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.


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..


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


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?”


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