There’s somthing rogueish (or childish?) about the collabroation between Neil Morrissey and Richard Fox – two middle edge men who found brewing instead of Harley Davidson’s and set about with a with new toys and a rekindled sixth form attitude.
And there’s something modern and well designed about the branding, even if it is a bit cosy and predictable and ‘marketing agency’ developed.
Blonde is the playful peer of Brunnette, cheeky takes on pale and amber ales.
The former is a skinny beer perfumed with uncooked dough, and it’s smooth as silk as it coats upper lips around the bar with a (possibly) Cascadian caress. It’s an pleasant, if slightly banal first date.
Back at home a bottle has the same mellow tangerine tang that firmly plants this in session ale territory. Bitterness is minimal, the body is barely there, lager-like without the fizz – it’s just dry enough to demand the next quenching gulp of citrus scented liquid bread. Is it ever interesting enough to seduce though?
Love or loathe boys playing with their toys, Morrissey and Fox have cooked up a perfectly decent beer with perfectly contemporary branding for perfectly discerning pub goers. It’s all perfectly fine for a Saturday afternoon pint really.
Tags: bbq beer, blonde
It’s a good few months since we found this in a bottle, and quite a bit longer since on cask. We’ve not seen or heard anything since then, is a Strawberry Blonde on the cards or has this relationship hit the rocks?
Saltaire Beer Festival
This year Fletch and I made our second trip up the Northern line to taste beers and soak in continental drinking at the Saltaire Beer Festival. We discovered this gem of a brewery last year, whilst wandering around the Saltaire Arts Trail on a hot and sunny Saturday, and ever since we’ve been waiting to go back!
Saltaire Brewery is based on the Leeds/Bradford canal, a little nearer to Shipley than the world heritage site at Saltaire. It’s a modern affair from a contemporary and friendly brewery, with visitors on the beer festival weekend sitting inside the brewery building, with two bars crammed in the space that isn’t dedicated to fermentation tanks and brewing equipment.
The first piece of news about Saltaire beer festival is how cheap it is to get to Shipley (the nearest train station to the brewery) from Leeds. An off peak return from Leeds costs only £1.40 – to put that in context a single from Horsforth (on the edge of Leeds) to the city centre of Leeds costs me £2.50 on the bus…how cheap is £1.40 to go double the distance?! Beer club is now firmly on the table as an option for starting a Friday night in the near future…watch this space!
Once we were on the 70p train Fletch and I turned the conversation towards our last visit to Saltaire Brewery. It had been for the beer festival last year although we had arrived mid afternoon on the Saturday and most of the guests had already sold out, but not this year we congratulated each other, thanks to Andy we had managed to get tickets to the sold out Friday night when everything was sure to still be on. We were heading towards a temporary Mecca of real ales and we had a strategy in place…
The plan was to split up the beer list between us; in general Fletch would focus on the darker offerings and me the paler ones. There were 26 beers (listed below) on the list meaning that we could each have 13 halves and have sampled every beer available. Well we tried!!
Some of them we both wanted to try and some of them were worth revisiting for a full pint, needless to say that the strategy did not come to fruition although, in fairness, I think that there were probably only about six or seven beers that one or the other of us did not try. Under the circumstances it would be frankly impossible to try and offer tasting notes on every beer that we tasted, therefore the whole menu is listed below (sorted by brewery). Our five top beers of the festival are marked with an asterisk (for the sake of fairness I have also marked those that we did not try with a minus).
Acorn Brewery, Barnsley
Castle Rock, Nottingham
Crouch Vale, Essex
Elland Brewery, Halifax
Catch the Rainbow
Great Heck, North Yorkshire
Ollcana Gold (-)
Ollcana Original (-)
Jarrow, Tyne and Wear
Old Spot, Cullingworth
Chilli and Chocolate
Saltaire Brewery, Shipley
Raspberry Blonde (-)
Rye Smile (-)
Hazelnut Coffee Porter*
Cascade Pale Ale*
Westons Cider, Herefordshire
1st Quality Draught (-)
Traditional Scrumpy (-)
Old Rosie (-)
Although I have not named them, there were a couple of beers that I did not find exactly overwhelming. In the main however the beers selected for the event were wide ranging, in both style and origin, and sparked debate and discussion amongst the many beer fans at Saltaire. It was a quality evening and a great opportunity to meet many likeminded people with a passion for beer, a great opportunity for swapping recommendations and stories, finding inspiration and generally getting a little bit layer caked with a great bunch of people.Tags: Acorn, Barnsley, beer festival, black gold, blonde, brewers gold, cascade, castle rock, catch the rainbow, chilli and chocolate, Cider, crouch vale, cullingworth, dognobbler, elland, great heck, halifax, harvester, hazelnut porter, hurricane, ilkley, jarrow, mittlefruh ipa, northern kite, old spot, ollcana, ossett, raspberry, reed, rivet catcher, rye smile, saltaire, shipley, slake, summer's end, union gap, westons, white rabbit, wylam
The first in our Sainsbury’s Beer Competition series is Woods Shropshire Lass. You might have guessed from the name that it pours a blonde, light beer (why aren’t there any darker beers called brunette?!).
A sniff of this is nice indeed, a floral fruity scent reminiscent of a spring day or a summer morning from a novel.
To drink it’s tasty and refreshing, a crisp, blonde body makes this an easy drinking ale.
Nothing in this beer compromises any other flavour, there are no taste that haggle for your attention or force you to notice them.
It’s a gentle and taste beer, delicately fruity and well balanced.
I reckon most pub goers could fulfil a session on this (during the milder months of the year at least.Tags: beer, blonde, brunette, competition, sainsburys, shropshire lass, woods, woods shropshire lass beer review sainsburys competition