Saturday, 4 February 2017

Beer and burgers

Admittedly I'm not really a beer and food expert. At times I may have been obsessed with it but more specifically beer and cheese was my forte. On beer and food the majority of the time I normally stick to the book (be that Garret Oliver, Dredge, Cole or whoever). However, when you don't have the book or their isn't any 'textbook' pairings on hand, one develops a sort of instinct.

You mentally line the chosen food option with the array of beer options available and take an experiential shot at pairing. Recently I discovered imperial stout doesn't really go with roast lamb dinner. Yet sometimes you find a winning combo from instinct alone. This was how I discovered the delights of cheeseburger with premium brown/Dark ales, and with bacon cheese, chips and coleslaw involved it's even better.

This comes after years of following the textbook consensus of big hoppy pale ale/IPA with the all American burger. It seems as with pizza, cheeseburgers are a highly beer compatible food stuff.
Though hoppy pale beers do pair great with burgers. Hop forward beers seem to carry big flavoursome dishes well and even salads. Here IPA tends to contrast the fat from cheese and bacon.  The premium brown ale latches on to the meaty flavours of the burger.

Although my two best experiences of this have used Hobgoblin and Riggwelter I'm sure more craft elite friendly options like India Brown ales would work just as well.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

New year post 2016-2017

And behold, the end of the year is nigh. It hasn't been a popular year for many, but politics and celebrity deaths aside for me it's been fairly vanilla.

Blog posts have been sparse. A little territory was gained here, yet lost elsewhere. Say when family life is good, it doesn't matter that you didn't win a single SIBA award (and on some occasions weren't even nominated) right? Yet 2017 at Mordue brewery looks all the more interesting. We have better equipment in development and a better team of dedicated individuals running the place than I have ever witnessed in my time at the place. We continue to venture out against a vast array of competitors and constantly evolving market.

As for back in the crib/home not a great lot has changed. I recall the eldest bairn saying she no longer wants to be a hairdresser when she grows up and now wants to be "king of the world". Good luck Susie with that one. Harvey now has lots more teeth, can walk, almost talk and chuck things around he disapproves of. He too can now say "Beer" (proud moment). So yes, aside from April's 'Battle of the Beers' 2016 hasn't been much of a roller coaster. I'm finishing this year with a variety of beers including this big gun acquired from an Amsterdam trip.

Evil Twin Freudian Slip is a US style barley wine. It's got that signature boozy cognac soaked almond like depth all over it. It's a big, juicy 10.3% monster. I'm getting Columbus hops and clean fermenting yeast. Splendid stuff. So all in all 2016 has been a good year. Not a favourite year by any means, they would be;

2001 (goodbye school)
2009 (Wedding, Daleside and all things glorious)
2013 (awards, Panda Frog, a blaze of glory)

Notable mentions/also very good years;


But on reflection most years are nether entirely bad nor good balancing success and discovery against failure all dependant upon circumstance  So traditionally every new years Eve I normally listen to this song, ideally whilst drinking some whisky.  Happy new year everyone from Rob's beer quest.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Pandafrogs; class of 2016/17

The year comes to close here at Mordue breweries side arm, the Panda Frog Project. It opened with Allelic Drift not quite getting that SIBA award then the summer was quiet. During the latter half of the year some anticipated projects were put to rest. A 6.3% Belgian stout Pandadora and Hibanator Bock 6.3%  for the winter season.

But things are changing here at Panda Frog. Some lovely new kit will facilitate more kegging, bottling and for the first time canning. To increase availability we are also adopting a core range of select Panda Frogs including Pils and Allelic Drift  opposed to having them all as seasonals.

Next year will also involve the brewing of five new Panda Frogs including a 5th Anniversary IPA (yes it's been that long) and a raspberry-chocolate porter. I won't give too much away.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Beers of Autumn

This post title should maybe read Alnwick beers of autumn as these were locally sourced. Well locally as in some were from supermarkets but hey, they were all purchased in the local vicinity. Autumn is the best season even if seemingly the shortest it's best accompanied by beer.

The Purple Panther

From the shelves of Lidl. A slick and slightly light bodied porter with a dollop of sweet toffee and chocolate. A kind of chocolate digestive aftertaste.

Toon Broon

The first beer I have came across actually paying homage to Newcastle Brown Ale. I personally don't think it needs to be done but find this better than the original. An old school feel is dominant. It's 4.7% and closer to deep russet than brown. Caramel malt and almond aroma, palate brings licorice and caramel, charred grain and a flinty bitterness. Very much traditional through and through.

Distiller's cask range

A new one from Theakstons obtained at Morrisons. A 6.5% ale 'acquainted with the flavours of Speyside malt whisky'. I was expecting an Innis and Gunn like experience and its vaguely similar but nowhere near as sweet. The thing that isn't clear form the label is whether this is genially oak aged in speyside whisky barrels or blended with speyside whisky. None the less is aint half bad. Candied almond meets woody vanilla, an American oak influence for sure.


Familiar to most Hobgoblin is clearly an autumn beer. Dominated by sweet nutty malts, chocolate and a hint of fruity English hops. For supermarket beers it isn't half bad although my preference is for the cask version.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Rochefort 10

Delving into its boozy, figgy depths at the John Bull

There are times in one's journey of beer when a throwback to the old is revisited. A chance to re-live the experience that once changed one's very perspective of beer. It so happens that Alnwick's The John Bull has recently restocked its Belgian beers and after a long time Abbey St Remy Rochefort 10 is now back in stock (after a long time).

Rochefort 10 for me was a world-changing beer of its time. Like the Judas Priests Painkiller Album, a classic masterpiece of metal that still sounds awesome today. The Metallica/Slayer era came along, so did Nirvana and the dark days of 'Nu-metal'. German power metal cheese and new wave American metalcore came in and out of trends but Judas Priest, like Rochefort 10 still evokes great memories. Amongst the various passing beer trends it never really got lost in the crowd and always remained one of the bench mark Belgian strong ales. Rochefort 10!