Ploughman's Lunch - in a bag!

Had a few good pints of Jennings 1828 in my local pub (The Dog & Gun, Aughton) on Thursday night with a few pals. One got the beers in and some bar snacks including a 'Ploughman's Lunch Snack Pack':

Two cream crackers, a Laughing Cow cheese triangle, a knife/spreader and three little pickled onions in a vacuum packed bag! It's pure genius and my friend consumed it in no time!

Looking forward to 'baron rating' King Cobra soon!

Received some King Cobra on Friday (courtesy of Kristy of Molson Coors) really excited about trying this 8% double-fermented lager, I've never seen this in the supermarkets before!

It's a beautiful bottle, this is something that I would love to take round for a dinner party instead of a bottle of wine, I really hope it tastes as good as it looks!

A couple are chilling in the fridge right now so as always, a baron rating is coming soon!

My Williams Bros Brewery order has arrived!

I've had my eye on Williams Brothers Brewery's 12-bottle contemporary pack for a while and finally got round to ordering it on Wednesday this week: they arrived on Friday:

No, not all three cases are for me, a couple of mates (Chris & Mike) chipped in to combine the postage so each pack ended up at £20 (£1.67 a bottle)

I think each pack is identical, here is a line up of the twelve different bottles that I got:

Don't they look good? I'm looking forward to getting stuck into them especially the Williams Bros IPA & Joker IPA!

Buy Williams Brothers ale here.

Thank you to Greene King Visitors Centre

Following on from the kind gift of some Bitter End ales for baron ratings I also received a selection of Greene King ales courtesy of their visitor centre on Thursday:

  • Greene King Hop
  • Morland Old Crafty Hen
I've rated some of these before but I'm very interested in the Old Crafty Hen and Hop so check back soon for baron ratings!

Bitter End Brewing Co. beers - Baron Ratings coming soon!

Received a wonderful parcel yesterday - a box containing Bitter End's full range of bottled ales:

I've rated the Lakeland Golden before as part of myBrewerytap's excellent "52 week beer club" but Tony of Bitter End mentioned that they have tweaked the recipe and are much happier with it - looking forward to doing a re-rating to see how it compares!

A big thank you to Tony of Bitter End Brewing Co. for sending them through for baron ratings, you can buy this mixed pack of beers through myBrewerytap.

Buy Bitter End ales here.

Moorhouse's Black Cat

Moorhouse's Black Cat [baron rating 3/5] - this 3.4% dark mild has a slight roasted aroma,smooth carbonated choc malt taste & tart finish

Listen to what Chris and the Baron have to say about it.

Download flash to hear the audio review

Subscribe in iTunes

Hepworth Iron Horse

Hepworth Iron Horse [baron rating 4/5] - this 4.8% copper ale has a fresh hops smell,gentle malt & bitter taste & a lasting dry bitterness

Brewdog Punk IPA for 99p in Sainsbury's (until 16th March 2010)

Sainsbury's have Brewdog Punk IPA on offer at the moment until 16th March - 99p instead of £1.34 per 330ml bottle

My visit to The Inn Beer Shop (Southport)

I found out about The Inn Beer Shop in Southport a few months back when searching around for decent bottled ale shops close to Ormskirk.  Last weekend I finally managed to get a chance to get down there and check it out.  The shop is run by Peter Bardsley (brother of Paul who runs the impressive Southport Brewery) who kindly posed for the photo below.

Bottled ales fully line one side of the shop with cafe-style seating at the front and pub-style seating at the back (you can drink your select bottle in the shop for just 50p more).  They also have a cask pump which was serving Southport Brewery's Sandgrounder - I had a cheeky half whilst browsing the shelves of ale.  They have an impressive selection of German & Belgium beers as well as stocking a good selection of local (Southport, George Wright, Moorhouse's amongst others) & national ales. There were some old regulars such as Hobgoblin & Black Sheep but plenty more that I'd not heard of to ensure that each trip would be worthwhile.

They also had a very impressive range of stouts and porters filling a lot of the shelves - I can only imagine that seasonality plays an important part in Peter's stocking decisions, something I personally liked very much - this will add further interest to future visits.

I was particularly drawn to the over-sized bottles (550ml) of Samuel Smith's ales, and so I picked out two of these from the shop's selection, as well as a few others:

The Inn Beer Shop can be found near the roundabout right at the north end of Lord Street, Southport, see The Inn Beer Shop (Southport) on a map for more directions.

Bottled Thornbridge Jaipur & Kipling now awaiting 'Baron Ratings'

A lovely parcel arrived for the Baron today: a few Thornbridge Jaipur & Kipling bottles courtesy of myBrewerytap. Expect Baron Ratings soon!

Buy Thornbridge ales here

Fab ale tasting night at Source deli (Ormskirk)

Wednesday night this week saw the much tweeted (by me) ale tasting night at the Source deli in Ormskirk.  Twenty six tickets were sold for the event which made Paul & Matt of Source very happy (twenty five was the target number) although three of the people were not able to make it on the Wednesday night.
We were greeted at 7pm by Paul providing us with a little aperitif in the form of a glass of Mallisons Trabant.
It was crisp and refreshing with a slight sour taste if I remember correctly and was a pleasant way to start an evening of beer tasting. Source has only recently started stocking Mallinsons ales so it was a nice way to try one.

I've previously blogged about the menu (both the beers and their paired food) but here's a shot of the evenings line up:

  •  Mallinsons Trabant
    • Moorhouse's Black Cat [baron rating 3/5]
    • Alhambra Negra
    • Coopers Sparkling Ale
    • La Trappe Quadrupel
    • Bon Secours Myrtille
    I'd tried most of the british ales so it was nice to find out what other people thought of some of my all time favs such as Marble Lagonda IPA [baron rating 5/5] & Goose Island IPA [baron rating 5/5].  One local ale which received mixed reviews was Southport Brewery's Old Shrimper [baron rating 4/5].
    This thick malty dark winter ale is lovely when at room temp and sipped for an evening but I think was a little extreme for some of the ale novices. Another suprise for me was Alhambra Negra - this Spanish dark lager had the taste of a dark mild (like Moorhouse's Black Cat) but with a crisp lager finish, for a few of the other people there, this was the best beer of the night.

    The food was top notch, everything was perfectly cooked and prepared and the vast majority was an excellent match to it's ale partner - they set the bar high by matching not only a food suitable for the type of beer but also ensured that it came from the same country as the beer as well - deep fried mars bars and Innis & Gunn was a pretty cool match!

    It was a great mix of people and the room had a good buzz about the place, especially as the evening came to a close... ;)

    Paul & Matt were then able to relax & mingle a little not having to get the food sorted and the beers poured and Paul even pulled out a bottle of wine for us to taste after the evening had finished!

    One of the other attendees was Mike Nolan: he was our BeerSpotr for the evening, snapping photos of the various ales & tweeting them to @beerspotr. You can read about Mike's view of the evening over on his blog.

    Here's Source's limited but carefully selected stock - a mixture of locally produced ales and rest of world beers; spot the abundance of Marble: Paul loves anything that Marble produce (don't we all!) and manages to get a pretty decent stock of it most of the time.


    It was a fab evening only possible due to the power of Twitter to connect like-minded folk together to enable Source to get the ticket sales they needed to offer the night. Almost all attendees came due to word-of-mouth talk through twitter & blog posts - Source did no advertising at all. Paul didn't even both getting proper tickets printed as all the places were sold before he got round to it! :)

    Great local ales at the Eagle & Child Farm Shop (Bispham Green)

    Managed to find the Eagle & Child farm shop in Bispham Green today, had a great selection of Thwaites,Prospect, Acorn & Samuel Smith's ales

    These were today's purchases to go into the 'baron ratings' box:

    Fuller's London Pride

    Fuller's London Pride [baron rating 2/5] - this 4.7% amber ale has a spicy caramel smell, rich malt taste & a sweet finish, cask is better!

    Adnams Innovation

    Adnams Innovation [baron rating: 5/5] - this 6.7% golden ale has a citrus & fresh hops smell,sweet bitter hoppy malt taste & spicy hop finish

    Listen to what Chris and the Baron have to say about it.

    Download flash to hear the audio review

    A big thank you to Sean at Adnams for sending some through to rate & a very big thank you to Fergus for brewing an amazing beer!

    Buy Adnams ale here

    Holts Thunder Holt

    Not bottle conditioned
    Holts Thunder Holt [baron rating 2/5] - this 5% chestnut ale has a slightly fruity malt smell, toffee malt taste & subtle toffee finish

    Home Bargains latest ale offers (10th February 2010) (Maghull)

    Home Bargains (Maghull) has bottles of Courage Best[2/5],Brakspear Bitter[5/5],Marston's Burton Bitter[2/5] & Wychwood Goliath[3/5] for 99p

    Hopback Summer Lightning

    Hopback Summer Lightning [baron rating 5/5] - this 5% pale gold ale has a lemon citrus aroma,crisp light bitter taste & gentle bitter finish

    Buy Hopback ales here

    Morrisons (Titanic) Chocolate & Vanilla Stout

    Morrisons (Titanic) Chocolate & Vanilla Stout [baron rating 1/5] - this 4.5% black stout has a vanilla smell, burnt dark choc taste & finish

    Beer/Food Menu for the ale tasting night at Source deli (Ormskirk)

    Paul from Source deli has emailed the 'final' (meaning subject to change) menu for the ale tasting night over to me, and it's looking great. Him & Matt have carefully chosen a British ale and a similar foreign one and then matched each with a dish from that country.

    Here are the details:

    Round 1
    Black Cat (Moorhouse’s, Burnley) with Full English Breakfast
    Alhambra Negra (Spain) with Spanish Tortilla

    Round 2
    Lagonda IPA (Marble, Manchester) with Kedgeree
    Goose Island IPA (America) with Chilli Burger

    Round 3
    Cheeky Pheasant (George Wright, Rainford) with Roast pork & apple sauce
    Coopers Sparkling Ale (Australia) with Barbecued squid

    Round 4
    Old Shrimper (Southport Brewery) with Ploughmans
    La Trappe Quadrupel (Holland) with Dutch pancakes

    Round 5
    Innis & Gunn Rum cask ale (Scotland) with Deep fried Mars bar
    Bon Secours Framboise (Belgium) with Blueberry custard tart

    Sounds fantastic and I can't wait to try a full english breakfast on a cocktail stick!

    P.S. The night is on the 17th Feb (next Wednesday night) and there were only a handful of tickets left when I spoke to Paul at the end of last week so if you want to go get down to Source deli ASAP with £20!

    Marble ales now in stock at Source deli (Ormskirk)

    Source deli (Ormskirk) currently have a selection of Marble ales: Ginger,Tawny,Lagonda IPA,Manchester Bitter,Stouter Port Stout & Chocolate

    Goose Island India Pale Ale

    Goose Island India Pale Ale [baron rating 5/5] - 5.9% gold ale,tropical citrus smell,refreshing balanced dry bitter taste,dry bitter finish
    Listen to what Chris and the Baron have to say about it.

    Download flash to hear the audio review

    Thank you to Richard from myBrewerytap for sending this through for a 'baron rating'!

    Buy Goose Island ales here

    Lovely Deuchars IPA in the Queens Head (Ormskirk)

    Had a few excellent pints of Caledonian Deuchars IPA Thursday night in the Queens Head pub (Ormskirk), miles better than the bottled version

    A Baron's eye view of the ALL BEER Flavourmax glass

    At the recent Sheffield #twissup I was fortunate to receive a complementary tasting glass from Alex of ALL BEER.

    This tulip-shaped glass has a thick heavy base and stem making it nice and steady as well as removing the fear that you might twist off the bottom whilst drying it up!

    The bowled shape allows you to fill the glass a third full of ale and then give it a decent swirl, activating the head and releasing a good amount of aroma.

    The top is wide enough to be able to get your nose in the glass whilst sipping the beer without it being too big and wasting those all important smells & aromas.

    It has a cool hop emblem in the bottom of the glass which provides a nucleation point to focus the release of the carbonation in the beer and thus intensifying the aroma further.
    To top it all off it also comes in a funky (& strong) cardboard tube making it very handy for mobile baron ratings!

    Ever since Alex kindly gave me this glass I've been using it for all my bottled ale samplings; I must say it really does work very well indeed, allowing me to recognise smells & aromas more easily.  It's made of crystal and so has a 'good' weight to the glass and just feels nice to hold and drink from.

    The glass is part of the ALL BEER Experience Pack which comes with the following items:
    • The ALL BEER Guidebook
    • FLAVOURMAX™ Glass
    • Barley & malt sachets
    • Hop aroma cards

    A number of reviews of the ALL BEER Experience Pack have been published recently:
    A big thank you again to Alex for providing the fantastic Flavourmax tasting glass, I'm going to be using this glass from now on for all my baron ratings!

    Buy the ALL BEER Experience Pack here

    Morrisons February ale & beer offers (1st Feb - 7th Mar 2010) (Ormskirk)

    It's February's new beer & ale offers time in Morrisons so I popped into the local Ormskirk branch today to check them out.

    Here are the details:
    • Marston's Pale Ale
      £1.39 instead of £1.65

    There was nothing this month that really caught my eye, these discounts mainly bring the cost of the more expensive ones down to the same price as if you were buying the £1.67 bottles at the '4 for £5.50' price (£1.38 per bottle).

    As always I'll report any changes or new additions that I see, and check back in a month to see if March's offers are any better!

    Ringwood Old Thumper

    Ringwood Old Thumper [baron rating 2/5] - this 5.6% dark amber ale has a fruity spicy smell,a rich bitter malt taste & a very bitter finish

    Buy Ringwood ales here

    Purity Pure UBU

    Purity Pure UBU [baron rating 3/5] - this 4.5% copper ale has a spicy hops smell,a very carbonated crisp tangy taste & slight bitter finish

    Buy Purity ales here

    Reviews of the remaining 6 ales of myBrewerytap's 52 Week Beer Club (December pack)

    As you may already knowChris Routledge & I joined myBrewerytap's 52 Week Beer Club in December last year and received our first quarter's ales a week before Christmas.  We decided to split the tasting of the 13 bottled ales into two sessions, the first of which was at the beginning of January.  On Wednesday last week we decided to try the remaining six bottles.

    Here are links to the six ales that we've 'baron rated':

    The Stroud Budding was by far the best ale of the night, really nicely balanced, a truly lovely beer. The Best Mates Midsummer Madness was the worst but after hearing another beer blogger's comments on his bottle from the club we feel that the bottle was probably off and not necessarily a fair representation of Best Mates ale.

    We recorded some short (1-2 mins) MP3 audio reviews of us discussing the beer a little more than the 140 twitter-friendly limit allows, click each beer review link to find the audio player. 

    myBreweryTap's 52 week beer club is well worth the money, at around £1.50 per bottle it's a great way to get to try loads of different ales from small and hard to get breweries - click here to join the club