Words - Matthew Curtis
HELLO, I'm here LIVE in the city of EDINBURGH which is in SCOTLAND where I'm attending the 2013 European Beer Bloggers Conference and I'm having an absolute whale of a time. In about 45 minutes time I'm going to be taking part in a live beer blogging event but I'm going to start with some words I scrawled into my journal in an earlier session.
"Write for yourself, if all you worry about is how many hits you get and who your audience is then you're doing it wrong."
I'll admit when I first started blogging I was a little obsessed with the amount of hits I was getting, watching the numbers grow each month with the excited face of a ten-year-old on Christmas day. Now, after taking a few weeks out to ask myself why I blog I don't worry about how many hits I'm getting I find the most important part of blogging, the writing itself, far more enjoyable and I hope to bring you lots more sud soaked stories as I yomp around the UK and the US that I hope you enjoy reading. For now, enjoy this blog post as I update it live over the next hour and a half!
LIVE BLOGGING IS GO.
Shepherd Neame - Brilliant Ale
So they are going to bring us beer, tell us about it and then we are going to drink it and WRITE ABOUT IT PANIC STATIONS I'M RUNNING OUT OF TIME. Wait, I'm calm, I can do this... nice to see Shepherd Neame using brown glass, nice classic label design, really eye catching. Brilliant Ale pours golden straw, the Cascade and East Kent Goldings hops give lemon peel and gentle grapefruit aromas. Nice light ale, great for a summers day, little light on the hops for my taste but very easy drinking. BOOM.
West - St. Mungo Lager
It's Glasgow based West with their St. Mungo lager up next. These guys have been around since 2006 AND WAIT MY LAPTOP IS FALLING TO BITS SEND HELP, keep calm I can pull through, anyway yes, these guys brew German style lagers and wheat beers. St. Mungo is a pleasant, drinkable lager with a robust malt profile, it certainly tastes very German. There is a nice spiciness coming from the Hallertauer hops, it's a very authentic lager and it's going down a treat.
Ilkley - The Mayan
Ah, Ilkley, I've wanted to try the Mayan, a Chili Chocolate Stout for a while and I'm getting massive notes of Cocoa on the nose and I can't wait to dive in. This is a beer of two halves, first there is beautiful, rich and bitter dark chocolate and this is followed by a mellow heat from the chipotle chili's used in the brew which don't blow your head off but really balance out the sweetness of the chocolate. The finish is dry and moreish, I'm going to be seeking this one out again.
Badger Ales - The Roaming Roy Dog
Badger released a beer last year called the Wondering Woodwose which Mark Landells (I'M LOOKING AT YOU LANDELLS) thought was fucking amazing. This is the next limited edition in the series only available for 2013. It's 7.5% ABV and I'M SMASHING IT WITH RECKLESS ABANDON BECAUSE I'M RUNNING OUT OF TIME. It's wonderful, rich forest fruits with a hint of booze, this is a late night beer that you'd want with a slab of rich blue cheese. It's only available from Badger direct.
Traquair - Jacobite Ale
Lovely traditional Scottish label on this bottle of traditional Scottish Ale, it's another high ABV belter at 8% but I'm throwing it down my throat with reckless abandon AS I'M RUNNING OUT OF TIME. This 'Wee Heavy' has delicious fruitcake flavours reminiscent of a Belgian Dubbel such as the one from Westmalle but without the funk of Belgian yeast. This is a lovely beer that has a surprisingly light body that pairs itself with a rich, vinous, berry fruit quality. I want more.
Innis & Gunn - Oloroso Cask
Nose, total butterscotch, oh dear. I'm currently being told about all of the wonderful things I should be tasting in this beer but I'm just not getting them. It might be rare but I'm not going to be in a rush to seek it out. I'm getting an almost dirty, woody taste like I'm riding through the woods on a wet day but I've fallen off my bike and got a mouthful of wet dirt. This just isn't for me. The man from I&G watched me write that from over my shoulder, I think he might try and do a murder on me later.
Birra Toccalmatto - Surfing IPA
I need a pick me up after that last beer, and hopefully these Italian stallions will deliver with this massive 8.5% ABV IPA. The aroma is so potent I almost fall of my chair, i'm getting huge globs of grapefruit and mango but the flavour is mellow and full of the rich Belgian malt that's used in the mash. ARRRRRRGH I'M RUNNING OUT OF TIME AND WHY HAS BOLD SUDDENLY COME ON! It's ok, Ctrl-B and I'm back in the game. This is a great beer and I'm starting to feel GREAT after smashing all of these high ABV beers.
Iveralmond - Blackfriar
The man from the brewery just used the word triptych, I love that word. This is another Scotch Ale and at 7% ABV it falls into the Wee Heavy Category. LET'S GET INTO THIS BEER. Smells like heather honey, sweet and toffee like, these flavours transfer nicely on to the palate, it's maybe a little sweet for my tastes but it's balanced by a nice spicy bitterness in the finish. Finish line in sight.
Harviestoun - Ola Dubh 30th Anniversary
This has been delivered to the table with some slabs of 72% Cocoa Madacascan chocolate. It's been aged in 40 year old casks that housed Highland Park 30 year old, a whiskey that sells for around £900.00 a bottle, I'm stupidly excited to get into this beer. In the excitement it goes down the wrong hole, I'm coughing and spluttering all over my broken laptop. It's delicious, rich, mellow, boozy wonderment and the chocolate brings it to life. This is a real rare treat that I feel incredibly privledged to try. There's only one barrel of it and we're here tasting it, magic but at the end of the day, it's just beer.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THAT CONCLUDES LIVE BEER BLOGGING, I'VE BEEN DRUNK, YOU'VE BEEN WONDERFUL.