Saturday, 27 September 2008
Rupert's Ruin is a product of the Springhead Brewery of Newark. I tried a pint recently at my local 'Spoon, The Wouldhave, South Shields, who do great service to the real-ale drinking community by regularly rotating guest ales. The cellarman really knows his business too, and the beer is usually very well-kept, so a fair assessment can be made of it.
It's a beer with a lovely dark colour, full-bodied with an excellent head and fine "legs" as you work your way down the glass (no, I'm not talking about the barmaid).
The brewery advertises it as "full of complex flavours" and CAMRA seem to agree, but I found that the taste is completely overpowered by the bitterness. Of course, I know that "some like it bitter", but this beer is not for me, it's so bitter that I could hardly taste a thing. Bur maybe it's me, maybe it just didn't suit my palate on that particular day.
The name, by the way, celebrates the downfall of the dashing Prince Rupert of the Rhine, who fell out of favour with his uncle, King Charles I, at Newark during the Civil War.
Friday, 26 September 2008
Thursday, 25 September 2008
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Friday, 19 September 2008
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Monday, 15 September 2008
I used always to go to a bar known locally as The Zoo, because of the rather exotic characters who frequented the place, but they don't show live sport there anymore. I'm told that it is because Sky T.V have astronomically raised their charges to levels way beyond the possible profit potential of small bars. It's a pity, because there was a great atmosphere at The Zoo, packed as it was with a standing-room-only crowd on match days. It was almost like standing on the terraces in the old days before seating was imposed on football grounds.
Still, at least The Zoo are honest and have removed all the posters which used to plaster the windows, advertising forthcoming games, unlike some other bars. I went into the bar pictured here, attracted by the huge banner displayed outside, and had already ordered my pint before I was told:
"No, we don't show the matches here anymore".
It was bloody annoying, as, no real ale being available, I was stuck with a pint of John Smiths.
Friday, 12 September 2008
I remember once a comedian on stage cracking the joke:
"I dunno, if the Jarmans (Germans) ever do invade, I'm coming here 'cos they'll never find me!"
Much laughter and muted applause.
"And, if they do, the doorman won't let them in."
Roars of laughter and thunderous applause.
Thursday, 11 September 2008
Your email address firstname.lastname@example.org does NOT work with my hotmail and my response to your request has been returned by the "postmaster" as not delivered.
Sorry, but you'll have to try to use another email address.
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
Monday, 8 September 2008
Thursday, 4 September 2008
"Next time" I kept thinking, whilst sunning myself and wallowing in the dark brown nectar. Some blokes near me were wallowing in sorrow for Newcastle United, and seemed to be discussing the murder of some people called Wise and Ashley. They drove the sun behind the clouds, so I went inside.
Yesterday I decided to try to follow a circular walk set out in a leaflet I had picked up at the bus station. The walk would take me past the Big Lamp Brewery, so I could have a very appealing little "refreshment stop" (haw-haw) on the way.
Being confused by having taken the wrong bus to the start point, however, I arrived in the little town of Newburn with no idea where to begin. The leaflet seemed to make no sense, so I decided to fasten on one of the landmarks along the way and start from there. Of course the most congenial landmark was the Big Lamp Brewery, so I hailed down a local and received instructions on how to get there.The Big Lamp is a marvellous place (see pic). It is the oldest micro-brewery in the North-East and was founded in 1982, more or less as a hobby. By developing the buildings of a derelict pumping-station on the North bank of the Tyne, the present brewery was gradually formed. Built up from virtually nothing, the brewery is a true testament to business enterprise, an example to everyone of what can be achieved.
What I particularly like about this brewery is that, unlike most enterprises which expand and grow complacent as their customer base increases, the quality of its products has actually improved over the years. In the mid 1980s I used to frequent one of their early outlets, The Old Fox in Felling and, quite frankly, I was not very impressed with their "home brew", as people called it. Now, as a result of hard work and experience, I would say that they are the premier microbrewery in the North East and their beers can stand comparison with anyone's, nationally.
Anyway, I've written enough for today, so I'll tell you more about the beer tomorrow.
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
Once, when I was on a bike run deep in the heart of pitmatic Durham, I dared to wheel my bike into the Foyer of a Workingmen's Club, bearding the lion in his den as it were, and asked the doorman if he would sign me in for a drink.
"It'll cost you 50p, son" he gruffly replied, nodding towards the charity box.
"What about my bike?" says I. The surrounding estate was bandit country and I didn't dare leave the bike outside.
"Just put it up against the radiator over there, lad".
I complied and went to the toilet before going to the bar. As I emerged from the toilet, I was just in time to hear the authoritive voice of a passing Committee Man.
"Whose is this f...ing bike, get it out of here!"
This drew a rapid and belligerent reply from my benefactor, the doorman:
"You leave that bike alone, you nosy count (well, it was another word actually, which decency prevents me from writing).
"Bikes is not allowed!"
"I told the lad he could put it there, you piss off"
Embarrassed, I said:
"It's O.K, I'll shift it"
"No you won't! You go and get your pint, son (I was over 50 at the time, by the way), take no notice of this nosy b.....d."
"Bikes is against the rules!" roared the Committee Man, who had now been joined by another.
I went to the bar and peacefully enjoyed my pint, while the battle raged in the Foyer. Everyone who entered the bar had a big grin on his face. I had lit a touchpaper and the place was alive with the excitement of it all.
When I left, my bike was still there against the radiator.
As always, the doorman had won.