Category: Essays and Aphorisms

America. Or more precisely the USA. Possibly the most wrongly maligned beer country in the mind of the general populace and one of the most sought after beer scenes by aficionados. The land where prohibition took place, and one of the largest craft beer scenes in the world. 50 states, each at least the size of Britain and with at least as much cultural variance between them as between Britain’s member countries. How do you even start talking about that?

Well first I’m going to pour a pint. Not because I want a pint. Ok, not just because I want a pint, but also it’s the first interesting difference. The USA pint is smaller. 568ml for UK compared to 473ml for USA.

Which explains why you lot in the USA are all lightweights who think you can drink more than you really can.

I jest.


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Drinking in the Shadow of the Five Rings

The Great British Beer Festival. Usually the highlight of the year for London beer drinkers, where they would congregate at Earls Court. This year, well someone decided to run some small piddling athletics thing called the Olympics in there so we got shunted over to the Olympia.

Seriously I’m fairly sure there are more people who have a pint once a week than there are people who do exercise one a week. That’s all I’m saying.

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You know your priorities are wrong when you see a sign saying “Licensed Sex Shop” in Soho and think “Oh good, that means they have a bar!”

Essays and Aphorisms: Shenanigans

Now you may get the impression from my writing that I am a very serious respectable journalist. Actually, that’s fairly unlikely, especially after the beer/sex act joke. Anyway, just in case anyone has made that mistake somehow I thought I would share some oddities from recent nights out.

It had been a quite fun night so far, my random writings and photo taking had resulted in a nice chat with the locals about what I was doing, and I had been making some recommendations of good whisky to try.

Then my good friend Dylan noticed they had something new.  Some weird Jeremiah Weed drinks. Now one was kinda ginger and root beer styled and the other Sour Mash kinda bourbon styled. I was wary, and those many whisky bottles on the wall kept catching my eye. However I am nothing if not open to experimentation. So my tasting note done I decided to join them in sharing two bottles of these new beverages between us.

Dylan and Will started on the ginger one, and made vague appreciative noises.

Huh, now that’s a phrase that looks wrong out of context.

Anyway.  I tried the Sour Mash one, reasoning it had a least a passing wave to my preferred style.
For feck sake why do I do these things?

It was as if someone had taken the vaguest whiff if bourbon and drowned it in water. If I wanted to ruin perfectly good spirits I can do that myself without having to get a fancy jam jar looking glass to do it with.  Shortly after my two amigos decided that the ginger one wasn’t actually all that either, something I could have told them a long time beforehand.  Then Dylan, very reasonably bowed out of drinking more than the small sample he had tried. With the reason being that he was the driver, leading to the following exchange

“God damn it, you ordered these pieces of shit and now you bow out?”

“Well yeah I’m driving”

“Ok. You have a good point. And we hate you for it”

“Well you wouldn’t want us to crash and die in a ball of flame”

“Yes, but only because that’s not the way we want you to die” “We have a list, a long one”

(DISCLAIMER: Despite the preceding piss take, we agree completely with Dylans choice and respect his decision. Drink driving is fucking stupid. Don’t do it. Seriously)

This was then followed by an example at the bar of exactly how bloody posh Bath is. A couple had come in and ordered Jagermeister Bombs, which if you are lucky enough to not know, is Red Bull with a shot glass of Jagermeister dropped in. By which I mean dropped in while still in the shot glass.

However this is Bath, so we couldn’t have that, no indeedy. Instead they dropped a shot glass of Woods 100 Old Navy Rum into a glass of Red Bull instead.  A concoction rapidly called The Bath Bomb, or The Bath Dambuster instead.

All with the Star Inn’s amused bartender looking on and joining the fun.

Anyway, then I ordered a measure of Dalmore 15. The silliness didn’t stop, but at least I had quality whisky to enjoy it with.

So why am I writing all this? Because it’s easy on a night out to get lost in the wonderful whisky and great beer and forget – booze is great, but it’s the people that make it special.

Here’s to all you out there. Share a glass with me would you?

As is often said, brevity is the soul of wit. Thus I must complement the bartender of Brigantes Bar at York, who, when asked for a pint of John Smiths replied


“We don’t serve that shite here”


A true beer philosopher and bar hero. If any readers are from York, please raise a glass to this man.

It’s a common problem.  Anything far away looks cooler.  It’s why people spend a vast fortune heading to other countries to spend time looking at art museums, architecture and scenery, cooing all the while.  These self same people oft completely ignore the museums, architecture and scenery 5 minutes walk from their house.

All of which is a somewhat round about way of saying that after going on brewery tours in Belgium and Scotland,  I finally went over to the Bristol Beer Factory for a tour recently.

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The Beer Wanderer: Gibraltar and Gent.

So you are probably asking, why put Gibraltar and Gent together? Ignoring the fact that one is in Belgium and one right next to Spain, one of them is a city whilst the other is a, erm, country/British Territory I think, with Gibraltar as its capital. So what do they have in common? Well, they do both start with G, which surely is a good enough reason to group them together?


Ok, heck then, they are two places I visited recently and never got around to writing up. Continue reading

The Drinkers Journey

I have before compared the craft beer scene to the local music scenes of old. Whilst both have gained worldwide publicity through the growth of the internet, the beer scene still relies on a physicality that the internet cannot provide. This is most obvious in the USA where many craft brewers brew solely for their own state, or in some cases their own pub. The most extreme cases result in much in demand beers such as “Pliny the Younger” being available only in certain pubs once a year, or the yearly bottling of Three Floyds “Dark Lord”. Even e-bay and its ilk cannot provide access to tap only rarities with any assurance of quality. Continue reading

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  • For all the years English nobles spent trying to stamp it out, Whisky is the only class war I know that can cost 50K a bottle.
  • It turns out “There is a beer for everyone in the world, and it’s just a matter of trying different ones until you get the one you like” is not accepted in court as a reason for replacing baby milk with Tokyo stout.
  • Asking in a pub for “a beer” is like asking in a brothel for a “sex act”. Both show a lack of understanding of what you like, and are far too likely to end up with foul tasting yellowed liquid running down your neck.
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