Pub Geek

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You had me at Lagunitas IPA…

…kinda.

When Spoons announced they were bringing BrewDog to their bars I sulked. I love(d) BrewDog’s balls-in-the-air marketing strategy and now it seems like they’re getting into bed with their polar opposites. Sitting snugly alongside the “generic beers” that they used to oh so despise.

I only go into Spoons for a few reasons;

  1. It’s raining
  2. I need to pee
  3. I fancy a Punk IPA and Sainsbury’s is closed.

The only other bar that sells Punk in Lincoln is the Strait and Narrow and though they have an extensive range of beers I don’t fancy taking out a loan for bottle. So, in search of our post-work Punk we head to Spoons where I can catch up with my old colleagues and be glad I don’t work there any more.

I am biased against Spoons. I’ve worked there and spent too much of my time making Jagerbombs (3 for a fiver!) and upselling Fosters. And it so happens that Lincoln doesn’t have the best selection of Wetherspoons. I generally don’t wish to walk through the crowd of 9am-til-late Ruddles drinkers and “and chips” smell to get to the bar.

Yes, I get that there are good Spoons out there. Nate Southwood speaks highly of Spoons and I trust his opinion. In fact, I have quite the liking for both the Abraham Derby in Dudley (after a snowy afternoon spent there last year with several pints of stout) and The Moon Under Water in Wolverhampton which is quite pleasant in the pre and post show atmosphere due to being opposite The Grand Theatre.

But even so. “This.Is.Lager” (which, quite frankly, is a obnoxious and ridiculous name) isn’t going to bring me to Spoons. It’s not an exciting sounding beer. However, Lagunitas IPA, now that’s an exciting beer. I’ve only had the pleasure of Lagunitas a handful of times and those were in London. It’s a beautiful IPA and I’m genuinely excited to be able to get hold of it in little old Lincoln. I would much rather sit in The West End Tap or the Strait or… well, several other pubs in Lincoln and drink it. Actually, my sofa’d be bloody lovely. However, my dislike of Spoons is definitely not going to put me off Lagunitas. And Devil’s Backbone? Never had it but sure! Sounds fun. Rogue? Give me some now!

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When it comes to cask ale one can do pretty well in Lincoln. Between my work, The West End Tap, The Dog & Bone (recently announced as CAMRA’s East Midlands Pub of the Year, The Joiner’s Arms, The Struggler’s Arms and several other Lincoln pubs there’s an ace selection of cask ale. I try any new bottles that come into work and occasionally the Strait stick something new in their range but other than that I have to venture to Newark for something new….ark.

The other day Nate mentioned that “Wetherspoons frequently have beers that I can’t get anywhere else in Norwich”. Not so much before, at least, nothing you couldn’t get in a supermarket bottle-wise. And I don’t venture into the real ale focused Spoons in town due to the offputting atmospheres. But now, with the addition of names like Lagunitas and Rogue, Spoons have drawn my gaze again.

If Spoons keeps this up and really fills out their bottle range then this is fantastic. Being able to go anywhere in the country and have an amazing choice of bottle “craft” and “world” beers is wonderful.

I wouldn’t say I’m a Spoons convert. I’m still deeply uncomfortable with their heartless somewhat monopolising position in the industry… but this new range is impressive. There’s no chain out there with anything close. I’m in.

Filed under wetherspoons jdw jd wetherspoons j d wetherspoons spoons pub england uk beer ale craft beer cask ale imho opinion us craft beer



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8pm next Tuesday at the West End Tap on Newland Street West. (That’s Cask Tuesday too… 4 pints for £11)

A night of the infamous party game for horrible people, Cards Against Humanity and more than a few beers.

"Cards Against Humanity is a party game for horrible people. Unlike most of the party games you’ve played before, Cards Against Humanity is as despicable and awkward as you and your friends.

The game is simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a black card, and everyone else answers with their funniest white card.”

All welcome. Unless you’re easily offended.

A pub, a few beers and Cards Against Humanity. What can go wrong?

(Source: facebook.com)

Filed under pubsmatter pub beer real ale lincoln lincoln camra camra camrgb cards against humanity beers against humanity

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Fancy something new?

The more I think about this article the more it irks me. I don’t like preaching, I spend many a walk through my town centre glaring at preachers with their smarmy looks of faux humility, pretending to be morally superior whilst shouting at strangers. Now, this isn’t that extreme but it’s still coming across like a sermon, a speech to troops of a half imagined beer war.

When I first read the article I couldn’t help wanting to rally the war cry. Yes, let’s get more people drinking good beer! Except suddenly there’s this schism talked of, suddenly there’s sides. I’m quiet sure having a selection of people afraid of change and another selection campaigning for change isn’t exactly a new thing.

I spend my days trying to get people to try beer. I relish when I get someone one something new and tasty that they’d have never thought of drinking before. There are so many women who are put off the world of cask ale and the world of cask ale isn’t helping. (Read this great post from It Comes In Pints.)

Last year I talked about the “gent” at the Nottingham Beer Festival who told me to “give the girlies the pilsner, that’s what they all like”.
For a start that beer was horrible, the only one in my section I couldn’t bring myself to recommend. Plus I love to find a great beer for someone! Especially at a beer festival. Something new, and interesting. However, finding a new beer someone’ll like or for someone who’ll “just have a Becks” because they always do… That’s a far cry from telling someone they should be drinking beer and telling people that we need to bring people to the beer world. That’s just weird! We’re not a cult! We’re not trying to find new members of the beer drinking club. We’re just recommending a drink.

“Wanna try this tasty thing? I think it’s tasty. ” NOT “You should be drinking this instead!”

Don’t tell people to go to their local pub. Invite them to come out for a drink with you. There’s a subtle but important difference.

Beer folk, let’s not be preachy, let’s not be creepy. Pint, anyone?

Filed under real ale beer craft beer ale



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Share the beer love

Not far into my visit to this year’s Great British Beer Festival this occurred.

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Yep, being the craft wanker he is Matt “Total Al-es" Curtis decided to bring beer to a beer festival. 900 beers wasn’t enough but when he opened his backpack to reveal a cool bag filled with wonders there was a mixture of "You did what?", "Is that actually a cool bag?!" and "Can I have some?". We had some, and it was nice. Very nice. Gorgeous in fact, and one of the many sour ales I fell in love with on Tuesday.

When I decided to make the trip down to London for the GBBF press and trade day I was so excited about all the beers I could try. I also couldn’t wait to meet up with the host of awesome people I know from The Twitters.

However, rather than feeling like I was being presented with simply an extravagant beer menu there was a different vibe to what I felt on Tuesday. The community. I know these people from various internet shenanigans, but there was something amazing about being sat around our table simply enjoying ourselves. It was a sharing experience; conversations, favourite beers and somewhat ridiculous selfies.

Tuesday wasn’t so much about the beer, but the people.

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On arriving, Matt gave me a can of Beavertown’s Gamma Ray. A beer that I’ve heard so much about and yet never tried (being all up in the shire and that). Refering to it as his “favourite everyday beer”, he shared the love. And I will be putting my face in that particular can tomorrow night.

Then there’s Rowan. Horrified that I hadn’t even heard of Cantillon (my Belgium beer knowledge is MUCH improved this week), we shared a bottle of Rosé de Gambrinus. Absolutely stunning! A perfect mixture of tart fruitness and lip puckering sourness. I passed on this wonderful beer to my Jamie the day after. Sharing the beer love a second time!

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Andrew also introduced me to the wonder that is 3 Fonteinen’s Oude Geuze. Until this week I’d never even heard of a gueuze. 

Gueuze is a type of lambic, made by blending young (1-year-old) and old (2- to 3-year-old) lambics, which is then bottled for a second fermentation. (Thanks, Wikipedia!)

And now, possibly my favourite style of beer. I even grabbed a bottle of the same from the Newark Real Ale Store.

To me the whole festival wasn’t about being able to choose from a huge selection of new beers but instead being able to share what you love with others.

Discussion was had afterwards about Chris Hall's amazing idea.

Yes, the logisitics are horrific. But wouldn’t that just be fucking fantastic?

Filed under share the love beer love craft wankers craft beer world beer real ale beer ale belgium beer gueuze lambic sour sour ale gbbf gbbf 2014 great british beer festival community bloggers twitter