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Silly Pils, Silly Photos!

23 May

Beermerchants.com sell beer. A lot of nice beer. I’ve ordered beer from them before, it’s been prompt and I have been pretty satisfied with the service. Buying online does tend to put you on mailing lists and you do get a few mails from time to time. In the case of Beermerchants it’s not such a bad thing as the mails can keep you abreast of some developments in the beer world (i.e. new stuff they’re selling, or old). How else would I have been dumbfounded by the idea of Orval coming in cans.

Well, when I received their latest e-mail where they were doing a special offer on Silly Pils, I got a bit spooked out. The photo at the top of the ‘brewsletter’ looked as if it had been taken in my back garden. Closer inspection seems to reveal that it had been, on a table in front of my heather!

The thought of them sneaking round to do a photo shoot for Silly Pils while I was out crossed my mind but I quickly told myself not to be a plum. Then I realised… I’d posted the photo on this sight before!! They must have lifted it.

To be honest, it wasn’t exactly a great picture and they must have thought the same because they’ve done some rather nasty photoshopping on it!! However, I don’t know whether to be indignant that they are using it to make money from or take it as a compliment.

At the end of the day, I think I’ll just think nothing!

Mine

Remote Brewing – Nether Wasdale’s Strands Pub and Brewery

9 May

I probably go to the Lake District in the North West of England about once every year and a half. Each time I have been, I’ve found myself in awe at how beautiful the place is. There is something in the combination of colours, light and stone that is individual. The farmhouses and stone walls are fantastic, the walking is superb and there is plenty of good food and beer to be had to boot.

Cumbria

The West side of the lakes is less visited but equally beautiful. I started a walk from Gosforth village where I saw an excellent bakery which doubles up as someone’s home. Nice. I like that kind of thing.

Gosforth Bakery

The village itself is very pretty by normal standards but certainly not a jewel in any Cumbrian crown. My walk was through the village for about 5 miles in the direction of Nether Wasdale. Another of the great things about being in this part of the world is that the light changes every 5 minutes and the views are in a constant state of change. There are also plenty of animals to look at and, of course, plenty of animal shit to tread in. Oh the great outdoors!

Moo

Goat

Deer

Sheep

I also came across that most rare of things. A fox. Not just any fox, a fox that was actually frightened enough by your presence to bolt off into the fields on seeing you. A far cry from your urban fox with its devil-may-care attitude and its disdain for all things human (as exemplified by the holes in my garden and the ‘little messages’ left outside my front porch).

Road to Wasdale

Nether Wasdale is a stunning place and when I entered the village I came across a young man knocking posts into the ground and fixing some bunting along the roadside. ‘Why?’ I asked. Well, there was to be a May Day Fair in the village that weekend and they were expecting quite a few people. From where I’m not sure I could guess as there seemed to be more pubs in this village than houses (there were 2 pubs). Nevertheless the small green still had its maypole in good working order and apparently the local (?) children were well versed in the ways of traditional country dancing.

A signpost

All good walks in England ought to take in a pub at some point or other and mine did just that. If I’m being completely honest I’ll admit that I had slightly engineered this walk because I had heard about one of the village’s pubs, The Strands pub and microbrewery. We’ll keep quiet about that one though!

As pub location go this is up there with the best of them. We shared the pub garden with a load of hens while a group of brown cows looked over the fence at us. The views towards the mountains were great and sitting back with an ale after a bit of a trek was just what the doctor didn’t order, but I did it anyway because I’m rock and roll! So off to the bar.

Strands handpumps

There is nothing so welcoming as a line of ale pumps set on a pub bar as you walk in. In this case there were 5 from the pub’s own microbrewery. Great – Responsibly, Brown Bitter, Red Screes, Pied Piper Mild and Irresponsibly. It was nice to see a selection of different styles of beer on offer. I didn’t check the food out because I’d brought my own packed lunch (this is also rock and roll). I wasn’t entirely sure about the triangular pump clips but they did catch the eye, or rather I remembered them. The barman happily took me through the beers and made appropriate recommendations along the lines of ‘they are all nice.’ This happened to be true.

Red Screes & Irresponsibly

The beers on the right were halves because I was trying to get into the spirit of the rambler! My first half was Responsibly, again in the spirit of the rambler, a slightly hoppy, light, dare I say largery 3.7% beer.  Their website says it is slightly smoky but I didn’t really get that. I would certainly have a couple of these again though. The two in the picture are Red Screes 4.3% and Irresponsibly 5%. The Red Screes was my favourite of the three, it was tasty, refreshing and interesting. I contemplated it down to the bottom of my glass, much to the chagrin of the Profesorette, who was hoping for a little bit more adult conversation.

Being a saddo who photographs pump clips turns out well sometimes as the owner came out and told me he was setting up a tent in the garden for the next week’s beer festival and that if I gave him a few minutes he would put on all 25 pump clips for me to photograph. Now in the real world I would have taken this as a sarcastic threat but in the beer world people are genuinely nice and I took him up on the offer.

Chickens, or are they hens?

After I finished my beer, I left the Profesorette playing with the hens/chickens and joined him for a while while (ahem) he was setting up. Despite him and his co-worker looking extremely busy he stuck some pump clips on for me and let me take photos. I felt a bit guilty so rushed them. He also took me into the microbrewery where he was brewing up some Angry Bee honey beer and happily answered my questions. If I had known he was going to be so accommodating I would have prepared some more!!

Mark Corr, I believe his name is, brews around 26 beers and many of them look really interesting. Unfortunately, I won’t be there to try them all as the festival is on 11th-13th May 2012. This weekend. He brews for the pub mainly and he mentioned one other pub in another valley that he supplies to as well. He sells bottles from the pub and they are all bottle conditioned and very popular by all accounts.

It’s always quite impressive when a brewer tries his hand at so many different types of beer and even more that he manages to get different beers all ready in time for one festival. Remember they are all beers from the microbrewery and in cask form!!  Unfashionably, I love a TBB (that’s Traditional Brown Bitter apparently) and like the idea of drinking a beer called … Brown Bitter. I’d also love to get my hands on his Barley Wine (and no that isn’t a camp euphemism). There is also a cheeky lager style ale name Corrsberg. (That’s a play on words, you see his surname is Corr and there is a Danish brew…)

It’s a shame the beer is only sold in the pub but next time I go to that part of the world, I will definitely time it right so that I’m there for the festival or if not, I’ll stay the night in front of the fire after a long day walking, supping ales and waxing lyrical about the time I jumped over a stile and nearly fell full force into a great big round cow pat, and we’ll all laugh heartily!

Angry Bee in the tank

 

The cheeky one is on the left!

Pumps

More handpumps

Tea, Beer and a Mallet – 2 Great British Institutions and a potentially lethal murder weapon!

Bored yet?

 

 

If you are in the area. You won’t regret going there if not for the pub then the scenery!

The pub

The pub opposite

Jackie Wilson said…..

14 Apr

……………. I’m in heaven when you smile!

A few things which made me smile today:

Apple Blossom

Looking forward to mine!

Underwood typewriter

Pic of a pic of Nag's Head Inn William Blunt

Wisteria Buds

 

And then it was time for an ale……

Does Tigger Still Love Susie?

8 Apr

Many years ago, when I was wandering around what is now known as ‘Trendy Shoreditch’ but was, in pre-gentrified days, just known as ‘Interesting Eyesore’, I came across a piece of graffiti. It was scrawled in yellow spray paint on a blue surface and it said ‘I am no bigger than a stump but my potential frightens me.‘ I stopped and read it again, mulled over what it could mean in my mind and then took a couple of photos of it. It was a sentence I returned to often and that one piece of writing birthed a whole new way of me looking at graffiti. Unfortunately, that’s about all you will get to see of it for the time being because I can’t find the negative to scan it onto the computer. Shame!

Or so I thought… I had no idea if this sentence had come from some literary giant’s quill so I typed it into a search engine and this is what I found! Ok so, it is very small but you can see the exact same piece of graffiti at about 4 o’clock. I’m no closer to knowing where it came from but it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who photographs the scribbles on walls.

Until I sort out that photo, you’ll just have to make do with this one.

Does he(she)?

Graffitied onto a dirty window pane opposite the Charles Dickens pub in Union Street, Southwark, it’s another I occasionally wonder about. I have absolutely no idea who Tigger is or who Suzie is, and perhaps more importantly, whether he still loves her……(if indeed it is a he)!!