Im in Brussels at the moment for the 2015 instalment of the European Beer Bloggers Conference. There will be more posts to follow, but the end of the first day (shortly before the posting of this) saw this year’s speed blogging session – a brewer, a beer, limited time to gather info and an intent to post as soon as possible. Some are doing it live. I’m not. Here’s my attempt, with minimal proof reading – pictures to be added at a later date.
Releasing a single cask whisky is much more work than people often imagine. It’s hard enough for a company that specifically sells single cask whiskies, but for a whisky club it can be a stupid amount of hassle. So, when you’re doing one, you might as well do another. Right?
Here’s some thoughts on the second bottling the Usquebaugh Society did for their recent 25th anniversary, the crazy fools – a single cask Glen Garioch 1990.
It’s nice when the tables are turned. While it’s often my job to send samples out to bloggers on the rare occasions we do so at work, I don’t usually expect to receive any myself, especially not from another blogger. However, my mate Sjoerd of Malt Fascination also moonlights as one of the folks behind the Usquebaugh Society. They, like many of the whisky-mad Dutch clubs, occasionally bottle whiskies, and samples of their latest pair dropped through my letter box the other day. To start with, a single cask Millstone Rye, distilled in 2007.
Best before dates are a strange thing in the beer world. The law in the UK ensures that brewers put a date on their bottles, but for the most part it’s an entirely made up number that can be happily ignored. However, it seems that BrewDog have jumped on the fresh beer bandwagon and embraced the BBE with a new IPA: Born to Die.
I was sat at The Rake a while ago, interviewing one of the guys who works there about the meaning of ‘craft’ in the beer world. A discussion of his answers is for another time, but one thing he said struck me in relation to today’s post: he wanted craft beer to target ‘the adventurous; the curious; the open-minded.’ I arrived home and opened a bottle that to me epitomises this, the unflashily named Bristol Beer Factory Wheat Wine.
The Islay Festival of Malt and Music, Feis Ile to its friends, is almost upon us again. From 22-30 May, the Hebridean island’s population will double, with whisky fans from around the world descending to celebrate Islay’s whisky. However, while each distillery on the island has an open day, with an inevitable special bottling, it’s not only the locals who are getting in on the act. Last year, Douglas Laing popped up on the island with some tastings of their independently bottled Islay drams, and this year they’re joined by my favourite independent bottler, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. They are running an open day of their own on the island, including the launch of their first, to my knowledge, Feis Ile bottling – 3.243: Dark, smouldering flamenco gypsy.
From time to time, when exploring the world of booze, you come across something that should not exist. While most of the time the initial reaction of horror is entirely justified, on rare occasions that first impression is wrong. Being the type of drinker that I am, I delight in both the things-that-should-not-be and the excellent exceptions, and recently I stumbled upon one of the latter. It’s not often that a drink so comprehensively worms it way into my subconcious, but on a recent trip to Bristol, one did – Wild Beer Tom Yum Gose.
BrewDog are at it again. After three scarily successful rounds of crowdfunding, two of which I’ve pitched in to, they’ve decided to go again, with Equity for Punks IV now live. To announce it, they put on an event at their Shepherds Bush bar, with an evening of founders James Watt and Martin Dickie, beer, new product announcements and BrewDog fans cheering ‘Breeeewdooog, Breeeewdoooog’ every time there was a lull. They also had a special beer on tap, made at the pilot plant at their Ellon brewery: BrewDog Pilot Brew 008 – Whiskey Sour.
Over the years, my fascination with alcopops has slowly died. I’ve managed to stop looking at them in the supermarket, and they are usually corralled away from the proper drinks, helping me to avoid the memory of their existence. Unfortunately, they are increasingly encroaching on the beer shelves, from their initial beachhead in cider-land – I’m looking at you Kopparberg – and they occasional impinge on my consciousness. As such, I bring you another instalment of ‘I drink these things so you don’t have to’, featuring Amigos Black, Tequila and açai berry flavoured beer.
It’s not a revelation to anyone who’s visited my house that I have a thing about some of BrewDog’s beers. If you are a long-term reader of this blog (hi mum!), you will probably realise this too, even if in more recent times I’ve not said much about them. Unfortunately this is a sign of their success, as they’ve become more ubiquitous and part of the establishment – the kind of thing that new-thing-loving bloggers like myself drink more than write about. However, they recently sent me a bottle of beer, so it’d be rude not to say a word or two about it, especially as I’ve already picked up a couple of bottles of it for my stash. The beer in question: Paradox Compass Box.