Twissup and an impromptu beer tasting..Sharing the love – #7point5

Arriving late, we made a bee-line for Bacchus

Twissup, what a fabulous thing. Pick a city, spread the word and get beer lovers from all over the country to gravitate towards Newcastle upon Tyne (in this case), at a set date and time.

Then get some of the country’s finest brewers and breweries involved, so that they too can use the occasion to showcase the best they have to offer to an eager captive audience.

Finally, get local beer geeks, enthusiasts, bloggers and publicans to arrange a top notch itinerary, making sure that the finest establishments the city has to offer are stocked and visited to complete the mix, making it a day to remember.

LOVE IT! 🙂

The view from The Free Trade Inn

That’s where I was on November 12th, where I had too many fine brews to mention.

However two in particular stuck in the mind because they were particularly special, in fact they were two of the additional reasons why I was really looking forward to going so much.

These were Summer Wine Brewery‘s “Cohort” and Hardknott Brewery‘s “Vitesse Noir“, both new additions to each breweries range, two big bold beers and both available for I believe the first time anywhere, on the bar of The Free Trade Inn. Each one was as I expected, fabulous, so good in fact that I had three Cohorts, but sensibly stuck to one glass of the seriously savour-able Vitesse Noir.

Being at Twissup, sharing and talking about fabulous beers, rekindled a spark of an idea, it’s something that I have wanted to do and hopefully progress for quite some time. That is introduce some of my friends, drinking buddies and general Stoke on Trent pub going folk to something new, beers that a good proportion of them probably would never have heard about yet and probably never would. To share the love of geek beer if you like.

I’d very kindly been given a bottle of Cohort from Andy and James from SWB at Twissup, also as part of the BETA test team of Hardknotts new online store too, I’d been allowed early access to bottled Vitesse Noir. So fast forward exactly one week from Twissup and I’m setting up a mini tasting session in my local, The Bulls Head. Nothing official, formal or fancy, just a bottle of each spread out over three glasses between three small groups. (After all we all have to start somewhere)

Up first was Cohort, a roasty “Double Belgian Rye PA” at 7.5% abv.

Pouring a black is pitch you could see a few folks doing a double take and giving me the “I know I’m not going to like this” look. Then they took a sniff and the first sip before that expression changed to a sort of perplexed “I thought I wasn’t going to like this” face, then finally (after lot’s of OOOH’s and HMMM’S) we reached critical mass, the smile broke out and I got the reactionary comments, “WOW”, “what the bloody hell is that”, “SOOO much flavour”, “it’s lovely”, “I want some”. Popular then I thought, you get the picture…. 😉

We then progressed to Vitesse Noir, a Triple Imperial Vanilla Mocha Stout at 11% abv and a very different animal indeed. I had tasted both and in my mind I thought Cohort was always going to be enjoyed by a wider audience. The former being lighter in both alcoholic strength and easier to drink, whereas Vitesse Noir is in my opinion a beer to be savoured at length, perhaps late in the evening or after dinner (or with desert), having an intensity and alcohol levels that would perhaps simply frighten some people off

Therefore as this was by no means intended to be a test of one against the other, when serving I wanted to make that distinction clear from the outset, so this time I opted to serve the beer in brandy bowl style glasses. Basically as this was how I imagined myself drinking it at home at my first tasting, slowly warming away in a cupped hand as an indulgent treat.

The tasting passed in a similar fashion to Cohort, only this time I think people were ready for me. There were one or two that screwed their noses at it, too strong, too sweet, to much chocolate and coffee, but that was to be expected, this is a BIG beer and just a step too far for some. Generally though another resounding success, with lots of contented oooh’s, aah’s and extremely happy faces.

In truth I could have taken half a dozen bottles of each and still not had enough to go around as each went down equally well for different reasons, with folks asking where they could buy them or would I get them some when next I ordered. Of course I’ll oblige as I want to keep that interest bubbling away. We’ve already got a food and beer pairing night in the planning stages, I have big ideas for beer and cheese too.

Above all though I want to get something regular like this going, whether that be more informal tasting sessions or if possible a bring a bottle night where folks bring along new and interesting beers that they want to share in return for friends doing likewise. I see that happening all the time in other cities like Leeds, London, Manchester and indeed the Newcastle-upon-Tyne AKA “The Toon”, where everyone has a great night out whilst chatting over really interesting beery treats.

So what about it Stokies?

You can order Cohort and other beers from Summer Wine Brewery’s online store HERE.

You can order Vitesse Noir and other beers from Hardknott Brewery’s online store HERE

Incidentally, if you are in Manchester tonight 23 Nov 2011, Dave and the Hardknott gang will be at Port Street Beer House for an official launch of Vitesse Noir, entrance is free so get yourself on down there, details HERE

The Cumberland Arms, our Twissup accommodation and a great friendly boozer too.

Please sign the petition in support of #7POINT5 which unfairly targets high strength beers:

#7point5, what’s that all about?

Please sign the Government petition against unfair taxation on beers over 7.5% ABV, click HERE

CHEERS!

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IPA Day Thursday 4th Aug 2011

A Celebration of IPA, IPA DAY 4th AUGUST 2011 – #IPADay

This is just an update really from a post created a few weeks back to remind you that it is International IPA day TODAY and there’s still time to get involved.

As far as I can find out there are no events planned in the Stoke On Trent, Staffs or local Cheshire areas, which is a damn shame, especially if you look at some of the other fantastic things organised in places like Mr Foleys Bar in Leeds as an example.

Sadly I can’t get to this as we have an early start on the 5th, when we’re on a mission to hit GBBF, so it looks like a night in with my own IPA collection, but I’m open to ideas…

What will YOU be doing?

……

The following is the extract of the piece from Raise The Bar:

Announcing International #IPADay: A Social Celebration of Craft Beer 
Attention all craft beer evangelists, brewers, bloggers, and suds-savvy citizens! OnThursday, August 4th 2011, you are cordially invited to participate in the largest international craft beer celebration and virtual conversation the world has ever seen.
International #IPADay is a grassroots movement to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers, and brewers worldwide through social media. On Thursday August 4th, craft beer drinkers across the social sphere and across the globe will raise pints in a collective toast to one of craft beer’s most iconic styles: the India Pale Ale. This celebrated style represents the pinnacle of brewing innovation with its broad spectrum of diverse brands, subcategories, and regional flavor variations – making it the perfect style to galvanize craft beer’s social voice.

#IPADay is not the brainchild of a corporate marketing machine, nor is it meant to serve any particular beer brand. #IPADay is opportunity for breweries, bloggers, businesses and consumers to connect and share their love of craft beer. Getting involved is easy; the only requirements are an appreciation for great beer and the will to spread the word. Anyone can participate by enjoying IPA with friends, making some noise online with the #IPADay hashtag, and showing the world that craft beer is more than a trend!http://ipaday.eventbrite.com/

Tips on How to Take Part:

1.       Organize an #IPADay event at your brewery, brewpub, restaurant, bar, home, or office (Ex:  An IPA dinner/cheese pairing/comparative or educational tasting/cask night/tap takeover…). Share your events on the official #IPADay forum at http://www.ratebeer.com.

2.       On August 4th, share your photos, videos, blog posts, tasting notes, recipes, and thoughts with the world. Be sure to include the #IPADay hashtag in your posts Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress, RateBeer, Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, Untappd or any other social media site.

3.       See what other people are saying by searching “#IPADay” on Google,search.twitter.com, et cetera…

4.       Track down your favorite IPA’s, ones you’ve been meaning to try, and ones you’ve never heard of; share them with friends and share your thoughts with the world.

5.       Have a good time and know that by sharing your experiences online, you’re strengthening the craft beer community at large.

We have managed to team up with some of the UK’s top craft beer outlets, The Port Street Beer House, Manchester, The Free Trade Inn, Newcastle, The Rake, London, The Southampton Arms, London, Mr Foleys, Leeds & others TBC…  To run #IPADay events, mini fests, live blogging, tastings & more! Also being the week of The Great British Beer Festival what could tie in better with the UK’s largest beer festival than a day dedicated to the world’s most loved beer style!

You are encouraged to share links, blog & tweet about the event & above all use all types social media to promote International IPA Day on August 4th. The twitter hashtag is #IPADay.

Get involved in this Worldwide collaboration & give IPA it’s very own day!!

Register Yourself on the Event Brite IPADay Page.


International IPA Day

A Celebration of IPA, IPA DAY 4th AUGUST 2011 – #IPADay

If you follow beer blogs or Twitter feeds I suspect you need to read no further as you will have already seen this announcement several times.

I received the attached update from a very excited Summer Wine Brewery, understandably so as they were chosen to be the European Host for the event. I love a good IPA and SWB are brewing some really exciting stuff at the moment, so the accolade I can assure you is well deserved.

Now all I need to do is decide whether to attend an event, organise one or join in the fun from the comfort of my living room, any ideas??

The following is the extract of the piece from Raise The Bar:
Announcing International #IPADay: A Social Celebration of Craft Beer 
Attention all craft beer evangelists, brewers, bloggers, and suds-savvy citizens! OnThursday, August 4th 2011, you are cordially invited to participate in the largest international craft beer celebration and virtual conversation the world has ever seen.
International #IPADay is a grassroots movement to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers, and brewers worldwide through social media. On Thursday August 4th, craft beer drinkers across the social sphere and across the globe will raise pints in a collective toast to one of craft beer’s most iconic styles: the India Pale Ale. This celebrated style represents the pinnacle of brewing innovation with its broad spectrum of diverse brands, subcategories, and regional flavor variations – making it the perfect style to galvanize craft beer’s social voice.

#IPADay is not the brainchild of a corporate marketing machine, nor is it meant to serve any particular beer brand. #IPADay is opportunity for breweries, bloggers, businesses and consumers to connect and share their love of craft beer. Getting involved is easy; the only requirements are an appreciation for great beer and the will to spread the word. Anyone can participate by enjoying IPA with friends, making some noise online with the #IPADay hashtag, and showing the world that craft beer is more than a trend!http://ipaday.eventbrite.com/

Tips on How to Take Part:

1.       Organize an #IPADay event at your brewery, brewpub, restaurant, bar, home, or office (Ex:  An IPA dinner/cheese pairing/comparative or educational tasting/cask night/tap takeover…). Share your events on the official #IPADay forum at http://www.ratebeer.com.

2.       On August 4th, share your photos, videos, blog posts, tasting notes, recipes, and thoughts with the world. Be sure to include the #IPADay hashtag in your posts Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress, RateBeer, Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, Untappd or any other social media site.

3.       See what other people are saying by searching “#IPADay” on Google,search.twitter.com, et cetera…

4.       Track down your favorite IPA’s, ones you’ve been meaning to try, and ones you’ve never heard of; share them with friends and share your thoughts with the world.

5.       Have a good time and know that by sharing your experiences online, you’re strengthening the craft beer community at large.

We have managed to team up with some of the UK’s top craft beer outlets, The Port Street Beer House, Manchester, The Free Trade Inn, Newcastle, The Rake, London, The Southampton Arms, London, Mr Foleys, Leeds & others TBC…  To run #IPADay events, mini fests, live blogging, tastings & more! Also being the week of The Great British Beer Festival what could tie in better with the UK’s largest beer festival than a day dedicated to the world’s most loved beer style!

You are encouraged to share links, blog & tweet about the event & above all use all types social media to promote International IPA Day on August 4th. The twitter hashtag is #IPADay.

Get involved in this Worldwide collaboration & give IPA it’s very own day!!

Register Yourself on the Event Brite IPADay Page.