Berliner Weisse in London


Cask, a nicely refurbished pub in Pimlico, London, continues to impress. This week, we noticed that their range of German bottled beers includes a Berliner weisse, which is a style we’ve been wanting to get our hands on for a while.

We have had it before — on a trip to the city of its origin in 2002, when we knew absolutely nothing about beer, and submitted to having it spiked with bright green fruit syrup.

So, drinking this 3% abv wheat beer straight, we were very impressed. It more than makes up for a lack of alcoholic kick with plenty of sourness and grainy flavour, and is certainly something we’d like to have around at our next party or barbecue.

For balance, we should say that Ron Pattinson’s not a fan of this brand — he considers it “disgusting crap”.

Hot weather no good for beer geekery


These days, it never seems to be the right time to tackle a strong or quirky beer. Maybe it’s the weather — we’re craving cold lager or, like Knut, wheat beer. Ron’s of the view that there’s nothing better in the heat than a chilled Guinness Foreign Export, but we’re not convinced.

So, the Brew Dogs, the Belgians and the bocks sit gathering dust in the ‘cellar’ while our recycling bin fills up with empty bottles from beers like Svyturys (contains rice) and Franziskaner (contains no real hops). We’re also slowly working our way through our oh-so-small stash of homebrewed lager.

Maybe this weekend, we’ll tackle our recently acquired Lou Pepes. They ought to be refreshing and worth taking notes on.

Hop extract but no hops?

We’ve noticed this week that a couple of bottled German beers on sale in the UK — including Franziskaner wheat beer — list only malt, yeast and hop extract in their ingredients lists.

It’s quite common for even decent beers to contain hop extract as well as hops to add a bit of pep, but is it going too far to use nothing but?

It makes us feel a bit uneasy.

Why so few bottled dark beers?

It’s always interesting to see the old adverts that pubs sometimes use to decorate their walls. A poster for Bateman’s Salem Porter from the early 90s caught our eye this week.

We assumed this beer had been discontinued because we’ve never seen it for sale anywhere, unlike their ubiquitous XXXB and Rosey Nosey Christmas beer. But, no, they still make this multiple award winning cask only beer.

Keen as we are to find it on cask one day, it would also be nice if their bottled range (which we can get very easily in corner shops in our bit of London) included this apparently brilliant beer. Perhaps they could drop one of the three very similar golden ales to make room?

Maybe they feel there’s no market? If so, that’s a shame, because we really believe dark beers (milds, porters, stouts, lagers, whatever) are going to be the next big thing. After all, what’s a cooler looking pint than one that’s pitch black?

Cornwall in conclusion


These are our final words on Cornwal, which we’re sure is becoming a boring topic.

Ten great Cornish beers

  1. St Austell Tribute (cask conditioned).
  2. Marks and Spencer’s Cornish IPA (bottle conditioned).
  3. St Austell Proper Job (bottle conditioned).
  4. St Austell Admiral’s Ale (bottle conditioned).
  5. Sharp’s Chalky’s Bite (bottle conditioned).
  6. Skinner’s Ginger Tosser (cask conditioned; excellent despite the terrible name).
  7. Carn Brea One and All (bottled; not brewed in Cornwall).
  8. St Austell Clouded Yellow (bottle conditioned; a fake Bavarian wheat beer).
  9. Lizard Ales’ An Gof (bottle conditioned; strong dark ale with salt and smoked malt).

Five disappointing Cornish beers

  1. St Austell HSD (cask conditioned and bottled).
  2. St Austell IPA (a Greene King IPA beater — bland and weak).
  3. Sharp’s Doom Bar (didn’t find a good bottle or pint of this anywhere; maybe we should have gone closer to the source and made it to Rock?)
  4. Skinner’s Betty Stoggs (cask conditioned; too much crystal malt and some cardboard).
  5. St Austell Tribute (bottled; dead and flavourless compared to the cask version).

Two decent Cornish pubs

1. The Castle Inn, St Ives — looks a bit rough around the edges (those “drugs will not be tolerated” signs send all the wrong signals) but was full of old men and guest ales when we went on a weekday lunchtime.

2. The Ship Inn, Mousehole — probably cheerier in season, but has a very friendly and efficient — he earwigged when we were deciding what to have and the drinks were lined up on the bar before we got there. Our mates’ kids tell us the Ribena Fruit Shoots were well kept, too.

Next time, we’ll check out the Blue Anchor and the Tinner’s Arms at Zennor.