Monday, 27 October 2014

Part 2

Topping up!

Thursday 23rd October

After much debating, a little smiling, and ,amazingly, very little coercion, I was persuaded to go out today. We had projects to finish. One of our bedrooms was nearing completion from the biannual slopping of paint, and the NEW bathroom blind needed putting up (the blind being new, not the bathroom, of course. The paint slopping and slapping had already taken place in the “littlest room”.) I set out on my usual game of search for a suitable tool, a game played every time I look for the unbent, unknarled and correct fitting implements needed to finish off. Every nook and cranny searched, I made do with something close, but not quite right for the job, put up the new brackets, measuring to ensure both straightness and precision spacing for the said blind, only to find that the blind was crucially just out of true with my professional workings. In other words, it don't fit. Bent where it should meet the bracket. Boy, did we laugh!!!! I left my workstation, entered the bedroom only to realise that the 3 packs of picture hanging brackets , yes I buy things in triplicate hoping I have a 3/1 chance of finding them, were erm... absent. Boy, did we laugh!!!! So tidying up, I was casually asked if I would join a hunting party, to search Wilko's for more picture hanging paraphernalia, and, possibly a couple of beers from the festival collection at JDW's. Humbly, I agreed. How could I not. That's how we ended up in The Ice Barque at 3pm on a Thursday afternoon. As only “The Dutch One”, from the festival was on, although “Freak of Nature was STILL “Available Soon”, I decided to try Devil's Backbone Brewing Company's “American IPA” at 5.2% and a Keg beer. Yes a Keg! Now brewed at Bank's of Wolverhampton from an original recipe from the US DB Brewery, I was very, very surprised by this craft beer. Absolutely packed with punchy flavours, with lime and orange zest coming through, resulting in a dryness in the finish. Only problem I had with it was it was served VERY cold. Would I have another? Well, all things considered, although it is kegged, a touch too fizzy and oh so cold, the flavour is quite intriguing, so, Yes, I could see myself sipping another. T'other 'arf had, and enjoyed, The Brouwerij't Ij ISA, which seems to be quite a staple at both JDW's during the festival. Drinks finished, we popped across to The Yarborough to see their offerings. I chose a pint of Harviestoun's Porter, the 4.5% “Old Engine Oil”, a rich, dark and sweet beer which goes down very smoothly. My half-pint taster went for Brewster's “Brewer's Dozen” . The taste of this Strong Ale is quite malty, with a sharp citrus kick. I liked the overall taste of this one, but Jane thought the finish was a little too sharp and bitter. We then chose 3 tasters of Rooster's “Union Gap” a 4.2% Golden Ale with the mix of its American hops offering a heavy citrus flavour throughout, the equal strength “Uncle Sam Hop Burst” , another zesty Golden Ale with a long dry finish which includes hints of grapefruit, from Cotleigh along with Theakston's “Four and Twenty” a full bodied and extremely malty tasting Best Bitter also 4.2%. We also sampled the wonderful “Whitstable Bay Pale Ale” 3.9% of Shepherd Neame's finest
. We have had this many times before, on the brewery's doorstep and it certainly tasted as refreshing and hoppy as it always has. With a subtle pine aroma and a slight sweetness in the palette, a true classic. I finished on the malty, rich flavoured Porter “Hitchen Old Dark” from Banks' & Taylor. A 4.8% brew, there are subtle notes of chocolate within, along with a smooth, long, nutty finish. To choose just one stout or porter to champion this festival is impossible. Every one I have tasted has been of the best quality.

Friday 24th October

We had our 6 year old Granddaughter staying on Friday evening, Girlies night, I was told, pub again, I believe, and so it came to pass. I nipped out for some solace from the nattering, whilst a lasagne was roasted to a crisp in the oven and sticky cakes were baked. First, a flying visit to The Ice Barque, where The Freak was still “Available Soon”, I chose to forego anything else and left, whence, I strolled back to The Yarborough for my first drink! A good festival line up greeted me, so more ticks will be added to my list. My first grouping consisted of Evans Evans “Artisan Cluster Nut” a fruity, slightly spiced seasonally brewed ale. At 4.4% a good session beer, but one could get bored of the slightly plain overall taste, Arundel “Autumn Breeze” a 4.6% Premium Ale which offered a chocolate and berry flavour along with a roast malt aroma,and
“Camarillo from the White Horse stable (!!). The final offering was a Golden Ale of 4.5% which had a slightly peachy taste to it, along with a dry citrus finish. A very pleasant beer worth sampling. I finished on a beer often seen in bottles, Marston's “Oyster Stout”. At 4.1%, this beer seemed to be lacking in body, and was more Mild than Stout. A disappointment to the bottled version. Never mind. I gazed out of the window, half expecting to see a smoke signal from home, billowing in the early evening sky. “Bring Garlic Bread, Now” I imagined, texted T'other 'arf to see if my imagination was correct,(it was!) and decided to wend my way back to the cacophony that usually greets me when on Grand-parenting duties. Love it!

Saturday 25th October.

We had organised to drop the wee one off at dancing on Saturday afternoon, get the Irish lotto, and the UK lotto, jump on a train and have an afternoon in “Meggies” ( Cleethorpes to the non colloquial speaking outsiders).The plan, for once, worked impeccably. We were soon on the 14-40ish choo choo to the seaside. With a festival to check out AND a couple of other inns to visit, we agreed to walk down to The Notts, and start our little expedition there. Entering, we saw a reasonable array of Ales on tap, but decided that Robinson's “Hartley's Cumbria Way” Golden Ale would be our starter.4.1 %, this beer had by a nice, spicy malt body followed by fruity, citrus notes, in the long and dry finish.A well balanced beer from Robinson's. Whilst T'other 'arf stayed with the Golden Ale, I chose to try Thwaite's 4.3% “Handsome Devil”, a Premium Ale with a reddish hue, that starts off with a gush of maltiness and leads to a late hop finish. Another good beer served to perfection in this local POTY. Although enjoying the ambience, we thought we would look in on the neighbouring Willy's Pub, home of Willy's micro-brewery. I have never been head over heals with this establishment, I find it can be a bit pretentious at times, but, after not visiting it for a couple of years, we gave it a go.First impressions were the lack of ales. Only 2 available, and only one from the on-site brewery.. Through the lack, we chose to try “Willy's Original” a 3.8% bitter. It was as it usually is, rather thin and insipid in taste. Bland, in fact, and served oh so cold. Not the best experience, but maybe past visits have clouded my, sorry, our judgement. I will review again, hopefully with more choices to behold. With a festival to catch, and a train too, we wandered down to The Coliseum Picture House, JDW's Cleethorpes establishment.Busy as usual, we were eventually served, and chose a pint of the quite herbal tasting, dark,sweet and fuity “Trojan Horse” a 5.5% Strong Ale from the Caledonian Brewery, whilst a half of Titanic's “Hop Abroad” was also sampled. This 5% Ale proclaimed, in the festival notes, to be built to travel the world. With an abundance of hops from all over globe in the glass. Well, the taste we had from this beer would best be described as post iceberg! It sank, as far as we were concerned. Too heavy in hops and too complex to determine what flavour was coming through.
Our final drinks were half a Bath Ales “Prophecy”, a light, zesty bitter at 3.9%, with a long dry finish, for the Lady and a pint of Liberation “American Brown Ale” which I have tasted and reviewed before.As the Night Trolls arrived in trhe resort, we left to catch the train back to Grimsby. There was one waiting, result. As we walked down the platform I enquired of the train guard awaiting outside his charge “ Are we really catching a train with only 20 seconds to spare?” “No, Sir,” came the reply, “This train leaves in 4 seconds!”..and it did.Nice one.

Back in The Yarborough, a place between Cleethorpes and a healthy kebab, I finished the evening with Oakleaf Brewers “Blake's Gosport Bitter” a deep, dark beer with liqourice and treacle undertones going on, and packing a punch at 5.2%, whilst the half was the muddy looking, but quite brilliant tasting “Hazy Hoedown”.We enjoyed our drinks, chatted to one of my work collegues, out with her T'other 'arf , (Hi Rach, told you I'd give you a mention...question is can you remember!!), and prepared ourselves for our long awaited grub. As the International Dateline, those Greenwich elfs or whoever, had given us an extra hour, we were in no hurry, but time and tide along with fast food, wait for no man,so we were soon in one of those wonderful palaces of future indigestion. The end to another perfect day!!
Cheers and keep it "Real"

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