11 March 2018

Being a drunken pain in the arse

Yesterday was one of those days I just desperately needed to get out of the house and have a beer or three.

Or twelve as it turned out.

<< Brains Dark

There was some half-decent sport on the TV and not much could have kept me away from Cardiff.

So I decided to give the Old Arcade a proper go, given my very sporadic visits in the past.

<< Brains SA Gold

And I wasn't disappointed - Brains Smooth £2 a pint, a loyalty card scheme and pretty much every other Brains available, including guest Ale Wyn, named after and brewed in collaboration with Wales captain extraordinaire Alun Wyn Jones.

So, as I usually do, I started at one end and worked my way to the other. Smooth, SA Gold, Bitter Cask, Dark, Ale Wyn and Black all went down nicely.

<< Ale Wyn

I was even joined in an SA by a work colleague who just happened to wander in which was a nice surprise, given I owed him a pint or two!

<< Brains Black, my "free" pint after completing the loyalty card.

Then as one half of the rugby ended with Ireland well on top I trotted down to Womanby Street to the City Arms for a few guests.

First up, from Redemption, was a very nice dark called Urban Dusk. There was also another Redemption ale called Hopspur, but not being a Tottenham fan, I didn't fancy that!!

In sympathy with Scotland, who were getting an absolute shellacking by Ireland, I tries the Beer of the Week in the bottle - Innis and Gunn rum barrel aged Red Beer. 6.8%. Took me a wee while to get through but was worth it in the end. I'm a sucker for spirit-flavoured beers as my penchant for McEwans Champion Whisky Edition shows.

Then I went back on the stout - a Bristol one in fact.

...before finishing up a little bit further up the A49 with a Salopian stout called "Mangata." A lovely pump clip design - I'm a sucker for things like that.

The night finished at Nando's with a MacMahon 2M Cerveca from Mozambique, which benefits Malaria Relief efforts in Africa.

I've said it before on my Twitter feed and I'll say it again - we are truly blessed in South Wales to have such great venues on our doorstep - especially ones like the City Arms who understand beer nerds / geeks like me exist and are patient and understanding as we get overly excited over the little things. I just hope that I never embarrass or disgrace myself with my behaviour on these occasions, as the alcohol takes over.

7 March 2018

Guinness Snobbery

Being a Guinness drinker, it's very hard to not fall victim to what I term "Guinness snobbery" - i.e. insisting on the double pour, insisting on no shamrock and then tasting the pint like a fine wine.

It's Guinness. It's never going to taste like it does in Dublin. Just get over it.

Occasionally though, there are places that get it damned close. I'm lucky in that my local, the Baneswell Social Club in Newport, is one of them. So, luckily, is one of my local JDWs.

And on the personal recommendation of my mates Tink and Dav, I tried the Flute and Tankard just off Queen Street in Cardiff.

I wasn't disappointed. I'll be back here for more!

EDIT: While I was there, I also tried a Vale of Glamorgan Conversion Pale Ale, and then went on to the Duke of Wellington to try a Phonics Ale, a special brew created as a tie-in for the Stereophonics' concerts at the CIA in Cardiff.

6 March 2018

Gool Peran Lowen / Happy St Piran's Day

Happy St Piran's Day to all those in Cornwall and all those who love Cornwall. I'm one of the latter, although I went to university in Falmouth but I didn't sample any of the local stuff back in those days - in my youth I was strictly a Budweiser and Strongbow drinker!

However a later trip in 2007 introduced me to Tribute from the St Austell Brewery, then Doom Bar started appearing in pubs outside of its native land. This was long before Molson Coors got their filthy hands on it, started brewing it in Burton and making it a staple of JDWs up and down the country.

This year I nipped into the Cambrian Tap in Cardiff for a pint (and a half) of St Austell's beautiful sulphite-free lager, Korev, which is the Kernewek for "beer". It's quite possibly the best lager I've ever tasted. But I'm biased. Kernow bys vykken!!

4 March 2018

VIDEO : Guinness Surger System

A few years ago, Guinness made the best attempt yet to try and bring that pub-pint quality to the home market with the launch of their surger system.

Didn't quite take off as well as they'd hoped, although the pub trade version has found a foothold in some venues who don't get through enough Guinness to justify getting it on tap, such as that House venue I was at in Oxford last week.

Anyway, they're now only available for home use through eBay or Amazon etc, new old stock or second hand, and expect to pay a pretty penny for them. But are they worth it? I decided to get one and test it.