Archive for September, 2009

My precious

I’ve tasted this beer before. A fairly small sample at the Rake last December, plus a bottle I shared with the rest of the participants on the trip to Espedalen Fjellbryggeri.

But I kept one of the two bottles BrewDog sent me. To sip on my own.

The full name is Rake Raspberry Imperial Stout. Initially on cask at the London pub the Rake, but there are a limited number of bottles released as well.

The description on Ratebeer: 10% imperial stout aged in a Smokehead whisky cask with 25kgs of fresh raspberries.

The beer pours almost black, but there is a hint of ruby in there, too. Lively carbonation forms a rocky head that collapses fairly fast.

A fantastic aroma of berries and smoke.

I take a sip. Warming stout base, the whisky makes a solid presence in the background. And then the raspberries. Sweet and sour, it’s like a Scottish summer magically transformed and captured in the bottle.

And it has balance. The fruitiness adds another level to the Smokehead, which IMHO was close to perfect as it was.

Extreme beer? Sure, this is BrewDog at their best, daring to go where other brewers haven’t been before.

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Beertickers – the movie

I thought I had seen it all. There is advance publicity about a documentary on beer ticking in the UK.

The scope of the project is a bit unclear. I assume this is not going on general cinema release, but I don’t know if it is a web thing, if it is to be screened at beer festivals or whatever. We’ll find out.

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Three new Italians

I’ve told you about the box of beers I ordered from Birraland and which arrived the other week. Fees and taxes made the beers rather expensive, so I was hoping the beers were worth the expense.

I was especially looking forward to three beers from a new Italian micro brewery. It is run by the same people as the web shop Birraland, and they call the brewery Birrificio Civale.

The Alica pours hazy gold with a firm head. A light, refreshing ale, at 4.7% ABV this would be fine as a summer refreshment to be drunk in some quantity.

Citrus, grain and bubble gum aroma. Lemony finish, some pepper.

A little lightweight, perhaps, but all beers are not meant to be hop and alcohol bombs!

The Virtute has obvious Belgian inspiration, too. A fruity beer with peaches and oranges and a little lemon. Soft and round, the alcohol content of 7.5% is well camouflaged.

The Mervisia is dark gold with a snowy head. A complex nose with fruit, malt and alcohol. Firm malty body, sweet citrus. Belgian-like yeast, a little sweet and sour in the finish.

These beers may not be up there in the competition for the most extreme, punch-me-in-the-nose type of beers. But they are well crafted beers that are worth trying if you are able to find them. Mail order is probably the easiest for most of my readers.

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The Guardian worries about the future of Borough Market:

The hoardings went up around the old market hall two weeks ago. After years of discussions and delays the railway bridge is finally being built at Borough Market, but when it is finished no one is quite sure what will have survived. Rumours are swirling around like confetti. Will the original stallholders leave, driven away by high rents? Will Borough have been gentrified out of recognition?

I have praised this foodie attraction, which appeals to Londoners and visitors alike, several times. It includes the Utobeer stall as well as several boozers, including the Market Porter and The Rake.

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New posters

There has been a competiton for new posters for Transport for London, following the long history of great poster art on the Underground through the years. Some of the posters are available online, or if you want to see them in full size, head for the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. This one is inspired by pub names in Hackney. Nice.

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File under Dirndl

A bit lazy, a bit busy with other things right now. Don’t expect too much happening here until then middle of next week.

I have repeatedly pointed out that I am unlikely to go to Munich for the Octoberfest. That does not mean I’m not impressed by the Bavarian beeriness of the photos at The Big Picture blog. BTW, for those who are noe amused by the Munich Mädchen, there are plenty of photos of men, young and old, in Lederhosen, too!

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For my Norwegian readers – the rest of you just have to sit there and salivate. Nøgne ø have released some of their new beers on the Norwegian market.

Not for general sale, mid you, this is Norway after all. No, these are special order, you have to order at least a box (12 bottles) of each, either online at www.vinmonopolet.no or by turning up at your local friendly monopoly store.

The list:

71533 Imperial Stout Highland Edition
71534 God Jul Islay Edition
71535 Nøgne Ø Andhrimnir Barley Wine
71536 Nøgne Ø Tyttebær
71537 Nøgne Ø Imperial Brown Ale

I don’t know the prices, but I’m told the whisky cask beers are about 100 kroner each.

12 bottles of each beer is a bit much, so I have teamed up with some mates and e-mailed them an order.

I would hurry if I were you, I have a feeling these will be going fast!

I think most of the beers will turn up in the US as well, and I would not be surprised if some of the Danish speciality shops will have them.

Speaking of Denmark, I wouldn’t mind some samples of the barrel aged Nørrebro beers, either.

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Well, not visitors. But page views. Pretty good, and the traffic has been building up quite nicely this year. Maybe I’ll have a beer to celebrate!

One thing. Some of you tell me you read the blog regularly, but never comment. Maybe once a year or something?

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The brewer at Danish micro Duelund Bryglade,  Poul Højlund, has a fierce attack on some of the beers on the Danish market. Højlund is launching a new concept – Real Microbrew, with a BBB logo – Brewed at the Brewery by the Brewer. (for once a concept easy to translate!)

He attacks major industry players like Harboe and Carlsberg, who market beers with misleading labels.

There is no Kongens Bryghus, there is no Wibroe, and there is no De Fem Gårde. Those are names stuck on bottles brewed and bottled at a big industrial facility with the same costs as a discount pilsener, but which retail at high prices. And that is cheating .

Labels can be bought, so the buyer can pretend that Ølfabrikken still exists, even if the beers now are spit out of Harboes factory. 

As if this was not enough, he also has a special message for so called phantom brewers, some of them among my personal favourites like Mikkeler, Djævlebryg and Beer Here:

But is there anything wrong in being a phantom brewery? The beer may be just as good, maybe even better, because the big secret brewery might have better equipment, better brewers and lots of experience. No, it is O.K. – as long as we tell the customer that this bottle from this or that “brewery” is not a product from the non existing brewery on the label, but rather the result of clever beer design and various contracts for brewing.

Thanks to the ever reliable Beerticker.dk for making me aware of this!

Your cheatin heart?

Your cheatin' heart?

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A scalding verdict

I am, as you know, usually a mild mannered guy. This does not mean I do not appreciate a mean streak in others.

Like a restaurant review in today’s NYT.

The problem with Gus & Gabriel is not that it aims low. The problem is that it fails to achieve even its low aims.

It gets even better:

Gus & Gabriel may be the only restaurant in history that would be improved by adding a popcorn machine to the dining room.

But the beer selection appears to be all right.

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