06 April 2012

Drink all the beer; write all the beer

Would I have been surprised to learn, on Day 1Session logo, that my new blog will see through seven whole years? Probably not, to be honest. I reckon I'd be very surprised at what I'm writing, and hopefully impressed. This blog has seen me through a considerable education in things beery. Around 2008 I even stopped sniggering at "bottom fermentation".

This month's Session is hosted by Brewpublic and the topic is "What Drives Beer Bloggers?" I'll take a punt on the top answer being "beer". It certainly is for me as this blog fulfils a very simple primary purpose: to record for future reference what I think of every beer that comes my way. It does make it very easy to write. If I'm looking for inspiration all I have to do is open the fridge.

I don't do industry news or commentary, I don't do pub reviews, I don't do home brewing, brewery visits nor a-funny-thing-happened-on-the-way-to-the-bar anecdotes, except when these are in some tangential way related to the beer in front of me. Not that there's anything wrong with such topics, but plenty of other beer blogs do them and if I have an opinion on the issues you'll find it in their comment sections. Which leads on to the secondary purpose of this blog: to give me the guiltless freedom to comment at length on everyone else's without looking too much like a hurler on the ditch.

And that's about as much introspection as I can handle. Blogging about blogging is a pet hate of mine and I'm only making an exception this once, because the nice people of Brewpublic asked me to. Now for beer.

With the Franciscan Well Easter beer festival kicking off tomorrow afternoon, I have a bottle of their new IPA Alpha Dawg. As with their two previous bottled offerings it arrives in a massive, hand-numbered, 1-litre swingtop. 5.9% ABV and hopped with Admiral and Cascade says the label. Inside it's quite a pale shade of orange, fogged slightly with what I hope is hop haze. The aroma is quite bitter, not the zesty high notes one might expect from the Cascade. And this carries through to the taste as well: it's a kind of sharp resinous bitterness, the sort that gets harsh if it's too pronounced but here is merely assertive. Some more subtle fruit tones are lurking quietly behind it but they don't get much of a say. The punchy bitter tang lasts long after the beer is swallowed.

While I think this would have benefited from more, later, hops, they've made a pretty decent fist of an IPA.

Stay tuned for more writing about beer and absolutely nothing else.


  1. Ah, a quick wallow in introspection followed by a cleansing beer review...

  2. Yeah it was pretty decent but I preferred the ESB actually. I think you've put the finger on it with late/dry hopping needed.

  3. Bailey, I think I might need to do a few more reviews before feeling properly clean.

    Steve, word has it the Bull & Castle has a cask of dry-hopped Alpha Dawg. If I remember, I'll update this post with what, if any, difference that makes.

  4. "All the beer"! At a pub/restaurant in Galway a few years ago, I asked the waiter taking our drinks order what beer was available. He enthusiastically informed me that they had "all the beers!" I went for Heineken.

    (I'm happy enough on the ditch! :D )

  5. The label notes that it is one for the hopheads, but I can't really agree with that. I mentioned it to Peter at the well, but he thinks that my love of hops is on the extreme side, and that's why I don't think we will ever see anything really hoppy from the well.

  6. You don't do brewery visits(on the blog)? I beg to differ on that one. :p

    I quite like Alpha Dawg. I have yet to write about it but I have had two bottles. I'm hoping I might find the cask at Easterfest tomorrow and I would like to try that to compare. Otherwise, you did say something about B&C.