Friday, 14 September 2012

Quiet night?

Thursday was the first night all week I didn't have any Beer Week events I was committed to going to. This was quite refreshing really and I was planning to go home, have a nice dinner and head out again to the Hippo Beers showcase at Brel.

Both outfits are kind of interesting. Brel was a style bar riding on the first Jackson-inspired wave of interest in Belgian beer back in the 1990s. More recently it's been taken over by the people behind one of Glasgow's top beer places, Blackfriars, and steered in a less explicitly Belgian direction with the introduction of cask ale and new beers coming from London and Sheffield rather than the Low Countries. They've also dropped the high price niveau which had made the old Brel notorious.
Hippo Beers is a new beer shop. More precisely, it's going to be a new beer shop. Their premises licence has got held up somewhere in the bureaucratic machine, hence the expediency of them having their event in a hospitable pub.

But I’m rushing ahead. The previous night Blackfriars had planned a meet-the-brewer and tap takeover with six Tempest beers. Unfortunately a sudden power cut put the pub out of action for the evening and the night had to be cancelled. We later saw the Tempest guys up at Inn Deep, so at least their journey from Kelso wasn't entirely wasted.

Suspecting the Tempest beers might be on the following night, I dropped in for a quick pint. Emanation is a lovely beer, essentially best bitter with New World hops. One of the brewery's most lusted after beers, Long White Cloud, a pungently Nelson Sauvin scented affair that's darker than its name suggests, was being enthusiastically tanned by a table of local CAMRAnauts, some with three pints of the precious liquid arrayed in front of them in case it ran out at the bar (this is not as obsessive as it seems as a Tempest beer can sell out very fast in this pub). I stayed in the pub longer than expected.

I did eventually make it up to Brel, but didn't stay long. Happily for Hippo, their guests didn't just sup the free samples and leave; they stayed to buy up the available stock. A promising start by anyone's standards.

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