The big three double O..

300xThis is my 300th post, a bit of a milestone for me and long overdue. Much in beer has changed since I first sat down and decided to start blogging under the Beersay handle around five or six years ago..

Brewdog opened their first bar in Aberdeen sometime during my first year in blogging proper. My own first visit to a new-fangled “craft beer” bar came I think a year or so later when I walked through the doors of Mr Foley’s in Leeds. 

Mr Foley’s rapid rise to fame came largely in my view at least, as a result of the vision of it’s then manager Dean Pugh. His potential quickly spotted, @BrewDogBarDean as he is now known, became manager at Brewdog Manchester, before helping to establish the brands UK flagship 40-tap bar in Shepherds Bush. Then bringing the timeline bang up to date. Only a few weeks ago, Dean packed his bags and moved to Berlin, and he’s not just going over to watch better football. 

Although saying that, currently the only team doing “wurst” than his is my own.

In that time of course Brewdog’s massive expansion has been mirrored by a huge rise facial growths of the beardy variety, many other things grown too, breweries, bars, beer columns in the press, full-on “quality” beer publications, podcasts, twitter beer shows, blogs and more.

Beer Festivals are no longer purely the domain of brown, there is a now veritable rainbow of colour choice, cloudy is acceptable and if a beer is sour, it won’t necessarily always mean “it’s off, sorry I’m sending it back”.

The once awful catchphrase uttered by a landlord, “here’s a fruit based drink for your good lady” doesn’t have to mean he’s being sexist, but only if he’s just handed you a bourbon barrel aged imperial apricot and mango saison. If not, he’s still a twat.

Beer is on TV, hooray! OK it still needs work and will get better, but it’s getting there.

Loads of the beer writers that inspired me to write also have moved on. Some have written books, become beer sommeliers, taken jobs in breweries, STARTED breweries, launched enormously successful beer festivals, opened bars, shops etc. Some have done pretty much all of the above.

Personally speaking I certainly don’t write as much now as I once did and there are many reasons for that. So many more folk doing it better than I do being one that immediately springs to mind. But that is a good thing too, as clearly with more being written by more people, beers popularity has risen enough to enthuse more people to be passionate about it in whatever fashion they see fit.

I definitely get a buzz about it still, especially when folk comment or say that I have inspired them in some way, or even if they just tell me I’ve written a complete load of tosh, as at least I know they bothered to take time out to read it.

If nothing else, I have made so many new and good friends over the years, not just drinking buddies, people I truly class as long-term close friends, people I trust and can (and do) confide in, go to for help and get it, help back, have a moan at or with, or just plain have a laugh and get drunk next to. Inspirational people in some way all of them.

THANK YOU ALL!

But the times they are a changing, as old Bobby Dylan once scribbled: and I have exciting news. Things are about to change for me too

Exciting, scary things..

Otters-Tears-IconV2-360px

Things are about to get otter, but I’ll tell you more about that in a day or so..

Cheers!

Mood Beer and world domination #TheSession66

Phil, (or Overlord Pouron as he preferred to be called), leant back in his generous elk-skin chair and stretched like a tom cat in the summer sun, he smiles contentedly as he gazes out of the large circular stained glass office window overlooking the river Thames, a huge floodlit spinning image of his own grinning face beams back at him, blazoned across the full width of the London Eye.

He was so glad that he had taken up the offer from the government to use Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster as his home office, although he sorely regretted removing the old clocks mechanism just as the big hand was on the five, it threw awful shadows across the room and generally ballsed up the view. He had removed the bell of course but not discarded it, instead he’d had it installed on the roof, inverted and filled with spewing fire that cast a warning glow across Mordoren and the rest of Londinium, nicking that idea from the Olympics and some old book trilogy or other...

Aah well he thought things could be worse..

He closed his eyes and thought back to that life changing day twenty years ago today. Friday August 3rd it was in 2012, when searching every corner of his brain for inspiration for his contribution to The Session, that months topic being “One Beer To Rule Them All“, he had that eureka moment, ‘Mood Beer” and Mordor Brewery, things would never be the same again..

You see in his mind there was “No Beer To Rule Them All” there were just too many, styles that he loved, styles that he hated. Some beers for Summer, some for Winter some to drink just to piss people off, how could all that be focussed in to one master beer, PAH!

But then the thought struck him, why try and create one beer to be the best at one time, why not give the people the choice to drink ANYTHING they wanted at any time, where ever their mood took them… This was impossible of course in reality, but the plan wasn’t to make such a mystical beer, more to convince drinkers that what they were drinking tasted fantastic by mind control and subterfuge, secrecy was imperative.

What he needed first was a builder, a craftsman with a creative eye and a vision to create something new and innovative, but who could also be trusted never to speak about his work ever.. His gaze turned in the direction of Cumbria, Professor Bailey he thought excitedly, he can build anything and never utters a word since his vow of silence following Tonic-gate..

Dave set to work deep in the rocky hills of the Hardknott Pass, creating a server so powerful it could draw information in an instant from any beer site in the world and cull it together as one focussed thought. Thus convincing the drinker he could smell those mighty hops, taste those powerful malts and hide the smell of wee should they think about drinking Special Brew.

But what of a channel to reach this server, a vessel that could link drinker with electronic brain without them being aware?

On the table before him sat a simple Dimpled Pint Pot, he hated this glass with a passion but it was perfect. It had a handle in which to hide the sophisticated software for processing the users thoughts and desires of beer choice, this could be activated by a ring on the users right hand and BINGO, Pliny The Elder or Westvleteren 12 at the merest whim..

Creation stage complete, now it was time to convince drinkers the world over that Mood Beer could taste as good as any other and global beery domination would be his BAWAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!

Now the mystique, what magic would be so powerful as to fool even the most knowledgeable scooper? Hop Wizards!

Using the false promise of as many hops to take away as they could carry he lured the finest in the land to the sampling room at Mordor Brewing Co, all eagerly arrived in their brewers finery and signed up to the cause, 16 strong. Howe, Baker, Ross, Clarke, Krause, Mallinson, Frost, Farran, McKenzie Kelsall, Burhouse, Routeledge, Campbell, Bendall, Cossi and Stronge all took up cloak and pointy hat emblazoned with images of hop cones, trusty hop sorcerers apprentice Dickson scurrying in their wake. Two more, brothers Tom and Oliver took up the senior positions of High Lords Lupulus on the premise that Fozard “sounds a bit like wizard so they really deserved it”. Finally, every workforce needs a master, our final recruit to the evil plan “The Great Kernelski”, O’Riordan, hop demon and as it happened the most wizardy looking too.

Each day Kernelski gathered them together for a great ritual, all stood in silence around an enormous copper chalice filed with the connecting rings to fashioned to match the Dimple. Each Magus would reach into golden bags full of wonderful hop concoctions and throw them over the chalice in order to impart their resinous power to the rings within, the image hypnotic to any beer lover who saw it.

But what of the beer itself, it didn’t matter for now, the user simply used any bland supermarket slop and used it as base liquid for their brew, after all any beer they wanted for the price of a four pack, a no brainer!

From here it was easy, word spread fast via bloggers, writers and beer geeks, all desperate to get their hands on free promotional samples of the Mood Beer mug and connecting ring, it’s creator lorded as the saviour of the beer industry and surely the harbinger of future world peace. Soon news spread north to Fraserburgh, who far too easily took up the baton with thoughts of world domination never far from their minds, immediately beer scamps were engaged then swiftly despatched across the globe and soon Mordor Brewing Co was the only beer on everyones mind…

Slowly but surely over time breweries folded and were snapped up on the cheap in order to produce Mood Beer to fill those glasses, cheap tasteless slop brewed in huge plants across the globe, no hops were needed and hop farms were left unkempt and overgrown. Soon CAMRA folded, after all what was there left to campaign for, keg was pulverised and real ale pubs lay empty and derelict, even Brewdog gave up the ghost and took jobs as scamp herders.

Hmmm life was good…

But wait, something was wrong, he could hear sirens and alarms going off in the humungous brewing plant below, the server!

Racing down stairwell after stairwell the sound of sirens grew louder and louder and louder. The faint hum of his precious new server Ratebeer X1 was now more of a rumble, sirens screamed and under his feet the ground began to shake so much running was now impossible.

The door and the emergency stop button were in sight, the SYSTEM OVERLOAD button flashed glaring red and blue, surely nobody had been crazy enough to request a pint of Creamflow, the only chink in Mordor Brewing Co’s armour???

Pushing on he could…almost…reach…the off..button, if only the shaking would stop and those sirens, please stop the sirens. They almost sounded like they were calling his name, Phiiill, Phiiiill, Phiiiiiill, a face appeared, a huge face almost touching his, panicking he pushed it away, it was in the way of the button, move he bawled!! It came in to focus again, but this time it was a familiar face, the wife, what was she doing down here……

“Phil (shake), PHIL Wake up”!!

“What, Ugh?”

“You fell asleep again watching Backdraft again, you want another John Smiths?”

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Note: No hallucinogenic drugs nor alcohol were used in the writing of this post.. Honest!

#Session 60 – Growlers Galore

This months edition of the Session is hosted by Kendall Jones of The Washington Beer Blog, the theme, Growlers Galore.

To my fellow United Kingdom dwelling readers, especially those locally to me in England. To avoid the obvious rib tickling comments I should explain that overseas in the USA, Australia etc, a Growler is a receptacle which drinkers take to their favourite bar or beer store, fill and take away beer for use at home or parties etc.

For everyone else who can’t see why that would be remotely funny, I suggest putting “Growlers – Urban Dictionary” into Google and finding out yourself…

Anyway, it’s safe to say that in the UK we don’t take growlers away from the pub, in fact it’s the complete opposite we take them TO the pub. Check out the very short video below of ours in action at our local, look out for the triple spin at the end 😉

The little Jack Russell  is my dog and has developed a neat trick and excellent navigational skills, this bodes for an assured future safe arrival in my twilight years when memory fades, read all about it.

Until next time thanks for visiting, Cheers

British Guild Of Beer Writers Awards 2011, a brief recap..

On Thursday 1 December I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the annual awards dinner for the British Guild of Beer Writers down in that London. I hasten to add I was there as a guest at the table hosted by John Humphreys and Shepherd Neame Brewery and not as a member of the guild, or by virtue (directly at least) of anything I have written here on Beersay.

I’ve meant to write a quick post ever since but haven’t as things have been a bit crazy with work, Christmas and hosting The Session etc. Then I saw this video put together brilliantly by Nathan Nolan AKA @MrDrinknEat and my spark was re-kindled, it’s a great piece of film which captures the event perfectly in just a couple of minutes.

The Menu and beer pairings (apologies for the quality)

I did take a few photographs myself on the night but the lighting was very low and to be honest they are all pretty awful. I’ve dropped a few below though anyway, to give you a flavour of the great food I lucky enough to sample on the night. In all honesty it was probably the best food I’ve ever eaten anywhere, even the canapés beforehand were fantastic. The beers chosen to pair with them were awesome too. My particular favourite was the passion fruit cheesecake paired with Brewdog’s Alice Porter. The roasty notes of the porter really enhancing the biscuit base brilliantly.

Trying for once to keep this post short and sweet I’ll leave you with a few more photos.

But before that I just wanted to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU to John and Shepherd Neame for inviting me and my table fellows. Also to everyone I met and shared a beer with on the night, I absolutely loved every minute of it. If there’s a space next year, count me in.

Seared albacore, white asparagus, shallot, mustard with soy dressing - Served with Kelham Island Brewery "Pale Rider"

Scallop and crab, mushroom soup dumplings - Served with Wadworth Brewery "Orange Peel"

baby chicken, foie gras mousse, cabbage, black pepper sauce and vegetable parcels - Served with Kernel Brewery "Pale Ale"

Passion fruit cheesecake with passion fruit marshmallow - Served with Brewdog "Alice Porter"

Something a little special as a gift from Shepherd Neame - Review to follow very soon…

Roll on the European Beer Bloggers Conference in Leeds May 2012.

Session #58 A Christmas Carol – Final round up

A week has come and gone and it’s time to call “LAST ORDERS” on Decembers edition of The Session.

As I’ve said previously, it’s been a real experience hosting The Session and one that I have enjoyed immensely. There have been no new updates since the interim post but please have a quick scan down the line in case you (or I) have missed one.

Next months Session is hosted by Mario at Brewed For Thought and is due in on Friday 6th January 2012.

Mario’s topic Announcement “Not Beer” is here.

Session #58 A Christmas Carol – The final round up

Some of the posts have been heart wrenching trips down memory lane, others quirky and down right hilarious, but all celebrating good beer and I thank everyone heartily for taking the time to join in. CHEERS!

We’ve a great post to open the round-up, where Simon from Reluctant Scooper is in absolutely cracking form as he re-tells the classic tale in humorous style, but with a serious cautionary tale hidden amongst the captivatingly funny text, with “Scrooged: or A Cautionary Tale Of How Beer Got Fecked“.

Zac from Building International Coalitions Through Beer and Pavement who went along a similar line as I in terms of a beery confession about Christmas past, which involved a trip to the roof to emulate Santa’s little helper, with almost as scary consequences as the “Ugly Sweater” competition..read his post here.

Last months host Steve goes with “A Dickens of a Christmas” on his blog Beers I’ve known. Steve gets over an early years “tongue burner’ on Scotch Whisky, not letting it put him off his garage full of winter warmers. For the future, I too want to find that special place mate.

Dave at Broadford Brewer had me laughing at the first paragraph with this introductory quote “here’s my small silver coin of a post to be wrapped neatly in the plum pudding blog round-up”. He’s also got some interesting beery choices for Christmas, I like it. Read it here.

In his imaginatively titled post “Barley’s Ghost”, The Beer Nut, goes for beers of the past, present and future which are still around, (happily I have a couple of them). Some great news for Irish drinkers and hopefully for the rest of us too, check his post out here.

Paul at Sockster’s Brewhouse has a Dickens of a Christmas indulging a passion for dark mild over the “Bank-s” holiday with “Sarah Hughes’, stirred some great memories of pre-Christmas lunch drinks, read it in full here.

Sean from Beer Search Party puts a completely different trust on the topic, being from the much balmier at the time of year Los Angeles, some great sounding beers to be supped nonetheless, read all about them here.

Richard from Travels With Cap’n has a Black Tuesday to look forward to with a few friends on Hanukkah along with a beery plan to sample lots of Oregon’s finest brews, read it here.

Alan from A Good Beer Blog takes time to reflect on where his blog has been over the years in terms of “Beers Of Christmas Past, Present and Future“, it’s funny how things don’t quite read the same a few years down the road.

Stan from Appellation Beer asks the interesting question “What would Scrooge drink?“, can you put a name to your favourite and would you buy him a beer?

Jon from The Brew Site, looks back at some beery Christmases with family & friends drinking Jubelale and canned session brews and looks forward to sharing something special and interesting here.

Reuben from A Tale Of Ale goes all Bah Humbug on us, moving from Lambrusco, then living the “High Life” on Samichlaus.

Leigh at Good Food Good Beer takes us on a journey on his post The Best Day Of The Year, a real fly on the wall experience about how things are in his and his family’s houses at Christmas, carefully eyeing that special beer but just drinking…what family drink.

Craig from Drink Drank defies time itself hatching a fascinating plan to brew a beer from the past, for the present and the future in his post Marley’s Ghost, I’d love to hear how this turns out and maybe some of my UK brewing friends could try it too for a transatlantic tasting session?

Matt from Hoosier Beer Geek puts his spin on a subject that seems to be on quite a few lips (keyboards, blogs) of late, that is are we all guilty of treating beer as “my precious”, I know I am. Read about the path to self redemption here.

Kenny from The Beer Monkey breaks on in song on the Christmas Karaoke with a rib tickling rendition of The Twelve Beers Of Christmas. I challenge you not to be singing along as you read this one 😉

Boak And Bailey remind us all to put the beer snobbery aside and enjoy the true sentiments of Christmas offerings, no matter what they are or where they came from. “There never was such a goose.

Tiffany from 99 Pours must have a soft spot for old Scrooge-face if the beers she’s preparing to serve misery guts up are anything to go by. I think I need to work on my mean streak, it obviously pays big dividends, read it and weep here in Beers That Will Haunt Old Scrooge

Bob from “It could do with a few more hops…” pushes aside the spiritual visitations and relays how he has already come to terms with his own demons. The beastly dark side of beer geekery and how it can potentially ruin a good pint. Looks like there will be better things than “lumpy Mikkeller” in the Arnott household this Christmas..read on here

Jay from a beer in the hand is worth two in the fridge is looking for beer Resurrection and harding for an Abstrakt Christmas, hoping to convert his Father in law to the good cause. Read all about it..

Paul from Source Deli dips another toe into the beer blogging arena and joins The Session for the first time with his post “3 beers of Christmas Dinner or The Non-Stop Rise of Beer Part 2“, where he plots and plans the beer matches for Christmas dinner before succumbing to family tradition..

Then of course there’s my own witterings on Beersay, “A Christmas Carol” and as Broadford Brewer commented: “Leading the way with confessions followed by true redemption with what can only be described as an amazing selection of beers!!! If you are sharing them they we’ll have to dub you Ebenezer Good!”

I’ll give it a few more days before I put the final summary post together so please give me a shout if any of you are busily creating something you’d like to add. Hopefully some of the fine work above will serve as inspiration. You can add your links HERE

Thanks again everyone.

Session #58 A Christmas Carol – An interim round up

Well, a few days have come and gone since the opening day of The Session or Beer Blogging Friday, so I thought I’d best get to work on a summary. This is only an interim round-up as I know we have a few more posts definitely on the way.

Also, Thursday just gone was the British Guild of Beer Writers awards dinner, so I’m hoping that by now, the hangovers have cleared and yet more of the UK’s finest decide to put pen to paper or fingers to keys.

It’s been a real experience hosting The Session and one that I have enjoyed immensely. Some of the posts have been heart wrenching trips down memory lane, others quirky and down right hilarious, but all celebrating good beer and I thank everyone heartily for taking the time to join in. CHEERS!

We’ve a great post to open the round-up, where Simon from Reluctant Scooper is in absolutely cracking form as he re-tells the classic tale in humorous style, but with a serious cautionary tale hidden amongst the captivatingly funny text, with “Scrooged: or A Cautionary Tale Of How Beer Got Fecked“.

Zac from Building International Coalitions Through Beer and Pavement who went along a similar line as I in terms of a beery confession about Christmas past, which involved a trip to the roof to emulate Santa’s little helper, with almost as scary consequences as the “Ugly Sweater” competition..read his post here.

Last months host Steve goes with “A Dickens of a Christmas” on his blog Beers I’ve known. Steve gets over an early years “tongue burner’ on Scotch Whisky, not letting it put him off his garage full of winter warmers. For the future, I too want to find that special place mate.

Dave at Broadford Brewer had me laughing at the first paragraph with this introductory quote “here’s my small silver coin of a post to be wrapped neatly in the plum pudding blog round-up”. He’s also got some interesting beery choices for Christmas, I like it. Read it here.

In his imaginatively titled post “Barley’s Ghost”, The Beer Nut, goes for beers of the past, present and future which are still around, (happily I have a couple of them). Some great news for Irish drinkers and hopefully for the rest of us too, check his post out here.

Paul at Sockster’s Brewhouse has a Dickens of a Christmas indulging a passion for dark mild over the “Bank-s” holiday with “Sarah Hughes’, stirred some great memories of pre-Christmas lunch drinks, read it in full here.

Sean from Beer Search Party puts a completely different trust on the topic, being from the much balmier at the time of year Los Angeles, some great sounding beers to be supped nonetheless, read all about them here.

Richard from Travels With Cap’n has a Black Tuesday to look forward to with a few friends on Hanukkah along with a beery plan to sample lots of Oregon’s finest brews, read it here.

Alan from A Good Beer Blog takes time to reflect on where his blog has been over the years in terms of “Beers Of Christmas Past, Present and Future“, it’s funny how things don’t quite read the same a few years down the road.

Stan from Appellation Beer asks the interesting question “What would Scrooge drink?“, can you put a name to your favourite and would you buy him a beer?

Jon from The Brew Site, looks back at some beery Christmases with family & friends drinking Jubelale and canned session brews and looks forward to sharing something special and interesting here.

Reuben from A Tale Of Ale goes all Bah Humbug on us, moving from Lambrusco, then living the “High Life” on Samichlaus.

Leigh at Good Food Good Beer takes us on a journey on his post The Best Day Of The Year, a real fly on the wall experience about how things are in his and his family’s houses at Christmas, carefully eyeing that special beer but just drinking…what family drink.

Craig from Drink Drank defies time itself hatching a fascinating plan to brew a beer from the past, for the present and the future in his post Marley’s Ghost, I’d love to hear how this turns out and maybe some of my UK brewing friends could try it too for a transatlantic tasting session?

Matt from Hoosier Beer Geek puts his spin on a subject that seems to be on quite a few lips (keyboards, blogs) of late, that is are we all guilty of treating beer as “my precious”, I know I am. Read about the path to self redemption here.

Kenny from The Beer Monkey breaks on in song on the Christmas Karaoke with a rib tickling rendition of The Twelve Beers Of Christmas. I challenge you not to be singing along as you read this one 😉

Boak And Bailey remind us all to put the beer snobbery aside and enjoy the true sentiments of Christmas offerings, no matter what they are or where they came from. “There never was such a goose.

Tiffany from 99 Pours must have a soft spot for old Scrooge-face if the beers she’s preparing to serve misery guts up are anything to go by. I think I need to work on my mean streak, it obviously pays big dividends, read it and weep here in Beers That Will Haunt Old Scrooge

Bob from “It could do with a few more hops…” pushes aside the spiritual visitations and relays how he has already come to terms with his own demons. The beastly dark side of beer geekery and how it can potentially ruin a good pint. Looks like there will be better things than “lumpy Mikkeller” in the Arnott household this Christmas..read on here

Jay from a beer in the hand is worth two in the fridge is looking for beer Resurrection and harding for an Abstrakt Christmas, hoping to convert his Father in law to the good cause. Read all about it..

Paul from Source Deli dips another toe into the beer blogging arena and joins The Session for the first time with his post “3 beers of Christmas Dinner or The Non-Stop Rise of Beer Part 2“, where he plots and plans the beer matches for Christmas dinner before succumbing to family tradition..

Then of course there’s my own witterings on Beersay, “A Christmas Carol” and as Broadford Brewer commented: “Leading the way with confessions followed by true redemption with what can only be described as an amazing selection of beers!!! If you are sharing them they we’ll have to dub you Ebenezer Good!”

I’ll give it a few more days before I put the final summary post together so please give me a shout if any of you are busily creating something you’d like to add. Hopefully some of the fine work above will serve as inspiration. You can add your links HERE

Thanks again everyone.