Saturday, October 26, 2013

Drinking up is hard to do

I do love you, so very much.
See that bottle over there on the right? That's the last bottle of my first batch of homebrew. The last one. I'm feeling a wee bit broken-hearted.

This bottle marks the end of my first brew, and, you know, we've had a bit of a thing going these past few weeks. You always remember your first brew, they say, and it's true.

Should I drink it now, just be done with it? End the whole affair? Or should I leave it, let things linger, maybe drink it in a month, or two, see how those extra few weeks help? What happens if they don't though? What happens if it sours things?

It started simple enough, just me and a tin. Then the fermenting barrel got involved - that complicated things I tell you. The yeast helped, I 'spose. Forgetting the sugar didn't. Like birthday flowers a day late, adding a sugar solution certainly helped mend things, but it wasn't quite enough. The damage was done. The cracks were there. I thought we were over.

But we persevered. We gave each other a bit of space for a few weeks. That time spent conditioning was like a salve for us.

Three weeks and we tried again. There was, sure, a spark, but something was missing. We limped on. Tried again a week later, and wow. Beer that wasn't disgusting. Beer that was, you know, drinkable. That respected you in the morning. Beer that, err, went down on you. 

Things got bubbly, exciting. I thought, you know, it might have been love. That this was the one. Sure, the "sugar" thing came up – the occasional bottle seemed a wee bit flat or insipid or sour – but it's nothing we couldn't work through ... Only, we've run out of time. This bottle here is the last one. My last one. And now I have to decide.

I know I have to move on. I know there are plenty more brews in the sea, but, well, drinking up is hard to do.

Glasgow's about to get very crafty

Pollokshaws Burgh Hall.
Weekend after next is a special one. Not my birthday nor a brew day; it's the Scottish Craft Beer Festival in Glasgow.

It promises to be quite an occasion, with a good selection of beers and brewers on tap. A few exceptions, but it's got a good geographical spread, from the Northern Isles to the east coast to the Borders.

And just cause craft beer is all hip at the moment, don't be expecting no swanky craft beer pub for this do though. The event takes place in the elegant, but old, Pollokshaws Burgh Hall. That's right, Pollokshaws ... in the south side. On the other side of the river. I'll need some sort of map and fare to get there ...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Brewed, The Mad and The Snugly

Evil Twin Brewery's The Cowboy fits snugly in your hand.
Everyone knows a cowboy's favourite drink is whisky. Everyone. It can be rye whiskey, Irish whiskey or Scotch. Doesn't matter. Everyone knows this. Everyone ... Err, hello Evil Twin Brewing?

OK, so everyone except Evil Twin Brewing knows that a cowboy's favourite drink is whisky. Evil Twin reckons a cowboy's favourite drink is beer, their beer in fact. That's a big claim, but Evil Twin have some big beer ideas, and their The Cowboy concoction has big beery presence like The Man With No Name.

The Cowboy poured amber golden and frothy, and was opaque like a mad yeehah wine gum. It's aroma was a delicious smokey heaven, complex and distinctive, containing tangerine, leather and a sourness I couldn't place. Maybe some desert cactus that only gives off its smell after those late rains in springtime.  

On the taste, those flavours were amplified, but ever-changing, so that each gulp was different to the last, and also difficult to pin down. Yes, the smokiness retained throughout, however (and we're talking how your clothes smell after a night yakking round a campfire, not the smokey smell of sausages, haddock or nicotine worshippers), and there was a mild hoppiness too, that tended towards tropical rather than citrus and balanced well with the heavy malty pilsner goings-on.

A bottle of The Cowboy comes in at around a tenner for a litre or so (possibly 75cl) so it ain't cheap, but I doubt you've ever had a beer like it. Worth a shot at the very least - it's one punch-packing, cheroot-smoking brew, and I'd hoppily have it again.