This Scumbag

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Musician, engineer/producer and former employee at Beer Ritz in Leeds. Enthusiast of extreme metal and beer, which happily go extremely well together. Follow @BenCorkhill

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Incredible Hoppy Pale... from Thwaites?!

Things are pretty dire for the next couple of weeks. Back on monthly pay, I can't particularly afford to fulfill my alphabet commitment this week, so I decided to write about a beer I meant to write about back in November.

Thwaites released this absolute beauty in aid of the British Legion around Remembrance Day last year. On cask at Veritas in Leeds, it was, simply put, sublime. No one could quite believe where it had come from. Here are the notes I made that night...

Clear golden pour with a perfect head. Everything about the hops in this beer scream tropical - mango, grapefruit, melon, lemon and some orange are all present in the aroma and taste. Also rearing its head is that over-ripe fruitiness akin to Thornbridge Kipling, alongside a smooth, full mouthfeel leaving a lingering creamy aftertaste. Mouth watering.

Whether it was indeed brewed at Thwaites or under license somewhere else, it was a big hit with staff and customers alike. Either way, I sincerely hope they bring it out again at some point as I would certainly like to return to this beer.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Beer Alphabet Week 6 - F

Two classics this week, on a nice relaxing Sunday night after work.
With nachos
Fraoch Heath Ale from the consistently brilliant Williams has a fresh, grassy aroma, with small hints of malt, lemon and other citrus fruits with a slight pine quality too. The medium mouthfeel presents lemon and lime, hints of pine akin to the Alba pine ale, with an all-round grassiness. It has a great dry-ish fruity aftertaste which makes it hard to put down...

One of my all time favourites, Guinness Foreign Extra gives off a complex aroma of toasted chocolate malts, treacle, hints of coffee and underlying rubber. What a full, satisfying mouthfeel, mmm... dark malts, chocolate, coffee are all present in the silky smooth finish with an excellent roasted aftertaste.

Another letter conquered, another pleasant night's drink. What are your choices for F?

Monday, 9 January 2012

Beer Alphabet Week 5 - E

Another week, another two beers. And as I settle into my new job, I find that this week hasn't allowed me a great deal of time to sit down and enjoy nice beer (night shifts), hence the Sunday posting. So, a quiet night with a couple of E's...

Brooklyn East India Pale, a classic in every sense - something Brooklyn seem to be excellent at. It's not the hugest of beers, but the earthy, caramel aromas are enticing. Similar on the palate, the mouthfeel is a little light for a 6.8% but there is a nice maltiness with some hoppy fruits and caramel coming through. Lovely beer and a true stalwart; there are bigger, more hop-forward Americans out there, but sometimes you just need a break, right?

Next up, Burton Bridge Empire IPA. I was highly disappointed with their Porter, but this was a beer I'd heard good things about. Interesting, to say the least. Very zesty aroma with a hint of banana, some lemon sherbet and a piney spiciness. Not what I expected on the palate - a huge initial juiciness makes way for a slight acidic, almost Belgian tripel style yeasty quality. All I can say is zest zest zest! A decent beer, not at all expected and quite a unique take on an IPA but I've had more enjoyable drinking experiences. After such confusion, it was interesting to scour Beer advocate for other people's opinions; I deduce that others were similarly perplexed.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Goodbye, Beer Ritz!

If these shelves could talk... they'd talk about beer.
Most of you are probably unaware that the 31st December was my last shift at Beer Ritz. In November I was offered a full time managerial position at a Leeds music studio, and having done a degree in music production rather than beer retail, I could hardly turn it down...

It was a decision that made economic, personal and career sense; however, it was not without regret. Working at Beer Ritz was, quite frankly, the best job I had ever had (until now of course). It was something I was interested in and gave me tremendous scope for learning, socialising and generally opening up my mind to the world of beer. When I took the job I thought to myself 'this is the chance to really get stuck into the beer community', and that's exactly what I've found myself doing. Don't get me wrong, I'm total small-fry when it comes to beer blogging/tweeting/networking but those people who I have met through the job, I've found to be extremely decent, down to earth folk who I've had a lot of time for.

So without rambling too much, cheers to all those who I've had the pleasure of meeting in the last 7 months - you have all educated, inspired and motivated me in some way. And a HUGE Cheers to Beer Ritz & Beer Paradise and their continued success in the market!

Now I'll let you enjoy some photos from the staff Christmas night out...

My farewell beer.

Train stout

A ghost admiring his whiskey...

Zak somehow ended up with all the glasses...

...and was clearly happy about it!

Essential snacking

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Beer Alphabet Week 4 - D

The first beer of the evening, La Trappe Dubbel, gives off lovely sweet, spicy aromas of berries and honey. Prickly yet smooth on the tongue, the taste presents a nice juicy blend of those darker fruits, roasted malts and a slight booziness on the swallow. The lingering candy sugariness is not as sweet as I'd expected but certainly present. I've enjoyed this in the past, and am enjoying it just as much tonight.

The amber-brown pour of Stone Double Bastard pushes a large foamy off-white head skyward. Pungent malty aromas of milk chocolate, nuts and caramel. A huge immediate booziness makes way for a smooth caramel wave of malts rolling across the tongue, leaving a lingering boozy sting in the throat. A big, dry bitter finish caps this beer off nicely. I now see what the fuss is about, good work Stone.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Spreading the Christmas Beer

The clear, golden and rather carbonated pour of Dupont Avec les Bons Voeux offers yeasty aromas not too dissimilar from a strong lager or pilsner - grassy with underlying citric fruits. Smooth and fruity across the palate, offering substantial flavour but not much of an aftertaste to remember.

Good, but not great.
I'd saved this beer to have as my 'special' ale for Christmas. Although slightly disappointing, it was a refreshing return to quality beer. Yesterday was Christmas Day, and aside from a couple of pints of Brains Rev James at the pub in the afternoon and a few glasses of port later in the night, I have been drinking mountains of Foster's Gold. Cringe, think less of me, throw your arms up in disgust if you will, I really don't care. Foster's Gold was what was in my parents' fridge, and there happened to be plenty of it. This got me thinking about Leigh's post about Christmas, and how even for a lover of good beer, what you drink is only relevant within the context of the occasion.

So if you've forsaken the values of good beer these last couple of days for the sake of enjoying them with your family, I'm sure you will join me in saying: Fuck it, it's Christmas.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Beer Alphabet Week 3 - C

It's been a looong day at work, and this will be the only night this week that I can sit down and write about a couple of decent beers, so here we go with C (for Christmas, get it?)...

Odell Cutthroat Porter
I've worked my way through a fair few of Odell's range now, yet this one has evaded me thus far. The tempting black pour gives off aromas of burnt and toasted malts with chocolates, a little vanilla and a slight liquorice undertone. The mouthfeel is a lot lighter than I expected but it glides across the tongue, with lovely rich flavours of milk chocolate, very subtle coffee and a soft toasted maltiness. There is not much left over in the throat but the tongue is left with lingering memories of those classic porter flavours

St. Austell Cornish Bock 

An appetising clear amber pour gave off a good sized white head which dissipated to a medium size quite quickly. The fresh lager aromas are laced with a caramel and toffee sweetness. A medium but inoffensive carbonation presented an immediate clean freshness with underlying sugar and sweet caramel. The crisp, dry finish makes it extremely moreish and, frankly, hard to put down for long. At 6.5%, four or five of these would make for a very pleasurable night's drinking (shame I just have the one...)!

The first outside contribution to this alphabet, by the way, has come from the very man who suggested the idea, Steve (@BeersIveKnown) over at Beers I've Known. Last week, he got stuck into a Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, so cheers Steve for getting involved!