IWC day three, plus some beer, plus some nice Riojas

Just finished day 3 of the International Wine Challenge at Lords. It is going well, and I’m enjoying tasting with some excellent wine trade colleagues. Everyone seems to be a team player eager to do a professional job, and this makes my life as a panel chair a lot easier.

There are signs that spring is [...]

Beer: Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Just back from football and rehydrating with this beer. Now I like Sierra Nevada’s regular pale ale – it’s one of the beers that kicked off the US craft beer revolution in the early 1980s, and it’s still a best seller – but it’s a tiny bit tame in comparison with the new wave US IPAs.

Step forward [...]

An ale festival at the White Horse

Popped down to the White Horse at Hedgerley with two of my brothers-in-law today, to sample some of the guest ales.

British ales are among the world’s best beers, but to enjoy them you usually need to drink them at a pub from a well managed cask. Bottled versions tend to be dull and a shadow [...]

Two superb beers from Thornbridge

Good wine is, unfortunately, rarely cheap. Great beer is more often than not quite affordable.

Of course, most beer is boring. Increasingly, though, exciting beers are becoming easier to find. If you want an interesting drink, you can rock up to most supermarkets with a couple of quid and score a good bottle.

Tonight I have been [...]

Beer: Castle Rock Screech Owl, an English take on American IPA

Sainsbury’s have a Great British Beer Hunt underway, and this is one of the 20 finalists. I picked it up for just a pound, and I’m impressed. It’s really hoppy, but with a bit of a savoury British taste alongside the more floral American hop notes. The producer’s website is here.

Castle Rock Screech Owl Strong [...]

Beer: my first experience of The Kernel

Working on the Douro film tonight with Dave Fuller, who brought round a couple of beers from The Kernel brewery. They’re probably the UK’s most highly regarded craft ale producer at the moment, and these two beers lived up to their billing.

The Kernel Pale Ale (Columbus) 5.2% alcohol
Amazing aromatics: complex, deep, hoppy, slightly floral but [...]

Video: tasting 3 beers, comparing beer glasses

Most readers will be familiar with the wide array of wine glasses on sale, and the art of matching the right wine to the right glass. Well, what about beer? I thought I’d try tasting some different beers using different speciality beer glasses, from Spiegelau. Here are the results.

These glasses are available from Around Wine [...]

Exciting times in the world of beer

OK, this is a wine blog, but I am obsessed by flavour, and I’m enjoying beer quite a bit at the moment, and I suspect that many readers will also have an interest in interesting beer.

The beer world is going through a very exciting phase at the moment. It used to exist in a very [...]

Curious Brew, a remarkable lager

A beautiful evening. In the mid-20s, with a gentle breeze. Time for some beer.

It’s Curious Brew, a lager from UK winery Chapel Down. (See Made with East Anglian Malt, Saaz and Cascade hops, and then refermented with a Champagne yeast, and given a ‘dosage’ of lovely Nelson Sauvin hops.

It’s a gold colour, and is [...]

A night out in Vilafranca with nice wine and beer

This weekend Vilafranca comes alive with the Vijazz festival. It’s basically a street party combining jazz and wine. Over 30 Penedes wine producers are taking part, and there are two music stages, one in the main square and a slightly larger one in a more enclosed square in front of the large church.

Some good acts [...]