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

Monday, 26 July 2010

LOBI week at the Rake.

The wonderfulness of the beer blogosphere and the generosity of beer people continues to delight and surprise me. The kind gentleman that is Glynn Roberts was kind enough to send me some craft lager samples, along with a t shirt, glass and yeh an autographed beer mat. Glynn writes the blog Rabidbarfly and runs the Rake in London. I’ve never been there, having a mild allergy to London, but I’m sure it’s a nice place, even if it may very well be full of beer geeks. He’s got a craft lager festival on at the moment, which I suspect is much like a regular beer festival except that the patrons are doubtlessly younger, more attractive, thinner, better dressed, clean shaven and with trendier haircuts. Click on the link for details. I’m sure if you’re darn sarf, it’s worth a look, despite the absence of cooking lager. Craft lager is all well and good, but you would expect a lager festival to acknowledge the special and legitimate lager style that is dirt cheap lout.

The lady squeeze appears less surprised when I show her free beer these days, I don’t know why; it still excites the pants off me. Receiving free beer is one of the single most exciting and life affirming events in life. She did express concern that the beer mat would appear in a new frame(which it will) and her opinion of the red Breda Lager T shirt was a tad uncomplimentary. That at least gave me a solid reason to wear it. Wearing clothes that she hasn’t bought me or approved of when shopping is an important element of masculinity. It looks a bit like an Arsenal T-shirt, so it’s quite fun to wear up north.

All the very best with LOBI week, Glynn. I fully support craft lager. It is a useful stepping stone from pongy ale to bona fide cheap supermarket lout as we convert the pongy ale drinkers to cheap lout.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Ultimate Pongy Ale & Cheese Combo

I’ve long been a fan of Hardknott Dave. From his blog entries about denying his paying B&B customers’ ketchup & HP sauce, to his current pongy ale-brewing outfit. It is easy to have a bit of fun, but what comes through is the guy’s obvious passion for his art and I was intending to buy some of his grog anyway to give it a go. It may very well be more expensive than my usual cheap nectar but heh, as a one off, just to try. A one off isn’t abandoning my principled support of cheap lager, and it is important to see the world through the eyes of others. Dave was kind enough to prevent the indignity of paying top dollar for fine ale, and sent me one to try for nowt. Nice one fella.Thankfully it was a regular bottle of Infrared and not something surrounded by a dead rat.

With this kindness I felt a sense of responsibility to do the beer justice. To appreciate it in a manner appropriate to fine ale appreciation. First off I had to drink it out of a none stolen glass. Luckily I had one of those, I’d bought a couple of beer glasses from Sainsbury’s for a pound each after the lady squeeze commented that all the beer glasses in the kitchen cupboard were “nicked” and it would be nice to have some that weren’t. Next off I had to find some food to match to it. Beer and food pairing is how fine ale is a nice posh drink up there with wine. The beer blogosphere is like a large encyclopædia of beer. All you want to know and more. I quickly figured a beer and cheese match was in order. Beer and cheese matching is what proper beer geeks do.

So what is the finest cheese on gods earth? Pongy French cheese? Rubbery German cheese? Cheddar? That blue mouldy stuff that is rank? The finest cheese on Gods earth is DairyLee triangles. Philadelphia comes close, Kraft cheese singles is up there, and cheese strings are not to be sniffed at, but DairyLee Triangles is without doubt the finest cheese on the planet. As DairyLee Light was on special offer at a full 30p a packet cheaper, we make a nod to cheesy health. On top of a mini cheddar, it’s cheese gold. A bit of garnish to make it posh, but I’m not one for salad so a 6 for £1 Morrisons sausage roll gives a bit of meaty garnish to the dish.

I pour the beer out and read the label. It’s bottle conditioned so I did consider carefully pouring it to avoid sediment, but that always leaves some beer wasted so I thought sod it and poured the lot out. It wasn’t cloudy and was indeed the ruby red colour the bottle promised. It promises an oxymoronic IPA as hoppy as a bucket full of frogs. Not knowing what that meant I assumed it just meant “bitter” Based on an Oregon beer with cascade & centennial hops & crystal malt. Yarda Yarda Yarda. Flagship beer meant to shock me be a challenge. Wait a minute there is some useful information. 6.5%. That means its nut juice. It’s looking promising. Time for a swig.

Delicious. Hoppy, Bitter but balanced with a sweetness. Fantastic, love it to bits. Decent grog. A fruity pong for sure, but not an unpleasant smell. A nice swig when you neck it. The fizz hits the tongue followed by a lasting bitterness that lingers and dries the sides of your mouth out. Quite a mutli-layered beer hitting the tope of the mouth first. Theirs a charcoal burntness to it as well which it quite appealing. Combined with the light cheesy creaminess of DairyLee contrasting with the full cheddary goodness of mini cheddars I’m seeing cheese and beer is quite the thing. Set it off with the mechanically reclaimed meatiness of a cheap sausage roll and this is quite the feast. Only one thing can top this off. A mini battenburg for afters.

Truly a fine ale, and when combined with a truly fine cheese it is a simple but fine feast. But what makes DairyLee so good? See the video. Can you do that with any other cheese?

Video of DairyLee:

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Supermarket of the Year

The Cooking Lager Supermarket of the Year Award is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious awards in beer retailing coming direct from those that love and appreciate the wonderful beer that is cooking lager. Whilst there is undoubtedly a niche for pongy ale & pubs, cooking lager represents the beer ideal of a lovely drinkable drop of grog available for tuppence. Cooking lager is thus the democratic beverage of choice for all those that enjoy getting pissed up and not breaking the bank. Whether you are short of a bob or two, saving up for something nice or simply like me, as tight as a nats chuff, paying sod all to get pissed up is living the dream.

The supermarkets of Britain deserve special recognition among cooking lager enthusiasts for providing a low cost efficient supply chain, and negotiating fair deals with the nations brewing interests, to provide value to the nations consumers. Not for the supermarkets an inefficient and costly supply chain built on a highly geared property management business model, just the desire to beat the competition and supply a quality product at a lower price to their competitors.

All the supermarkets undoubtedly deserve an award, as all in their own way have offered outstanding cheap lager offers over the last year, but there has to be a winner. That award, as voted for by the discerning people that read this rubbish, is going to Sainsbury’s & Lidl.

Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd
33 Holborn

Lidl UK GmbH
Tailend Farm
Deans Road
EH54 8SE

The award has been sent to them, whether they like it or not. I offer my congratulations and hope the supermarkets of Britain continue to sell cheap lager at wonderful bargain prices. Click on the Picture to see the award in more detail.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Dave's Beer

I feel like the Pub Curmudgeon in having a moan about the nanny state, but I have just returned from a trip to the dentist. A routine six monthly check up, no problems. The usual prodding about, followed by a clean & a suggestion to floss. What made it slightly unusual was a preceding discussion in regard to my personal habits. How much do I drink? Answer “Dunno, what’s the average?” Do I smoke? Do I eat sweets, do I drink sugary drinks?

Now some of these I might expect. You expect a dentist to tell you the usual gubbins about toffees and pop, and even I suspect to want to know whether the patient smoked as that affects oral hygiene, but is it any of my dentists business that I am a piss head? I was tempted to tell her “I’m an internationally renowned beer writer me like Protz, Avery, Brown & Dredge and head of the campaign for the greater appreciation of cooking lager and a right proper piss head. So what?” Maybe I’m being a little over sensitive here to the personal intrusion, but you know what, I can accept my doctor asking but what has it really got to do with whether I need a filling?

On a more positive note, guess what I got given by the wonderful human being that is Hardnott Dave, brewer and artist formerly known as Woolpack Dave? Only a free gratis bottle of his grog. Nice one Dave. The bottle informs me that it is a rather challenging beverage and I’m reminded of a scene in the film Withnail and I where Danny says “don't get uptight with me, man. Because if you do, I'll have to give you a dose of medicine. And if I spike you, you'll know you've been spoken to.

Well, I shall enjoy it even if it is an attempt to medicine me with a beer of character and flavour. I’m gonna have to take my dentists advice and get necking some of this free grog. I might even tell you all what I think of it. If it touches the sides that is.

Keep the free beer coming, folks. You’ll convert me away from cheap lout eventually, it’s only a matter of time.

Friday, 16 July 2010

A perfect day

Every so often a day occurs that approaches perfection. There is no clue as to how the day will pan out when you awake. Often the day can start off a bit of a bummer. No milk for my Coco Pops or tea, so it’s toast and black coffee. When you get to work you realise it’s the same routine. Then something magical occurs. A box arrived. Written on the box was the legend “historical ales of Scotland”. The wonderful people of Williams Bros brewery in Alloa, Scotland has sent me a box of beer, free, gratis for nowt. For no other reason than they appear to like this tosh. In the magical box were 9 bottles of beer, a glass & a T-Shirt. Lovely beer, a glass to neck it from and a T-Shirt from a micro brewery that will enable me (if I combined with sandals & a few days of stubble) to look like a beer geek. Wahay. Now I’ve got a beer T-Shirt I can go on a beer bloggers twissup and look the part.

I have mentioned before my love of free beer, how it colours my view of humanity as a fundamentality decent species and of society as a benevolent structure, but the pleasure when someone sends you some is hard to measure. I pondered for a while the possibility of a conspiracy. That brewers of Pongy Ale might not like the Campaign for Greater Cooking Lager Appreciation and how they might be trying to convert me to pongy ale. If so, keep it up. I can live with it as I really rather like pongy ale. In the box were a couple of lagers, some ales and a few really quite odd ones it will be fascinating to try. I still like cheap lout, though, my first true love. I pondered the possibility of a conspiracy manifesting itself in a more malevolent manner if the benevolence of the free pongy ale strategy fails. After all, in order to receive free grog you have to give up your anonymity. With each sample I receive a greater chance of the militant wing of the ale jihadists finding my garage full of cheap Carling, Fosters & Carlsberg and burning it down. But for free beer, it worth the risk. For those that question the point and purpose of beer blogging, there is one clear and unambiguous answer. Nice people send you free beer.

You’d have thought a box of free beer would be enough to turn the monotony of an average day into perfection, but another thing happened. When walking out of the office at lunchtime I spotted on the pavement a tenner. A ten pound note. I looked around, no body to whom it could belong. Wahay, a tenner. What a day. As I went to bed that evening I let out a sigh of satisfaction, free beer, found a tenner, then the squeeze grabbed me and said “You don’t fancy going to sleep straight away do you?” Result. Hat Trick.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The best supermarket

The world cup is over, and with it many of the best bargains. We will have to wait for the next bank holiday for the next round of stunning offers of cheap lout. Please take part in the poll on the left, and let me know where you stocked up on cheap lout. All the beardies like to give awards to pubs and what not. Cooking Lager appreciation is all about the joy of cheap supermarket grog, so I reckon on sending an award to the supermarket that wins. Whether they want one or not is another matter

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Beer memorabilia

When my lovely lady squeeze arrived back from work she almost instantly spotted a new addition to the mantelpiece.

“Why do we have a beer mat in a frame on the mantelpiece?” She queried, brow furrowed in apparent disapproval. No query about the delightful mixed seafood salad on a bed of rocket I had lovingly prepared, or bottle of Pinot Grigio I was letting breath. I’d learnt about letting wine breathe recently. Rather than open, pour, neck, if you want to be a bit posh you open, wait 5 minutes, pour, neck. I’m not sure how this makes it posher, but it does. Adds a degree of sophistication to your £3.99 Morrison’s special offer bottle of plonk.

However the beer mat in a frame required explanation. “It is not a beer mat in a frame darling, it is an autograph of the world famous Hardnott Dave, the brewer and artiste formerly known as Woolpack Dave, purveyor of world class pongy ale of distinction to the discerning, written out to my online beer persona.” I offered.

“And that is staying on our mantelpiece is it?” She queried further, apparently still slightly dissatisfied with my full, frank and open explanation.

“It is not every day, darling, such a special object comes into our possession and it would only be fair to show it off. When guests ask, there it is. The one and only Hardnott Dave, the brewer and artiste formerly known as Woolpack Dave. It will impress and delight in equal measure. An object people will covert. I have already rang the insurer and they do not think we need more home insurance, so I’ve put in on display, rather than in the safe.”

“I’m sorry, but who is this Dave guy?” At this point her concern was turning into confusion. I smiled to reassure her.

“Dave is the famous former proprietor of the Woolpack Inn in Cumbria, not Emmerdale Farm. He was famous for refusing to offer ketchup to his paying punters with their full English fry up. Now he is a famous brewer of pongy ale. His autograph is worth a lot of money probably. Not like the ten a penny autographs of Pete Brown and the like, who autographs all his books ensuring the un autographed ones are rarer and of greater value. This is a true rarity of beer memorabilia.”

“Is he some nutcase to do with beer blogging?” She shoots, she scores.

“Well sort off, but no more a nutcase than anyone else” That was it, goal conceded, but not the game

“And you want a beer mat on the mantelpiece in a frame?” This continued in a circle for about half an hour. All the time not quite understanding why one would put a beer mat in a frame and place it proudly upon a mantelpiece. Women eh?

Big thanks to Sid Boggle for the souvenir.