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

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Some very nice beer

Out and about you get the impression that Christmas is just around the corner. It isn’t, its months away, but still the shops fill with Christmas tat. I’ve even seen mince pies with a sell by date of the end of November, meaning they are stale a month before Christmas. I find it is important to do some Christmas preparation. I don’t mean buy presents or buy tat or send cards. I mean prepare for the fact that before you know it a load of scrotes will be coming around your house for Christmas visits and parties and necking your grog. I’ve still got loads of decent grog nice people sent me for free that I haven’t got round to necking yet.

This is the time for a bit of mid week binge drinking to ensure all the decent grog is necked so when people punt up at your door, all you have in is a bottle of Jacobs Creek Chardonnay and a few bottles of Stella.

It was with this in mind I cracked open a bottle of Sharps Single Brew Reserve 2009 4.5%, sent to me by Stuart Howe of Sharps brewery, way back when. Brewed & batched in December 2009, conditioned for a month before bottling with live yeast the gumph on the bottle promised a balanced & complex flavour. A beer of this promise deserves my Stella Artois glass. Ooo, the smell. Sugary, like an old school type sweet shop. There’s a whiff of parma violets in there. I’m prepared to accept that not all pongy ale smells are rank. This aroma made my mouth water. The buggar of bottle conditioned ales is the upright storage and careful pouring but the rich malty taste and mild hopping really went down a treat. Front of the mouth and tip of the tongue flavours rather than a back of the mouth bitterness. Nice stuff and didn’t last long. I sunk it with indecent haste. The squeeze raised an eyebrow and enquired whether I was intending a session. Could be, treacle, could be.

After that one I cracked Sharps Special Rock Cornwall 5%. You’ve gotta read the bottles if you’re gonna blog. This beer has a formidable reputation. Sweet & Complex. Liked by something called the “cask appreciation society” and preferred by boozers to national brands when stocked. So there you are.

Slight malty taste to it, sweet fragrance. A well balances bitter. Malt hits you first then a lingering dryness kicks in rather than a bitterness. I’d class it as a top notch bitter and whilst I’m wouldn’t presume to give it a baron rating, I’d give it a Viscount rating of “top notch”, as Viscounts are up a notch from barons. Certainly no “boring brown bitter” for those of us whose taste buds have not been ruined by hops.

Ooo, what next. Finchley’s Golden Ale 4.2%. This stuff was given to me by a nice chap at Aldi, as you can see here. A clean almost medicinal hop smell with the colour of a light ale, rather than golden lager. The taste of a light bitter, well rounded and full of flavour. A good traditional pale ale with aromatic hops. Quite fizzy, and I liked that. The effervescence was followed by sweetness, then bitterness and a lingering pleasant flavour. Even tasted decent when I belched. Time for bed? Nah one more.

Finchley’s India Pale Ale 4.5%. Pale & Crystal malts, spicy & fruity hops and some stuff about India on the label. A quite lovely smell of sweet and bitter promise backed up with a light flavour. The Fizz gets you first, as in the previous Finchley’s but then the sweetness and dryness follows. Very much like the last one but no worse for it. At the same price this is slightly stronger and wins.

Four beers, all nice, not to pissed up but with a belch it was off to bed as a slightly disgruntled squeeze made it clear to me that four was quite enough for one night.


Baron Orm said...

A 'Viscount rating'? you sod! ;)

Still 'top notch' is a pretty decent score - what are the other levels of rating?

Cooking Lager said...

I give everything a Viscount rating these days. After a bit of how's your father I say to the lovely lady, "That gets a Viscount rating of top notch, my dear".

Most beer gets a Viscount rating of top notch as do all 4 on this post. I recently drank 2 substances called "Aperol" & "Obstwasser", both of which would get a Viscount rating of "Jesus wept"

Flagon of Ale said...

The Finchley's look more like lava lamps than the others, which seems nice.

Also, if you do figure out a way to have 4 beers on a weeknight and spend time taking pictures/writing about said beers on the internet without upsetting the lady of the house, do post your secret. I haven't figured that one out, myself.

Mark, said...

Check out the glassware on Cookie!

Cooking Lager said...

Even changed glasses, when moving from bottle to brewery conditioning, Mark.

The thing is Flagon I've been observing the lesser spotted beer geek at things like twissups. They have notebooks. If you jot notes down you can knock it up the next day. These geeks are brighter than you think. You must bin your notes though, and not keep them in a scrap book, or you become a geek.

Flagon of Ale said...

Beer notebooks, eh? I don't think I'm quite ready to make that leap. It's not a bad idea, but how does one keep any sense of self-respect? I didn't even take notes in school.