December 19th, 2012Beer Shops
I came to the beer aisle for a special offer.
It’s not enough to keep me drinking happily.
I think I just want a bit of personality?
I tune in to all the foodies on BBC,
I even collect coupons from packets of green tea.
On Fridays I get 50p off giant King Cobra’s,
I empty a bottle, I feel a bit free.
But what’s this, a lovely bright coloured leaflet,
Some simply worded advice aimed at someone like me.
It’s got advise on how to pour a perfect pint,
It even suggests a beer to go with my tea.
Double malt brews to pair with a pizza,
Amber ale, the classic British brew.
Dark stouts, bitter and roasted,
Golden ales, all zesty and crisp.
I’m told the height of a beers head depends on the distance between the glass and the bottle.
Well this is big news to me!
So I’m tilting my glass at an angle, and that beer looks so bloody lov-e-ly!
And these hops they sound pretty special, their cone-like flowers grow tall and grow fast.
Just add them to barley, water and yeast, and you have a refreshing beer to drink.
I’m all lost in the supermarket, all I want is to buy a cheap beer.Tags: morrisons
But then I read this leaflet, I take a closer look;
suddenly I’m shopping for beers of all different personalities.
Tom Waits got it right when he sang about ‘thirsty jackaroos’ and ‘no spirits, no bilgewater and 80 dry locals’ on Town With No Cheer, a sombre (and sober) tale of a shut down and forgotten canteen at a blistering hot Australian train station. I can sympathise with you, Tom. We’ve all been there haven’t we? That missed connection, that cancelled service provoking an edgy and desperate search for something, anything other than anaemic coffee from a battered vending machine. You might get lucky and find a decent pub right next to the train station – but what are the chances of a takeaway from the station shop itself? Zero I reckon.
Thanks then to Sourced Market at St Pancras International. Hardly a backwater I know, and not somewhere the punters in Waits’ song would recognise, but the level of choice for this thirsty jackaroo was more than impressive.
Racked up in a tall cabinet opposite expensive sounding claret, are the ales. There is a broad farmhouse style table for tasting on the spot if you can’t wait to get home, or you can take away. Not wanting to upset Mrs B I went for the latter option, and chose a couple of the guest ales – a smart promotion for the Great Newsome Brewery up at Winstead, Hull.
Pricky Back Otchan (you’ll need a translator for that one) is a sweet amber bitter with enough hop to make it a fanciable session beer and, at 4.2% ABV, it has a roundness and complexity to keep you guessing. Hints of citrus but without ruining what I found to be a solid enough brew. It went well with pasta and chicken pesto but I would imagine deep chunky casseroles would be the best match. A nice alternative to Shepherd Neame’s Late Red of which I’ve been chewing down recently. Read the rest of this entry »Tags: great newsome, source market, st pancras, train, train stations, yorkshire
February 18th, 2010Beer Shops
The weekend just gone I visited my cousins in Cheshire. They are 9 and 5 years old (I think!) respectively and are bundles of noise and cheekiness. Despite spending the weekend calling me by my brothers first name in a bid to wind me up, they don’t half make me smile, especially when they (well, their dad, my uncle) took me to their newly opened local beer shop.
The Beer Emporium is a small but well stocked beer shop in Sandbach, a quirky and slightly curious town, situated straight off the M6, with a far reaching history that’s most prominently displayed in the Sandbach Crosses, a scheduled monument dating back to the Middle Ages. Despite the wood framed buildings and a posh deli stuffed to the rafters with fine foods and continental delicacies I’m assured that the town is sports mad, with barely a dash of culture amidst the football posts and cricket stumps (the last bastion of hope is WH SMith’s, the only place you can buy a book). The ancient looking pubs are beautiful from the outside but to my shame we didn’t have time to venture in them with the young cousins in tow. Read the rest of this entry »Tags: Beer Shops, cheshire, retail, sandbach
January 14th, 2010Beer Shops
I hadn’t really taken much note of the beer aisle in Morrison’s for a while, writing it off as a bit dull and uninteresting. We’re unusually blessed with Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s and ASDA within a 4-minute radius in the car, not to mention Leeds’ finer beery retailers, so I can happily avoid Morrison’s BWS department for months on end.
On Sarah’s request I popped in straight off the bus on Tuesday night for some naan bread and as I headed from checkout to door I couldn’t help but be drawn towards the beer and wines section (our Morrison’s is one of those odd divisive ones with a separate alcohol area fenced off from the main supermarket floor).
First off I was impressed with their range and I was overcome with an urge to try old favourites and classic British beers. Thai green chicken curry was on the menu which called for something a little exotic, plus I needed a pick me up after an arduous day at the office: a refreshing and zingy Golden Champion would do just the trick. Read the rest of this entry »Tags: Badger, castle rock, everards, harvest pale, Hook Norton, Hooky, jw lees, morrisons, offers, supermarket, thwaites, tiger, wainwright
November 30th, 2009Beer Shops
If you read about my special beer night a few weeks ago, you might remember that my usually varied and brimming beer cupboard was running a bit low, with only a few beers left, most of them bottles I was saving.
So with pay day just gone it was time for a stock up, so the weekend just gone I nipped to Ilkley for a few hours out on the moor with Sam Lanes, stopping at Booth’s supermarket on the way before a quick wallet burning session in Beer Ritz.
I’d gone with the intention of stocking up on pale ales, it’s been a while since I had any staple favourites in and I fancied some strong hoppy numbers, the likes of Halcyon, EIPA, Goose Island, St Lupulin and co. But I ended up leaving with a surprisingly English ale selection, as the Booths stock was very focussed on Northern numbers and I got distracted at Beer Ritz by a few ‘new ins’.
Booths has a good selection of ales, although nothing was really grabbing my attention at first. After a few minutes scanning the vast array of brown bottles I picked up a Williams tayberry beer which I remember being good, a Joseph Holt as not only was I tempted by the Lowry label and because 1849 Champion had been good.
A few people had told me to try Chalky’s Bite, whilst I couldn’t resist a beer local brews (thinking a bit ahead of myself for beer swap round 2?!) particularly Withens IPA which I (think) I tried at Keighley & Worth Valley festival at Oxenhope. Read the rest of this entry »Tags: Beer Ritz, Beer Shops, Beer Swap, booths, buy beer, ilkley
November 3rd, 2009Beer Shops
I was a little disappointed the other week when I visited Jones’ and found that the beer selection had decreased since my last visit a little over 12 months ago. ‘We just didn’t have the space’ the lady behind the counter replied ‘we extended the coffee shop area and something had to go’. Normally I would have cried into a large espresso at this point, had the management not seen Oz and James, the increase in the number of Micro-Breweries in the UK? Beer is back, why sacrifice half the range for a continental coffee shop?!?!?
Luckily the next words saved the day. ‘We just decided to focus on local beers since we had less space.’ I couldn’t argue. Looking along the four shelves of ales and ciders I didn’t see any that would had been brewed too far from Oxfordshire. The Cotswold Brewing Company, Cherwell Valley Brewery, Warwickshire Beer Company and, of course, Hook Norton Brewery all featured. And it made sense, I can’t imagine people were going into Jones’ to buy more beers that are widely available through supermarkets (and most likely more cheaply) so it is logical for them to focus on the niche area of the market.
Jones’ is primarily a wine merchants and I am led to believe a very good one at that. It is also now somewhere where the people of Banbury can get a coffee and sandwich on their dinner hour. This has taken away from the range of beers available from the shop but not, thankfully, from the huge value of the shop as a merchant of local beers. The cost has been the lack of availability of lesser known beers from a wider area…the people of Banbury are either going to have to support local (no bad thing in my opinion) or get in the car!Tags: Banbury, Cherwell Valley Brewery, Cotswold Brewing company, Hook Norton Brewery, S H Jones, Warwickshire Beer Company, Wine Merchants