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Thread: Real Ale

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    Real Ale

    Real ale - not something you find in Thailand.

    The John Smiths draught at your local farang bar does not constitute real ale, as it has been filtered before being shipped. As any ale drinker will know, a beer has to be stored & served from a cask, rather than a keg.

    For two years I was the cellar-man at the biggest pub in Europe. We used to hold beer festivals & could be selling up to eighty different kinds of ale from all the main players, plus many micro-breweries, at any given time, so it is something I know a lot about.





    Your average punter will know the usual suspects, such as Theakstons Best or Pedigree, though sadly, there are many brands that just don't get the exposure they deserve, mainly due to a lack of money to advertise.

    I will introduce you to some of these fine, unknown ales here & importantly - tell you where they can be sampled.

    This one is my all-time favourite - Summer Lightning, by the Hopback Brewery.



    It won an award for best newcomer at the time it was released & is unlike any other ale I have tasted.

    I could go all Jilly Cooper on you & describe it as a quaffable, fruity beer with aftertones of the oak cask it was brewed in, but I would sound like one of those CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) idiots, who I promise you - do not know what they are talking about. I can say this for certain, as I used to have dealings with them all the time.

    Let me tell you a story about CAMRA.

    We were inspected by them one time, looking towards inclusion in that Good Beer Guide that they do. Before they came to visit, they gave us a list of what beers they wanted to sample. One of those beers was Adnams - a very fine beer indeed.



    Unfortunatly, we had previously stolen - amongst others - the Adnams delivery & the last I saw of the cask was at the local university campus. Even if I was minded to get it back, it would have certainly been empty. Fearing having to tell my boss I had been diverting his deliveries, I set to work on a cunning plan.



    I swapped the pump clip from the Boddingtons with an Adnams one & because the colour is lighter I added some slops from the drip-trays to the cask of Boddies, gave it a shake & left it to settle overnight.

    I will never forget the bearded buffoon from CAMRA taking a sip & pronouncing 'that's good Adnams, that is, well done'
    Last edited by Deus Ex; 24-12-2007 at 05:37 AM.

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    Good story

    Did he look like this

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    Exmoor Brewery are responsible for some fantastic beer.



    Amongst them is Exmoor Gold. A lovely drink. Here are some random opinions on this beer.

    Notice nobody has a bad work to say about it?



    Exmoor Gold is one of the best beers I have tried.
    Drew

    This is a superb beer (one of my personal favourites) They have their own website at Exmoor Ales
    Bob

    Exquisite - well worth seeking out.
    Jim

    This beer is so good that I am seriously considering moving to Devon so that I can drink it every day.
    Colin Shaw

    absoloutely gorgeous. Slips down!
    Antony

    Better on draught. However, an absolute classic.
    Ah Scum

    Wicked-one is not enough, very smooth and loads of flavour
    Scragger

    Lovely ale, recommended.
    Glyn B

    As an ex publican in Lancashire, Exmoor Gold was one of my top guest beers, didn't last the Friday night out.
    Phil B Smith

    Brilliant beer! Even more complex and interesting on cask.
    Yau

    Absolutely amazing, just can't find it anywhere to buy and drink at home :-(
    Catherine

    Obviously, Cathrine doesn't shop at Tesco, which has a wide selection.

    Breweries like Exmoor rely on word of mouth rather than multi-million pound adverts for sales, which I think shows in the quality of their products. Take a look at the link above for more Exmoor beers.
    Last edited by Deus Ex; 24-12-2007 at 05:52 AM.

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    No real ale thread would be complete without a mention of Old Speckled Hen - a firm favourite with everyone.



    I find this beer to be a bit heavy, but you can't complain of a lack of substance. It creeps over the 5% mark, which I feel all ale should do, as - if we are being honest - the reason we drink beer is to get pissed.
    Last edited by Deus Ex; 24-12-2007 at 06:22 AM.

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    You cant beat a pint of towld speckled hen. Brewed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the MG car factory.

    Heres a replica of the car it was named after

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deus Ex
    No real ale thread would be complete without a mention of Old Speckled Hen - a firm favourite with everyone.
    That was my old beer.

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    Sam Smith's and Webster's were my favs when I lived in Leeds.
    Tetley's is piss, though I prefer it to John Smith's - the lesser of the brothers from Tadcaster.
    But I never liked the way old Josh smirks at me on the label.

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    Heres a festive one, that comes out for Christmas each year.


    A complex, rich tasting beer with plenty of roast malt character and generous hop flavour. I quite like this one, but at 4.9% its not a session beer.

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    Nice one if around the London Area



    This is from the notes on their website. Cant vouch for now as haven't had an ESB for a few years now. Used to like it and it packs quite a punch



    First brewed in 1971, ESB is unrivalled in terms of its flavour and balance. A powerful 5.5% a.b.v. in cask (5.9% a.b.v. in bottles and kegs), it is brewed from Pale Ale and Crystal malts, and from Target, Challenger, Northdown and Goldings hops. But don't ask us for the actual recipe - that's a closely guarded secret.

    Andrew Jefford, the respected UK drinks critic, sums up ESB's flavour thus: ''an ample, grainy-nutty aroma and a broad, authoritative flavour, with lashings of dry marmalade-like bitters'', whilst 'Beer Supremo' Roger Protz describes ''an enormous attack of rich malt, tangy fruit and spicy hops in the mouth, with a profound Goldings peppery note in the long finish and hints of orange, lemon and gooseberry fruit''.

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    Quote Originally Posted by astasinim
    but at 4.9% its not a session beer.
    What's his supposed to mean? Too strong for a Northerner to have more than 3 pints of?

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    Just been sampling a few of these this afternoon, before tonights session begins.

    HISTORY In the early nineties Paul Theakston, 5th generation of Masham’s famous brewing family, saw an opportunity to develop his inherited skills, founding a brewery to make traditional beer in the time-honoured fashion. Spreading out from the Yorkshire Dales, Black Sheep beers are now available not only across the UK but around the world.




    Black Sheep Best Bitter 3.8% ABV
    Our best bitter is already established as a firm favourite in pubs across the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. A well-hopped, light golden session bitter with a distinctive dry, refreshing taste enjoyed through a rich, creamy head.
    I aint superstitious, but I know when somethings wrong
    I`ve been dragging my heels with a bitch called hope
    Let the undercurrent drag me along.

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    Black Sheep is a classic.

    Timmy Taylor's Landlord is a great beer.


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    Quote Originally Posted by stroller View Post
    Too strong for a Northerner to have more than 3 pints of?
    The North was built on a diet of real ale, I'll have you know.

    Manchester contribution to real ale is Boddingtons. Until recently, brewed from water drawn from a well right underneath Strangeways. They've recently closed it down to build trendy flats



    As for German beer


    There are several very worrying features of the contemporary German beer scene:

    1. the lack of knowledge about beer amongst drinkers
    2. the blind belief in the Reinheitsgebot as an assurance of quality beer
    3. the absence of innovation in beer styles and flavours
    4. the narrow range of styles brewed
    5. the emphasis on cheap, low-quality beer
    6. the insularity of German beer culture
    7. the scarcity and poor quality of published information on beer in German
    Let's have a look now at each of these points in detail.
    The Trouble with German Beer
    Last edited by Deus Ex; 24-12-2007 at 10:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deus Ex
    Manchester contribution to real ale is Boddingtons.
    Never liked Boddingtons. Too lightly flavoured for me.

    The best Ale I ever had was Adnam's Oyster Ale. Only available in the autumn though.

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    I used to love Boddies but I agree it's too light.

    They do a 5% export bottle, but I find that too heavy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog
    That was my old beer.
    This is your beer nowadays



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    ^ 9%!!

    Another ruined beer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stroller View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by astasinim
    but at 4.9% its not a session beer.
    What's his supposed to mean? Too strong for a Northerner to have more than 3 pints of?
    I dont know what your idea of a session is, but mines around the 12 - 15 pint mark, and i`d be well on my arse with 12 - 15 of those in me.

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    There are too many "real" ales available in too many pubs these days. I still have doubts about pubs that do an unlikely selection of beers that are not well maintained. The independent freehouse is usually good as are tied houses.

    Saturday found me in the Southwark Tavern at Borough Market, which does manage just a few real ales really well, including Pride and my favourite tipple, Harveys (not to mention a good selection of continental beers, including Fruili, a strawberry beer enjoyed by the missus).

    Everyone's taste is different and often ignites the North/South thing. I like my beer poured from the top, not chugged up from the bottom resulting in a frothy mess at the top.

    Boddingtons is now gnats piss and Hen isn't much better and when I hear about a good pint of John Smiths, I just wonder if there ever has been such a thing?

    I'm still depressed about Young's!

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    Caller have you tried The Greenwich Union?

    The Greenwich Union - A Meantime Brewing Company Pub

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    Quote Originally Posted by jizzybloke View Post
    Caller have you tried The Greenwich Union?

    The Greenwich Union - A Meantime Brewing Company Pub
    Not yet, although Waitrose sell some of there's, but my branch only does their coffee beer! There was quite a selection on sale at the market on Saturday. I'll get around to it soon!

    So the missus and I agreed to save our real his and hers pressies till after Christmas, but just get each other something for "under the tree" and boy, did I get a nice surprise - a Samuel Smith gift set - comprising of Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout and Nut Brown Ale(?), a pint glass and some coasters! The Pale Ale went down a treat and I'm looking forward to trying the others. Sam Smiths is a beer I like, there used to be one of their pubs in Richmond, I'll have to check it out again!

    What is Nut Brown Ale as opposed to plain Brown Ale?

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    Quote Originally Posted by astasinim View Post
    I dont know what your idea of a session is, but mines around the 12 - 15 pint mark, and i`d be well on my arse with 12 - 15 of those in me.
    I understand, I am obviously not qualified to comment further, I'd be dead after drinking 15 pints of anything other than water.

    As for German beer
    Germany has a 'Lager' mainstream culture, and there are excellent Pilsners to be found throughout. But much of the criticism is valid.
    Btw, I come from the home of Altbier.

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    Tried some of this yesterday lunch time, and quite nice it was too.

    An amber coloured ale which is full and fruity, a caramel centre, balanced with a mid dry finish.
    Guaranteed to warm the festive season and the “Dingbat” styled pump clip will ensure the enjoyment lasts all the way down the piste.. 4.5%

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    My local favourite:

    Extra Special Pale Ale

    First brewed by Okanagan Spring in 1989, Extra Special Pale Ale is BC's original pale ale and first craft brand. Clear and copper coloured, it's fruity on the palate, hearty in hops, and firm in body with a nice dry finish. (5% alcohol). Food pairing ideas: red meats and spicy foods


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