Dark Island Reserve Orcadian Ale: amazing stuff!

This is a remarkable beer. One of the most interesting I’ve tried. It’s from Orkney, and it’s so thick you could probably stand a spoon in it.

Dark Island Reserve Orcadian Ale
10% alcohol. Dark brown, opaque colour. Concentrated flavours of treacle, liquorice, chocolate, dates, malt and toffee, with some iron notes. No rough edges, though. Great [...]

Intense flavours: cheese and beer

Two intense, non-wine flavours this evening. [I love flavour, in general.]

The first: a cheese. It’s a Caerphilly from Neal’s Yard (Gorwydd, Wales). Tangy, slightly sour and bitter, but also creamy and rich. Lovely intensity, without being in any way overpowering. Slightly crumbly, dry texture.

The second: a beer. Bew Dog’s Punk IPA (£1.40 from Tesco). It’s [...]

Lunch at the Harwood Arms followed by a great game

Had a brilliant day yesterday. It began with lunch at the Harwood Arms, together with Joe Wadsack, Will Willis and Stuart Bowman-Hood. Proceedings began with a pint of Sambrook’s junction: rich, a bit hoppy, and with a distinct note of eggy sulfide (Burton stink is the correct term for this?). This went very well with [...]

Cask ale at home - wonderful Strange Brew

Had a fun dinner party last night. My buddy Karl started proceedings off well by bring round a wonderful beer. It was a cask ale from Twickenham Fine Ales – the ‘Strange Brew’.

Now I love bottled beer, but cask ales just taste different, and to enjoy them you have to go to a pub. Nothing [...]

in North Carolina, day 3

So now I am in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. I with a group of wine scientists at a retreat focusing on post-bottling wine chemistry, and we are staying at a rather grand but slightly bizarre hotel in Asheville. Don’t get me wrong: it’s lovely and luxurious, but the decor is very hunting-inspired, with [...]

Beer: Greene King Very Special IPA

This is quite a nice beer. It’s Greene King’s attempt at replicating the famous India Pale Ales of the 18th century, and while I imagine it’s more polished and pretty than the originals, it’s still quite delicious.

Bronze in colour, it combines spicy, hoppy notes with rich, almost sweet toffee and honey flavours, finishing with a [...]

Brewster’s Hophead – brilliant beer

Just back from a quick lunchtime pint at my local Wetherspoons, over the road. Now I’m not discussing whether Wetherspoon is a good or bad chain of pubs, all I know is that they usually have some superb guest ales, at amazingly low prices. And one of these was my tipple today, and it was [...]

In Marlborough

Flew into Blenheim, in the Marlborough wine region here in New Zealand this morning. It was a tiny 20-seater plane, buffeted around a bit by the blustery winter weather.

I visited Plant and Food Research, where I interviewed more scientists about Sauvignon Blanc. Pictured above is the experimental winery, where they make wines in even the [...]

Crown cap liners for beer

A question. Why is it that the beer industry is happy to use crown caps with PVC liners for bottled beers?

These PVC liners allow a high level of oxygen transmission. This reduces the shelf-life of the beer, and also means that the same beer is experienced differently by consumers depending on when it is drunk.

Beer [...]

Some nice beer, including a trashy blonde

Popped into Oddbins on the way home this evening. Nice selection of wines, these days. Lots interested me. Came out with three beers, though. Was particularly interested to try the Brew Dog, because I’d read a lot about these guys. Brilliant, slightly edgy marketing. The beer is great, too.

Brew Dog Trashy Blonde (you know you [...]