Thursday, 29 December 2011

Beer is for life and not just for Christmas

The great thing about being known as an ale fan is that when it comes to birthdays and Christmas people thankfully plump for the obvious and buy me beer. You can never have enough beer I find, although there was a time when this perhaps wasn’t the case. Amongst the various beer gifts I was very pleased to receive this mini-cask of Adnams Broadside. I’d forgotten just how delicious and packed full of malty goodness Broadside is. I found out tonight when I opened it. Mmmm. Cheers!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Why, no wifi?

Much has been written and continues to be written about the plight of the British Pub. The current economic climate obviously doesn’t help but the economy doesn’t change the underlying fact that pubs continue to suffer and decline. Some people will blame the price of alcohol in supermarkets, but as I’ve said many times on this and other blogs in the past, “I don’t really buy that argument”. The smart pubs adapt and will survive and thrive. Some very traditional untouched pubs will also survive. Nostalgia and tradition are good selling points. But many pubs in the mediocre middle will continue to struggle and be lost. Of course there is no one magic formula that will secure the future of the pub but I feel sure the answer lies in diversity and quality/attention to detail. One thing that pubs can do if they are not already doing so is to offer free wifi. If I am out on my own I will purposely go for a pub with free wifi, assuming that the quality of the beer is good as well. Even if people only use the wifi for social networking it has to be a good thing. People telling their circle of friends that they are in their local or a specific pub must encourage others to either join them or just go down the pub. There is no such thing as bad advertising. Internet access would be an asset to so many pubs and I have no doubt that it does put bums on seats.

I do acknowledge that there are some pubs that ban mobile phone use along with piped music, TV and gambling machines. These oases of electronic quietness certainly have their own attraction and therefore free wifi would be wholly inappropriate but for many others it would be a useful and welcome addition.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Winter draws on

As some might have gathered from my blog I am avid golden ale drinker. I favour drinking this style of ale most of the year round. Having said that as soon as the weather takes that seasonal chilly dip my thoughts also turn to beers of a darker hue. So generally from say November to March I can also be spotted imbibing of darker brown beers, dark milds and the occasional stout. I have to confess that stout would rarely be my first choice when out drinking but under certain circumstances I would partake. Those circumstances are either ‘it’s the last beer of the evening’, ‘there are no exciting alternatives’ or ‘I’m eating chocolate pudding’. But I do like a nice drop of dark mild.

Recently in a pub in Norwich I came across Winter’s Mild 3.6%. Winter’s is a Norwich brewery and their mild is truly a magnificent pint that epitomises this dark non-bitter genre. It is smoky-nuttiness personified. Imagine if you will a briar pipe lovingly packed with hessian and beechnut husks, ignited, puffed and then billowing out its magic. That’s Winter’s Mild in a nutshell. Well a pint glass actually.