Brewdog fanzine issue 4, May 2018

The next issue of fanzine is upon us. A couple of these will be sampled very soon.

Small Batch English IPA – 5.2% – IPA

An old school English IPA brewed with the addition of traditional English hops which bring lavender and bergamot to the front of the beer. Supporting the hops is a light biscuit malt flavour, followed by a dry, bitter finish with a touch of warmth.

Interstate – 4.6% – Lager

A perfectly balanced Vienna-style lager brewed with subtle spicy German hops over toasty-base malts which bring out bread crust and biscuit in the beer, followed by a bittersweet finish.

Hop Shop – 9% – IPA

This hop-forward big IPA is intense, dank and resinous, with bursts of stonefruit and citrus. Grapefruit and apricot sit on top of a building bitterness, with a honeycomb malt base followed by a dry yet bittersweet finish.

The Planet Pavilion Café – Jodrell Bank – May 2018 – chaos theory in action

When you are surrounded by such awesome science, you might expect the simple things like a cafe to be equally good. On a scorching bank holiday they were very busy, but that’s not necessarily a sign that they were any good, being possessors of a very literal captive audience (there are no other options for a good few miles unless you bring your own).

A reasonable queue, but one which was moving along nicely. The reason for that became clear as Mrs MOFAD ordered. They took your order for items on display. You paid. And then you go to your table, drop some stuff off, and go back to pick up your order. Which is still sitting in the cabinet, so other people could be ordering it, not knowing if they are going to be able have it, because one or more people could have already secured it ahead of them. It was chaos theory in action. Orders were coming out seemingly at random, and there were just not enough people around to organise this chaos.

Eventually we did get some tasty lunches and enormous portions (although you would expect these sizes for the price paid), but the overwhelming flavour was of chaos as opposed to coronation/lightly curried chicken. And there was a lot of celery in the salad. Who wants that? Celery is not MOFAD approved.

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It seems they are trading on the rather good views you get of this thing…

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Must try harder!

Mr Vongs, Leek, May 2018

The camping takeaway theme continues. After a lovely day out with a short-ish wander around Danebridge, Lud’s Church and a tiny bit of The Roaches, we were back at the camp site and thinking about what to have for dinner. Being a very organised camp site (it’s what Camping and Caravan Club sites are known for), they have a selection of menus from local takeaways, who (crucially) deliver to the site.

Much like Friday night, we were rather hungry, so got our order in quickly, and were soon chomping down on some tasty Chinese. Regular readers will know exactly what I ordered, the one and only kung po chicken, which is a great yardstick for any Chinese restaurant.

This one had a decent amount of chilli, although I would have liked more cashews and pineapple, perhaps I’ve been spoilt by Wan’s Cottage who seem to have the best kung po chicken around. For the second time this weekend, it’s another no photo post, too busy eating to stop and capture this one for posterity. By now you should know what kung po chicken is supposed to look like…

The Lazy Trout, Meerbrook, May 2018

This was a hard earned dinner. We only just made it on time. We foolishly thought that we’d have plenty of time to get back to the camp site, have a cup of tea and some cake, and then have a shower and go to the pub. A 14 mile walk over 9 hours put paid to that idea. We just had enough time to get back to the car and drive back to The Lazy Trout, a pub we went to not one, not two, but three times in April 2017.

We fell into the little dining area at the back, exhausted, but glad that we had booked in advance (online, because it’s 2018!) A good start to the evening took the form of Indian Runner by Wincle Brewery, named after the comedy ducks, a decent pale ale with citrus hints. It didn’t last long!

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Mrs MOFAD had gone for the obvious curry choice and enjoyed it very much. I filled up on protein with this big beefy burger, which was absolutely gorgeous, I love a decent burger and this was definitely one of those, nice crisp bacon and big flavoured cheese added to the experience. Even the salad was more than the token limp iceberg found in other places.

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It’s fair to say that we had earned another beer and a pudding (or gin and a pudding if you are Karon or Mrs MOFAD). The beer was Black Grouse Stout by Staffordshire Brewery, smooth chocolate hints and very easy drinking. It matched well with the last bit of burger, and equally as well with the pudding.

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That pudding was this lovely pavlovian item, lots of lovely early season strawberries, perfectly whipped cream and crisp meringue nests.

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A delightful return to one of my pubs of the month from April last year (I still haven’t picked a winner as there were so many good ones). This is a fantastic pub with great food and drink and lovely people. Definitely worth a visit, even if you haven’t had a 14 mile walk beforehand!

Nui’s Kitchen, Leek Camping and Caravanning Club Site, May 2018

Yes, it’s another camping and takeaway post, and the best kind, where the takeaway comes to your camp site.

After a lovely trundle around the Thornbridge brewery tour earlier on, we didn’t really want to go out and about, so having a lovely little Thai takeaway turn up on site was ideal. We popped over after a little while and had a good chat to Nui who was beavering away behind the stoves, cooking everything fresh to order. We had some nice spring rolls (lovely and crisp) and some stir fry and noodles which was also really good, a flavourful level of spice without being full of mad chilli flavours.

It was so good we had wolfed it all down before I had a chance to take a photo, so you’ll have to have one of that most rare of things, a post without a photo.

If you find Nui’s kitchen at a camp site or event near you, it’s a great place to get your dinner from.

Brewdog Fanzine issue 3, May 2018

The next issue of fanzine is upon us. Might be a while before these ones get sampled as there are a couple of big beasts.

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Ten Ton Truck (Espresso Edition) – 10% – Stout / Porter

An evolution of previous Fanzine release, Nebula with the addition of espresso coffee. Fruity espresso, bitter chocolate and roastiness on the nose. Followed by a payload of bitter coffee red berry, dark chocolate and some floral notes.

Pulp Patriot – 9.5% – IPA

An amped up spin on our previous Milkshake IPA, this fruited NEIPA combines peach, mango and milk sugar with low bitterness. A juggernaut of a double IPA that delivers a payload of big fruit with mango and peach front and centre. Milk sugar builds and rounds out the full juicy notes.

Zephyr V2 (Lime Gose Edition) – 4.6% – Sour Ale

The latest twist on our Fanzine session sour, emulating a sour German wheat ale, with lime and salt. A zesty gose with a twist of lime and a pinch of salt to crank up the crisp sour character. A juicy, bright beer, with a light acidity resting on a biscuity backbone.

 

Craft Beer Co, Islington, May 2018

A pleasant day in London town. Once again, I was looking out for somewhere to grab a beer and something to eat before heading for the train home. I was pretty certain that the beer would be good after visiting another of their bars this year, so it was worth taking a chance on the food.

On to that beer. First up Jessamine from Thornbridge, a jasmine and orange ale with Wiillamette hops. The jasmine comes through and a touch of pithiness from the orange. Interesting. Also making appearance tonight was Windle, another Thornbridge beer. This was clean and smooth with a lemon note somewhere in the background.

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Dinner was a chicken burger, aka posh KFC, aka The Southern Bell, which comprises of a spicy butter fried chicken breast, guacamole, iceberg lettuce (boo!), tomato, chipotle mayo and rosemary fries.

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As posh chicken burgers go, it was pretty good. This is a pleasant old school pub with a modern attitude to beer and food. Given that’s it’s only around a 15 minute walk from St Pancras, I suspect I shall find myself here again this year.

Soho Theatre, May 2018

Working in London again. After a meeting in Ealing this afternoon and a warm walk in the late spring sunshine, I was checking in to my hotel at the wrong end of Ealing Broadway (in terms of proximity to the station). Soon afterwards I was heading east to get to the Soho Theatre. Once again, Transport for London had other ideas, deciding to keep us sitting around on the tracks outside Acton for quite a while. This put paid to my plans to have a bite to eat at The Crown and Two Chairmen before the show (not for the first time this year), as I just made it into the Soho Theatre before the first show of the evening, Sarah Kendall’s latest story telling effort One-Seventeen.

After that show finished it was up to the bar and there was just enough time for a wrap and a pint. Once again, the chicken wrap comes to my rescue, and there was enough time to enjoy the garlic dip with it this time. It’s much tastier than it looks in this photo.

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As for the pint, once again it was spoilt by bar staff who think that a beer engine is some form of multi-gym workout device. This Adnams Freewheel was a new beer to me, but I don’t think I experienced it at its best.

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No time to sit and reflect, more comedy was on the agenda. Up the stairs for Shappi Khorsandi’s latest show, Mistress and Misfit, an energetic performance boosted by her joy to be performing in London again. Much of the show is about Lady Emma “bury me in a Y-shaped coffin” Hamilton, Nelson’s mistress, but also very much a character in her own right. There’s also material about her appearance on last year’s “I’m a Celebrity”, which is something that had totally passed me by.

Another great night at the Soho Theatre, now time to get back to Ealing…

The Needle & Pin Craft Beer Club – sour selection box #3 – May 2018

We are already up to the third sour beer selection box, lots of interesting beers from home and much further afield coming up in this one. Pucker up buttercup!

Brasserie Trois Dames – Joyeuse – 5.6%

A pile of whole raspberries was co-fermented with a fresh saison. After which, a mature barrel aged sour saison was added to taste, creating this lush and alluring blend. Unlfitered, unpasteurised, unadulaterated, and ready for the celebration of the everyday.

Brekeriet Beer AB – Pink Passion – 4.7%

Another Scandinavian discovery for me this year, Sweden’s Brekeriet Beer AB are all about sours and wild ales. So far I’ve had Wild & Juicy (super juicy sour fizz) and the far more subtle Rhuboise (gentle raspberry and rhubarb flavours).

Pink Passion is a tart, refreshing and gluten free oat Berliner with passion fruit and hibiscus.

Founders Brewing Co. – Rübæus – 5.7%

Optimising the flavour of fresh raspberries added at several stages during fermentation, Rübæus is the perfect blend of sweet, tart and refreshing, not just another boring summer wheat beer or shandy. With a hefty malt bill, this beer is 100% Founders.

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Stillwater Artisanal – Shoegaze – 6%

‘Distorted Farmhouse Pale Ale’ is a New England style IPA that met a farmhouse pale ale down a darkened alley. Brewed with oats, spelt and lactose and then hopped with Simcoe, Citra and Pacific Gem.

One that I’ve had before, a very easy drinking spicy saison.

To Øl – Sur NEIPA: Citra & Mosaic – 5%

A sour mashed New England style IPA (yes, another one) with Citra and Mosaic, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Hoppy and sour, but not too much of either – a quick shot of hoppiness followed by citrus notes of lime and spice.

Wild Weather Ales – Ask Me About Loom – 4.8%

Wild Weather Ales are another of my favourite breweries at the minute. I think I’ve now had 15 of their beers, and they excel at fruity and sour beers such as Dark of Ages Past, Peach of a Weekend, Damn Dead Strawberry and the ever reliable Curse of Threepwood.

The Monkey Island theme continues here, with Ask Me About Loom. For those of you not into 1990s PC games, Cobb was a character found in the Scumm Bar on Mêlée Island, and he wore a badge reading, “Ask me about Loom(tm)”. He mostly answered questions from Guybrush Threepwood by saying “aye” until asked about Loom, when he would then advertise ‘Loom’ – another game made by LucasArts.

Back to the beer, which is an orange and passion fruit sour, in fact it is a forward thinking tart colossus of a beer. An under current of rich passion fruit gives way to the satsuma umbrella wrapped around a lip puckering sour wheat base.

The Lansdowne, Leicester, May 2018

If we’re at The Lansdowne then you know it only means one thing, another night out at De Montfort Hall. On to that in a bit. What’s for dinner tonight? Well, a kind of a cross between a risotto and a paella, this dish from the specials menu has some flecks of chorizo, pieces of chicken, onions, sweet red pepper and creamy saffron rice (and token pea tops). It was not bad but not really special enough to deserve a place on the specials board.

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Luckily, the beer is consitently good in here, and tonight was another example of that. This pint of Peacock from Très Bien Brewery is a testament to the enduring pleasure of a good pint of cask ale. Lots of bitterness, lovely lacing and some maltiness thrown in for good measure.

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Another consitent evening at The Lansdowne, decent food and good beer. Perfect for an evening of fantastic comedy from the ever brilliant Dara O’Briain who was on fantastic form as ever, mixing great banter and off the cuff reactions with the prepared show. An excellent performance.