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Tulleehoo Has Moved

March 12, 2011

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Hausbrauerei Altstadthof – Nuremberg

March 2, 2011

Couple of weeks ago I flew over to Germany to attend an Organic food and beverage trade fair in Nuremberg called Biofach, it was like most German shows on a grand scale with 8 halls packed wall to wall with products from around the world. A retailers paradise it was and i was quite impressed by the amount of UK companies on show promoting products that would look good in any store in the world, i say that because a lot of the German,French and Scandinavian brands had names Bio this and Bio that. I thought come on guys we know your goods are organic but you could have worked on a better name!

I have been coming to this fair now for 3 years and I am yet to see 60% of these brands make it in to the UK as they would do really well over here, im sure they have tried maybe we also like our product branding as much as the contents. Was disappointed that non of the UK breweries were on show, Fullers, Brodies, and Stroud Breweries organic beers would have really cleaned up yet there were a few German and Belgian breweries busy filling order books. There are so many incentives offered by the UKTI right now such as discounted stands at trade fairs and even money toward flights and hotels, they are really backing UK firms to export.

The last few trips I never got a chance to see the city so this time I stayed over an extra day to catch the sites of Nuremberg, the Old Town is quite beautiful the majestic Nuremberg Castle and medieval churches and romantic cobbled streets and half-timbered houses are surrounded by a 15ft six km long historic city wall from the dating back from the 16th century. In the centre of the town is a market square called Hauptmarkt and I’m told hosts one of the worlds best Christmas markets but what got my eye was C&A, I still remember my dad taking me to the store that was in East Ham to get my school uniform. They are still going strong in Europe wonder why they closed in the UK!

In the north-eastern part of the old town I discovered Hausbrauerei Altstadthof, this brewery has been around since 1386 and sit on a maze of tunnels and cellars no prizes what they were used for. Beer is still brewed here and operations are now run by current owner Reinhard Engel, you can take a tour down in the cellars which was a bit creepy but the site of 1 ltr bottles of beer stacked up if they were wine soon cheered me up. Upstairs there is a brewery shop selling the range of six beers plus a Schnaps and even Mustard they produce.

I sampled the goods on tap in the brew pub the ‘Helles’ was very nice, lightly hopped unfiltered hazy yellow colour. Fruity with a pleasant malt profile. Very refreshing and quaffable. But the ‘Schwarzbier‘ was my favourite a dark brown blackish colour  with a nice cream head. Strong notes of coffee right from the start through to a some fruity sweetness. Sure it was blackcurrant! finishing with a dark roasted malt and hoppy flavour. Really good stuff.

I decided to buy one of each of them, they only sold them only in 1ltr bottles which I don’t think was an issue these beers will go down a treat this summer with a BBQ. Now we’ve all heard the story about tourist getting ripped off well what happened to me was really taking the biscuit. I went up to the counter with both bottles the cashier spoke no English and pointed her finger to the till displaying the amount I should pay, I had to look twice she wanted €38 yep €38 European quids!! In my broken German English I tried to explain to her the amount is not correct as the shelf tag states €4.40 each! At that time I was the only one in the shop and she wouldn’t have non of it ‘no no no’ and started speaking German at 100km per hr..

She knew what she was doing and I really felt like saying to her to sick the bottles where the sun don’t shine but no I wasn’t havin non of this and I walked out in to the court-yard and asked the English-speaking pub staff to follow me to the shop. I explained to him that she wanted €38 and that it was an incorrect amount, the young lad looked at me and said that’s too much! Now for the next 5 mins I witnessed some heavy strong German exchanges between the two, I wish I could have spoken German as I’m sure he was saying to her ‘why you over charging this guy’. The lad turned around and said she is stupid come with me and I will sell you the beers from the pub for €8.80 for the pair, I really was not impressed but this had nothing to do with brewery and this product but a chancer of a till girl.

Look these are really good beers and the brewery has so much history and tradition which is awesome and I recommend you try these beers on your trip to Nuremberg but beware of the till girl I think her name was Ingrid.

Nürnberger Altstadthof is at Bergstraße 19-21, 90403 Nürnberg or check out the website for more info.

Birroteca Grand Cru -Santarcangelo di Romagna, Italy

February 24, 2011

Last weekend I traveled to Rimini in Italy to attend food and beverage expo Sapore, the part of the fair for the beer industry was once called Pianeta Birra now this section is named Selezione Birra Beverage. I had no idea what to expect although I had read a recent blog by Zak Avery on his beer trip in Italy, my personal knowledge is little. Walking in to the expo i first went to the floor plan which was a shocker it shows nine halls and from what I could see each hall twice the size of London’s Earls Court, glad I had soft shoes on.

Once battling through the Pasta, Wine and Olive oil halls I finally reached my destination. A large section of the hall was taken up by companies selling Micro brewery equipment which was quite interesting, pretty modern stuff in all sizes and the there was a complete micro brewery fit out that would have fitted in my garden shed…i’ve kept their card for my records 🙂

Further up the hall there was a section with around 40 booths with craft brewers from around Italy showcasing some quite remarkable beers….yep you heard right. The land of Wine is slowly brewing up a craft beer revolution and I noticed most were from Campania a region of south-western Italy, I wonder why that region is so popular and to be honest I never got round asking as I was very busy trying out the goods.

Now these dudes have gone full-out, the ones who have got it right have 6/7 different beers you can see have spent time on branding/marketing plus they all have this beautifully curved bottle which shouts out “I’m Italian” really nice. Other than the brewers smartly dressed in slick Italian suits (I saw no men with breads) another thing I noticed other than the 330ml bottles 70% of them had 1ltr bottles too which i was not too sure was a good or bad thing.

A few names folks you must look out for are:

Birroficio Maiella

Birroficio Birranova

Berraficio del Ducato

Birrra del Borgo

These guys had some amazing beers and to be fair the standard overall was very impressive.

Only downfall was they were not selling bottles (saw me coming) only sampling, so back at my hotel i began the job of finding a specialist beer shop. I asked the front desk if they knew of any and told me there were non in Rimini, which i was quite surprised as it is a busy touristy town but the nearest one they had heard of from a friend of a friend of a friend!! was 40 km away in a small town called Santarcangelo di Romagna.

So a dash to the railway station and finally to Santarcangelo di Romagna, people I was the only one who got off the train and walking out of the station I saw no one and heard nothing which made me a bit edgy but I was on a mission to find beer. This was a very very small town quite dusty cobbled streets a few bikes and the odd Fiat parked  in the road, i eventually saw a bar and thought must be life in there! Again empty so I sat at the bar and ordered a beer a Peroni red never had one before bloody nice (I was thirsty), I’m not a fan but I’d drink that again if I can find it in the UK.

I began to question the chap behind the bar and immediately he said ‘Birroteca Grand Cru’ luckily on the same street he told me waving his arm and said I should ask for Q a mate of his. No joke I thought whats this MI5 lol. Got to the shop walked in it was busy dozen or so people (so this is where everyone was hiding) eyeing up the stock, met Q who showed me his Italian selection. This shop in this little town had over 700 different beers quite incredible I’d never had thought it, beers from Brew Dog to St Peters to Mikkeller they had them all….i was in heaven!

Seriously so many collaboration beers I’d never heard of and one that got my eye was called My Antonia a collaboration between Dogfish and Birra del Bongo, then I found a beer  I’d been looking for a while by Brouwerij de Molen called Hel en Verdoemnis 666 even Q said was awesome. Got together some great beers which now it was the job of getting them home safely.

What a find I love it when you discover places like this, Q who owns the shop is a really enthusiastic guy and certainly  knows his beer, his customers they knew what they wanted and one was also earlier at the expo in Rimini and had booked the equipment recently to set up his brewery in this town.

Birroteca Grand Cru -Santarcangelo di Romagna, Italy. The shops website is do check it out and if your ever in Rimini do pop in and see Q.

Truman’s Back in Town.

February 3, 2011

No not Jim Carrey  nor President H S Truman but Truman the beer that was at one time the heart and soul of East London and once the largest brewery in the world is back and ready for business. Originally established in 1666 closed in 1989 and now re-established in 2010, now based in offices literally a stones throw from the old site in Brick lane E1 a group of guys are planning the revival of this British brewing icon.

You can from the team’s top floor office (no lift by the way) in Elder St see the old site and I was thinking what inspiration it must give these dudes! It is remarkable how much history surrounds this name, some of the old pubs around here still have some old signage and what about the families who lived and some who still live in the area have fond memories of this bustling brewery with grand parents or even parents who once work behind those big gates.

I was born in this borough of London and my father ran a clothing factory in the early 70s till 1985 just up the road in Whitechapel Road so i was regularly down Petticoat lane with my mum, i clearly remember the working brewery with trucks coming out the gates full of barrels up and down Brick Lane. My dad was a keen Whiskey and Brandy fan (like most Punjabi’s) but when he had a beer it was a Truman’s, there was always bottles and cans lying around the house but i can’t remember ever cracking one open! Well it was a long time ago..

I read out about the re launch from Beermerchants blog late last year but never got a chance because of work and the weather to pop over and see the guys, I finally met up with James and Micheal in their busy office yesterday morning and listened to the great plans they have for 2011. I was genuinely pleased for them and the enthusiasm they had for the Brand, they have no family links to the brewery but purchased the naming rights because they believed in the name and you know what good on them.

They have just launched the Truman’s Runner Ale in 500ml bottles and I’m told selected pubs around London have on pump a porter which they were popular for way back and now is named Three Threads. As it was by fate or by luck they had just had delivery of the first load of bottles of Runner Ale oh what timing in thought and purchased a case of 12. The bottle label has links to the past with the use of the Eagle and the font seems similar too but looking at it closely its defiantly more up to date, i said it before getting the branding right is the key however what these guys also have on their side is 300 plus years of legacy to help them with marketing.

Now the important bit.

Pours a dark brown colour and for me poured a nice beige head, with some light toasted caramel malts and hints of fruit Orange maybe or Peach. Nice smooth carbonation and you don’t pick up on the 4% ABV that much, it’s not very complex but is a very drinkable bitter and I’d gladly add it to my ever-increasing list of session beers. Very nice beer.

My ratings:

Truman’s Runner Ale 4.o% ABV – 7/10

Do check out the company website for more information on Truman’s Beers, History and where they are currently being brewed. I found this nice quote from the website ‘We might never be the largest again, but then biggest has never been best’.

Truman’s are also on Twitter @TRUMANSBEER

On tap in London at Ten Bells, The Water Poet, The Carpenters Arms and The Peasant.

‘Once a heavyweight of British brewing, Truman’s was synonymous with East London. For hundreds of years it was famed for its good beer and the remaining pubs bear witness to the fact that it stood for all that is great about British pub culture’ – James Morgan and Michael-George Hemus (Truman’s Beer)

Timothy Taylor’s – Landlord Pale Ale

February 1, 2011

This was an impulse buy whilst having gone into Waitrose to buy a bottle of wine at the weekend, you see when visiting your local store as regularly as I do and walking up and down the beer aisle hoping for something new and exciting to drink but only finding pretty much the same brands restocked every week is disappointing. So its always nice to see the local store break the mould and get something non commercial in, last time it was the Swedish God Lager which was nice.

I was very pleased to find Timothy Taylor Landlord on the shelf, I know of these beers and last had a pint when I was up in Harrogate in the Old Bell Tavern. A very old Yorkshire brewery with a history going back as far as 1858, still going strong and with now a established chain of own pubs nationwide.

Landlord is a classic multi award winning Pale Ale four times as CAMRA’s beer of the year, its not very strong unlike the label suggests 4.1% ABV  and in a nice 500ml sized bottle lesser size would be not acceptable. Pours a lovely golden orange with a nice lasting head with a little lace. The aroma gives some caramel but more hop citrus with delicate and fresh flowery notes. It ends with a dry long beautiful finish, very well balanced with lots of nice hop character.

My ratings:

Timothy Taylor Landlord 4.1% ABV – 8/10

Do visit the Timothy Taylor website for more information and most of all do look out for this excellent session Bitter, a proper classic British beer that i would choose over most beers.

My purchase was made at Waitrose 27 Motcomb Street, London, SW1X 8GG im sure its in other branches too.

Seaweed Beer – Tonnerre de Brest

January 31, 2011

Up until recently I’d heard about Seaweed Skin treatments (not that i have had one) and even Edible seaweed but Seaweed beer hmm! So when I saw this bottle the Inspector Clouseau in me had to investigate so I invested in  a bottle.

A while back on a trip to France for a trade fair I had sampled Seaweed and from what I remember it was fried and then seasoned with a little herbs, quite nice actually never had green crisps before. Thinking about it that’s what my local Chinese has on its menu.

Seaweed I’m told is a super food healthy good source of B-vitamins and can be eaten raw or cooked a few call it a sea vegetable, it may be new to western cultures but the Japanese and Chinese have been eating it as a delicacy since ancient times. Another thing I found out Seaweed is high in Protein I always wondered from where veggies managed get Protein!

Tonnerre de Brest is a 6.5% Organic ale, pours an Amber colour with a small white head. You can defiantly pick up the smells of the seas, reminds me of the smell of Leigh on Sea when i was there with my family few months back. You pick up fruit and spice notes quite sweet but then there is something vinegary (seaweed maybe) not in a bad way. A very unusual beer bit thin bodied but im gonna say it ‘its drinkable’

My ratings:

Tonnerre de Brest 6.5% ABV – 4/10

I was going to point you to the website but it would not open and according to its one of the 100 best herded/spiced beers in the world!!! Where have i been living all this time hmm……

Brodies’s Organic East London Gold

January 23, 2011

I am a fan of Organic beers even Organic foods and it’s great to see the efforts what these producers, brewers are doing and their approach in helping to deliver sustainable solutions towards a low-carbon future. I don’t look at Organic as a fad and I’m sure these brewers don’t either as most of them brew very good non Organic beers too, so they are not trying to ram just ‘organic’ down our throats it’s a choice.

I truly believe Organic is great for your well-being and as much it is for the environment plus it’s kind to animals and wildlife, our Organic farms are havens for wildlife and provide homes for bees, birds and butterflies to name a few so can you imagine what harm these synthetic growth promoters (fertilisers) and  pesticides are doing. Just one example in the last two years there has been a massive worldwide drop in Bee numbers, if bees were to be wiped out the result could be very dire as so much of the human food supplies depend on Bee pollination and yes this is all caused by the insecticides, fertilisers currently being used in non organic agriculture.

Organic foods are grown/produced without the use of any fertilizers or pesticides, It is in a way going back to ancestral ways of farming. Organically grown foods have to be certified by third-party certifying agencies before being labeled “organic.” These foods have to adhere to stringent standards laid down by government agencies, like the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), UK Soil Association, Europe’s EU-Eco Regulation and so on. A farm has to farm “organically” for three years before its produce can be certified as “organic.” Until then its produce is labeled “in conversion.”

East London’s Brodie’s Brewery which I discovered last year and to my joy is only 4 miles if that from my house, they are one of a small but increasing group of new London breweries popping up recently and I’m very happy this one is in my manor. Started up only in June 2008 when owners Jamie and Lizzie Brodie took over an abandoned brewery in Leyton and at my last count currently have 21 different beers on offer……now I call that good going. My current favourite UK brewed Organic beers are the selections from Black Isle breweryStroud Brewery and Daas from Belgium, all bottle conditioned beers and available at all good beer retailers not just Organic food retailers.

Brodie’s Organic offering is called the East London Gold it’s a 3.5% ABV bottle conditioned ale, pours pale golden colour with a good head, pleasant sweet floral hops and a dry bitter ending and you know what the 3.5% ABV makes it very suppable. The labels state each bottle is filled, sealed and labeled by the brewer himself, I bet he must be a very busy man.

My ratings:

Brodie’s Organic East London Gold 3.5% ABV – 6/10

One of several places you can enjoy Brodie’s beers is at King William IV which is right next door to the brewery 816A High Road Leyton, London, E10 6AE, it’s a proper East End boozer with beer at £1.99 a pint it’s definitely my kind of place.

Thomas Hardy’s Ale 1991 Vintage

January 20, 2011

Thomas Hardy Ales need no introduction a part of British brewing history, bottle conditioned beers brewed back then by Eldridge Pope until recently by O’Hanlon’s. Sadly O’Hanlon’s have now stopped brewing Thomas Hardy’s Ale so for those of you that are not familiar here is a good link to go by.

Whilst searching on Ebay for Volvo P1800s parts (renovation job) i thought I’d type in beer and see what comes up, well quite interestingly from bottles of Watneys Royal Celebration Ale 1981 brewed for The Prince of Wales & Lady Diana’s wedding too bottles of beers from the Truman Brewery and a Courage Imperial Russian Stout 1993 which I quickly added all to my basket.

There was one chap who was selling a selection of 80 bottles dating back from 1970, a mixture of beers commemorating something or the other and included two bottles of 1991 Thomas Hardy ale. With 5 days for the auction to finish and the current bid at £9 i clicked watch and monitored the bid for a few days, on the 5th day with 5 mins to go to my surprise (shock) the last bid was still at £9. My bid of £10 was accepted and a few days later i was off up the M1 to Royston to collect my beers.

Pulled up at a farm and was greeted by a middle-aged gentleman, nice bloke told me the beers belonged to his step father and he found them whist emptying his late mothers house. I actually felt bad that I paid him only a tenner but he was happy to be shot of them and was surprised someone had actually bought them……i said no more.

Both bottles now 20 years old so you can imagine i was a bit worried about cracking one open and seeing if they would still be worth drinking so I Tweeted the question and a well-known beer blogger Andy Mogg tweeted back saying ‘They should be great’ so i proceeded to see if they would blow my mind.

Poured a Deep Amber color say a Mahogany, as you would expect for a beer of this age it was flat no life in it at all in terms of carbonation. The nose had strong hints of caramel, dark sweet fruits, brown sugar, oak, molasses even. The flavours i believe had become more complex over the years and hence also the strong alcohol presence, it defiantly felt more than the 12% ABV stated on the bottle. A thick sweet syrupy texture on the tongue that which I enjoyed immensely till the last drop of this 180 ml bottle.

My ratings:

Thomas Hardy’s Ale 12% ABV – 8/10

A truly great beer which I am so delighted I opened and now understand why this was one of Britain’s best beers for so so long, people next time your buying stuff on that auction site and you look up beers you know you’ll will be bidding against me  🙂

L’Abbaye des Saveurs

January 13, 2011

I took a trip over to France late last week, was planning to go before Christmas but due to the crazy snow I thought best not get stuck on the Eurostar  for umpteen hours so rescheduled. Really good friend of mine lives about 30 mins drive from Lille into Belgium, quite an eccentric chap and bit of a lord of the manor type. we took a drive around his estate before lunch taking in the views of his 100 acres of land, he regularly organises hunts in this fields (not my cup of tea) but recently he has set aside a large amount of land where he is now growing Barley for beer.

As far as the eye could see were these fields, you could see the Barley just coming up and should be ready to cut by June when it will be turned into Belgium’s most popular export beer.  After a great meal at L’Enoteca in Ramecroix and a few bottles of the excellent Coste delle Plaie a wine from F1 driver Jarno Trulli‘s Vineyard it was time to head back to Lille.

I’d heard a lot about this shop L’Abbaye des Saveurs a specialist beer retailer, based in the Old Town of Lille which is beautiful and i was advised it is in a building which was a 18th century villa. It’s run by Antony and Stéphane two guys both very knowledgeable about beer, we’d called them beer geeks.They helped me with my selection as so much in this shop was new to me, I’m not very familiar with beers from the North East of France and they seemed to stock them all.

Lille is probably the beer capital of France Stéphane advises me and enlightened me with more facts that there are more new breweries in the last 2 years in the North East of France then in any other region. I suppose it’s got to do with the North East being closer to the UK and the current boom of micro breweries we are having, well thats my option anyway.

First few bottles I picked up where La Blonde d’Esquelbecq a 6.5% a very Belgian influence blond beer and Etoile du Nord 5.5% a very hoppy beer right down my street and very IIPA. Both French and both very tasty, if this is what is going to come out of this region then I’m excited.

Next up i picked up a few bottles of a black bier  Black Albert 13% ABV an Imperial stout, quite thick and poured a dark brown creamy head. It had velvety mouth feel and yes its was an intense brew. My other selections was bottles of  Mocha Bomb Struise Black Damnation II 12% ABV. Also a Imperial Stout poured a deep black got a huge nose of roast coffee and dark chocolate, again It had a velvety mouth feel and even better picked up NO alcohol as if had non. WOW what a great couple of beers brewed by De Struise Brouwers Belgium.

Sticking with the Black beers I picked up a couple of Lancelot XI.I 11.1% ABV i was told this beer is brewed on the 1st of Nov and is a beer to bring in the Celtic new year. No surprise the 11.1 % ABV (11th month of the year, 1st day). What great marketing I thought but the guys in the shop were dead serious it is brewed that way…who am I to disagree!  A French beer poured very dark brown again with a creamy beige head. Strong licorice caramel aroma, with some roasted coffee. Some hints of berries smooth and full-bodied. A delicious beer that is only brewed once a year, on the night before 1 November…yep Halloween GULP!

Finally a beer i had heard about but never managed to find it, Agent Provocateur 6.5% ABV no not a beer by Joseph Corre but by Craig Allan a Scotsman worked in a few Scottish micro breweries over a period of time until he packed his bag to the shores of France to do his trade. A Belgian IPA by De Proefbrouwerij (How many beers does this brewery make) Pours a lovely golden colour with a lasting head, Good fruitiness on the nose with hops. dry with a well-balanced bitterness and picked up loads of fruits like grape fruits, lemons even mango. It’s a very nice beer unfortunately they had only 4 in the shop, will have to look out for more.

My ratings:

La Blonde d’Esquelbecq 6.5% – 5/10

Etoile du Nord 5.5% – 6/10

Black Albert 13% – 8/10

Mocha Bomb Struise Black Damnation II 12% ABV – 7/10

Lancelot XI.I 11.1% ABV – 7/10

Agent Provocateur 6.5% ABV – 6/10

L’Abbaye des Saveurs is a great little find and a great pit stop either on your way to Paris or even to Belgium to stock up on your French beers.

L’Abbaye des Saveurs est le specialiste a Lille des bières artisanales. 13 Rue Vieux Murs 59000 Lille, France
03 28 07 70 06

iKi Beer – New Year Detox!

January 6, 2011

Well for most of us the waistline has expanded a little from too many mince pies, chocolates and litres of beer over the Christmas and New Year. I’m happy to continue and indulge more but at my age it’s a bit harder to burn off so best listen to the wife.

I got a bit worried when she said ‘i’ll help you’ and immediately thought oh crap she’s got me a Devina McCall keep fit dvd or even worse some silly detox kit from the pharmacy. Couple of days later she hands me a bottle of iKi beer, yes i stood in silence for a few second thinking is this some sort of devious plan!

I was then told that this beer is Organic and made using Green Tea and that Green Tea has various medicinal uses and health benefits and it is used by many as a way of detox. Green tea is made from unfermented leaves and reportedly contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals and Antioxidants such as polyphenols in green tea can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.

Well after taking all that in and the shock of my wife handing me a bottle of beer, it was time to kill some free radicals. iKi Beer to my joy is 4.5% ABV and brewed in Belgium yep not in Japan to my disappointment as there are some great Craft beers coming out of the land of the rising sun such as Coedo and Kiuchi Brewery.

The back label tell us iKi means ‘Life’ in Japanese and iKi refreshes. Green tea not only gives iKi its body, it also enriches iKi with high levels of natural antioxidants….. well there is only one way to find out! Pours a hazy pale yellow, with a thick white head. The aroma is fruity with flowers some malts and a slight hop. The taste is fresh, sweet. Fruity like citrus. Notes of spices and the aftertaste has the real Japanese green tea taste to it.

My ratings:

iKi Beer (4.5% ABV) – 3/10

Look I’d rather drink this than make my house shake to a celebrity keep fit video…….erm maybe depends who the celebrity is 😀

iKi beer was purchased at Japan Centre 14-16 Regent Street, London, a Japanese supermarket and restaurant.