Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Harvest Pale

Until I moved to Norwich I'd never shopped in Morrison's. I'm a Tesco fan through and through, but Morrison's is our local supermarket and I've grown to love it. I particularly like their beer selection. I like it because apart from the usual suspects it offers different beers to those that I've been used to; beers that are usually of a midland or northern persuasion. I was overjoyed to discover that they were stocking the bottled version of Castle Rock Harvest Pale whose cask sibling is one of the best non-west country golden ales that money can buy. The bottled version is stronger and with some pronounced bitterness, but it was good to see it all the same as Castle Rock beer doesn't normally find its way this far east, or so I thought.

Imagine my excitement when, the other night, I walked into what will probably be my local of choice, once we moved, and I discovered that they had it on cask as a guest. Seems the regulars had twigged how good it was as well as it seemed that every other pint ordered was a Harvest Pale. It was on top form, slightly sweet, slightly hoppy, slightly malty, with a slight hint of hamster bedding, and all round splendiferousness. I asked the barman if it was a beer that they often got hold of. Not that often he said, but when they do have it they usually sell it all in a session as it tends to be so popular with the locals. If it's a beer you've never tried then you need to at the first opportunity. It is a beer I fell in love with the very first sip of my very first pint.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

A fuck-awful name for a beer!

I love Batemans ales, but there is no way I was going to drink the one on offer in The Glasshouse tonight. 'Iron lady' was the fuck-awful name of the brew; dedicated to the evil cow that we once had the misfortune to be oppressed  governed by. There was no way I was going to risk choking on that! What a waste of hops and barley! Shame on you Batemans. Shame on you JDW. Anyway I ignored the contemptible beer and went for Galbraith's Mr G's Luncheon Ale. A wise decision I thought. This great quaffing ale was blessed with a great hop background flavour and little bitterness. The only time I shall drink to Thatcher is the day she snuffs it.
Mr G's downed I was pleased to see Charles Wells Banana Bread Beer was also on. In its bottled form it is one of my favourites, and an absolutely brilliant accompaniment to Chinese food. Sadly I'd already eaten, ironically beef in oyster sauce with egg fried rice. Bugger, poor planning that. Next time you are having that Chinese or Thai meal grab a bottle or two. Much better than some crappy ersatz-eastern lager. The BBB cask counterpart is an even more satisfying sup that its sterile stable mate as you might well imagine. Delicious!

So far I've been well impressed with the quality of ale that I've had in the JDW beer festival. QC does seem to have improved in their Norwich pubs over the last few months.