Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Advent Calendar - 9th December 2014

Beer Advent Calendar
Chapel Down Winery - Curious Porter 5.0%
9th December 2014

Today is the 343rd day of the year, meaning that there are only 22 days left of 2014, and what a beery year it's been.

The television listings start to show retrospectives, looking back on the year with various 'highlights' shows and records of achievements. The BBC's annual Sports Personality of the Year show will be on this Sunday, although I'm old enough to remember when it was called Sports Review of the Year, and is the perfect example of this sort of celebration of excellence.

We, in the beer world, (note: that is beer world as in those of us who drink and think about beer, not Beer World which sounds like a fabulous drunken theme park) like to celebrate our personal favourites in the form of the Golden Pints. Now in their fifth year, having been started in 2009 by Andy Mogg and Mark Dredge, inviting "anyone and everyone to share their favourite beers and pubs from the last year". You can write a sentence, a blog post, a list, whatever you like really, these are your choices, nobody else's and you have free reign to choose what and whom deserves recognition. Put it up on twitter with the #GoldenPints though so that people can see who floated your beery boat this year. You can even list runners-up, have joint winners or no winners at tall, it's completely up to you.  Some 2014 nominations have already started to pop up here and there, and I encourage you to give it a go.

You'll need to know the categories of course, and even though they have expanded over the years they currently are:
Best UK Cask Beer, Best UK Keg Beer, Best UK Bottled or Canned Beer, Best Overseas Draught Beer, Best Overseas Bottled or Canned Beer, Best Collaboration Brew, Best Overall Beer, Best Branding or Pump Clip or Label, Best UK Brewery, Best Overseas Brewery, Best New Brewery Opening in 2014, Bar/Pub of the Year, Best New Pub/Bar opening in 2014, Best Festival of the Year, Supermarket of the Year, Independent Retailer of the Year, Online Retailer of the Year, Best Beer Book or Magazine, Best Beer Blog or Website, Best Beer App, Simon Johnson Award for Best Beer Twitterer, Best Brewery Website/Social Media, Food and Beer Pairing of the Year.
And if you're still unsure of what to do, here are my nominations for 2013 just to get you in the mood.

Now I'm sure that many of you are already familiar with the Golden Pints and wondering where all this is going, well there's a new kid on the blog. The Golden Posts.

Chris Hall (for it is his brainchild) wanted to be able to recognise what he thought was the best in beer blogging over the last twelve months. In a similar vein to the Golden Pints he has devised seven distinct categories in order to encompass what he feels are the separate themes of most beer writing, they are:
Best History Post, Best Impassioned Rant/Op-Ed, Best Pub Post, Best Palate Post, Best Beer Travel Post, Funniest Post, and an Open Category.
I'm particularly delighted to have won his Best Palate Post category, and feel rather honoured that he had me in mind when he came up with it as it's always nice to find out that your writing is appreciated.

So if you've enjoyed a particular piece of beery blogging that you'd like to acknowledge why not write your own #GoldenPosts nominations? Not only will the recipient feel appreciated and encouraged you'll also be bringing their writing to a wider audience.

In fact why not do both Golden Pints and Golden Posts, I'd love to read them.

I'm sure by now your wanting to know the answers to yesterdays quiz questions, but before that I'd like to congratulate Martin Oates and Clayton Chisholm on a quite outstanding collaboration which sure them being the first to come back to me with the correct answers to all the questions. Well done chaps!
Here are those answers:

1. Amsterdam

2. Ben Truman

3. Mark Tranter (Burning Sky Brewery)

4. Les Miserables

5. Pasteurisation

Well done if you got those, and now it's time for todays beer from my Ales By Mail Advent Calendar.

Chapel Down Winery, near Tenterden in Kent, is a drinks company predominantly known for it's sparkling wine as their name might suggest. They started brewing beer under the Curious name in 2010, winning a prestigious International Beer Challenge Award for their Curious Brew lager in 2012.

Todays beer is their Curious Porter, which along with their Curious IPA makes up their range. Let's see what it tastes like.

Pouring a dark brown with no discernable highlights when held up to the light and a thin beige head, the initial aroma on pouring the beer is heavily accented with proving bread dough but this quickly becomes overtaken with some dark roasty black coffee, some burnt toast and even some caramelised meat juices, it's most certainly robust. There's a prickle of carbonation on the tip of the tongue heralding the arrival of coffee and a little cola nut mixed in with some thin milky chocolate and a hit of beechwood smoke. In fact the whole thing is a little thin but as it warms in my glass I'm beginning to find a hint of raisin and a some cranberry notes as well, it's more complex than I first thought and leads gracefully to a finish that is all coffee, wreathed in a little smoke and splashed with a few drops of beefy gravy. This is a big beer in a thin body, and it really is very good indeed.

So after that delicious porter, I'll just pop another beer in the fridge whilst you peruse todays quiz questions.

1. Which variety of hop shares its name with a native North American tribe and a heavy-duty US military helicopter?

2. Once there were 150 Altbier breweries in this German town but now there's only one, and this one prides itself on being the worlds oldest organic brewery. Name the brewery and the town.

3. What do you call the stage of brewing where the simple sugars in the wort are converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide?

4. What German word is used for the traditional ceramic mugs with a pewter lid traditionally used in Bavaria?

5. The beer labels for Flying Dog brewery beer are designed by which cartoonist, famed as the co-inventor of Gonzo journalism?

Good luck with those.

And so, we draw to a close for another day, but not before the inevitable Christmas cracker joke.

Here it is:

Which author steals train sets from under the Christmas tree?

Nick Hornby

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