Last night on TV I watched James May fly to the edge of space in a U2 spyplane and it looked like fun. The lovely staff over at Guinness are running a promotion as part of their 250th anniversary where you can win a trip into space with Virgin Galactic. There are a range of prizes including drinking stout at 70m below sea level in an exclusively designed underwater boozer.
Those of you who follow my Twitter feed could probably see this one coming. For those of you don’t, I had a rather massive night on Friday and posted a couple of updates via Twitter.
I’m back from my Easter jaunt to NY, where many pints of proper real keg where consumed. I will post all about my exploits over the next few days (OK closer to a week). Anyhow, upon returning to my flat last night, I was fortunate enough to be blessed by yet another gift to help celebrate 250 years of the Guinness brand (a producer of proper real keg). This time I received a lovely branded pint glass with my name on it. So yes, this post is yet another shout out to say thanks to Emma, Laura and the gang out at Splendid who do PR for Diageo.
And yes, I am shamelessly accepting freebies or cash for comment. Just drop me an email if you want me to give your brand/company/product a plug. I won’t tell anyone or get caught like these radio clowns either!
I like beer. That should be obvious – this is a beer blog after all, but why do I need to tell the world about it? Does this make me weird?
Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to a Diageo event for St Patricks day, which was sponsored by Guinness and Bushmill’s (thanks again Emma for the invite). The event was aimed mainly towards an online community called London blogger meet up which is a group I had never heard about. I was invited along as a token ring in as I like the Guinness brand, I always have. I even have a bottle of Foreign Extra Stout with a rubber nipple on it which I was given by a discerning relative for my Christening.
What I really wanted to point out is that members of the London blogger community seemed be slightly eccentric and I can see parallels between the eccentric types that you get at beer festivals and these blogger types. Now I am not talking about bearded freaks as such, but I think it’s fair to say that there is a certain blogger stereotype – and it is slightly weird. Whilst sipping on free pints of Guinness Red and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, I was starting to equate the London blogger group as being the blogging equivalent to CAMRA. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, and I don’t really have an opinion either way. Regular readers will know that I roll to the beat of my own drum and don’t feel the need to shelter as part of a collective. I know how to raise my voice when I need to be heard and I pretty much always get my opinion across.
One thing that struck me as odd is the amount of time these guys spent blogging. Some maintain two or three blogs and spend hours a day authoring posts, spilling their hearts out to relatively small numbers of readers who probably don’t really care anyhow. I don’t know about other beer bloggers, but in general I would rarely spend more than 15 minutes a day on my blog. I write stream of conscience and then run a quick spell check over my ranting to eliminate obvious mistakes, usually which are a result of my crude typing technique rather than my articulation! I don’t care much about my blog, it’s just a creative way to fill part of my lunch hour. I wish I could say the same about some of the people I met last night. I felt a little sorry for them really, but then who am I to judge from my ivory tower?
One last thing. Discussing statcounter statistics (yes this is what conversation came down too!) I realised that my traffic is
pretty good excellent in comparison to these semi-professional bloggers. Sloppiness counts! I think there was a certain level of blogger envy directed my way last night. I’m not a freak and I appear to be beating the freaks at their own game! Thanks again Diageo for the invite, I had a good evening and my ego certainly benefited. I hope I didn’t belittle your other guests too much!
On Wednesday I took a flexi-day as my missus needed to get some medical imaging performed on her ankle. My office is very generous and offers a flexi time system that requires you to work only 140 hours per four week period with a minimum five hour work day. As I generally accumulate over 200 hours for every four week period, I like to take full advantage of this scheme. Anyhow the medical imaging only took about and hour or so and I was smart enough to book a place on the Fuller’s brewery tour at 1300hrs. The Fuller’s brewery tour has always been top of the must see things on my list of places to visit whilst in London. As I have been here for about three years and I’m entering the twilight of my UK experience, it seemed like a good opportunity to tick that particular box.
Approaching the brewery, I started to get excited and the steam tower reminded me of the tower from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory from the movie of the same name. I am after all very juvenile at heart!
Anyhow the tour starts at the Mawson Arms, a brilliant little pub on the corner of the Brewery which is frequented by brewery workers and punters waiting for their tours to start. It was in the Mawson Arms that I enjoyed what has to be without a doubt the best pint of London pride I have ever had. That’s a pretty big call! The tour itself takes in most of the working brewery which is a refreshing change from most brewery tours which are usually just antique museums consisting of the obsolete brewing kit of yesteryear. The best part however was the end of the tour where you get to go to the token museum in an old cellar. Here the tour guide lets you taste the current Fullers/Gales lineup which included Chiswick, Discovery, Pride, ESB, HSB, Swing Low, Honeydew, Porter and Vintage Ale 2007. I had about a quarter of a pint taster of all of these before having two pints of HSB which has been a long time favourite of mine, even before it entered the Fuller’s stable. Speaking of HSB, the recipe has recently been adjusted to remove the caramel colouring agents and sugar that were used when it was brewed out at Gales. This results in a smoother, nuttier beer than it’s previous incarnation. Also of interest from a home brew geek perspective is that the Gales beers are still brewed with the Gales proprietary yeast. On the Fuller’s side, all brewing is performed via a partigyle style mash and four of Fuller’s products; Golden Pride, ESB, London Pride and Chiswick bitter are all brewed with the same grain bill, but the strengths of each beer being determined by blending the first and second runnings accordingly. I pressed the tour guide about the percentages of each type of malt in the grain bill specifically, but it seemed that at this point his brewing knowledge conveniently became somewhat limited!
Just another quick post to thank our friends at Splendid Communications and Guinness for giving me gifts for their 250th birthday. This time I arrived home to find a T-shirt, 5 pens and 5 badges waiting for me. As I like all beer and not just beer that is cask conditioned, I think I am a good advocate for beer in general – Good, Bad, Real, Mass Produced, Whatever. It pays to be open minded, and I happen to enjoy the odd pint of Guinness on occasion.
This year is the 250th birthday of Guinness. Normally when it’s your birthday people buy you lots of gifts. Guinness being Irish (and hence ‘slightly’ backwards) are giving lots of gifts away. Last night a courier dropped off the pictured 4 pack of the black stuff. Apparently he had been chasing me between my flat and the office for three days trying to make the delivery. Surely the delivery must have cost more than the beer! Anyhow, I plan to enjoy these cans whilst watching Ireland destroy France in the Rugby tomorrow evening.
Earlier this year, well ok way back in January I relayed “I’m really looking forward to getting over to Ireland sometime soon and tasting some hand pumped Guinness in an authentic Dublin Boozer” and The Beer Nut left a rather sarcastic comment about cask conditioned coors..l. Basically I was a little out of touch! Well anyway I finally got my Guinness in Ireland (well I actually had a fair bit at the Gresham in Dublin, but the location was not worthy of a post) and the pint that I thought most worthy of getting this title was in a little Irish music bar called Dolans. Whilst the pint tasted similar to the uber cold swill you get in the UK, the atmosphere more than made up for the shortcomings in the beer!
It was St Patricks day and like any good plastic Irishman I had to partake in a national stereotype! As I mentioned way back when, not the first for the year and certainly not the last!
Yeah I know, I am drinking to much Guinness! My wife bought me a 4 pack as a gift from a Tesco local whilst picking up some bread and milk. The can is an excellent long club like shape for wife-beating if you so desire and it also has a cool wavy effect around the top of the can! The beer was tasty, and I am pleased to note that it is now brewed in Dublin! I will have some hand pumped Guinness this year!