Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Advent Calendar - 16th December 2014

Beer Advent Calendar
Camden Town Brewery - Camden Pils 4.6%
16th December 2014

Today is the three hundred and fiftieth day of the year, and the 16th December 1653 was the date that Christmas almost ended as that was the day the Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England. Actually I made that last bit up, well  part of it anyway as, even though Oliver Cromwell did indeed become Lord Protector on this day three hundred and sixty one years ago, Parliament had already passed an Act forbidding Christmas celebrations in 1644. 

I was looking on the internet for a beer fact for today but all that I could find was that in 2010 the Discovery Channel aired an episode of 'Brew Master' where Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione brewed a batch of 'Chateau Jiahu' a beer based on a 9000 year old recipe using fragments of pottery jars recovered from a village in central China, and travelled to Egypt to bring back to life beer from one of the earliest situations. I tried to link to that episode but it's protected by copyright, however you can buy the DVD for the whole series should you wish, and have a Region 1 compatible player. 

I've been looking on the internet a lot recently trying to find some inspiration for my blog during Advent and one thing that has amazed me is the amount of beer events there are on any given day in the United States. Seriously have a look, there's an incredible amount going on, from brewery open days to beer festivals, from talks on brewing to beer launches to bottle shares, everything you can think of. Admittedly the US is a big place but I'm sure you could find something nearby, but wouldn't it be great if there were activity of this level in the UK. Well my friends, the good new is there is, sort of, but where on earth would you find out about it?

The most obvious waty to find out about what's happening is to keep an eye on twitter. Follow the breweries nearby, and look who they interact with and maybe follow them too. In my experience you often see many of the same faces at these events, and the buzz tends to build a week or so before so look at what others are discussing. December, June and August are when a lot of these events seem to bunch together, often two or three on the same night in London so keep your eyes peeled.

The various CAMRA branches publish their own magazines or newsletters usually either monthly or seasonally and these can be picked up at local cask ale pubs, or even viewed online as many have their own websites. CAMRA's own monthly publication, What's Brewing, also carries listings for these branches events too.

If you live in Edinburgh, you would have been fortunate to be able to peruse The Beer Cast, Edinburgh's beer website, which publishes listings every Sunday for the week ahead. I used it myself a couple of months ago when I was up there for a week and managed to get to a Meet The Brewer event (Stringers at Holyrood 9A) and pick up on the remnants of a Bad Seed tap takeover at the Hanging Bat. London, or more exactly @CarsmileSteve has got in on the act recently with the London Beer Diary, a similar listings site where you can find out what is happening in the capital.

I hope I've highlighted some of the ways that you can find out what is going on in your area here, but if you have any other suggestions then please leave them in the comments section. Also if you're still not sure if you want to be involved or attend one of the events you've found then I urge you to go along and find out. It is my experience that beer people are the best people, but you don't need to take my word for it, come along and see for yourself.

Before you go searching for somewhere to rush out to though, here are the answers to yesterdays quiz questions:

1. Freeminer

2. Molson Coors

3. Horndean Special Bitter

4. Bishop Nick

5. Best Bitter Beer ( although it's sometimes referred to as ' Big Boys Beer')

There were no correct answers yesterday, so the prize of being mentioned rolls over to today, but before those questions, here is today's beer.

I wrote a little about the history of Camden Town Brewery in my Beers of London Series when I reviewed Camden Pale Ale back in April 2013, and it's a brewery I've covered again and again, reviewing Pete vs. The World and most recently their India Hells Lager just last month. We were given a bottle of this beer at one of the IHL events and I was very impressed, so I'm looking forward to reacquainting myself with it tonight.

Pouring a hazy golden yellow, it is unfiltered after all, and with a soft white head it has the beautiful citrus aroma of lemon and lime overlaid with some mango bite and a hint of white pepper spiciness. It moves softly over the tongue too with a tug of carbonation on the tip of the tongue heralding a sharp bitterness coming predominantly from lime zest and white pepper accented curacao orange juice flavours with flood the mouth and then fade quickly to wonderful finish. This tickles your tongue like a light lemon zest popping candy before it swiftly becomes an echo of arid lemony air. I like this beer a lot, as it has the softness of a plilsner with some delicious fruity, but still classicly dry peppery notes. This in itself is a fairly new beer from Camden Town, and if you like their beer then you're going to love it, so go and get yourself some. 

So after that tasty treat from my Ales By Mail Advent calendar, I'll give you today's questions.

1. What is the name of the Trappist brewery that opened USA in 2013?

2. Despite it's medicinal pun, Koff Winter Porter is a true Baltic Porter, evoking the 19th Century tradition of an Imperial Stout, but in which country is the brewery?

3. Who is the owner and founder of the Sierra Nevada Brewery?

4. Which common style of beer derives it's name from the German word for 'storage'?

5. What is the name of the glass designed by Italian brewer Teo Musso in order to best showcase Italian beer?

I hope they're not too tough, best of luck with those, but now it's time for today's corny Christmas cracker joke.

I'm going to keep it traditional today, I hope you it makes you groan.

What do reindeer hang on their Christmas trees/


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