#BigBeeryNight – @BeerOClockShow

11722623We all love doing something “for charridy mate”, not aarf! But of late, never a month seems to go by without beer or alcohol in general getting a bit of a bashing as a tool for doing so.

People are encouraged to abstain from their favourite beverage for a month with events like #Dryathlon, #DryJanuary, #GoSoberForOctober, and “Don’t Go On A Bender In November” (OK, maybe I made the last one up), with a view to being sponsored for doing so to raise money for some excellent charities.

I have no problem with that in principle, and with MacMillan Cancer Support especially in mind as being very close to my heart, clearly wholeheartedly approve. But, this constant use of beer as a fundraising tool, must impact on the industry, especially with smaller businesses. I think is beginning to lose its impact through overuse, which is where this idea came from.

“Rather than stop drinking for charity, why not have a drinking event, where people give to a charity FOR DRINKING!”

With this in mind, I got chatting to Steve over at the Beer O’Clock Show this morning. He liked the idea; and from that spark, fanned by his MASSIVE enthusiasm, it grew and the event was born in a few hours. Steve quickly set up the Just Giving page and has written his own post here.beershowlogo

logoClearly out aim is not to go out against MacMillan or anyone else, so with that in mind we decided on a date that coincides with their “Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning” that being Friday 25th September 2015 to host our own way of supporting the cause.

So after you have had your coffee and cake fix, you can sit back and wait to enjoy “Big Beery Night”.

The basic idea is this. You have a drink (or drinks) on Friday evening, and post pictures of your beer, or you AND your beer, using the hashtag #BigBeeryNight. This is then your pledge to then donate the equivalent cost of your beer(s) to our Just Giving page.

We have set a target of just £1000, but with your help we hope to absolutely smash that!

So what can you do to help?

Well, obviously, join in, have a beer or two, post your pictures to twitter, Facebook or whatever. Use the #BigBeeryNight and donate to the page.

Big Beery Night 

https://www.justgiving.com/bigbeerynight

Share the link!

Bloggers and beer writers, write your own posts, share the love, get the message out there that beer drinkers care too, lets smash this target together.

Host a bottle share, with a kitty for beers thrown in.

Untappd badge fines, for some top-level badgewankery.

Anything!

Here’s that date for your diaries again.

Friday 25th September 2015

Big Beery Night – https://www.justgiving.com/bigbeerynight

 

Twissup Macclesfield II – #BackInMacc

twissupA date for your beer diary, at last, after much moaning, groaning and gnashing of teeth, we finally have a date that fits the bill.

After last years event I had no idea that we’d be “Back In Macc” (hashtag alert). #Twissups don’t tend to be annual, they are usually wild sporadic beasts that pop up, create a fuss and are gone before you know it, at least for a year or two. However, the feedback from last year was ace, people have asked if I can pull another together and the venues seem game, so hey, let’s do this thing!

The aim will be to try and improve a little on last year, but keep the format similar. A group of great venues within a short walking distance of the train station each with some hand-picked beers for your delight. A brewery visit to Red Willow and all the joys that such visitations bring, plus, if all goes to plan, at least one completely new beer at each place we visit, hopefully with brewer/s in tow, and of course a selection of quality munchies to mop up some of the many beverages consumed.

That is the plan at least, it’s tough, but there’s only one way to find out if I manage it, turn up.

September 13th is so far away though, why wait so long I hear you ask?

Well it’s a number of things really, the first is time. Ask anyone who’s pulled together anything like the above and they will tell you it doesn’t happen over night. Then there are dates that clash all over the place. Last years date for example was scuppered by both an extended Barnaby Festival (a local Macclesfield event) and the European Beer Bloggers Conference, excluding lots of potential attendees. Of the other three potential dates, two clashed with large “craft” beer festivals in Leeds and Liverpool, the other was just too short notice to make it viable. On top of all that, August was pretty much wiped out by some of our protagonists taking three week well earned holiday.

In short, the next five months are just a bit mental, it also gives you all plenty of time to plan ahead..

As usual, more info will be posted up here as and when things develop, please share this post register your interest in comments or via Twitter.

(Read more about last years event here and here, there are lots more too, just follow the links on the pages)

Join the Facebook Page too, there you can get easy access to last years updates and chat to each other and social-mediarise or sammink!

Cheers all

Memories 

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GBBH Twitter Tasting #Sainsbeerys

Just a short post to remind folks to get down to Sainsbury’s and hit the seasonal aisle in search of this years Great British Beer Hunt finalists, better still get them tomorrow and join in a mass tasting session tomorrow night via Twitter and any other social media item as you will, as mentioned in my last post on GBBH.IMG_7004

There’s no set criteria, no drinking order, and you definitely do not need to be an expert. Just grab some of your favourite beers or whichever catch your eye (as shelf presence is important too), then join in and share your thoughts using the hashtag #Sainsbeerys as suggested by @BeerOClockShow and/or #GBBH if you have space.

Tell us what you think, promote your top three or just sit back, drink and enjoy the fun, hopefully some of the brewers will join in the banter too.

Time is what suits you obviously, but let’s aim for 7:30 onwards for the main shenanigans to commence.. 😉

So that’s Wednesday 18th September 2013 at 19:30 onwards

Cheers

Great British Beer Hunt #GBBH

Supermarket beer tends to have a bit of a bad name, sometimes deservedly so in my opinion for being, well, a bit “safe” really. Apart from the mass marketed big name “36 cans for £20” brands, most other british and or specialist beers tend to be crammed somewhere in a six-foot shelf space at best. Once there, even those beer names featured you could generally scribble down on the back of a beer mat before you went in and be very likely to find those listed sitting there. Some are better than others, but personally I usually only give the beer aisle a passing glance to see if anything new or exciting has arrived.

IMG_6959Over the last few years Sainsbury’s have gone some way in recognising that and at least made some effort in trying to redress the balance and give some of Britain’s smaller breweries a chance by running their annual Great British Beer Hunt. This takes a section of beers (this year one hundred and fifty-six featured), and runs four regional heats where beers are tasted by a mix of customers, experts and other panelists and put forward to a shortlist of twenty, five for each region. Those twenty will go on sale in stores across the nation in September for three weeks only.

Three weeks from today in fact as they hit the stores this morning, and are on the shelves right now!

This year in particular though, the bar has most definitely been raised and there are a few names in that mix that I would normally pull my right arm off to see week in week out on the local supermarket shelves. The 2013 finalists selection certainly has taken a massive swerve away from the traditional, and moved promisingly towards following the rising trend in more flavoursome, dare I say it “craftier’ beers.

IMG_6960These beers as I’ve said will only be around for a short time and that time really counts for the brewers themselves as it’s sales and not “experts” that will take them to the grand final, that’s you and me in the shops buying your favourite(s). The top three selling beers from each region will then make the final, where two breweries will be in with a chance to win a guaranteed, minimum six-month listing in Sainsbury’s stores across the length and breadth of the country from November this year. (A full list of those twenty beers is below)

IMG_6961I’ve already done my bit, or at least started to and have “stocked up” BEFORE I posted this as I’ve been caught out like that before…

#Hashtag Tasting Alert!

Anyway apart from the giving the regional finalists a bit of a boost with this post I also thought we could go a bit further if you are game?

Regular readers or folk that follow me on Twitter will know that I have run a series of hashtag twitter tastings over the last eighteen months, these normally feature a specific style of beer, Saison, Barley Wine etc and can I suppose be a little exclusive to drinkers that have access to a specialist on street or internet beer store, or else at least are frequent beer tourists.

But how about running a #GBBH tasting night featuring all these Great British Beers, no styles, must buys or favourites, just read the labels, pick what you fancy and join in by sharing what you are enjoying and why on social media? After all most beer lovers or even beer curious folk will have a Sainsbury’s in striking distance, making this event should it happen very much INCLUSIVE.

So what do you think, any mileage in it, I was thinking sometime in around a weeks time to really try and push sales for the full three weeks and hopefully drive a really good couple of winning beers over the finish line, are you with me??

If so all we need is a recognisable # hashtag name, a date and of course some beer…

Cheers

SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND

  • Barney’s Brew – Hilden Brewery
  • Gonny no brew that – Wiliams Bros Brewing Co
  • The Honey Thief – Wiliams Bros Brewing Co
  • Hipsway – Wiliams Bros Brewing Co
  • Wayfarer IPA – Orkney Brewery

NORTH

  • American Pride – Double Maxim Beer Co
  • Crafty Dan – Thwaites Brewery
  • Infra Red – Hardknott UK LTD
  • Swedish Blonde – Double Maxim Beer Co
  • Windermere Pale – Hawkshead Brewery

WEST

  • Devon Dreamer – Hunters Brewery
  • Gower Gold – Gower brewery company ltd
  • Harbour IPA – Harbour Brewing Co
  • Harbour Porter No.6 – Harbour Brewing Co
  • Serendipity – Bird’s Brewery

EAST

  • B Bok – Batemans
  • Black Pepper Ale – Batemans
  • Reindeer Droppings – Ridgeway Brewing
  • Querkus – Ridgeway Brewing
  • Lavender Honey – WBC (T/A Wolf Brewery)

Project isosceles #Twissup

We’ve not had a proper full on #Twissup for a long time, the last I believe being in Newcastle Upon Tyne for Toon Twissup in November 2011, so as a sort of stop-gap until the next full-blown event I thought I’d have a bash at organising a mini one.

First off let me explain what a #Twissup is for the uninitiated. Quite simply it’s a gathering of twitter using beer lovers, brewers etc etc in a particular city, on one day, taking in several bars and perhaps a brewery or two. Check out the link to Andy Moggs blog above to read more about it, he tends to be one of the main organisers of these events and it has several accounts of how it all went on there. You don’t have to use Twitter or any other social media of course anyone is welcome, it just helps to see what is  happening where.

To be fair what I’m trying to organise is likely to be slightly scaled down version, as Macclesfield, or Treacle Town as it is known locally doesn’t have quite as many top end bars and pubs as a major city centre such as Newcastle. No disrespect meant to any Maxonians there, Macc has some great places too or else I wouldn’t be inviting folks to go there, but is clearly smaller.

Essentially the day is to be centred around the three pubs I tend to visit most regularly and a brewery, with maybe more to follow and a final running order to be confirmed.

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The brewery visit will be to meet owner/brewer Toby Mckenzie and co at RedWillow. RedWillow need no introduction to UK beer geeks I’m sure, but expect some super fresh, tasty, hoppy beers available from the brewery on the day, along with hopefully a surprise or two either there at the time, or out and about in Macc.

Weather permitting (should Spring ever get sprung and out of the way) Summer should be with us and RedWillow have kindly offered to put on a barbecue for us lucky people too.

The remaining time at this stage at least is aimed at spending time at the three pubs/bars that I playfully nicknamed “the Macclesfield triangle”, called such because travelling between them as the crow flies they make up a triangle (#isosceles obviously), but also it is within this area that a great deal of time, money and beer disappears… 😉

In no particular order we have The Wharf, recently awarded pub of the year status by the local Macclesfield and East Cheshire branch of CAMRA as seen below.

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Landlord Chris Stairmand runs The Wharf with a seemingly endless supply of energy and enthusiasm which makes it a great place to be, which is nice. But he’s also a massive beer fan too which is evident in his beer menu, meaning that there is always something interesting on the bar or in the cellar. From memory that includes five cask pumps, two keg fonts dedicated to UK and International beers, a great bottle list and a regular array of lager and ciders.

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The Macc is pretty much as close as you get to a city “craft” bar and has had some extensive interior renovation in the last couple of years whilst under the guidance ex manager Scott (now of Beermoth fame). The inside is now very much open plan, with pastel shades and lots of comfy leather sofas to lounge in, yet it still keeps a traditional feel somehow. Now under a very capable new management team led by Hannah, The Macc continues to serve up a fine selection of beverage, think lots of quality cask ales with an emphasis on the “newer brewing fraternity”, several keg lines including a dedicated Brewdog pump and a super bottle menu too. The Macc does great food and also has a superb chippy right outside the door for the “less formal diner”.

The Treacle Tap

Treacle Tap owner Bronwyn pictured right.

Treacle Tap owner Bronwyn pictured right.

Last but by no means least we come to The Treacle Tap. This was the pub that drew me to Macclesfield in the first place after seeing it pictured on the front page of the “Out In Cheshire” CAMRA magazine in my local pub. I’m not sure if it was the name or the quirky old apothecary shop style frontage that hooked me, but I fell in love with the place there and then.

This is the smallest of the three venues holding around 60 people tops, but don’t let that fool you, the welcome is warm and the space they have is put to very good use. The small bar area normally has three quality cask beers on tap, on my last visit these were topped with two beers from Buxton and another from Tiny Rebel if that is anything to go by. No keg other than lager/cider but that is more than made up for by their extensive bottle range as pictured below.

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The Treacle Tap also do a fabulous range of pies made by the artisan Great North Pie Company, all of these are delicious but you have to try the steak and ale made with Macclesfield’s own Red Willow Pale Ale, it’s delicious.

In terms of beers on offer out and about on the day it’s early days, but as a starter for ten Buxton have already agreed to try and have a couple of big guns available on the day as well as the Red Willow offerings.

If any other breweries fancy getting involved, please contact either the venues direct or myself and I will put you in touch.

Of course if all that isn’t enough for you, there are many more pubs in the area, including The Waters Green Tavern which is a stones throw from Macclesfield railway station, The Park Tavern which is the Bollington Brewery tap and of course Manchester is only 25 minutes away for a late evening top up on the way home.

The date for your diary is Saturday 29th of June 2013, times etc to be confirmed but I’d expect to kick off around lunchtime or after a hearty breakfast somewhere in town.

What I really need is a rough indication of numbers, it’s not a ticket event of course but if I can at least get a feeling for a minimum amount it will give everyone involved a fighting chance to make sure enough of everything, beer, food and staff are available. If you can drop me a note in comments, or contact me via twitter etc that would really help.

Keep an eye out on Twitter for the #IsoscelesTwissup or #isosceles for short for more details as and when they emerge and please, please share the love and make this a great event.

Cheers everyone, hope you can come along.

Update: Please join the Macclesfield Twissup #isosceles Facebook page

Update 2: Check out this great round up featuring The Macc Triangles finest.. Read it here

Many Old Posts (for) #AnyOldAle

As a sort of winter warm up to this Saturdays shenanigans, I thought I’d do a little round of some of the posts other folks have written/recorded that have inspired me to buy, save and serve the beers up at my tasting session. Some date back a while but obviously struck a chord at the time. Hope they inspire you too…read on.

Ghostdrinker – Cockeyed Cooper

Uinta1So apparently (from the powers that be) I’ve heard that in about six weeks we should be getting a new shipment of Exciting beers. Within that shipment is a range of four beers you may have heard of:

Cockeyed Cooper: A bruiser of a Bourbon Barrel aged Barley Wine at 11.1%
Detour Double IPA: A fierce 9.5% juicy gem of an IPA
Labyrinth: A destroyingly drinkable 13.2% Black Ale
& Tilted Smile: a 9% rock and roll Imperial Pilsner

These are a range of beers in the Crooked Line Series I’m sure you’ve seen before from the Uinta brewery. These 75cl corked bottles of art meets beer are absolutely fantastic just to look at, let alone drink. Read more..

Oh Beery Me – Beer 359 – Orkney Brewery Dark Island Reserve (10%)

tumblr_inline_mfkv7a2rLS1qznrq7I last sampled The Orkney Brewery on Burns Night and their delicious Red McGregor was the perfect accompaniment to haggis, neeps and tatties. However tonight’s beer promises to be something very special indeed.

The idea behind the Dark Island Reserve was to create a super-premium, unique and special beer that set new standards in Britain in quality of product and packaging. Using Orkney’s Dark Island Ale, it has been matured in aged Orkney malt whisky casks for three months. Read more…

Broadford Brewer – Quantum Brewing Company, SK1 Barley Wine

IMAG0516Yup, a beer review.  This beer is the product of a collaboration between Jay Krause, owner of and Head Brewer at Quantum Brewing Company and Colin Strongewho was at Marble at the time, but now Head Brewer at Black Isle.

This 7.4% abv Quantum branded beer, brewed in August 2011, is described as a Strong Amber Barley Wine “generously hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Super Alpha, Motueka and dry hopped with Super Alpha“. Read more..

Beer Reviews – Hardknott Granite

imagesHardknott are one of the breweries I have a great fondness for, this stems back to visiting Dave and Ann when they ran the Woolpack inn. It was easy to see how passionate and knowledgable they both are.

Since selling th pub and moving the brewery they have gone from strength to strength, re branding and releasing some excellent new beers such as Dark Energy, Cool Fusion, Queboid  and Infra red. Now with the new versions of Aether Blaec and Granite about to be released I thought it was about time I published my thoughts on the previous versions, starting with Granite. Read more…

Beers I’ve Known – Old Numbskull (with cheese pairing too)

IMG_9259Its been a few months, but that doesn’t mean the cheese and beer pairing has fallen by the wayside. In fact its stepped up somewhat as I did 50 pairings in September and October in preparation for the e-book I am writing. I still had some spare time (and more importantly spare cheese!) to do a pairing for the blog though.
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It pours dark amber with fluffy off-white head. Amazing sticky orange marmalade and underlying ginger-snap biscuits. Read more…

Zac Avery – Stone Old Guardian

Hope that has whetted your appetite…see you Saturday

Cheers

#AnyOldAle

No-9-Red

Just a quick reminder about this weekends tasting session on all things Barley Wine etc.

I’ll be hosting a session from about 7:30 onwards this coming Saturday and hope you can join me wherever you are, by opening a bottle or several and tweeting what you find using the hash tag #AnyOldAle.

I’ve got beers old and new to discover and share with a few friends and can’t wait to get stuck in to all that juicy sticky goodness.

Cheers

The original post is below if you’ve not read it already:

In a change to the advertised program..

Several weeks ago I announced/suggested another night of mass twitter based beer shenanigans to discover the tasty and most likely hangover inducing delights of Barley Wines. At the time a mystery hash-tag of #BarleyCon13 was muted and then….nothing..

Since then, folks quite rightfully have badgered me to get this moving (or at least giving some gentle “get your arse in gear” type encouragement) but things have just been a bit mental of late.

IMG_5562The original hash-tag was hinting at an event I was trying to plan at Coniston Brewery which was going to possibly include a night over, the award-winning No9 Barley Wine on the bar and other beery delights too, hence BarleyCon. Sadly a bout of flu, seasonal B&B changes, an impromptu stag do then wedding and a Buxton Brewery launch at Euston Tap (here) got in the way. (It’s a hard life)

Maybe one to revisit next year though and book it all well in advance, anyone up for that?

Anyway, for now it’s time to throw the thing out there again before Spring takes hold, this time no bells and whistles just a date to start with and a few suggestions to get you going.

Saturday March 23rd is the date, time, whenever you feel like it. I’ll probably arrange a tasting session, maybe even an afternoon booze up that gradually decends into something lighter as things are definitely gonna get heavy..

IMG_5563The hash-tag has changed too as the old one no longer makes any sense, I’ve gone for #AnyOldAle,  the inspiration coming from a post by Martyn Cornell on his blog Zythophile, where he explores the topic “So what IS the difference between barley wine and old ale?“. I also thought this would open the beer range up a little too, allowing folks to include variations on the theme, check out Martyn’s post for some ideas and explore away.

IMG_5564IMG_6428In terms of beers suggestions I’ve given a few hints in the attached photographs for starters. These are what I’ve amassed over the last year or so with a view to doing this sort of thing, some may not be available, although some of you will no doubt have the odd bottle tucked away.

Some I’ve tasted and would recommend, others will be surprises to me too, but that’s the joy of exploration.

There are a few others I’d look out for, not pictured here but should be slightly easier to bag in supermarkets and beer shops etc, these are Robinsons – Old Tom, Anchor – Old Foghorn, Arbor – Down Deeperer, Adnams – Tally-Ho or maybe Theakstons – Old Peculier as an old ale, not forgetting the odd Scotch Ale too if you’ve a mind to.

As always, I’m more than happy to help folks find some ideas or locate certain beers and welcome suggestions in comments which I’ll upload and will become a working list as time goes on as with #SupSaison etc.

Look out for further announcements on CAMRGB and via their App available free from the Apple AppStoreCAMRGB-WEB-HEADER

Until then, happy drinking…

Any Old Ale“!!