The Sherwin Arms, Bramcote, March 2017

It’s another trip to the pub with no beer. We came here twice in January and enjoyed some good chat with friends and some pleasant pub grub, but no beer, as Greene King “IPA” doesn’t count.

The same story tonight. Good chat with friends old and new, and pleasant pub grub. My “fusion” food was this chicken burger, which lacked the advertised bacon, cheese and BBQ sauce, but was perfectly pleasant. The fusion part came from the poppadom, which I was given by Mrs MOFAD, who had two of them with her chicken tikka (pleasant pub curry).

No drink review again, maybe one day they will have some actual beer or cider available here, but today was not that day. A pleasant pub to catch up with friends. As usual on a Thursday there was a pub quiz on, although the member of staff in charge was obviously not used to being in charge of a pub quiz, and was rather struggling. We couldn’t stay (work in the morning), so waved our goodbyes and left.

Tiny Rebel – Beat Box

A big hit when it appeared on cask at the Needle & Pin earlier this year, lots of floral notes in this American inspired ale. Pithy fruit and grass come through on the nose, with a lingering bitterness.

Classic American Pale Ale flavours in here, clean, smooth and refreshing. Bitter hoppiness, some tropical fruit and citrus on the nose. On a par with almost all of the other Tiny Rebel beers I’ve tried, which have all been very good.

Powderkeg – Cut Loose – Happy Pils

It’s time for the third visit toThe Needle & Pin Craft Beer Club – selection box #4. The winner of the World’s Best Lager in 2016, this is a traditional pilsner pepped up with a touch of the Motueka hop from New Zealand. This gives a dry, satisfying lager with invigorating citric fruitiness.

Lager is a dirty word. It shouldn’t be, as when it is done well, it is a very pleasant drink. A tastily hopped pils, very clean, very crisp, and a hint of citrus from those hops. If your last experience of lager was some fizzy nonsense from a global megacorp, try this instead.

Pirate Life India Pale Ale (IPA)

If you missed my first Pirate Life post or even my second or third Pirate Life post, then I will recap their story one more time.

Pirate Life was set up in 2014 by Australians Red and Jack. They met whilst working at BrewDog (Australians involved in another part of the UK beer industry, whatever next?) They returned home, and after a couple of other jobs, they were able to set up their own brewery, selecting the lovely city of Adelaide (it is, we’ve been there) in which to get brewing.

In line with what Cloudwater have done for 2017, all of their beer is destined for can or keg. No bottles, no cask (you don’t expect much cask action in the Antipodes). There are still anti-can breweries out there (there’s a vehement one just across the border from me in Derbyshire), but Pirate Life are not one of those.

On to the fourth beer that has found its way into my favourite beer glass.

Style: India Pale Ale

Alcohol: 6.8%

IBU: 60

Hops: Centennial, Riwaka, Simcoe

Description: Pirate Life has decided to make ANOTHER hoppy American style ale for the 4th beer in their core range. Seems a bit counter intuitive and appears to create a pretty one dimensional list, however, this is quite an important beer as it fills in a pretty big gap between the Pale Ale and the IIPA. Not to mention that it allows Throwback to be its own beer down in mid-Strength land.

So there’s a mid-strength, a well-balanced pale ale and a big broody, dank citrusy hop-bomb of a double IPA – what’s this IPA going to be like? Well, with a couple of pretty serious beers on either side, Pirate Life say that their IPA is bright, fruity and full of liquid fun.

Let’s open it up…

It is indeed bright and fruity, and liquid fun is not a bad description. Piney hoppiness on the nose, which carries through to the palate alongside the kind of resinousness you would expect from an American style IPA. A good malty backbone helps to balance out the hops in this one. It’s a nicely balanced IPA, and very tasty. Probably my second favourite, just behind the IIPA, and slightly ahead of the pale ale and Throwback IPA. They are all good hoppy beers which are right up my street.

This completes my tour of Pirate Life beers. Many thanks to Pirate Life for sending them over. For completeness, there are some more beers that you might want to check out. I certainly do after tasting the first four! Here are some of the others for you to look out for:-

Hopco NZ Pale Ale

Style: Pale Ale

Alcohol: 4.8%

IBU: 30

Hops: NZ Cascade, Motueka, Pacifica

Description: This beer is an American style pale ale brewed with pale and Munich malts to provide a smooth malty backbone to balance out the ample hops that were thrown at it. NZ Cascade, Motueka and Pacifica combine to give the beer a rich key lime pie / lemon curd cheesecake aroma and a light resinous character on the palate all backed up by a satisfying whack of bitterness.

Golden Era Golden Ale

Style: Golden Ale

Alcohol: 4.7%

IBU: 25

Hops: Amarillo, Summer

Description: Picture this. BrewDog brewery in Scotland. It’s freezing cold and Jack and Red are arriving for one of their 12hr plus night shifts. They get a message from home. Friends having beers at the beach. It almost breaks them. ‘What music do you want Redman?’ asks Jack. ‘Better make it The Hoods, skip’ replies Red. Five years later they’re launching in Adelaide – The Hilltop Hoods’ home town. They receive an email from the manager of the Hood’s record label asking if they’d brew a beer with them. The Golden Era Golden Ale is that beer.


Style: Stout (#obvs)

Alcohol: 7.1%

IBU: 58

Hops: Columbus, EKG, Fuggles

A smooth 7.1% stout brewed with oats, black and chocolate malts, EKG, Fuggles and Columbus hops. Pirate Life Stout is perfect for the cooler months. The malts take centre stage with a cacophony of coffee, chocolate and sticky date pudding and a rich creamy mouthfeel thanks to the oats. Columbus smacks the palate with a healthy dose of bitterness while the late additions of EKG and Fuggles lend a gentle, earthy spiciness to the beer. The result is a stout that Pirate Life are excited to share with us all.


Framework Brewery – US Pale – Pattern #USP0001

Four classic US hops entwine with a deep malt base to provide the punch required in a US IPA. This results in a fresh grapefruit and bitter lemon melody playing over a moreish malty baseline. Is this a beer or a piece of rock journalism?

Framework Brewery are a new local brewery in Leicester, crafting exciting modern vegan beers of quality and conscience for smart drinkers and forward thinkers.

This is definitely a hop forward session pale ale, exactly what it says on the bottle, and I really liked it. It’s good to find something in the beer cupboard to drink that isn’t a 9% DIPA. Don’t get me wrong, I love them a lot, but it’s nice to have some flavoursome session ales at a lower ABV so you can enjoy one or two of them of an evening. Looking forward to discovering more from Framework…

The Lansdowne, Leicester, March 2017

It’s a familiar thing, a pre-show dining post. Another Leicester night out, and a break from tradition, as tonight’s turn is a musical one, as opposed to the usual comedy that we go to at De Montfort Hall. We’ll come back to that in a moment.

My journey was a bit of an eventful one, with various public transport delays conspiring against me. So I arrived later than expected, but luckily Mrs MOFAD was on time, and had ordered me pint of Goose Island IPA. Nice to have this on draught for the first time, it’s something you’ve probably seen in bottles in Tesco or similar. Delicious hoppy bitterness.

Sometimes I fear change. Tonight was one of those times, so I had exactly the same meal as last time, the tasty chicken burger.


Just as good as last time, juicy chicken, simple salad, and good pub chips (a mix of potatoes and sweet potatoes).

The Landsdowne is definitely our new “go to” pub for pre-show dining.

We headed off after this, up the road to go and see Elbow, who were absolutely brilliant. A great decision by them to return to smaller venues after so many big stadium tours, and they really work in a smaller venue like De Montfort Hall. A great night of music.

Triple Salmon Nirvana, March 2017

This is a new one. Regular readers will be aware of triple pork nirvana. Today it was something different. Triple salmon nirvana.

We started our day with smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, usually an Xmas Day breakfast staple, but here expanded to Mrs MOFAD’s birthday breakfast.

For lunch, we had afternoon tea at the Shard, which featured smoked salmon sandwiches:-


We were pretty full after that lunch, and our plans for a pub tea were curtailed. So instead we sought out something to eat on the train home. I opted for this tasty M&S Japanese sushi salmon selection.

This was the perfect way to achieve triple salmon nirvana, although it’s not something I’ll get the chance to do very often I’m sure!