myBrewerytap's winter 52 week beer club box arrived this week delayed somewhat by all the snow but still arrived in perfect condition (as always). There's a good selection of darker winter ales this time, here are the details:
Acorn Gorlovka - 6% imperial stout
BrewDog Zeitgeist - 4.9% black lager
Butcombe Bitter - 4.5% original bitter
Dark Star Espresso - 4.2% rich coffee beer
Freedom Organic Dark Lager - 4.7% smooth toffee taste
Fyne Highlander - 4.8% fine strong traditional ale
Hawkshead Brodie's Prime - 4.9% dark rich complex beer
Oakham JHB - 4.2% Jeffrey Hudson Bitter
Three Castles Holly Berry - 4.4% deep ruby ale
Wensleydale Black Dub - 4.4% oat stout
Williams Bros 80/- - 4.2% Scottish ale
Wooden Hand Black Pearl - 4.5% tasty dark stout
York Stocking Filler - 4.8% dark rich full-bodied ale
Thank you to Richard from myBrewerytap for the complementary membership to the club, I really enjoyed being a paying member of it last year and so far it looks like it's going to be even better!
I took the Baroness away for a night in Manchester last weekend as an early Christmas present. She's been mentioning about staying in nice hotels for quite a while now (a number of years...) and I thought it was about time I actually pulled my finger out and booked somewhere.
After asking around on Twitter about where is nice (but not too pricey) to stay I got a response from @CrownePlazaManc asking for their hotel to be considered. After a number of tweets and some review checking on TripAdvisor (#5 out of 129!) I booked a room at a very favourable rate especially as it was for the Saturday before Christmas.
We arrived mid-afternoon on a very snowy Saturday to a nice new looking hotel just a few minutes walk from Manchester Victoria station. Upon check-in I was even more pleased with the deal as we received a complementary room upgrade to one on the 'club floor' - the top floor of the hotel with stunning city views and access to the 'club lounge' (read as free drinks and snacks).
Our room was excellent, very spacious with a very large comfortable bed, two easy chairs positioned by a massive window overlooking the city (you can clearly see The Angel pub in the photo). The bathroom was very classy with robes and slippers too with both a shower cubical and a bath which is not that common.
By now the Baroness had the biggest smile on her face ever which meant the whole thing was well worth it! We took a wander around the Manchester Christmas markets and when we got too cold we went back to the hotel to get ready for our evening out in town. It was past 6pm so the 'booze fridge' in the club lounge was available so we were able to enjoy a couple of cold beers as we got ready.
The hotel's location couldn't have been better as we had a couple of hours to kill before our meal and the super Marble Arch pub was no more than five minutes walk away. I sampled the Manchester Bitter, Lagonda IPA & Dobber and all were in tip-top form - absolutely divine!
This was then followed by another five minute walk to the Bem Brazil restaurant (the northern quarter one) where we had an excellent Brazillian 'meat-fest' - the waiters just kept bringing more and more tasty spit-roasted meat until you couldn't move! After that we wandered slowly back to the hotel where we collapsed into the massive bed full & happy and had an excellent night's sleep.
I would like to say a very very big 'thank you' to the Crowne Plaza hotel in Manchester for a wonderful weekend, without them the weekend just wouldn't have had the same Christmas sparkle that it did. My hat goes off to you Crowne Plaza - you really did pull out all the stops for the Baron! :)
I commented recently on Rob from Hopzine's tweet about getting some ales from Bristol Beer Factory saying that I had heard their Milk Stout was excellent and was looking forward to his review. Shortly afterwards @BrisBeerFactory got in touch asking if I wanted to try some too!
I've been sat on a stash of Adnams Tally-Ho 2009 for a while now, with the idea that I'll drink two a year, one on Christmas Day and one on New Year's Eve.
As I had 12 of them that meant six years worth - far too many in my mind, so I decided to lift this restriction this weekend when Mark & Andy created Open It! - a great idea to get us beer lovers to open those bottles that we were saving for a 'special occasion' which never quite arrives...
With some chunks of fine vintage cheddar & a roaring fire lit I sat back and enjoyed my room-temperature bottle of Adnams Tally-Ho [baron rating 5/5] - a fine way to relax on this bitterly cold evening.
There is nothing the baron likes more than someone pinging him via Twitter asking if he would like to try their beer. That's exactly what Stringers did a week ago and this morning (I know - I didn't think Royal Mail delivered on the Sunday!) two bottles of their finely crafted beer showed up:
@YoungsBeers got in touch with me recently saying that as I enjoyed 'baron rating' their Young's ales would I like to try bottles of Courage Directors & Wells Bombardier as well. As you know, the baron doesn't like to say "no", so very promptly some beers turned up: