Monday, 2 March 2009

Beers in the lake district

Me and the lovely Lisa recently spent a week in the lake district, and needless to say sampled a beer or two whilst we were there.

First stop was at the Adventure centre in Newlands valley. Our friends Steve and Di were getting married at Newlands Church and had booked their reception on Saturday at the Adventure centre. As a lot of our friends were also staying there it was also the place to be for drinking on Friday night. Beers had been special bought in from the Keswick brewery. "Thirst Ascent" was the one we drank most of but none of their offering were particularly inspiring. Even with the evil Northern device the sparkler removed the beer was still totally flat. Recent discussions on another blog have got me thinking about how much CO2 cask beer actually does contain. A good pint should definitely have a slight fizz to it, presumably this is at the 1.7 volumes of CO2 end of things. As the beers a the Adventure centre were totally flat I think we can safely say they only contained 1 volume of CO2, if that. I'm even quite suspicious that the beer wasn't really cask conditioned but was in fact bright beer that had been racked into casks but contained no yeast or residual sugar for secondary fermentation.

Mind you, they could have just been crap at looking after beer at the Adventure centre, I suppose cellarmanship is not really a skill they look for in their employees. We did get to have some more Thirst Ascent later on in the week at a Good Beer Guide listed pub and sure enough there was a slight fizz to it and it was a much better pint.

After the excesses of the wedding drinking we had a slightly quieter time Sunday evening back in our holiday home with some beer bought from the excellent range in Booths supermarket. Whenever I'm in the Lake District I always make a point of stocking up at the local Booths and as usual I wasn't disappointed. The beer that stood out for me was Fyne Ales Pipers Gold. A lovely golden beer with a light, refreshing hoppy taste. It's a modest 3.8% in strength, which is weaker than I normally drink when down the pub, let alone at home. I'd happily drink this wherever I saw it though. 

On Monday we managed to get down to a pub with its own brewery, the Kirkstile Inn in Loweswater. I've been lucky enough to go to this pub once before, but not yet lucky enough to have someone else drive me there! Slowly sipping halves of their excellent Loweswater Pale Ale (3.6%?) made for an enjoyable evening but I'm sure guzzling pints of the stuff would have been even more enjoyable. 

For the rest of the week our drinking was mainly at the Royal Oak in Braithwaite, a pub which sells Jennings beers. As, unusually for this pub, not all the beer were on top form I ended up mostly drinking the bitter (3.5%).  This is quite a dark brew, but with a good flavour, and once again I found myself enjoying weak beer. Does this mean I'm going soft and will now be drinking only beers under 4%? Probably not as I've just bottled my homebrewed Double IPA which is 9% and I got from Booths a couple of bottles of Lees Harvest Ale at 11.5%!

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