Sunday, 28 June 2015

Beer & Football, Part Deux!

When looking through my blog reading list, I often see the Barons titled 'Looking Forward to...' on the list; this means he's been sent beer that he can't try right away.

This is my Looking forward to blog..... 

I'm looking forward to the first beer festival to be held by AFC Wimbledon! Yes a much brighter note than the last beer and football blog i wrote. 

The festival runs:
Friday 10th July from 5pm - 1am
Saturday 11th July from 12 noon - 1am - There is also the Watford pre-season friendly being played from 3pm that day.
Sunday 12th July 12 noon - 6pm

Apparently the festival is being run in partnership with the new Wimbledon brewery and there will be 40 ales, Ciders, Perries and Craft Beers available from local and regional brewers. 
Ale FC Wimbledon...

For anyone interested in meeting up for a beer, i'll be going on the Friday night after work. Hope to see you all there!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Pastures New; Like Totally New!

So, I'm back. If you hadn't heard.

In that London anyway; apparently i'm not allowed to sit around in Cape Town pretending to be a writer anymore and i had to get a job. So I did. I sent an email to the London Brewers alliance and some of them thought i might be worth employing! Who'da thunk?

Even though I'm not really 'salesman material' i'd really like to thank the brewers who thought i would do a good job for them, it meant a lot that they thought highly enough for me and when you've been out of the loop(circus) for a while it's nice to know people remember you.

There were a couple of jobs that interested me but one really excited me; nailed down that was the job i wanted as soon as Duncan offered me it. Talking to Duncan and Sean at Sambrooks is an enlightening experience; for starters the brewery was a lot bigger than i was expecting. Having an extended chat in the bar looking over the brewhouse i got the distinct impression that these chaps wanted to do things the right way, not the easy way but the right way!

For example, if you get a job at Sambrooks you have to go through a pretty rigorous training program which has been developed over the last few years; as you might expect in other jobs but i get the impression not everyone cares too much about the little things that make all the difference.

So what's my job? Chief Taster? Master Pisshead? Nope not even close, I'm a Brewery Assistant. This means I do cleaning, racking, cleaning, more racking, more cleaning; after all, anyone who actually brews a decent beer will know that 85% of the process is cleaning and it just so happens that Sambrooks have people for just that role and i'm proud to be one of them!

I'm very happy with the situation, I'm learning from some pretty great brewers, i have a full time job in a respected brewery and i'm liking keeping a low profile for a change.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Beer & Football

Bit of a rant at my football club, sorry my beloved Dons but you need to wise-up and you won't listen.

For some time now there has been a growing number of fans who have been unhappy with the beer selection at the club on match days and whilst there has been a small amount of improvement it needs to be rather more progressive in my opinion. Friends of mine who are far better known and respected at the football club have tried making suggestions but they are basically falling on deaf ears.
I once took an ale back to the bar because it was quite clearly off and i was basically ignored by the bar manager who was even overheard later that day slagging off my friends and i to another member of staff behind our backs. Pretty childish if you ask me.

Now i understand that there are reasons for the beers we have on the bar and most of them are monetary; fine, the club needs the cash, we're a small club and tend to exercise more caution than most when it comes to finances because we're fan owned; but please do not blow smoke up our collective arses by sending out a survey that is badly written, not well thought out and generally lacking in any solid beer knowledge!

You can find the survey here Dons fans and i urge you all if you know anything about beer to use the comments boxes when choosing because the choices you're given are just awful.

My need to re-fire the blog came from the following points on the survey....

Question 8. For a session beer i would rather drink...
1) Carlsberg @ £3.30/pint
2) Carling @ £3.40/pint
3) Fosters @ £3.50/pint
4) I don't drink session beers.

NOT ALL SESSION BEERS ARE SHITTY MASS PRODUCED LAGERS! How about asking someone who knows about beer for an opinion and you'll probably get some cracking session beers in!

Question 9. My Favourite 2 premium beers are...
1) San Miguel
2) Kronenberg 1664
3) Stella Artois
4) Grolsch
5) Heineken
6) Peroni Draught
7) Budweiser Draught
8) Other, please specify....

You want me to answer this? OK None, they're all shit mass produced lagers; i know, shocking right?

Question 10. I would describe our ale selection as...
1) Great, a football stadium serving three different ales from three different breweries every match day is perfect.
2) OK, 3 different ales is good but it's two of the same breweries every week.
3) Bad, the ales are all too similar and never really change.
4) I never even look at the ales.

Two things on this last question which is far to narrow in it's choice of answers.

Firstly - from the wording of the rest of the questions you(the club) think that ales and beers are two different things. They're not, please ask someone with a bit of knowledge before wording the survey!

Secondly - In principal i agree with option 1 and option 3 and therefore generally act on option 4.
Any football club that dedicates 3 different ales on a match day should be applauded; however! The ales are far too similar and the plough lane ale isn't even brewed in London to my knowledge, it's just another disgusting Marstons product! Other two ales are also generally on the 'twiggy' side and completely uninteresting so i tend to go to a local 'spoons beforehand and have a few Brewdog Punk IPA's with friends. The beer is tastier and cheaper.

Rant over. I love my Wombles but when it comes to beer they're utterly clueless.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Camden vs Redwell

I started writing a blog about my feelings on this then realised i have more important things to worry about.

that's all.

PS has anyone else noticed how much the UK beer scene is embarrassingly crawling up it's own arse lately...?

that's it...really.


Thursday, 29 January 2015

Purity Protect Masculinity by Offering Lady Glasses.

I've read the great news today from the much esteemed Coventry Telegraph that Purity Brewery based in Warwickshire have designed and brought out a range of stemmed glassed specifically aimed at 'more feminine hands' They bought in academics to do it, so it's scientific and must be real.

HOORAH!

Finally, women will stop stealing pint glasses from pubs! 

The Purity Goblet
Seriously fella's, even though it looks suspiciously like every other beer goblet you've seen, let's rejoice in our reclaimed masculinity! No longer will we look like a big wuss standing next to a woman drinking a beer from a Nonic! no! we will look like MEN again!! 

I also hear that a craft brewery we've all heard of will be creating it's own 'lady glasses' a quite different receptacle than these mere 'goblets'. No these will act as an audition for those on first dates. So boys if you're not up to it, don't order it...

But back to Purity's 'Lady glassware'...

Let's quote one of the owners, shall we...

"Purity believes drinkers, both male and female, are becoming more discerning and opting for quality over quantity" he continues..."Our consumers buy into what we do" and adds "We are more aligned to their values, while the big boys have moved away from localised business".

In plain English this means, we've sold a lot of beer and want to be bought out by one of the big boys so we can retire. We're trying to look trendy because some of the bog boys have already tried this female glassware nonsense and their graphs and spreadsheets tell us it works...

He continues, "we operate within a 70 mile radius - there are over 500 pubs in the whole area who stock our beers" meaning No, really! You might be able to get our beers in the rest of the UK but they're likely to be out of date and a bit nasty having travelled from Mordor to the free world...

Continuing to bang on about being 'local' the brewery opened a bar in Birmingham not too long ago and are now looking at Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol and London for more venues. The Scots and the Welsh are just too far away though so fuck them.

Cue Twitter outrage.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Aspirational Lambic Awards 2014

I'm here to amuse myself so I'm doing these again this year. By all means be boring and do a Golden Pints award(sounds like you're enjoying your piss too much though), these are the real awards people have been waiting for; the Raspberries to your Oscars, the AVN's to your Golden Globes, the Johnstons Paint Trophy to your FA Cup...

This year was particularly difficult as i was struck by the challenge of looking at recreating last years categories or creating completely new ones whilst not actually giving a shit about any of them! Eventually I decided that a mix of old and new would probably be more interesting for me er...you, Fearless Reader, so without any further ado, here are The Aspirational Lambic Awards, 2014!!

The Shia LeBeouf Award for Originality goes to : Anyone that's grown a fucking beard this year! and yes, I am jealous that my naturally Peter Pan looks don't allow this!

Best Bullshit in 140 Characters : The double act of @totalcurtis & @ChrisHallBeer has been particularly relentless this year.

Most Boring Beer Style : Craft Lager of course! Especially the Indian Pale Kind!

How Many Craft Breweries Do We Have To Buy Before People Realise We're Craft? : AB Inbev or whatever it's called now.

Best Deserter of Normal Job For Job in The Beer Industry : NateDawg OF COURSE! Congrats dude, you'll have no life in no time!

There Must Be A Way To Use This Brewery As a Front For Illegal Activities... : You might know already, I couldn't possibly comment.

I'd Rather Have a Carling : Than anything from Greed Kerching.

The Dinosaur Award Because This Is All A Bit Tongue-In-Cheek : In A Pub Magazine and those toilets.

You Might As Well Read His Blog, Everyone Else Keeps Giving Him Awards So I Will Too! : Martyn Cornell.

The UKIP Award For Not Really Being Beer Nazis : Ratebeer.

So there they are, as i said last year, if you feel left out and really want an award, i'm unemployed now so cold, hard cash will work.

Peace and goodwill towards those who are less intelligent than you. i.e me.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Calling Time on Tipping?

So i read this article by someone i'd never heard of, this morning and whilst he says is all for the creeping Amercianism into British culture, he doesn't seem to like Americans and apparently he's a bit of a tight git when it comes to tipping bar staff.

Alan Tyers even claims to have worked in a boozer although the line 'Come on. Many of us have worked in a boozer at some point' is more of an implication rather than a statement and he goes on to say that it's not very hard work. We'll pick up that point later though.

Lets have a look at paragraph one, which ends with this sentence 'but we all have to draw the line somewhere and one thing that Americans can absolutely, definitely shove up their 'ass' is the growing menace of tipping in pubs'. Since when is it a menace to tip staff? It's a nice thing to do if you think you've had good service! Menace? Really? Over-react much, Tyers?

Tyers continues that he's discussed this phenomenon with men, British men, no less and that they didn't seem to have the same problem with tipping the bar staff that he does, they were more worried about the amount to tip. That's probably because they are nicer human beings than you, Mr Tyers!

My advice if you feel like tipping your bar tender is give what you feel is right, in the states it's a dollar a drink and whilst it can add up for the person being served the tips they get make up a large portion of their wages. We have a minimum wage in the UK so a safe bet would be ten percent of the bill, it's something i work to when i'm tipping anywhere but generally any tip (within reason) will be accepted as it shows a recognition of work being done and something that my bar teams used to do is collect towards a team night out so the tips, no mater how big or small would go into the pot.

Then he starts banging on about the wages of bar staff, something which as a former Bar tender, Supervisor, Manager and Operations Manager in the last 22 years, i can say with some authority is still a contentious issue for many employers and employees in pubs and bars up and down the UK. Let's face the fact that most bar staff in the UK get the minimum wage. This is partially down to how the job is viewed by many people in the UK. It's seen as a very transient job rather than a career. People in the UK just don't have the respect for the job that people in the states do. The work is just as hard, the hours are just as long and at time, the customers can be just as vile. How can someone who claims to have worked behind a bar be against tipping?

Let's have a look at the national minimum wage in the UK. Currently, for people over 21 it is £6.50 an hour, just £6.50! If you're younger than that the rate goes down to as low as £2.73 for apprentices! I'm all for a minimum wage, it can be a vital tool for smaller companies, helping them balance their income and expenditure more easily and is reasonably fair although personally i think the rate should be slightly higher so tipping your bar staff can be very helpful to those staff. i'm not for one minute advocating tipping shit service but £6.50 and hour isn't close to what some of these hard working people should be earning for the job they do. We lose hundreds, probably thousands of potentially great staff because in the UK service industry because the wages are terrible, why shouldn't we try to hold on to a few of them by tipping them a bit extra?

Moving on to the last paragraph of Alan Tyers nonsense, i might well say, to each their own in regards to tipping and i'd be right, if people want to tip, let them. If they don't feel they are able then they should not feel obliged to do so. obviously i don't want to hand over a tip to a sullen bar tender, no matter what country they are from, you gave away your UKIP tendencies there, Mr Tyers but lets also make the point they've probably been serving a massive arse like you all night.

Note : It has been pointed out in the comments below Alan Tyers article that he may just be spouting someone else's horse shit philosophy simply for reaction and blog hits. Being the old cynic i am, i find this eminently believable. So if this is the case lets not be too harsh on Mr Tyres, or maybe you should, i will leave that entirely up to you. To each their own.