Thursday, 24 June 2010

Hi from sunny California

I don't have much to say at the moment as I am away on my San Francisco trip. I have been having some great beer but so far have not had time to do proper beer stuff due to family commitments.
On the plus side, it looks like I might get a private tour of the Anchor brewery and I also plan on heading to Chico to visit Sierra Nevada.

I will have some proper write ups when I get back in July.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Sharp's - The Big Lunch Beer Challenge (UK)

I was contacted by promoters for this event to see if I would be interested. Indeed I would but the fact it is a UK only event combined with a closing date of July 10th and me being in the US for almost 3 weeks before hand means alas I will not have time.

I do however think it's a great idea and I like the prize of brewing your beer with the head brewer in Cornwall.

So for UK (including Northern Ireland) brewers out there looking to get in on the action, check out the website:

There is also a facebook group page.

Maybe this will be an annual event and next year if it is open to Ireland as well I might very well join in.

Perhaps when Beoir comes online next month we can organise something like this with a similar prize to brew with one of the Irish breweries.

For now, fair play to Sharp's and to the UK in general for their love of proper craft beer.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

The French beer quest ends with some Ch'ti beer.

The last of the French beer I picked up in Normandy was one of my favourites. Ch'ti is from a brewery in Northern France near Flanders. The Blanche is as you would expect. Sweet for a Wit and perhaps a little lacking in flavour but worth a try. I enjoyed the mouthfeel a lot and it was very refreshing.

I also had the Ambrée but seem to have mislaid the picture. Anyway this was far superior. In fact I loved this beer. Malt, caramel, toffee, bubblegum where all evident in the aroma. These translated quite nicely in the taste but it had a rather English feel to it and reminded me of an English pale ale with a nice hoppy finish. Loved every moment of it as did my wife.

The Triple was also quite good. Perhaps a little boring compared to many triples but I found it like a sweet lager with plenty of caramel and toffee. Enjoyed by both myself and my wife.

Interestingly my wife also enjoyed the Brune which is odd. Roast coffee, caramel and toffee along with heavy malt, dried fruit and chocolate dominate this easy drinking brown ale. It is starting to lean towards a porter but not so much that it turns my wife off. She does not like porters and stouts.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Two little piggies...

I picked up two bottles of beer with pigs on them. The first one is Vapeur Cochonne ambrée from La Brasserie à Vapeur in Belgium. I was not all that impressed with this. It was a little sweet, perhaps a little sourness too. It was very fizzy as is clear from the picture and this picture was taken after it had a few minutes to settle. I found it way overcarbonated and the 9% alcohol content was pretty obvious. Not a bad beer mind but it just did little for me. There was a little spice going on but nothing to make it as interesting as a label with a pig showing boobs.

The other one has a more delicate looking label, sort of reminds me of Babe all grown up and old enough to drink. This one is Rince Cochon from France from Brasserie d'Annoeullin I believe, though no mention of it on their website. This is a Biere de Garde or Blonde depending in how you look at it. At a very respectable 8.5% it is a beer that does not show its alcohol much. The aroma is pretty lacking but sweet candy and malt are there. The taste is quite malty, yeasty even though it is a pretty clear beer and very very refreshing. It is quite carbonated but not overly so. I found it as refreshing as a lager but sweeter and more of a citrus feel to it alongside the strong malt.

So if I was to make my choice out of a pig beer from Belgium and a pig beer from France, I would take France in a heartbeat judging from these two.
Oh and no pigs were hurt in the making of this post or the beer.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Brew # 22 Blonde Beggar II The second coming,

This is a variation of last years Blonde Beggar. I got exactly what I wanted with that one and it is the perfect summer beer both myself and my wife can enjoy so I am brewing another version today. The change is mainly due having different ingredients handy but also I like to experiment.

My next brew will be a variation of An Bán Oráiste which will be using Limes instead so called An Bán Líoma (Bad Irish I know) Although on thinking about it, another word for Lime is Aoil which is a bit like Ale so maybe Bán an Aoil?. The recipe is ready, I just need to get my Belgian Wit yeast as I don't want to use a random English style yeast.

Blonde Beggar II

6-B Blonde Ale
Author: Reuben Gray
BeerTools Pro Color Graphic
Size: 25.0 L
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 141.45 kcal per 12.0 fl oz
Original Gravity: 1.043 (1.038 - 1.054)
Terminal Gravity: 1.011 (1.008 - 1.013)
Color: 7.24 (5.91 - 11.82)
Alcohol: 4.18% (3.8% - 5.5%)
Bitterness: 22.1 (15.0 - 28.0)


4000.0 g Irish Spring Barley (pale malt)
511 g Pilsner Malt
133 g Acid Malt
180 g Mild Malt
20 g Challenger (6.5%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min
10.0 g Northern Brewer (10.9%) - added during boil, boiled 30 min
10 g Progress (6.3%) - added during boil, boiled 5 min
1.0 ea Fermentis S-04 Safale S-04
Results generated by BeerTools Pro 1.5.10

Friday, 4 June 2010

I am on Page 24 now.... (sorry best I could come up with)

I am down to my last few bottles of Normandy beer. I think there may be only one or two more breweries to go from the two crates I brought back with me. Page 24 is a Normandy brewery from Calais so I would expect some strong Belgian influences. The Blanche is a Wit and while I do enjoy a good wit they are usually hard to differentiate from each other so become quite boring and are rarely interesting. The usual suspects are there, wheat, coriander and a citrus of Orange or Lemon (sometimes lime) and in this case I could not tell if it was orange or lemon peel as I thought I detected both but I certainly got lemon. In many ways this was just like you would expect of a normal wit but I found it a little more bitter than most and I thought a little spicier. I enjoyed it quite a lot actually and the best thing? Page 24 beers come in 750ml swingtops which are great for homebrewing, thought I don't bottle much beer since I keg these days.

Next is the first of two Blondes. This is the normal one which was also quite nice. Refreshing sums this up perfectly. It was very much like a wit in many respects. I found it very malty, yeasty and spicy with enough bitterness to keep it enjoyable for me. Nothing remarkable going on here but what they have done has been done very well.

The Ambrée is next and this is the Hildegarde Ambrée. The aroma is yeast, sherbet, coriander, lemon and malt. From the first sip all the aroma is present in the taste but with the surprising addition of chocolate and light roasty goodness. I found this was like a very light porter in taste. It is also quite fruity. I found I really enjoyed this beer and am sad I only have (had) the one bottle.

Lastly is the other Blonde. Essentially this is a Belgian style 7.9% Tripel. In every way this is like the other blonde but with more alcohol and a lot sweeter. I will admit that I do not remember much about this one and I seem to have neglected to take any notes. Sorry about that but I do remember I enjoyed it.

They have more beers than what I sampled but from the 4 I was able to bring home I found I was impressed enough to suggest people give them a go. I found they were solid and very well made beers.