The Silver Tankard

A taste of Scotland’s best
04/12/2010, 1:25 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Silver Tankard broke new ground tonight with its first live-blog: a bouquet of beer-tasting notes, banter and bollocks.

Our special guest taster was Duncan Grigg, naval architecture’s answer to James May and possible reincarnation of Buddy Holly.

A fine selection of Scottish ales

We sampled seven beers from the green hills of Scotland: Broughton’s Oatmeal Stout (4.2% ABV) and Ghillie (4.5% ABV), Belhaven’s Robert Burns (4.2% ABV), Williams Bros’ Kelpie Seaweed Ale (4.4% ABV) and Joker IPA (5% ABV), Orkney’s Dark Island (4.6% ABV), and Inveralmond’s Santa’s Swallie (4.3% ABV) – a malty medley of ales ranging from hoppy pale ales to chocolatey stouts.

Open the Coveritlive link below for a swig-by-swig account of the proceedings.

The eventual winner was Orkney’s Dark Island, a velvety dark ale with succulent notes of chocolate and coffee; closely followed by Williams Bros’ Joker IPA, a playful number with a fruity character.

Beers were procured at Rehills of Jesmond – a veritable Aladdin’s cave of ale in Jesmond’s Cradlewell in Newcastle. And there’s plenty more material where these came from.

If you have any personal favourites from the bonny land, please indulge us in the comments below…

Scottish Ale Tasting / Silver Tankard


Hare of the ‘Dog…?
30/07/2010, 12:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

At the risk of turning this blog into a publicity machine for BrewDog, I couldn’t help but write a post about its new beer, stuffed into the carcasses of small mammals.

Yes it’s a shocking publicity stunt. Yes it’s media-baiting, establishment-mocking, gimmickery. Yes it’s pretty sick. But yes, it’s also another ingenious statement from a brewery that is changing the way we think about beer… And I love it.

BrewDog's 'The End of History' beer. Served in a squirrel. And a stoat.

According to the Telegraph, only 12 bottles of ‘The End of History’ blonde ale have been made – probably for the good of the world, with a 55% volume and price-tag akin to fine champagne. Each is sheathed in a dead animal – seven stoats, four squirrels and a hare – stuffed by a Doncastrian taxidermist.

Responding to criticism from animal-rights and responsible-drinking groups, the ever eloquent BrewDog co-founder, James Watt, told the Telegraph: “This artisan beer should be consumed in small servings whilst exuding an endearing pseudo vigilance and reverence for Mr Stoat… I can think of no grander way to celebrate these animals than for them to be cherished by the lucky owners. [They] all died of natural causes – better to be celebrated and valued than left to rot.”

Surely the question is where does BrewDog go from here? Might it exhume Oliver Reed’s corpse to house a barrel of beer that evaporates before it hits your lips? I wouldn’t put it past these guys…

Familiar sights in Norn Iron
22/04/2008, 8:25 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of spending the weekend in Belfast, courtesy of the NUJ who were holding their annual conference there.

Blimey, journalists can drink.

I spent most of the weekend in the loving arms of a blonde in a black dress. Nope, I wasn’t doing the dirty on wor lass; I’m talking about the pure onyx nectar of the Emerald Isle.

I spent one memorable afternoon getting lost around Belfast’s gridlike backstreets, and couldn’t help spotting sights that reminded me of good old Jesmond…

There’s no escape from the flippin’ place!

Newcastle Beer Festival
01/04/2008, 2:21 am
Filed under: festival, Real Ale, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

This week, beer boffins, piss artists and gentleman alike will unite for the highlight of the Toon’s boozy calendar: the Newcastle Beer Festival.

Newcastle University’s Student Union is the venue for this ale fest, which takes place THIS WEEK! Between Wednesday and Saturday.

I have been salivating in anticipation of this year’s Beer Festi, but it turns out I’m being dragged whisked away to Belfast on Thursday by the NUJ… Thank heavens, then, that the doors open at 6pm on Wednesday night, phew!

Courtesy of my mate and fellow ale swigger, Gordy, here is a list of the beers up for tasting at this year’s festival; as well as ciders and perries (look out for the self-styled Twat in the Hat…).

Beer List – Newcastle Beer festi 2008

Cider & Perry List – Newcastle Beer festi 2008

I ‘m chuffed to see that Timmy Taylor’s Ram Tam (4.3% ABV) is making another appearance! This was the beer of the festival for me last year – dark and rich, a proper cockle warmer.

Hope you can make it!

Bank Holiday ale fest
23/03/2008, 1:52 pm
Filed under: Pub crawl, Real Ale, Review, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

What better way to spend a bank holiday than guzzling quality ale in some of the Toon’s finest drinking establishments? It may have pissed it down for the best part of the day, but we weren’t too miffed…

Wor Lass accompanied me on a mission to visit as many pubs as possible, and sample some of the finest beer on offer. The rules were simple, one drink in each pub, North East ales only, and don’t order the same drink twice.

Now Wor Lass is a conscientious objector when it comes to drinking ale, but she was willing to offer her two-penneth on the beers on my list (which resulted in much condescending chuckling on my part).Me and Wor Lass (right)

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Hello fellow ale lovers!
19/03/2008, 12:23 am
Filed under: Real Ale, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

In a time when the staple beers of a city pub are lifeless draught lagers and keg bitters, it makes a bloke wonder how the inextricable bond between man and beer was ever formed.Pint of the good stuff

So funny how we aficionados of real ale seem to get fobbed off by lager twats lubbers as drinkers of piss and swamp juice…

Not that I’ve been a crusader for the real ale cause all my life though. I certainly had a mis-spent youth: guzzling pints of Fosters, and occasionally moving on to the JD and cokes when I was feeling flush. (The JD does still makes the odd appearance however.)

I probably didn’t discover the good stuff until I had a good few bristles on my chin. Maybe the palate must mature before a fine ale can be pleasurably quaffed? Hmmm……

So this blog is here to chronicle my quest through real ale culture. What is it? Where in the Toon can you get it best? Stay posted for an ale extravaganza…