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Archive for October, 2009

Well, almost. Craft beer to Prague. If anyone had told me this ten years ago…

Sept 09 193

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Sept 09 330Another recommendation from Simon at Cave á Bulles.  This was actually five minutes from my hotel, and I had actually walked past it without giving it a second glass glance.

As location is everything in a city like Paris, the street right in front of the Gare de Lyon is filled with brasseries serving food and drinks at all hours. Some of them offer Alsatian specialities, others have shellfish etc. They all have macro beers at rather stiff prices.

Sept 09 327But a few steps away from this strip is a simple bar, not far above the hall in the wall level. During my evening, there was soccer on several screens, I assume you may find it more quiet at other times.

They have 11 beers on tap, 11 in bottles. Macro lagers, sure, but also some fine Belgian stuff. I had never tried the wheat beer from St Bernardus, and there was even a sour Belgian ale, Borurgogne des Flandres (which could have been more on the sour side). A French Tripel, too, Secret des Moines.

I found a sidewalk table.

I think more bars like this is what’s needed for French beer culture to really take off. Specialized places which you travel across town to seek out is fine for the converted. A hand picked selection of good beers in places where people pop in for a quick glass before going on with their business is more important.

Sept 09 324

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I don’t often sing the praises of the only brewpub in town, it has had its ups and downs.

But they have two new beers on, both very drinkable. One is a Märzen, quite true to style, the other is their 20th anniversary beer, an American Pale Ale.

My tasting notes: Hazy golden beer. Lovely flowery aroma. Flowers, dust, fruit. Light, easy drinking. Crisp finish. A welcome addition to their range.

You should probably hurry up, as I predict that these will be replaced by their Christmas beers soon…

Happy anniversary, OMB!

Sept 09 188

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Return to Carlsberg

Thanks to beerticker.dk, I can reveal that there will be a beer festival at the old Carlsberg brewery in Copenhagen again. Next year. 6-8 May.

The exhibitors – if that’s what you call brewers peddling their beers – will be more active in the marketing of the festival, and there will also be a trade session. I’ll have to try to talk myself into that one.

See you there?

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Mother London

Usually, when I start reading a novel I have to keep going. Sure, I can put it away for a few days, but I have to keep reading to avoid losing he plot. If I leave it for weeks or months, I often never get around to finishing it.

I read a lot of Michael Moorcock when I was younger. His Dancers at the End of Time, Behold the Man, his other fantasy and SF books.

But I never got around to reading his never fiction until I bought Mother London earlier this year at Waterstone’s Piccadilly. And I started reading it and put it away a month or so ago.

Well I picked it up again a few days ago, and I’m happy I decided to give it another try. He has an amazing set of characters who together make a mosaic of post Blitz London.

An there is beer in it, too. Lots of chapters named after pubs and some witty scenes inside pubs.

Josef Kiss, still relatively young, yet assuming age as part of a disguise, passed into the empty warmth of the private bar, the day’s first customer, noisily expelling the hard-boiled egg smell of trains from his nostrils and holding up his hand for his usual pint quickly dispensed by the host Mick O’Dowd in shirtsleeves, whose skin was always copper, whose eyes were dull pewter.O’Dowd remarked that Mr Kiss’s thirst seemed unusually urgent.

“Dutchman’s fizz doesn’t much agree with me, Mick.” Drawing off his cape Josef Kiss hung it on the hatstand’s blackened mahogany. “Although Mrs. Kiss, who now lives there, thinks I’m merely narrow-minded, I’ve heard about the European beers of strength and character, especially in Germany and Belgium, but I can’t adapt to them, any more than you could face bland cheese and ham for breakfast. Now there’s a memory I’d exorcise. Have you a hot pie and perhaps some mash?”

Strand retusj

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Paris – Le Quincampe

If you are in Paris, there are good reasons that you might find yourself in rue Quincampoix. It is the street where you find the beer shop La Cave à Bulles, recently praised here on the blog.

I asked Simon if he could recommend some places to have a beer, both around town and in the neighbourhood, and he told me that a place for a nice meal with hand picked beers was Le Quincampe. This seems to function as a café in the daytime, too, so I doubt they will frown if you just order a  beer.

The food is French with a North African twist. I had some pastry with duck confit, spiced with cinnamon and sultanas. Not 100% there, perhaps, but there were other options on the menu which I’ll be happy to explore some other time.

The beer list is selected by Simon, who delivers beer to the restaurant. There are 6 artisan beers that all go well with food, and there are even tasting notes in English and French.

Sensible prices, at least for Paris.

There is a bar next door, too, but it was too packed for me to bother to squeeze in, especially as I had a backpack with a dozen beers.

Le Quincampe is at 78, rue Quincampoix.

The beer? Bell de Loing is, if I got this right, brewed by a brewery offering work training for people with mental problems. It is a tasty amber beer. A little yeasty palate, full malt. Orange, pepper and other spices. Well, the cinnamon was actually from the food, not the beer.  A good example of French artisan beer.

Sept 09 303

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Scottish update

The courier company has promised to look into the issue. When I worked in a transport company 30 years ago, we had routines of informing the sender or the receiver if we were unable to deliver a package.

Meanwhile, some of the Williamson beers are avaialble in an Oslo supermarket. There must be 15 Scottish beers on the Centra shelves now!

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