Beer O'Clock Show

Month: July 2013

Episode 38 – Un-human Cannonball

It’s the final episode of Season 2, and Steve and Mark are joined once again by #1 Fan, @Stath79 – aka Ant – for the beer to end all beers (and to end all beer podcasters as well, perhaps). Magic Rock Brewing’s Un-Human Cannoball, a 660ml 12% TRIPLE India Pale Ale, it promise a true challenge to the boys.

In addition to this, we have our end-of-season review of beers past, and look forward to what Season 3 has in store!

Thanks to everyone for your support this year, as we’ve grown bigger and bigger. Have a great, beer-filled, safe summer!

Still Thinking about… A Day In The Sun

Blog by Michael McGrorty

You know when you’re that excited you wake up several times hoping it’s finally time to get up and when you finally do get up it’s still like half an hour before your alarm…

This was my Friday night. The wait was excruciating. But finally, it was Saturday morning and time to depart on my trip to Edinburgh and the Scottish Real Ale Festival. I’d been looking forward to this day for weeks. And what a day it would be.

I arrived in Edinburgh just after 11am and headed to my usual first stop, The Beer Hive. After a quick chat I purchased a bottle of Magic Rock’s Salty Kiss (which I’m drinking as I write this: WOW), I headed off to my second port of call: The Hanging Bat for a pint with Elusive Brewing’s Andy Parker. Andy is a home/pro brewer, and although I’ve never tried any of his beers, everybody I’ve seen who has raves about them. I’m very excited to try the IPA he gave me. (Tried it by the time I edited this piece: WOW!) We had a lovely chat about brewing and beer and he had to shoot off, far too soon for my liking, to the next event of the European Beer Bloggers Conference. Andy is a great guy so you should all keep your eyes and ears open for whatever Elusive Brewing has planned next! If you’re reading this Andy, cheers for the company and the beer.

After Andy left I finished off the beer I was drinking, a Saison 14 from Weird Beard, which was fantastic, and quickly ordered a Citra by Brodies. A fantastic beer and packed full of flavour for only 3%. As nice as it was though, I found it far too warm. Probably a result of the ridiculously warm weather we’ve been having recently.

And with that beer finished, it was time to head to SRAF. Until I noticed on Twitter that @stravale was just round the corner from me. I invited him to join me and we stayed in the Bat chatting to Adam of Walking and Crawling for a little while. He told us that he had just been to SRAF and was disappointed, but I was still looking forward to it as it was my first big beer festival.

A short while, and a bus journey later, myself and @stravale were making our way into the Edinburgh Corn Exchange where we would find over 150 cask ales on offer. After paying our entry fee and picking up our glasses, we made our way through to the hall.

I went straight for the Elixir Fremantle Doctor. A lovely beer, maybe a bit too heavy on the bittering for me but a great beer nonetheless and one I definitely want to try again.

After that I tried out Fyne’s Sublime Stout which I didn’t like at all. I can’t put my finger on what it was, but unfortunately it ended up down the toilet sink. There was no way I was wasting time on beer I didn’t like, especially on a day like today.

After that we both headed over to the Natural Selection cask and tried it’s Origin. I’d been really excited to try this and I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. It didn’t have any of the Belgian yeastyness that you expect from a saison and as it was cask it wasn’t as carbonated as I would have liked. I’m glad I got the chance to try it and I’d definitely like to try it on keg or in bottle.

Not long after that we started chatting to a random guy at the bar. Turns out he was one of the judges of the Champion Beer of Scotland! Very cool. Which then inspired us both to have a half of Jarl, the new king of Scottish beer. Lovely, lovely beer and like Citra from earlier, one that really packs a punch despite being relatively low in alcohol.

The new King of Scottish Beers, Fyne Ale's 'Jarl'

The new King of Scottish Beers, Fyne Ale’s ‘Jarl’

Being all beered out by this point, probably due to the heat, we headed outside and grabbed a drink of water and some food. Being a bit disappointed with the festival, we decided one more beer before heading: I went for Old School by Six Degrees North which was ok but nothing special. Kind of sums up SRAF for me.

The beers were nice enough but I don’t think they were conditioned long enough and they weren’t being poured very well. I also think it’s awful that all the best beers are already gone by Saturday. Would it be hard to get more or not put them on until Saturday? I can only assume Saturday would be their biggest day. A lot of these thoughts were echoed by the barman in The Bow Bar, who suggested getting some professional cellarmen in to look after the beers and possibly delay opening until Friday to give the beers a bit more time. This festival is supposed to be the pinnacle of cask in Scotland and quite frankly, it’s not.

After the festival, @stravale headed home and I headed to The Bow Bar. This was my second new bar of the day and after finding it surprisingly easily I headed in to peruse their selection. I noticed a couple Weird Beard beers on, but I quickly decided on the beer that I came for: the Buxton / To Ol collaboration, Sky Mountain. This was my first ever Berliner Weiss and only my second ever sour so I was eager to get stuck in. Boy, did it not disappoint. It was fantastic. Just sublime. So good I ordered another third before moving onto another beer of what must be today’s theme: small, flavourful beers. This time it was Little Things That Kill by Weird Beard, and just like the others it was packed full of flavour, just brilliant.

While I was drinking this I got chatting to a guy at the bar who just happened to be a published writer. Woah! Don’t think I’ve ever met a published writer before so that was kinda cool. He’s a lecturer at the university and wrote a book on 18th Scottish history.

After getting a bottle filled with Weird Beard’s 5 O’Clock Shadow I made my way back to The Hanging Bat. Being a wee bit hungry I opted for some food: their pulled pork. And bloody hell, it was amazing. You get a box filled with the pulled pork and a wee roll to put it on. I smothered it on the roll rather liberally and still had enough left in the box for a good few scoops. One of the tastiest things all day!

I washed that down with a Bethnal Pale by Redchurch and waited to meet Andy Parker again, having a Diablo by Summer Wine Brewery with Andy, Andy of Summer Wine and two other beer enthusiasts whose names I can’t remember (sorry!). Diablo was a brilliant beer and drinking such a fantastic beer with the guy responsible for it was a great finish to my day.

After that I headed to the train station, completely exhausted from my eventful day. I even fell asleep on the train, helping make the journey a bit shorter. When I got home I went straight to bed, dreaming of the next time I could grace Edinburgh’s fine streets and bars.

Follow Michael on Twitter @h_doody #StillThinking

Episode 37 – Golden Glory

This week the boys tuck into what is one of Mark’s favourite beers, Badger’s Golden Glory, for a refreshing burst of peachy… Oh wait. Perhaps it doesn’t go entirely well. Tune in to find out!

Also an interview with Dragon and Flagon Tours’ own Vic Norman. It’s Beer O’Clock!

Still Thinking about… An Un-Human Expedition

Blog by Michael McGrorty Until a few weeks ago, Un-Human Cannonball was just another one of those beers that quite a lot of people I follow on Twitter were raving about and that I probably wouldn’t have much of a chance of trying. Or so I thought. One day I was casually scrolling through my feed when I saw a retweet from a beer shop in Edinburgh saying they had ten bottles at £12 each and they had to be reserved. I thought nothing of it until a day later when for some reason I forgot I was Scottish and decided to spend £12 on one beer. This seemed crazy and alien to me. I tweeted the shop asking if they still had a bottle, they did and so I reserved it. A week or so later I jumped on a train to Edinburgh alone and spent a couple of hours wandering around the city, first to pick up my Un-Human Cannonball and then to The Beer Hive (fantastic shop, by the way) to get a few more beers. After that I wandered back towards the train station and stopped in at Jake’s Place for a couple. I quickly downed a third of Oak Barrel Stout by Old Dominion and a third of Hop Mountain by the same brewer as I had a train to catch. Both were great. I thought my Un-Human Cannonball experience, short of trying it, was over but how wrong I was… I decided to tweet my friends over at the Beer O’Clock Show to see if they had any plans to review the beer. Unfortunately they hadn’t been able to secure any bottles. Upon hearing this I started tweeting various Edinburgh beer shops and by some marvellous stroke of luck a specialty wine and beer shop still had three bottles. I reserved all three: one for Mark, one for Steve, and one for my arch-rival #No1Fan @stath79 A week later and it was time to go through to Edinburgh for the beers. It was a Friday night and I opted for the 1906 train. And due to the time, I set off on my journey with about 30% left on my phone battery – the only thing standing between me and being a helpless lost imbecile in the big city. While on the train I enjoyed a can of Modus Hoperandi, from Ska Brewing Company. It was amazing. It was like a big, bitter, resiny slap in the face and I loved every last sip of it. If you like American style IPAs then try this, you will not be disappointed. Upon arriving in the capital, I got out my phone and checked bus routes. There were a few I could take to Leith so I waited at the bus stop patiently until one finally arrived. I hopped on, trusty £10 note in hand, expecting no trouble at all only to be told that the driver didn’t do change and that the exact £1.50 fare was required. Feeling a bit pissed off that my money was no good, I sauntered away to a nearby McDonalds and got a coffee. Which I only drank half of for fear of being kicked off a second bus, this time for having food! Finally another bus arrived and I hopped on, dropping my money in and taking a seat. Ah, bliss – should be plain sailing from here provided I can get off at the right stop. Wrong! I managed to get off at the correct stop, and according to my rapidly dwindling phone I was just round the corner from where I needed to be. Fuck yeah! Or so I thought. I turned the corner into the street I needed only to be confronted with that most disheartening sight: a huge wire fence gate with a big padlock securing it shut. Noooooo! Was I too late? I saw a sign which had 9-6 written on it in big letters. That’s strange, I thought, the guy on the phone definitely said 10pm. I got out my phone again, now with so little battery I’m actually putting it in flight mode when I’m not using it, and checked the shop’s website. Yes, that’s right: I went to the wrong place. Only I could be such an idiot and go to the shop’s wholesale warehouse when I actually needed their retail shop. That’ll teach me for not reading the website properly. Damn it! Cursing myself aside, it was now approaching 9 and with the shop due to shut at 10 I started walking. Fast. I didn’t want to add another tenner on to the cost of the beers for the guys, and I couldn’t really afford to absorb the cost myself due to a holiday this month. I was going to make it to that shop, damn it. Half an hour later I was at the shop purchasing three bottles of Un-Human Cannonball and a bottle of Thornbridge’s Kill Your Darlings for myself (a beer which I had been waiting to try it again since December!) And with that, I shouldered my now considerable bag and headed back towards the train station and Jake’s Place for a few well earned beers. Another Oak Barrel Stout as well as a Copperhead Ale and a Rams Head IPA by Fordham Brewing. Now a little bit drunk I made my way into the train station and to Burger King for a little post-beer snack for the train home, which nearly made me miss my train but thankfully they were able to make my burger just in time. An hour and a half later and I was tucked up in bed, Un-Human Cannonballs tucked away safely waiting for their trip south, despite the big city and my phone’s efforts to thwart me. Look out for the season finale featuring said Un-Human Cannonballs that will be out at Beer O’clock on Friday 26th of July! Follow Michael on Twitter @h_doody #StillThinking

Episode 36 – Sa Bona Birra American Red Ale

Get your suncream, passport and funny hat, cos we’re going abroad to sunny Menorca! Well. In spirit, anyway, as Steve and Mark ponder the qualities of the Sa Bona Birra American Red Ale on this week’s Beer O’Clock Show.

Also featured: news on some new B’OS ventures, preview of what’s coming in the final episodes of Season 2, and #1 Fan @Stath79 with a review of his own.

It’s Beer O’Clock!

Episode 35 – Adnams Special

This week, Steve and Mark take a look at two new bottles from Steve’s favourite Suffolk brewer – Jack Bran Clump Sagin, and Adnams Native Britten.

Will they continue the love affair Steve has with the Southwold brewers? Or will they finally slip off their hoppy crown?

Also – the return of #1 Fan, and the winner is announced of our Native Britten giveaway!

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