Weasely Carling Ads

carlingbarley

Phase one of the new Carling campaign was bad enough. But in phase two, the ad men have reached a new low. Get a load of this from the voiceover:

“Carling know it’s important to check their barley themselves.”

A few questions spring to mind:

  1. What is “checking” barley?
  2. Is “checked” barley better than any other? As in, “Yeah, I checked the barley — it’s absolutely awful, but we got it cheap.”
  3. They know it’s important, but does that even mean they do it? Whatever it is.

So, here’s our proposed slogan for phase three:

“Carling know that beer is supposed to taste nice.”

Gulp

Sipping is fine, but some beers just don’t seem to come through when tasted that way, so now we take a proper gulp when we’re tasting.

Painting of hops on the side of a pub in the Franconian countryside
Painting of hops on the side of a pub in the Franconian countryside

Our beer tasting ritual has evolved.

It used to be a fairly simple affair, as laid out by Michael Jackson in his 500 beers:

  • put on lucky underpants
  • turn twice around an oak tree in the midday sun
  • cross ourselves
  • swirl beer
  • sniff beer
  • sip beer
  • swallow
  • rub chin in contemplation.

Now we’ve added “take a proper big gulp” to the itinerary.

Sipping is fine, but some beers just don’t seem to come through when tasted that way. It’s like there’s a hole in the flavour. But take a really big gulp and suddenly, you’ve got nectar.

Unfortunately, it’s not always weak session bitters which benefit from this approach. Strong so-called sipping beers are often no such thing. Seven per cent Westmalle Dubbel tastes better when swigged, for example.

Spent grain bread again

A while back we wrote a post about using spent grain from brewing to make bread. Tom Fryer, of Oxford Bottled Beer Database, has taken the idea to it’s logical conclusion.

spentgrainbreadagain

A while back we wrote a post about using spent grain from brewing to make bread, an idea we nicked from Aran Brew.

Tom Fryer, of Oxford Bottled Beer Database, has taken the idea to it’s logical conclusion by replacing the milk with stout. His recipe, and our attempt at it, is after the jump.

Continue reading “Spent grain bread again”

American beer in East London

It seems that Paul’s Wines — an ancient and tatty off-license on Orford Road in Walthamstow, East London — has upped its game on the beer front.

americanbeersinwalthamstow

The mystery of the two Brooklyn India Ale bottles in an alley near our house has been solved.

It seems that Paul’s Wines — an ancient and tatty off-license on Orford Road in Walthamstow, East London — has upped its game on the beer front. It’s been decent for a while (lots of bottled ale, the occasional sighting of Brooklyn Lager) but now it’s probably one of the best specialist beer shops in London. The manager says it’s a permanent arrangement as long as they can keep hold of the supplier.

Don’t get over-excited: there isn’t that much competition when it comes to beer shops in London, and it’s no Utobeer. But it’s better than the Army and Navy beer section these days, and really, really convenient for us!

In stock now, on top of the usual suspects from Young’s, Shepherd Neame, Badger and Fuller’s (partial list):

  • Anchor Steam
  • Goose Island Honkers Ale
  • Flying Dog Hefe Weizen
  • Brooklyn Brown Ale; East India Ale; and Lager
  • Bernard Dark
  • RCH Pitchfork
  • Morrissey Fox
  • some ales from breweries I didn’t recognise
  • some weird looking beers from Russia, Mongolia, Corsica…
  • And the full range of Sam Smith’s.

I got a 10 per cent discount for buying (ahem) a few bottles.

Duvel: no dumb blonde

satanbeer

There’s no more illuminating way to taste beers than to try three or four supposedly similar specimens together. When we found ourselves in possession of two notoriously blasphemous Belgian beers (Satan Gold and Judas) we thought it would be fun to drink them along with their evident inspiration, Duvel. The experience gave us a new appreciation for this old favourite.

Satan and Judas look, too all intents and purposes, identical in the glass. They have the same rich golden colour; the same loose, bubbly head.

Satan first. What a let down after the fun and tacky packaging. It smells of pear-drops, nail polish and alcohol. There are some tart apple flavours which might work if they were balanced with bitterness. Sadly, this beer is hardly bitter at all. The stingy hand with the hops is countered by an overgenerous helping of sugar. All in all, a bit like drinking syrup.

Judas is somewhat better, though similar. Sugary: check. Fruitily acidic: check. It tastes, in fact, like stewed rhubarb, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. All in all, not a beer we’ll be hunting down, but definitely drinkable. Unlike Satan, this one didn’t end up down the sink.

And then onto Duvel, which suddenly looks and tastes like what it is — a very sophisticated, well-engineered beer. It’s lighter coloured and lighter bodied than either of its two imitators. The bitterness is refreshing and pronounced. Veritable hops indeed. Whereas Satan and Judas lost their heads almost immediately, Duvel has iceberg-like clots of foam all the way down to the last mouthful.

We have our winner. Just because it’s ubiquitous doesn’t mean Duvel isn’t brilliant.