Keeping it real … Real Ale
Due to family and football commitments I unfortunately wasn’t able to attend the first two SX Bottle Shares but with a blank space on my calendar I was going to make sure that I was in the Alehouse this April!
Even though my bottles had made it from Bruges and Barcelona unharmed I was worried that they wouldn’t survive the journey to Belgravia and back, as to make it in time for kick off I would have to leave straight from work! After a slightly delayed train and a close shave of a commuters foot and my bottle bag I arrived at one of my favourite Essex drinking establishment’s, The Alehouse in Chelmsford. The first time I visited the Alehouse a few years back I instantly loved it and have been meaning to do a proper blog post all about it since (note to self make this happen!), the selection in the Alehouse is possibly the best in Essex and I like the fact that it’s visitors are a mix of die hard brewheads alongside with people who have never tried a real ale or craft beer and are about to embark on a mission of first times!
I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the bottle share to be perfectly honest, I don’t feel my beer tasting notes are particularly my strong point when it comes to writing about beer so meeting up with a group of beer lovers that included The Beer O’clock show and Justin Mason (who in my opinion is one of the best writers at describing beer flavours) I thought I might be slightly out of my depth! However, this all disappeared as soon as we started! The whole evening was fun and a good laugh, I wasn’t put to the test with any beer notes, you can write as little or a much as you want and there isn’t a reading out at the end like a school class, it’s all about enjoying good beer with good people!
All the beers was top quality, we started of with Lovibonds Barreled Aged Sour Grapes which was perfect refreshing beer with a sour lemon tartness and a dry cider-esque finish.
It was a real treat to get to try Galaway Bay Brewery Of Foam and Fury, a beer which I have read a lot about recently and unlike a few other beers recently bigged up on mass it lives up to the hype and more!
To Øl Liquid Confidence was one of the best of the night, it’s warmth left a tingle on the tongue and leaves you wanting more!
Although disliked by many I really like The Wild Beer Co Barrel Trinity Ninkasi Premier Grand Cru it was quite odd and started off like a cider and finished like a Belgian triple!
We had a huge bottle from Moa Brewing Company with their 4 time award winning Moa Noir from New Zealand and St. Sylvestre 3 Monts from France. There was even a blend of two Czech dark lagers.
Martins IPA tasted even better from the bottle then it did last summer at the Brussels beer festival. The only beer I wasn’t completely sold on (although grew to like a bit better then when I first tried) was Siren and Stillwater Smoke Signals, it was really smokey on the nose but then powerfully sour tasting.
My contributions was a bottle of one of my favourite beers, Straffe Hendrik Heritage 2013, which is a special barrel aged version of their quadruple, I also brought along a bottle of Mob Barley from Ca l’Arenys and Cervezas Guineu, who I honestly know nothing about but loved the name when I saw it in BierCab in Barcelona and brought the barley wine home.
Yeastie boys Hud-a-wa lived up to the brewers name and was very yeastie and the Porterhouse louder was a great American style barley wine.
There was some incredible food being passed around the table too including the amazingly sticky gooey Harviestoun’s Old Engine Oil Porter chocolate brownies that had been teasing us all day on the beer o’clock shows Instagram page.
Some people may find it slightly intimidating joining a group of guys who have already formed a monthly meet but I can assure you that newbies are welcome and that it’s a welcoming group, it’s not a members only group it’s just a table of people who enjoy good beer and beers are best shared! So beer geeks we’ve not met yet or even if you’re new to the world of real ale and craft beer you’ll fit in fine just bring along a bottle to share and join the large wooden table that’s got more beers, belly’s and beards than a Game of Thrones feast!