I can’t imagine many people have heard of Denton, let alone been there. Using the youth of today’s scale of rating places which goes as far as to ask the question ‘Does it have a Primark?’ the answer is no, although there is one in Stockport now which isn’t a million miles away from Denton. It does have a TK Maxx though, and it turns out, it also has a micro brewery called the Hornbeam ...
It was a typically dark, cold and rainy Sunday afternoon in the midst of the Manchester summer when Mrs Brewskie’s thoughts first turned to Christmas. “Where do you want to go for our Christmas/Anniversary holiday my love?” she said. “Well”, I replied, “I don’t really care, so long as it’s got Christmas markets, nice food and decent beer... How about Belgium?” Her eyes lit up with delight as she realised the other thing that Belgium ...
We bought this flavoursome little number during our trip to the Lake District back in July. The guys at Hawkshead have done a truly wonderful job of opening up their brewery to the public in 2006. When planning our trip we did some research on Breweries and thought that Hawkshead looked like an excellent place to stop for a bite to eat and a jar to drink, we were proved very right. It has ...
A rich and deep nose is the first thing you notice, very much a rich treacle aroma. The taste follows suit, with a wonderfully complicated mix of flavours which attack your senses. It is very nutty, almost like a hazelnut liquor, with chocolate notes and caramel bites all flooding in without it being overly bitter; it is nicely hopped to balance the flavours. It really did fly down and the only disappointing thing, we were ...
As you are no doubt aware man is a simple creature and to make him happy there are only a few things you really need to know. I am going to concentrate on the following two: Man likes beer, Man likes meat.
I’m not going to concentrate on these 2 facts as individuals, oh no, I’m going to combine the two to show you how to make something so mega, men all around the ...
We picked up this funny little misshaped bottle of beer on an educational trip our local Waitrose – to see how the other side live. It is brewed on the site of a medieval hall from water they pull out of the ground on the brewery site itself, which is always nice, considering beer is pretty wet and water is by far the largest constituent ingredient. It is also organic and approved by the Soil Association… Yes, there is something called the Soil Association. Apparently the worm wasn’t so sure but the ants ganged up on him and made him vote yes and no one likes the slug so they didn’t tell him when the vote was.
Back to reality… When you get yourself one of these beers obviously the first thing that strikes you is the shape of the bottle. After drinking so many beers from round bottles we didn’t even realise the shape was like an old medicine bottle until we go it home and into the fridge. Apparently the bottle is a copy of one from Gibbstown, near Philadelphia which dates from c. 1770. There is no real explanation why they copied this exact bottle shape but who cares, it’s different and it’s pretty cool.
So enough waffle, what’s the beer like?
Well firstly it’s got a lovely amber colour to it. There is a lot going on with the aroma too, fruity with a hint of something sweet. When we finally tucked in we were thoroughly impressed with how it tasted. It’s a lovely mellow brew, which is both refreshing and smooth. It has a slight malty undertone to it and as an organic beer the flavours could be a little too strong, and although the beer occasionally borders on the wild side it is just about kept in check with a delicate balance.
This is a real easy drinker and one of the better organic ales we’ve come across. St Peter would definitely have this coming out of the taps in his Basilica if he were still around.
Who’s this beautiful amber beer with a lovely head? It’s not Annie Lennox, it’s Directors Bitter.
Knowing me Brewskie, knowing you Directors bitter. A-HAAAAAA!
Warning: If you haven’t religiously watched Alan Partridge over the years you may as well stop reading now!
In 5: Back of the net, Jackanackanory, A-HA, Cashback, Jurassic Park
Can I shock you? I like wine. Fortunately for us however, Alan Partridge’s favourite tipple is Directors Bitter, he’s got it coming out of his taps don’t you know. So if you’ve just dismantled your Corby trouser press or you’ve been clearing your cellar of a couple of bikes, some smokeless fuel and a bag of cement – gone hard. Sit back, and relax, in Brewskie’s deep bath of Directors bitter and enjoy our Alan Partridge tribute review.
Brewed on the thighs of a virgin this lovely nutty beer really gets you by the jaffers as soon as you let battle commence. This is most certainly the best ale we’ve had since Gary Wilmot’s wedding. If you can stop smelling cheese for a minute and inhale slowly into your pint you will find that Directors has a lovely fruity nose to it. Not too dissimilar to a microwaved apple pie that’s hotter than the sun and if squeezed would expel a jet of molten bramley apple that could go your way, it could go mine. Either way, one of us is going down.
We love it’s spicy, fruity and nutty flavour, and not just in a way. When you finally dost venture south it’s like a breath of fresh air. It would be a great companion to a curry but don’t forget the keema nan on the side… ooooooo mince.
The best thing I ever did was getting thrown out by my wife. She's living with a fitness instructor, he drinks that yellow stuff in tins... He's an idiot!
It’s brewed by Courage, but not in big sheds that nobody’s allowed in with 20ft high chickens, and these chickens are scared because they don’t know why they’re so big, and they’re going, “Oh why am I so massive?” and they’re looking down at all the little chickens and they think they’re in an aeroplane because all the other chickens are so small. I digress…
Safety announcement: While you sip on your fat shot of Directors Bitter please remember the breathing techniques from tape one. Try to keep your nostrils clear and be careful not to get it all over the valance (the skirt that goes round the bed).
If you can ever accept the fact that they’ve used a collective term for a single drink and tried one, you can be sure you’ll be grabbing more from the fridge and putting them on the slate down your local minimart – a scaled down supermarket that fits inside a petrol station, sells pies, anti-freeze… Don’t forget to store it below room temperature though or you may invalidate the warranty and always, always order it with a gin and tonic, and a Bailey’s. The Ladyboy chaser. Maybe a scotch egg on the side, but leave it a while to break down before you breathe on anyone or try to kiss your mildly cretinous Romanian girlfriend with an addiction to Snappy Snaps (she almost likes it as much as George Michael).
Tell me about the ladyboys.
Directors Bitter has been described as lovely stuff. Not Brewskies words, the words of Shakin' Stevens.
Directors Bitter is cheaper than a monkey, more expensive than a mouse and you can buy a whole load of Directors for a pony and a bag of hooves, cash in hand of course. You could even get your PA to buy you some when her dead mother’s money starts to come through to supplement her £9,500, so long as she hasn’t spent it all on her hair do that is.
Be careful not to spill the Sunny Delight as you banish it to the fridge, I can’t think of a more suitable drink to enjoy a Bond marathon with than Directors. Anything else would be demented. Just try not to get Bond wrong, or tape over it with America’s strongest man, and If you’re enjoying a few pints round at the house of your new best friend, who just so happens to be a fantastic man, make sure you check their credentials, they may be sex people looking to be appalling. If they invite you round try not to be sucked in by the promise of a Buck Rogers toilet, or their static caravan which can clean up half a pound of mashed up Dundee cake in its chemical loo.
Next time you are at the bar ignore the tea or coffee, tea or coffee, and get that Directors “into me!” Even better if you’ve got a scam going on with a big glass, but just be careful not to have too many or you may end up in a hotel kitchen cooking all the food or legally in control of a vehicle after committing cone theft. Cone’t you take a joke?
Not my words, Carol, the words of Brewskie.
Ideas for Brewskie;
Swallow – A Norwich-based drinking series which would put Norwich on the map.
Youth Drinking – with Chris Eubank.
Brewing in Prison – Needs a bit of fleshing out.
An ale amongst the Pigeons – The opening could be me in Trafalgar Square feeding the pigeons real ale.
Monkey Beer Pong…
PS. If you’re one of those commuters with your computers you could even buy some online and get yourself some cashback!
This was another beer we picked up from the Micro Bar in the Manchester Arndale and we were hoping for great things as there were obviously only a few carefully selected beers on offer. Unfortunately we were a little disappointed by this fruity brew.
We were promised a ‘zesty aroma and a fruity flavour’ and I suppose we did get this to some extent but for us it just didn’t seem to work so well. We got the high notes from the fruits and a little bit of honey to bind it together but there was something not quite right. It left us feeling a bit bitter about the whole experience and particularly sour too. There was a slightly metallic or tinny aftertaste that lingered and annoyed like sitting next to a music class full of year 9 kids with the xylophones out.
We were drinking this with a wonderful home-made vegetable curry and tarka dal that Mrs Brewskie lovingly prepared for a house party. So maybe it’s not a great one with a curry and that interfered with our experience somewhat, we hope so, because we were expecting more.
In 5: Balanced, Easy Drinker, Hoppy, Tasty, Strong
Ten points for guessing what happens when you get three top beer writers together for a couple of days in a brewery? Well, surprisingly enough they get drunk! Oh yeah, and they make some beer too. Although it seems that the clever schedulers at BrewDog got the order the wrong way round when they invited them over to make a specially commissioned brew – they let them do the drinking before they did the working. If our drunken cookery after a night out is anything to go by – oven left on, burnt toast, cold cans of beans – we weren’t expecting much from this special edition BrewDog brewed by some half cut, hungover beer lords.
Just hanging out with my mates
We know most of our readers aren’t exactly beer experts and don’t worry, we’d never heard of any of these people before we set up Brewskie. Thankfully, through the powers of t’interweb, and with a lot of help from Twitter and the Blogsphere we can find out; what they’re drinking at any moment in time, what beers they like, when they’re going to the toilet, who they’re drinking with, when they fart… you get the idea. Trust us on this though, they really know what they’re talking about and if they like a beer, you can guarantee it’s going to be worth drinking.
They can obviously talk the talk, but are they master brewers who can really walk the walk?
Well first things first, we can assure you that although A-Very Brown Dredge sounds like something they had to do to the Thames once all the Victorians had finished dumping in it, it really is a mighty fine beer.
It pours like a lovely fresh pilsner with lots of little bubbles that keep it alive throughout the experience. Our first impressions were that this is a very BrewDog beer with that same distinctive, hoppy, raw, citrusy taste that explodes in your mouth. However with this beer there is something a little different, something more. A bit like the Combined Harvest that we enjoyed so much, there is a real balance of flavours which stop any one aspect of the beer from getting too carried away and taking over. This balance of flavour, with a hint of bitterness in the aftertaste and just a touch of sweetness, thrown in with the fact that it is ludicrously tasty keeps you coming back, and back, and back for more. For a beer weighing in at 7.5% it is a real achievement to have created such an easy drinker. We just wish we’d ordered more!
The only question we have is; where was our invite to this beer brewing party (and the royal wedding come to think of it)? Lost in the post no doubt… We wait in anticipation for the next brewing session, and a shiny golden ticket!
Dredge A-Very Brown Brewskie – don’t mind if we do thank you.
In 5: Light, Black, Smokey, Rich, Not like Guinness with a Rennie in
First garlic… bread, then cheese… cake and now black… lager, seriously.
Sounding a little bit more like the setting of a baddy lair in a Bond Movie than a beer we really couldn’t resist picking one of these up when we saw it. A wonderful concept and a frankly bizarre label quickly draws your attention to this funky little beer sitting on the shelf waiting to be plucked. A little research tells us Zeitgeist has been around since early 2009 but this is the first we’ve seen of it. Although we’re still new to this beer thing I’m not sure that counts as a roaring success. But we didn’t let that put us off – we hadn’t heard of half the beers we’ve tried so far before we started to really look.
So what’s black lager all about? It’s not like the mildy irritating pop band Blue, who aren’t blue, or the lesbian fantasy Pink, who clearly isn’t pink; it’s proper black, like the night. In fact, it’s darker than the night, it’s like the night in the middle of the desert and someone turned off the moon and the stars.
We thought that lager was supposed to be yellow and sold in packs of 4 cans with little plastic bird/fish/fluffy animal catchers holding them together? Well apparently this hasn’t always been the case and lager was originally a black coloured drink, or so the BrewDogs tell us on their cryptic, creepy Zeitgeist website.
OK, so we’ve established it’s a little bit ‘Salad Fingers’ on the outside, and that it’s black on purpose but what’s it like on the inside?
Well it’s surprisingly refreshing and light considering it looks like someone has dropped a Rennie in your pint of Guinness. The rest of the experience is kind of how you might expect a black lager to be, smokey, chocolatey, rich, malty and a little bit treacly. Somehow, it works. It’s the lightness that really surprised us and we almost feel like you need to try this in a blind taste test to fully appreciate it. Either a blind test or drunk in a seedy nightclub, but not the kind of place you might find a Batemans Hooker. Naughty.
If you like it, tell them at the little Zeitgeist blogaroo they set up to let the drinkers guide the brand direction – quite a nice idea if you’re a nerd like we blatantly are http://www.zeitgeistbeer.com/blog or better still, tell us via the comments below or on some other manner of Social Media on which partake. Eyes right. ->
In 5: Earthy, Refreshing, Easy drinker, Crafty, Blonde
We recently discovered a little micro bar (cunningly called Micro Bar) in the Manchester Arndale Centre with a healthy little stock of bottled beers as well as a few real ales on tap. It was quite a find and it’s where we picked up this little crafty bottle for a couple of quid, probably a bit over the odds from what you can get it for in the supermarket but we’d rather support the little guys where we can!
It has a belting little label with all kinds of Halloweenesque scribbles on including a wicked Wych whom perhaps subconsciously cast a ‘buy me’ spell on us, who knows…
On pouring into the bottle we were a little surprised with its colour, expecting something a little paler and blonder than the golden delight we were presented with.
The label declares it as being thrice hopped which I would imagine should give it some kind of complicated smell and flavor although we’re not so sure. It hits the tip of the tongue and has an earthy nature, but not necessarily in a bad way. It is certainly refreshing although a little dry in the aftertaste and makes for a nice easy drinker you could keep ploughing through on a big session.
If it’s a question of Wych Craft (see what we did there?!) beer to buy, although it’s nothing amazing there is nothing wrong with the Blonde Beer. It’s certainly closer to a cracking natural blonde than a fake with dark roots.
Brewskie has been mainly drinking and occasionally reviewing beers since 2011. I also enjoy cooking and when a recipe involves beer I'll try to share it with you. The blog is run by Matthew Coupe with a little help from his friends around the world. I started writing after a trip to Munich where I fell in love with the traditional beer culture and discovered some excellent lagers and wheat beers. I got home, went to the local chain pub and instantly felt a bit sad that the amazing beers I'd just had simply weren't available.
I'm not a pro - my reviews are intentionally light-hearted and full of horrendous puns - and I am sure many people will disagree with at least some of what I write. The more I discover and learn, perhaps the better the reviews will become but I am treating this as an adventure into the world of beer. I've already learnt so much, had some beers that really blew my mind and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Hopefully you'll stick around and enjoy what you read and please follow what I'm doing via the usual social means, the links are all around you!
If you find yourself in Manchester and fancy a pint, send me a message, chances are I'll be in the pub already...