Archive for April, 2009

A sobering view

Any visitor to these shores expecting to encounter booming local pubs staffed by rosy-cheeked landlords are in for a shock. They’re more likely to find a “For Sale” sign.


Paul Moody writing in the Guardian.

57 pubs closing every day

57 pubs closing every day

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Sure, I could think of more than two if hard pressed, but here we go.

It is St George’s Day. As an anglophile, I ought to observe this.

It is the 493th  birthday of the Reinheitsgebot. The Bavarian Duke Wilhelm IV made his decree in Ingoslstadt all those years ago. This means it has, in more recent times, been declared the day of German beer. Der Tag des deutschen Bieres.

This would imply an English lager, but I don’t have any drinkable beers in that category available. So there will be an English ale and a German lager tonight.

But not in a nice pub like this.

The White Lion, Manchester

The White Lion, Manchester

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Good news for those who enjoy the beers from Nørrebro in Copenhagen – and for those of us attending the festival next month. From Hill Farmstead blog:

Current oak aging includes Imperial Skargaards Porter in Cabernet barrels, Triple de Lente in Sauterne, CCC in Pinot and Merlot, Saison in Pinot, Oud Bruin, and SEVEN in Port and Bordeaux.  Within the next few weeks several more beers will be added to the mix. 

Some of these beers – especially the blended Saison/Drie Fonteinen beer, will debut at the Copenhagen beer festival next month.

I’ll be first in line!

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T for Texas

After moving to Austin, I soon discovered that one of the odd local customs was to place a bottle of Lone Star alongside roadkill armadillos. That’s the best use I can think of for Lone Star.

Kasper on tap, the Baltimore Sun. And he has a regular column worth reading! Thanks to ratebeer on twitter for pointing me to this.

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A Scot at the Rake

Tom Cadden, on the right in this photo, who’s been active on ratebeer for several years and who’s CV includes periods behind the bar at the Blackfriars in Glasgow as well as both Glasgow and London Wetherspoon’s, will start as the new assistant manager at the Rake, Borough Market in a few week’s time.

With Tom’s knowledge I’m sure the Rake will have even more exciting beers to offer. Expect a steady supply of BrewDog beers – and a cellar full of lambics!

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I assume that last year’s beer festival in Gôteborg, which was for the bar/restaurant industry alone, was a success, as they are having a new one in June, this time partly for industry, partly for the public.

Swedish micros like Dugges, Slottskällan and Ôland Gårdsbryggeri are conformed, hopefully there will be Belgian and British micros there, too.

The programme  is not very detailed yet, but the dates are 11-13 June. Check their web site, I’ll try to update as well.

If you haven’t been in Göteborg before, this is a good excuse. It’s a lovely city, just the right size for a weekend visit.



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All right then, it’s time I finished my series of reports from Manchester. A number of my readers seem to be interested in football, some have expressed their hatred towards United, others have spam filters making sure this type of blog posts do not infect their RSS feeds.

We check out of our hotel after breakfast and bring our bags over to Piccadilly Station to make sure we are able to get the earliest possible train to London. I try to make seat reservations, but it turns out it’s not possible. It might be the football game, we eventually find seats anyway.

A word of advice: Do not use the left luggage facilities at British railway stations. In Manchester it costs you £ 7 per bag, at London Victoria £ 8. You are not able to pay as you hand in the luggage, so you have to line up again to get it back. In Brussels, on the other hand, I paid € 2 for a locker with enough room for three bags.

The tram towards Old Trafford is not packed, as we are arriving two hours before kick off. The only tickets we were able to get were hospitality tickets with a meal and drinks included, so we pick up our vouchers and find our way to the tent where we have our seats.

Champagne on arrival, a surprisingly good three course meal including a nice steak. There is free beer also, but the choices are basically Budweiser and Guinness. The only beer with a local connection is canned Boddington Bitter, ice cold, full of gas and tasteless. Everything else is nicely laid out – a hand pump with a decent ale would have been a welcome addition. The last time I was in Manchester – 15 years ago or so – I had some splendid cask Boddington. Looks like that is gone forever.

Half an hour before the match starts we find our way to our seats. The refreshment kiosks inside the stadium are filled with offers of Budweiser/fast food combos. I remind myself that this is big business, not something connected to quality.

The match?

It had been billed as one of the most important of the season. United was at the top of the Premier League, but visitors Aston Villa was not that far behind. It was vital for United to win the match.

78.000 spectators, it looked like 90% of them were home supporters.

The first half of the match was not that exciting. Aston Villa was actually playing very well, and for us Norwegians it was fun to see how John Carew scored one goal and was involved in the other. At full time the result was 2-2.

Then the miracle happened. 17 year old Italian Federico Macheda, in his debut match for United, managed to score a goal. The crowd went wild, and with this fairy tale ending to the match we found our way out of the stadium as soon as possible.

We were lucky enough to find room on a tram towards the centre without any incidents, and were on the 7:25 train towards London before the majority of the crowd had arrived. A few ice cold Heinekens from the buffet car were just the thing now!

I promise – it’s back to beer blogging after this!

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