Now that my Belgian man flu has subsided to a cough and my nose has dried up, it was time to consider beer. Beer with taste and where better to start than with a bottle of Hawkshead New Zealand Pale Ale, kindly given to me by Matt, the brewer when he visited the National Winter Ales Festival.
I have to declare an interest here. I am a big fan of Hawkshead beers and will sup them wherever I see them. From Windermere Pale through to NZPA, they are tremendously well made beers. Hint to other brewers. Make your beers as clean as Matt's and you are half way there. Now if I was, say, the Beer Nut, I'd wax lyrical about tropical fruits, wonderful hoppy aromas and that sort of thing. But I'm not and he's way better at that kind of thing, so I won't. Instead I'll compare it to the draught (cask) version and instead tell you it is a pretty good approximation, with the carbonation held at a slightly lower level than most bottled beers, allowing the craftsmanship of the beer to zing out. It was good. Very good.
So how do you follow that? You go to the Baum in Rochdale and purchase a pint of Ossett Snow Drop, a pale, well balanced beer with moderate hoppiness, through to a strongly bitter and hoppy finish. Then you toddle down to the Regal Moon and spend the rest of the evening with your chums drinking Ossett JPA, another pale beer, but this time much more hop forward, while avoiding that wateriness that spoils many such beers.
There you have it. I have mentioned both breweries before and no doubt will again. Why? Because they are bloody good!
If you want to put a date in your diary, mark May down. Ossett will be putting Citra out. It is a stunner.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
Read my information and links and then decide for yourself. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
If you wish to email me you can do so by using this address: tandleman[at]yahoo.co.uk
These are the life blood of any blog. Please feel free to comment. I do not practice censorship if you stick to the point, but personal insults are frowned upon and may result in deletion. Anonymous entries may have the piss taken out of them or be deleted.
Beer samples are welcome, but I cannot guarantee a good review. You, the brewer, on the other hand can.
I do not currently accept adverts on this site, but if you feel so inclined, make me an offer. If you wish me to wear your brewery stuff, great. XXL please
The contents of this blog represent the personal views of the author only. They do not represent CAMRA policy in any way whatsoever.
The contents of this site and individual articles may not be reproduced in whole without the express permission of the author and will require an appropriate credit. Extracts may be reproduced with a credit to the author.