Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Spendrups julbrygd, from progressive Sweden

Obviously, when I said I wouldn't review another beer for a while, I was lying out of my arse. A recent trip to IKEA provided the opportunity to purchase some Swedish beers. And why not? Spendrups Julbrygd is strong dark lager that is as black as pitch, with a sugary molasses flavour. The taste and smell are quite walnutty. Despite the richness of the flavour it is quite easy going down, and while it would take me longer to drink than a pint of lighter lager, it still isn't sufficiently aley to take a significant time to drink.

This is a Christmas lager, and with the nutty and almost fruity texture, it almost reminds me of Christmas cake, except drinkable.

I was pleasantly surprised at this one because I bought the regular Spendrups last time I was in IKEA, and I wasn't too impressed. Good for a change, but not the sort of thing I would drink every day.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Quilmes - Argentina's favourite beer

A robust and slightly acidic, almost citrusy tasting 4.9 per cent brew from Argentina. Orange in colour, and very crisp, it is actually pretty good, despite having read several duff reviews online describing it as "watery" I don't think it is watery at all. It's golden and quite strong tasting. It sort of reminds me of Sleeman's, which my Canadian readers, if there are any, will probably like. It was tempted to compare it to Cruzcampo, the Spanish beer I reviewed last week, but it's not really a fair comparison. Quilmes goes down way easier than Cruzcampo. Definitely a beer for a sunny day.

This will be the last beer review I do for a while, before I get another crate in. I intend to order another one online and hopefully will be able to keep this section of my blog going. As for the other beers I bought from that speciality shop in York, Tusker will be getting drank alongside some jalof I am sure at some point in the future, and Brooklyn is being saved for Superbowl Sunday. Bring it on.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Scarily productive

I don't usually talk about my writing projects, mostly because I don't want people to think I'm a pretentious wanker, but some of you will know I am currently writing, or at least trying to write, two novels. I suffer from writer's block something horrible, and I regularly come up with an idea that I think is absolutely brilliant, is all I can think about, then start writing it and give up. This often happens when I hit a hump like introducing a new character and not being able to get them right, or hitting a particularly difficult piece of dialogue (I hate writing dialogue).

However, I have been ridiculously productive with my writing projects over the last two weeks, so I am just writing this blog to congratulate myself. Taking into account I only really find the time to write three nights out of the week and very often I'm too tired to do it, and when I do sit down to do it, I either get stuck or am so disgusted by how rubbish something I have written previously is I close everything down and give up. I am pleased to report, that in the last two weeks, I have not done that. I have made real progress on one of the novels, writing myself out of a massive corner, and I have even started on a short story - the first non-novel project I have done in a year or so.

Ernest Hemingway said "The first draft is always shit" and I think that has really helped me, because now I don't feel I have to make every sentence perfect before I move on. The other phrase which is helping me I can't attribute to anyone in particular, and it is "write through the shite". I can always go back and fix it later, and I will have to do a second and maybe even third draft in any case. Anyway, if I can just keep up this rash of productivity then I will one day be able to sell some books, quit my job and live on a yacht.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Spain's Cruzcampo

(Pictured: The jolly little Spaniard couldn't give two shits whether you like his beer or not.)

Although I'm still officially suffering from Threebola (like Ebola, but three times worse) but I'm now off tenecilin (like penicilin but ten times more powerful) so I can enjoy a cerveza or two again. This time, it's Spain's Cruzcampo that is under scrutiny. I must confess, this is not the first time I have had a Cruzcampo - they have it on draft at the Hub in Edinburgh, and the pint I had was decidedly minging. However, I'm not one to deny a beer a second chance, so I am sitting down with one just now. It's the type of beer, I think, that really needs to be got out of a bottle - it's a pilsner with a sharp taste that just seems soapy and kind of acrid out of the tap. Or maybe I just got a bad pint, I don't know. Using my complimentary Cruzcampo glass (complete with a picture of a smiling raffish early-modern chap with a feathered cap leaning jauntily on a barrel and drunkenly raising a flagon of beer, always a winner), it's a much more pleasant drinking experience. It has a deep, wholemeal-bready flavour, and just a bit of an aftertaste. It's another 5 per center, but it still tastes pretty light, and in colour it's a very light yellow. I would draw comparisons with San Miguel, or even Kronenbourg 1664, while keeping in mind that Cruzcampo is probably a superior beverage to both. Not bad at all, and I will give the Hub's pints another try.

On another beer related note, I found a specialty beer store in York last week and came away with a few bottles of my old friends Brooklyn, Tusker and Keo. I polished off the Keo last night while watching True Blood, but I'm waiting for some sort of sporting event with hot dogs before I touch the Brooklyn. Man, I love beer.