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Sunday, 13 December 2015

Dark Skies May Cloud My Day...

I seem to have been reasonably busy in the partaking of those Ales of late. I am certainly making up for lost time. Towards the back end of November, as my rest days from work fell right, I managed a trip, or two into town. This was to , later, include a day in Cleethorpes, and a mini tour of Hull’s Old Town added to the afore mentioned, as we entered the Christmas period of December. More of the Cleethorpes and Hull trip next time, but firstly, let me bring the November tastings up to date.
Inbetween Stout & Mild for
this Brown Ale
November’s late offerings were, usually, in JDW’s two Grimsby establishments, The Yarborough Hotel and The Ice Barque, but not exclusively, and combined a bit of shopping, (I needed some bits and bobs for my Xmas Cake and Puddings, or that was my excuse) a curry evening, JDW's Monday Mayhem and a touch of Black Friday shopping, but not in those bloody sales! We also had the rarity of a Saturday Night out together, which was very pleasant indeed. The beers have been, somewhat, interesting, with the Christmas Ales making, in my opinion, an early bow alongside the variations of the expected Autumnal beery delights. One non-Christmas beer of note, which was greatly enjoyed, was a beer from the Sudwerk Brewery, from Switzerland, in conjunction with Everards. The beer in question was “Inbetween”, a 4.8% Brown Ale, which was very much like a Mild, or possibly a Stout,  with a wonderful almost black colouring, with burnt caramel and malty nut taste prominent. The finish was bitter-sweet and dry, and very satisfying. Another very satisfying beer I experienced was Caledonian “Winter Brau”, which imparted a lovely spiced flavour, cinnamon and nutmeg especially, leading to a combination of fruit and lovely dark malts, not dissimilar to a Christmas pudding. This one definitely complimented my curry in JDW’s on the night in question. We have also sampled, during the penultimate month of the year, Milestone’s “Magna Carta”, a Blonde Ale of 5%, which had a good Tropical fruit taste, and was well hopped, “Comet”, from the same brewery, a fruity and pleasant Bitter of 4.2%, which has a good dry finish, O Hanlon “Goodwill”, a 5% beer with orange hints combining well with the subtle spicy taste, and Three Kings, from Coach House. This brew weighed in at 6%, and was very heavy in the fruit flavours, with vanilla strains also finding the way to the palate. There was a big bitter and dry finish, but it just did not seem to balance too well, leaving you glad to finish it. It was OK, but that is as far as it went. In between these beers, T’other ‘Arf has been very pleased on the re-appearance of the JDW’s “Mulled Cider”, served piping hot, and with a nice mixed spice flavour throughout. I don’t mind a little taste of it, but find it a touch sweet. What was Jane’s opinion? “Ooh, so nice, it’s really lovely”.
The madness of Black Friday by-passed me just a touch, but with my half-pinter working in retail, I did hear how hectic it was. Not wanting to miss out totally, I decided to nip out for a couple of bargain beers, or, rather, beers at the usual price which I pretended were cheaper. I started in The Curious Cat, and selected the bottled version of “Old Engine Oil”,
Poor picture, Good beer!
which Harvistoun put out at 6%. This is dark, rich and very smooth, with a fabulous bitter-sweetness stretching from first taste to the last. Leaving here, I popped into The Yarborough, where I had a pint of Bath Ales “Festivity”, and “Nutcracker”, Everards winter offering. I found the 5% “Festivity” a wonderful bitter-sweet Porter, which had chocolate, liquorice and vanilla combining well with a dark fruit flavour. There were hints of spice, but it was, for all that, not too complex. The “Nutcracker”, also at 5%, was far fruitier, very malty, with a caramel vein running through it, culminating with a well-balanced, and greatly appreciated, bitter-sweetness.
The last hoorah of the month was our Saturday Night out. After dropping the youngest pair of our Grand-children off, I started off in The Hope and Anchor, whilst I waited for T’other ‘Arf to arrive. After waiting 2 or 3 minutes for the bar maid to finish her texting, I duly ordered a Tom Woods “Bomber County”, which was poured, as is usual, three quarters up the glass, at which point, money was exchanged, and the beer left to settle, as the texting resumed. A further period of time passed, until a polite cough was issued by my good self and a glare and tut received in return. The message was finished and my service re-commenced. This charade restarted on the arrival of T’other ‘Arf, and her eventual serving experience. This is not good for a pub’s business with only 6 other punters leant against the bar, surely? The beer was OK, but not outstanding, and we soon re-located into The Barge. Surprisingly, the beer in here was not up to its usual top quality. I have always though that the best pint of Wells “Bombardier” in the area is served in here, but on this occasion, it just lacked the brightness and crispness I have come to expect of this bar’s wares. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was still a good pint, but it just was not as good as I have tasted before, especially in here. We left here and made our way, a short distance, to Old Lloyds. This is not a regular boozer for us, but a change is as good as a rest, as some say. This is a place where rock music is the staple, and the natural habitat of older Rockers, and the Goth fraternity. On entering, we espied Doom Bar on the single pump, unfortunately, it wasn’t available, although the brilliantly helpful bar staff did try to source me a pint of it, but just pulled a much clearer liquid through the pipes instead. Next time, maybe, next time…Not deterred, I went for “Caffreys” instead, whilst “Strongbow” was taken by Jane. We stayed in here for an extra pint, and half, mainly enjoying the music, and feasting our eyes on the clientele of this establishment. It is nice to be in such an amiable pub, and we hope that they sort the Real Ale problem out soon. We visited The Curious Cat next, where I had the previously reviewed Meantime “Chocolate Porter” to begin with, followed by another  “Old Engine Oil”. Jane decided on an expertly made “Moscow Mule”. It was interesting to see all the various cocktails being concocted in here, with smoke, vapours liquids of various colours and strengths shaken, stirred and gyrated. Alchemy at it’s very best. We finished our night out in The Yarborough Hotel, where, in a flat and quite boring atmosphere, our final drinks, a pint and a half of Caledonian “Winter Brau”, were taking in a subdued silence, as a depressing "mumble, mumble" enveloped us, before we escaped to the excitement of the local Kebab House. That was that, a couple of weeks of easing ourselves from autumn to the winter period. December was now beckoning, and we were not to turn away, merely embracing it as well as we might. December already had a few pencil strokes jotted in my mind's diary, which I would turn into bolder strokes soon.
Until the next time, 
Cheers and Keep it “Real”