Brighton Bier bar takeover and meet the Brewer night

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Mostly every other Saturday and a few Tuesday nights per season you will find me in the Leyton Orient Supporters Club. Those who don’t know I am involved with the committee there and I am extremely proud of the achievements for the club and for the hard work my fellow committee members put in to gain the CAMRA awards.

I don’t think there is another football club in the country that can claim to have as much involvement with real ale as us, with most Saturdays easily going through hundreds of pints of anything from 12 to 16 different beers throughout the day!

When we are not open for a football related event then it means it is either one of our beer festivals or it is a special one off beer night. Last season Marble Brewery from Manchester took over our bar with a fine selection of beers, Mighty Oak for our yearly Christmas celebrations and also had a night of some of the smaller London brewers. Our next night is a evening full of Brighton Bier, we first had their beer last season and it was an instant hit!

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Brighton Bier was set up when three friends combined their beer passion and ambition to put Brighton back on the brewing map.To achieve this they combined the original Brighton Bier Co with specialist cask and craft ale wholesaler WithSoul to bring a business that not only brews beer but also provides people with other great beers around the country.

The Brighton brewers themselves will also be joining us in East London for an evening sampling the following Brighton Biers Thirty Three 3.3%, West Pier 4%, Underdog 4.2%, South Coast 5%, Dealers Choice # 1 (Black IPA) 5.5%, Dealers Choice # 2 5.5%, (Under the) Table Bier 7%, Fall Guy 4.5% (Collaboration beer with Greene King) and Coffee Racer ?%. Coffe Racer being brewed especially for the night, brewed using coffee from Small Batch Coffee in Hove to make a stout that at the moment doesn’t have a definite % as of yet!

The date to put in your diary is Thursday September 25th, the doors open at 5:00pm and the first talk from the brewers will be 6:45pm and again at 8:00pm but they will also be around all night to chat, have a beer and answer any questions. As usual pints are £3 and there will be snacks on the night.

On top of all this we are delighted to say that we are being presented with two awards from CAMRA, the awards won are the East London and City Club of the Year and Greater London Club of the Year. The presentation will be held around 9pm and we hope you are able to come celebrate with us. Keep an eye on www.orientsupports.org, www.lofcsc.wordpress.com and @LOFCSupporters for any updates and more details.

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Nuetnigenough, Brussels

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I could make this the shortest blog post I have ever wrote…. “this meal is one of the best meals I have ever had”…. I could leave it there however my meal in Nuetnigenough really does need to be explained!

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A short five minute walk from Grand Place is Nuetnigenough, a small long narrow restaurant with tables running down each side of the room with two tables outside. There is a high wooden bar at the end where the drinks are prepared and depending on space you can wait there for a table to be free. Downstairs are the toilets and they are one of the nicest and poshest looking toilets I have seen around Brussels!

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The beer menu here is special featuring some rare gems in bottle and five draught taps. When we visited there were Saison Dupont on draught and their pils but also one hell of an incredible beer from De Struise Brouwers called Black Albert weighing in at a whooping 13% but gorgeously smooth, smokey, chocolate tastes. The barman talked us through his beers and was obviously very proud of their selection. We had a bottle of Schieve Tabarnak from Brasserie De La Senne, which wasn’t even in the brewery when we visited as the barman (who I think may have been the owner) had asked to take four of the last eight crates but then had cheekily convinced them to let him have all eight!

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Schieve Tabarnak is a collaboration brew between Brasserie De La Senne and the Canadian brewery Brasserie Le Trou du Diable from Quebec, it’s a sweet rye beer with a lip smacking bitter hop finish making the beer another top beer in De La Senne’s collection!

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We had already studied the menu and knew straight away what we wanted, I had opted for the saddle of rabbit in a Cantillon Gueze beer sauce and my misses had gone for the pork fillet in a Pius X beer sauce both with chips as we all know the best chips in the world are from Belgium! The previous time I had rabbit was also in Belgium in Les Brassins and was at the time one of my favourite meals, that time being in a Kriek cherry beer sauce, however Nuetnigenough has smashed that off the list and gone straight in at the best rabbit dish I have ever had, c’est parfait! The pork fillet was cooked perfectly and melted in your mouth, even the side salad was lovely (which was an added bonus as I didn’t know there would be a salad to share with the meal at all) and the homemade mayonnaise to dip our chips in was so good we had to ask for another!

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One sign of how good the food was that the two of us hardly said a word to each other as we ate, which I don’t think has ever happened! We were so engrossed by the tastes going on in our mouths!

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Prices are reasonable especially for the high quality of food matched with one of the most impressive menus of beer for rarities and different beers I had seen all weekend! We were very happy we visited and a trip to Brussels will now always include a meal in Nuetnigenough!

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Yall a Brewhead? I’m a Brewhead!

Since the growth of social media the world really has become a small place! Online #Beerbuddies across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook post pictures, write reviews and inform me on whats the best beers and where to drink them from across the world! My first look at American beers was because of Instagram, daily streams of photos of #BeerPorn filled my phones time walls and it was here that I bumped into Phil of Brewheads and Cee.

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Whilst scrolling down my Instagram feed my eye was caught by a glass and hat, usually after having a little look I scroll onto the next photo frantically double bashing my screen liking all the pictures I find interesting, however this time I am glad curiosity got the better of me and a little ‘What’s this all about’ led me onto discovering a great blog, Beer merchandise company and a new musician to add to my playlist!

Cee is a rapper who grew up in Australia then moved to Canada when he signed to the HiPNOTT record label and he has just put out an album called “this is all I know”. I am a huge Hip Hop head and back in the days of college, believe it or not, you would have found me digging through vinyls, writing rhymes and recording some tunes with my mates in college and was a familiar face in the Essex Hip Hop scene! My days of drinking beers in the vocal booth are long gone but you will find classic Hip Hop, Reggae, Soul and Funk on my headphones and I regularly still moan about the current state of pop music! So it was a pleasant surprise to see this rapper making the type of Hip Hop I like and also a full blown beer fanatic! And it gets better not only is Cee posting pictures of great beers he has also recorded a Hip Hop anthem for craft beer called Brewheads, which has pretty much been on repeat since I first heard it a few weeks back! Brewheads is a track by Cee which is dedicated to the whole craft beer movement and raps about beer throughout the verses unlike any other song I have heard. He got together with Phil of Brewheads to make the video which was premiered last week and you can see below (hopefully).

So through this pictured posted I see that Cee has an album coming out and in celebration of this he has teamed up with Brewheads to bring us a special beer glass, hat and box of beer goodies. While some of us over here in the UK may use the terms beer snobs, beer geeks etc Phil, the founder of Brewheads, has given us the collective name of Brewheads and to support this has an excellent range of Brewheads craft beer merchandise.

So after a few emails back and forth chatting about beer and our blogs between Cee and myself and Phil and myself I made a few purchases including the special Cee x Brewheads collaboration. I could have bought more on the website as the Brewheads gear is awesome especially the “she’s so crafty” girls vests which would have been a great present for the misses if they hadn’t nearly sold out due to being so popular! Here’s a look at the bits I got…

Cee x Brewheads glass
A cool glass in a design I don’t have to add to the collection. Feels good to hold and has a Cee and Brewheads design in gold on the sides. The packaging this came in was good too, never seen the protective material they used to keep the glass safe. Instead of the usual bubble wrap this was made from paper and I presume a recycle material! Great idea!

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Cee x Brewheads snapback hat
This is what caught my eye first off, a black hat with gold design on front as well as gold barely and the very original designs black and white hops on the underside of the peak! Looking double fresh in this! Even suits the dog!

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Hop t shirt
Like the hat design this t shirt has a hop design on the pocket and really is one of a kind and looking very original! I was told I am the first one in Europe to get these items too so def an original piece for me! The quality is really good too, it also came in a cool box!

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Cee – This Is All I Know
I have given this album a few listens now and it’s a really solid album. Fans of artists like Intuition, Atmosphere, Ugly Heros, Shad or any form of non commercial hip hop will enjoy this album. The strongest track is the utter banger “Brewheads” but also other tracks such as “don’t mind me” featuring Ras Kass and “times of our lives” are strong tracks too. After Brewheads though my favourite track is “no conversation” this is the type of song that makes me want to get back into music again!

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So it’s funny what a simple comment can lead too! The Brewheads blog is a brilliant blog too I have added to my online library and I look forward to hearing future Cee tracks and hope the album does well! I recommend their online shop too so have a look Brewheads!

http://www.thebrewheads.com/

http://themovementfam.com/

http://ceetmf.bandcamp.com/

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Bottoms up in Belgium…

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Ok so maybe slightly different to my usual look at beer books but this book was born from Belgian beer, plus its hugely entertaining and interesting so any Belgium / Belgian Beer fanatic will enjoy!

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Bottoms up in Belgium by Alec Le Sueur is a quest to search for things of interest in Belgium so that it can squash it’s unfairly knicknamed boring Belgium. Alec had never been to Belgium before till he met his wife while working in Tibet who happened to be Belgian! He had never been to Belgium before and in 1993 he first set foot on Belgium’s lowlands. Alec had a change of heart towards Belgium when he made the right choice of ditching his usual favourite pint of Stella and tried a Belgian beer, he has never looked back! An idea born from seeing how great and diverse (interesting) Belgian beer can be Alec then advances his search for interesting Belgian things with such subjects as Belgian food, history with both the world wars, peeing boys, chocolate, cartoons, links with Africa, sport and the very funny opening chapter on Rooster crowing competitions!

Alec’s writing style was a good, entertaining read as well as informative,  this book taught me a lot about Belgium. Alec is joined by his kids on some of his searches for interesting things but the star cameo appearances has to go to his Belgian father in law who sounds like a right old chap, some of the funniest pages will mention him!

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If this doesn’t get your inner beer geek going so far then it will when you read his beer tasting notes, Alec honestly admits he isn’t a connoisseur of beer tasting notes but what he does do is describe the beers in a hilarious manner that is refreshing to read in a world full of serious (although brilliantly done) tasting notes! After that first beer which turned his head from Stella he made a pact to never try the same Belgian beer twice, a challenge that should keep him going till retirement as we all know how many beer Belgium has to offer!

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So although maybe not the usual beer book review that I would usually post on my blog “Bottoms up on Belgium” will no doubt interest any Belgium fan but also does more than preach to converted and as it would attract any one who hasn’t visited Belgium also!

Mikkeller bar Copenhagen

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Mikkeller, possibly the modern beer geeks most highly admired name in the world of beer. I am going to hold my hands up, I slept on Mikkeller for ages and maybe in an act of stubbornness ignored the ‘hipsters’ hype around them! As I learnt the story of Mikkeller the more I started to listen, the classic story of two twins splitting up and starting two different beer brands (Evil Twin/Mikkeller) then growing into this mystic gypsy brewer visiting the world’s  famous breweries to brew his beer, it’s hard not to be attracted to such a story.

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My only previous run in with Mikkeller wasn’t the most memorable moments, not due to the beer itself as it was amazing but the fact I had three pints of 10% monks Exilir in the King Will after a day at the football, so the reason for it not being memorable was solely down to me! None the less I was starting to look differently at Mikkeller and it’s followers in a different way then I was originally.

Fast forward to to the end of July and I find myself on a flight to Copenhagen to join one of my works cruise ships to start a trip around half of the Baltic. As with most of my work trips I don’t get too much time to myself to be able to see parts of the places I am in interested in, for example the pub! But it was 11pm on a Friday night and not long after having dinner and unpacking I thought it’s now or never!

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A 40 minute wait and an extortionate £25 9 minute taxi journey later I am standing outside a packed to the ceiling, dimly lit, buzzing bar… Mikkeller bar! Outside there are rows of pub benches packed full of young trendy looking folk, inside you step down a few steps into the low bar area with a few tables around with candle light and people busy chatting over beers. A small square bar hosts 20 taps mostly all with different Mikkeller beers. The Danish speak perfect English so no worry about any problems ordering you beer, the only problem you will face is picking which one!

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I went for the Amass B&W West Coast style IPA, mouth bursting fruity creamy IPA! This was up there with one of the best American/Indian Pale Ales I have ever had! Due to the taxi taking most my money and having the possibility of over an hour walk back to where my bed was I had to make the visit quick so I could catch the last train back to somewhere much closer to where I had to be! There was still a huge amount of people there when I left and it was a really nice evening still warm at midnight so most of the crowd was still outside when I left!

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The next day I had some spare time so after making a quick visit to FC Copenhagen’s ground so I made another visit to Mikkeller bar in the day time, although due to sailing times this trip was even quicker! Still in the afternoon there was a lot of people about. The rooms seemed a lot larger and brighter in the daylight but it still had a vibe about it. A group of Americans was taking up most the bar giddy eyed looking at the huge list! This time I ordered a Beer Geek Breakfast… Wow! Perfect! Coffee and chocolate perfection!

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I was worried about prices before leaving as Mikkeller usually demands a high price tag and I wasn’t wrong as such, the whole of Denmark is expensive for us tourists! You could have small 150ml glass so you could save a few penny’s and get to try more of the stronger beers without getting too swozzelled but however I did see the most expensive pint I have ever seen…  One of the specials they had on was a beer called Saeson from New Zealand based brewery 8 wired weighing in at over £20 a pint! There was also a name I know well… The Kernel ‘Citra IPA’ and you could get a pint of that for £13! Don’t get me wrong I am not overly complaining here, I knew it would be this price however I didn’t care and every sip of the Beer Geek Breakfast was worth it!

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So although I am still not up there with the hardcore Mikkeller lovers I am now transformed as a big fan. With its iconic status it now has I can big up my beer geek status and say that I have been to the Mikkeller bar, I would without doubt recommend it to anyone who is in the impressive city of Copenhagen!

Belgian National Day at the Dove

It only takes a few minutes looking at this blog or twitter to see that I am huge fan of Belgium! I visited a few years ago and I was instantly hooked, on my return I needed to satisfy my Belgium fix and looked into where I can enjoy Belgian beer around London. I soon found the Dovetail in Farringdon, a small very authentic Belgian cafe with a great selection of some of Belgium’s finest beers on draught and bottle. I signed up to their news letter and had many a great evening in the Dovetail and their other pub The Dove in Broadway Market.

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Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and I receive an email from The Dove inviting me to celebrate Belgian National Day Monday 21st July. I was there with bells on! Not only was I excited at the invite I was double excited as for the first time in what feels like months my other half was off work on a rare day off and was able to join me to celebrate the independence of Belgium.

We arrived at the Dove in Broadway Market on a boiling muggy Monday evening to be greeted at the bar and shown around to the back room in the restaurant half of the pub. On our table was a sheet of paper of the evenings plan and we were served at our table by the very polite and knowledgeable staff. A huge thanks goes to them because they were great all night long and really did know their beer facts. The lay out for the evening was in three parts, regional beers to start, something special in the middle and finishing off with Trappist tradition.

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First up with were introduced to Lindemans Cuvee Rene Lambic beer, funnily enough a beer I had in the Dovetail a month or so back. A great example of the traditional Belgian blending techniques resulting in a lip smacking tart sour beer, which at the moments is blowing up in London with many breweries trying to replicate. To go along side this beer was some mussels in a white wine cream sauce, chips, bread and of course mayonnaise! I have eaten in the Dove before and hats off to their chef as every time I have eaten there it’s been amazing! The mussels were huge and really tasty and most importantly the Lindemans Cuvee complimented the food perfectly, the best food matching I have had which was surprising as the Cuvee is such a required taste. Next up in the regional beers we had an example of a cherry beer with Boon Kriek, it was nice and sweet and one of the best examples of a Belgian cherry beer however I personally don’t go out my way to have them. Rodenbach was also part of the regional section, a beer I really like with its sour, vinegar, balsamic flavours. But the stand out beer of the section (and the entire evening) was St Fueillien Saison, outstanding! I love a saison but this one is a perfect example of these excellent beers originating from the farmers fields of Belgium. Belgian yeasts with a bitter finish invade your taste buds!

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The second serving of food was some Thai finger buffet style food, which was incredible, the salmon fish cakes was amazing, crisp vegetable rolls and juicy satay chicken, I really recommend anyone to eat in the Dove you will not be disappointed! The middle section excited me, three beers I had never tried before. First up Duvel triple hop 2014, this year’s version of Duvel with a new hop added every year. This year was the American hop mosaic, which gave it a tropical fruit bitter finish, very nice and a little stronger than the usual Duvel at 9.5%. Next up was a beer I had previously read about in Belgian beer and food magazine, The Huygue Brewery with their beer Deleria, a beer produced by female brewers for national female day. Similar to delirium but with a floral scent, this beer however tastes it strength which is odd with Belgian beers as usually I don’t feel they taste high in percentage. Last of the specials we was treated to a brand new beer from.The Huygue Brewery Abbey Averbode a beer which has been made in collaboration of the Norbertine Averbode Monastry, Belgium’s biggest producer of paper! Like a few other breweries The Huygue has teamed up with the abbey using its name and status and all profit is given back to the abbey to help with any costs for the abbey itself etc. Along side these beers we had some incredible cheese! One was a Kwak cheese and the other was triple Karmeliet cheese and both were perfect, no doubt I will be looking out for them in September to bring back from Brussels!

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Last section was one all beer geeks are familiar with, Trappist beers! Although we were celebrating the independence of Belgium from The Netherlands we started off with a Dutch Trappist beer La Trappe wit, one of my favourite wheat beers and it took me right back to Veere where I first tried it on draught! Interestingly I was told that it doesn’t use the usual wheat beer spices and the taste is all hops, so this is a great example at what you can really do with different hops. Along side a whole load of Belgian chocolates we had a St Bernardus at 12 and the classic Rochefort 6, two beers that needs no explanation as they are two incredible beers just go out and find them!

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It was a lovely evening and we both enjoyed it very much. There was a few guys from Cave Direct there as well to talk through the beers and chat. It was a small group of us but we chatted till late and shared stories of our trips to Belgium over a few more beers!

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A huge thank you goes to Paul and his team at The Dove for putting on such a great night and I advise anyone who likes their beers to make a trip to both the Dove and the Dovetail soon!

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Beavertown Brewery Opening

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Today saw Beavertown brewery and tap room open up to the public for the first time. I am a huge fan of Beavertown and their beers and even though everyone I knew and their aunt was busy today I wanted to pop down and check out the new gaff which is now situated in Tottenham Hale. This is also my first live post from my phone to excuse and layout problems or errors!

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As soon as I walked in I was greeted by the best pair of baps I have ever seen…  Two complimentary pulled pork slider burgers from Dukes kitchen, the excellent restaurant and original sight of brewing for Beavertown. They really tasted as good as they looked!

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The first sight you’re welcomed by in the brewery is the huge stacks of colourful and beautifully designed new beaver cans, a insight to the future vision of Beavertown taking their product to the next level.

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Scattered around the brewery are lots of benches, so there is loads of places to stop and sit while enjoying one of the many beers from the bar, giving it a very American brewery tap room feel.

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The second half of the brewery is the new tap room bar, a small smart wooden bar with 10 draught beer taps full of great beer from the brewery joined by a large fridge full of special bottles beers and cans from head to toe. The walls surrounding this area have examples of the wonderful prices of art work that bless the Beavertown bottles and cans.

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While at the bar you will stop in amazement at the sight of the new mothership engine to the brewery, brand spanking equipment surrounded my the sweet aroma of hops. It is much bigger than I had expected and a brewery of this size will help Beavertown move to the next level that I think it deserves to be at.

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The staff were all very friendly even when it started to get really busy towards the time I left.

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The beers that was on display were all amazing! I started off with Lemon Phantom, low in % but high I’m flavour this incredibly refreshing lemon flavoured beer is superb on a muggy day like today. I also had Pink Panther which I described as the best pink beer in the world and the amazing Rubus Maximus, a collaboration fruit beer with Beavertown and Wild Beer Co which was brewed with a tonne of raspberries! This was tart, smooth and was so good it wouldn’t be out of place on the shelf amongst the very best Belgian fruit beers, simply amazing! I finished the session of with the 9% ‘spresso which was smooth, dark, rich coffee stout which was again a very good beer!

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I don’t know what the future opening times will be but I am sure to be down in the near future and I wish Logan and the team all the very best will developing the brewery into one of England’s finest!

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