Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A New Direction...?

Yeah It’s been a while. A little too long for our liking so let’s start this with a bang. Well maybe not a bang but a little paragraph.

We’ve had feedback recently, both positive, negative and constructed. Some people loved our blog, some people saw the potential and offered ways to improve and others where just rude.

We appreciate the feedback from those that have given and are constructive and we will take some of this on board. We are not trying to conform, or, trying to look like others out there or even trying to be the best. We are just 2 people, sharing our views and hoping some people enjoy the read.

From now on we will Blog on here in a shortened version, maybe even giving a taster of a fuller article that will appear on our NEW Facebook page.. This, we thought, will allow those that like to read our longer Blogs continue to do so and those that don’t just read the shorter version on here.
 
Happy reading guys.



So let’s kick off with a little piece about our recent trip to the Big Smoke. It was Kerry’s birthday weekend away and I included an ale trail into the events of the weekend.

This is a snippet of the full piece on our FB page.

Euston Tap.

It appears very small from the exterior. Pleasantly surprised by the amount of beers available on tap and how they are arranged on the wall rather than the bar. A good bottle selection and spiral staircase leading to the upstairs seating area. This provides an element of quirkiness to this newish edition to the ‘Tap’ franchise.


Sunny Republic Huna Red.

G - No nose. Starts off with no taste but leads towards a taste reminiscent of Ready Salted crisps. Citrus hops give it a dry edge.
K - I understand the ready salted crisp thing. Has quite a dry finish. Nothing really characteristic about it but not unpleasant.


Hope you enjoy the read.

Gareth & Kerry


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Monday, 28 May 2012

It started with a kiss...

It started with a kiss…

 
G - There’s only a few people out there that know the events of the night me and Kerry met (and I don’t mean dirtiness either). Let’s put it this way, she didn’t particularly like me, I mean I liked her and thought she was beautiful, but she still didn’t like me. Well needless to say, and after being rejected by Kerry during the week, we ended up together and are still very happy.
 
As much of our lives revolve around the glorious nectar it comes to pass that our first ‘official’ date revolved around the glorious stuff.
After my rejection night we still continued to text each other and for some reason Kerry asked if I wanted to go on a mini ale trail with her on the Monday.
 
K – As the majority of my friends in York drink the dreaded Fosters, I felt the need to find myself a new drinking buddy, despite his dress sense….
 
G – So I donned my casual, but smart, glad rags and set off, late. Ok, this was not the best start to the day but luckily Kerry was still there waiting for me.
 
K – I wasn’t overly bothered about him being late, but slightly nervous he wouldn’t show which is probably why I’d managed to drink most of my pint by the time he’d arrived.

G – Now I haven’t the foggiest what I drank that day but, being the ultimate professional she is, Kerry kept a record of her drinks and the places we visited.
I had no expectations for the day, if anything I was relaxed, thinking I had gained a friend in York who was into her ales. Both good points.
So we settled down in The Snickleway to our first drink sat in a little corner away from everyone so we could have some time to chat.
 
K – I had chosen Snickleway as our meeting point for a couple of reasons. 1 - It was just around the corner from my house (lazy I know) and 2 - I was hoping they would have my favourite ale at the time, Rudgate Jorvik Blonde. They didn’t. I settled with something else I hadn’t tried before (and forgot to write down what it was) and decided to find out a little more about my new drinking companion.
 
G - While I was happy I was still a little nervous. Kerry after all is beautiful and I wondered why she would come out drinking with me.
Well, I have no idea what my drink was. As it has been recently The Snickleway has been a little lapse with its ale choices with the occasional new ale on tap. I probably plumbed for a bog standard ale they were serving.
Needless to say the conversation flowed as if we had been friends for years.
 
K – We were chatting so much I only had one or two pints while we were in The Snickleway. I have a sneaky feeling Gareth was trying to impress me with his knowledge of ale…
 
G - After a little while, and finishing out pints, we moved on and chose to move towards town. The next establishment being the wonderful Old White Swan. This has become a firm favourite of mine over the last few years and I am always grateful of the live music and relaxed atmosphere they provide (and the 50p discount they give to CAMRA members).
We entered and chose two ales, one of which is brewed locally. We took our York Brewery Yorkshire Terrier and Downtown Brewery Honey Blonde and sat on the comfy sofa’s.
Bear in mind we were out drinking and no tasting notes where taken this time. As normal I’ve provided the links to their websites so you can have a look, find them in a pub and decide for yourself.
 
K – I was used to taking tasting notes, but didn’t want to appear rude, so other than managing to jot down the name of the pub and a couple of ales we had I have nothing. The White Swan was at that point my most frequented pub, serving a variety of real ales alongside the more bog standard drinks, allowing a perfect meeting point for my non real ale drinking friends. The conversation flowed, though I can’t remember what we talked about in this place.
 
G – So things were going better than well, a little unexpected, but brilliant non the less. We pondered our way from White Swan taking a somewhat long route to the next pub (this was to become a theme for the night).
As we wandered down Petergate towards the next pub I hoped that the friendship that we had started to form was going to last. I had found a good drinking buddy in York at a time when I needed friends. To say I was happy was an understatement.
 
We stumbled along on our merry way and ended up in the History rich Guy Fawkes pub, and what a pub it is. During the day light by natural light and on an evening they light the heavily laden candles that adorn the establishment. It’s romantic and eerie in the same flicker of light. It engulfs you and sends you on a roller-coaster of alcohol and atmospheric emotions. A grand pub.
Well this, as Kerry tells me, if the pub where she started to like me in a way more than friends. Something happened to make her change her mind.
 
K – It may have been the beer or the atmosphere, but this is the moment I remember most about our mini ale trail. We had settled at the bar with our drinks and had begun to talk about our backgrounds and family situations. The more Gareth talked, the more I began to like him, and thought that my first impressions of the arrogant little man in the hat were wrong.
 
G - Well we settled down with our pints, one of them being a Marston Moor Matchlock Mild and the other we haven’t got a clue, and continued to chat the night away.
After a while of delicious and stimulating conversation we decided to make a move to the next pub. This being The Hole in the Wall.
 
FOOD TIME.
 
So after a few beers we decided it was time for some food and Curry Night is as good as any. Now bear in mind Kerry’s astute observation skills (not noticing I was only eating Vegetarian Food while having Chinese) I was not holding on to her remembering that I am indeed Veggie. We noshed down on our well deserved food and ale and continued to chat all things us.
We only have one note for this pub and it was Brakspear Oxford Gold. I haven’t got a clue what I was drinking.
 
K – When Gareth and I had met up previously for a Chinese buffet I was so interested in my food I completely bypassed the fact that Gareth doesn’t eat meat. This only became apparent to me when he ordered the vegetarian curry in Hole in the Wall. Whoops.
 
 G- Now being a lightweight the alcohol was starting to affect me and I was feeling brave. Well that’s the only way I can explain what happened in the next pub. I’m a chicken when it comes to do with females and approaching them but this was a little different. I’ll let Kerry explain.
 
K – We both agreed Pivni was next on our list. It was (and still is) one of our favourite places to have a quiet drink. I was particularly interested in the board game selection upstairs and proceeded to play Ludo, getting slightly agitated when Gareth let me win! After our game, he decided to make his move. He very smoothly came to sit on the benches next to me, and after I had made it apparent I was not going to slap him, he put his arm around me and we ended up snuggled up choosing songs to play on the free jukebox.

G- So that was that. We were ‘comfortable’ around each other and I was loving it.
We decided that we had time for another drink we pondered over to The Last Drop Inn.
 
K – The Last Drop Inn was next door to my house, hence our reason for choosing it. The selection of ales on offer wasn’t great but by this point we didn’t care. I chose the York Brewery Willamette and we settled in the wooden booth under the stairs (not comfortable but never mind). It was getting to closing time and our Ale Trail had to come to an end, so Gareth walked me to my door (all of 10ft away), and I went to bed happy (and alone!).
 

G - So that’s the story of our first Ale Trail together, our first date and the start of something that has changed my world.
 
Happy drinking fellow alers and I promise it won’t be as long till the next blog.
 
Gareth & Kerry

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

I...must...review...some...beers... HIC

Here it is as promised, some reviews that we undertook under some duress. (Or maybe not - Gareth)

Let's start with 2 little numbers from the Bristol Beer Factory.

 
Milk Stout - 4.5%
Kerry
Slightly smoky nose and a creamy texture with a small hint of cocoa. LIKED
Gareth
Floral beginnings with hints of toffee leading towards tastes reminiscent of the taste grapefruit heaves behind in your mouth.



Sunrise - 4.4%
Kerry
Smells nice. Not bad. Yeah……
Gareth
Weak taste with a whisky note. Not particularly flavoursome.

Heres a couple from the HighlandBrewing Co.

Island Hopping - 3.9
Kerry
I’m not overly keen on this one. It’s too bitter. I wouldn’t buy it.
Gareth
Floral and grapefruity. Bitter taste and watery finish.
St. Magnus - 5.2
Kerry
I dunno. Gives me goosebumps when I drink it. That’s not a good thing.
Gareth
Well rounded with a slight sweet/sour note.


And finally one from the Moorhouse's Brewery.

New Years Resolution - 4.2
Kerry
Smells like sick. Drinkable but with an unpleasant aftertaste.
Gareth
Grapefruit nose. Light and hoppy, bitter and somewhat twisted from the citrusy hops. Lasting sour finish.


Well I hope this keeps your tastebuds tingling for now and remember if you want any information about any of the Breweries just click on their name.

Feel free to comment on here, contact both myself and Kerry on Facebook or email us on ale_and_cheese@hotmail.co.uk.

If you have a Blog Reader on your computer or phone remember to subscribe to us for instant updates. Go to add New Blog, copy and paste www.lifeintherealeworld.blogspot.co.uk/ and click enter.

Spread the word, let your friends know and let this love grow.

Gareth & Kerry 



May the 4th be with you...


May the Fourth Be With You...!

Sat here in the middle of YorkTap (at the bar) writing this on my laptop, it suddenly dawns on me how much this is taking over my life, not only the blog but the search for the perfect pint.
We all have our favourites and we all know what we like but what I talk about is the ultimate, the Holy Grail of Grails, the Championship Play Off winning goal.
What I talk about is the drink of drinks that when you take your first mouthful you realise that this is a relationship for life.

Over the years I’ve tasted a vast amount of real ale but one has always been my favourite. From the first mouthful of Wychwoods Hobgoblin to my last it has been something I’ve longed for and immediately made a beeline towards if it was on. Yes it’s not the most exciting ale in the world but it is one I love.

That was until recently.

A little under 9 months ago I took a trip, with Kerry, to the York Beer Fest and all this changed. Since that day I have harped on, mentioned at every occasion, championed and search high and low for this glorious nectar. This is why I’m currently sat in a pub AGAIN with maybe 2 more to visit if it doesn’t come on in time.

I’m addicted, I’m obsessed, I become emotional, angry, saddened when at the promise of this beer fall flat. WHAT IS WITH ME…? It’s like a drug, an addiction that eats away inside. Sad as it may seem I think I am addicted.

What, I hear you ask, is this allusive pint. Well, it’s only a small little Porter from a newish micro-brewery called Brass Castle Brewery. For all those that know me and my ale talk you will instantly know which beer is in question. For all that don’t try when you can Brass Castles Bad Kitty.

This is a delicious chewy chocolate/vanilla of a porter laced with oodles of Willy Wonkerness and a bountiful of desirability that the ladies of the Moulin Rouge would long for.

See, obsessed…

This is what has brought me out on International Star Wars Day (May the force/fourth… Sad I know). I’ve heard that 3 pubs in York are serving this delicious pint and my mission is to find it by the end of the day.

So I started with York Tap, but alas, it was not on. I plumbed for a North Yorkshire Brewing Co Beer called Organic Honey Bunny.
 
 
 NorthYorkshire Brewing Co Organic Honey Bunny – 4.2
As the name suggests you’d expect an abundance of honey. Well… This ale doesn’t really have a nose and only a slight bitter/flora taste as it’s hit. A slight honey presence is felt but only as a delicate sweetness that you could associate with honey. Imagine playing Hide and Seek with the 2nd best Hide and Seek person in the world. That is like trying to find the honey in this ale.



My journey continued.

Next on the list was The Slip Inn. Having recently visited here for their ale fest I knew this was a pub that looks after its ale. I crossed my fingers.

HALELUJAH…!!! I HAVE BAD KITTY…!!!

I’ve only waited 8 months to get my hands on this ale and I now can’t wait. The barman pours my pint, I slowly sit savouring every moment that passes. A slight fragrance wisps past my nose, I know I’m close.
I take my time, make sure everything is perfect and I take my first sip.

I am transported back to the first day and a wave of euporia passes over me. Heaven.

Brass Castle Brewery Bad Kitty – 5.5
(This is a new set of tasting notes after Brass Castle moved their plant to a new venue.)
Changing to a new brewhouse could have destroyed what has become a prolific ale. This is not the case. The same chocolate, vanilla and chewy caramel enrich the bitter rich cocoa infused within the ale. The same cocoa bitterness is present in the nose and it still has the draw of York on a Summers Eve.



Pushing my luck I decided to try the third pub that had reportedly housed a cask of Bad Kitty. I lucked out for the second time in the day.

The pub in question was the Waggon & Horses, York. This was my first visit. A local looking pub on the outside/inside with traditional d├ęcor, tables and bar. It boasts a selection of 7-8 Ales at one point, one being a cider (welsh at that).

I chose a Mild, being Mild May, and settled down to enjoy and write up the rest of the days events.

Great Heck Voodoo Mild – 4.3
A caramelly toffee nose gives way to the roasted malts which add a delicate bitterness to the overall drinkability to this Mild. Light milds used to be a thing of legend but with this leading the way we are in for a rosey future. With this ale you are left with a finish of bitter cocoa which gives you the feeling of wanting more.




So that was my little adventure... 

We're going to add another post straight after this with a few of our recent reviews... Hope y'all like them.

Singing off for another day.

Gareth & Kerry

Thursday, 3 May 2012


Return of the Mac...

After a little break I thought it was time to hit the world with the second official blog. Duh duh DUH…!!!

In this episode we will bring you a review of a recent beer fest, reviews of some of our recent/past beers and also a general overview of everything us.

Right, BEER FEST.

The beer fest in question was the Slip Inn (York) beer fest running from the 27th April – 29th April. This was the first time that I’d visited this particular beer fest but myself and Kerry had visxited the pub previously and was impressed.

Situated close to the river, The Slip Inn generally hosts 5 real ales on a rotation basis.

This being the first beer fest I’ve been to this year I felt that, mainly due to the presence of Brass Castles Bad Kitty, I must try this fest.

I was disappointed. Now this was not due to the fest, as you will find out, but more that Bad Kitty wasn’t ready… My love in the real ale world was not here… HEARTBROKEN…!!!

Ok, well, let’s say a little about the fest itself. It ran on a token basis. It ran on a £10 token sheet basis with an additional £2 per glass price (£1 was refundable on return of the glass – Why return a beer fest glass? : Gareth)

The outside bar stocked the majority of the ales with 2 very friendly staff, the female being very friendly working her way through the ample amounts of ale available.
Heaters where provided outside and where welcomed due to the constant downpour.

One thing I have noted is that a lot of fests are stingy on their portions of ale serving less than the half required. This was not one of them. A good half plus some was served and welcomed to the weary traveller and gulped down with all the enthusiasm of Elvis’s biggest fan on his last tour date.

As the afternoon built up, being there from 3 when the fest opened, the atmosphere built and built and a lively selection of customers appeared. A certain gentleman in question.

Following the ale circles I have come across a gentleman who is trying to have 800 Real Ales within a year period. Now bear in mind that this is April, he had already hit the 520 mark and was going strong. (I daren’t mention that he is a bus driver too… Eep…)

Right time for the beer…




Bridestones Black Jack – 4.5%
This is a light but very caramely ale with hints of smoke and haze. It is easy to drink and would fall into the category of a session beer. 





Truefitt Ironopolis Stout – 4.7%
Light and smokey with subtle hints of vanilla. Caramel follows and lingers on the taste buds finishing off with a delicate liquorice taste that complements the sweetness that came before.

 

Northern Hit and Run – 4.5%
This is a hoppy but fruity ale with a definite note of Raspberry. A slight tang and bitter quality is left on your cheeks gaining enough balance to compliment the sweetness in this beer.

 

Hadrian and Border Ouseburn Porter – 5.2
Well rounded, rich and creamy cocoa which creeps through the ale giving it a much well thought out taste. While hints of bitterness creep through this ale is remarkably moreish and a delight to drink.
 

 
  

Treeboom Beat No. 1 – 3.8%
Slight citrus notes in the nose which lead to an odd combination of sweet citrus and bitter coriander on the tongue. The overall taste has the lasting impression of something a 1945 veteran would have been sucking on in the blackout days. It is spiced and sweet which lead to Christmas and the memories that remain and yet this gives it more of an appeal.#


Rudgate York Chocolate Stout – 4.9
Now this is an interesting beer. For all those people who have lived close to the Nestle factory you will know what I mean. Sweet yet bitter, inviting but pushing you away in the same intricate sweep. A move that brings you closer to her bosom but yet you still remain at that distance, wanting more, longing for that glorious taste. This is a truly remarkable ale brewed but Rudgate. LONG LIVE YCS…!!! (And I don’t say that lightly…)

Now time for Ales gone past…

Last year we (Me, Kerry, Ian, Rod and Jay) hit the York Beer Fest. This was mine and Kerry’s first time and was we impressed. A vast amount of beer, some good food and some great company. I can’t wait till this years…

What I can do now is give a brief overview of the beers I sampled and the other beers people sampled during our afternoon. (We were a little drunk by the end.)



Yorkshire Heart Brewery JRT Best Bitter – 4.2%
Light and citrus finish.




Brass CastleBrewery Bad Kitty – 5.5
Chewy chocolate vanilla porter with hints of dreaminess and heaven. A delight to savour and a pleasure to drink.
(I’ve been chasing this drink since last fest and not had a pint yet. York Tap have it on this week…Cross fingers…)


  
North Riding Brewery Bountiful Mild – 4.5%
Special version of Fat Lads Mild with coconut .






OuseburnValley Milk Stout – 4.4%
Liquorice and slight coffee.





Sportsman Pigeon Bridge Porter – 4.7%
Liquorice and blackcurrant finish.




YorkshireDales Smoked Porter – 5.5%
Dark with smoked malts.






As you can see I have limited tasting notes for these (blame my company for our drunkenness) but I chose these for a reason. All very good ESPECIALLY the Bad Kitty which had become my all-time favourite beer and a Micro-Brewery (Brass Castle Brewery from Pocklington) that I champion everywhere I go and at any point I can.
It was recently showcased at the Hull Beer Fest and the Slip Inn, York Fest and continues to grow and draw in lovers every time it is allowed out into the world for us to savour and bask in its glory. A must even if you do not like dark ales. If this is not featured at the GBBF (GreatBritish Beer Fest) I will be disappointed by the organisers…!!!

TRY IF YOU CAN…!!!

The following list is the other beers that where tried by everyone else with us.

Ascot Anastasia’s Imperial Stout – 8.0
Brew Co. Holy Smoke – 4.9
Brown Cow Captain Oates Mild – 4.5 (A personal favourite)
Elland 1872 Porter – 6.5
Haworth Steam Ironclad 957 – 4.3
Magic Rock Dark Arts – 6.0
Malisons Amarillo – 4.2
Scottish Borders Dark Horse – 4.5
Steamer Wine Saison – 6.0
Steel City Darkthrone Sorachi Porter – 4.5
Thornbridge Browne – 4.3
Welbeck Abbey Earnest George – 4.2

Well thats it for now I think... Time for sleep or maybe a few more...


Gareth & Kerry

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

This time it's for real...


Hello again. Right, time to start out first official blog.

What I shall try to do in this edition is to give you some of the recent beers we’ve had (too many for one blog), and also some of the beers from recent times (over the last year).

IF YOU WANT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT A BEER, PUB OR BREWERY JUST CLICK ON THEIR NAME TO BE REDIRECTED TO THEIR SITE.

On a recent trip to a pub I’ve been dying to try, we tasted 4 new ales., Burton Bridge Brewery’s Dansom Porter, Milk Street BreweryLtd !Beer, Adnams Old Ale and Daleside St. Georges Ale.

The pub in question was the Rook and Gaskill, York. I’ve been wanting to go here for the last 5 years ever since I found out about this place. As a CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2012 listed pub I expected a lot. I was not disappointed.

The pub itself lies just outside the city walls and from the outside looks ok. Inside is a different matter. The chairs and walls are worn, the bar looks run down and the toilets (through a make shift conservatory) are do-able. The barman himself, when ask for a recommendation was less than helpful. He had the demeanour of someone who was at work to get drunk and not serve (noticing his cigarette breaks with a pint in his hand). Imagine Boris Johnson on a good day then getting him absolutely drunk. That’s how helpful he was. He eventually suggested 2 lighter ales but these where at a push.

Not a good start you’d say but this is where the good bit kicks in.

Within this pub lies a lovely selection of 12 real ales and 2 ciders with a selection of bottled products. Of the 8 ales on pump I had only had 1. A good start. Kerry hadn’t had any of them so another good start.

Out of the ones on offer we selected the 4 above (in halves) and took a seat, gingerly to avoid catching anything.

Kerry – Smooth and easy drinking with bitter notes and a sweet aftertaste.
Gareth

Kerry – The exclamation mark is for a reason. A truly disgusting beer.
Gareth – Wishy washy hops used to disguise a truly uniquie beer. Bitterness crossed with an urge to vomit can only truly describe this ale.

Kerry – A pleasant ale. Hints of toffee also my taste is disguised by mayonnaise.
Gareth – The most defining feature of this ale is the glorious taste. Toffee and delicate whisky notes shine through giving way to a well rounded finish.

Kerry – It’s quite fresh and a little bit bitter. Drinkable but not a favourite.
Gareth – Light and springy on the tongue. The sweet edge to this drink works sublimely well with the chewy toffee.

During this little excursion we took another trip to a favourite place of mine, Pivni.Part of the company that has brought us the glorious, and already infamous York Tap, Pivni lies down a small street half way along Parliament Street, York.

Over the years I’ve been a huge advocate of Pivni especially down to its quirkiness and its excellent selection of ales (both cask, tap and bottled). If you look on the back of the bar you’ll find a stuffed squirrel housing a bottle of something. Unusual but immense in the same subtle mouthful of quirkiness.

The bar itself doesn’t offer a food menu but supplies ‘snacks’ in various guises. On offer are pork pies, crisps, nuts, occasional cakes and a newish cheese board (don’t get me started on that).

Ok, I started. I sampled the cheese board and was HUGELY disappointed. We are both massive lovers of cheese and this left me thinking I’d not eaten. We were, for the sum of £5, delivered a slate with a few (3) wheat crackers, 2 small slices of cheese and a few berries.
Now not to drop names, well I will, but the CheeseDeli down Gillygate does a cheese board with 6 crackers, 5 wedges of cheese, slices of apple, grapes and chutneys for £8. Now you do the maths.

Forgetting that little gripe, this still remains one of my favourite places in York. Yes the prices have risen slightly but that’s more due to import costs of the ever growing extensive range of ales available.

This evening we chose 2 new beers, one of which I’d heard good things about.

Stone Arrogant Bastard – (£4 per half)
Kerry – A strong bitter taste follows by sweet toffee flavours. A nice beer but couldn’t drink more than a half.
Gareth – A rich and fruity ale with all the bitterness of a good IPA.

Nogne Porter – (£4 per half)
Kerry – STRONG! Nice but strong.
Gareth – As a porter I’d expect smoke and thunder. What I get is a deep set coffeeness followed by the glorious sweet bitterness of a cheeky dry red, A very well crafter beer.


 
As a newly reformed huge follower of Twitter I’ve started following more breweries and bars, one of which is the newly opened Brew Dog Bar in Newcastle. They are on my list of place to visit, They brought the Nogne Porter to my attention and I tip my hat to you guys, a classic beer.




 
Well that's it for now, hope to see you all soon...

Gareth & Kerry