Thursday, 17 February 2011

This Week in Beer: 14 February

Hooray! It’s a great little boozer with a great selection of beer. I was planning on going there this weekend but I might skip it now as I’ve got a feeling it’ll be a bit busier. Congratulations to a deserving winner.

CAMRA reinforce all stereotypes

This one image tells the world media that only a certain type of person drinks real ale. It should have been a celebration of the best of British pubs, a chance to show that pubs are great, particularly ones like The Harp which serves great beer. Instead we get this image. And these ones (I also got the one above of The Harp, which is much lovelier - they are all taken from the CAMRA website, but they are also on facebook). All the hard marketing and PR work to try and appeal to younger people or a broader audience has been wasted. Couldn't they have found a token 20-something from somewhere?!

Fyne Ales Jarl is delicious!

I loved it at GBBF last year and it’s taken me until last week for me to find it again, getting a really good pint in the excellent Southampton Arms (where BrewDog 5am Saint was also excellent from the cask). Then I had it in the bottle and it was even better. Imagine all the fruits in the world condensed into one great beer, fresh and tasty and at 3.8% you can have a few of them. Fantastic. The Fyne website is selling them. I like Fyne a lot, they make some great beers.

Thornbridge release Italia

A lager brewed with Birrificio Italiano. It’s 4.7%, pale, clean and crisp, a soft body, a lasting noble bitterness hangs around while some playful herbs and fruits (mint, lemon, red berries) come out. I’ve been waiting for this one for a while and I like it a lot – I really hope they brew some more lagers.

Thornbridge also bottle Wild Swan

Not many beers under 4% work well in bottles. Fyne Jarl is one which does. Another which I had this week is Thornbridge’s Wild Swan. I didn’t know what to expect but it’s really good – pale gold, lots of elderflower, lemon and gooseberry. It’s like a ray of summer sunshine on a cold February evening. MyBrewerytap are selling the Thornbridge bottles - sell also the pick n mix.

BrewDog launch IPA is Dead

Bramling X. Citra. Nelson Sauvin. Sorachi Ace. All 7.5%, all 75 IBUs. It’s a fascinating look at hops, particularly trying to get the IBUs all the same and then following it up with lots of late hopping. Bramling X is peppery and punchy. Citra is fruitilicious. Nelson Sauvin is a kick to the uvula. Sorachi Ace is divisive, lemony and floral, subtle and different. As an experiment of hop profiles, it's really interesting to try them, particularly for a hop geek like me. But I do feel like a cliché when I say that the Citra is the best (Citra is too cool). 

BrewDog release Punk IPA in cans

I’ve got some (not quite as many as pictured above). I can’t wait to drink them.

The Red Cross loves Dogfish Head!

A rogue drunken tweet was accidentally sent by the tweeter of the Red Cross, talking about drinking Dogfish Head and #gettngslizzerd. She sent it from the work account instead of her personal account. Whoops. Dogfish Head have turned it into a PR goldmine, encouraging their fans to donate to Red Cross. The Red Cross also dealt with it pretty well. It’s a good, fun story for beer!

UPDATE (18 February): I was going to make an update here anyway and now it’s been pushed along by Tandleman. What I wanted to do was qualify my CAMRA statement, which I don’t want to come across in the wrong way. Below is a version of a comment I’ve just left on Tandleman’s blog.

I spoke to CAMRA's Marketing Manager about the image yesterday and told him my thoughts. I understand the hard work which goes into CAMRA and that it's all volunteer-driven. Those guys rightly deserve to be in that picture and deserve their plaudits for choosing the best pub in the UK, no one can argue that and it'd be unfair if they weren't there. But look at the other pictures there as well and it only shows just one demographic of drinker. If CAMRA are using that as a promotional image (which if it's on their website and facebook page then I'm assuming it is) then I feel they needed to at least try and display a broader range of people, particularly as I was told that there were other demographics drinking in there during the presentations (and there always are as it's got a broad set of customers). CAMRA want to add more youth images to their marketing campaigns, to show a broader range of drinkers, and this was a chance to do so (although I also understand that they couldn't just ship in ready-airbrushed young people and put a half-drunk pint in their hand!).

There is no dig at the people in the picture, that's for sure, and they deserve a round of applause for their hard work. My point: young people drink real ale too, you know.


  1. Very interested in the Jarl at 3.8%. So much so, I followed the link but found the online description to be 4.5%, despite your bottle definitely pictured at 3.8?

    I've got some Citra in to brew with at home. Not tased before, but everyone seems to be raving about them, and I love the other American C hops, so I'll try and do them justice when I get brewing in a few weeks.

  2. It has been quite a week.

    Thought the Citra was good but the Sorachi Ace was the revelation to me. Need to get my hands on some for my home brew.

  3. Nelson over Citra for me. The winner on the IPA is Dead night @ Euston Tap was cask (new) Punk though. Outstanding - reminded me so much of Marble Pint.


  4. Mark N -

    Jarl is 3.8% - I had made a mistake setting it up on the website. Now corrected, with apologies.

    Jamie - Fyne Ales

  5. What I want to know is are they all wearing sandles with socks in the CAMRA picture?

  6. "It’s a fascinating look at hops, particularly trying to get the IBUs all the same and then following it up with lots of late hopping." Yes, it is ;)

  7. it's been a busy week! Went to the Brewdog IPA is dead single hop launch at North Bar last night. Some interesting beers.

    Have a look at the review of the indivudal IPA's on my blog (click my name).

  8. That CAMRA photograph is priceless. Appealing to the young?... rriiiiigggghhht! Are they purposely trying to be irrelevant?

    Excited to try the IPA is Dead pack. Just ordered mine. No comment on the painful trans-Atlantic shipping. I really must believe in IPA.

  9. Are you young Lee? Do you do what you can to help CAMRA? Does Mark? Are you the sort that is repelled by older people, forgetting that you will be yourself one day? Will you feel yourself irrelevant then? Are only young people relevant? Are you relevant?

    I think we should be told.

  10. Within the scope of space and time, Tand, we are all but irrelevant flickers of a temporary association of atoms that is gone as soon as it arrives.

  11. Having been in the Harp on Wednesday - although not in the picture, can I point out that later in the day the pub was crammed with people of all ages. The presentation was made before most lunch hours started, and even for a location where many people work nearby, the crowd in the Harp before noon was more advanced in years than those I met on my return at 17.30.
    Whatever your age visit the Harp!

  12. Cookie - In that case I might stop turning the other cheek as much as I do! (-;

  13. Mark, without getting too much into it, I totally get your point about the Harp.

  14. CL-

    I have always flickered. But never with any suggestion of irrelevance.

    And I'm usually 'gone' long before I have 'arrived.'

  15. You bloody beer yoof should stick to yer canned IPAs and yer craft keg and leave the real stuff and great pubs to us older folk :-) Steve (present but considered too drunk for the photo)