22 October 2007

Roundtable #31 - Hey look kids, Big Ben, Parliament

When it comes to international travels, I'm sad to say that mine are very much lacking. I've spent a week in Canada getting drunk, and over the years, I've spent a week in EPCOT getting drunk.

Actually, getting drunk in EPCOT is a pretty good time. Especially right now, as they are having their annual International Food and Wine Festival until November 11th. Last year, my family and I went. My father, brother-in-law, and I decided to drink around the world. There are 15 international beers represented here, plus another 10 from Sam Adams. Yes, it was expensive, and yes there are better beers in America, but come on, what could be better than getting so drunk at Disney World that you start smacking random asses?

My apologies to Eeyore.

But if you aren't able to make it to Disney World, know that several Indy bars are able to cover your international desires. And between MacNiven's and the Chatham Tap, the beers of the UK are more than adequately covered on Massachusetts Avenue alone.

The ChatTap is a great place with several English beers on tap. On Thursdays, the English pints are $4. On this particular night, I tried 4 different draughts. In order, they were Boddington's Pub Ale, Wychwood Brewery's Hobgoblin Ale, Fuller's ESB, and Tetley's English Ale. In ranking the four, in order, they were Fuller's ESB, Tetley's English Ale, Wychwood Brewery's Hobgoblin Ale, and Boddington's Pub Ale.

With the exception of Monty Python and most anything on Channel 4, England is pretty reserved. And this definitely goes for their ales. We American's really relish being in your face, from extreme sports to film and television. And that goes for beers, as well.

So in many respects, I think our tongues are numbed to quality beers that don't pack a ton of punch in either the malt or hops categories. Which is probably why many are shifting away from imported beers to craft American beers.

Because of that, my initial thoughts were that the Hobgoblin English brown ale seemed watered down compared to other brown's that I have sampled. Of course, I seem to have to chew the other brown beers that I have had. So which is more correct?

And the aroma seemed to be very light. Or is it that my nose has been blown away by so many micro-brews that throw everything including the kitchen sink into their mix that you feel like you are smelling a smorgasbord?

When the Knights of the Beer Round Table review beers and assign scores, there is no scientific process. We score we as we please. Making us a bit like the Olympic judges for figure skating.

Yes, I made a figure skating reference. And I like Broadway musicals. You got a problem, wit dat?

In selecting a rating for this beer, it was difficult. This isn't a blow you out of the water type of beer. But I enjoyed it. It went well with the fish and chips that I sampled (thank you Gina). So how do I rate this?

I looked over the other beers we have reviewed, decided where it would fit in terms of drinking preference. In the end, I settled on a 3.0 mug (or would that be a pint, since we are doing the English thing tonight?) rating. It's good enough that I would order it again. It's good enough that I would even have some in my fridge next to the Guinness that I keep. And it's good enough that if I were in the ChatTap drinking pints and watching soccer, I'd order it more than once.

And a quick thanks to all who came out to drink with us, including Mat from Cavalier Distributing.

And apologies to everyone who is without children that listened to Mat and I go on and on about our experiences with family life.

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