Friday, 27 February 2009

Good News for Kentish Food

Seems like i'm living in a good area for food!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Beer Tasting

I am a keen real ale drinker not to worry though, although I have a beard I don't have beige cords, or an wool Arran jumper. I think it important that more young people start drinking real ale rather than the chemically, cold, mass produced fizzy shite on offer most places. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing more satifying than cracking open an ice cold lager beaded with condensation on a hot summer day, I just prefer ale.

Reading Mark Dredge's Pencil&Spoon beer blog has kicked my arse into action to do some beer tasting. I haven't done a tasting for you yet so I went out to the supermarket and got a nice selection of beers, along with a couple I had in my cupboard already. I tried to buy mainstream beers easily available to all with a slight bias to those brewed in the South East. Each beer is reated out of 5 stars

Hopefully it will give you an introduction to some beers you might like to try.

Sharps Doom Bar

Brewed in Cornwall, Doom bar pours with an amber colour and has an creamy coloured head that does not last long. In the glass it has a strong caramel/toffee smell with a fresh hoppy/grassy smell. It is creamy in the mouth with more toffee which is cut through by a punch of bitter hop which lingers in the mouth. At 4% it makes for a beer you could happily drink all night. ****

Hog's Back T.E.A. (Traditional English Ale)

Brewed on the South Downs in Surrey this beer has quite a dark colour for a T.E.A., it has a large creamy head that lasts. In the glass it is a little underwhelming, with hints of the hops and a slight burnt toasty smell. It is similar in the mouth, not much malt is present but there are plenty of hops present. A decent enough beer, just a little dull. ***

Shepherd Neame Spitfire

Brewed in Faversham in Kent, this beer pours a barely-sugar colour with an off-white head. In the glass it has strong vanilla and toffee malt notes and spice. it is quite big feeling in the mouth, but is slightly over carbonated in the bottle. It has fruit and a slight toasty note. A good beer better enjoyed on draught. ****

Goachers Shipwrecked

Brewed in Maidstone and only available on draught at the Shipwright's Arms at Hollow Shore (Speak nicely to Derek the landlord and he will let you take a 4 pint container home). The beer pours with a dark tan colour and has a thin white head. In the glass it is hoppy with a biscuity note. In the mouth it feels thin but smooth and refreshing, very little malt is present but there are plenty of dry hops making it my session beer of choice. *****

Innis and Gunn Oak Aged beer

Brewed in Edinborough and aged in oak barrels, this beer is a dark golden colour with a creamy white head. In the glass it has masses of different aromas: vanilla, toffee, and grassy hops. In the mouth this is even more obvious, a lovely buttery mouthfeel with huge punches of vanilla, toffee with plenty of sweetness cut through by the hops. A lovely innovative beer but at 6.6% you wouldn't want to drink much of it! ****

Otter Brewey Bright

Brewed in Devon, Otter Bright is a pale beer, with a golden colour and a very thin white head. In the glass there are floral notes along with with a hint of pear drops. In the mouth it is medium-bodied, very clean and smooth. It has crisp apple and sweet pear tastes and a gentle hoppiness with a slight citrussy finish. A nice light summery beer. ****

Have a go at a tasting yourself, why not get a few mates round with half a dozen beers and see what you all think. When it comes to deciding on what flavours are present I find this diagram really helpful:

Have some fun!

Monday, 2 February 2009

A recipe for you all!

Having stumbled on Pete Brown's Beer blog ( It has stirred me into publishing a recipe in which beer is the key ingredient! So here we are:

Pete's Guinness Carbonade of Beef - Serves 4


450g Braising Steak
Two large chopped onions
Two chopped cloves of garlic
250ml of Guinness
A beef stock cube
A Tablespoon of plain flour
A little olive oil


1. Chop the onions in half then chop into half ring shapes (it is important to get them all to roughly the same thickness so that they cook evenly). Add the onins to an ovenproof casserole and fry in a little olive oil until soft.

2. Remove the onions and turn up the heat. When the casserole is really hot, seal the cubed braising steak until the meat is brown all over. Don't worry if the pan catches a little on the bottom, this will all add to the flavour!

3. Return the onions to the casserole and add the garlic. Continue to fry for a couple of minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic as it will turn bitter. Add the flour and stir thoroughly to break up any big lumps.

4. Boil a little water in the kettle and dissolve the stock cube. Add the stock and the Guinness to the casserole dish and bring to the boil.

5. When boiling put the lid on the casserole and place in a preheated oven at 170C for about 2 hours.

6. Check every half hour while cooking that there is enough liquid in the casserole. If not add a little more Guinness.

7. Serve with mashed potatoes, leeks and carrots.