Crate Brewery- IPA, Golden Ale & Lager

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3 Good Crates of Beer

I’m very keen on discovering & supporting the ever growing number of new London Breweries that seem to be sprouting up like well… sprouts all over this fine city.

So when I came across a selection of simply labelled yet still eye catching beers from previously unknown to me Crate Brewery at that holy home of liquid fantasies the City Beverage Company I snapped them up.

I held onto them for a bit but then drank them all in a self pitying session after failing my drivers test.

Here’s run down of each

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Golden Ale  3.8% ABV

Eye- Bright Vit C pee golden yellow

Nose- Warm caramel, raw sugar, hint of buttercup

Palate- Leafy green, nice subtle spice, clean almost bracing. Intensely sharp pithy lemon finish.

Verdict- A very tasty session ale happy drunk on it’s own, with roast chicken n all the trimmings or perhaps some creamy soft cheeses.

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Lager 4.8% ABV

Eye- Deep Golden

Nose- Fruity Floral

Palate- Very Czech Pils in style. Mineral & hint of citrus. Crisp, refreshing, thirst quenching & totally delicious

Verdict- Reminded me of unfiltered Pilsner Urquell. Which is very high praise indeed. Is definitely in my top 5 UK produced Lagers. Drink it solo, with Thai or Indian but whatever you do just drink some.

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IPA  5.8% AVB

Eye- Copper

Nose- Warm malts and a touch yeasty

Palate- Tin peaches, golden syrup, dry corn husk. Serious & structured with a not unpleasant slightly soapy finish

Verdict- A full flavoured but not overdone in terms of hoppiness or sweetness of malt. An IPA to mull over big decisions with or have with gamey fowl such as duck, partridge or pigeon.

Do go say hello to the gang in Hackney Wick where you can soak up their fine beer with some lovely stone baked pizza. Yes it’s a Brewerria! What could be better?!!

Stockists include Ales by Mail City Beverage Company

Going Pop Up: #WineWednesdays

Now Pop Ups are all the rage these days and despite being the sort of guy that you might expect to have his finger on their popping pulse, embarrassingly I have been to very few. Thankfully my Fiancée and I walked right past the aptly named WineWednesdays at the rooftop venue Skyroom near Tower Bridge. With this stunning weather our decision was made for us and after receiving our wristbands (the meaning of which will be come apparent) we dashed up the elevator to the 5th floor. WineWednesdays are the lovechild of Kiki & Laura who run A Grape Night In, a Pop Up wine business that’s not just a one hit wonder, whose aim is to enliven and demystify the sometimes murky world of wine.

The venue itself is cosy and has the feel of a upscale beachside bar. Much of the covered cushioned area was reserved so we took a small table out in the open.Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 13.19.23

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The Girls (as they seem to be called in much of their literature) decided on the theme of Summer Playlist for the month, drawing inspiration from the many famed festivals that take place on this hallowed Isle in the month of July. Kiki explained with much warmth and energy their concept behind their inventive short list of appropriately themed musical genre wines & accompanying optional nibbles.

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Growing up on Simon & Garfunkel and Gordon Lightfoot during my early childhood Track 1-Folk seemed the best way to start. Folk’s vinous equivalent being an floral aromatic 2012 Gewurztraminer “Adobe” from the organic & ethical Emiliana in Chile. Lively & clean, subtle mango moving into flinty stone and without the candied feel you sometimes get with Gewurz. It went beautifully with the delicious dukkah crusted hand rolled falafel nuts & thickest minty garlicky tzatziki this side of the Ionian Sea.

 

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My lady had Track 3-Classical which was a 2011 Circumstance “Cape Coral” Mourvedre Rose by Waterkloof in Stellenbosch. Biodynamic and made much in the restrained style of Provence Rose (your nod to classical right there) but with a glint of smokiness so typical of South African Red Varieties. It was paired with that most Provencal dishes of Pissalidiere, mini pastries of onion jam, black olives & anchovies. The rose &  savoury pastries wove a harmony worthy of great applause for the conductor indeed.

My companion decided to move onto Track 2-Reggae which was a crowd pleasing easy drinking 2012 Suikkerboisse Chenin Blanc/Viognier also from Stellenbosch. Rather unsurprisingly it came “Jungle” chicken fingers, homemade plantain chips & mango chutney. The chutney stood out, but the chicken which for me though perfectly cooked & crispy lacked seasoning and perhaps a little Marley Magic.

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Decided to go Track 4-Rock in an homage to my teen years from those bad boys of McClaren Vale, the very aptly named Some Young Punks. I found the  2011 “Passion has Red Lips” Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz  more Phil Collins than The Pixies. Now both could be called rock and I like some Phil Collins (not embarrassed to say so) with and without Genesis he crafted some solid 80’s “Soft” Rock songs. I am however a huge Pixies fan (which arguably are more Alt Rock if we are going to split hairs) so when I saw “Rock” I was thinking more Kim Deal than Mike Rutherford. But I digress… The wine was ripe concentrated and supple. Dark cassis blackberry fruit with relaxed tannins. I liked it, but it certainly wasn’t like getting stomped on in a mosh pit. It was paired with spicy meatballs of beef, chorizo & roast pepper stew that honestly did kick a bit of ass and wouldn’t have been out of place at a an early 90’s Lollapalooza concert.

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A total of 10 tracks (6 wines by the glass and a further B side of 4 by the bottle) there should be enough to keep you entertained by the New World leaning lineup. For those not into wine they had an offering from the mighty Kernel Brewery down the road as well as cider (I think). Lovely setting, warm knowledgeable staff, tasty food and very reasonable prices Laura & Kiki are onto a good thing. Hopefully the weather holds and despite going onto a new theme for next month #WineWednesdays is well worth a visit.

 

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Bernard Jantarovy Lezak-Dunkel/Amber Lager

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I brought this bottle back from my recent trip to Prague. It was definitely the pick of the bunch.

Bernard make some excellent beers in Humpolec in the Czech Republic.
I popped the stopper and from the first sip I was smitten.
To the eye it’s lovely bright copper red w/ persistent fine bubbles.
Nose of caramel & chestnut
On the palate it’s clean fresh and crisp.
Hints of toasted hazelnut, marmite & cherry bark play hide and seek on your tongue.
An easy drinking but wonderfully crafted Czech Amber Lager. 4.7% abv
http://www.bernard.cz/en/beer/assortment/bottled-beer/2.shtml

Mitravelas Estate Lefkes Moschofilero 2011

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If you are looking for a white wine that’s off the beaten track but quite brilliant then head to M&S and grab a bottle of this fragrant, exotic but very dry Lefkes Moschofilero from the Greek Peloponnese.

Made by Mitravelas Estate this 2011 combines bracing mineral freshness with hints of green fruit.

If you want to impress a wine snob friend then bring a bottle of this stuff. About £8.99 a bottle. Sadly not listed online as I wrote this.

M&S

 

Santa Helena Pinot Noir 2010

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A very grown up Chilean Pinot from the Casablanca Valley in this here bottle. The nose gives up ripe strawberry, liquorice and kirsh. Palate is neither jammy or overdone. Nice lean mineral flavours of purple plum, dry green tobacco and shades of red berry. Tart tannins with a firm dry finish. Went wonderfully with roast chicken, marsala & porcini mushroom sauce. Definitely a food wine, 7/10.

£7.99 from the Co-Operative

Marble Brewery Organic Chocolate Stout

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Big fan of Marble’s beers and this dandy was no exception. A dense and long lasting mocha/root beer float head, nose that was deep nutty dark choc nibs whiffs of wet dog and aged oak. Palate was mocha rich & mouth coating but not overwhelmingly so. Hints of wet wool choc ganache and a long bitter choc finish. Cracking Stuff! 8/10

Available direct from Marble Beers

Casa Silva “Cool Coast” Sauvignon Blanc 2011

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I am a fan of Casa Silva wines and this offering from their Paredones Estate in Colchagua Valley centra Chile is a winner.

The nose is bracing fresh sea air, with shards of green pepper green gage plum & spicy minerals.

Palate is super green, leafy, more green pepper tinged with fresh citrus. There was a hint of vegetal character but didn’t find it unpleasant. Nice taught acidity and a smoky green asparagus finish.

If you are tired of NZ Sauv Blanc or want a classy alternative to Sancerre then do seek this out.

£15.49 a bottle or £14.27 per case from The Oxford Wine Company or £15.99 or Wine Rack has the 2010 for £15.99 a bottle 10% off when you buy 6

Chateau de Rully “La Pucelle” 2009

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They have moved onto the 2010 now but this is a solid Rully 1er Cru which in located in the Cotes Chalonnaise in central Burgundy.

On the eye it’s pale straw in colour. The nose is immense and complex that includes brown butter, marigold, wet wool, sweet white melon, toasted brioche, preserved lemon & calvados.

Flavours of golden syrup & apple, smoky bacon, with a squeeze of lime zest. Long finish where you feel the acidity but then comes melted butter with a hint of dish soap.

Available from M&S in cases of 6 for around £96 plus delivery

Lustau Dry Amontillado 12 y/o Sherry-Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference

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Lustau Dry Amontillado 12 y/o Sherry

I am an avowed sherry fan and honestly this is a stunner.

Eye- Pale leather brown

Nose- Super savoury umami, toasted almonds, brown miso,
sea salt & demerara sugar

Mouth- Salted caramel, tiny whiffs of coffee, ultra dry, beef jus, fresh sea salt and super long complex finish.

Wonderful alone on it’s own but really sings with nibbles of hard nutty cheeses, almonds & black olives as well as fishy bites, chicken livers, pates, sweetbreads, simple skirt steak I could go on but you get the idea.

A must have for your holiday sideboard.
£7.99/50cl/19% abv

http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/groceries/index.jsp