Monthly Archives: April 2014
For a couple of weeks I had been plagued by toothache, which progressed into jaw ache/headache/neck ache so bad that I couldn’t go to work. After finally securing an emergency appointment with the dentist, he gave his grim prognosis: “Your wisdom tooth’s impacted and you have an infection. You need to take these antibiotics and buy a medicated mouth wash. DON’T DRINK ALCOHOL.” Woe!
The course of antibiotics was five days, with 48 hours after that to allow them to leave my system. I think the last time I was sober for seven days straight was probably when I was about fifteen… This was going to be a challenge, but it was one that I would gladly face to stop the toothache.
Surprisingly, a few sulks aside, the first part of the week was relatively easy, even though I had a number of beers sitting in my fridge, calling to me in their siren voices… Friday night, however, was the biggest challenge. Behind the bar in the city centre, with Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s on tap. Bloody hell. We also had a number of beers on which I hadn’t tried before, so I lived vicariously through the tastebuds of my colleagues and got them to describe the beers to me. Absolutely torturous, as was Saturday night, when I had to sample a beer to check someone’s assertion that it was different than usual. Retreating to a dark corner, I used the wine tasting method – sipped, swilled, and spat. Heartbreaking. Staff drinks after those shifts were a bit of a trial too; I sat there nursing my energy drink and waiting for my lift while everyone around me was enjoying a well deserved beer. The Sunday evening was a long one; dinner with the in-laws. Lovely to see them and to be cooked for, of course, but it’s generally a pretty boozy occasion, and sipping flavoured water rather than the usual wine and pear cider which accompanies those dinners felt thoroughly unfair.
Finally the seven days of sobriety were over, and it was time to crack open a bottle. The beer chosen for this honour was De Molen Pale Ale Citra (4.8%), and my tasting notes were urgently scribbled in unusually florid language (review to follow soon). A week without hops is a long time! I thought I’d want to race through the beer, glugging it, but surprisingly I found myself treating it in a more restrained manner – it’s as though my palate had been re-set, with the hop bitterness being almost overwhelming at some points.
I might repeat this little exercise again in the future (hopefully without the pressing need for antibiotics to force me), as having that shock of bitterness actually make you sit up and take notice is a rare luxury for us hop-jaded craft wankers, and taking the hit of a few days without booze is well worth it.
Cheers, chaps! You can get your mucky paws on a pint of ShinDigger at the Love Beer Fest at Dulcimer Bar in Chorlton over the Easter weekend (17th-21st April), or send the guys a tweet over at @ShinDiggerCraft. They also have a Facebook page, you know, if you still use that sort of thing, and a website where you can keep up with their blog.
Damn right. I found it dangerously quaffable, though like Steph I prefer my big IPAs to be slightly more bitter. We’re jaded IBU fiends, though. My decidedly non-beer geek partner also liked it, describing the taste as ‘undiluted orange squash’..! I’d like to try this in a bottle, but I think most of them have been snapped up by now. Never mind – there’ll be some more next year! All in all, a very tasty beer, and a great sense of camaraderie surrounding it.
You can check out more photos from the night over at Steph’s blog. Of course, while we were savouring our first sips of this year’s Un-Human Cannonball, those London types had already been drinking it for three hours. Steve from The Beer O’ Clock Show tells all here…
Once upon a time, I lived above a pub. Then I moved to Brixton, where the Craft Beer Co was five minutes from my front door. When I moved to Manchester last year, one of my main criteria for flat-hunting was the close proximity of good beer; luckily, I discovered Burton Road, and on it, Mary and Archie. The availability of craft beer on the Road soon became even better with the opening of Volta, from the people behind Chorlton’s Electrik, who always have a good little range of ales and lagers. Then, to my joy, The Epicurean landed.
I must say, I love a good beer shop. There’s just something about being surrounded by all of those varied bottles of delicious beer that makes me happy. Burton Roadites had previously been able to buy a few select bottles of decent ale from the wonderful Reserve Wines, but the Road had really been crying out for a craft beer shop. Enter Simon and Rob!
These two beer lovers have gone with an elegant, minimalist aesthetic for their shop front, embracing the scene’s move away from old-school design and towards something far more stylish. But don’t worry, lovers of rustic chic – they’ve got comforting wooden shelves and crates of German beer stacked around the place, striking a nice balance between tradition and sleek modernity. This balance is reflected in the beers they stock – you can pick up all of your old favourites, from Timothy Taylor’s Landlord to Paulaner, while also choosing from a range which would get the hearts of hop-fiend beer nerds racing. Founders Centennial in cans, limited bottles of Burning Sky‘s Saison a la Provision, or a Pacific Pale from new kids on the block ShinDigger, anyone? Brilliant British beer, local ale, hop forward Americana, German lager, Belgian beer, Welsh cider, sweet fruit-flavoured beer, homemade pies, salted caramel, cordials… There’s something here for every palate.
I’ve picked up a fair few beers from here in the last week, my favourites so far being Siren, Omnipollo and Lindqvist Nacken (6.4%) – read the story behind this beer here - and ShinDigger Pacific Pale Ale (4.5%), who I interviewed recently.
I feel like I should come clean. I care about you deeply, but can’t keep up the facade anymore. I’ll understand if you hate me… I’ve been… I’ve been writing about other beverages.
You may have noticed on Twitter or Facebook, but recently I’ve done a few guest posts for Drinks Enthusiast, and I’m absolutely loving it! It’s been a challenge, but a fun one. I promised myself that this year I would start to branch out into understanding spirits and wine better – not at the expense of beer, gods no, I love beer and beer writing more and more every day – but it’s always nice to expand one’s horizons.
- I covered a Santa Teresa rum tasting, with the charming Luis from Santa Teresa and Becky from Mangrove.
- I also talked about a few of my favourite products from the Northern Restaurant and Bar show, and wrote up a talk about introducing your clientele to craft beer.
- And then I attended a spirits and cocktail masterclass at The Hale Grill!
So that’s what I’ve been up to! Don’t worry, there’s more beer coming soon, I promise.
C’mon honey, don’t stay mad.