Contribution required

The twitter savvy will have noticed we are looking for an additional contributor to nottsbrew, currently the site gets around 3,500 visits a month but we’re looking to expand upon that, Hoppkins is massively tied up with baby duties and I can’t do this alone.

So if you’re interested, either tweet us or email dr@nottsbrew.co.uk, or if you have an alternate method of communication feel free to use that.

You’ll need a camera to take geeky pictures and the ability to write in the English language (or something that at least resembles it)

Festivals? on the runup to Christmas? finally!

Well it’s that time of year when brewers switch to the darker beers and start up the ‘special’ Christmas editions, and it’s also the time of the year when the country gets whipped up into a consumer frenzy and beer festivals just don’t seem to happen on the run-in.

2011 take a bow as December this year looks to change everything, so hats off to all those involved!

All taken from the Nottingham CAMRA festivals diary

December

Mon 5th to Sun 11th
The Ropewalk Real Ale Festival, 107-111 Derby Road, Nottingham. NG1 5BB. 13 Real ales all at £2 a pint, £1 a half. Visit facebook page for full beer list or Tel 0115 959 6181 for more details.

Thu 8th to Sat 10th
Dewdrop Beer Festival, 24 Station St, Ilkeston. DE7 5TE. Over 25 beers, 15 on stillaging in rear yard (Patio heaters). Barbeque.

Fri 16th to Fri 23rd
Bunkers Hill Christmas Beer Festival, Nottingham. Showcasing Festive Seasonal Beers from Local and Regional Breweries. More details to follow.

And don’t forget this weekend coming is the ever excellent West Bridgford Hockey Club festival.

A couple of changes in the city centre

I wrote about the Hogs’ head a while back, it was slowly turning its way into an excellent real ale pub thanks to the efforts of the landlord who has now gone one step further.

Hogs Head -> Major Oak

The Hogs’ Head is now the Major Oak, and as you can see above it looks rather nice, pumps have increased inside with up to 10 real ales available at once, did I mention it’s £2 a pint for all ales until November? well I did now so get yourself down there, I will do a full size article when it has all settled down.

Keoghs is a new comer and has replaced the ‘not so good’ Bensons that used to occupy the spot opposite the sony centre on mansfield road, whilst Bensons did ‘real ale’ it’s not a huge loss. Keoghs it has yet to be seen if they will serve any real ale, though with a selection of ales now brewed in Ireland it would be nice if they got some in from the Emerald isle, I’m told Guinness is £3.50 a pint.

50p taxbreak on 2.8% or lower beer from Saturday.

Just a quick post incase you haven’t noticed as of Saturday a carrot is being dangled to make more low % beer, it has goods and bads of course!

Will it help get people back into the cheeky lunch time pint? maybe, will it increase the price of ‘normal’ strength beer and decrease the selection, probably.

Are we likely to see the real 50p discount ourselves, or a sly increase on ‘normal’ strength beer citing this new ‘weak’ stuff as a cheaper option? Oh well, let’s see how it goes…

TBI, if you have yet to make the trip, Oct 5th -> 9th seems a good time!

As you may know the Wetherspoon chain do large nationwide beer festivals, but the TBI is out to one-up this by having its own 30 beer festival in the Watchman Suite upstairs.

Yet to venture down to Trent Bridge? well now seems the perfect time with the normal bar selection downstairs accompanying these 30 festival beers listed below…

BREWERY

BEER

COL

ABV

BRAINS DARK

5

3.5

HARVIESTOUN NUMBER OF THE BEAST

1

3.6

BATEMANS XB

3

3.7

EVERARDS WHAKATU

2

3.7

JW LEES THE GOVERNOR

3

3.8

B & T ALBION ALE

2

4.0

BELLS KALAMAZOO BLACK SILK

4.0

SALOPIAN VAPOUR TRAIL

2

4.0

THORNBRIDGE BROTHER RABBIT

2

4.0

WADWORTH OCTOBERZEST

3

4.0

COACH HOUSE WHIPLASH

3

4.1

SHEPHERD NEAME WHITSTABLE BAY

2

4.1

WILLIAMS BROS FRAOCH HEATHER ALE

3

4.1

BUTCOMBE RARE BREED

2

4.2

COTLEIGH COMMANDO HOOFING IPA

2

4.2

DOUBLE MAXIM ANDERSON’S BEST SCOTCH

4

4.2

TRING PUDDING PORTER

5

4.2

ROOSTERS LAST STAND

2

4.3

VALE LONG DARK NIGHTS

4

4.3

WOODFORDES KETT’S REBELLION

3

4.3

OAKLEAF TEN LITTLE ACORNS

4

4.4

WHARFEBANK TREACLE TOFFEE STOUT

5

4.4

BOX STEAM PISTON BROKE

2

4.5

MORDUE RED RYE RIWAKA

3

4.5

OKELLS SAISON

2

4.5

STONE SANDIAGO SESSION IPA

4.5

TITANIC FIT OUT

2

4.5

WYCHWOOD GINGER BEARD

2

4.5

EVAN EVANS 1767

3

4.6

HEREFORD WYVERN WARRIOR

5

4.6

HILDEN TWISTED HOP

1

4.7

ST. PETERS GOLDEN ALE

2

4.7

ADNAMS AMERICAN IPA

2

4.8

BEND CASCADIAN DARK ALE

4.8

BREWSTERS AMERICAN C-HOPPER

2

4.8

EXMOOR HART

4

4.8

BELHAVEN ST. ANDREW’S ALE

3

4.9

FAT HEAD YAKIMA SUN

5.0

MOORHOUSES PENDLE PORTER

5

5.0

RCH FIREY LIZ

2

5.0

ST. AUSTELL PROPER BLACK

5

5.0

THWAITES DANIEL’S HAMMER

2

5.0

TSA TAKING THE PITH

2

5.0

HOOK NORTON FLAGSHIP ALE

2

5.3

ODELLS NINETY SHILLING

5.3

WHITE HORSE HORSE RUSTLER

5

5.4

BRAKSPEAR TRIPLE

4

5.7

BEARTOWN WOJTEK

1

5.8

CALEDONIAN COSSACK IMPERIAL RUSSIAN STOUT

5

6.0

MORLAND OLD CRAFTY HEN

3

6.5

BEER COLOUR KEY: 1 = PALE 2 = GOLDEN 3 = MID BROWN/AMBER 4 = DARK BROWN/RUBY 5 = VERY DARK/BLACK

The mixed blessing – the third of a pint.

Your money, everyone wants it, the missus (or fella) your kids, your pets and most definitely your landlord!

Thirds of a pint then, with more and more brewers emerging and thusly selection on bars swelling around the country, the third of a pint is creeping into many pubs as an option to ‘try all the beers‘ sounds great doesn’t it? I can certainly see the appeal in pubs serving ale selections into double figures; though perhaps not so much when a whole pub range can be exhausted in 6 halves…

So what’s my beef? well right now I have no beef, but be warned such is the world we live in driven by pound notes that it’s not too difficult to predict what is going to happen here, and infact I’m afraid to say the profit wheels are already in motion.

Halves aka 284ml. The classic size to try a beer.

How? What could possibly go wrong with all this? I hear you ask, well for many many years in any good pub you the consumer can ask for a sample of beer before commiting to a purchase, it seems perfectly reasonable and a system that works for both sides of the bar, you end up with a beer you like, they end up with a happy customer. Then along comes the game changer Mr Third O’tpoint, you see to me this all looks like a very sharp double edged sword, I mentioned earlier that the profit wheels where already in motion, alas they are with the announcement that the Nottingham Beer festival will be politely refusing samples, citing that third of a pint options where now available. Of course the organisers have absolutely every right to do this at such a massively busy festival as enough people waste bar peoples time and frankly take the mickey walking round getting tanked off samples! But how long before this is seen elsewhere? how long will it be until pubs slowly begin to flat out refuse to give you a sample citing thirds are now available?

It all just seems like a way to charge you for a taster to me, maybe I’m wide off the mark with all this but I’d bet you a pint that this taster charging behaviour slowly creeps in over the next couple of years.  So, don’t forget to ask for a sample at your favourite pub whilst you can, and if you like it buy it!

You may suggest I’m missing the point of the ⅓rd, I do ‘get it’ but a sample allows you to make an informed decision on your purchase, and comes free at the cost of a normal half, or a pint.

A sad farewell to Kimberley Miners Welfare

Miners

 

Recently the Kimberley Miners Welfare closed after 80+ years. A sad day for a lot of people who frequented this great place to meet friends, play bingo and have a drink. Sure it only had one real ale on per time, it was usually kept well so they already were getting one thing right Wetherspoons could fail on some nights when they had 4 times that many guest ales.

Places like the Miners Welfare are not so much about the drink but the atmosphere, I think it’s safe to say without being ageist that most of the clientele of the Miners Welfare were over 50 with a spread below this age maintaining membership. Atmosphere created by the relaxed attitude of the staff, children were allowed in and often met up with other children from other patrons, food would often be brought in from outside without being frowned upon by staff.

Local acts would play on the stage at the back, ignore if you want, sing along if you want, get up and dance if you want! Some were good, some not so good but all were greeted with applause at the end.

The drink selection was mostly generic with 1 guest real ale, they did a mean can of Tango if you fancied a soft drink. The real kicker about this place being gone is it represents (in my opinion) the archetype of the Old English Tavern. A place to meet, talk, drink and eat…a central hub of activity for a community.

Not just someplace to swill lager and watch Sky Sports. Plenty of activities were played here instead like bingo, open the box (finding that key is impossible…) quizzes and stuff which brings people together…not just draws their blank gazes to a TV. I’m not sure who I’m aiming my disappointment or scorn at exactly, only that the “big guys” have contributed to the downfall of someplace like this. Places like this are important for communities, I doubt there are many other local places some of the “older” clientele would like to go to now.

Clubs are becoming a dying breed. Having been a member of at least 4 in Ilkeston/Kimberley I can say that Nottingham on the whole will be worse for more of these closing. However price hikes, higher beer duty and recession make it hard for places which are not centered around profit and competitiveness to stay afloat. The local word is the miners is now being considered as a building project for apartments. So suburbia claims another victim after 80+ years of being open.

CAMRA and BrewDog get nitro knickers twisted.

Hit the nitro! it sounds like something out of Knight Rider doesn’t it? no I didn’t think so either, as we all know KITT uses a turbo boost, not nitro.

You may or may not have read about the big brewhaha kicking off between CAMRA and BrewDog regarding kegging some of their beer at the GBBF (Great British Beer Festival) it’s mostly rather petty tit for tat but it does create a bridge to an issue that over the coming months and years we will be undoubtedly seeing more of, craft beer in a keg. Like it or not ‘craft beer’ in kegs isn’t going anywhere so CAMRAs decision to pull the plug seems a little short sighted, perhaps both parties just need to sit down properly and talk it over, this would be helped greatly by BrewDog who brew some fine beer indeed pulling their head down from the clouds, they’re not the messiahs they often claim to be, just rather good at marketing.

The ‘rebellious’ BrewDog (available in Tescos…) like to get busy with the fizzy, or busy wit’ fizzy if you prefer the Bo Selecta Craaaaig Daaavid approach. So what’s the big deal? well it all comes down to the definitions of ale, live yeast, filtering etc, yes I can hear the snores already but kegging dominance in short is what CAMRA was setup to stop happening; but more importantly it looks to me like a good old clashing of opinion. In Europe and America this practise of kegging is common, my co-writer Hoppkins is a huge fan of American craft beers and has sampled them many times on their home soil, I myself loved many of the beers we had in Amsterdam, again all kegged, in-fact some of the Flying Dog beers I had out there rank as the best I have ever had though I am massively curious as to what they taste like without kegging.

Is there room for both? I don’t think there’s a choice as both exist and both will continue to push forward but you can’t blame CAMRAs defensive approach with the taste destroying reputation kegging has, this can’t be helped by some of the UK brewers putting on some very poor shows, both BrewDogs- Punk IPA and Thornbridge – Jaipur are brilliant brews, but truly dreadful on keg, and I might point out at this point I have tried them both more than twice at different places and times so it wasn’t just a bad batch.

For now it seems a lot more toys are going to be chucked out the pram, but it seems a genuine shame to have beers specifically brewed for kegging as they do in the US and Europe snubbed because of this reason, for now this debate seems set to roar on.

Of much more importance is the Nottingham CAMRA branches confirmation that BrewDog will be at the 2011 Nottingham Beer Festival but as last year on cask, not keg!

NottsBrew on Twitter

We’re now on that twitter malarky so we can keep in touch with the Nottingham brew scene by putting @ in front of everything and looking like a complete tool, though we do it so you don’t have to, how nice are we?

I’ll see if I can add a widget or suchlike to the site, The widgets in the top right, if you like it old school here’s a URL,

http://twitter.com/#!/nottsbrew

So why not follow us? though I can think of many perfectly good reasons why you wouldn’t want to.

Line-up confirmed for Mansfield Road Gr-Ale

A list has been released for Mansfield Roads first crawl/festival, with over 100+ beers available, the previous post has been updated with the details!

http://www.nottsbrew.co.uk/2011/04/mansfield-road-announces-beer-festival-onlookers-confused-2/

On a seperate note I tried co-write Hoppkins’ nottsbrew IPA that he brewed from full mash last night and was astounded at how good it was, expect guides, pictures and such from him soon!