Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Brewfist 'Spaceman' IPA

I love Italy, I've been there a few times and even got married on a wine estate out there, and it's great to hear that the beer scene is branching out beyond Miller's ubiquitous Peroni and Heineken's Birra Moretti. Will Glass' excellent blog Italy Brews is a great source of information on the Italian beer and it's a shame his time in Italy came to an end - I for one am hoping someone picks up the baton and carries the site on.

This is the first beer I've had from Brewfist, and the first I remember having from Italy that's a bit more interesting than your standard Euro-lager, and while it would be nice to be out there sampling it there's never a bad time to be drinking IPA so here goes.

It pours a gorgeous orange colour and that reflects the marmalade aromas and the blood orange on the palate. It's not overly carbonated, making it very smooth and easy-drinking, and not too heavy on the sweet tropical fruit which I thought gave it better balance than some American-style IPA I've had. It's got a pleasant, grapefruit pithy finish.

Brewfist definitely get a big yes vote. Next time I order some beer I'll be adding more to the basket!

Worthy of my nephew's favourite joke: What do you get if you see a spaceman? You park man! (Sorry, he's only eight.)

7% abv. £3.24 (33cl) from Beer Ritz.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Brasserie Lefebvre 'Barbãr' Bok

This one was a bit if a blast from the past. Nearly ten years ago my wife and I were drinking this beer on our first date, although it was the regular blond rather than this darker (formerly just a winter) version. It's one of the beers from the Brasserie Lefebvre stable, we used to sell their Floreffe back in my pub days too.

It pours a deep brown colour, and I got less honey on the nose than I remember getting from its paler cousin. There's a load of dark and dried fruit in there; along with rich spices - it has a certain mulled quality on the nose. On the palate I got more of those wintery flavours; mixed peel and demerara sugar and characteristic yeasty Belgian dustiness. Overall the 2.5% honey is a contributory part rather than being at the forefront, it adds to the whole warming winter brew feel, and while I can see it wouldn't be to everyone's taste, we enjoyed sharing a bottle.

8.5% abv. £2.98 (33cl) from Beer Ritz.

Saturday, 19 January 2013


It's done. After over three years, I've finally got to the end of my WSET diploma. The results for the spirits exam, which had given me no seemingly no end of trouble due to missed deadlines and my own failings in the tastings, came through today and I passed. After so long (I was unmarried and not a parent when I got started) it feels like more of a relief than a cause for celebration, but I'm sure I'll warm to the idea once my working week finishes on Monday!

For a celebratory drink I think I'll go for a Greenall's Gin & Tonic. When I was struggling with the spirits exam I sent some rather embarrassing begging emails asking if anyone could help me with some tasting samples to practise with. These guys did, sending a couple of miniatures for me, and so this is by way of thanks.