Saturday 2 July 2011

A Date with Density

My blog has become boring. How do I know that? Because my mummy told me. She said a tiredness has crept into my writing and my prose has become sloppy. For this dear readers I apologise and I will try harder to tease, entertain and scintillate. This week has been one of those weeks. Last week was also one of those weeks so I am hoping for a not one of those weeks next week. If you get my meaning.

On Thursday Sharp’s said adieu to Mike Queenan our Molson Coors health and safety guru. Mike has been with us for a couple of months and has coped admirably with trying to help us raise our game in terms of health and safety. The health and safety professional is a modern day crusader riding in on a white horse and converting the unenlightened masses to the gospel of the risk assessment and safe working practice. Revered by all, they bring meaning to an otherwise directionless world. I hope irony can be sensed through a screen. I didn’t envy Mike’s role one bit (although the wages would have been nice). As a stranger to the company, Mike had to come in and make busy people’s lives more complicated and accept as much cooperation as you would expect under the circumstances. Mike has left Sharp’s a safer place than when he arrived. I shall miss winding him up to the point where his head starts to glow.

After supermodels and brewers, chefs are my favourite company when enjoying a few moderately consumed beers. Last night I was out with one of Rick Stein’s head chefs and along with passionate discourse about food safety regulations we discussed the celebritisation (a word which I have just invented) of the gastronomic arts. Like me he was passionate about getting the fundamentals right before playing around with challenging and innovating. He said since the advent of the celebrity chef most of the new chefs entering his restaurant are trying to run before they can walk. Simple food done well with clean and clear flavours beats elaborate dishes which are poorly conceived every time. I think the same applies to beer. There are a lot of brewers talking about which strain of Brettanomyces they are going to use in the 80 year old sherry cask to age their 14% Centennial barley wine but don’t understand what the figures on a malt analysis sheet mean. I once heard a brewer describe his elaborate temperature controlled mashing regime which was quite unnecessary for the malt he was using. In the end it turned out to be entirely pointless because the thermometer on his mash tun hadn’t been calibrated for two years and was 10oC out!

I was asked yesterday what my favourite beer is. That’s an easy question for me because it’s Duvel for reasons previously explained. It did lead me on to thinking about my top 10 favourites. Modesty of course prevents me from naming anything I am currently making. As you will see they range from the slightly unfashionable to the very unfashionable.

1. Duvel
2. Westmalle Tripel
3. Courage Directors (1989)
4. Sierra Nevada Harvest 2008
5. Orval
6. Ind Coope Burton Ale (1991)
7. Cantillon Gueuze
8. Dupont Avec les Bon Voeux
9. Harpoon IPA
10. Brakspear Ordinary (2000)

If you don’t agree let me know. It won’t change anything but at least we can have a row!


MartinG said...

tiredness in the writing and tired prose!

Rubbish, I wont have it.

Ind Coope Burton ale was an old favourite of mine even though the stuff I drank was brewed in Watford. One doesn't seem to be able to get it nowadays, or maybe I'm not trying hard enough.

Surprised London Pride didn't make your top ten.

Stuart Ross said...

"Sierra Nevada Harvest 2008" Southern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere or Estate?
I'm drinking the 2011 Southern Hemisphere now, very nice!
but if there was a SN beer I could drink again it would be 2008 Celebration Ale

Tandleman said...

I think you are bang on the money with ICBA dated as you do. What a fantastic beer that was but never truly recognised as such, even by its owners. Or at least, not for long enough.

No argument with the rest. They are your choices.

BeerReviewsAndy said...

orval every day of the week....

Jamie said...

Dupont 'Avec les Bon Voeux' is an orgiastic feast for the senses.

Stuart Howe said...

ESB is 11 Martin. Memories of Pride have been damaged by drinking it out of a watering can in rugby club changing rooms.

Stu hi, it would be Northern Hemisphere. Beautiful hops.

One of the current Molson Coors directors was on the team responsible for the ICBA a tear welled in his eye when we discussed it recently!

I'm surprised you haven't got Director's Bitter coming out of your taps Jamie. It's very malty.

Matt Gorecki said...

That's an incredibly interesting list Stuart.

I resolve to read your blog more often.


Anonymous said...

ICBA was, of course, cask-conditioned Double Diamond, which itself was originally an authentic 19th century Burton IPA - as, indeed, was Worthington E. And Director's roots, of course, are in Alton, about the only brewing town in the South East of England with well water similar to Burton's.

Martyn Cornell

Ed said...

Another thumbs up for Burton from me (and lets not forget it won the Champion Beer of Britain in 1990). When I started drinking in pubs they were mainly Allied or Courage round my way and I much preferred Burton to Directors.

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