Showing Off
March 1, 2009

The Fox Pub, Twickenham

The Fox Pub, Twickenham

So today I went to Twickenham, to have a pint of Twickenham Ales Naked Ladies– a lively, hoppy ale with a gentle mouthfeel and sunny color. I drank this in the Fox pub– a dim, wonky-walled 17th century pub complete with taxidermied foxes and old men nursing their pints.

Then I went to Real Ale, a store that has a fantastic, ever-changing selection of great beers from all over the world, and a knowledgeable and friendly staff on hand to coax you into buying even more beer.  There are staff picks in the store as well as helpful tasting notes for each beer.  I spent a lot of money and added to my stash of beers, pictured below:

haul from Real Ale

haul from Real Ale

Partial Stash

Partial Stash

I’ve been in hoarding mode.  Time to start drinking. What should I crack open next?

  • BrewDog Coffee Imperial Stout
  • BrewDog Hardcore IPA
  • BrewDog Paradox Isle of Arran
  • BrewDog Paradox Smokehead
  • BrewDog The Physics
  • BrewDog Speedball
  • BrewDog Tokyo
  • BrewDog Zeitgeist
  • Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout
  • Cantillon Kriek
  • Goose Island Matilda
  • Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
  • Stone IPA
  • Thomas Hardy’s Ale
  • Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier
  • Innis & Gunn Blonde
  • Innis & Gunn Original
  • Oakleaf Brewing Company, Maypole Mild
  • Vale Brewing Company, Black Swan Dark Mild

If anyone has food pairing ideas for any of these (The Rauchbier I’ve had on tap before and will be looking for some smoked cheese for it), suggestions would be welcome.  Also, if you have written about these before a heads up would be cool.

Then, of course, there is Lemmy’s stash:

I don’t know which is worse, his can of Fosters or his obvious pandering to the LOL crowd.

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Dignity Takes a Holiday
December 10, 2008

Mr. Malting drinking lager at Butlins, ATP

Mr. Malting drinking lager at Butlins, ATP

Last weekend we went with a group of friends for a heavy metal weekend at the Butlins holiday compound in Minehead.  It was All Tomorrows’ Parties, a music festival headlined by the Melvins.  I’d never been to a Butlins before, and was even misspelling it as Buttlands (I blame my inner Beavis) until I’d seen the sign. I didn’t think about beer until I got there and was confronted with the range of mediocrity: a couple forgettable lagers, Guinness and Blackthorn cider.  The first night I drank the cider which made me feel as if I were poisoning myself, and not slowly.   I looked longingly at all the people carrying around their pints of Guinness.  Guinness is usually my choice when confronted with nitro-banalities.  I thought how bad could it be?  Guinness was my gateway beer– paving the way for my adventures in real ale.  I would drink it and feel nostalgic, right?

Wrong.  It was a terrible pint– thin, too sweet and flat.  And it cost £3.50.

The next day we went into town and stopped to get some local beer– Cotleigh and RCH, both Somerset breweries, have yet to disappoint.  I finished the Exmoor Beast (Exmoor Ales), a beer I’d enjoyed at the Twickenham Beer Festival.  It’s a straight up porter with a warming alcohol front.  I watched as Mr. Malting drank not only the Barn Owl but the Pitchfork as well… (I curse the day I coaxed him to try better beer!  That Barn Owl was mine!) I was left to bang my head to Mastadon while sober, or drink the nitro swill.

You can guess what option I chose. I wondered if the camp looked better to those who were drunk?  If really getting hammered would have lessened the feeling that we were all in a human storage unit?  If it would have dulled the flashing machines waiting to eat our money and blotted out restaurants serving ration-like food that had been dried, frozen or tinned and blanked the bars serving the same yellow lager that was soaked into the carpets. In short: beer, beer everywhere and not a drop to drink.

So, when confronted with a mediocre line-up, what is your tipple of choice?  Or, for those of you with a penchant for the heavy, what is your perfect metal brew?