Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Some beer from the Philippines

First up is Red Horse. I am not sure how to describe it as it pretty much looks and feels like a lager. I have read that this is a malt liquor but I have nothing to compare it to in that style. According to the packaging, this is a whopping 6.9% abv. It certainly does not taste like it. I found it had a sort of champagne feel. It is clearly very fizzy from the image and it felt less like a beer and more like a sparkling wine in some ways. There is very little in the way of bitterness. I found it lacked body, was quite watery but not completely unpleasant. I would not drink it though for the simple reason that at 6.9% with no body or flavour to complement it I just see this is an easy beer to get drunk on and that is not why I drink beer.

Next up is one that seems be seen as a joke in Manila (among westerners anyway), probably from the name (and price). It comes in a nice little bottle and is called Beer na beer. Interestingly I quite enjoyed this. It is a classic Pilsner style that I would have had many times in the Czech republic. It seems to have Won three Monde Selection Gold Medals in Brussels, however this appears to be to do with general quality as opposed to being a beer specific award.

There is very little in the way of breweries in the Philippines and I have covered both the San Miguel brewery and Asia Brewery. Ordinary San Miguel can be bought anywhere, even here in Ireland and there is no point talking about it.

And now on to something a little more interesting, at least to me anyway as this is one of my own. Last week at the monthly Irish Craft Brewer meet-up we had some wonderful beers and among them was my bitter which I called Quaff for the simple reason that it should be a quaffable English style bitter. Of the bottles I tried after kegging and after the tasting it was pretty evident that I ended up with some sort of Belgian feel, probably due to too much heat. Warm weather combined with a failure in my thermostat meant there was a few days of that room being about 23c. This resulted in a very nice Belgian feel to my "bitter". It was still hoppy but had a Belgian alcohol feel going on.
Last night I attached my double adapter to my co2 regulator so I could put the Quaff on tap in my kegerator. If you remember from a previous post I had lost it so only had the Witbier on tap. I pull my first ping, take a taste and behold I have a wonderful English bitter with no Belgian feel at all. This is exactly what I was going for, in fact I think it is better than I had hoped as it reminds me a lot of London pride. I have some London pride at home so I will have to do a side by side tasting when I get the chance.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

A third party, word of mouth mention of The Woolpack Inn (possibly)?

My wife just spent two weeks in Manila for work and got home last night. This morning she asked me was there another pub called "The Woolpacker" and I said that is the name of one of Dave's Beers but she said that on the way home on the Aer Lingus flight from Amsterdam, the in flight magazine (Cara?) had an article about a couple who went to Cumbria and went to "The Woolpacker Inn" which was reminiscent of a 1970's bingo hall and they were served food by a man who could have been the 5th member of Spinal Tap. That could be Alan the bar man.
It may be there is in fact a pub in Cumbria called The Woolpacker, perhaps Dave can shed some light on this but it may also be that these people visited the woolpack. She seems to remember the article saying they were served "Duck and oink pâté" so is/was that on the menu? Actually looking at the Woolpack lunch menu, there is a "Quack n Oink" on the lunch menu so I am going to take a wild guess that this is the same place.

Unfortunately I did not read this myself but they did like it according to the review my wife read and they enjoyed the food etc so it was a good review and it seems Alan (if it was him) was the star of the place. That said, perhaps Dave could make it as a Spinal Tap member?

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Kegerator Project - Let there be beer

Well here is my Witbier poured from my Kegerator. I got my Co2 bottle filled up today and just hooked up a keg. I did hit a little snag in that my adapter to fit two beer lines to one gas regulator has gone walk about. I am pretty sure it came with the regulator so somewhere between getting the stuff at work and bringing it home it got lost, or I lost it in my house somewhere. This means I can only hook up one keg at a time until I get a new one.

Anyway from the picture you can see An Bán Oráiste pours like a Belgian Wit should. In fact, it looks better than from the bottle as the yeast is not everywhere. Compare it to the sample from the bottle a few weeks back. It has less flavour than the bottle as I am missing all the yeasty goodness but it is actually very respectable and if you like Hoegaarden then you will like this. The spice comes out better on draught as it was overpowered by the yeast and orange in the bottle.
I am very chuffed with myself now. Once I get my double adapter I will have two beers on draught at any one time. I think I wasted a little Co2 before I got the hang of my regulator but it should be ok.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Septermberfest 09

This weekend saw Septemberfest return to Farmleigh house in the Phoenix park. A Collection of craft beer, wine, cheese, food and entertainment. The weather was fantastic and combine that with free entry and you have a great weekend ahead.
We were set up in one of the corners beside the Hilden stand and we had a lot of interest in home brewing.

The craft breweries represented were Hilden.
Galway Hooker had their normal IPA as well as their Dunkelweisse.
The porterhouse had their normal beers on tap as well as their seasonal Hop Head. They also (as seen in the picture) had a fridge full of bottles of hop head. On the right of the bar you will see some teaser images of their other beers, including Wrasslers XXXX. I said to the person on the bar that I know people who would kill for a bottle of Wrasslers. Their bottling line should be up and running soon and we will have more than just hop head in bottles.
Franciscan Well was there showing their colours.
Carlow brewing company had Malty Bitches (Bitter) as well as the amazing Goods Store (IPA) on Cask as well as their regular line up.
Whitewater had Clotworthy Dobbin on cask which was great as I wanted to try it. The beer nut said he was not impressed and I agree, in the bottle it is fantastic but there is something missing on cask.
Cuilan of Messrs Maguire and more recently his own White Gypsy brewery was there too. He had his normal Messrs beers as well as a Dark lager (tasty enough) and a Blonde beer. His open day will be at the brewery in a few weeks at the end of September. Unfortunately I will be in Italy so will miss it.
This was the scene after lunch though when thousands of people lined the tent in Queues to get beer. At first I thought it was great as there was only craft beer available so all these thousands of people were forced to try some decent beer from microbreweries. Later however it became so bad that we had queues of people lined up past our stall so few people were able to come talk to us and the best we could hope for were some questions with people in the line as they went past, which actually took some time as it was taking up to an hour to get a beer from most of the lines.

Franciscan well ran out of beer as well as the small West Kerry brewpub Cúl Borcha.
The following day saw the Franciscan Well up and running again with fresh supplies but unfortunately Tigh had no more beer in Kerry to bring up so he was not there. Still it was a great success for him.

One of the things evident was the amount of Cask beer available. It was very encouraging and maybe we will see a comeback of the Cask conditioned ale.
I spent all day Saturday manning the stall and having what beer I could before and after the Queues.

Today I went along for a couple of hours to see Séan Billings do a talk on homebrew and there was a tasting. I don't mind saying that a lot of it was vanity as one of my beers was in the tasting, my cloaked stranger stout.

The tent was pretty much at capacity and there was a lot of interest and a lot of good comments about the beer.
Most importantly, my stout went down very well indeed so yay for me. It was my first All grain beer. Its a pity I have been kegging since and have few bottles of beer now. The bottles I have I need to keep for the more important ICB tastings each month.

Anyway the weekend was a complete success both from a home brewing point of view as well as a craft beer and microbrewery point of view.

Lastly here is what my taste of my latest beer (that is read) looked like. This is Quaff which is my English style bitter. It tastes fantastic and interestingly has developed an almost Belgian taste to it. It reminds me of a Tripple or a Duvel. It might be because of the warm weather and I know the room it was in got very warm for a few days. I am happy with it.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Let the Kegerator begin

Well here we are with the finished product. Well sort of finished because I only have the taps on the door now. Once I get my gas bottle filled with CO2 I will put in my kegs and attach the lines etc.

It was a simple enough job to complete even with cheap tools. I have left enough space in the middle to add a third tap in the future but I am not sure I can drink 3 kegs of beer so it will probably stay as is.

Here is the view from the inside. This is where I started. I marked the middle and then measured in a few inches on either side for the two taps. The middle being where a third may go in the future. First I drilled two small holes to guide my way through. I then used my hole saw drill bit to go in. This side is all plastic and foam so it goes in like a hot knife through butter.

The only problem came when I was trying to get my hole saw through the metal outer shell of the door. Either my drill is not powerful enough or my hole saw is simply not good enough to get through metal. What I ended up doing then was drilling a load of small holes in a circle (the hole saw at least drilled a circle to follow in the paint) and when the hole saw still could not get through the weakened metal I grabbed a pliers and pulled out the circles and this proved very easy.

The hole saw size I picked was the smallest one in my tool kit and it proved wider than the washers and nuts (only just) which meant it was perfect. I put the nut and washers on and twisted the tap itself which brought the washer tight. I used two knives to keep the washer from turning with the tap once it had gone inside the hole.

If this ever proves to be an issue I can always carve out around the hole but it should be fine.

This fridge has reversible doors so there are no wires or electrics in the door. It also has the advantage of the ability to maybe make the job easier by taking off the door. I was too lazy to do that as it would have meant moving the fridge from where it is.

In the end, a job well done. I can't wait to give it a go.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

And now for something completely different - Daves I know

Everyone knows at least one Dave and most know a lot of people called Dave. Readers will know I visited The Woolpack which is owned by a Dave. I visited with my friend Dave, chances are I probably also met a few Dave's while there.

The best thing about having a friend called Dave for me is of course the ability to say in a Hal9000 voice "What are you doing Dave?" Or "Would you like to play a game of chess?".

I have known many Daves in my time, I even watch a TV channel called Dave which shows re runs of shows such as Top Gear.