Antisocial media?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/purplemattfish/Some folk absolutely love to do it alone at home or maybe out and about in absolute secrecy, hiding in shadows afraid of being discovered by a jealous partner.

Others prefer to do it groups, either privately gathered together in dimly lit rooms, or for the uninhibited, even in broad daylight the dirty swines!

My Mrs absolutely hates it and is always telling me to put it away. She says “I should stop playing with it all the time and taking pictures to show other people how good or bad it was”, “it makes you look like a geek” etc…..

Love it or loathe it, lots of us are doing it and I’m talking of course about using Untappd.

qfox8afmxczdwmj4s4ymI started using Untappd late last year basically as a tool to log what I’ve tasted over the year as my memory is awful. I came to write up my Golden Pints and thought “I’ve been to some amazing places and drank copious amounts of superb beer, but I haven’t a clue what they were now”, after all, I’d slept since then.

Anyone who follows me on there knows that I don’t write much if anything, maybe the odd note or a thank you or whatever if the beer was from a friend. My rating system leaves a lot to be desired too, but again, I’m not losing any sleep over that either and would say only that you are and actually give a monkeys what I drink, then if I’ve marked it at 4 to five stars it’s probably worth a punt to being ace in my view.

untappdWhat I have noticed though since I started to use the app or website, is that despite the published aim of Untappd above, I think at least personally I chat with people less about what I’m drinking now than I ever did before. Yes, if I post the beer I’m drinking via Untappd to Twitter or Facebook I do get the odd comment or sometimes a conversation commences as a result, maybe even a comment on Untappd itself, but nothing like it was in the days I first started using Twitter.

I’m not sure why this happens, maybe it’s because some people really hate Untappd and things like it and just switch off, maybe there is just too much of it now for folks to have time to winnow anything worth discussing from the chaff? Of course it could be that it’s just me that has noticed this phenomenon and you are all bored shitless of me wittering on about beer every day…

Don’t get me wrong here, I like Untappd (despite being labelled a geek) and will continue to use it, as for me it’s proving an invaluable tool to log my beer journey and I’m looking forward to revisiting all the info at the end of the year, but maybe I’ll post a bit less publicly via this and more directly in an old school stylee in an attempt to rekindle some lost friendships and contacts.

What’s your views on this, are you a lover or a hater? I’d love to hear of your experiences using Untappd and others like it?

Cheers

Pic by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/purplemattfish/

#7point5

#7point5 – “What on earth is that all about I hear you cry?”

#7point5 came about as a result of discussions revolving around several blog posts at the weekend and the previous week. These all referred specifically to the recent changes in beer duty which saw taxation increased by 25% on beers over the 7.5% abv threshold.

Several ideas were muted, including an online petition to the Treasury, writing to local MP’s amongst other things. We wanted though, something that could be used as an identifier on Twitter, Facebook and other social media when information was posted and after a few ideas were knocked about settled on #7point5.

Personally for me, the aim is to write an ongoing series of blogged reviews featuring higher strength beers from the UK and international breweries. They are not going to be full of moans and groans about the woes of beer taxation, unless of course that is the post relates to something specific along those lines.

However they hopefully will serve to highlight the fact that not every beer affected by the legislation is drunk solely for it’s high alcohol content, these are beers to savour like a lover of fine wine or malt whisky would.

If nothing else it should help dispel the misguided belief that after drinking an 8% beer, most people are not compelled in any way to go out and mug anybody, do a bit of looting, or sleep rough around the back of the “offie”.

So, as from today, anything that fit’s the bill from me will feature the #7point5 tag over the next few weeks, months or as long as..

Ultimately trying to raise a wider awareness of the change, the potential impact it will have and the real reasons behind it.

Hopefully enough people will get behind the force for a change back to a sensible level of duty across the board. To a level of taxation which is fair to all drinkers and supports the beer industry, not a duty levied on the false premise of stopping the antics of high strength lager swillers.

To that end I’d also like to invite/encourage any fellow beer bloggers to either write a guest piece for Beersay, or to write a piece on their own blogs under the same banner if that’s preferable.

Even if you are not set up to blog yourselves, but fancy having a go at a guest piece, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

Cheers

Walking the mile…s

For the hardened walkers out there 23 miles may not seem far, especially with a few pub breaks in between, but believe me for myself and many of the walkers Saturday is going to be a long hard slog.

It’s been a busy old week, but finally I think the preparations are complete, I’m kitted out with worn in walking shoes, wet weather gear, drinks, energy bars and have my trusty tankard at the ready.

Maggie, my four legged walking companion has had a health check at the V.E.T‘s and passed with flying colours, she completed a ten mile test walk in the week too and was in all honesty in a considerably better state than I was at the end of it….

Donations are going really well, considering we have only been actively promoting this for about ten days. As I write this we are currently at £899.30 and are hoping to smash £1000 and well beyond, for that though we still need your support.

A Just Giving page has been set up for the walk. It can be accessed online at  http://www.justgiving.com/titanicgreyhound.  Alternatively, donations can be made in person at the Greyhound or by phone – text GHTB67 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 (eg. GHTB67 £3) to 70070.

I will be Tweeting and posting photographs of our progress throughout the day, starting at 9am in Stafford, you can follow us on #TitanicGreyhound and on Facebook.

Cheers everyone!

Introducing, Project “Time Capsule”

I’ve been wanting to do this for a while but have never managed to get round to it, start to age some beers that is. It’s taken so long for two reasons really, time and lack of it, plus the fact that I’ve never had enough beers that fit the bill around long enough to start..

So to start the ball well and truly rolling, this month I placed an order which included a few extras so that I could taste specific beers fresh, then set another aside for the ageing process. These have joined others that I have amassed and set aside over the last 6 months. Finally though, I am able to introduce you to, project “Time Capsule

It’s nothing to look at I know, just an old beer delivery box, but once filled, sealed and placed in a coolish dark place, I’m confident that it should provide a decent enough environment which is about as close as I can get to a real beer cellar.

For those who have not ever tried this before, I am reliably informed that basically you just need somewhere with a pretty constantly cool temperature without too much fluctuation. It also needs to be dark or at least certainly not in sunlight to prevent the beers getting light-struck.

Beer choices are partly trial and error and some through research. Some beers suit ageing better than others, high alcohol Belgian Trappist beers for example, but avoid anything light and hoppy as they really need to be drunk fresh. I’ve thrown a few in here that may not really fit the bill but as it’s a first time attempt then I’ll learn as I go.

So what’s in the box so far?

6 x Westvleteren 12

2 x Orval, Rochefort 10, Chimay Blue, Hoegaarden Grand Cru.

Large bottles of Achel Bruin Extra, St Bernadus 12 and St Bernadus Christmas, De Glazen Toren Canaster Winterscotch, Leffe Christmas  and Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van Der Kieser.

Then single small bottles of Goose Island Pepe Nero, Samuel Smiths Imperial Stout, Kapitel Prior, De Halve Maan Straffe Hendrick Quadruppel, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Thornbridge St Petersburg, St Bernadus 12, Robinsons Chocolate Tom and finally a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (the last two are not pictured).

The list is by no means a closed book, I intend to add to it as I go on and obviously drink some in time as this becomes a living beast. Each bottle that goes in is labelled with the date it was bought or roughly at least, so that in a few years time I can keep track of how long each beer has been kept. Willpower depending…. :)

I’d definitely be interested in comments and suggestions from beer enthusiasts, brewers, publicans etc, in fact anyone really with knowledge or experience to share as to how you think this will work out, have I made any glaring errors for example.

Are there any MUST HAVE beers that just have to go into the box (there are a few already in mind)?

Are there any beers already in there that you just know already are not going to improve and I may as well just enjoy now?

How long, is too long (or not long enough)?

I am learning here, so any input will be gratefully received..

Wish me luck…

If you enjoyed reading this blog post then please spread the love by telling your friends. Facebook share it, RT on Twitter or send it on by email. I’d love to read your views just click the button and wax lyrical in the comments section of this page. Or if you’ve nothing to say, just click the rating stars below..  Cheers Phil

I am NOT obsessed with beer!?!

I had an accusation levelled at me over the weekend, saying that everything I’ve posted on Facebook, Twitter etc recently has involved the word BEER and that I was obsessed, this understandably left a bit of a bitter taste..

What nonsense I thought, ridiculous in fact and although normally I’m a mild mannered man, thought I’d better hop to it and prepare to stoutly defend myself from such accusations at the dubbel.. To prove my point I’m going to have a Bass at explaining why I’m not obsessed, without mentioning the “b” word at all, it’s gonna be Hardknott to, but ale try my best.

It is true that I like a lovely brewed beverage or two, it’s tasty, relaxing and much safer than taking pils. The more I drink though, the more I learn and I only seek to pass on that knowledge, wort and all, by sharing it with the mashes. This inevitably leads to tuns of posts, status updates and tweets..

Not to labour the pint, each time I write a blog post it is published on Facebook, Twitter and email automatically, so instead of seeing one, you can see up to Tripel the amounts of mentions of the unmentionable. Therefore if I’ve quaffed an ale and am itchen to share it with you, it seems Scilly not to tell you all it Wentwell whilst I’m Fuller information straight after the Session.

So there you have it, a full and comprehensive explanation of the facts without a single mention of ” “. Conclusive evidence, displaying no obsessive behaviours whatsoever, in fact as you can see I’m completely Fyne.

A blog about a blog about a blog… Featuring Thornbridge Hall Coalition Old Ale 7%

This is a beer review with a twist as it’s not actually me reviewing the beer, having more to do with the outside influences that really enhanced my enjoyment and the fantastic way that social media can be used at it’s very best.

The beer in question was Coalition Old Ale. Brewed in 2009, Coalition is the result of a collaboration between two of my favourite breweries, Thornbridge and Dark Star.

I saw a review of this beer back at around the time of launch and thought, “I have to try that”! I seem to remember it being this post on The Thornbridge Blog which tells the tale of how the beer came about, although I recall there also being a lot of excited chatter going on at the time on various blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc. Anyway to cut a long story short, a purchase was made and on arrival I put the beer away waiting for the right moment to drink it to arrive.

Flicking through Twitter last night, I noticed a note from @LeighGoodStuff announcing a new post on his blog The Good Stuff.

I had a moment of clarity thinking, “I’ve got a bottle of that in the fridge”, replied as such and before I could read all the responding tweets telling me as such it was open.

I took my beer outside to sit in the cool evening air and so sitting down at the garden table, glass in hand, I started to read Leighs fine blogpost (read it here).

As I was doing so @baron_orm chirps up on twitter that I should also check out his blog post too (there is a connection to Leighs), also to listen to the inclusive audio review on his own blog The Ormskirk Baron.

So now I find myself not only enjoying one of the finest beers I’ve had for some time, I’m also reading the extensive tasting notes and listening to the live beer rating chat from three established beer critics, this including @BGRTRob from Hopzine.

It was I can honestly say a really enlightening experience, akin to having an actual live tasting event in my own back yard. As each aroma and flavour was described I’d take another taste or sniff and think to myself “oh yeah, I can really get that”. Marvellous!

Now some folk may say that they would prefer to try and glean that information for themselves so as not to be influenced by the opinions of others, that could be true, that said for me, at that moment it really enhanced the experience.

As a consequence of the initial twitter conversations and my own continuing tweets on how things were progressing, we were joined in twitter conversations by several others including
@Darkstarbrewco @tuff86 @baron_orm @abarth50010 @leighgoodstuff @mybrewerytap @thornbridge
and @GhostDrinker amongst others. Essentially we now have brewers, retailers and customers all busily chatting away about how much of this wonderful beer was made, what is it like, is it still available (it is) and where from. All this of course, being visible the many hundreds if not thousands of followers not actually actively involved in conversation, a marketeers dream.

From a personal perspective, I’d just like to say a big THANKS to everyone above for a cracking evening of beer enjoyment!

If you want to try Thornbridge/Darkstar Coalition, I know of at least two online retailers: www.beerritz.co.uk and www.mybrewerytap.com, there may be more out there on tinterweb, specialist beer shops and I suspect at the Thornbridge brewery shop, so I’d definitely advise grabbing one now before it’s too late.

If you enjoyed reading this post please spread the love, Facebook share it, RT on Twitter or send on by email. I’d love to hear your comments and shared experiences too in the comments section of this page. Cheers Phil

Music And Beer Pairing…

I don’t know about you guys, but there’s nothing I like better, especially after a night on the beer, than a good old music session. Normally after Mrs H has either sneaked off to bed a little worse for wear (tired), or just happily fell asleep where she landed on the sofa after a few pear ciders. I’ll pour a beer, get out the headphones and crank up the tunes.

After writing my last post about Hardknott and using the slightly altered “Hard Days Night” as the title for a little tongue in cheek humour, I had spark of an idea about what sort of music if anything matches well with drinking specific beers. Is that a MABPOW? (Music And Beer Pairing Of The Week) ;)

This is the song that first came into my head, I actually fell asleep to it last actually, turned up really loud, but alas the SWB “Nerotype Bravo” and Three Tuns “Old Scrooge” won and I succumbed.. Sadly I was drinking a delicious Odells IPA at the time which also bit the dust.

Anyway this song is by Genesis and it’s called “It’s gonna get better”, which although doesn’t match the beer specifically, hopefully will inspire me to stay awake longer…

OK so lets try and find something to match the Nerotype and the Old Scrooge, both are deep, dark and powerful beers. The Nerotype is a Black IPA, big on alcohol with loads of flavour and hopped to high heaven, Old Scrooge a “dark and fiery, yet smooth, barley wine” with lovely liquorice and caramel flavours.
For this I’ve decided to go with a bit of industrial heavy metal in the form of Rammstein with Sonne, it’s pulsating grungy guitar riffs and the strong throaty vocals of the aptly named Till Linderman(n), keeping with the beery theme.

Trying to do things in reverse I went for a song from one of my favourite bands of the moment Fleet Foxes and “Helplessness Blues”. It’s jangling guitars and Crosby, Stills and Nash sounding vocal harmonies bring to mind big open spaces, the sort of rolling plains of the USA seen in historical movies, something like “Dances With Wolves’. So the beer I picked trying to reflect that was Flying Dog Brewery’s Snake Dog IPA.  A cracking American IPA with a really mouth filling flavour of grapefruit & citrus peel, with burnt biscuity tasting malt. Perfect for that campfire under the stars..

Right a last two for a bit of fun, one is for the catalyst for this post “Hardknott “Dave’s” Night” and I’m sticking with Infra Red for no other reason than it’s wonderfulness..

The last one needs no explanation, the beer is the Brewdog and Three Floyds 12% brew “Bitch Please”. It’s description “Special collaberation beer with Three Floyds brewers at BrewDog. A barley wine brewed with many different malts including Laphroig whisky malt, single hopped with nelsin savin with short bread, fudge and candy floss in the kettle.”

Any more suggestions?

A bit of a laugh on Saturday night before the beers commence, hope there’s a song here that stirs up a memory or two. ;)

If you enjoyed reading (and watching) this post please spread the love, Facebook share it, RT on Twitter or send on by email. I’d love to hear your comments and shared experiences too in the comments section of this page. Cheers Phil