Showing posts with label shut up about barclay perkins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shut up about barclay perkins. Show all posts

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Local - Guest Blog

Earlier this year I had the inestimable pleasure of brewing a beer with the guys at Devils Backbone and beer historian Ron Pattinson, of Shut About Barclay Perkins fame. Well Ron has stepped in the guest blogger shoes to tell us about his local pubs....


My local. What could be easier than shooting the breeze about the place you usually drink? Well, for me it's a bit tricky. First of all I have to decide what is my local.

Strictly speaking, it's either the Playground Pub or Gent aan de Schinkel.

I would tell you the real name of the first one. If I could remember it. Physically, it's the closest pub to my flat. And, as the nickname might well give away, It's a place I used to frequent with the kids. Dump them in the playground and then dump myself at the bar. Only it never quite worked out as simply as that. But when does anything go the way it should? (And for that matter, when will I stop asking questions?) Kids, eh. Always wanting attention the little attention vampires. That and unhealthy food.

The pub was a good way to get acquainted with some of the other people in our neighbourhood. As it turned, mostly ones with kids themselves. I wasn't the only one with the idea about dumping the babes and boozing myself into oblivion. Must be something about children that prompts that.

I don't go there any more. On principle. Despite the law, they allow smoking. Yes, just what I need. Bugger my lungs even more.

I have a strange relationship with Gent aan de Schinkel. I won't go into that now. Let's just say that it also has something to do with my kids. On the face of it, it's an obvious candidate for my local. Just around the corner and a sort of half beer café. It used to be a full one, but they've pared back the range somewhat over the years. Still, La Chouffe and Filliers 8 (a rather delicious jenever) is usually enough to satisfy me. All sounds pretty good so far, doesn't it? Now here are the not-so-good points.


They major on food. I rarely to never eat out in Amsterdam. No point. There's a kitchen and a cook back home. Seems like a huge waste of money. Being crowded out of a pub by diners isn't my idea of fun (I won't tell you what is, it's just too sad). Especially (here's the second not-so-good point) when they are a bunch of yuppies. I prefer a more genuine drinking atmosphere myself. Preferably without any music, TVs, slot machines or yuppies. Miserable old git, that's me.

The pub I most regularly go in Amsterdam in Wildeman. Not exactly local, at near dead on three miles away, as the crow flies. Not being a crow, it's just as well the number 2 tram takes me virtually door to door. Usually on Saturday afternoon.

Night time boozing. It's a young man's (or woman's) game. My powers of recovery are too feeble for it to be an option most nights. And, given the state I'm in when I leave a pub, it's best if there's still daylight. Gives me a sporting chance of getting home uninjured. It's hard enough getting up in the morning when I've gone to bed sober. I'm not taking any chances. That's why 2 o' clock in the afternoon is my designated Wildeman time.

I'm not the only one with a routine. The bloke with a beard who reads the paper. He's always there, too. Reading the paper. As well as me and Mike, Guy Thornton often turns up. Very reassuring. Usually we occupy enough seats to keep out the young. The bastards. With their designer clothes, radiant skin and irritating electronic devices. Ticky, ticky, tick. You can't get away from people fiddling with some gadget or other nowadays.

When I contemplating writing this piece I realised there was another pub that had a claim to be my local. What is a local? It's a home from home. Somewhere you feel comfortable and safe. Where there are people you know. Where you can walk in at any time of the day and someone will say "Hello Ron" (it's probably a different name your case, but you get the idea). Where there's always someone to chat with. A place where the normal rules of physics don't apply. It doesn't matter how long since your last visit, you pick up straight away where you left off, even if it's been a year.


Going by those criteria, I realise there was an odd candidate for my local: the Gunmakers in London. The preceding paragraph, that was all about the Gunmakers. I feel bizarrely at home there. Even though I've not lived in London since I became aware of it. Even though I've not spent more than four days on the bounce in London for several decades. Yet every time I walk through the door the welcome rushed out to meet me.


Of course, it helps that I'm mates with Jeff, the landlord. But that isn't the only reason I love the place. Well-kept cask beer is a must. And Jeff's is very well looked after. Not a huge selection, just four handpumps. But I've never been shallow enough to judge a pub by the number of beers it sells. (Some of my favourite pubs only sell one.) Small, but well chosen. That's the Gunmakers beer range. You're guaranteed that any beer you buy will be in top condition.

I'm going to contradict myself now. But who gives a toss about consistency other than premiership managers? The Gunmakers is at times of the day mostly given over to diners. I told you I hated that. But there's always space for the solitary drinker and his pint and paper. And having a full kitchen means they can offer the things I like to eat in a pub: homemade scotch eggs and pork pie.

Maybe it's the associations that makes it such a happy place for me. Most of my visits are after a session in the London Metropolitan Archives, which isn't far away. Aching and dirty, but with a camera full of brewing records, I stumble in and soothe my exhaustion with a pint. Several pints. Because pints like company, too.

There you have it, three locals for the price of one. Sorry, four for. Pubs, they’re like kids. Noisy, irritating, lively, invigorating. And just like kids, it’s cruel to pick just one favourite.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Brewheart

Scottish beer. You know all about Scottish beer I am sure. Sweet, malty and not very hoppy because it was so expensive to ship hops from one end of the United Kingdom to the other. You know that Scottish beer has a peaty element because of the water, although using peated malt is something of a no-no, but then you also know that an awful lot of craft brewers add a dash, just in case. Oh, and of course, Scottish beer has to involve kilts in the name, Kilt Lifters abound - you could say kilt lifting is the American craft brewing scene's equivalent of the abominations to be found on Pumpclip Parade.


The last few weeks have been a pleasure seeing these daft stereotypes ripped to pieces by the double team of Shut Up About Barclay Perkins! and I Might Have A Glass of Beer. Through a series of maps and analyses, the myth of Scottish brewing has been laid bare and savaged.

The highlight for me though has been the recipes that Ron has been posting, all from the 19th century and all of them with significant IBU ratings, ranging from 47 to 113. As a reference, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has 37 IBU, Pilsner Urquell 40 and Devils Backbone's 8 Point IPA 60. At 113 IBU, the No. 3 from Wm Younger in 1868 was more potent in the hop department than Starr Hill's Double Platinum, which weighs in at 90.

You know that thing about Scottish ales being unhoppy (according to the BJCP guidelines the tops a Scottish ale can be is 35 IBU) because of the expense of moving hops from one end of the United Kingdom to the other? Well, that's also complete bollocks. 

The majority of the hopping in the recipes from the 1860s were Saaz, from Bohemia, as in the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time. Now, unless there was some special deal between Scotland and Bohemia on the basis of the Winter Queen, I am pretty sure import tariffs, transportation and logistics in the 19th century would have made copious amounts of Saaz hops somewhat more pricey than copious amounts of East Kent Goldings. Did we mention the copious amounts of hops going into Scottish beer in the 19th century yet? Oh, yes we did, 3rd paragraph for those that missed it.

From the work that has gone into a series of superb posts, I think it is a pretty clear that the myth of Scottish brewing seems to have been dreamed up by the same guys that did the historical research involved in Braveheart.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Pint of the Past Please

It went on tap on Friday, and if experience of dark lager made at Devils Backbone is anything to go by, it will last about a month. Yesterday afternoon I drove out to Roseland with two aims in mind, meet up with my good friend and photographic genius Mark Stewart, and to try the Barclay's London Dark Lager which was brewed with Ron Pattinson of Shut Up About Barclay Perkins fame.


Recently they had a Bavarian Dunkel on at Devils Backbone which was delicious, so it was interesting to see and taste the difference from using British malts rather than German. For example, adding roast barley to the mash late, to get the colour without flavour, rather than using one of the Carafa malts.

I am not sure the picture really illustrates the beer very well, but it pours a rich mahogany tinged with auburn, topped off with a light beige head. The nose was grassy, with touches of lemon and spice, in the background, the merest hint of lightly roasted coffee. As for the flavours, the smooth sweetness of English toffee dominates, with some toastiness and nuts in the mix as well. The sweetness is cut through by a firm, assertive, but not brash, bitterness. This beer is insanely drinkable for a 5.8% abv lager and while it most definitely isn't a session beer, 5 pints of it does slip down with inordinate ease.

Yesterday afternoon felt like the culmination of a project I have enjoyed immensely. Brewing with Jason is always a pleasure, meeting Ron was likewise a delight - beer people are such good company, especially when you combine a passion for beer with a love of history. Sometimes I think it such a pity that more brewers aren't doing this kind of project instead of running after the latest trendiest hop variety (remember when Amarillo was all the rage?). On my own homebrew front, I think more of Ron's Let's Brew Wednesday recipes will be making appearances in the coming months.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Homecoming Lager

There are not that many beer festivals that I have plans to visit at some point during my life. I would love to get to Slunce ve Skle again sometime, being in Munich during Starkbierzeit would also be good and the Copenhagen Beer Festival would be a blast too, as well as an opportunity to catch up with some friends. The one that I would love to get to though at some point is the Great British Beer Festival, which this year runs from August 2nd to the 6th.


Beyond the generic desire to go to the GBBF one year, if finances and time would allow, I would love to be at this year's festival, for one very simple reason - a beer that I had a hand in brewing will be available in the Bières Sans Frontières area.


The beer in question is the recreation of Barclay Perkins' Dark Lager from the 1930s, which was brewed at Devils Backbone with myself and Ron Pattinson. Last week Jason from Devils Backbone told me that he has registered the beer and it will soon be on its way to the festival, hopefully surviving the journey in good condition.

The beer is called Barclays London Dark Lager, so take the opportunity to taste some history and celebrate the coming home of dark lager to London.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lazarus Lager

Unless you've been living under a rock, as opposed to on this rock, you will know that I am rather partial to lager. My "go to" beer of late has been Devils Backbone's lovely Vienna Lager, I have also been availing myself of various American made pilsner style lagers, some decent, some not. Despite the fulminations of some in the beer world, Britain has a decent history of brewing lager style beers. The very first cold fermented beers in Britain are reputed to have been brewed in Scotland, as early as 1835. Unfortunately, being in the days before refrigeration, the yeast didn't survive more than a few brews, and although the 19th century saw several more attempts at brewing lager it wasn't until the early 20th century that British brewers started to make a more concerted effort to make lager.


In the 1930s, the London brewery Barclay Perkins, located in the Anchor Brewery in Southwark, employed one Arthur Henius, a Dane, to head up their lager brewing operations. During that time, Barclay Perkins produced three lager styles, two pales and a dark. Where am I going with all this historical information? Well, quite simply, last Thursday saw the culmination of a project between myself, Jason Oliver at Devils Backbone and Ron Pattinson of Shut Up About Barclay Perkins.


When we heard that Ron was coming over to the States, and would be just a couple of hours away in Washington DC, we decided that it would be good to try and arrange a brewday with Ron, and to brew a historical beer. Previously Jason had used a recipe from one of Ron's books as inspiration for his 1904 Ramsey's Stout, and with an interest in brewing forgotten beers it was natural to try and arrange something. The seemingly now tradition thread of emails ensued, unfortuantely Nathan Zeender from DC couldn't make it down for the brewday, though was involved in the email chain.

We went round several ideas of beers to recreate, and eventually came to the notion of brewing a British lager. From there it was a short step to deciding on a British dark lager, and it just so happened that in Ron's possession was a recipe from 1934 for Barclay Perkins' Dark Lager. It had to be done.

The recipe was fairly simple, the malts being lager, pale and caramel, added to the mash late on was roasted barley, in order to get colour without the harsh roasted flavour you associate with that grain. I was surprised when I saw the recipe that it was hopped only with Saaz, surprised but delighted!

Naturally we wanted to be as authentic as possible, and so various salts and minerals were added to Devils Backbone's insanely soft water to mimic as close as possible the hard water of London (when we brewed the pilsner last year I learnt that their water is softer than Plzeň!). From reviewing the brewing log's technical details Jason decided that it would be more authentic to do a temperature control mash rather than a decoction. At the end of the day we had 10 hectolitres of 14.25o Plato, dark brown wort, which had about 25 IBUs of Saaz goodness and should be ready for drinking some time in July I imagine.


It seems to have become traditional that these brewdays inevitably involve sampling various beers. Ron bought with him a bottle of the new East India Porter from Pretty Things, a recreation of a 19th century porter made with extra hops to survive the sea journey to India (sound familiar? cough, splutter, black IPA my arse cough). Keeping with the theme of historical beers, Ron also brought along a bottle of the first in the Fuller's Past Masters series, which you can see in the picture, and was a lovely beer. So lovely in fact, I wish I could find it in the States.


We had a really good day, it was a pleasure to meet Ron in person, and as ever to go brewing at Devils Backbone.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fuggled Review of the Year - Blogs

So to the final installment of the Fuggled Review of the Year, the blogs that I have enjoyed reading throughout 2010. Again making that final list of three is fraught with difficulty, thus requiring a list of honourable mentions again. I think today though, the honourable mention list will come first:


I have a tie for the best beer related blog from Virginia simply between Eric and James, of Relentless Thirst and A Homebrew Log respectively, cater to different aspects of my love of beer. Relentless Thirst has wide ranging posts of various aspects on the beer world which I find well thought out and thought provoking, whereas A Homebrew Log does exactly what it says on the tin - it is about homebrewing, but it is well written and always informative. I have had the pleasure of sharing beers, both commercial and homebrew, with both Eric and James, and they are top blokes, with a passion for beer and brewing. Keep your eyes open for an upcoming project the three of us are working on.


If you know anything about me, you know I love session beer, and what to see more of it produced over here in the States. Lew's The Session Beer Project then is an invaluable resource for keeping abreast of developments in session beer across the US.


What can you say about Ron that hasn't already been said? Challenging, backed up with facts rather than fables and recipes to brew historical beers! Not only is Ron's blog required reading as far as I am concerned, but the fact that it was one of Ron's books that inspired Devils Backbone to brew a 1904 London Stout recipe, which was one of my favourite beers of the year, has to be a good thing.

But as ever, the final few must become just the one, and so the 2010 Fuggled Blog of the Year is:
  • Shut Up About Barclay Perkins
Excellent reading all round and here's to another year of banging the drum about IPAs real nature!

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...

男女真人后进式猛烈动态图_男人让女人爽的免费视频_男人脱女人衣服吃奶视频