Thursday, 30 September 2010
Tomorrow is brew day. I have decided on a mild style beer which should be ready for Xmas. It should turn out at about 3.4% ABV and make a bit of a change from the pale ales and bitters I have been brewing lately. Later today I will boil about 20 litres of water and leave to cool overnight. Tomorrow I will try and not make mistakes like I did last Friday. Though at my age and level of intelligence that is a big ask. Still like a British Bulldog I will keep calm and carry on. Oh! By the way. DON'T SPILL BEER.
Saturday, 25 September 2010
The dried malt finally turned up from the Thrifty Shopper. Definitely the fault of the Royal Mail so I will continue with the Thrifty Shopper.
On a different note and for those of you who are interested below is a map of the walk we completed from County Gate to Porlock with some interesting statistics, with thanks to Richard.
Friday, 24 September 2010
To bring my stocks back to a normal level I will have to have another brew day next Friday. I will decide which beer to brew over the weekend and order the necessary supplies from the Thrifty Shopper. Although I will have to have a plan B just in case they let me down again. If their website shows any of the ingredients that I want are out of stock I will order from another source. Though I hope they can get their act together as I have had great service and good value for money from them in the past.
Thursday, 23 September 2010
Brew day tomorrow. Put on 23 litres of water onto boil. It is now cooling in the boiler and I will transfer it to a plastic bucket later this afternoon. Had a slight hiccup with the Thrifty Shopper. I ordered 2kg of light spray malt but they only sent me 1kg in two 500 gram bags. To be fair their web site did state that the malt I wanted was out of stock but they didn't answer my emails which was slightly annoying. However, I did get a phone call from them yesterday promising that the missing malt would be with me today. So far it hasn't turned up. I think they are trying really hard to satisfy all their customers but it could be that they have been overwhelmed with orders. I changed the beer I was going to brew to one that I have the ingredients for. Just in case the dry malt does not turn up in time. To catch up with my full quota I will have to have another brew day next Friday 1 Oct 10.
Friday, 17 September 2010
Thursday, 16 September 2010
Monday, 13 September 2010
Friday, 10 September 2010
Thursday, 9 September 2010
Oh joy! The Scarecrow is fine. Tastes just as it should. Must have been a contaminated glass or something. Oh Joy!
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
|X MARKS THE SPOT|
Saturday: After the near disaster of my tent collapsing and Richard and Jim wondering around my tent shaking their heads and tutting in a most professional manner. Jim hatched plan B which involved moving my tent to a more sheltered spot and hopefully preventing further collapse should the weather prove inclement throughout the rest of our stay. Richard seemed very happy with this. He had accused me on previous occasions of snoring and keeping him awake. A very unlikely occurrence in my opinion. After re-pitching my tent and partaking of a hearty breakfast in the camp site cafe I gathered the chaps and chappess and explained our mission. They were all very keen and raring to go as I knew they would be. The group consisted of Ken, Richard, John, Beryl, Jim, Martin and me, Allan. Plus Martin's two dogs, Honey and Lizzy. We were a small group but what we lacked in numbers we made up in shear passion to save as many pubs as we could. We set off in Martin’s Shogun and headed for County Gate. This would be our headquarters and return point. Crossing the road we set off at a good pace towards Porlock Weir. The sign posts along the track were very confusing. Giving distances that we knew must be wrong and often contradicting the previous sign post. Anyway, after five, six, seven, eight, nine or ten miles at a steady yomp we arrived at the Ship Inn also known as the Bottom Ship Inn in Porlock Weir. The Top Ship Inn being in Porlock itself. As we arrived it began to rain so we went inside the Inn and enjoyed several pints of Exmoor Ale. Ever mindful of our mission it was vital that we caught the last bus from Porlock to County Gate. No one seemed to know the times of the last bus so I ran to Porlock and checked out the timetable. I ran back to the Ship Inn and rallied the troops. If we walked to Porlock while the rain was still quite light we would have time to save a couple of more pubs and still be able to catch the last bus. A vital element of the mission. Bravely leading the way we walked at a good pace to the Castle Hotel in Porlock. After a couple of pints of Doombar we again struck out. This time just a few hundred yards to the Royal Oak. Here we started on the Exmoor Ale but the barrel ran dry and the replacement was not quick right so we had to go on to Gem. It was then that a very peculiar event happened. Jim's full pint of Gem slid off the table and landed on the floor. Jim was mortified. Due to the carpet the glass was saved but the beer was lost forever. After the floor was cleaned up by a very helpful barmaid several theories were put forward as to why this unfortunate thing should happen. The Sir Isaac Newton theory was expounded. If he hadn't invented gravity then Jim's beer would not have been wasted. There were many other theories put forward. One involved poltergiests and dead parents. However, one absurd theory was voiced. Normally it would not find space in this blog but it is rather funny so I have included it. It goes like this. The table upon which the glass of Gem sat was on a slight slope due to an uneveness in the floor. The bottom of the beer glass was wet. This meant that there was very little friction to stop the glass moving. A passing motor vehicle or a person walking past the table depressed the floorboard a little. Thus allowing the glass of Gem to slide to the edge of the table and so onto the floor. See what I mean. Absurd but funny. I personally think that the Sir Isaac Newton theory is the only one that can explain this freak accident. The quicker gravity is un-invented the better and the less likely beer will be spilt.
The time to catch the bus and return to County Gate headquarters was upon us. Piling onto the top deck of the open top bus we were confronted with a sea of grey hair. We soon struck up a conversation with a nice couple and a common interest in motorbikes was found. Arriving at County Gate we climbed into the Shogun and Beryl drove us back to Lynmouth and the Rising Sun. Bless you Beryl! A few pints of Exmoor Ale and then we returned to the campsite and the Beggars Roost. An evening meal of Beef and Ale pie went down very well. I left the Beggars Roost early to allow the youngsters to let their hair down without me peering over their shoulders. Lying down on the grass looking at the stars in the clear Devon air I soon located Sirius the Dog Star. This star is believed by the Dogons to be the home of all ancient knowledge. Although a primitive culture, it seems that visitors from Sirius contacted them eons ago with the very mysteries of the universe. The information that the Dogons have still remains intact after all these years, untouched and not influenced by outside cultures. Thinking about this it occurred to me that perhaps we should visit Sirius and put these myths to rest once and for. I then realised that it was quite possible to make this journey quickly and cheaply. Rockets would not be needed. I scratched my head why hadn’t the scientists discovered this years ago, it was patently obvious. I reached for my phone to spread the good news. No signal! Damn! It would have to wait until I returned to Bristol. I hit my pillow and was quickly transported into a dream world of ancient tribes, aliens and star journeys. Until about 2:00 when I was awoken by the high winds and pouring rain. Once again a night with very little sleep but the tent held. I had also forgotten how to get to Sirius. Oh well! perhaps a few more pints of Exmoor Ale would help to rekindle the memory.
Sunday: Another hearty breakfast in the camp site cafe set us up for the day followed by a quick walk into Lynton. It was raining quite heavy by the time we arrived so we retreated to a cafe for a cup of coffee. About 11:00 we decided that the rain had subsided enough to allow a short walk without getting too wet. We went up through the Valley of Rocks picked up the coastal path and strolled back into Lynton. Strangely it was beer time (this time travel business makes my head hurt) so we visited the Crown Hotel where we found that it was under new ownership. Tribute was the ale of choice along with Bass for John and Jim. The Tribute was absolutely cracking. The service here was superb. Although the pint glasses were not quite full our round of Tribute came with an extra small glass so that our glasses could be topped up as the head settled. Thank goodness for a landlord who serves a full pint without having to be asked for a ‘top-up’. I hope this practice continues and spreads throughout the land. On then to Lynmouth to the Rising Sun (yes the same one, again! Surely you could see that one coming) for more Exmore Ale. Then round the corner to Esplanade Fish Bar for our annual and now traditional fish and chips on the beach. We didn’t quite make the beach due to the weather but we sat on the wall opposite the Fish Bar and scoffed away. This place serves the best fish and chips for miles. Well worth a visit if you are in that part of the country. Back to the Rising Sun (I bet you are getting the hang of it now) for a few more beers. Returning to the camp site I decided to get a couple of hours shut eye before going to the Beggars Roost for one last time. However, I didn’t wake up until after 10:30 much too late for me. So I turned over and had a good nights kip trying to make up for two nights with very little sleep.
With thanks to the following:
Richard for giving me a lift and helping to sort out my tent.
Jim for coming up with plan B and helping with my tent.
John for supplying much needed beer at the right time
Martin for supplying much needed beer at the right time and showing us around the various walks and driving us around
Beryl for driving us to and from pubs on quite a few occassions
Sally for sorting out our camping pitches and being really nice
Ken for being there and helping me pitch my tent on Friday
Honey and Lizzy for being such good dogs and giving us such a laugh on the walks
Friday, 3 September 2010
Pete gave me some more lettuce and half a ton of damson. Ta Pete! Not sure what do with the damsons just yet. Wine comes to mind, or jam or maybe even a chutney. If anyone has any ideas please put them on a postcard and send to the usual address. Sorry kids you have to be 16 or over to enter.
Awaiting Richard who will give me a lift to Lynton. Hoping to find a few new ales that I have not tried before. if not Exmoor Gold, Exmoor Stag, Exmoor Beast and a raft of other beers will be available. Hooray!
Thursday, 2 September 2010
Pete gave me some more of his garden produce which included a purple cauliflower! Not tried it yet but it look very colourful. He has promised me some more lettuce when we meet at Weatherspoons tonight. Ta Pete! Yes it is Thursday again. I must get my head around this time warp business. Off to Lynton with some of the usual suspects tomorrow until Monday.We will meet Martin and Sally who are old friends from Bristol who moved to Devon many years ago. They manage the Channel View camp site and we will be camping under the stars and hopefully not under the rain clouds. Richard has very kindly offered me a lift and we will meet the rest of the gang there. I will write a blog tomorrow, if I have time and unless I can borrow a computer my next blog after that will be next Tuesday. Hopefully it will be full of our daring exploits and some new real ales. I am looking forward to this trip. My first and last holiday since last September. Watch this space.