Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Robinsons launch Hospitality Apprenticeships!

Robinsons has announced plans to launch a series of apprenticeships, in partnership with Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and quality assured professional training providers Charnwood, to meet the needs of modern retailing. The Cheshire brewery has spent the last 12 months developing the offer with licensees and will aim to have 130 candidates on the programme by the middle of 2014.

Thursday, 10 October 2013




Robinsons Brewery today announced that over ONE MILLION pints of TROOPER have already been exported around the world. Given that the beer was only launched in the UK five months ago on May 9, and only made available to the USA and most other countries less than two months ago, this is a remarkable accomplishment for the Cheshire family brewers and takes the total number of TROOPER pints sold globally to over 2 million pints.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Blondes are more fun

I fell in love with Exmoor Gold right from the very first sip and since the eighties it’s been my favourite beer. Golden ales stand head and shoulders above any other style in my book. But in recent years a newcomer has nuzzled its way into my affections and is now without a shadow of a doubt the very best beer by a long chalk; Thornbridge Jaipur is my new (ish) love. It's what I think of as an 'American IPA'. Yes I know, I know. I love the crispness and the intense flavours along with bags of flowery hoppy bitterness.

These days it’s often available in selected pubs in Norwich but a couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to go to Sheffield. Thornbridge seem to run a number of pubs in and around Sheffield and I popped along to Dada; a quirky ‘art’ bar in Trippet Lane. It was early evening, the Jaipur was on top form and I would have loved to have stayed for the music but I needed to find a bite to eat and not get pissed.

Whilst in Sheffield I also paid a visit to the Fat Cat in Kelham Island. A great local boozer. I could live in Sheffield. I could live and drink in Sheffield.

Friday, 14 June 2013

It's an age thing

I try really hard not to be a ‘stick in the mud’ and ‘the world has gone mad’ sort of bloke. And whilst I’m nowhere near the outer limits of sanity on that planet inhabited by Daily Mail reader swivel-eyed UK types, some things do get my goat. And one of those things is being asked my age to follow a brewery on Twitter. It’s just happened to me when I tried to follow Sharp’s Brewery. 

Well Sharp’s brewery can just fuck off! It’s nonsense! 
Can we have a little sanity please?

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Art and craft

I think the penny might have dropped in the USA that the term ‘craft beer’ actually, when it all boils down to it, means absolutely fuck all!

This article ‘Mother Earth wades into craft beer label debate’ highlights the problem that appears to be manifesting itself in the States with bigger breweries trying to muscle in on the craft beer market. And why shouldn’t they? Isn’t America the land of the free market anyway? Surely anything goes?

Of course I’m being a bit mischievous here but it does highlight the problem that a nebulous category like ‘craft beer’ faces. I’m seeing the term ‘craft beer’ used more and more in the UK and whilst I’ve enjoyed a number of beers that might carry that label I have to say that the term ‘craft’ is essentially pretentious bollocks!

Exactly what is a craft beer anyway?

Beer is either real (live) or it is dead. There are good and bad in both kinds. Quite frankly I don’t greatly mind what size the brewery is as long as the beer is of a quality and taste that I enjoy. My preference will always be for real ale when it’s available and of a reasonable quality. I accept that just because a beer is real ale and is from a small brewery it doesn’t necessarily follow that it will be any good. Likewise a beer from a multi-national might not always be bad. Quality is more important than trendy labels. Real ale is relatively easy to define, craft beer means nothing. Craft beer is for the type of people that have an iPhone, shop at Asda or would happily eat out at Nandos; Those that go for image over substance. Craft beer could be a threat to real ale if society continues to head towards a marketing man’s paradise. So expect the return of Watney’s Red Barrel sometime soon!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

“Bitter race row over Faversham brewery Shepherd Neame's Spitfire beer ad”

Shepherd Neame are not my most favourite brewery and their advertising always manages to offend me greatly, as it should any decent thinking person! 

They do say that there is no such thing as bad publicity but when, in my humble opinion, a brewery brings a quality product like real ale down to the level of the lager lout and swivel-eyed UKIP types it’s a very sad day indeed. 

Shepherd Neame’s jingoistic approach to beer advertising really has no place in the day and age and I’m glad, if this article is to be believed, that an advert for Spitfire has been refused permission to be aired on TV. ‘The sketch, which stars comic duo Armstrong and Miller, makes reference to "Poles" and "Paddies" laying patios.

I have blogged before about their distasteful advertising. I even complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about them. Sadly my complaint was not upheld. I repeat my call now ‘Come on Shepherd Neame clean up your act.’

Perhaps it’s time for beer drinkers to boycott the likes of Shepherd Neame. And while we’re on the subject lets boycott Charles Wells for their somewhat neo-sexist Rik Mayall ads.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

"Please tell us your views on pubs that offer overnight accommodation" the email said

I’ve just filled in a survey from these geezers (I use that term in the nicest possible way I might add). The survey was about accommodation in pubs. It’s quite some time since I’ve stayed in a pub. These days I prefer to stay in Premier Inns which ironically are owned by Whitbread, a onetime brewery.

I no longer stay in pubs because on the last few occasions I’ve always been underwhelmed by the mediocre quality and service levels. I’d rather have uniform quality than quirky shoddiness.

I worry that these days much of my commenting on pubs seems to be negative. But I do feel that many publicans, whilst I’m sure hard working, would rather stick their heads in the sand and blame the righteous and justified smoking ban or the red herring that is supermarket beer prices rather than offering customers a unique quality experience that will bring customers to their door. Publicans its ‘game upping’ that’s needed not crying into your beer!


Friday, 12 April 2013

More cheap beer bollocks

This Daily Telegraph* story sparked by a letter from “The heads of pubs, nightclubs and breweries… …pleading with David Cameron to stick to his plans to introduce a minimum alcohol price.” Is absolutely fucking ridiculous and all about greed rather than any concern for peoples’ welfare. Capitalists don’t give a shit about the welfare of people!

Sadly there is this myth that I firmly believe is totally unfounded that cheap supermarket beer and alcohol in general is causing the demise of pubs. Even sadder is that Camra seem to be prepared to sanction this misguided notion. Pubs are killing pubs with their lazy, dirty, ineffectual, uninspiring and couldn’t care less attitudes. Oi you, pubs! Give the punters what they want. And, rarely is it cheap alcohol. Care about them. Entice them.

Has supermarket coffee prices damaged Costa?

Why when I purchased my pint of Thornbridge Jaipur for the princely sum of 4.90 of our English pounds in the Norwich Tap House last Saturday, a place where all the beer is priced in similar fashion, was the place heaving? 

*Daily Telegraph – the thinking-but-uncaring-person’s Daily Mail

Saturday, 9 March 2013

A bear of very little brain?

…Pooh Bear.

In my last post I promised to write about a good experience I’d had on that day and that experience is Pooh Bear from the Norwich Bear brewery. I’ve since been back for confirmation and it is a most excellent beer.

As the crow flies The Rose on City Road, Norwich is possibly my nearest pub. Although that accolade could go to the ‘spoons Queen Of Iceni on Riverside. I just can’t be arsed to even work it out. Sadly I too often eschew the Rose for the Kings Arms. That’s because I’m a bit of a beer whore. The Rose now seems to only do their own beer. Now don’t get me wrong, the beer is very good, it’s just that I’m always looking for something new so I tend to walk that little bit further often.

Anyway, back to the beer; Pooh Bear 4.2%. It’s a brown beer, but not just any brown beer, or brown bear come to that. Well actually it’s the golden side of brown, but hey all beers are on the brown spectrum aren’t they? What first hits you is that it has that distinctive and oh so appealing hamsterbedding taste, right from the first sip. This is followed by sweet maltiness along with some slight floral notes. I guess that’s the orange and the honey coming through, although I must say the orange is quite subtle. Nothing wrong with that I might add, subtle orange does just fine!

Pooh Bear is a most enjoyable ale and Norwich Bear a most useful brewery. It’s a no-brainer really.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Beer today gone tomorrow?

I became bored with this blog and being tied by the feeling that I had to write about every ale drinking experience. It is surprisingly liberating just going into a pub, ordering a pint and just enjoying it without even having to think about writing about it. But last Saturday I had a day of two pub halves and have felt the need once again to put fingers to keyboard.
Saturday lunchtime saw us out to lunch. I won’t name the pub but we’ll call it the Monarch’s Appendage or Appendages. Beautiful old pub in a picturesque village setting. A pleasant enough greeting but the service seemed a tad slow. Because I was driving I only had a couple of halves, but both were very well kept golden ales; the first Theakstons Lightfoot followed by Humpty Dumpty Swallowtail; most enjoyable. Sadly the lunch experience left us somewhat underwhelmed. The pub wasn’t heaving, there were three staff on doing both waiting and bar serving. More than enough it appears to deal with demand. There appeared to be a lot of walking back and forth but very little actual doing things. It took someone ages to take our order, despite a reminder. Getting a second drink from the bar took an unnecessarily long time. And our meal took around forty minutes to arrive and when it arrived it was rather disappointing. I wish pubs wouldn’t try their hand at what turns out to be pseudo gastro. Don’t get me wrong I like gastro when it’s done well. In fact there’s a pub in Norwich that does gastro outstandingly well. But if you can’t get it right then stick to pub grub. I’d rather have good pub grub than mediocre gastro any day.
Don’t let any licensee talk to me about cheap supermarket beer and being the reason for pubs closing because quite frankly its bollocks. Poor and mediocre service and fare are the reason for pub closures. Come on pubs get real. You want bums on seats you’ve got to earn them!
The day improved early evening when I called in at a very local pub and was pleasantly surprised. More about that in my next posting.