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.

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

It’s been a Hardknott Dave’s night..

…well not just a Hardknott Dave, it’s more of a “@HardknottDave@HardknottAnn, @HardKnottSooty, @HardknottAlfie and @HardknottSarah‘s days night”, as this brewery seems to be a truly full family embracing business. Check them out on Twitter and Facebook, there’s always one, two or all of them chattering away to beery folk, generally about beery things.

I first fell in love with Hardknott beers after tasting the marvellous Æther Blæc. It’s an Imperial Stout aged in Whisky casks to add some wonderfully complex flavours to the beer. There are two of these, each aged in 27yr and 28yr casks respectively and both bottled in small numbered batches. I had intended to do a bit of a taste off after aquiring a bottle of each, but then my good friend @GhostDrinker had the same thought and completed the task in fine style using his in depth knowledge of both beer and whisky. Check out the results here, they make a great read, but don’t just take our word for it, get some Æther Blæc and try it yourselves, it’s superb.

Those done, I decided I’d opt for a full night on the Hardknott stuff with these four beers, Dark Energy, Infra Red, Queboid and Granite.

Dark Energy – 4.9%

Dark Energy is listed on Ratebeer as a stout, although as far as I can see on the bottle it has no mention of that fact. It looks like a stout, pouring black as pitch with a brown foaming head that thins quickly, but there’s more there too, which is probably where the quoted description comes from, “as complicated as an astrophysicist’s equation”.

Aromas are quite light, wafts of milk chocolate with hints of smoke. The initial mouthfeel is quite thin for a stout but in a very quaffable way that doesn’t disappoint. It has flavours of smokey burnt malt, dark bitter chocolate & coffee, but then more, there’s a sort of IPA fruitiness too with hints of orange & dates. This is a lovely dark beer in true Hardknott style.

Infra Red – 6.5%

I had tried Infra Red once before, but wanted to revisit and review this beer as it was so good the first time around. It’s a rich ruby coloured IPA from Hardknott.

Infra Red is full on from the word go. On opening the bottle you get sumptuous aromas of strawberries, fruit salad chews & sherbet, a veritable kid in a sweetshop variety of smells on the nose. The big flavours follow very much in the same vein, but with a rich malty mouthfeel, there’s a citrussy zest in the background and a long balanced bitter finish. One of my beers of the year, I urge you to try this very soon.

Queboid – 8.0%

Hardknott get all European here with Queboid, it’s their take on a Belgian style Imperial IPA.

Queboid pours a lazy, hazy sunset red. Aromas are typically hoppilly tropical fruity, maybe some orange and even banana. The mouthfeel is resinously rich and full, with deep, strong flavours of orange marmalade and bitter citrus peel. Alcoholic strength is evident but not too in your face masked by the wonderful flavour battle going on in the mouth. A heartwarming slow sipper..

Granite – 10.4% 

As I was considering opening the Granite, I consulted with the First Lady at Hardknott towers @HardknottAnn. I needed guidance on whether to drink it or store it after reading the advice on the label.

“Hide it away in your deepest darkest cellar to avoid the temptation to consume before it’s best.”

“A long maturation on dry hops ensures a big beer that will continue to improve rendering the best before date an irrelevant contradictory semantic.”

Ann kindly duly obliged:

Who am I to argue, let’s get it on….

Granite is luxuriously rich barley wine and I was drinking bottle number 200 out of 504. On pouring the colour is a deep, dark chocolate brown, dense to almost black. The aroma is smoky, mocha, there’s a hint of Stilton cheese too, hitting the nose as soon as you crack off the crown cap. Once in the mouth it’s smooth, thick & sweet, with slightly oily texture. There is a smokey almost burnt toast taste at first, then you get that Christmas cake fruit sweetness, dates, more Stilton and undertones of citrus. A full on festive meal in a glass, with the warming alcohol after dinner glow that normally goes with the occasion.

After tasting this now, I’m definitely going to grab a few more bottles to age as suggested to see what flavours develop. Watch this space in about 4 years for updates…..

In summary I can honestly say that these are all superb beers in their own right, my personal favourite overall was definitely the Infra Red, it has massive flavours without being overly strong therefore allowing me to drink more. 😉

If you’d like to get to know a little more about Dave the brewer and his rise to his current levels of brewing prowess, check out @BeerReviewsAndy‘s website where he has a meet the brewer section. Dave from Hardknott appeared back in January 2010 and although a lot has undoubtedly changed since then, it is still all good reading.

To get a more up to date view, Dave also has his own Hardknott blogspot page where he shares his words of wisdom, the latest brewery news, sparks in depth debate and generally imparts his accumulated beery knowledge to the masses. Another cracking read too, check it out.

So where can I find some? At various good pubs, bars and beer festivals for starters, but also at quality online and local specialist beers shops too. I’ve listed a few below for info:

My Brewery Tap

Ales By Mail


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