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Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Get Set For The Weekend...

Well, here we are again, inked quill in hand, hovering over the parchment, hoping to spew a paragraph or two out before my tip runs dry, as it forms new categories to the Rorschach test, spilling, drip by drip, away. Hang on. I am using Open Office. Where did this feather come from, and worse still, what are those stains, and who the bloody hell is Hermann Rorschach ?? You can tell I have had a quiet week or so, with very little to stimulate my grey matter. Even the Daily Mail and Daily Express did very little in their respective cryptic crosswords to tease me. Since my last rambling tome of beery expeditions, I have not had too many excursions of pleasure to report on, but The Hermitage is not yet ready for us.
I was back to the paid vocation on Monday (16th), (believe it or not, I do this serious reporting of liquor for free!!!) and after the following days toils, I had my 2 rest days to take off. What to do? Too cold and wet to go fishing or digging on my allotment, too warm to build snowmen in the garden, and so we, T'other 'arf and I, managed a spot of lunch in the local JDW's ( Yarborough Hotel) where we also sampled a couple of glasses of Real Ale. We started off with an offering from the Tring Brewery, by the name of “Redshank”. This medium dark bitter, of 4.2% ABV, is smooth and rounded, with the sweet maltiness giving way to the slight hop bitterness, with neither becoming too prominent. The complimenting of this is very pleasing with a long and satisfying finish. An extremely good brew, which went down well with our light lunch of Paninis. Whilst my Half Pint expert stayed on Redshank,
Watch your nuts !
I espied an Isle of Wight brew on the bar pump. Goddard'sWight Squirrel”, to be precise. A very dark and quite bitter beer at first ,this leads to a caramel sweetness and malty taste towards the end.. This Best Bitter, of 4.3%, is quite moreish, but just a touch too sweet , in my humble opinion. With food and ale in our bellies, comforting feelings abounded as we left 'Spoons and wandered home. I was back to work on Thursday, working on late shifts, until my next rest day on Monday. Sounds OK, but (there is always a but) I was back to work on Tuesday morning at 04-30, so we decided, as usual, to forsake any liquid imbibing from our Licensees, until the coming weekend. I may have hinted that I was disciplined!!

Friday arrived. I cocked an eye at the offending alarm at our bedside. Yippee. 03-20, time to get up and get ready for work. Peeping out into the street, hiding behind the drawn curtains, frost was apparent. Oh well, a freezing awakening awaits, as I dangle in a cherry picker, de-icing our first aircraft out a little while from now. I did have a couple of beers waiting, expectantly, at home, for me, after finishing work, to help get the circulation going.
I have started that Twitter lark recently, but not having an all singing, all dancing phone, my tweets are more afterthoughts than hot off the press news items, as I have to wait until I can get on my laptop at home. I did find out, though, through this medium, a brewery from 30 odd miles down the road, Axholme Brewing Co, would be dropping off a barrel at The Nottingham, in Cleethorpes. Not having tasted their brews before, I had decided to give The Notts, and Axholme a coat of looking at.
But first, the bottles. I started on the lighter “Dr Thirsty's No 4 Blonde” 4.1% from Wychwood.
A lovely fresh tasting Ale, bordering, almost, into the realms of a Continental lager, but with a more bitter taste in the finish. I really enjoyed this, and would love to sample this again, especially in my shorts and flip-flops. The 2  nd offering was Morrison's Marston's brewed Stout, from their “Specially Selected “ range. A good, velvety Stout, at 4.5%. This is just a re-packaged Marston'sOyster Stout”, but a good beer all the same. It is not too adventurous, or bland, just a bog standard Stout. The roasted taste gives way to a slight coffee/chocolate finish, with none of the flavours being too pronounced. It is just what you expect, really. No shocks or surprises. Bathed and ready to go, I jumped on the bus up to Cleethorpes, and The Nottingham. As I entered, the board proclaimed several ales, but not, unfortunately, the Axholme brew I had come in search of. Oh bugger ! Never mind. I ordered a brew I had recently reviewed Rudgate's “Snow Wonder” which was hoppy and fresh tasting on the palate, and was enjoyed just as much as my last experience of this Ale. I followed up with Theakston's “Old Peculiar”, an old favourite of many. 5.6% and having a rich, fruity but not too sweet a taste, a beer to be heralded. This is a true British brewing classic. Great beers served in an equally great pub. What more do you need to encourage you to enjoy the first afternoon of your weekend off. I jumped on the bus back to Grimsby, to meet T'other 'arf in The Hope and Anchor. On entering, Jane was in the company of Big Gaz, an acquaintance of ours since our quiz nights in the nearby Royal Oak, sadly now a solicitors office. We swapped stories of nonsense, cringed, but still laughed at Gaz's earthy humour (aided and abetted by Gaz's workmate, Alan, whose humour was almost as dry as mine !!),passed judgements on various news stories, but, strangely, we mostly discussed that sodding dress. Who cares (well obviously we did, for at least half an hour!) All this discussion was carried out with a pint of “Bomber County”, and a half of “Lincoln Gold” (or was it blue??) from the Tom Woods' Brewery.
I am sure it isn't Black and
White stripes, I think??
Both of these beers are well known, well liked and well reviewed, not only by myself, but many others as well. Suffice it to say, there were plenty enjoying both these brews in here today. We wandered on to our last port of call, The Yarborough, which was quite busy, as usual for Friday evenings. I opted for Elland “1872” a Porter of 6.5% and T'other 'arf fancied the “Welsh Dragons” from Milestones' Brewery, a Golden Ale of4%. The award winning “1872” was smooth, dark and very nice, with a wonderful aroma of aromatic fruits and the coffee and chocolate undertones ever tempting you further into the complexities of this beer, but still remaining balanced, all the way through to the bitter-sweet finish, it is no surprise that this carries a gong or two. The Golden Ale, on the other hand, was clear, extremely zesty, but not outstanding. It was pleasant, without being memorable and that is as poetic one could describe this average Ale. To finish, and to prepare ourselves for Good Ol' Grimsby Fish and Chips, open with scraps, of course, my beer was Warwickshire's Whale Ale Brewery's “Ruby Moby”, a 4% ruby coloured beer which imparted a strong caramel taste from the off, which gave way to a wonderful hop finish. A good old fashioned tasting beer, I thought. Great for a session, or just before Fish and Chips ! Jane decided on the 3.7% “Ruddles Best” , JDW's staple on the pumps. I used to quite like this beers years ago, when it was the only oasis in the desert of kegs and lagers, but tend to overlook it now. I don't know why ? Sweet, nutty and hints of toffee being cut through by a florality, make this Ale nice, not outstanding, but definitely nice. Along with it's Big Brother, the 4.3% “County” which is very similar with just a hint of refinement in the smoother finish, these brews seem stand strong and proud, where others, better beers, shall we say, often fade away when the next fad comes along. Now, where's that chippy?, I hope it's still open !

Saturday was very much taken up with other pursuits, with T'other 'arf and I rising early, (stop making your own sordid details up !) We decided on the suffrage of allotment digging and then baby-sitting. Let's just say it was a blessed relief flopping back onto our own sofa after a hard day tweaking forgotten muscles on our plot, and a rather noisy, hectic and tantrum tinged evening with 3 grandchildren. It was then decided that we may, after shopping and housey bits and bobs, wander out on Sunday for a couple. As the howling wind of the Sabbath greeted us, any lingering thoughts of outside work subsided, so Aldi's became our main focus. To gloss over the myriad of food bargains here, there are quite a few bottled treats here, most at a good price. We chose 4 bottles to share over dinner. It ain't SO bad shopping, is it ? On arriving home, we got on with a couple of little chores, before relaxing with a bit of “catch-up” TV and sharing a bottle of Aldi's “Sainte Eienne” lager (Yes, Lager! ) I found it quite refreshing, if I am honest. Sweet and malty with a hint of biscuit, this 4.8% golden coloured lager certainly surprised me. We followed that by sharing a bottle of Williams Bros. “Chieftain Pale Ale” along with “Bob Servant” on TV. The beer was medium sweet, quite hoppy with citrus flavours noticeable throughout. A very refreshing Ale. The TV? Extremely funny. I know people like Bob Servant, and, sadly, Frank too. I have only just started watching this Neil Forsyth comedy, starring Brian Cox, so I will be chasing up the first series ASAP. I wonder if Broughty Ferry has any Real Ales? “Stewpot !” We finished off at home with half each of Jennings Bitter, enjoyed along with our meal. Dark, nutty and a lovely malt taste greets you, encouraging you further down the glass. The finish is long and satisfying with a slight hoppiness tickling the taste buds towards the end.. What a way to waste an afternoon. After a laze in the bath, we decided on The Wheatsheaf, a good 15 minute walk away, to walk off our dinner, and to finish off the weekend. The “Sheaf” is a reasonable boozer, attracting a varied clientele. Part of the Ember Inns group, there are always a selection of guests' on offer, but not a huge array. This allows you to sample all the wares without falling on your back, gurgling! On offer this evening were, “Rivet Catcher” a 4% Golden Ale from Jarrow,which was fruity with citrus, almost grapefruit, flavours giving it a pleasing kick. Bitter, but not too sharp this beer was very nice and the dry finish, just long enough to enjoy and savour. Next on the list was the standard, it seems, of Ember Inns, Abbeydale's “Moonshine”, a Pale Ale of distinction. It is unashamedly citrus in the main, with a floral nose. A slight candy sweetness comes through towards the end. A damn good beer. We finished off the evening, and our weekend away from work, with Brakspear's Bitter
Reliable as ever.
. A comforting malty bitter, of medium sweetness and slight bitterness, this is just so typical of an old fashioned English style beer. Others have differing tastes and deep complexities, some are wrapped in fancy packs and are suggestive of hidden flavours and tinges, alien to some, but this pint, like the aforementioned Ruddle's, is a reliable beer in a, sometimes, confusing Ale marketplace.

I shall not be partaking again until JDW's International Real Ale Festival, later this month, so until then, as always,
Cheers and keep it “Real”