Red Eye Rye Ale

For anyone familiar with Leeds you will already be aware of the growing homebrewing scene, so much so that we now have a homebrew forum and meet to taste and discuss our craft.  The group is organised and have a great meeting place in Mr Foleys Cask Ales House.  Dean, the manager, also brews and has made us welcome in a back room which is more familiar with Meet the Brewer events for commercial breweries.  I mention this because I have attended a couple of these events and take inspiration from their association with the venue and the encouragement and knowledge from the guest speakers.  The first meeting in October 2011 was a huge success, well attended and supported by the Summer Wine Brewery.  The second meeting is scheduled for January where we will be joined by Dominic from Thornbridge Brewery.

One of the beers we tasted at the first meet-up was from Dean’s Blue Suede Brews, his Mackem Mild, a beer he told us would not normally be his first choice for brewing purposes, but he had brewed it with a particular family member in mind.  A strategic brew, and very tasty too!  This evening I tried another of Dean’s creations, brewed in collaboration with Neil from Eating isn’t Cheating.   The beer is a 5.8% Red Rye Ale, brewed using Maris Otter Crystal, Cara Red and rye malts (not sure if malted or flaked rye).  They hopped with Riwaka (bittering), Amarillo and Galaxy (aroma) and dry hopped with Amarillo.  The yeast was US-05.  You can read the write-up from the brew day here.

It opened with a promising fizz and there was immediate hop aroma from the bottle.  It poured a hazy, deep berry red colour and a small head formed and stayed throughout, nicely conditioned.  It had a fruity aroma with a pleasant pepperyness.  First taste had some of the fruit but much more pepper coming through, the bitterness was there but all at the front of my tongue which I’ve not experienced from many beers I’ve tried.  The aftertaste was again the pepper and a nutty crispness, most definitely all from the rye.  I don’t know what percentage of the grain bill was rye, but I’d say that it’s character won through.

As I’ve mentioned before, there is also some fun to be had with the outside of the bottle too, and the spiral label on this bottle was designed by Neil.  I’m guessing they were a total bitch to cut out, but they add another element of interest and certainly give the bottle a great look.

Nice work guys and I look froward to swapping some more homebrew soon.  Cheers!

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A Tale of Two Cities

New Victoria/Odeon Bradford - Early Exterior

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

New Victoria/Odeon Bradford - Exterior Now

I live in a small industrial town in the North of England, near to Bradford, opposite Leeds.  Anyone else remember learning this for your French GCSE or O’Level? [insert your own town name above].  Well Shipley is my town, although I do admit to changing my story slightly depending on who’s asking.  Shipley is known for very little these days, it has a dreary town centre and nothing much going for it (in my opinion), so I may sometimes stray from the truth and say that I’m from Saltaire, the quaint Victorian village and World Heritage Site, or from Leeds, my nearest city.  What’s that you say? I’m closer to Bradford?  Well you would be right to say this, but only in the geographical sense.  Bradford is a sad reflection of its former self.  There are of course some great places still to visit, but these places stand as individuals with nothing to knit them and Bradford together [pun intended].   I may go to the National Photography Museum and take in a film at the Imax or Pictureville, or at a push take the kids to the Alhambra Theatre, but that’s it.  Even my trips to Rawson Market are now few and far between.  I have no affinity with a place I should proudly call “my city”.  If I was to translate the same idea to beer, I would be pushed to recommend Bradford as my go-to place for a session.  There are of course some decent pubs in Bradford, including The New Beehive Inn, The City Vaults, The Fighting Cock, The Corn Dolly and of course the latest addition and what I would consider a reason to journey into Bradford, The Sparrow Bier Cafe.  It’s only been open since May this year, but has already successfully bridged the gap between city-centre boozer and specialist beer joint.  You can read regular reviews of what’s on tap at HopZine.

This is all well and good and I have enjoyed an afternoon or two there with a plate of pork-pie and pickles with a few decent ales, as well as a few evening sessions making my way through their superb beer menu, but its weakness is its location, unless I’m missing something?  I don’t know exactly why they picked the location they picked, and I’m not criticising them in the slightest, it’s a brave move and one I applaud, but I can’t help but feel that Bradford will let them down too.  I think that what they have on offer is strong enough to stand on its own, so don’t misinterpret what I’m saying, but I sincerely hope that other like-minded business owners start to make the same move and recapture the attention of its locals, and I’m not just talking about beer here.

A short train ride to Leeds and the difference is unbelievable.  A city whose streets are fused together, with retail, eateries and bars and most importantly a sense of place.  It feels like a city, it offers me choice across the board, but most importantly a choice of watering holes.  Having only just discovered the likes of Mr Foleys and North Bar, I am still as giddy-as-a-kipper and rarely venture any further.  However, I am aware of many other pubs and bars that I need to familiarise myself with and have recently bought Simon Jenkins book ‘The Great Leeds Pub Crawl’ to help me on my way.

So there it is, I live in Shipley, Saltaire, Leeds and Bradford and am lucky to be able to call Yorkshire my home.  A wealth of beer on my doorstep and great places and events celebrating that fact.  But one thing that sticks in my throat is that Leeds is not my city, I am cheating on my roots.  While I support Bradford’s ‘vision’ of regeneration and know that a wicked combination of economic hard-times and planning tomfoolery have been crucial factors in the progress or lack-thereof, it is a Catch-22 situation for myself and I would think many other people.  We are consumers and we can’t support something that isn’t there.

It’s a Shame About Ray

Friday night I went to see The Lemonheads play live at Leeds University.  I would have been about 14 when I would copy my brothers vinyl to cassette using his massive 80’s stereo and then listen to them on my massive 80’s Walkman.  I was heavily influenced by his taste in music which spanned Sugar to Sepultura and The Cure to Corrosion of Conformity.  It was a great music education, but sadly one that I never made my own and now when someone asks me what music I like, I tend to mumble something about a band with enough conviction for them to change the subject.

As my brother and his friends reminisced about going to see the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Radiohead when they were touring small bars and clubs, I reflected on live music opportunities missed during my teenage years.  So I jumped at the chance to go and see an aging Evan Dando belt out tracks from their 5th album ‘It’s a Shame About Ray‘.

The Bearded Lady

We turned up to the gig fashionably late having made our way via a couple of public houses, I even nipped to Mr Foleys to quench my thirst with a pint of Durham Brewery‘s ‘Bullion’ and try Magic Rock‘s ‘Bearded Lady’, a 10.5% Imperial Stout which did not disappoint.  Once inside the University building we just had time to grab a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale, before taking our place behind the sound desk.   The average age of the crowd was probably 35 and you could tell.  A sea of heads nodding to the beat in appreciation in what was a subdued [world weary] crowd.  As we were treat to every track from the album I sipped on a pint of Tuborg and took a trip down memory lane; remembering listening to these tunes while trudging the paths of my paper-round, on the school bus when I should have been talking to my girlfriend, and when I was old enough to make it into Tumblers night club where the Red Stripe flowed freely.

Image from Beersay

Music was definitely the focus of the evening but beer is never far from my thoughts and as I looked onto the sound desk, and beyond, I was intrigued by one of the engineers as he swigged from a two-litre milk carton.  I’m not saying this wasn’t milk, but I reckon it was a milkshake of sorts.  On the stage, Evan Dando refreshed his vocal chords between each song with a hit from a bottle of Jack Daniels.  Rock n’ Roll baby!

The whole feel of the gig was rough-n-ready with a slightly awkward stage presence while a film of what looked like an episode of ‘Police Camera Action’ was projected onto the wall behind the band, all added to the atmosphere and a performance of little polish.

It was a great night out with my brother and some friends and we even had time to nip back to Mr Foleys for a few jars, with Hardknott Dark Energy fitting the bill nicely.  Music and beer, what’s not to like.

  1. “Rockin Stroll” 
  2. “Confetti”
  3. “It’s a Shame About Ray”
  4. “Rudderless”
  5. “My Drug Buddy”
  6. “The Turnpike Down”
  7. “Bit Part”
  8. “Alison’s Starting to Happen”
  9. “Hannah & Gabi”
  10. “Kitchen”
  11. “Ceiling Fan in My Spoon”
  12. “Frank Mills”

IPA Day – the IPAftermath

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Fact

For full details of International IPA Day (#IPADay), please see my blog below.
But, as the dust is settling, just a quick post to say that the International IPA Day feels to have been a huge success, in my humble opinion.  I can’t really put it better than Pete Brown does in his blog post ‘Cheers to International IPA Day‘.  However, if you don’t have the time to read that then Pete sums the event up nicely when he says: “…As far as I can tell there is no central organisational structure, no big budget or organisation, and yet it’s an idea that has caught the imaginations of beer lovers and gone global.”  And as I have commented on one blog already this morning, the concept and execution of this global event is testament to the notion that ‘Beer People are Good People’ or that “Good people drink good beer.” (Hunter S. Thompson).
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IPAin

Considering my heavy-eyes and painful head, I’m going to be lazy here and just point you to a handful of blogs that tend to agree with said notion;
Eating isn’t Cheating

Make Mine a Half 
She Likes Beer
The Pub Diaries

The Crafty Pint
I’n Here For The Hops

For my IPA Day celebrations I decided to join the crowd at Mr Foleys (@MrFoleys), Leeds.  I knew from my advanced stages of acute Twitteritus that there would be at least a couple of people going along that I already knew well enough to recognise and to talk to, as well as many others who I had yet to meet, but hoped to.  It was a tough call between Mr Foleys, The Grove and The Sparrow all of which were treating beer lovers to a veritable hop feast, but a persuasive Dean (Manager of Foleys) and a cracking line up on the bar gently twisted my arm.  I managed to sample all of the cask selection and a couple of the bottles/cans and can honestly say I enjoyed each and everyone.  Most importantly to me though, I was lucky enough to chat (briefly) with brewers and owners alike, from Roosters, Hardknott, Magic Rock, Buxton and Ilkley (the latter just there as punters like the rest of us – i.e. they did not have a beer on the bar on this occasion, but see Lotus IPA if you are yet to try their superb offering.  It’s not often that you get to ‘meet the brewer’ in the flesh, so to speak, but I took the opportunity to let most of them know that they inspire me to believe that I can make my brewery dreams a reality.  Along with the beer writers and bloggers there were the geeks and fanatics adding their own brand of passion to the evening, some more amorous than others.  But probably most poignantly for me, and by total chance, I found myself talking to a young guy who, in all fairness looked like he might have walked into the wrong bar, sharp suit and proud fiancé on his arm, he was making strides to convince his wife-to-be that beer is amazing and that she should jolly well drink some.  Despite his enthusiasm it transpired that the lady wasn’t for turning, but you can’t win em’ all.  He also revealed he is a blogger, new to the scene with – Geek Leeds, but who has been watching from a safe distance.  Each person I tried to name-drop, he responded with a knowing nod of the head.  This meeting may not seem too impressive to most, but he wasn’t connected to anyone else in the room and wasn’t even on Twitter! yet the friendly atmosphere and sense of occasion presented everyone there with the opportunity to talk about good beer.

Anyway, I’m sure there will be more in-depth blogs to come to show and describe the night at Foleys with more finesse, but that was my two-penneth.  I look forward to the next beer event whenever or wherever that may be.  Thanks to one and all for a great night out (especially Dean and his staff @MrFoleys – bravo!).

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@MrFoleys @Tuff86 @BGRTRob @LeedsBrew @Nickiquote @LeighGoodStuff @EisntCNeil @TKiley1@Ol_Foz @Cheeeseboiger @mbell739 @fletchthemonkey @realalereviews@misterfrosty @ZakAvery @BrewDogUpNorth @MagicRockRich @BuxtonBrewery @HardknottDave @HardknottAnn @HardknottSooty @IlkleyBrewery
(Honorary affiliates: @Filrd @Tunks23)

International IPA Day in West Yorkshire

For anyone who is not aware of the International IPA Day celebrations on Thursday 4th August 2011, then please find a run-down of what’s going on for the lucky folk of West Yorkshire, including;

  • Mr Foleys Cask & Ale House, Leeds
  • The Grove Inn, Huddersfield
  • The Sparrow Bier Cafe, Bradford *updated 29/07/11*

Mr Foleys Cask Ale House, Leeds

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August 4th has been designated ‘International IPA Day’ and Mr Foleys will be holding one of the biggest events in the country to celebrate! IPA Day was conceived as a social celebration of craft ale and lovers worldwide are encouraged to take part and interact via social networking such as Twitter.

International #IPADay is a grassroots movement to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers and brewers worldwide through social media. On Thursday August 4th craft beer drinkers across the social sphere and across the globe will raise pints in a collective toast to one of craft beer’s most iconic styles; the India Pale Ale. This celebrated style represents the pinnacle of brewing innovation with it’s broad spectrum of diverse brands, subcategories and regional flavor variations, making it the perfect style to galvanize craft beer’s social voice. #IPADay is not the brainchild of a corporate marketing machine, nor is it meant to serve any particular beer brand. #IPADay is an opportunity for breweries, bloggers, businesses and consumers to connect and share their love of craft beer.

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 Getting involved is easy; the only requirements are an appreciation for great beer and the will to spread the word. Anyone can participate by enjoying IPA with friends, making some noise online with the #IPADay hashtag and showing the world that craft beer is more than a trend!

At Mr Foleys we will have some of the finest examples of the style from some of Britain’s best brewers. Our beers will include four keg IPAs; two from Brewdog and one each from local West Yorkshire breweries Summer Wine and Magic Rock. We will have six cask IPAs coming from Thornbridge, Buxton, Kirkstall, Roosters, Hardknott and Red Willow. If that’s not enough for you, we will have a dedicated IPA fridge serving you some of the best from America, as well as a couple more rarely seen British brews. (confirmed list below)..

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KEG
Magic Rock ‘Human Cannonball’ Summer Wine ‘7C’s of Rye’
Brewdog ‘Hardcore IPA’
Brewdog ‘My Name Is Ingrid’ (UK exclusive, brewed for Scandinavian market)

CASK
Thornbridge ‘RyePA’ (first pub to have it on sale, name may change)
Buxton ‘Axe Edge’
Kirkstall ‘Dissolution IPA’
Roosters ‘Underdog IPA’ (brewed exclusively for us by Ol Fozzard on the test kit)
Red Willow ‘Peerless’
Hardknott ‘Code Black’

BOTTLES
Odell Myrcenary Double IPA
Maui Big Swell IPA
Stone Cali-Belgique 2010
Victory Hop Devil IPA
Victory Hop Wallop Double IPA
Red Willow Ageless IPA
Sierra Nevada Torpedo
Odell IPA
Goose Island IPA
Brewdog Punk IPA
Brewdog Hardcore IPA
Brewdog AB:06

Oh, I almost forgot.
DOGFISH HEAD 90 MINUTE IPA (only 4 bottles, first come first served!)

Still not enough? We will have brewers or brewery representatives from every brewery mentioned above and each will be holding mini ‘meet the brewer’ segments to promote their beer to the assembled crowd. We will also have guest appearances from beer writers Zak Avery and Mark Fletcher, who will be talking you through the history of IPA, why they love the style and some of their favourite beers.

With all this beer we will be in need of food. Curries will be supplied by the fantastic @manjitskitchen.  We feel that top quality Indian cuisinenot only fits the history of the beer, but that beers big in bitterness and hop character are the perfect accompaniment for spicy dishes.

So join us on August 4th at Mr Foleys Cask Ale House (159 The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5RG) for an IPA extravaganza! We can be found on twitter @mrfoleys, by phone 0113 2429674, email mrfoleys@mitchellsinns.co.uk or on our blog www.mrfoleyscaskalehouse.blogspot.com

The Grove Inn, Huddersfield

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International IPA Day featuring BUXTON BREWERY
Thursday August 4th has been declared International IPA day! And as you well know, here at The Grove we love IPA, so who are we to turn down an opportunity to showcase this most hop-tastic of beer styles? We don’t expect you to take our word on it though, so we’ve called in some friends who know a thing or two about brewing IPA…

We’re delighted that Head Brewer James ‘JK’ Kemp and Director Geoff Quinn from Buxton Brewery will be joining us on the evening to talk about the brewery, their beers and most importantly, IPA. Buxton are, in our opinion, amongst the most exciting and interesting breweries in the country at the moment and we’re delighted to have them joining us. We shall have 3 of their own IPA’s on the bar – Black Rocks, their 5.5% Black IPA, Axe Edge, a 6.7% hop monster, and for the first time their brand new IPA – WILD BOAR (5.7%).

That is not all! As well as these excellent IPA from Buxton we will have up to 9 other IPA’s on the bar, from cask and keg, featuring more of our favourite breweries from around the world, Including… Magic Rock, Thornbridge, Gadds, Liverpool Organic, Marble, BrewDog, Flying Dog, Great Divide, and more besides! And that’s before we even get to the bottle delights that will be filling up the fridges…

We will be running a tasting card scheme on the night to allow you to sample as many of the draft IPA’s as possible for the best possible price, as well as putting on some Indian themed nibbles to help soak it all up.

Those of you who are social media ‘savvy’ should get involved online on the day, using the hash tag #IPAday to help us all loudly spread the word of IPA and above all great beer!

LONG LIVE IPA!

Contact us on Twitter:
@GroveBri
@GroveChloe

The Sparrow Bier Cafe, Bradford

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International #IPADay is a grassroots movement to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers, bars and brewers worldwide through social media. On Thursday August 4th, craft beer drinkers across the social sphere and across the globe will raise pints in a collective toast to one of craft beer’s most iconic styles: the India Pale Ale. This celebrated style represents the pinnacle of brewing innovation with its broad spectrum of diverse brands, subcategories, and regional flavor variations – making it the perfect style to galvanize craft beer’s social voice.International IPA Day featuring Saltaire Brewery
A global toast to one of craft beer’s most iconic styles: INDIA PALE ALE
On Thursday 4th August The Sparrow & Saltaire Brewery will be celebrating International IPA Day.

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*FREE samples of Saltaire Stateside*
*Saltaire Brewey talk*
*5 draught IPAs*
*Over 10 bottled IPAs*

DRAUGHT:

  • Saltaire Stateside *updated 29/07/11* – the cask in question has had some additional dry-hopping attention over and above that which Saltaire Brewery normally dry-hop their Stateside IPA. Rather than the usual Cascade Hop plug (approx 13-14g) the IPA Day version will include a blend of Double-Cascade hop plugs with more than double Amarillo & Nelson Sauvin
  • plus 4 other beers to be announced soon including a black IPA and a double IPA.

BOTTLES:
Maui Big Swell (can), Great Divide Titan, Goose Island, Odell IPA, Brewdog Punk & Hardcore, Flying Dog Snake Dog & Raging Bitch, Sierra Nevada Torpedo and more!

Contact us on Twitter:
@theSparrowbd1
@SaltaireBrewery