Sunday, 30 August 2015

Curlew's Rescue



I cut my journalistic teeth writing for a local red-top, and I never really lost the fixation on getting exclusives that drives the tabloid press.

That's why I'm drinking alone on a sunny Bank Holiday Sunday, because the formidable Allendale brewery has launched a new beer at its tap takeover at the Shiremoor House Farm pub. I love  getting a 'first', me. And I'm confident I'm getting the scoop on Curlew's Rescue, a beer brewed  to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the UK's mountain rescue service.

That's my excuse, anyway.

In The Future, There Will Be Robots

"Are you being served, mate?" asks the bartender. Its voice is mundanity and averageness forged into a sound; words spoken in a Nowhere accent, understandable to any English speaker yet totally removed from any natural accent. Perfect synthetic dullness.

The robot calls me "mate" because it's analysed my body mass, height and stance. It processed my gait as I approached and knows without a doubt that I'm male. A bartender in a fancier joint would call me "sir".

I order a drink and the bartender pours it for me. It looks down at the tap as it pours, and I know this is all for show, coded into its soul to make it look a little more human. It doesn't need to see what it's doing. It could pour a beer blindfolded. Its ancestral prototype probably did back when they were trying to sell it to the hospitality industry.

It asks me if that's everything. As I hand over my cash it quickly and internally checks Accuweather, and asks me if it's still raining out there, as if it's a flesh and blood thing concerned about finishing its shift and stepping out into the wet. As if it ever leaves the bar. As if it won't eventually die here, switched off and shipped out in a box when the new models roll out.

As if it cares.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Cave Creek Chili Beer

Cerveceria Mexicana


We’re putting an awful lot of things into beer these days. I thought the Add Shit To Cheap Booze movement had hit its peak with the double whammy of Cubanisto rum beer and Manzana Loca cider-and-tequila-monstrosity hitting the big pub chains simultaneously last summer, but it keeps on happening. Fosters has recently revealed its Fosters Rocks line of lagers with rum jammed into them, with a name that pretty much BEGS to be zinged around into “Fosters Sucks”. The supervillains behind Dead Crow Bourbon Flavoured Beer (please add your own pithy speech marks as required) recently launched a one with rum in it. I bet it’s not good.

Leave it to B&M Bargains, a UK chain of shops which sells beers ranging dramatically from the divine to the 100% profane, to sell a beer that brutally and simplistically trumps the current scrabble to stick stuff in beer and sell it. Leave it to B&M Bargains to sell a bottle of lager with a fucking chili in it, for 69p.

Leave it to me to drink it, just in case it’s poisonous.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Metropolis India Black Ale

Vibrant Forest Brewery


From out of its label, Vibrant Forest’s Metropolis murmurs promise. The curvaceous architecture, the Art Deco lettering, and the ominous blue-blackness of bottle and label are all suggestive of a drink that characters in Dark City might get quietly loaded on as Jennifer Connelly huskily croons at them.

Metropolis India Black Ale looms. It threatens. It slowly and meticulously cracks each individual knuckle while maintaining the hardest of eye contact. This black beer portends a beer noir experience, just from the look of it.

When the bottle is opened, however, stuff gets wild and things spin sharply away from rain-soaked noir cool.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Guinness Golden Ale

“I got to feeling like a machine. And that’s no way to feel”
- Shaft.
- John Shaft.
- (And we can dig it.)

I haven’t blogged in MONTHS. I’m tired all the time from work and running a house, which is pretty shit, and I haven’t really been “on the clock” for my weekend beery adventures, although I’ve been a pretty earnest and possibly annoying Instagrammer of beer.  This weekend though I’ve managed to stay awake long enough to drink and write about the new Guinness Golden Ale, a couple of bottles of which the brewery posted to me.

But before that, I just want to draw a line under something I covered a couple of months ago.

The Office public house in Morpeth has won its battle with the council, and will remain open! I really doubt my posts about it had any effect at all but I’m glad that I could help champion the cause and that I could trash the “farewell to The Office” article I’d idly started drafting. Everyone should go and drink there right now.

Now that you’re back from the pub, prepare for a blisteringly hot take on Guinness Golden Ale, and let’s begin it with a word from The Man on The Street.