Wednesday 11 August 2010

Dinner with @PeteBrownBeer – Guest Post By Pete Russell

Guest post from beer blogging newcomer Pete Russell ! Give him a warm welcome!


On Monday night my Father and I went to Hardy's Brasserie in Marylebone for Pete Brown's tutored beer tasting and talk, followed by dinner with each course matched to a complimentary beer.

Pete Brown is Beer Writer of The Year and author of Hops and Glory, cataloguing his quest to recreate the voyage that India Pale Ale (IPA) took from Burton to India, as well as several other fine titles. He speaks with enthusiasm and candor about his transition from working in an advertising to following his passion and becoming a full time beer and travel writer.

First came the tasting, starting with a Harviestoun Scheihallion Pilsner,
which is
not a style I would normally choose, but it made an excellent start with subtle grass and olive flavours. It reminded me of drinking Stella and Jupiler in Brussels 10 years ago, before Inbev broke it.
Next was Otley O-Garden, a wheat beer which I was a little disappointed by, I presume it was filtered as it was mostly clear, there are certainly better wheat beers around but again probably the intention was to have a subtle introduction so as not to totally ruin our taste buds.

Pete interspersed the tasting with anecdotes from his Hops and Glory travels and general wry observations on life. He managed to get the balance about right between chat and tutored tasting.

You'll have to excuse if I start to muddle the order of the beers at this point, we had had a pint of Jenning's Cocker Hoop in the pub before we started and the staff were quite generous with the taster beers when encouraged.

Next was Mort Subite Kriek, again a style I am not fond of, and I struggle with Lambics in general. The flavours were complex and the mixture of the sweetness of the cherries and almost astringent strong flavours I could appreciate if not wholly enjoy, personally I find a few mouthfuls enough of this kind of beer and cannot really enjoy a whole bottle. That said, I can understand why people like it and one of the women at our table was very keen and had another bottle with dinner.
At our penultimate beer of the tasting we came to some of my favorite beer styles, firstly an IPA style that had all the classic powerful flavours and lovely bitter aftertastes one hopes for in a modern IPA. Thankfully it did not have ridiculous alcohol content, it is an added pleasure to enjoy a great tasting beer, knowing you can have several more and not need to be carried home. I would happily have drunk this beer for the rest of the night.

Finally, the Belgians made a second appearance with a Westmalle
Dubbel. This is another big, bold beer with earthy, caramel and fruity flavours and a big alcohol punch at 7%, it is a beer to be sipped and savoured. As Pete said, the Belgian's reputation as boring is a big con to keep the hoards away from fantastic beer like this and it's thousands of cousins in the bars of Belgium.

This was only the first half, it was followed by three course meal paired with beers to compliment them, I hope to write about this later on as the food was excellent and there was more fantastic beer to come.

Overall it was a great night, with an entertaining talk by Pete Brown, excellent food at Hardy's Brasserie and a fantastic beer selection (supplied by Utobeer). The only way I found out about the night was by following Pete Brown on Twitter, now at least I have a good explanation for these people that don't "get" Twitter.

Monday 9 August 2010

Welcome a Guest

My chum, ex Microbar regular, beer-lover Pete Russell is going be contributing to "It's just the beer talking".

Please welcome him by following him on twitter here.