An artisanally crafted blog curated by Cooking Lager for discerning readers of beer bloggery

Monday, 28 December 2009


I did promise that I was done for 2009, and can only apologise for feeling the urge to blog again before the decade is out. The lull between Christmas and New Year, the fact that the lady squeeze has dragged me round the sales, and the need for a quiet half hour away from the Christmas telly prompted me to turn the computer on and check out the beer blogosphere.

One of the joys of being a beer enthusiast and beer geek, for that is what I now am being a beer blogger and all, is that this year I got some beer related presents off Santa Claus. Now I have a hobby (normal people like to drink grog, but us beer enthusiasts get to pretend it’s a real hobby and stuff) relatives and the like had an idea what to get me beyond jumpers and socks. Some of this was, as you’d expect, better and some of it wasn’t

On the positive I got some actual beer. Not cooking lager but 2 boxes of what looks like pongy ale from a brewery in Scotland. Now that’s the sort of gift I like. Beer. Something I can neck. I like all beer, even pongy ale. I can neck that quiet easily, thank you very much. It’s not cooking lager, it’s pricier than cooking lager so something I don’t really neck that often, so I am quiet looking forward to it. The Red McGregor has gone straight in the fridge and the 8.5% skull splitter looks like a nice drop of tramps piss that will hit the spot. I also got some beer gift sets with pint pots in them. Looking good.

I shall not be blogging about the pongy ale, I will neck it in front of the telly whilst scratching my balls and not commenting at all on it’s rich flavour and hoppy aroma, because at the end of the day whilst I’m sure it’s nice beer it is at the end of the day only beer and I’ve no more interest in telling you what I think of it as hearing what you think of it. I might even belch whilst swigging it. I shan’t be matching it with any food other than what happens to be for dinner that evening.

Other presents were less good. As you can see someone got be a copy of Pete Browns latest beer book. Despite his assurances that it was all sold out, there must be copies out there, and I managed to receive one of the rare unsigned ones. That must add to its value on EBay for sure. Why anyone would want to read a book about beer is beyond me, in the same way as anyone would want to write one and I cannot help but wonder why not just buy me some beer? As a bona fide beer enthusiast I like necking beer. I don’t want to read about it nor watch telly programmes with Oz Clarke and some other tosspot about other people necking beer. I just want to neck it.

At least on Christmas day I got to neck a skin full of grog. We were at the lady squeezes parents for the day and a fun day it was too of getting half cut on someone else’s grog. Plenty of nice wine, the odd glass of sherry, a snowball or two and a good go at my future father in laws malt whisky. Top stuff. I quiet like Christmas. I liked her dotty old aunties as much as my own and when its not your own direct family you are less embarrassed about the reactionary racism of the daily mail reading old aunty and simply amused by it. The grog helps. As do the turkey sandwiches and pork pies with egg in them. I like turkey sandwiches, more so than turkey dinners, and have never understand why people moan about a turkey buttie. I can also share with you my rather evolutionary idea for buffet related food. Whilst eating a slice of pork pie with egg, I pondered creating a scotch egg with a pork pie inside it. If you see it on the shelves this time next Christmas, buy one and think to yourself “cooking lager invented that” How you make one these I don’t know, but that is details. I am an ideas man.

A nice touch too was that for the first time, the in laws didn’t put the lady squeeze and I in separate rooms. My parents never had a problem with the lass and I sharing a room, we are after all shacked up together, but for the in-laws the lack of a wedding ring was an issue. This year however, the same room and even a comment to my lady from her father that “at least it will save you the bother of sneaking in his room when you think we are asleep” A further sign that the dislike of me among my future in laws is reducing. An unfortunate side effect of this was that I got invited to play golf at some unspecified future date with the old fella, and despite declaring that “I’m not that into golf”, I cannot see a way out of it. The lass thinks it’s a good idea because we will bond. I don’t want to bond any more than I want to spend an afternoon playing golf. Golf is for tossers. I’d rather spend the afternoon in front of the telly with a beer in my hand. I’d rather do that than pretty much anything else in the world barring being dragged under the duvet by my beloved. I don’t have complicated wants in life. My needs are simple and my happiness uncomplicated. A bird and a beer. Here’s hoping that in 2010 I get more of that and less of everything else. Have a great 2010

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Bone idle blogging

It appears the zeitgeist of the beer blogosphere at this time of year is to do a review of the year. The purview of lazy journalists trying to find crap to fill a 24 hour news station or fill column inches in a newspaper when its too cold to go outside and find actual stories that have happened or are happening finds it place among the half arse amateurs, wannabe writers, and actual writers of the blogosphere.

So why should this tosh be any different? Why shouldn’t I disappear up my own arse, in a self indulgent lazy mind dump, for I have been getting away with it so far.

So for a final blog of 2009, what’s my review of the year? Well this year I became a beer blogger myself. How did I let that happen to myself? Why on gods earth did I decide to waste hours of my valuable life, hours I’ll never get back, attempting to amuse myself at the expense of other people engaged in the innocent enough act of pursuing a harmless interest in beer? Its all the fault of beer community.

Sat on the couch, swigging a bottle of lout, scratching my balls and contemplating asking the lady squeeze if she would mind awfully if we turned over the TV channel to something less mind numbingly tedious, and I get the response “You want to drink less of that stuff, you’ll get a beer gut, and if you get a beer gut, your not lying on top of me with it”. My first thought was, “I prefer you on top, treacle, it’s less effort”, but I bit my lip and kept my thought to myself. My next thought on the matter was the following day, bored at work, I went beer googling. Innocent enough. All I wanted to know was the calorie content of various alcoholic drinks to find out whether beer would give me a gut anymore than any other pisswater I could choose to throw down my neck instead.

And there it was, waiting for me, the world of beer blogging. A merry band of men and women, though mainly men, writing tosh about beer they drank, pubs they liked, and what was occurring news and politics wise of interest to boozing types. It transfixed me.

The passion for what they liked, the equal and often greater passion for what they disliked. Arguments over smoking bans, the price of cheap grog, but lets not forget the argument over sparklers. That one had me transfixed. I felt an overwhelming urge to join in.

To express my very own opinion that there is nothing wrong with cheap grog. Actually it’s very nice and at the prices it’s going for rather a steal. To express the opinion that the public vote every time they spend a quid, and the British people ensure cooking lager is the number one beer of Britain every day of every year by the choice they make. You may choose different with your quid, but that does not make you a better person, a greater intellect, possessing of a finer palate, it simply means you have a different taste and the market appears sophisticated enough to cater for it. To express the opinion that if people wanted pubs to survive they would use them. They are not all going tits up. To confess my love of stealing glasses from said pubs. To express the opinion that it is a free Englishman’s right to have a bottle of HP sauce with his fry up in a countryside B&B. To giggle at the pretentiousness of people that think beer ought to appeal to middle class values and be more expensive, served in wine glasses, matched with food and generally appeal to ponces. To disagree with toss pots that say “at £2.90 a pint it was very good value”, because frankly no its not. It’s a glass of 90 odd percent water mixed with commodity grains for Christ’s sake. It ought to be cheaper than a loaf of bread.

So I joined in. Why the anonymity? You appear know something about beer, you can’t really like Carlsberg can you? The anonymity allows me to say what I like and not piss off the bird I’m shacked up with, the people I call friends, the people that employ me and pay my wages and doesn’t attach my name to anything I might have to explain to any of the above or someone that might want to offer me a job and thought he’d Google my name. As for knowing something about beer, its not difficult is it? Anyone with half an hour to spare and Google in front of him can find out enough about beer to appear knowledgeable. Beer knowledge is a pretty cheap commodity.

So what’s next for 2010? I’m kinda hoping some of the lady beer bloggers post a picture of themselves in a bikini, I’m hoping for more nonsense to amuse me, I’m hoping the nutters that want to put the price of grog up are thwarted and then buried alive, I’m planning a train trip to John Clarke’s beer festival in Stepford whenever that is to cover that and go tankard spotting. I was going to do one nearer to me, and photo the tankards and there owners, for my own amusement first and foremost and if it’s your bag then you are welcome to read it. However it is worth the effort to go the distance and support those that read this shite, so Johnny, trim the beard and polish the tankard my friend.

I'd go to America and visit Whorst, but Stepford's nearer. Sorry pal

Oh I have to name a beer of the year or something. Flieger Brau Weisse. You won’t be able to try it and say I’m wrong ‘cos they only flog it at the Fliegerbrauhaus and that’s in another country. Buy a plane ticket, then bother to tell me I’m wrong.

A merry Christmas and happy new year to the select few with nothing better to do that read this shite, I can only hope you find something better to do, for your own sake, in 2010.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Zak Part II

Worlds greatest beer blogger, Zak Avery, here explores the best food to go with cooking lager. As you might expect our Zak doesn't go with Pot Noodle, but then you expect something a little different from a man that frankly wipes the floor with the likes of Roger Protz, Michael Jackson ( the none kiddie fiddler one) and Pete Brown to stand as a giant among men in the world of beer. Zak chooses an eclectic snack which makes the beer enthusiast stand up, take note, and challenges what we think we know. Take it away Zak.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Mr Zak Avery

The beer blogosphere is a wonderful family, and since joining this astonishing band of men and women I feel I have joined a special club of special people. A true master of beer blogging, Mr Zak Avery, the greatest of all of us has done me the honour of contributing to the vibrant and exciting world of cooking lager enthusiasm by releasing the latest in his spectacular video blog series here on my very own blog. I thank you Mr Avery. You and your wine glass are welcome on cooking lager any day of the week.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Having cake and eating it

The lady squeeze is a canny lass at times and fully understands my eagerness to occasionally do the weekly shop. When I volunteered to get the Xmas shopping list done her first reaction was “What beer offer have you spotted?” I could have tried to bluff it with “Beer offer dear? is there a particularly good one about?” but instead I fessed up “Tesco have a 3 boxes for 20 quid offer on and I was going to pick up 3 boxes of Beck’s. It’s decent lout, and we will get through it at Xmas” She shook her head, mumbled about the stacks of beer in the garage and handed me the list.

In Tesco I discovered beers on offer that were not in the advert I spotted and as you might expect bought a little more than I intended. In addition to 3 boxes of Beck’s I bought 3 boxes of a beer called “Old Speckled hen”. 3 boxes of 9 355ml bottles. Not as good as the 18 284ml bottle boxes of Beck’s, but I quite like this beer when it’s cheaper than usual. It’s quite a full flavoured malty ale, but before people accuse me of being a hypocrite to the cooking lager cause it is thankfully not bottled conditioned and thus not a real ale. It’s just a nice bottle of grog. Further beer gift packs were acquired and at the till I discovered they were cheaper than marked and on a multibuy discount, so I got money off I wasn’t expecting. Happy days.

Now I have my cake, you might expect that I want to eat it. Everyone with cake wants to eat it, or why bother to have cake? Alas one cannot have ones cake and eat it as this Friday night is a grog free night. It is the lady squeezes office do and I am expected to drive her there and pick her up. No grog for me. All this lovely grog in the house and not a drop to drink. The gods do laugh at the designs of man and play a cruel game with us.

If this year is anything like the last the pattern of my evening will be thus. I will drop her off and go home to an evening of a take away curry without beer but with the consolidation of being able to watch a decent movie for a change. No Love Actually bollocks but something with chases, explosions, gun shots and dialog on the lines of “This is personal, motherfucker”

At around 1 or 2 am I will receive a text message asking to be picked up and will dutifully arrive to find my loving lady squeeze pissed up and slurring her words, and unable to apply her make up without looking like a victim in a horror movie. “You’re lovely” will be the greeting and an orange looking fat bird from her office will attempt to give me a vodka and cigarette tasting kiss. Something I could easily live without. The lass that spends half her life in our living room crying about her boyfriend will be sat in the corner crying about her boyfriend, orange looking lasses will be swigging Lambrini from the bottle and the lady squeeze will then offer lifts to the scrounging bints that are too cheap to get a taxi. We will then drive around dropping them off as I hope and pray no one pukes in my motor.

Upon eventually getting home, the lady squeeze will attempt to molest me thinking that an adequate reward for my suffering is a shag with a drunken bird that smells of vodka. Not being proud, I’ll think why not? and hope she doesn’t pass out half way through.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll get to neck some of this lovely grog.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Office parties

One aspect of the Xmas season that has me shouting “bar humbug” and being an all round Scrooge is that this is the season of the Xmas office party. I’ve often wondered why the word Scrooge is used to mean a person without the generosity of spirit to enjoy the Xmas season, for you can correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the moral of the Dickens story “A Christmas Carol”, that far from being ungenerous of spirit, Mr Ebenezer Scrooge becomes the most generous man in all of old London town and more than any other man knows the meaning of Xmas? By the end of the book Scrooge is one of the good guys. No one uses the word Scrooge to mean that do they? Now it’s a while since I read it, but I do watch the Muppet Christmas Carol whenever it’s on the box and it’s pretty much the same story. Better than Dickens if you ask me, because Chuck Dickens never thought of putting ice skating penguins in his version.

Now I suspect much of the office party shenanigans will be avoided by your common or garden real ale jihadist as it involves pubs, bars and restaurants where there is no pongy real cask ale. Your average ale jihadist will therefore presumably refuse to go and miss out on all the fun. Well the fun involves getting pissed up on grog that you can buy in Tesco for tuppence, at £3+ a pint, with people that you share only one thing in common with, you work with them.

So how can you get rat arsed for nothing at these dos? How do you avoid being stung for overpriced grog?

If you’re lucky you’ll get a free bar. The food at these types of things varies between piss poor and just about edible. The free bar is the nirvana of the evening. One job I had involved a bus trip to head office, free hotel and a free bar between 7pm and 2am. Therefore one sat in the room watching sky sports until 7pm and then you joined your colleagues using the excuse that you were exploring the hotel facilities rather than avoiding paying for an overpriced round of grog. At 5 to 2, hit the bar for 6 pints of the strongest lout on offer, on a tray, and you are then set up till the early hours without paying for diddly squat. Just make sure none of your workmates snaffle them. Those six pints are yours and yours alone.

This year involved a restaurant near the office. The rules of this game are simple. Pal up with the boring none drinker tee total types, and sit as far away from the boss as possible. You might think none drinkers are boring, nothing could be further from the truth. None drinkers are quality. You can get a bottle of the red and another of the white at your end of the table with no competition for the necking of it. They are no more boring than anyone else you work with and if you’re lucky they will tell you about their rampant alcoholism and regular AA meetings. The alternative involves drunken colleagues snaffling the grog and crying about being dumped this close to Xmas and spending Xmas day alone.

That’s 2 bottles of fuel to last the evening. When they come round with more, put your hand up for another bottle of anything and you’ll never need to hit the bar. If you do, follow the boss. He or she will feel obliged, by way of rank, to buy you a drink. Steer clear of any underlings as they will expect you to pick up the round. You can do this as you have plenty of grog on your table.

The goal of this evening is to get gently pissed so you approach the point of enjoying yourself and thinking that actually you are glad you came. If you’re lucky one of the office hotties will have her eye on you, and if you have my luck one of the office notties will try and molest you and you will realise that no matter how pissed up you are there isn’t enough grog in the world to snog some people.

Pray the photos don’t end up on Face book and the evening is a winner.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Xmas Ho Ho Ho

I'd love to make the claim that I built one of these for xmas, but I didn't. Mate emailed me it. Not a bad idea though. Think the ladysqueeze would like one?

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Beer and food that responds to our soul's dream and to our stomach's appetite.

It has never been a better time in Britain to be a bit of a gastronome. The nation’s reputation for bad food is firmly a matter of history with Michelin starred restaurants, gastro pubs, farmers markets, ethnic delicatessens and supermarkets with product ranges in the thousands, the length and breadth of the country.

With all this choice it can be difficult to choose. Something expensive on a square plate? Something complicated that requires obscure ingredients? today’s choice of fine beer gastronomy comes courtesy of a Sainsbury’s basics chicken and mushroom flavour 23p own brand Pot Noodle type snack paired with a can of Carlsberg poured into a pint glass with a dash of lime cordial.

The own brand Pot Noodle is clearly not a rebrand, but an import from the exotic land of China, differing to the English Pot Noodle in so far as it’s cheaper than the 69p of the branded variety and the Pot contains plain noodles with the flavour powder in a separate sachet. No sachet of soy sauce. Preparation is similar to the regular Pot Noodle though be careful of the unclear fill line. The taste is delicate with a lower count of the dried soya and vegetable that comes from the bona fide Pot Noodle, but with an overall flavour of spanking gorgeousness that rivals it’s more expensive rival. A definite thumbs up. Paired with an ice cold can of cooking lager, playfully spiked with a dash of lime cordial we get a flavour pairing that brings out the best in all parts of this gastronomic treat. The noodle, the sauce, the sweet citrusity of the lout top, are a tingling delight of flavourful joy upon your palate.

Many people think fine food is a complicated affair requiring effort to source ingredients and effort in preparation. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from watching Heston Blumenthal is that it’s all a lot of bother. Supermarkets have it all. Fine food, fine can of lout, bargain bin dvd of The Thick of It. Good living.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Vanity is my favourite sin

It can be said, though by whom I have no idea, that when one tires of the beer blogosphere, one is tired of life. Luckily it is impossible to tire of the beer blogosphere as its capacity to enlighten and entertain knows no bounds. This blog proudly stands nowhere on the wikio ratings, proudly has won no awards, and more proudly is both written and presumably read by people who really ought to have something better to do, than this sort of bollocks.

The British guild of beer writers (yes there is such a thing) recently awarded a number of the beer blogger spheres brightest and best talents, and the fullest of congratulations to them. It can be churlish to mock deserved achievements, and I do enjoy the blogs awarded. I shall not name and shame the culprits that bang on about their wikio rating or awards, both out of previously mentioned respect and also out of the fact that I love the whole idea of it, and want them to continue. Though I suspect the intention is not to amuse. Thus a fine line must be trod. I find myself wishing to mock, but not wishing to sound churlish. I also feel that in allowing people to see themselves through my eyes, they might be prompted to alter the behaviour that amuses me, and thus my amusement will fade.

However I cannot help it that the whole idea of an Oscar ceremony for beer writers forces a smile to form upon my face. I cannot help it. I find it funny. It is no disrespect to those involved; I cannot help it and am unable to suppress the snigger.

With all the prestige of a TV quick, a British Soap award, or Britain best butcher award, the British guild of beer writers manages to amuse and entertain by the simple fact of its existence. It doesn’t really have to do anything, though having award ceremonies is icing on the cake. The simple fact that it exists is enough to make me smile and be happy that I live in a country that would have such a thing. Even better than that though is the giving out of gongs to people who write about beer. I want it streamed live on the internet, that’s what I want. I want to hear the acceptance speeches; I want to see the quality of celebrity giving out the gongs. I want to see Kate Thornton on ITV2 at a back stage party interviewing the winners and losers.

I am unfortunately unable to join such an outfit as the guild for 3 reasons. I wouldn’t be a member of anything that would have the likes of me as a member, I wouldn’t pay money for it, and I can’t be arsed. Though if it involves free grog I might reconsider. Is there free grog?

I did think of creating the British guild of cooking lager writers and awarding the good people of the blogosphere for their sterling efforts with a bit of a tat certificate I knocked up on PowerPoint as you can never have enough self congratulatory back slapping. In today’s world everyone has to be a winner, no one can fail, so I did think of awarding a medal to pretty much everyone.

However the only people who deserve an award are the select few who bother to read this tosh. To paraphrase George Hamilton, you can waste your money but you don’t have enough life to waste your time. And you choose to spend time, precious parts of your life you will not get back, to reading shite on the internet. Tis you, you select few, who deserves and award, so I tip my can of lout to you, may you never find something better to be doing than pissing about reading crap on the internet, written by inarticulate and poorly educated idiots like me.

I have been racking my brains thinking of a way to say thank you, and thought the best way was to have a beer and rattle the missus. Not to do it for any old reason, but to do in your honour. The beer chosen for this thank you was Leffe blond. A usually pricey beer, much derided by beer enthusiasts due to it being a fake Belgian abbey beer knocked up under licence by Inbev at their Stella factory in Belgium. I have a bottle, however, from a beer gift pack. A lovely spicy 6.5% grog that most defiantly puts you in the mood for romance. So last night folks, the lady squeeze got a treat and it was all in your honour.

Monday, 7 December 2009

More food and beer matching

More food and beer matching, folks. You see beer is a working class drink of the proletariat, and in order to make it aspirational we have to copy wine drinkers and drink it out of wine glasses, match it with food, generally ponce it up and care about provenance.

A while back I pondered what beer would go with a doner kebab pot noodle and got the answer off Curmudgy that I ought to try an Efe’s Turkish lager. Now I couldn’t find one. I admit I didn’t look too hard, but nevertheless never got round to digging up a can of Efe’s. Instead I matched it with a Peroni, as I had a couple of bottles out of a beer gift set I acquired for the poncy glassware.

As is the norm, in the beer blogosphere, I have to tell you the recipe of this culinary highlight of delectable cuisine.

Step 1. Boil a kettle

Step 2. Take the lid off the Pot Noodle and remove sauce sachet from pot.

Step 3. Pour boiling water into the Pot Noodle to fill level marked on the plastic pot.

Step 4. Wait 2 minutes.

Step 5. Stir

Step 6. Wait another 2 minutes.

Step 7. Add sauce sachet to taste

Step 8. Wolf down.

The doner kebab Pot noodle is truly one of food science’s greatest achievements. In today’s health fascist world it is one of the few places you can acquire your daily recommended amount of monosodium glutamate. Monosodium glutamate has been removed from the flavours of much of the pot noodle range, but thankfully remains in this one. The flavour is hot and spicy, and whilst it is entirely artificial in flavour, actually has a hint of lamb to it. Most artificial flavours taste nothing like what they are supposed to. Beef, chicken or prawn cocktail crisps anyone? Lamb crisps actually taste of lamb. The laboratory whizz kids are getting better. Matched with a Peroni beer, its mouth after mouth of spicy delight. The Peroni perfectly matches the spice of the Pot Noodle with the delicate astringency of maize beer. My taste buds are in heaven. I admit it feels slightly dirty eating Pot Noodle, but that’s part of the thrill.

Peroni is a 5.1% Italian lager, indistinguishable from Stella, but through sales in restaurants rather than pubs, and not discounting in supermarkets, has managed to remain a premium brand. The ingredients on the bottle inform me it contains Italian maize. Is Italian maize any better than any other countries maize? Are Italian cornflakes considered better than any others? Go figure, but it’s a glass of cold fizzy lagery delight with a taste familiar to any Stella drinkers. One complaint about the beer gift pack was the bottles were 330ml and didn’t fit into the half pint glasses. Ill thought out, but a feature of many of the beer gift packs that fill the festive supermarket shelves.

I doubt I’ll be drinking any more Peroni. Nice enough bottle of lout but generally not cheap enough. Love the glassware though, very chic.

Friday, 4 December 2009

In honour of Wurst

The lady squeezes Dad has been knocking about this week. A mellow old soul, who since he stopped hating my guts I’ve started to quite like. He has a dry sense of humour, a canny insight, and despite being a posh git is less of a twat than I have previously considered him to be. I wouldn’t go as far as to say he either likes me or is happy I’m shacked up with his daughter, but he seems to have accepted that whilst he doesn’t like it, he can lump it. Why he’s knocking about our gaff I presume is related to his recent early retirement and not having much to do and willing to do the bits of DIY I’ve been wriggling out of. As those little jobs are a monkey off my back, I really ought to welcome the old dodderer.

One thing he noticed in the kitchen was my 2 gallon plastic keg of experimental homebrew that I knocked up here. When I told him what it was he seemed quite keen to try it. An unusual response to be sure. Homebrew is usually by and large rank, unless the individual doing it is a real hobbyist with all the kit to hand, and my approach in the homes of others is to avoid if possible in favour of a can of cooking. You can’t always manage it, though. However the old boy seemed keen, and as it’s more or less ready, the time had come to crack open the keg and try the beer I’ve named “In honour of Wurst”, after a true artist and gentleman.

To recap, the beer is a can of a cheap homebrew bitter kit brewed to 2 gallons rather than 5, and without the bag of granulated sugar. This recipe came about from previous experiences with homebrew kits where I figured that whatever you brewed it tasted of homebrew and bore little relation to the beer style attempted. Drinkable but an acquired taste. That a lager kit tasted like an ale kit and the only real difference was the colour of the beer. This I presumed was due to the fact that most of the fermentable sugars would be sucrose rather than maltose. I could have bought a bag of dried malt or a can of unhopped malt extract but figured as I wasn’t too sure about it, 2 gallons would be better than 5. I opted for an ale kit rather than lager figuring that it was the best chance of something drinkable, as I could not be bothered to lager the grog produced, only let it clear naturally before necking. The main lack of authenticity to the grog is that it is malt extract, I’ve sparged no wort. However malt extract is little more than concentrated wort. The point at which it was hopped (before or after concentration), whether hop extract was used (whether it was actually hopped) and the chemical changes created by concentration will affect the ingredients. However this will result in a difference, not necessarily a poorer or better beer.

So to try this beer, what’s it like? As you can see from the picture, it’s pretty dark stuff, and lively. Could only fit half a pint into a pint glass. The pint glass chosen for this occasion had to be a Fuller’s ESB one I nicked from a boozer on a trip into the city centre. They seemed to be poncing up the glassware, with a stemmed pint pot, so it had to go in the lady squeezes handbag. She’s not keen on nicking stuff from pubs, so I sneaked it in there when she bobbed to the lavatory (or powdering her nose, as she says. Do women do that, powder their nose? Why? Why not just say “off for a slash” like we do?), and got an earful half an hour later when she complained about beer dregs over her mobile phone. I’d like a phone that smelled of beer, but there is no accounting for the strange way the mind of a woman works. They are another species altogether.

The darkness understandable from a kit intended to be made to 5 gallons. There will be plenty of dark burnt malt caramels in there to create the brown colour in 5 gallons of water. It will be darker over 2. Same with the hops. The beer was bitterer than most bitters, but not so bitter as to be undrinkable. The beer was as bitter as a very bitter bitter. That’s beer writing. None of this nonsense about chocolaty notes, astringent qualities, mouth feel, spicyness. It’s either bitter or its not and if it is, it’s either bitter or very bitter. I liked it though. Packed a punch that hit you all round the mouth and in the nose.

The malt really came through as a predominate flavour. Clearly a malt extract beer, but a rich malty taste. Liked it. The soon to be father law loved it, declaring it “corking stuff”. He’s a pongy beer drinker, so if he likes it, it cannot be all bad. One thing of note. I was unsure about the ABV of the grog, and didn’t bother measuring its original gravity prior to fermentation, as I could not be arsed. I figured it would either be weak, average or strong. After a about 3 or 4 pints each of this stuff, we cleared a gallons worth slightly over half the barrel, we were fairly pissed. More pissed than either a 4 or 5% grog would get me. I’d guestimate it at around 6%. The old geezer’s quite a laugh when he’s pissed, and the agreement not to tell his missus that the reason he kipped in the spare room was I suspect the start of the manly bond of friendship. I’m glad he still doesn’t like enough to drag me to his golf club though. I’m happy with the pretence of being middle class, but there are lines you don’t cross if you want to be able to at least claim you are really working class come the revolution.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Seasons Greetings

December is here and for cooking lager enthusiasts it’s the Xmas season. Cheap lout abounds creating a season of goodwill to all men. I’ve heard it often said that society ought to rediscover the true meaning of Xmas, but always thought it was no more than god botherers moaning about the commercialism that drives our economy, creating jobs and keeping people out of the poor house. The true meaning of Xmas is filling the car boot up with boxes and boxes of cheap grog and going home to neck them, hoping the door bell does not ring so you don’t have to share any of it with so called friends.

In the supermarket this week I spotted Carlsberg Export on 18 for £6.99. Too delicious to resist. I’ve been necking a fair amount of this grog lately and I don’t seem to tire of it. When ice cold and crisp it is a lovely lout.

No mention of Xmas can go without looking at the beer gift sets. I’m in two minds about these. More often than not it’s an attempt to flog you one or two overpriced bottles of piss, with a glass thrown in that you could easily nick from a boozer. However there are people in this world that don’t like to nick things from boozers, so this is one way to acquire the branded glassware that puts the icing on the Xmas cake of cooking lager appreciation. And if you get one, it is better than socks.

Sainsbury’s have them 3for2 at the moment, £8 each, 3 for £16. For cheap grog, these things are a no go area, but even I was tempted by the prospect of some interesting glassware I’ve been unable to illicitly nab. The Innis and Gunn ale box (3 bottles+glass) seemed the best one for actually getting some grog, the Cobra and Leffe had but one bottle, and the Peroni 2 bottles+2glasses. Not to forget the mass of Guinness related tat.

Had to go for Cobra, Leffe & Peroni with the Cobra one given away to a curry and lager liking work mate for secret Santa. Still, got some interesting glasses, if a lousy amount of beer.

Oh and I fancy a rant. The picture has my new stylish way of necking 30p a bottle Beck’s, but what is with the label? The whole box had bizarre labels. Wolves howling at the moon, references to music, and on this one a declaration to love music and hate racism. Now I would agree the two go together. The BNP lot do like there Wagner, displaying not only racism but an obvious dislike of music. But do I need this on a beer bottle? Why? What is the point? Has it changed me? No, not one bit. I wasn’t a racist before my bottle of cheap lout and I’m not one now. Is this a badge to proclaim my right on opinions, or a reminder to the German’s that make it not to start rebuilding gas chambers, or a view that the cooking lager aficionado’s of this world need to be to be reminded to be decent members of society? I have a horrible feeling this nonsense has cost me about a penny on my bottle of lout and am unimpressed.

Friday, 27 November 2009

A bit of politics

The interesting aspect of news is often in the smaller stories. An empty drum makes the most noise and all that. This little piece caught my eye, today, after Mr Davis’s appearance on the political show that is Question Time.

There is much talk, hypocrisy and nonsense in the world of beer in regard to the thorny issue of minimum pricing, whereby the government would apply a minimum price to a unit of alcohol. The supporters of such a move are those that think the health of the nation would be improved if the proletariat (me) drank less, those that want to ban booze altogether, and those that think the fate of the pub industry would improve if the cheap grog I enjoy at home cost me more.

However the question remains, if a 40p can of lout suddenly becomes £1, who gets the 60p? The brewer? The supermarket? The government?

Here I think we have the answer. It would be the government. An answer I find more acceptable than the other 2, what with the country teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. No one in their right mind thinks that taxes will not rise, regardless of the colour of the government, after the election? The country is broke, something’s gotta give, what usually gives?

Booze, like petrol and fags, is most defiantly in for a kicking. It is unavoidable, and given the choice between higher grog prices and higher income tax, I’d personally prefer what are known as sin taxes. You can avoid indirect taxes, you cannot avoid direct ones. Whilst they are regressive, hitting the poor hardest, the poor like everyone else can avoid them by not sinning. And enjoying yourself is a sin, it’s in the bible and stuff. All that is fun, Boozing, shagging and what not is sinful. It would not be as much fun if it wasn’t. Sin adds spice to already fun things making them more fun.

Here’s the rub. Once my cooking lager costs me more, I might very well choose to neck less of it. I doubt I’ll be tempted to go and pay £3 a pop in a pub any more than I do now. The behaviour of the less responsible among us will not change, but the preloading argument will no longer hold water. Pubs and bars will be seen for what they are, the source of the 3am kebab shop fights. That’s the point the price of a pint in your pub will be hit.

Even if taxes are raised first on my cheap lout, we will be on a countdown to a leap in the price of your pongy beer. In such times I expect the number of cooking lager enthusiasts to grow.

Sadly there is nothing to be done. Prices are going up, so I shall stock up of cheap lout whilst I can. I implore you to do the same. Cooking Lager lasts forever. Fill your garages with a decade’s supply and sit it out, till better times emerge. Tis an ill wind I tell you.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

War, war is stupid, 'cos people are stupid

Been letting the cooking lager side down a bit of late I feel, by not blogging so it’s time to up the ante.

Firstly I am looking for a fellow beer blogger I can have a “war” with, as this appears common in the beer blogging world and I’ve no one to fight with. Rules are like this. We start by making abusive comments on each other’s blog and take it from there. We call each other fat and such. That’s the idea. Applications below.

Oh and before I forget. The smoking ban. It’s great isn’t it? On the rare occasion I lower myself to step into a pub, aren’t they a lot nicer now the filthy dirty smelly smokers are kicked outside into the cold? Who cares that they are all empty? At least you can get a seat. I really couldn’t give a toss about the rights of smokers. They can’t chase you to thump you. They all wheeze with emphysema if they run a yard. Buggar them.

Disagree below, with abuse, and let battle commence.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The journey is the reward

The world of beer blogging is alight with the fire of lager at the moment. Beer styles, CO2 dispense methods, the point of CAMRA; it’s all exciting stuff, the sexiest of which I enjoyed here. But cooking lager isn’t a political movement, isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s a love. A great love that if you’re lucky will span a lifetime. It isn’t a journey to a different beer place, of new and exciting beer; it’s an acceptance of where you are, what you are doing, and who you are.

A great philosopher once said that before enlightenment the world is just the world. During enlightenment the world is no longer the world, and after enlightenment the world is just the world. That is cooking lager. Lout is lout, Life is life, and getting pissed for next to nowt is not only our birthright but our duty, whilst we take the journey all living things take to the same destination.

Upon this journey, yesterday evening, I purchased the cheapest box of grog I’d bought in a while. 18 bottles of Becks 5% 285ml for, now wait for it, £2.74. Yes folks that’s right. The whole box for less than the price of a pint. How did I manage this?

Well in part because I am a gracious and modern gentleman that accepts the joy of joint nectar card point’s accumulation. This means the points on the nectar card accumulate rapidly with every bit of tat the lady squeeze buys from the supermarket. You know, milk, bread, food, all the none essentials of life. Then every so often there it is a free fiver to spend. Combine that with a half price box of lout offer and Bob is your proverbial Aunty. Grog for next to nothing.

Now you might think there is a little friction in using up all the nectar points on cheap grog, and you could be right. But this is where the cooking lager enthusiast uses his extensive knowledge of female psychology to ease the path of wholesome and healthy cooking lager enthusiasm. The trick with the lass is to keep her sweet. I don’t really pull my weight around the house. I’d be lying if I said I did. But you see, thats what makes it exceptional when she comes home from work to see that I’ve cleaned the kitchen and bathroom and hoovered the stairs and around and stuff and even had time to do some shopping and prepare a meal. It’s a nice and unexpected surprise. If it happened daily it wouldn’t be so sweet. How is she to complain, seeing all that and then moan about more yet cheaper lout and the card points used up?

Cheap lout, happy lady squeeze, life is sweet. The only cloud on the horizon is the lady squeeze’s own enthusiasm for celebrities in the jungle. Might be worth texting a mate and suggesting a visit to a local grotty pub after all. What was I saying about pubs being for losers? When celebs are in the jungle we are all losers.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Chemical Piss

One of the most heart-warming features of the beer blogosphere of recent days has been the emergence of arguably the better halves of bloggers. Here and here. Not to be left out I asked the lady squeeze whether she would pen something under the name Mrs Cooking Lager. Now that was a mistake. “Mrs Cooking Lager?” she responded, “Is that a proposal of marriage?”

“More a proposal that you tell the world what is it like to be shacked up with a cooking lager aficionado and all round love monster. The highs, the even greater highs, all that”

“So you don’t want to marry me?”

“Umm, well I do, you know I do, but what’s the rush, treacle, you’re not knocked up are you?”

Potential ring on finger crisis averted, she looked sceptical and said she would rather have teeth pulled than and I quote “talk to nutters, sexual perverts and social inadequates on the internet”. When I explained that the world of beer blogging has relatively few sexual perverts, only harmless nutters and nice people who you could never describe as social inadequates her only reply was “you mean apart from you”

So that’s that. No Mrs Cooking Lager explaining why it’s the best thing ever to be stepping out with a cooking lager enthusiast. You’ll just have to take my word for it that it’s pretty much as good as it gets, if you’re a lady, to have a chap that knows his way around the cheap lout aisle of all the local supermarkets.

Talking of cheap lout, this weekend I actually drank some bona fide chemical piss. An unfair, inaccurate and snobbish criticism often made of cheap lout is that it is chemical piss. It isn’t. It’s just mass produced bland grog of perfectly natural ingredients. The world of cider however is different. Cider is by and large undrinkable without chemicals, as anyone who has drunk real cider will attest to. Real cider, unlike real ale which by and large I don’ mind and sometimes like, is absolute nasty and foul bog water.

Thank god for chemicals that makes it drinkable. I was necking strongbow, a 5.3% cider made with bitter sweet apples and containing sugars and sweeteners to make it drinkable and remove the gag reflex that drinking the real stuff will give you. The main chemical in this grog is saccharine, a sweetener, and the grog is all the better for it. A couple of cans of this fizz and I’m nicely mellow. At 40p a can a nice way of relaxing.

Even if drinking cider has too many connotations of tramps and under aged drinking. Cider remains for me the drink of tramps and kids with asbos. It’s post Magners reinvention as an expensive and exclusive trendy drink has been lost on me by and large because I don’t really do either trendy or expensive.

But as far as cheap piss goes, Strongbow has a lot going for it. Difficult to drink a lot of, with a nice appley belch if you swig it too quickly, it gets the thumbs up as a cooking cider not for tramps, though possibly for asbos.

Friday, 13 November 2009

The shadows of our feelings

Sat on the sofa last night, can of cooking in one hand, scratching my balls with the other, I found myself having thoughts other than romancing the lady squeeze upstairs and under the duvet. It’s not often I think of things other than this. I am a simple soul and once calculated that out of the 16 hours awake time in any given day I spent approximatly10 of them thinking about rattling the missus, another 2 thinking about rattling other ladies (anyone from celebrities to work colleagues to the girl that works in the chippy near work) and the other 4 on general mundane matters of life like where am I and what am I doing here, I need a dump, I feel hungry, I have to piss around with a power point presentation for a work meeting, my shoe lace is undone.

What was this great thought that I had of significance to the human race? I was pondering why beer prices are as they are. Why, for instance when you enter a pub is the cask beer the cheapest grog and the Guinness the most expensive? Why are the cooking lagers more expensive than the ales (both cask and keg)?

Why when you enter a supermarket is this situation entirely reversed? The cooking lagers are the cheapest grog in the place. There is little difference, with the offers, between the 5% grog and the 4% grog. The ale is generally dearer and less frequent on the offers. The keg ale marginally dearer, and the obscure premium or “real” ale priced the highest along with the imports of beers you don’t see in pubs but might have encountered on your foreign travels. How does Guinness stay premium priced in the supermarket (it’s a rare one for the giveaway offer) whilst other brands are pretty much permanently on discount?

It wasn’t a question of why supermarkets are cheaper than pubs, that’s fairly obvious. Its customer service. Supermarkets are also cheaper than Restaurants. However in a restaurant the more expensive dishes tend to have the more expensive ingredients, as you’ll notice if you go to a supermarket and compare the price of mackerel to sea bass.

The question was more why the price structure is completely reversed, from pub to supermarket aisle? Is it nothing more than pile it high, sell it cheap? What is popular shifts stock, so a lower margin is acceptable? Is price a representation of value? If so who has it correct? Is the supermarket flogging Foster’s at 40p a can or the pub stinging people £2.80 a pint? How can a pub think a beer is a premium brand in a pub environment, when elsewhere it is cheap piss?

Luckily these thoughts were only fleeting. The lady squeeze got up off the sofa, and I caught a glimpse of both thigh and shapely arse. My thoughts returned to their more natural state and baser level without ever reaching anything by way of conclusion.

I would though be interested in the perspective of any of those daft enough to read this bollocks. Feel free to enlighten and educate me.

Oh and the title?

Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings - always darker, emptier and simpler.- Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


To my dismay I’ve not covered this beer on this blog yet. I have done the export version here, but not the regular cooking piss. A true shame as this is one of the best cooking lagers in the country. 3.8% British brewed attempt at Danish grog that is cold, fizzy and quaffable without troubling the taste buds. On a bizarre note this stuff is 4.2% when on draught in a pub.

This type of stuff gets slightly on my tits. A standard product ought to be reliable enough to be standard, with variants clearly branded as extensions. Not a fan of the notion of different ABV’s for the same brands depending on where you drink it. It is piss poor.

I remember a while back, when I was in short pants, this beer marketed as a discerning choice. Of a TV commercial involving a modern chap of the day with smart clothes, job and apartment coming home and cracking a tin. What today would be referred to as a metro sexual. Not these days, Carlsberg is firmly in cooking lager territory. It’s the cheap lout of choice in the Spoons, it’s the £1.99 lager in the Greene King estate, and it’s 40p a can to those of us sensible enough to do our boozing in the comfort of our own home where you can sit in warmth and not have to rub shoulders with the type of undesirables that hang out in pubs.

I’m not sure whether over the years the taste of this grog has changed or whether my own taste has changed. Years of cooking lager enthusiasm as enabled me to develop a taste for the subtle tastes of beer. The blandness of cooking lager enables the connoisseur to identify the delicate notes not apparent in nasty pongy robust full flavoured beer, which ruins your palate. I remember it used to have a more prominent flavour of the carlsbergensis yeast it is brewed with, giving the beer a crispness not apparent in other mass market lagers. Like the crispness of a Pilsner Urquell but milder, a beer also brewed with this yeast. None of that was apparent in the can I swigged. Nicely bland is how I’d put it. My memory could be faulty, though. Maybe Carlsberg was never like an Urquell and I’m mad to think it was.

The beer is an all malt beer (no wheat, rice or maize), with a hint of caramel added to darken the colour slightly. Back when I was in short pants, lager wasn’t as popular as it is today, but the past is a foreign country. Carlsberg was and remains brewed to the standard ABV of a standard UK lager and was darkened slightly to appeal to the British drinker unwilling to drink something the colour of piss. The same reason, so it goes, Budweiser was introduced to the UK as a bottled beer, rather than draught, was a decision that they would have to darken it to sell it on draught. Instead they opted for drinking it from a bottle where the punter doesn’t see the beer.

I have to say this about Carlsberg. It’s been a while old friend. I’ve flirted with other cooking lagers and had a romance with Foster’s, but Carlsberg will always be a love of mine, from the first swig to the final belch. Cooking lager heaven.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Another Beer Book

Had a corking weekend, and even enjoyed a social event. Don’t often enjoy social events, I more often than not tolerate them with a view that if I don’t sulk and pretend I’m enjoying myself, the lady squeeze does not get annoyed and I get a bit of how’s your father.

None of this is relevant to the beer blogosphere, though. The relevant bit is my pal Greek Dave popped round on Sunday. Greek Dave is not Greek, he’s a cockney. He’s a cockney oop north, and as you would expect a popular lad among the boys, not least for his usual greeting towards the chaps of “Any of you northern monkey’s fancy a pint?” I have never asked him why he’s called Greek Dave. Greek Dave popped round because he’d lent my wallpaper steamer and decided upon returning it along with a gift.

Greek Dave nabbed a beer book I’d been propping up the sofa with, one I reviewed here, and wanted to give me the sequel on the basis that I’d be interested in reading it. Nothing could be further from the truth but as it was the same thickness as the book he nabbed, I figured I’d have it as a replacement sofa proper upper. Why would I want to read a book about beer? Why would anyone?

Thinking about it the world is full of books that no one in their right mind would want to read. Celebrity autobiographies. Sporting autobiographies, Thrillers about conspiracies in the Catholic Church, books about cricket. Who in earth buys and reads this shit?

However, this of course affords me the opportunity of a beer book review. What’s to say about “Three sheets to the wind, one man’s journey into the meaning of beer”? Well I can tell you the meaning of beer without the need to read a book. Beer is a device for getting drunk. Well that’s saved me the bother, but as I had little else to do I decided to read it. It’s about a fella who has an amazing idea. The idea is to travel the world, drinking beer, at someone else’s expense, then write a book about it. Top stuff.

That gave me an idea. I could travel the world, at some else’s expense, and write a book about it. All I needed to do was find a subject that enough mug punters are interested in enough to buy a book about, then get an advance off a publisher, sod off on a free jaunt, and type up the tosh as some sort of spiritual journey.

But what subject? Beer has been done, obviously. Though there are enough mugs about that want to spend good money on beer books. Football maybe? Loads of mugs are into football. Nah, I can’t stand football. Sex tourism? Well I can’t see the lady squeeze being happy with that. Then it hit me. Travel the world eating “Triple Whoppers”. A world wide tour of the triple whopper. I travel the globe eating junk food and write about how the burger tastes the same everywhere I go. A travelogue for people that don’t want to have to engage with, interact with or in any way deal with the foreign culture they find themselves in. Along the journey I can have some sort of Buddhist like awakening into the nature of self, throw in a few jokes and Bob is your aunty. £8.99 a copy. Kerching.

Time to write some letters to publishers, asking for an advance on what looks like the travel book of the 21st century. Pete Brown I thank you. Not only have you sorted my wobbly sofa, but gave new meaning to my life.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Cooking Bitter

I have to confess to a particular affection for this grog due to one particular reason. Melanie Sykes. A model and TV presenter and star of the following TV commercial parodying the arty beer ads produced by the likes of Guinness. She’s a bit long in the tooth these days, and prone to advertising cheap shoes (link to Wynsors world of shoes removed but if you want a pair of shoes for £4 that last 2 weeks before falling apart feel free to google them) but she remains a guilty pleasure. An older bird that you would. Interestingly an ale advertised to younger drinkers. Something that doesn’t really occur much these days with the current national ale brand, John Smiths, targeting middle aged men. This beer was my first pint of ale, as an under aged drinker, and I remember quite liking it. Thankfully most advertising these days to the likes of me is lager related, so I’m only rarely tempted towards ale, usually only when I have to go into a pub and realise the ale is the cheapest grog in the place.
The beer is usually disparaged by beer aficionados. It’s nitro keg, produced by Inbev who closed the Strangeways brewery it originated from and started brewing it in Wales. Though it was never much liked by the ale jihadists even when it was the cream of Manchester, despite being the subject of arguably one of the best songs ever to originate from the band, The Macc Lads. There is a cask version knocking about, I believe brewed in Manchester, by Hydes. But I could be wrong. Drinking that would involve going into a pub, and that’s for losers, so let’s not go there.
This brand used to be pretty much the national ale brand of Britain. Widely advertised and available pretty much everywhere. Now you hardly see hide nor hare of it. There was even a spin off, Boddingtons Gold, a stronger version that appears to have died a death in Britain but is marketed in foreign climes as Boddies Pub ale, as fellow blogger Arielle looked at here, an American lady of beer appreciation.
But it’s the cheap English grog I’ve been necking. At 3.5% I think it’s weaker than it was. I remember this being 3.8% on keg and cans, and about 4% on cask. As it’s ale I needed an ale glass. The official glass looks like it’s for nonces so I could not be bothered nicking one. Not even for the purpose of blogging so I drank it out of the one and only dimpled pint pot I possess. I can’t remember where I nicked this one from. I think I nicked it because I wanted a dimpled pint pot, and for no other reason. I tried googling the Devonshire Ales logo, but presumably it’s a long defunct brewery. Still, it’s a can of bitter in a dimpled pint pot. Old Skool.
The one remarkable trait of this grog is that despite being described as “bitter” on the can, there is nothing actually bitter about it. It tastes nondescript. I loved it. None too fond of the bizarre creamy foam but loved the clear nutty brown colour, lack of aroma and ice cold absence of taste as it slipped down. At 24 cans for a tenner, it’s a bit of a bargain. I shall enjoy the rest.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

In honour of Wurst

You can call me a faker, call me a hypocrite, but all this beer blogging malarkey has inspired me. Specifically the art and science of the great man that is Wurst. For the last week I’ve had a crack at home brewing.

The challenge, as far as I could see, was to have a crack at it, see if I got anything remotely drinkable out of it but stay true and loyal to my cooking lager principles.

Those principles are that the beer must be drinkable, must be cheap as chips, and it must be a piece of piss to knock up requiring buggar all real effort. For I am a lazy soul. True laziness isn’t as easy as you think. There are often good reasons for doing things and thinking of a reason not to do them often requires a considerable amount of mental exercise. Some of the excuses I have to come up with to get out of DIY jobs around the house beggar belief. The lady squeeze is a canny devil and often has me logically cornered to the point of having no good reason not to do something. What is required then is a can of cooking lager, some thought and a later response of why I shall not be doing the task at hand.

So for this exercise I employed the power of thought, but first I made the mistake of talking to my neighbour Trev, who does homebrew and whose beer I looked at here. This was a mistake. It is always a mistake to encourage someone to talk about a subject they have as a hobby or great enthusiasm, they bang on, and you cannot escape them. Still, you live and learn. I escaped none the wiser but having been bored to tears about something called wort.

So then I applied thought to it and bought a beer kit. Beer kits are cans of hopped malt extract with a sachet of yeast. Which one to buy? I bought the cheapest. Just like I always buy the cheapest. It’s all just cans of malt extract, with different instructions. One kit was over twice the price and contained 2 cans of the treacly muck.

One aspect of brewing that is quite scary is home brew shops. They are run by strange bearded types with peculiar jumpers and a mad look in the eye. Even weirder than the types that drink real ale and go to real ale pubs. As weird as the guy was, he flogged me a cheap starter kit, and I wondered whether being able to look in 2 directions at once was an evolutionary advantage in home brewing. Despite my concern that he was the type of fella that would do this type of thing, I would actually put him slightly above your common or garden ale enthusiast in the normalcy stakes.

I got thinking as to why I’ve tended to dislike homebrew. Reading the instructions it said to pour in a bag of sugar. Now if you ferment sucrose you’ll get something entirely different from fermented maltose. I was figuring as to why it tends not to matter what beer kit style you buy it all just tastes like homebrew. It would do, regardless of whether its a lager or ale kit, if the main ingredient is a bag of sugar.

So I didn’t add the sugar and fermented it to 2 gallons rather than 5. The kit I chose was a bitter kit, cos Wurst and the rest of the beer bloggers tend to do ale and this is a homage to the great man. Some grog with which to toast his health.

It seemed to ferment out and I barrelled it yesterday in a plastic keg what my new mate “weird Pedro” sold me. I don’t know whether his name is Pedro, but my nickname for him is weird Pedro of weird Pedro’s home brew shop. In a week I’ll know if it’s any good. Wurst, this is one for you and in your honour I offer the naming of the grog to you.

Make sure is has the words "olde" and "bollocks" somewhere though, as we are now in unpasturised ale territory. Get me my pipe.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Brownie Points

Got in the lady squeezes good books this week by way of fixing her car. It wasn’t difficult, merely jump started it and took it for a run to charge it up but to the lady friend such things are a mystery. As far as she is concerned cars either go or they do not and when they do not it’s a bill off a mechanic. What this little endeavour earned me was brownie points. Brownie points are an important factor in human relationships. They are a form of a type of relationship currency that can be traded in the relationship. I spent my Brownie points on cheap grog.

Whilst I was in the good books I suggested Tesco for the weekly shop knowing they had an offer on 24x440ml cans of the following. Carling, Foster’s, Carlsberg, Boddingtons and Strongbow. The nirvana is back. 24 for a tenner. I was starting to think 15 for a tenner was here to stay, but as we approach xmas the game is on. The game being to buy grog as cheaply as possible. Check it out here.

As you can see from the picture I didn’t go for the Foster’s and Carling. Time for a change. Thought I’d have a cooking cider and cooking bitter to compliment a cooking lager and provide over the next few weeks some new and exciting beer reviews to give the world of beer blogging the perspective of cheap grog.

Now I could go on, as to what I spent the rest of my brownie points on but they involved chucking a glass or two of Merlot down her and suggesting an early night. You don’t need the details.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Lager related fun

I’ve been holed up for a week in bed with man flu. Not the swine flu, I’m still alive, but a far more deadly illness, the man flu.

People of the opposite sex would have you believe that the man flu is nothing other than a cough and cold and that other people take a lemsip and carry on. However female partners of the opposite sex simply have no idea how bad man flu is.

There is only one cure for man flu. Bed, hot drink, remote control and watching Jeremy Kyle, catching up with toss you recorded, and hoping for a good Rockford Files, Columbo Or Quincy, and hoping to god it’s not an afternoon of Murder She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder or other such lame detection.
Another advantage of being ill is that you have a legitimate excuse to avoid not only work, but also your friends. Avoiding your friends can occasionally be a mistake. I say occasionally, more often than not it’s the wise choice.

However one mate had bought me a present. A beer related present. He’d been abroad and bought the lads lager related fun. Now those sorts of mates are the mates you need in life. Something cold and refreshing for when my health returns. Which might be as soon as the improbably large can is cold enough. Ummm Lager.

Monday, 12 October 2009

The parts other beers cannot reach.

A glorious weekend, that’s all there is to say about it. I did nothing and went nowhere. The entire weekend was spent in my jogging pants swigging cooking lager and scratching my balls. Found a six pack of Heineken on the special for £4, around £1 a pint and whilst I don’t usually spend that sort of dosh, thought I’d treat myself. And treat you, for it means a beer review.

Needn’t have bothered, as to be honest I didn’t like it that much. The last time I drank this it was called Heineken Export and if I remember correctly I didn’t much like it then. But enough time had passed to try again. It has a cloying aftertaste. The first hit I found pleasant, but there is sweetness in the note of the aftertaste that got a bit on my tits. It was a struggle to finish all six. On a positive note it did create some fantastic belches, which I did enjoy. The type that has the lady squeeze looking at you in disgust. Always a winner. The parts other beers cannot reach. For all malt 5% grog I was surprised I didn’t think much of it. I usually like that sort of thing, but heh. That’s the way it goes.

Heineken is one of the big global brands of beer. A premium brand in most of the countries of the globe, but in the UK it still has a reputation as cooking lager. It reminds me of a dodgy film call Blue Velvet where Kyle MacLachlan drinks Heineken, and it becomes an excuse for Dennis Hopper to thump him, as our Den prefers the patriotism of drinking the domestic piss. Drinking leads to violence, obviously. It if wasn’t for the grog world peace would arrive and we would all have flowers in our hair.

The beer used to be 3% piss brewed in the UK, but when Stella took off they figured the UK market was now appreciating genuine continental strength lout and introduced Heineken Export as a version of the beer available globally. People still viewed it as piss with added alcohol so they rebranded it, dropped the “Export” moniker, imported it rather than brew it local, and renamed the regular 3% piss as “cold filtered” before canning that brand completely. They now expect us to think like the rest of the world? Since when has blighty thought like the rest of the world? What makes this country great is that we think different and we are right and the world is wrong.

The brand is on rarely in the bargain bin, so finding it there was a surprise. The big kegs (party 7’s as older people call them) are often discounted but I suspect they don’t shift due to the total impracticality of chilling a big 5 litre keg. The 6 330ml cans are nice portion amount, though. Twother size more or less is you accept a third of a litre being as close as dammit to two thirds of a pint. I remember a bird I used to date bought these kind of dinky cans when she bought beer, so maybe there is something in the notion of a girl’s portion. I could make a joke now about how the girl liked a portion, but I am above being disrespectful to ladies I used to date.

A better lout at the moment is Carlsberg Export, £7.49 for 18 275ml bottles at Sainsbury’s. Pound fifty cheaper than when the missus bought it a while back and coming in at 80p a pint. Bargain.

However the days of cooking lager enthusiasm are in peril. The zeitgeist is that cheap grog is destroying society. A financially (and morally) bankrupt government of any colour will see the pop as a tax revenue source, so enjoy cheap grog whilst you can. The days of wine and roses may be short lived.

When cheap grog ends I’ll have to find a new hobby. Maybe football. Much has been said about the England game nobody watched, including a number of publicans moaning (do they do anything else?) about not having access. I think we saw a glimpse of the future for the delivery of sporting content to viewers, something that will find its niche when TV’s across the land become web enabled PC’s. I also think it would be good for customers. Why pay £50+ a month to subscribe to sporting channels through a proprietary network when you really are only interested in a few games? When the big clubs cotton on the fact that they could sell their own games direct to punters, rather than through Sky, and make more dosh that way then like garlic bread before it, it will be the future.

Predictably I didn’t pay to watch it though, because I’m tight, could not be bothered, and not into football enough to pay money for it. Howay.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Class will out

One of the key aspects of beer blogging what I’ve learned is that there is always mileage in a booze related story in the press, and that one’s perspective ought to be squewed towards the lot of the drinking classes and not those puritan barstools that want to live in a decent and civil society.

I thus had to chuckle when I read this. Good god, you might think. Benefit scrounging dole scum necking cans of Stella whilst dropping the kids off to school, what’s the world coming to? But, you see, that’s where you’re wrong. You’re wrong because it’s a free country innit? And that basic freedom and liberty is obviously more important than being a puritanical spoilsport. Never mind the welfare of the kids. I’m sure they have just the same life chances as middle class kids. Nah, who am I kidding. It’s a disgrace alright. The kids don’t stand a chance.

It reminded me of a lass I used to date at university. Posh catholic bird with a cracking chest on her. She thankfully did believe in sex before marriage and was the recipient of the one and only poem that I have ever wrote. Thank god the current Mrs Cooking Lager doesn’t read this tosh. Anyway, I’m still in touch with the lass that gratefully received my innocence all those moons ago and she’s now a working mother with a kid. She was always dead set against faith schools, private education and was a bit of a leftie. She dropped her kid off at the local comprehensive, noticed the other mothers dropping kids off whilst still in dressing gowns, fags in mouths, and promptly enrolled her kid in the local catholic school because “at least they bother to get dressed of a morning”. She’ll be voting Tory next. Gotta laugh. Class will out as they say and we are all hypocrites.

British education, you gotta love it. Of course those that figure the so called chav underclass to be a disgrace will point out the giveaway prices of booze in the supermarkets. Well reading this, it’s pretty clear that the booze related social problems in society are more on trade than off. We cooking lager drinkers don’t need your taxes to get a lift home, under threat of having a fight down your street. We also don’t piss in the street, as some on trade customers enjoy. Oh and we don’t stand at a bar for an age, looking like muppets, in order to hand over £3 to some surly bint for the privilege of a pint, like mug punters do, we simply open the fridge. This copper is clearly taking toss.

Can you blame us for not wanting to take our pyjamas off? Crikey, I’d stay in the jimjams 24/7 if I could, can of lout in hand. It would be a nirvana. My own personal cooking lager lout chav nirvana. Bring it on

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Hands off our cooking lager !

Do the hippies have no shame? For years the sandal wearers were content to swig “artisan” products limited to pongy ale, leaving normal well adjusted people to neck clean crisp industrial fizzy cooking lager to their hearts content. Now the're claiming lager to be an “artisan” product and trying to lure people into it. See here. Hands off our cooking lager, I say! Say no to LOBI!

I want cheap, clean, crisp grog I can neck gallons of, not pay through the nose for “interesting flavours”

With the real reasons for the death of the pub industry revealed here, it’s no wonder sane sensible people stay in with a few cans of delicious and refreshing lout. Do we want lager ruined by the hippies? Do we want to have to sit and listen to people commenting on its rich depth of flavour, excellent nose, and rich heritage and tradition? No we want to sink a few and get sloshed for tuppence whilst watching a footie match on the telly.
Just look what's been done to an honest pint of bitter, by these types of people. You now see rows of ale offerings in some pubs, and not a cheap honest pint of bitter among the pongy rot offered. Don't let them do it to lager.

Hands off our cooking lager, beardie weirdies, Say no to LOBI!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Probably the best lout in the world

The nights are drawing in; the days are gray and the night’s dark. What could be finer than sitting in with some lovely cooking lager and not venturing out? I was thinking recently, which is something I really ought to give up doing because it doesn’t make me happy, that if it wasn’t for Xmas the country would shut down until spring. The xmas season is approaching and I’ll inevitably be forced to go out and mingle with friends, colleagues and associates when all I really want to do is sit in, remote in one hand, can of lout in the other and wait for spring. I could comment on the news and this interested me as did McBroons promise to crack down on drunken yobs. But I cannot be bothered. What matters it to a humble cooking lager enthusiast the empty promises of charlatans?

All I want is a nice sit down and a nice drop of lout. The missus bought some Carlsberg Export when she last went shopping, and whilst she doesn’t yet have the grasp of arithmetical skills that I am attempting to impart upon her, her heart is in the right place. She paid $8.98 for 18 half pint bottles. That’s a pound a pint. Pound a pint? Crickey, we win the lottery or something? Still, it’s nice that she buys lout when on a shop without me. Could love have any deeper or truer meaning?

So I drank my lout in the spirit that it was purchased. I drank it as an act of love. The love of lout and the love of a tasty lass that’s figured out how to keep a chap.

So what can be said of Carlsberg Export? It’s a tasty all malt brew of 5%, better it has to be said than many a 5% lager, without being a nasty pongy complex beer that would challenge. Carlsberg used to advertise as a sophisticated choice, but these days it has taken a tip from Carling and opted for a close relationship to the game of association football. Recently it replaced Coors as the main lout in the Spoons chain, which may or may not be a good thing. If it enabled higher volumes and more competitive off trade prices, thumbs up, if it means they are not so desperate to shift volume in the off trade and sell for tuppence, thumbs down.

But it’s the flavour that matters here in the beer blogosphere, and it didn’t disappoint. A decent British brewed lout that had me wondering why I hadn’t had a Carlsberg for a while. So I had another. It looks cold out. If only I could work from home, then I’d never have to leave the house. Never mind, I have a whole box of this delight.