A sporting facility, superbly maintained by volunteers throughout the year. Thus contributing massively to the delightful environment in which they live.




Thursday, 11 August 2016

Why an awards dinner at 95 quid a head?


 
Maybe a whiff of beer snobbery here?

I have to say I was quite surprised that CAMRA had decided to announce their awards at the 2016 GBBF, via an awards dinner held on Trades Day - and at 95 quid a head!


Blimey, what kind of beer snobbery is this? I'm sure most members will concur with my view. Or will they?

This change in direction was brought to my attention, by a very well respected Brewery . Their brewer/representative had been sneered at by the organiser, over a dress code issue. 

FFS they should be applauding our award-winning Brewers. Not sneering and acting like the fashion police at some  elitist bash.

Why a strict dress code anyway? I thought CAMRA were a broad minded organisation . It appears in this instance, they are being a selective and snobby one. 

What was the dress code? I'm informed someone was there in an open shirt and jeans. So how did they pass the dress code criteria? 

Let's hope CAMRA see sense next year, and scrap this 95 quid a head event. It all appears a tad bonkers in my opinion. Agreed?