Friday, 25 March 2016

Antichrist Black IPA

This is how the world ends. The red eyes of a stone saviour's statue stare down at a city in chaos. Emergency sirens shriek through the hot Armageddon night. A New World Order ushers Earth into damnation.

The heretics from White House Farm have brought the apocalypse upon us.

With a label that promises the End Times,  Morpeth-based Anarchy Brew Co's Antichrist Black IPA sets a hard target for itself. A beer named after the end boss of Christianity needs to be a towering thing, a fork-tongued civilisation-ruiner of a beer.

It needs to be, and please prepare to groan at this one, devilishly good,

Jesus Christ I am so sorry.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Brown Bottle City: A Year In Newcastle's Pubs

It’s my 31st birthday. Newly single and drunkenly unchained. I crash into the city with a warband of friends that quickly dwindles to just myself and Pete (from the previous Head of Steam story), who will probably feature in a lot of these tales. 

We end up drinking in Sam Jack’s, a Newcastle binge emporium with a nominal Wild West theme. It has a mechanical bull and it’s really loud. The bar, not the bull. At one point in the night, my head smashed in with far too much beer, I leave Sam Jack’s and accidentally go into Sinners, the bar next door. From there I furiously text Pete to tell him to go home and that I was “on a missiom” (sic). 

I don’t hear back from him and end up talking to a group of girls on an away day from Durham. We talk a while, yelling and slurring and failing to get any real information across, until one of them pauses mid-conversation to open her handbag and loudly vomit into it. It is a primal technicolour scream, a roaring un-eat that drowns out the music, and this is my cue to leave, my brain drowning in neon-coloured vodka shots.

The next morning, upon review, I find the earnest “go home, it’s fine, I’m on a missiom” texts had been sent to the unmonitored inbox of my mobile phone provider.

It has now been two years since I drank there. There is no avoiding this place of vomit and miscommunication.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Diabolus Sour Imp

Durham Brewery’s beer labels have always had a churchy air about them. They look like the covers of treasured prayerbooks lovingly kept behind the thick glass of a high-security cathedral. The fine cursive lettering and reverent Cross of Saint Cuthbert promise class, serenity, elegance and tradition all waiting patiently to be released from their glass monastery.

While Durham Brewery isn’t a religious outfit like Europe’s great monastic brewing concerns the pious influence of the Land of the Prince Bishops has clearly fallen upon their branding. This makes it all the more apt that of late the brewery has shown a dark side, rolling out new takes on its Temptation Russian Stout called Hellfire and Diabolus, clanking off a dark Satanic bottling plant with labels bearing heavy Gothic lettering and illustrations worthy of a Mephedrone nightmare because, in the words of a great philosopher:

Without Evil there could be no Good, so it must be Good to be Evil sometimes
- Satan, "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" (1999)

Temptation Russian Stout

This review was originally published on the Rum and Reviews website, August 2012

Durham Brewery Temptation Russian Stout doesn’t mess about. It’s a 10% ABV sledgehammer with strict instructions on pouring and storage down the side and it may as well have “FRONT TOWARDS ENEMY” printed on it as well, such is the explosive nature of this blasting charge of a beer.
The nose on first opening is the opening blow in a one-sided prizefight, a complex and overwhelming rush of chocolate and hops with seductive undertones of dark rum and exotic, smoke-choked fruits that cements this beer’s nature as a gentleman thug, a complex and civilised creature that nonetheless will beat the shit out of anyone who crosses it. I stand by my initial statement on contact with this powerful scent that I could happily get high on it.