Hand Drawn Monkey (meet the brewer part 2)

23385_392659894157041_426088728_n - Version 3So clearly I didn’t do so well at the live blogging malarkey I mentioned on Wednesday, two lines of text and one pretty piss poor photograph, amateur journalism at it’s best? I think not…

To be honest I did try, but was pretty much impossible for a novice. A busy, noisy room full of happy-chatty beer drinkers, brewers talking about the beers, smelling, tasting, laughing and eating, then trying to write all that up live into a phone, crazy, but hey I tried. (and failed)

I suppose that in itself is a testament to how the night went, had it have been a boring sluggish affair I would have had time to write etc, it wasn’t, largely because the organisers at Young Pretender are just so slick at this AND the brewery guys (Rob, Tom and Ol) just kept pushing things along nicely.

In terms of beers we had a mixed bag, starting with “Malpa” as I so enthusiastically reported ‘live” on Wednesday, a pale ale brewed with predominately Polish hops. This was a real quaffer, not massive on flavour but a nice crisp bitterness I liked. I think the next was “Pale Exp 3”, noted as an English Bitter (according to Untappd), hmmm didn’t do much for me I’m afraid, a little thin and not much going on.

399346_374564355966595_452287788_n“What would Jephers Do” (Jephers being the Monkey in HDM), Rye Ale, much better and I tend to love rye beers so err, #winning!

We moved on to the elaborately named “Porter” which was, well, a porter strangely enough. It was also a bit of an unexpected success saved from the jaws of failure too as the guys explained as the hop addition was misread in the recipe by Ol the brewer and upped somewhat. The resulting brew was rather tasty instead of going to feed the fishes as first thought and went down very well on the night all round, a keeper.

STOP!    Collaboration time! (Cue M.C Hammer music)

Dunkel Hopfen-weisse, thank god I had a picture and wasn’t video reviewing, what a mouthful in more ways than one. This was my favourite beer of the evening, it went brilliantly with the bread, cheese and cold meats on the table by this point and benefitted much from a few minutes out of the keg as the flavours really came to the fore as it warmed. Brewed with the guys over at Bitches Brewing, an idea no doubt conceived during a long sampling session at The Grove, a bloody good idea it was too.

IMG_5566I must confess the last proper beer eludes me, when I say proper there were a few more “work in progress” samples to come. I’m sure there was a keg IPA, but can’t say I can remember much about it unless of course I imagined it, which at my age is possible.. (what can I say, there was a lot going on and I’m easily distracted)

Update: I think I did imagine it DOH!

IMG_5569The Hand Drawn Monkey crew I have to say were brilliant, yes they waffled nervously a little at fist, but wouldn’t you? A fledgling brewery with all your wares on show for the first time and an angry mob baying for your blood..(ever so slightly exaggerated) What really showed though, was the thought that had gone into the visit. Yes most brewers bring out a handful of malt grains to chomp on and a few hops to sniff and rub, but they had brought loads to the party and lots of different varieties of both too.


“Hop infusion for you sir?” @tegteggers

Not only that they had prepared a few mystery potions to try, infusions of summit hops boiled in water for 10, 20 and 80 minutes to allow folks to see what effect this had and would have on beer, another batch too with the hop name again eluding my befuddled memory..  I have to add here that I made my own infusion too, it was half a glass of left over “Schneider Weisse Tap 5”, dry hopped with cascade and centennial, murky as hell but a taste explosion, great fun.

The night drew to a close with samples of an IPA in progress but not fully ready, if memory serves a new and improved Monkey Loves Hops which had been given a bit more oomph, t’was very tasty, plus an extremely interesting example of what sounds like is going to be an awesome Kriek straight from the fermenter (via a jar, they couldn’t fit the FV in the car), with more and more cherries to come, marvellous.

To summarise, although not every beer on the night rocked my world so to speak, all showed great promise of things to come and lets not forget this is a brewery in its infancy too. The guys are clearly focussed on pushing the boundaries and not simply in it to make beer, they obviously love what they do. Did I mention that they have a beer shop, no, or that it’s on the way to The Grove? Well they do, so go try some.. Check it out at www.hdmbeershop.co.uk

As for the guys at the Young Pretender Beer Parlour, I salute you (raises glass, doffs cap and bows as much as the belly will allow), you put on a damn good night out. Brewers, brewery promotional folk and drinks take note.


Live beer blogging, the aftermath..

As you may have read the other night, I tried my hand at live blogging at the recent Red Willow beer and food pairing event on Wednesday. In a word, CHALLENGING!

It was the first time I’d used WordPress for iPhone which didn’t help as I was trying to get to grips with that too, the trouble was I hadn’t a clue what was going to happen when I pressed this and that button, more a leap of faith and hoping for the best really.

The Great North Pie Co – http://greatnorthpie.co/

I was planning to edit it the following day but decided against it after a couple of lines, just adding the odd web link out of courtesy to the organising bar The Young Pretender and the various food purveyors (Pure Origin and The Great North Pie Co) who designed the menus and samples. I left it alone so that if you’d care to you can see it warts and all here, to try and get a feel of the sort of output you can expect to achieve (from me at least) using this method.

Having had a quick scan there are a few grammatical blunders, the odd repeated word in sentences and no doubt some spelling errors. Let me know what you think though if you will?

Looking back at the night there are a few obvious negatives. It’s quite difficult to write and review what you are writing off the cuff in the bustling atmosphere of a busy bar. There’s also the element of being alienated from what is going on, missing conversations and announcements as your nose is stuck into what your fingers are tap-tap tapping away at on-screen. Trying to keep up is tricky too at times as you smell, taste, listen and discuss and of course keeping updates live on Twitter is a slight problem.

Pure Origin Chocolate – http://www.pure-origin.co.uk/

On the plus side though you are there in the moment and writing as it happens, first off the mark at it were, should it be a popular event for bloggers etc.

There’s no need to take notes or worry about forgetting “what the hell did I mean by that” when you review them a few days later. Photographs are easy to edit and upload so it negates the need to upload to computers, edit, upload to the blog etc.

Finally though for me it was time that I felt was the biggest win. How often I’ve had a topic or been to an event then struggled for days to get it written and posted. So often if busy I’ve felt like I’d missed the boat and my efforts have been published long after several others have beaten me to it so to speak. With this method of blogging it was done and in future I hope will only need minor tweakages after the event.

A massive thanks to everyone who was involved in organising the event, the sponsors, suppliers and most of all the good folks I met and spent a fantastic evening with. Check out the links to the producers and definitely get along to the Young Pretender if ever you are in the Congleton area, great venue, friendly knowledgeable staff and a superb beer menu too.

Cheers, thanks for reading.