Trying a blogging experiment tonight - liveblogging my trip to craft beer Nirvana, the Old Red Cow in Barbican, London.
I'll be joined on this journey by my old pal Rog. He's not here yet, but he will be soon.
So I've started with a Harvistoun Bitter and Twisted:
It's a very pale blonde beer, and it's bloody good so far - dry, well carbonated, flavoursome - the usual zingy fruity hoppy stuff one's come to expect.
Pub itself is pretty great - rather compact with a fine selection of keg and cask ales alongside lotsa bottles. Hang on, I'll take a pic.
It's a bit trendy. Right, signing off for now...be back later for the next pint.
1839 Actually, the Harviestoun ain't all that. I've had better.
Roger is late. He's always late. He's got a broken leg, so I assume he's blaming that.
1843 A load of hot, posh girls have arrived and are flirting with me to get the stool I've saved for Roger. My "he's got a broken leg" excuse is holding out well.
One of them is American. Man, she's loud.
1847 Roger has arrived! Have sent him hobbling to the bar. Broken leg or not, he's still LATE.
1853 Roger has finally got the round in:
On the left is a half (sorry) The Wild Beer Co - English Roots, and on the right is Camden Pale Ale. We'll be back with reviews.
1902 OK, so Roger's on the Camden Pale Ale:
His review: "Nice. A bit too hoppy and bittery for me. I'm not very good at beer reviews - tasty and nice?"
I've had a quick swig. He's right; it's REALLY hoppy. I like it.
I'm on the English Roots. Really reminds me of something - very stout-y, with liquorice and caramel tones. I prefer the Camden.
We've gone for halves.
From left to right: Kernel Columbus 5.2%; Bad Seed Saison 6% (£3.50 a half!!); Four Pure Oatmeal Stout 5.1%; Windsor and Eton Repulika (4.8%)
Roger goes first with the Republika. Remember Saffron from Republika? Anyway, he says it's "very crisp - a floral overtone, like toilet cake. But once you're over that, it's alright."
He's right - it's really really flowery. And all I can taste is Harpic. It's weird - kinda chemical - but I quite like it. "Drain cleaner" says Rog. putting me off. It's unusual, but I like it. Back in a min.
1942 Time to move on to the FourPure Oatmeal, after a brief reminisce about Things We Can't Talk About in Public. "There is no light passing through this," says Roger. "It's like Dark Matter." He takes a sip. He looks odd. "It's really rather good for a stout. A bit fizzier than Guinness; creamy".
He's right as well. That's absolutely excellent - so smooth and with a yummy fizz. Top notch.
2002 Rog has been regaling me with tales of his female Nordic colleagues. Am well jell.
Next beer is the Saison "Sweet...6%...I'm getting bubbalicious...don't know if that's good or a bad thing"
This is beer of the day, and at £3.50 a HALF I should think so too. "A serious beer" says Rog.
I have a sniff. Heady stuff. It's like a weissbeer - like a really refined Hoegaarden, certainly in scent, but subtler in flavour.
The food has arrived!
I'm having bone marrow.God knows why.
2017 The bone marrow was AMAZING.
As is the Saison. Beer of the night so far. Really amazing.
2021 Kernal Columbus next up. Jesus. Really, really good. "Cloudy," says Rog. "But a really nice taste" He's not wrong. Really citrus "very tart" says Rog. Rog is Swiss. He knows tarts. "You could drink a pint of it, but no more" says Swiss Rog. "It's like a glass of Sauvignon Blanc - an aperitif before a nice dinner". I see his point.
2030 Main course has arrived
2052 God those sausages were nice. Now, back to the beer:
From L-R - Windsor & Eton Red Rye (5.8%); Maisel's Weisse (5.2%)l Kernel IPA Amarillo (7,3%); Old Red Cow House Pilsner (4.2%)
We start with the House Pilsner. "That reminds me of Czechoslovakian stag dos. Light, fresh; you could drink loads of it." He's back for more. "You could drink it all day...and then you'll end up in some dirty fanny bar. Or so I've heard"
Yep, he's right - it's fruity, refreshing, easy going down (not like the fanny bar etc), and really rather pleasant. Why aren't all lagers like this? "You could quaff that all day" says Rog, and he's not far wrong.
Next up is Kernel IPA Amarillo. At 7.3% it's quite punchy. As I might be once I've had some. Rog goes first. Long silence. "Yeah...it's er...lip-cursingly sharp. You can tell it's 7%. I'd rather drink that than Special Brew" Praise indeed.
It's really rather cloudy...like it has a urinary infection.
Zing! It's SO strong and hoppy...a tonne of citrus in your face. I can see why they only sell it by half. Sheesh.
"I love Hanwell" says Rog. Strange - the suburb of Ealing doesn't normally attract much attention.
2127 Just swapped hilarious stories about something I can't talk about (but Nelly's mum might know).
Next up is Maisel's Weiss Beer. "A common misconception is that this is white beer. It's not - it's wheat beer". I'm so proud. Roger's turning into a beer snob. "It's actually really nice. I should fucking hope so, it's £5.10 a pint"
Smells like Hoegaarden. It's really, really nice - like liquefied Milky Bars. God it's good.
2142 A long discussion about children, beer, wine and utter filth while we finish the Weiss.
Next up is Windsor & Eton Red Rye. The first cask beer of the night - properly red.
Roger is deep in thought after his first taste. Meanwhile my typiing appears to be more error-strewn thatn noramal.
Get the fuck on with it.
"It's very pleasant" he finalises. "It's the kind of beer you have when you've had six pints already, and just want to sit in a leather armchair. It's not challenging. Just...nice. Really uncomplicated"
He's right to a certain extent. It's ok...slightly...er, I can't name the taste, so I ask Roger. "It tastes of beer" he says. "Does it NEED to taste of anything?" No, no it doesn't.
I think it tastes like a sandwich Greggs used to make - a red Thai chicken - before some carcinogenic scandal stopped production. This may just be because it's red.
Point is, it's fine, but compared to it's predecessors, it's dull.
"We've had some very nice beers tonight. Then again at that price it should be"
2203 Right then. We've got to go home (it's a long way).
Roger's beer of the night: the Oatmeal Stout. Mine was the Kernal Columbus IPA.
Despite my typing, I'm a bit pissed.