Categories
beer reviews Beer styles

Porter Tasting: Batch 6 — Odds and Ends

The purpose of this exercise, for those who missed the previous posts, is to find a beer that suits us, with a view to selecting finalists for a ‘taste-off’ before buying a case to see us through the winter. It’s not ‘the best’ but something much more floaty and subjective.

This is our last batch of porter tasting notes — even though people keep flagging new ones we must try, this has to end some time, if only for the sake of our sanity.

What have we learned about porter in the last few weeks? First, that it allows quite a bit of room for variation: we’ve tried some that resembled German Schwarzbiers; one or two that could easily be marketed as strong stouts; and others that were very hoppy, or smoky, or had some other left-field characteristic.

Categories
pubs

Alternate Spoons in the Craft Continuum

We went to our local Wetherspoon pub twice last weekend and found its craft makeover quite startling.

As usual, what drew us through the door in the first instance was a craving for beer that isn’t local. Oh, yes, local beer is great, and very worthy, and all that, but blimey, can it get monotonous. During the regular Spoons real ale festivals, even our fairly conservative branch usually has something pale, hoppy and from up north on offer. On this occasion, Rooster’s Union Gap, at a mere £2.25 a pint, fit the bill admirably.

Categories
homebrewing recipes

Brewing Watney’s Red (not Red Barrel), 1971

As we’ve noted several times before, Watney’s Red, launched in 1971, was a rather different beer to Watney’s Red Barrel, whose place it usurped.

The Watney’s quality control manual we’ve been lent was printed 1965 but contains typewritten inserts on how to brew Red, issued in August 1971.

There are some obvious omissions in the otherwise quite thorough information supplied. For example, no original gravity (OG) is specified. External sources of information, however, seem to confirm that gravity figures were approximately the same as for Red Barrel, which makes us think that these special instructions (reproduced in full, beneath the table, below) were intended as updates to the detailed instructions already included in the manual. Obvious, really, after all the time, money and effort that had been spent perfecting the process across multiple plants.

Categories
Blogging and writing

The Month That Was: October 2014

With various bits of travelling, October was a somewhat chaotic month on the blogging front, but we still turned out plenty of posts.

The month’s biggest hit, if the amount of discussion generated is taken as a reliable measure, was this account of a conversation between a British barman and an American visitor used to a rather wider choice of IPAs.

Here’s a complete list of everything else, in reverse order, with links out to follow-up comments and responses by others where we’ve spotted them.

Categories
News

News, Nuggets & Longreads 01/11/2014

Before we get on to the feast of links, a quick reminder: the next round of #beerylongreads is scheduled for Saturday 29 November, and we’d love you to join in.

New Yorker magazine’s latest cover essentially held a mirror up to craft beer drinkers allowing them to see what they wanted to see: some were defensive, others flattered, while yet a third group chuckled with glee from the sidelines. Our favourite take on the whole business was Oliver J. Gray’s, which also elicited a comment from the artist himself, Peter de Sève.