Saturday, 24 March 2012

Vitesse Noir

VitesseNoir - speed black or black speed is the strongest beer Hardknott have produced so far at 11% abv. Vitesse Noir was a dream concept of HardknottDave and Aletalk Steven to appeal to people like me. Prior to its release my favourite beer was Brewdog's Tokyo*. Despite the fact that only 900 bottles were ever produced and these were sold to small specialist beer shops around Britain, one of these bottles attracted the attention of one person who was so concerned about the potential health claims of the beer that they felt it necessary to report it to the Portman Group (see HardknottDave's Blog). After consideration the Portman Group have decided to uphold the complaint which was related to the wording on the label.

Vitesse Noir is produced using a large quantity of malt to create the 11%abv. Added to that is a large quantity of locally roasted coffee beans, a large quantity of a Valhrona Cocoa and a large quantity of Bourbon Vanilla Beans. As you can see, not only is this beer full of expensive ingredients it is also "full of beans". Now you know what too many beans can do? Well, we thought we better warn you. These particular beans may or may not be magic beans but they do contain a lot of Caffeine. We all know the effect of caffiene, in fact how many of us need to start the day with a good strong cup of coffee to get their caffeine levels energising through their blood stream. Quite a lot if the morning twitter feed is anything to go by.

So Hardknott Dave thought it was best we put a warning on the label about the risk of overindulgence in Vitesse Noir due to its Caffeine content. Label reads "Warning - this beer could have you dancing on the ceiling". However apparently the initial complaint was not based on our warning but on the fact we then said this might be just the tonic you needed. The use of the word "tonic" indicating that we believed the beer had some medicinal powers apparently.

So with a prompt from @filrd I thought I better do a bit of investigating and put finger to iPad to let you know what I found.

Is Vitesse Noir good for you? Could it be seen as a tonic? What does "Tonic" mean?

Tonic may refer to:
Tonic water, a drink traditionally containing quinine
Soft drink, a carbonated beverage
Tonic (physiology), the response of a muscle fibre or nerve ending typified by slow, continuous action
Herbal tonic, a herbal medicine with tonic effects

Well, Vitesse Noir doesn't contain quinine and it certainly isn't soft. I'm not sure what it's going to do to your nerve endings so I guess the only one which it may be is a herbal tonic.

Until the twentieth century alcohol was the most controversial ingredient in "medicines". Many medicines were in fact liqueurs of various sorts, flavoured with herbs said to have medicinal properties. Peruna was a famous "Prohibition tonic," weighing in at around 18% grain alcohol. A little bit stronger than 11% Vitesse Noir.

Well the next step is to check out the ingredients:-

WATER - Beer is made up of 90%+ water, so is your body it's essential for life. Guess that is definitely good.

Malt - Malted grain is full of carbohydrates the essential slow release energy our bodies need to function. That sounds pretty good too.

Coffee beans - locally roasted. It's 7am. The perfect time to write about coffee. The aromas of freshly made coffee for Dave's start to the day and the world of twitter waking up to the various coffee options available to them and tweeting about it. And why?

The coffee bean itself contains chemicals. First of all the famous caffeine which acts as a stimulant. Recent research has uncovered additional stimulating effects of coffee which are not related to caffeine, a currently unknown chemical agent which stimulates the production of cortisone and adrenaline, two stimulating hormones.

1 Benefits of coffee according to wiki
1.1 Reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and Dementia
1.2 Reduced risk of gallstone disease
1.3 Reduced risk of Parkinson's disease
1.4 Increased Cognitive performance
1.5 Analgesic enhancement
1.6 Antidiabetic
1.7 Liver protection
1.8 Cancer
1.9 Cardioprotective
1.10 Laxative/diuretic
1.11 Antioxidant
1.12 Prevention of dental caries
1.13 Gout
1.14 Blood pressure

So there are definite benefits achieved from the coffee bean. Best move along a bean.

Cocoa Beans - the basis of Chocolate which most people love to crave. I believe this is good but thought I'd do a bit of googling. There is so much information I could write a whole blog just on cocoa.
The cocao bean as it is of plant origin contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables such as a large number of antioxidants (beer has more oxizing agents than white wine) and Flavonoids which protect the body from aging caused by free radicals. This can help to reduce blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide (laughing gas) and can also reduce heart disease.

Studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate everyday (containing high levels of cocoa) can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure and reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent.

Dark Chocolate or more specifically cocoa contains Phenylethylamine which facilitates the release of endorphins, the natural painkillers produced by the brain giving a feeling of pleasure. It also contains serotonin and dopamine which act as an anti-depressant by helping you to sleep better and decrease the intensity of physical pain increasing sentiments of happiness. Cocoa's potency comes from its ability to stimulate the brain’s production of serotonin and dopamine.

Cocoa also contains theobromine and caffeine which are stimulants proven to improve libido, reduce stress hormones and reduce the effects of ageing on the brain eg: Reduction in "brain fog"(brain degeneration). This is when you go to get something and forget what you went for - remember?

If you are still with me lets leave cocoa beans and move to Vanilla beans. Now I wasn't sure what I would find when researching vanilla beans apart from them being the most expensive plant ingredient after saffron.

Vanilla contains vitamins including the B-complex group - (niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin and vitamin B-6) which help enzyme synthesis, nervous system function and regulating body metabolism.

Vanilla also contains traces of minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron and zinc. Potassium helps to control heart rate and blood pressure as an important component of cell and body fluids. Manganese and copper provide the body with antioxidant enzymes and iron, which is essential for red blood cell production. The antioxidants in vanilla have anti-carcinogenic properties.1.

Vanilla is obviously full of lots of important chemicals which are definitely good for you.

Well, what's left? Oh Hops!

Hops - Hops are the female flower of a hop species, Humulus lupulus. They are used primarily as a flavouring and stability agent in beer. Hops are used extensively in brewing for their many purported benefits, including balancing the sweetness of the malt with bitterness, contributing a variety of desirable flavours and aromas, and having an antibiotic effect that favors the activity of brewer's yeast over less desirable microorganisms.

Hops are used in herbal medicine as a treatment for anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. A pillow filled with hops is a popular folk remedy for sleeplessness.

So in summary there appears to be lots of beneficial vitamins, minerals and chemicals in coffee beans, cocoa beans and vanilla beans which are used by the body for the benefit of the body. Vanilla is also used as a natural sweetener without the detriment of adding sugar to make a product more enjoyable.

Maybe the beans will have you dancing on the ceiling or maybe the hops will have you snoozing in your chair, Maybe in Vitesse Noir the sleepy hops can help to counteract some of the caffiene effect of the coffee and cocoa.

So there you have it. I am not making any claims simply providing the facts relating to the ingredients. Is it a tonic? Could it be seen as medicinal in anyway?

There are obviously many beneficial ingredients in Vitesse Noir but as in all things you can have too much of a good thing - can't you? beer has more anti oxidants than White wine

1 Anti- carcinogenics, as defined by National Cancer Institute, means that ingredients in vanilla extract can prevent or delay the development of cancer. Free radicals, otherwise known as oxidants can damage tissue leading to certain types of cancers, such as prostrate, colon and breast. Vanilla extract contains certain components that have potential to reduce the growth of cancerous cells.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Award Winning Beer Too Strong

I don't blog very often, but when I do it's because something has really motivated me or made me very angry as in this case.

Hardknott Queboid was Awarded Bronze last night at the Siba Keg Competition at The Barrels in Hereford. Unfortunately at 8% it was deemed to be too strong to be sold to the general public.

The judges who are used to drinking all types of beer were allowed to try it during the competition. However, other brewers had to fight to be given even just a third of what is apparently an extremely strong beer. As soon as the doors were opened to the public it was removed from sale along with Stringers brewery's Mutiny which was unable to cause a Mutiny being locked away for being even stronger at 9.3%.

Good job it wasn't a strong beer or barley wine competition or even worse a wine festival or there wouldn't have been anything to drink at all.

In a way I am sorry that I was unable to attend otherwise I would have had to uplift my KeyKeg and head and sat in the back of the van drinking it from the keg.

People who know me know that I rarely drink beers of less than 7%. I do NOT drink quantity of anything. I would much prefer to sip away at a third of a strong beer than drink 3 pints of session beer. My favourite beer at the moment is Vitesse Noir which is 11% and I can drink a whole bottle of that or 2/3 if I'm in a good pub such as Port Street Beer house or The Free Trade Inn who have both had it on draught.

I also enjoy Brewdog's Tokyo* which is as much as 18% and have been known to drink the End of History in small quantities. Even at GBBF 2011 I spent the day drinking 15% beer without any I'll effects and at the National Winter Ales Festival 2012 I drank Coniston's Barley Wine no. 9. I did not get drunk.

I am angry that Siba has been responsible for the financial loss to us of sending an award winning beer to a festival and then not allowing it to be sold.

First there is the cost of the beer. Which is a hoppy 8% beer. Therefore it costs a lot of money to make in malt and hops. Secondly there is the cost of beer duty, this is also very expensive even more so due to the increase in high strength beer duty. Then is the cost of the KeyKeg. These are not cheap, about £12-£15 each. Then is the cost of transporting the beer to Hereford. After the beer had been despatched we were then asked to send a dispensing head to the Barrels so it could be served. The head cost £30-£40 and the postage cost another £10 on top of that.

As you can see it was not cheap to send this FREE beer to Hereford and it also cost a lot of man hours too. Once you start to dispense from a KeyKeg it should not be moved. Therefore in banning the serving of it Siba have wasted a lot of our time and money, which is completely unacceptable.

We have asked a friend to collect the KeyKeg of Queboid on our behalf in the hope that it may be able to be recovered and dispensed to customers who will appreciate it and who may have been refused it last night.

To those of you who tweeted that you were unable to purchase the Award winning Queboid last night in Hereford you have my apologies. I have it on good authority that there was nothing wrong with the beer. In fact it was Award winning. It was only that Siba deemed you too irresponsible to be allowed to drink it due to it's excessive strength. We will let you know where it can be tried via twitter.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone.

Today I would like to thank Hardknott Dave for my wonderful Christmas present - an IPad. I may now be able to write more blogs once I get used to my new toy. I hope this will be more than just a blog writing type writer. I may even start to learn about this wonderful world of technology and catch up with our children and Dave.

I have tried touch screen phones a couple of times but I didn't like them. I like my Blackberry and can type fairly fast with the feel of the keys. However, a month ago we had some American friends staying, Ted and Christi. Christi brought her brand new iPad with her which she had just bought less than a week before coming to England. I wanted to write a blog and she was kind enough to trust me with her new expensive toy. Amazing I found I could type quite quickly and enjoyed writing the blog. I wondered at the time about the sparkle in Dave's eye as his brain was Obviously beginning to hatch Christmas plans.

I'm actually the sort of person who really likes surprises, nice ones of course. However, no matter how hard I try not to guess or know what I am getting for Christmas or birthdays, I usually have a fairly good idea. This year was no different. I was suspicious I may be getting an iPad and Dave knew that too. What I didn't know was that it could be inscribed and has been. A special touch which really does make this iPad mine. Despite it not being completely a surprise I wouldn't change this present for the world. It's probably one of the best Christmas presents I've ever had.

What did I buy Dave I hear you ask? Not something as impressive as an item of electronic or even musical technology. A selection of beers which I don't believe he has tried before. Wrapped up in an empty wine box just to confuse him. Also a new wallet as he is always complaining I never give him any money. He hasn't even checked in it to see if I gave him any money. But then he hasn't been to the pub yet.

Monday, 5 December 2011

What are friends for!

A Hardknott life is a busy one. I can't believe it's a month since twissup.

On Friday 11th November we attended the Cumbrian Beer Lovers dinner. It's a pity the beer matching dinner was not the best we've ever been too. However at the end of the evening we walked in the moonlight to Neil & Sharon's house in Kendal. They had graciously offered us a bed for the evening to which we are very grateful for their hospitality. As we were traveling to Newcastle the following morning it seemed sense not to go home in the opposite direction.

On the Saturday morning 12th November we woke up with not much of a hangover and set off to Newcastle for a twissup. Hardknott Dave, myself, Hardknott Sooty, Brewers Union Ted and his sister Christi. A quick breakfast stop on the A66 we arrived in Newcastle at 11 o'clock. First stop was a visit to The Free Trade Inn. We needed to check the keg of Vitesse Noir was as brilliant as we hoped it would be. And it was. I was so looking forward to returning without the car so I could enjoy a few more.

After dropping Dave and Ted near to Bacchus where the twissuppers were gathering, Christi and I headed off on a little shopping trip to find some Chocolates. BeerreviewsAndy amongst others had suggested that I needed to bring the food match for the Vitesse Noir - Chocolate of course. After buying some boxes of chocolates Christi and I were summoned like a taxi to transport Hardknott Dave and BrewersUnion Ted, also Hardknott Alex and Steven Aletalk from Central Newcastle to The Free Trade Inn.

It was Time...Glasses of Vitesse Noir matched with gorgeous chocolates, but not for me yet. We still had to check in to our hotel and park the car before I could start drinking. As Jeff Pickthall arrived we made our leave, "just going to check in to the hotel", "Where is it?" he asked. I told him. I won't repeat his reply but it was not pleasant. Well Jeff and I don't usually see eye to eye so I wasn't worried.

After 10 minutes we arrived at the hotel. Well it seemed to be the right place. It looked like an old Victorian hospital and felt like one too. It wasn't Halloween but the male receptionist gave me the uncomfortable feeling of 'Lurch' from the Adams family. He tried to get us to pay but we were feeling very uncomfortable about the place and hoping the rooms were better. We asked to see our rooms first and were told to take a seat in a strange hallway. A dining room to our right looked like a school canteen and a spooky spiral staircase climbed in front of us.

Lurch shouted for us and his voice echoed in the bare stone corridor. We went after him up a back staircase. more for use by the portering staff than hotel guests. he showed us the first room and then the second. They were even worse than I had imagined. Christi and I took one look at each other and after a hurried apology for not staying escaped to the sanctuary of the car. We didn't know what we were going to do, but we agreed we were not staying there. Dave and Ted may not be happy about being told they had no bed for the night and I may not have been happy at the prospect of missing out on Vitesse Noir; but come hell or high water I wouldn't have slept if we had had to stay there.

I texted Dave. "The hotel from hell". Jeff is right and we are not staying there. Christi and I were very hungry now. It was early evening and the twissuppers had been for an Indian, well some of them had anyhow. Christi and I found China town. The first priority was food. If I had to drive back to Cumbria well so be it. The food was great and they brought us some fortune cookies. I snapped mine in half and read it. Someone will give you some good news. Instantaneously my phone buzzed and we both laughed. That'll be the good news then. A message from Dave. Steve Pickthall had heard about our misfortune and offered all four of us a bed for the night. Well actually three beds. We returned to The Free trade Inn to finish the chocolates and make a greater hole in the keg of Vitesse Noir.

As they say "What happens on twissup stays on twissup". Well not this time. I would like to say a big thank you to Steve & Jayne Pickthall for their kind generosity and hospitality in coming to the rescue of two Hardknotts and two Americans who were in a fix with no abode. And an apology to Jeff for not believing him about the hotel from hell.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Manchester epic

On Monday 8th November Hardknott Dave and I set off to Marble Arch to meet with Ted from Brewers Union 180 Oakridge, Oregon and his sister Christi. They had arrived in Manchester that afternoon from America, returning for their first visit since the relocating of Hardknott brewery to Millom. After meeting up at the Marble Arch an impromptu brewery tour of Marble brewery, thanks to James, was Ted's first brewery excitement after his arrival. Next stop was a quick visit to the Font bar. By now it was 7pm. We arrived into Marlborough Street. There were lots of cars parked on Marlborough Street. It was a single yellow line but it was after 6pm and there were no signs on the wall to give allowed parking times. Well surely this many cars wouldn't be wrong would they?

We went into the Font where we were greeted well and bought ourselves a beer. Half an hour later after only one drink we returned to the car. On turning the corner we found the road was completely bare. Not a single car. I looked at Dave, this was the right street wasn't it? Panic set it. I Couldn't believe it. Had the car been stolen? I phoned the police 999 and explained that our car was gone. The helpful police gave me a phone number to ring which was difficult to remember but between the four of us we managed to memorize it. I phoned the number which apparently was the local council and informed them my car was missing. After giving the registration number they told me they had towed the car away. If I wanted it back we would need to collect it before 10pm and pay £140, they gave me a post code.

 We were in a strange city we had no idea where to go neither did the taxi driver. £10 and 20mins later we arrived at the pound. Luckily I had our driving licences in my bag otherwise they were not going to return the car to us at all. £150 lighter and less than an hour since we parked the car we were eventually on our way again. All of us feeling very upset and deflated. What did we do so wrong to have the car towed away less than half an hour after parking it on a single yellow line at 7pm.

Well apparently we were 2 weeks late. Since 1999 until 2weeks ago we could've parked there without even a fine. Unfortunately the local council decided in their wisdom to change the parking times to 8pm instead of 6pm. No fine or warning just tow the car away. How to make visitors feel welcome. So be warned if you visit Manchester. You are not allowed to park on a single yellow line between the hours of 6pm and 8pm anymore or they will tow your car away!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Great Northern Beer Festival

The Society of Independent Brewers or SIBA for short, hosted the Great Northern Beer festival in Manchester last week with help from Greater Manchester CAMRA.

A collection of 250 casks and 100 bottled beers from the Northern region were gathered together in a hotel in Manchester. Hardknott Brewery were responsible for 2 of the cask beers Continuum and Infra Red and one of the bottled beers Queboid. Not many I hear you say. Well this was the first time we had entered beer into a SIBA competition and we weren't really sure what to expect.

Knowing how Hardknott Dave doesn't like to miss anything (can't keep his mouth shut) he also volunteered our services to help on the day of the competition. I received an email telling me I was running for 3 hours. I don't do running!

After an interesting journey of driving around Manchester and delivering beers to The Font and Port Street Beer House, followed by walking, buses and trains I eventually found the entrance of the hotel with the help of Dave. Luckily I grabbed some lunch on the way in as I was too late for any food.

After a quick lesson I learned that running was more like quick walking up the stairs into the cellar to collect jugs of beer for the judges blind tastings.My first table of judges were judging the third round of specialist beers in cask. This included beers such as fruit beers and ginger beers. After a few trips up to the cellar all of the beers had been delivered and the voting papers collected in.

After a short break it was time for the final judging. There were only two tables. One judging the best of the best cask beers and the other judging the best of the best bottled beers. I was running for bottled beers this time. Luckily it wasn't too far. Back wards and forwards to the stage which was the location of the bottled beers. However, judging the best of the best is much more difficult. How can you easily compare a stout against a bitter against an IPA against a ginger beer. I had a good few trips refilling the jugs while the judges contemplated amongst themselves. Eventually all the judges were satisfied and the forms were handed over. With tables cleared I could join Hardknott Dave with Becky & John from Stringers Brewery for a beer or two.

The full list of winners can be found on the SIBA site here. So I don't want to duplicate it. However, I would like to continue with the story from my perspective.
The winners were announced in reverse order. The following awards were for Cumbrian breweries. 
Bottled bitters
A Gold Award for Cumbrian Legendary Ales Langdale 4.0%,

Bottled bitters greater than 5%
Silver for Stringers IPA 5.5% and Gold for Coniston Infinity IPA at 6%
Nothing for Queboid but at least it was beaten by 2 good friends and 2 good beers.

Bottled old ales and stouts next

Silver for 9.3% Mutiny from Stringers.

Cumrian Legendary Ales were awarded Bronze overall for Landale in the bottled beers.

Lots of Cumbrian winners for bottles and lots of Cumbrian smiles.

Then it was time for the Awards for cask beers. By this time we had been joined at our table by Alex from Hawkshead brewery. Just in time for the commencement of the cask awards.

Standard Bitters
Bronze for Watermill with Collie Wobbles 3.7%
Silver for Prospect with Whatever
Gold for Hawkshead for Windermere Pale 3.5%

2 more awards for Cumbrian Breweries

Best Bitters  next with
Bronze for Cumbrian ledendry Ales Langdale 4.0%

But alas no award for Hardknott Continuum. Oh well at least Continuum was beaten by our good friend Roger at CLA.

HardknottDave with disappointment written all over his face, disappeared off to the bar. That was that. His hopes for Continuum were over. Nothing left now except to have a few more drinks. However, I knew we had one more beer category to listen to and I was enjoying lots of our Cumbrian friends winning awards.

Dave returned just as they were starting to announce winners for Strong Premium Bitters over 6%

Bronze for 3rd place was awarded to Hawkshead for NZPA. my heart skipped a beat. Well at least that was our greatest Cumbrian competitor in this catagory out of the way and one less in the running for the final 2 places.

Silver - Awarded to Hardknott brewery for Infra Red !

You did it Dave! His face taking on a happy but amazed look he bounded up on to the stage with chuffed pleasure returning with a certificate for all to see.

Gold was awarded to Elland for their 1872 Porter.

Two IPA's beaten by a Porter in the Premium bitters - I obviously don't understand beer categories. Nevermind.

All in all Cumbrian Breweries did very well with Hawkshead brewery winning over all with Windermere pale.

I would like to congratulate all of the Cumbrian Breweries in their Successes.

For me personally I needed a drink. After scanning down the list of 250 cask beers and trying some tasters I found there wasn't any beers strong enough to appeal to my beer enjoyment. So after numerous visits to the bottle bar in anticipation of them selling any remaining bottles I was eventually able to purchase a bottle of Queboid, Furness Abbey and Croglin Vampire for my nights drinking. Being reprimanded by HardknottDave for buying beers which we have in our own brewery. However, he was drinking Continuum and we have that in the brewery too!

Despite my comment that there wasn't any beers strong enough for me, my favourite beer of the night won the Gold award for the best bottled beer. I had been told about this beer only a week previously by Hardknott Andrew on twitter but hadn't yet had the pleasure of trying it. I managed to buy the only remaining bottle of Peerless brewery's Ninja Jinja and really enjoyed it. For me the bottled range held the greatest.

See also HardknottDave's post

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Beer Versus Wine or Hardknott Dave versus Tim Atkin

We weren't sure we would make it... Dave needed a good excuse to drive hundreds of miles to satisfy his ego... I convinced him we needed to deliver beer to London and and collect empty casks. After all London isn't that far away from Manchester and its a lot closer to Essex...

The morning after the night before (which is another blog altogether) we sneaked out of Dave's uncle's house (where we had sneaked in at 1am when everyone was in bed), leaving behind only an apologetic bottle of Vitesse Noir on the table as evidence that we had actually been there.

We quietly (NOISILY) started the van and headed for London. lots of boxes of beer to deliver to Utobeer warehouse somewhere in the heart of Bermondsey. Then setting the SATNAV for Thatchers Arms Mount Bures somewhere in the Essex countryside we headed East. Hardknott Dave is now getting excited. He is wound up and raring to go for the night ahead. Driving right past the hotel straight to The Thatchers Arms. He need to get there to psych himself up for the night ahead.

WATCH OUT! I'm sure that was Adrian Tierney Jones we nearly wiped out in the dark. Apparently so, according to twitter and his accusations at HardknottSooty.

A few weeks earlier Dave had written to the BBC complaints commission which resulted in a twitter attack on Saturday Kitchen for their lack of consideration to beers in the program and their continual recommendation of wines with food. The result being that Mitchel Adams from The Thatchers Arms invited Tim Atkin from Saturday kitchen to attend a beer versus wine food matched evening. Adrian Tierney Jones offered to take the opposing side of the table with beer.

The evening was in aid of Charities selected by Tim and Adrian. Solebear from Adnams was also there as Adnams offered to provided the beverages in support of the event. However, there had also been recent heated discussions between Solebear and Dave over beer duty for beers over 7.5 so this was looking like a night of fists and fireworks.
Early introductions went well and despite Mitch's attempts to keep Dave and Solebear in separate corners all aforementioned culprits took their seats alongside MrdrinknEat with HardknottSooty keeping control.

First course commenced
Carpaccio of Venison loin 7 Beetroot with port & Mustard Viniagrette
Tim's choice 2008 casa Rivas carmenere gran reserva 14.5% Chilean
Adrian's choice Duchesse de Bourgogne 6.2%

Tasting first the venison with beer and wine in turn and then the beetroot I had a dilemma, this was not so easy. I found the venison went well with the beer and the beetroot with the wine, though I believe others disagreed. There was the option of voting for both or neither if one was not obviously a better choice than the other, so I found myself voting for both beer and wine with the first course.

Mitch returned to announce the winner was BEER  phew!

Second course
Smoked Mackerel with pickled Samphire and lemon dressing
Beer from Adnams Explorer 5%
Wine 2010 Telmo Rodriguez Gaba do Xil 13.5%

Well, both were interesting but for me it had to be the beer. But I was needing some water, I realised that I maybe getting a little too much alcohol.
Mitchel returned with the vote BEER had won again.

Third Course
Delicate Sri Lankan red Chicken Curry with cardamon Rice & poppadoms
Beer Schneider Weiss 5.4%
Wine 2008 Cape Barren Estate Grenache /Shiraz/ Mourvedre 15%

An interesting course with interesting discussions. For me and those who are less keen on spicy food, the beer had a lovely calming affect on the tongue between tingly mouthfuls of spicy curry, however for mrdrinkneat and the spice lovers the wine intensified the spiciness. let voting begin...

Mitch announced BEER was the winner.

hooray it was all over 3-0 to beer.

Whoa wait...

There was an error in the second round and actually it was wine which had received the most votes, it was all still to play for at 2-1.

Fourth course
Lemon Tart with Raspberry coulis
The beer was Adnams Solebay - a champagne style beer with pilsner malt nelson Sauvin hops and Lavender
The wine a 2009 Fontanafredda Moscatod'Asti a sweet Italian dessert wine

For me there was no doubt about this course at all. It had to be the wine which was backed up by the voting.


Things were very tight with only one course to go. Everyone enjoying themselves and no arguments only lots of discussion.

The Finale
Dark chocolate Petit fours
served with Harviestoun Ola Dubh 12yr 8% and
Lustau San Emillion PX 17% award winning sweet rich sherry from Spain

First I tried the dark Chocolate with the beer and the wine. The beer definitely had it. well that's it I thought beer has won.

Best just check the White chocolate just to be sure. To my amazement the white chocolate was better with the wine. Oh no I would have to vote for both.

The votes were so close on the final course Mitchel demanded a show of hands to check for cheating. Unbelievable he declared the event a draw.

Proof that beer is definitely as good as wine and wine as good as beer.

Come on Saturday Kitchen time to do your bit!