Saturday, February 22, 2014


So it turns out I'm not off the drink at all. Turns out You were right, I was talking rubbish.

Lasted until Monday, when I headed on down to the Print Works in Glasgow to check out the artwork to go with the Williams Brothers venture at Drygate in the city's plush east end. Better beer blog thebeercast did a write up, and so did the Creative Review. I thought the artworks were brilliant, mostly. The lager good; the IPA fantastic; and the apple ale ... well, it wasn't for me.

Anyhow, guess what! Turns out I'm really not off the drink at all whatsoever. Thursday I headed down to Stereo which was once a top pub in the west end that did a fabby night called Dub and Grub, which was just that. This Stereo's near Central Station but has a cool, hipster vibe. I noised up the poor barman and tried some naff celebrity I-Ken-You chat with boardgame geek and comedian Rab Florence.

And guess what! Turns out I ain't off the homebrew either. Right now I'm drinking my very last Reflection, the third beer I ever made and until V for Victory, the best. I think it's gone off a bit but it's still a solid pint. Bit twangy, yet still carries loads of flavour. Reflection was the brew that made me realise how easy it is to brew it yourself. And I kinda love it for that.

Anyhow, guess what! Turns out I ain't off the homebrewing at all. As I'm writing this I've a can of Cooper's Light Malt Extract bubbling away with a whole load of Cascade hops. Have been for almost 45 minutes. Once done I'm going to cool it quickly in a cold bath then add it to a Cooper's Premium IPA, my first (flawed) kit. I'm going to throw in some Liberty hops for the fermentation too. That'll (hopefully) give it plenty of flavour and aroma, while the boiled up Cascade will (hopefully) have upped the bitterness substantially. Wasn't the original plan, but I stumbled into the homebrew store Inn House Brewery and met Scott Williams, gave him some naff celebrity I-Dinnae- Ken-You chat then nodded sagaciously while he talked about isomerisation, the meaning of which I know not. Also got to see the very, very funky labels from the Drygate brewery I mentioned at the start of this post which brings me nicely to the end of this post cause that's my 45 minutes up.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

The End of the Beer Blog

I'm never drinking again. No more beer, wine, whisky, meths. End of the reek, the wobble, the slurring and blurring. I'm giving up on wrestles on pub floors, courting arrest and diamond chat. Cheerio funny stories and outrageous yarns. Farewell minesweeping, cringe and blackouts. Goodbye beer blog and homebrew. Goodbye hangovers, ya evil, twisted, nasty bastards; and hello alcoholic-free beer!

These following words aren't mine. Many thanks to my dear friend Ben Becula for this, my last review:

Clausthaller Has that nice sweet and sour character of a really drinkable pilsner.

Erdinger Alcoholfrei A bit of a biscuity, weissbier this one. Considered by many to be one of the best non-alcoholic beers around, and I would agree.

Furstenberg Frei Excellent. When I'm in the mood for a tasty, satisfying thirst-quencher, this one often does the job. Like the Clausthaller and the Erdinger, it has character and complexity to it that a lot of other n/a beers just don't have.

BrewDog Nanny State IPA This is like hen's teeth, which is absurd considering BrewDog are Scottish. I have only been able to find it in Sweden and they don't even sell it in the BrewDog pub in Glasgow for fuck's sake! A pity, because it is really rather good and tastes like a proper citrusy, sour IPA. The trouble is that the Scottish/British mentality is so implacably opposed to n/a beer, unable to see it as anything other than a punishment for those who have overindulged, or a cross to bear by designated drivers, that this beer can't seem to get a foothold in the heartland of IPA.

Bavaria 0.0%
In most supermarkets. Made in Holland, the lying bastards. Same idea as the Cobra. To be honest, when I see Cobra, Bavaria and Beck's Blue on the shelf, I always go for the Beck's even though it is more expensive. Basically, they do lack something when they have not been brewed to full strength to begin with. Having said that, I have bought Bavaria many times and will do again because it is perfectly drinkable and still tastes like beer of a sort. Some folk think it's great, but I suspect they haven't tried the premier-league ones listed above.

So there you are: what I'm going to be drinking for the rest of my life. Maybe seek out a Becks Blue or a Cobra 0.0% for variety. And there's the homebrew, too. Gotta find a way to get that ABV down to a safe and sensible <1%, because I am never drinking again. Ever. 

Sunday, February 09, 2014

V for Victory: Part II

So I finally got round to doing my label for Homebrew No. 5, V for Victory. I did labels for my previous four concoctions, and was keen to continue this tradition.

I thought it might be pretty clever to have a picture of Winston Churchill, doing his two-fingered salute, with a V mask from Alan Moore's classic V for Vendetta. For that wee personal touch I gave him the eyes offof one of the aliens from the sci-fi series V.

Pretty neat idea I thought, but it wasn't really working for me - even if I had gone back to tidy up the Photoshopping. See what I mean:

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

V for Victory - best review ever

'Ooh Ena, that stout is bleedin' lovely.'
Guess what?!

My first stout, my fifth homebrew ever, is utterly awesome. I've named it V for Victory.

To be fair, after a dreich January, and a long 31-day wait for it to condition, I could have drank fermented yak's pish and still thought it delicious. So I had another. And guess what?! It was utterly awesome too.

I shared some with my mum and dad. They also liked it.

My mum, whose own mum hails from Salford, said: "Your stout brings back memories of Ena Sharples and her two chums, Minnie Caldwell and Martha Longhurst, three of the original characters from Coronation Street, when it was in black and white, and they used to sit in the snug of the Rovers Return and drink half pints of stout, although one of them could have been drinking port and lemon or port and brandy."

I think that's the best beer review I've ever read. 

Anyhow, I've messed about with dry-hopping and that so I wanted to push this boat out a wee bit further. So, for you interested brewers: 
I made this with Cooper's select stout and a 1kg tin of Cooper's amber malt extract. Before adding any water I threw in a cup of strong, black coffee and a pint of hop tea, brewed with Liberty hops. Stirred energetically. Brought it up to 22 litres - slightly short the kit said for 23l. Original gravity was 1.042, and I pitched the yeast at 22C. One week later I bottled it (FG was 1.014) and left it for five long weeks. Worth the wait.

Would hoppily brew again.