Showing posts with label woolpack dave. Show all posts
Showing posts with label woolpack dave. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fuggled Review of the Year - Blog of the Year

Slowly we are getting to the end of my review of the year, only a couple more categories to go! This in some ways though is the one I have been looking forward to writing the most, because I get to give credit to some of the people who make my days infinitely more interesting with their writings.

Like so many of the categories I have done, it really it difficult to whittle it down to just three from which to pick a winner, however I did give myself a couple of criteria which were absolutely vital. Firstly, the majority of blog posts had to be actually about something rather than a few words about how many beers they drank or something equally vacuous. Secondly, the ability to continue the conversation in the comments section is important - I like being able to make a comment and have it responded to, after all, one of the points of web 2.0 isn't just to give every gobshite with a keyboard a mouthpiece, but rather to facilitate dialogue, and through that greater understanding of a topic.

Without further ado, the three best blogs in my world are:
I can't remember exactly when I came across Dave's blog, but from day one I have enjoyed the refreshingly open and honest perspective that Dave brings to his writing.  Whether posting on the trials of running a countryside Free House, tax issues relating to beer, or even why he invested in BrewDog, Dave brings a depth of passion and also willingness to have his views challenged by the wider beer blogging community.

E.S. Delia of Relentless Thirst fame doesn't write as often as some, but when he does it is always worth reading, often bringing subtle insights into the Virginia craft brewing scene as well as tips about beers to drink, and which good beers are actually available in this neck of the woods. Of the three bloggers on the list, E.S. Delia is the only one I have actually met, spoken with in person and had the pleasure of his company, in every way he is the stereotype of what a beer lover and blogger should be.

I am sure that most of us appreciate Ron Pattinson's fascinating historical perspectives on gravities and brewing ingredients, I know that I very much plan to make some of the homebrew versions of the beer recipes he has been posting of late. From deep within all the statistics, logs and numbers shines Ron's deep love and passion for beer, which is of course the driving force behind any good beer blogger.

Given that I have one UK based, one Europe based and one American based blogger on my list, it would be so easy to make each of them the winner in their respective geographical location, but that would be shifting the goal posts. So my Blog of the Year is:
  1. Dave's Beer Related Blog
Always challenging, always interesting and always worth thinking over and ruminating on, Dave's blog is the one I always go to the moment it is updated.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Something Soft

I spent much of Monday morning driving around from specialist shop to specialist shop looking for key ingredients for mincemeat, which Mrs Velkyal is making for the first time this year. The things we needed at that point were ground rump steak, currants and mixed peel. The ground steak was easy in the end, I just went to our local supermarket and asked if they could grind some for me, and they were more than happy to do so.

The currants were a bit of a nightmare because Americans don't call them just "currants" like we do in the UK, instead they called them "Zante Currants". Having not found them at Whole Foods, although I did find something rather nice there - more of which in a bit, I came home and decided instead of driving around town I would call the other specialist shops to see if they had the stuff I was looking for. Several calls later and I was on the road to Foods of All Nations to pick up the currants and mixed peel, and having been in there before I decided to see if Fentimen's soft drinks were as good as Dave from the Woolpack Inn in Cumbria says they are. Therefore, I picked up a mini-bottle, 125ml, of the Curiosity Cola and Ginger Beer.

For those not in the know, drink are "Botanically Brewed" and use natural ingredients, I was very happy to find them here in CVille, though I believed they are made under licence in Canada.

There really is only one thing I can say about the Curiosity Cola, if this is what cola drinks originally tasted like then I can understand entirely how it became the world's most popular soft drink style. This stuff really is delightful, refreshing and not cloyingly sweet and the ginger zing in the background just rounds it off perfectly.

I have always liked Ginger Beer in general, particularly the Marks and Spencer ones, but this one was just a revelation. It probably sounds ridiculous to say it was full of ginger, but it was massively zingy and tangy and just simply oh so good! I can safely say that these soft drinks will be making regular appearances in my fridge, and my brain is wondering what mixed drinks I could make with them, especially given the choice of funky little bottles (they do have big ones as well) - perhaps Ginger Beer and brandy? Curiosity Cola and Jameson?

Skipping back a little bit to Whole Foods, I picked up a bottle of Legend Pilsner from the Legend Brewing Company in Richmond - a brewery I have heard much about from my good friend Mark. Regular readers will know that pilsner in this country has so far left me disappointed, but this one was quite good, nice and malty body with a good hoppiness you would expect from a nice Czech pilsner, though a bit strong at 6%abv, probably the equivalent of a 14˚ lager back in the Czech Republic. Whilst not up there with my favourite Czech lager, not bad at all, and in my Chodovar glass it certainly looks the part!

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...