Welcome to Glasses & Growlers – a blog dedicated to the Amber Necter, A Swift Half, A Cheeky Pint, the Tinny, A Couple of Jars, the Dust Cutter, A Brewski or otherwise simply know as beer!
I’m John and I love great beer. It’s something I’ve become more and more passionate about over the last 5 years and I thought what better way to expand on this passion than to start a blog about my favourites, what I’ve been drinking, where to get the best beers and just about any other subject I can conjure up about beer.
Originally coming from a soulless town where everything is as unimaginatively grey as Skegness on a winter’s day (Milton Keynes), it’s no real surprise that the 99% of the pubs, bars or working men’s clubs also are just as unimaginative with the beer selections they offer. It’s almost a Milton Keynes standard to walk into any licensed establishment and see a draught selection including Carlsberg, Stella, Strongbow, Guinness, Peroni and if you’re lucky there may be a hand pump dispensing some warm malty poor excuse for an Ale.
I’ve always enjoyed a good pint but it’s only over the last 5 years I’ve developed a pallet for other types of beer apart from lagers. Of course there are some really tasty lagers out there, Tusker, VB, Kirin and Red Stripe to name a few but generally speaking I think lager beer has almost reached a critical mass where boundaries are not being pushed, recipes not being changed, and people seeming to settle for what they know leading to a repetitive, stagnant and stale choice of lagers.
My wakeup call came from the love of my life. We met, fell in love, got engaged and moved in together to start a new life in a sleepy little town 5 minutes outside of Burton Upon Trent. As some of you may know Burton is hailed in many ways as “The Home of Beer” and it was here I was introduced to the eye opening experience of real ales and craft beers.
The beer that got me hooked was a beautiful little number called Jaipur by one of my now favourite breweries, Thornbridge. It’s a new world IPA with a naughtly 5.9% ABV and when coming from a world of drinking 4% lager this was something like I had never experienced before. The cutting citrus notes, the grapefruit tones smacking the nostrils like smelling salts, the body which leaves the mouth salivating for more, I was astounded to say the least.
With some advice from the better half and some research on the internet I found I was exactly in the right place to start exploring the nether regions of this side of beer I had never experienced so off I went and iv never looked back since. The amount of places close by that have top notch beer scenes are too many to count, Derby, Sheffield, Birmingham, Peterborough, are just a few places to find amazing pubs and then there are the breweries, Thornbridge, Buxton, Oakham, Leatherbricthes, Salopian, Blackhole, Joules, Frothblowers and the list could go on.
I was soon made aware of one of the finest and one of the longest serving micro pubs in Burton upon Trent, The Coopers Tavern. It was opened in 1800’s as the store of Bass Imperial Stout. The brewers would pop over Cross Street and sample the stout, it is not recorded quite when, but the store became the brewers tap for the Bass brewery. In time it opened its doors as a pub – but still served ale as they do in the sampling cellar – direct from the barrel. The Coopers has served its ale this way ever since – at least 5 casks always available out of the tap from the back bar, 5 hand pump lines and 2 keg lines. I have had some amazing beers here from all over the UK but this was not enough to keep me satisfied so i started to venture out to some of the many beer festivals that are held around the midlands, Derby, Birmingham, Loughborough, Thornbridge Great Peakender and Burton’s famous Beer Festival to name a few.
My eyes were being opened with every smell, look and most importantly taste, and they still are today. My most recent discovery are Sour Beers. These lovely concoctions are made by using the natural yeasts and bacteria’s such as Lactobacillus, Brettanomyces, and Pediococcus in the brewing environment. This almost flies in the face of tradition as brewers will usually fight tooth and nail to keep unwanted yeasts and bacteria’s out of their brews but i tell you what, it makes some amazing beers!
Well thats a quick few words about me, myself and I. There will be plenty more to come from Glasses & Growlers but if you have anything you would like to discuss, ask, quaff or shout about with me just leave me a reply on my blog or e-mail me here