Sherfield Village Brewery: Almande

Guess which bloody idiot didn’t take a picture of the pump clip?

Full disclosure time again: I’ve no idea if I’ve even got the name of this beer right.  This was another one sampled at The Greyfriar in Reading – just after my latest AWS exam attempt.  I was still reeling post-exam, so if anything ain’t right…let me know.

This was/is a special beer, I say that because it was brewed by the folks at the Sherfield Village Brewery solely for The Greyfriars opening night…so you can’t get it anywhere else, if indeed it’s actually still available at the pub!  It’s be a shame if it really has all gone as it really rather good…

An almond-infused chocolate stout…that’s something you don’t come across every day, and to be quite honest – I’d be glad if I did come across this sort of thing more often.

Ink-black and with a fabulous, thinnish-but-inviting-looking, creamy head (I guess the nut oils are probably going to not help with head retention that much), the half I was poured looked and smelt good enough to eat.

Strongly malty, chocolatey aromas poured from the glass with accents of warm nuttiness abounding; like I said it smelt damn good.

The taste was an embrace of warm roasty, nutty chocolate – all laid about on a bed of sensual maltiness, langourously wrapped in smooth dark-chocolate bitterness.  The after taste just went on and on and reinforced the excellent dark-bitter chocolate theme.

In two words “Bloody Excellent”.  I hope these folks prosper in their brewing endeavours…It’s just a shame that Almande might not ever be available again.

http://www.sherfieldvillagebrewery.co.uk/beers.htm

A note on The Greyfriar:  What an excellent spot for a drink, and only a stones throw from Reading station (literally…I mean you might need a catapult, but I reckon you could take one of the windows out from the station concourse, no problems)

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The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, so just go in and see what they recommend.  The whole place is all still quite new and still being worn in, so don’t expect oldy-wordly, but it’s clean, fresh and well kept.

When I was there, there were 6 cask ales on and 6 keg taps, not to mention draught cider and a very intriguing looking bottle selection.  They actually had Liefman’s Kriek on tap and also Delerium Tremens, too.  (When I have to re-take that bloody AWS exam -which is pretty much guaranteed, BTW- I’ll be going back to take in more of their selections.

Great pub, great location, great beer.  What’s not to like, eh?

http://www.thegreyfriarreading.co.uk/

Wild Weather Ales: Shepherd’s Warning

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Here we are again, back from a couple of week’s worth of slog – preparing for the professional level of the Amazon Web Services Certified Solution Architect exam.  It was a beta, so I’ve no idea if I’ve passed yet…and won’t have for another couple of weeks or so

(Quite honestly I think I won’t have even scraped it, it was waaay harder than I expected – but I only had ten days to prepare, so these things must be expected…plus there was precious little in the way of guidance on what to prepare for…)

But hey, I’ve drunk some beers over the last few weeks and now I’ll get on writing them up, here.

Post exam, yesterday, I wended my way to The Greyfriar in Reading (just a convenient stone’s throw from the station.  I’ll write more about them in the next post…)

The chap behind the bar put me onto Wild Weather Ale’s “Shepherd’s Warning” and I’m mightily glad that he did, this is the most exciting cask IPA I’ve had in a long time; just like a US-inspired keg IPA but out of a cask.  Happy days.

The pump clip reminded me very much of the artwork from an Ozric Tentacles album cover – which can only be a good thing.

The half (I had to drive later, nuts.) arrived all golden hazy and with a sea-foam-oily, inviting-looking head.  This looked like all-malt goodness in a glass.

The nose was clean, lightly grainy, and pleasantly hoppy.

The taste was clean, breezy and refreshing – bringing along a great mouthful of bright stone-fruit hop-inspired flavours.  A keening, hoppy bitterness sat astride the whole and made it it’s business to get into every part of your mouth.  A pleasing alcoholic note fitted right in alongside all of this and made everything right with the world.

After the swallow a lengthy and enjoyable bitterness pervaded – entirely commensurate with the IPA style – and hung about, highlighting this beers marvellous refreshing qualities.

This is without doubt the best IPA I’ve had out of a cask (not keg, remember) for a long time.  Highly recommended.  I look forward to getting in and amongst the complete Wild Weather range of beers in future.  Watch out for these folks, they could go big with beers this good.

 http://www.wildweatherales.com/beer/  (Brush up your site folks!  It’s painfully slow.  Don’t keep the people from finding out about your lovely, lovely beers…)