Homicide: Life on the Streets

Hot on the heels of Sier­ra Neva­da Pale Ale’s star­ring role in Knocked Up, here’s Ned Beat­ty as Detec­tive Stan­ley Bolan­der in Homi­cide: Life on the Streets demon­strat­ing his fine taste in import­ed Euro­pean beers by shar­ing a six pack of Pil­sner Urquell with Luis Guz­man:

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In The Wire, David Simon’s crit­i­cal­ly laud­ed fol­low-up to Homi­cide, Detec­tive Jim­my McNul­ty (Dominic West) is a fan of Murphy’s. What was that the Beer Nut said about ‘pad­dwhack­ery’ the oth­er week…?

The Session: Brew Zoo X2

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This month’s ses­sion is host­ed by Lyke2Drink:

Have you ever noticed how many ani­mals show up on beer labels? We have lions and tigers and bears, plus var­i­ous birds, rep­tiles, fish, assort­ed domes­ti­cat­ed and wild ani­mals, plus a few myth­i­cal crea­tures. For what­ev­er rea­son brew­ers have a tra­di­tion of brand­ing their beers using every­thing from pets to preda­tors. The Brew Zoo will cel­e­brate these lagers and ales.

A cou­ple of Ses­sions back, we dropped the ball and end­ed up review­ing Sri Lankan Lion stout instead of a local beer as we were sup­posed to. We’re mak­ing up for it this time by review­ing the beers of a local brew­ery which also hap­pen to fill an entire bird sanc­tu­ary. And with a whole bonus post about a bird-themed beer from Spain.

Cotleigh is a brew­ery based in Wivelis­combe, Som­er­set – a coun­ty most famous for being where Bai­ley was born and grew up, hence the claim to local­i­ty.

The beers in their range include Tawny Owl, Barn Owl, Buz­zard and Pere­grine Porter, amongst many oth­er birds of prey.

We’ve tried them all at one time or anoth­er. Pere­grine Porter is a love­ly bot­tle con­di­tioned porter/stout, which tastes sim­i­lar to anoth­er fruity Som­er­set porter, RCH’s Old Slug. Tawny Owl is a bog-stan­dard cop­per coloured bit­ter which we drank in a pub in Beer, Dorset, ear­li­er this year whilst the locals dis­cussed their haul from the wreck of the MSC Napoli (“I got two pair of Adi­das”).

buzzard.jpgThe only one of their range we’ve got handy right now is a bot­tle of Buz­zard (thanks, Bailey’s mum and dad). It used to be called “Old Buz­zard” and is a bot­tle con­di­tioned “strong ale”, although not real­ly that strong at 4.8%. The ingre­di­ents include pale, crys­tal and choco­late malt, with Gold­ings, Fug­gles and North­down hops. It’s accent­ed towards burnt cof­fee flavours, with some Rauch­bier smok­i­ness. It matures in the bot­tle, this one tast­ing much dri­er and smok­i­er than the one from the same batch we drank in Feb­ru­ary. In the glass, it looks almost black, with a great big pil­lowy tan head which stays for­ev­er.

We guess it would go nice­ly with rich roast­ed meats… or with the big hunks of rot­ting flesh we’ll be feed­ing Cotleigh Buz­zard in the Ses­sion zoo.

And, just in case we’re strug­gling to get a full set of ani­mals for the Brew Zoo, Cotleigh’s Christ­mas beer is the cheesi­ly named Rein­beer. Groan.

We got our bot­tle of Buz­zard from the excel­lent spe­cial­ist beer shop Open Bot­tles, in Bridg­wa­ter, Som­er­set (01278 459666).

++ STOP PRESSBONUS POST FROM BOAK, OUR CORRESPONDENT IN SPAIN ++

My con­tri­bu­tion from Spain is “Aguila” (eagle) from Ams­tel. I think this is still part of the Heineken group.

Two years ago in ¡diz (south west Spain) we ordered a cou­ple of cañas and were tak­en aback by the tasti­ness of the beer – in con­trast to the usu­al refresh­ing but bland fizz, this stuff had real body and flavour, rather like Meantime’s much lament­ed “Gold­en Beer”. We asked what it was, but because my Span­ish was pret­ty crap then, I could only make out “a-GEE-la” or some­thing like that. The next round he brought us some­thing dif­fer­ent.

A few days lat­er, we spot­ted Águila (from Ams­tel) on tap (that´s AH-geela, a sub­tle pro­nun­ci­a­tion dif­fer­ence, pos­si­bly?), and obvi­ous­ly went for it. It was the usu­al bland fizz.

We couldn´t work out what had hap­pened. Was it actu­al­ly Águila we had in ¡diz? Was the stuff in this cafe just not right?

To this day, it is still a mys­tery. ´ve had plen­ty of drinks from an Águila tap but wouldn´t say there was any­thing spe­cial about it. Now, ´m not sure that there is a beer called Águila pro­duced any­more – it´s not men­tioned on Amstel´s offi­cial site, nor can you find it in bot­tles. But the pumps are quite cool, with a big eagle on top, so it´s not incon­ceiv­able that land­lords decid­ed to keep the pumps even if the spe­cif­ic prod­uct no longer exists.

I do still won­der what it was we had in Cadíz that day, because it was def­i­nite­ly dif­fer­ent. I can´t think of any oth­er beers that sound like “ah-GEE-la”, so I won­der if it was one of the last bar­rels of the old stuff? To fur­ther com­pli­cate things, I believe Águila was actu­al­ly a brand tak­en over by Ams­tel, so maybe it was the orig­i­nal, which has now been replaced by the bor­ing Dutch brew?

We might nev­er know. Unless any of you guys can help…?

RIP Michael Jackson

As we did our rounds of the beer blogs today, we were shocked to learn of the death of Michael Jack­son.

We can’t claim any per­son­al expe­ri­ences, but he was extreme­ly influ­en­tial in devel­op­ing our inter­est in beer.  His “Great Beer Guide – 500 Clas­sic brews” is pos­si­bly our most-thumbed book – it’s been on hol­i­day with us count­less times.

We liked his eclec­ti­cism, and his enthu­si­asm – he talked about what he liked, and not so much about what he didn’t. We didn’t always agree with his com­ments, but they always gave us food for thought, and often made us think twice about a beer we’d nev­er have con­sid­ered oth­er­wise.

He’ll be missed.

Starring Sierra Nevada

knockedup.jpgWe went to see Knocked Up last night. We liked it, tut this isn’t a film review site – you don’t care what we thought about the movie. You want to know what the beer angle is.

Well, this is sure­ly the first and only film to sig­nal a character’s hip­ness by hav­ing him chug Sier­ra Neva­da Pale Ale through­out.

Paul Rudd’s char­ac­ter, Pete, spends one scene knock­ing back SNPA from the bot­tle like that mock prod­uct place­ment slot for Pep­si in Wayne’s World. Lat­er on, its pos­si­ble to see where his char­ac­ter has been by the trail of small brown bot­tles with lime green labels lit­ter­ing the flat sur­faces in his house.

Does the fact that we even noticed this mean we’ve crossed some kind of line into obses­sion…?