Tag Archive | "After Work Friday"

Friday After Work! Beer – Zomer!


I was supposed to write a big post today. Honestly.

It was my complete intention to get up early, trawl the beery press, write up some review tasting notes and scribe a punchy article about the BeerSweden Forum celebrating its first anniversary tomorrow.

But then I stepped outside and the sun was shining and my will to work melted away faster than a Piggelin in the midday heat. So rather than sit in front of a keyboard I decided to sit on top of a sun lounger instead. Days like this are few and far between and I’ve been told by lots of people recently I should take more time to enjoy them.

So I am – with a beer in my hand naturally; a beer with a rather amusing name but on a day like today the only type of beer I want. Refreshing, packed full of tangy lime flavours with a snappy sour finish. It’s my After Work Lunch Friday! Beer this week and I’ll be sipping it slowly as I turn the colour of BrewDog Hops Kill?

Wherever you are in the world I hope the sun shines on you today. Have a safe, sun-lotioned weekend and remember to stay cool!

Cheers and beers!

Darren

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After Work Friday! Beer – Sigtuna East Coast IPA


What a week! Most of the talk has been about yesterday’s release of 29 beers at the monopoly. That and cooing over cute pictures of the newly appointed Duchess of Östergötland. And of course the Oscars, where this year it turns out that silence really was golden.

Personally it felt like I spent most of the week on the number 65 and 43 buses as I traveled to and from Östersund to give a BrewDog beer tasting at the Bishops Arms. What made this tasting particularly notable was the fact it was probably the last time I am ever going to taste and talk about ‘Hello, My Name is Ingrid‘ in public as we popped open half a dozen bottles to share amongst us.

With over 5 months in the bottle now it’s amazing to see the new curves Ingrid has developed. Gone are the intense mango, peach and grape tones that shone so brightly in her younger days, to be replaced by far more mature cloak of ripe cloudberries.  If, like me, you struggled to pinpoint the fruit in the young Ingrid you should have no such difficulties now. I would however recommend those of you that still have a bottle or two hidden away not to wait too much longer to enjoy them as even the brightest stars will fade one day……

Hopefully many of you will be sitting on a huge haul of new beers from yesterday’s release. I managed to scoop up most of what went on sale here in Umeå and placed orders for several of the bottles that you can only grab on release day in the posh shops in Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg. My fingers are now crossed that a few funky bottles of Stillwater will be heading up to Västerbotten sometime soon…..

Last night I spent some time scratching my head as to which beer to try first. As I felt in the mood for some hop action I picked Sigtuna East Coast IPA and can report that I got all the action I could handle.

This beer – reincarnated from the brewery’s Summer IPA* - pours a clear lustrous amber orange under a sudsy beige head that quickly collapses. The nose is surprisingly malty (a bonus in my eyes), with a layer of Walkers shortbread biscuits smothered in orange and caramel and topped with passion fruit and grass. Caramel sweetness explodes in the mouth like a firework but like a firework instantly fades to be replaced by one of the most aggressive bitter and dry finishes I can recall in a Swedish beer in ages. This beer doesn’t just curl your tongue, I think it actually attempts to dissolve it.

If you love hops – and I mean love them as much as Björn Ranelid loves publicity – then this beer is for you. If you’re more into malt or just starting to ramp up your hop intake then buyer beware! I’m already a hop-lessly (see what I did there?) lost cause so I’m calling Sigtuna East Coast IPA out as my After Work Friday! Beer for this week.

Now it’s time to pack the missus, skis and kids (not necessarily in that order) into a car and head south and inland to the mountains for a few days of dangerous winter pursuits. I will however be taking a big chunk of this week’s new releases with me to review and help ease my aches and pains after a long day on the pistes.

Have a safe, happy and thawing weekend everyone!

Cheers and beers.
Darren

 

 

*and check out the difference in price!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Après Work Friday! Beer – Kronenbourg


Here in French France my final day starts to draw to a close and I’m busy packing my bags as I begin the long and arduous journey back to northern Sweden.

There are lots of things I’m going to miss when I leave here. The polite handshakes and gruff ‘bonjours’ from the men when entering bars, the awkward ceremony of kissing both cheeks of unknown women and my morning trips to Le Tip Top Bar in Duras to highjack their WiFi and sip endless cups of their revitalising Petit Café to name but a few.

But one thing I won’t miss is the beer.

The past few days I’ve spent deep in wine country drinking Ch’Ti beers have at least managed to re-ignite my thirst for great beers again following a crazy few days at the Stockholm beer & Whisky Festival when I tried so many amazing brews I almost drowned in them.

But then drinking beer in France isn’t ever really about the beer is it? It’s about France. Where you drink a beer can often define it, lift it and on those rarest of occasions immortalise it.

Like right now, as I sit here sipping from a chilled bottle of Kronenbourg as the warm sun dips behind the lines of empty vines and the bells of L’église Saint Vincent start tolling their traditional afternoon call to the farm workers to come in from the fields.

At this precise moment no other beer could be more perfect. This bottle of Kronenbourg is, as the French put it, formidable, and it’s my Après Work Friday! Beer for this week.

Have a great weekend everyone, wherever your beers take you.

Cheers and beers!
Darren

 

 

 

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After Work Friday! Beer – Dugges Höstbrygd


It’s a week that started with haggis and Hardcore and ends in a storm of surprise, uncertainty and conjecture that arguably Sweden’s most iconic craft brewery might be Norwegian from next month.

Beer so tasty you can eat it!

On Tuesday I was in Scotland with Stene and Rille from Akkurat and Per from Cask Sweden to help brew Abstrakt 0X (working title….most probably Abstrakt 08) at BrewDog*. It’s an imperial oatmeal stout that’s modelled on the traditional Scottish dessert Cranachan and uses crystal oats, an obscene amount of malts including Extra Pale Marris Otter and Carafa (a German dehusked malt that gives a smoother chocolate flavour without any harshness), Fuggles hops, wild Scottish raspberries and a bucket of heather honey from local bees.

Oh and then it’s going to be stuck into whisky casks for ”around 3-4 months” before being bottled and hopefully finding its way over to Sweden. Rumour has it that a very limited number of kegs may be exclusively available in one particular Stockholm pub. More on that later!

Brewing beer wasn’t the only thing we did on Tuesday though – we drank a fair bit of it too. In fact we sampled so many outstanding brews I’m calling Tuesday, September 6th The Day of Many Beers and will attempt to give you all the details of exactly what we imbibed early next week.

This was also the week that we said Goodbye to Ingrid. She set something of a craft beer record when she went on sale just 9 days ago as crowds of people lined up at Systembolaget stores throughout the country to grab her. According to the Systembolaget website all 10,000 bottles are now sold. Is this the last we’ll ever see of Ingrid? You’ll find out here first.

In a week when the world’s strongest fermented beer known to man was poured from the mouth of a deer almost as shocking was the news from Gothenburg that a drunk elk got stuck in an apple tree. Seems to me the line between wild animals and beer has become very thin these days.

And finally are they or aren’t they? Norwegian craft brewery Haandbryggeriet announced on its Facebook page yesterday night that Sweden’s Närke Kulturbryggeri are to join forces with it. The rather strangely worded statement reported: ” Närke is our friendly brewery and its a damn good brewery but they don’t have a clue re marketing and production” before revealing that ”From 1 October Närke will be part of Haandbryggeriet and håke (read here Håge?) will be our master brewer” and finished by declaring that ”Stormaktsporteren will from now on be made here in Drammen”.

Since this announcement there has been no official comment from either brewery, inevitably leading to speculation about whether the news is true and if it is what it means for Sweden’s famous craft brewery in Örebro. Will all production move to Drammen? Would such a move result in more Närke beers becoming available? The early excitement among US drinkers that they might finally be able to get their hands on a bottle of Kaggen is almost palpable.

When it comes to Närke it’s my experience that it’s best to wait for a formal response before publishing anything. So that’s what I’ll do. Wait. *drums fingers*

So how do I round off a week like this one? With a bottle of the amazing Prototype 17 perhaps? No, I think that’s enough BrewDog for this week so I’m going for something a lot closer to home – Dugges Höstbrygd Contemplative Ale.

This 5% ABV British style brown ale is being tipped as a great partner to the earthy mushrooms popping up everywhere around Sweden right now, so why not grab yourself a bottle and follow the advice on the label and take a time-out to reflect on what has been a pretty awesome beery week.

Have great weekends everyone. Be safe, be happy and be unlagom :)

Darren

  *Just so you all know I’m laying claim right now to the headline ”BrewDog beer gets its just desserts”. It’s mine OK and my lawyers WILL be watching :)

 

 

 

 

 

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After Work Friday Beer! – Hello, My Name is Ingrid


There can be only one after yesterday can’t there?

The return of Ingrid was something we’ve all been looking forward to but the queues and net chatter that marked her return to the Systembolaget took all of us by surprise – including, apparently (again) the monopoly, which promptly ran out of bottles in the first couple of hours in most of the major cities.

Which is, I think, brilliant news – and I’ll tell you why.

We need beers like Ingrid to come along now and again and shake things up. The snaking queues of us lining up to grab bottles, the switched-on store personnel standing at the ready with a trolley load of boxes at the entrance, the countless tweets exclaiming excitement at scooping her or abject frustration at leaving empty-handed. We need that.

We need a craft beer that sets a first day record for selling well over 3,000 bottles (comfortably double that of Falcon Pilsener I’d care to point out) and we even needed the fiasco of the last Ingrid launch because it all combines to make people sit up and take more notice of beer.

And that’s only a good thing in my book. When the media, the Systembolaget bosses, online surfers and ordinary drinkers visiting their local store for a box of Chill Out witness the lengths we’re prepared to go to for a beer – a BEER – then they’ll probably ask the logical next question:

Why?

And that, right there, is when we’ve got them.

So my After Work Friday! beer this week is the much-hyped but much loved Ingrid.* I hope you’ll join me by raising a glass of beer (maybe even a Hof) and toasting a great week for beer in Sweden.

Have a safe, hoppy weekend everyone.

Cheers and beers!

Darren

 

*I was going to open the very special limited edition bottle of Carlsberg / Jacobsen 200 Years Birthday Brew to mark the fact that today is the actual 200th anniversary of the great man himself but as I’m alone tonight and it’s a strong beer in a large bottle I’ll think I’ll save it to share with some other beer lovershhers soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After Work Friday! Beer – S:t Eriks Skördeöl


You know when you’re coming into the home straight of the summer when your beers start turning maltier and, for want of a better word, browner.

It seems most of the beers I’ve reviewed since locking the doors of my summerhouse earlier this week to head back into the throbbing metropolis that is Umeå have taken on a decidedly darker and more robust character.

I look at it as beer’s own way of saying that I need to put the Crocs in the cupboard and hang the Billabongs away for another year.

Lots has happened in this ‘I’d really be back at work if it wasn’t for the kids’ week.

An award winning eco-beer is bowing out gracefully from the Systembolaget after two years due to an apparent lack of interest in it from Swedish beer drinkers. Ironically this announcement was made only days before Sigtuna Brygghus told Facebook followers it had been given the green light (get it?) for eco-brewing.

Astacoidea and Parastacoidea. Ring any bells? Well if you thought of crayfish then go to the top of the class because these are the taxonomic ranks the little lobsters belong to. We’ve traditionally enjoyed crayfish soaked in beer and dill stock but this year we shunned the standard pilsner and added a caramel and straw English Ale and a lemon and spicy orange Belgium Witbier instead.

This was also the week that the BeerSweden Forum took another major step forward by reaching over 100,000 topic views in its first 5 weeks. It seems members have really taken to the forum’s (soon to be revealed) motto: Don’t Just Drink Beer. Talk It! Thanks to everyone who has dropped by and made the place more active than a bookmakers on pay-day. If you haven’t already dropped by then we’re missing you!

Finally this was the week I described a beer as “tasting as though it had been involved in a fire at an old people’s home” and heard from a very reliable source that ”the new batch of Ingrid rocks – better than the first”!

So what’s the After Work Friday! beer I’ll be slipping off into the sunset with this afternoon? Well it’s a beer I tried on this week’s return of BSTV – the almost impossible to pronounce S.t Eriks Skördeöl, whose dark, rough and roasted flavours play off beautifully against a citrus crackle of US hops.

It may well be beer’s way of saying the summer’s over but when it tastes like this I don’t really mind. I don’t really mind at all.

Have a a safe, fun weekend everyone. See you in the Forum over the weekend and report back here on Monday for more beery goings-on, including the 100th episode of BSTV! I promise you won’t want to miss it :)

Cheers and beers!

Darren

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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After Work Friday! Beer – Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale


It’s my final week off work (in fact it was my only week) so I’m going large on my AWF Beer today with none other than Sierra Nevada’s Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale (try saying that lot after a couple of bottles…)

New Zealand has done the world a great service over the past 10 years. And I’m not talking about Hobbits here. I’m talking about hops.

NZ hops have breezed into the beer world with their juicy tropical fruit and grape-like hop flavours and really taken the fight to the US big ‘C’s*

In Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale we have three of the best from NZ, Southern Cross (used for bittering), Pacifica and Motueka (for aroma) and then the whole lot is dry-hopped with Pacifica and Motueka.

This beer goes on sale at the Systembolaget from Monday and although I haven’t tried the 2011 batch yet it’s pretty much a dead cert that this beer’s going to turn your appreciation of hops upside down.

So what else has happened this week then? Well I built a football net and a swing but you probably don’t want to hear about that so I’ll sign off for now and enjoy the last few days before I return to the craziness of BeerSweden full-time.

(I can’t wait!)

Cheers and Beers everyone!

Darren

* Centennial, Cascade and Columbus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After Work Friday! Beer and weekly round-up


Sommartider hey?

Endless BBQs, lawn-mowing, lying on beaches, no internet access, summerhouse building projects, broms when the sun’s out, mosquitoes when it goes down, reading books, utedass, Allsång på Skansen, Midsummer Murders and beer.

These are the things that fill my days right now. Plus my new-found obsession for golf which for me is as simultaneously addictive and frustrating to understand as a bottle of Lambic.

Although I am deliberately trying to take a break from writing about beer if I’m honest I need to work harder at being on holiday. My biggest addiction distraction right now is the new BeerSweden Forum, which, barely two weeks old, has already filled out with hundreds of topics ranging from a deep analysis of how to age beer and what cheese to enjoy with it to more general chit-chat about favourite TV shows and films.

We’ve now got 325 members who have collectively racked up over 3,500 posts and been in and looked at the Forum over 45,000 times. It appears I’m not the only one with beer on the brain this summer!

My personal favourite topic at the moment is a post I made yesterday (egoistic I know, but the subject fascinates me) regarding beer and women. You can read it here.

I’d be really interested to hear from any of you non-men followers of this blog for your opinion about what I wrote and how you describe your own relationship with beer. Does beer marketing turn you off? Are there, as some suggest, characteristics in beer that women find more easy (sweet) or more difficult (bitter) to enjoy than men? Should beer be served in smaller, more female-friendly measures? Does the very concept of producing beers for girls reak of patronising bullshit?

Moving swiftly along you all saw the competition I’m currently running modestly described as ‘one of the most awesome competitions ever held on a beer blog”? If you haven’t then read about it here and hurry because you’ve only got until Sunday at midnight to find the secret ingredient and stance a chance of winning some shares in Scottish craft brewery BrewDog.

The whole After Work Friday! Beer concept seems a little out of place when so many of you are not working but I’ve decided to carry on regardless. The first beer I’ll be drinking this afternoon (following what I hope will be a spectacular 18 holes of golf but suspect will be a frustrating 6km walk through dense woodland) is this old geezer Oude Geuze because regardless of what happens on the course this masterpiece from Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen is always the beery equivalent of a hole-in-one.

Have a great Friday and weekend out there everyone!

Cheers and beers!

Darren

 

 

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After Work Friday! Beer – Black Isle Organic Goldeneye Pale Ale


With the temperature outside right now nudging 30 Degrees Celsius and the air so thick and heavy you feel the only thing missing is the sight of camels lumbering past you searching for water there’s perhaps never been a better time to name my After Work Friday! beer.

Black Isle Brewery located in the stunningly beautiful Scottish highlands near Inverness has a very clear message about its range of naturally made beers – ‘Save the Planet, Drink Organic’. Seems a perfectly reasonable bit of advice to me.

Browsing this little-known Scottish brewery’s website I was tickled at some of the comments from brewery founder and Marketing Director David Gladwin, especially his take on the ‘rustic’ image of some organic beers.

”The labelling and packaging is deliberately contemporary and styled to, in some small way, help dispel the sometime commonly held notion that ‘organics’ is all about slightly cranky, no-knickered, tepee dwellers living off brown rice and lentils” he writes on his site. Nice one David!

The beer itself is the first Black Isle beer to make its way into the Systembolaget and is available in the ordinary assortment at least until the spring of 2012. It’s a golden ale at 5.6% ABV that is said to be packed with floral hops (although yet again a brewery doesn’t quite go all the way and tell us which ones).

However they do tell us the beer ”is full of vitamin B and good for you”. I’m not sure if the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs would put their name to that claim but I’ll go as far as to say that a glass or two of this beer shared with good friends after a long and hot working week is a great way to slip into the weekend.

On a serious note though do remember that if you’re planning to drink beer this weekend drink plenty of water in-between and keep yourselves cool. Drinking any type of alcohol while dehydrated may contribute to heat exhaustion and other heat stress related problems.

So as the Aussies used to say back in the 80s Slip, Slop, Slap (and Pop open a nice cool beer too while you’re at it!)

Have a great weekend everyone.

Cheers and beers!

Darren

 

 


 


 

 

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After Work Friday! Beer – Oppigårds Pale Summer Ale


I’m dashing off to give a beer tasting at a bank in a minute (hoping for a lock-in) so here’s the weekly beery round-up in as few words as possible.

London (Baby!)

Hardcore moving on up!

New beer festival  (give it your support!)

A new BSTV episode about London, Suffolk, sheep and blogs.

Pistonhead Cruisin’ Summer Lager - a lagom lager for greasers everywhere.

Have a great weekend y’all!

Darren

 

 

 

 

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