I've been doing the British style beer kick recently. I blame Mike and Jim and their love of soccer. It's infectious. On a couple of different occasions, I've watched Premiership League with one or both. All that English soccer leads to English beers. Just a warning to all of you non-soccer types out there.
March 28, 2008, 7pm, at the home of Christopher Maples (KOTBR, Retired)
On this night, it was actually NCAA basketball being watched. But I brought my own beers. I had picked up a Lakefront Organic E.S.B. and a Left Hand Sawtooth Ale. The former I found lacked the bitters I was expecting from an ESB, but wasn't terrible. The later I found to be well balanced and very tasty. Some caramelly malt flavors, but also some floral hops goodness. Definitely worth getting again.
March 29, 2008, 11am, at the Chatham Tap w/ Mike and Gina
I've never been big into basketball, so watching soccer on Saturday morning was an improvement from Friday night's sports options. Derby and Fulham were on at 11am on Fox Soccer Channel (game tied 2-2); Bolton and Arsenal were on Setanta (2-3 Arsenal), and Nurnberg and FC Bayern from Germany started 30 minutes earlier on GOLTV. That finished tied at 1.
I started with a Fuller's London Pride on tap. Previous experiences told me that many of the beers from Europe won't stand up to the edgy American counter parts. But since I didn't start with a beer that was blazing with hops, my taste buds weren't burnt out and could enjoy the subtle but enjoyable flavors of the English Pale Ale. It was high in maltiness (caramel flavors were present) but had just a slight bitterness to it. A very crisp beer to be enjoyed while watching soccer, whether it be in the bar or in the stands. Good spring and summer beer, I think.
I ordered the stuffed tomatoes from the ChaTap. Roma tomatoes stuffed with cheese, rasher bacon, bread crumbs, topped with parmesan and garlic mayo. A tasty treat served cold, but I bet it would be 10 times better baked.
The Fuller's was followed by the Hobgoblin by Wychwood, also on tap. Gotta love the ax as a tap topper. We reviewed this back in October, and I gave it a 3 mug rating and commented that it seemed watered down. This time around, I didn't think that. In fact, I thought it was pretty damned good. If we were reviewing it on this day, I'd probably bump my rating up by a quarter of a point. Watered down did not enter my mind at all. Chewy, nutty, malty goodness is what I found.
Montauks was next on the plate. Bread topped with smoked gouda, rasher bacon, tomatoes, and basil, then baked. Take the stuffed tomatoes, chop 'em up, throw 'em on bread like a brushetta dish, and enjoy. This is very enjoyable.
At 1pm, the Manchester United v. Aston Villa match was starting. Mike had always said that I should watch Man U once just to enjoy the mastery. He was right. Ronaldo made this one goal that he kicked from behind and sent through the legs of a defender. Beautiful. Needless to say, Man U had their way with Aston and their women.
I had an Old Speckled Hen, on tap. Like the Fuller's, this is an English Pale Ale. Drinkable, but not as flavorful. Basically, Fuller has a fuller flavor.
I finished the day of soccer off with a cup of Stuffed Pepper Soup which tastes exactly like a stuffed pepper, but in soup form. I washed it down with a Blackened VooDoo Lager from Dixie brewing in Louisiana. Yes, I know, not exactly English. But it caught my attention, so I had to try it. It tastes and smells like the seasonings you would use in blackened chicken. Peppery, garlicky, I'm not sure. Did they purposely burn the grains to create the flavor? I don't know. I drank it, I was fascinated by it, I was tempted to take my bottle of beer down the street to Yats and see how it paired up with their fare.
And that was the end of my soccer day. We noticed a table tent advertising their opening day of baseball event with cheap Old Style and grilled hot dogs (Mike needs to eat more wienies!). Going from the soccer pitch to the baseball pitch.