Saturday, January 9, 2010

You can also drink in pubs

Reluctantly pushing food to the side for a moment, and turning to that which makes a pub a pub...

Stout: A kind of strong dark beer brewed with roasted malt or barley. Stouts are traditionally the generic term for the strongest (stoutest) of beers at 7% or 8%.

Dry Stout: Dry Stout is Irish Stout is Guinness.

Porter: Not going to talk about porter. It seems to start arguments.

I had to do some research on the word "dry". I remember when it was the fashion for American breweries to make "dry" versions of their beer, but I never investigated what it meant. It did taste different. It didn't last long in the American market.

If stout is called that because it is strong (high in alcohol content) then that can only be achieved by fermenting longer.

Dry is not necessarily stronger, because dry refers to the addition of more hops to produce more bitterness or more of a bitter aftertaste. (Bitter is good in beer.)

Guinness: A famous Irish brewry. Their product.


  1. Dry, I thought, was to indicate that it wasn't sweet. I always use Mackeson in my Christmas pudding recipe instead of Guinness because it seems to me a sweeter stout would go better. Besides, the rest has to be used up and I prefer Mackeson.

    They used to foist Guinness on me when I had just had a baby, and eventually, when I confessed I didn't really like it, they allowed Mackeson instead.

  2. It occurs to me, Max, that in your quest to figure out what pubs and beer are all about, over here, that I might give you a nudge toward an extremely interesting resource,

    CAMRA is The Campaign for Real Ale. no, I'm not a member, I don't take it quite that seriously, and on some matters I disagree with them. Nevertheless, CAMRA has been a driving force in the resurgence of interest in real, cask-conditioned beers, and a vociferous opponent of the chemical industry, pateurised-piss megabreweries.


    This page might be better as a portal.

  4. @A - Well they put in extra hops so that would be more bitter which would be less sweet I guess. Women like it they say. :)

    You speak of things an American doesn't concern himself with. We Americans only seek whichever mass-produced pasteurized piss that is on sale; the lighter and the colder, the better. :) Not that "better" (foreign, I mean, and micro) isn't available widely now, it's just a novelty when you have an urge to spend more money for something that tastes like thick pudding and foams out your nose like Guinness. Don't know about that Mackeson stuff. Don't you people have Bud?

  5. @Soubriquet - Seems to me if you know enough to disagree with them you are pretty serious. :)

    Thank you for another source. I have several now and I am studying. You know me - I like to learn new things and then combine my many-sources research in a restatement in a blog, which proves to myself I have learned, more or less. Then you expert guys critique and correct the result for free, and then I write a book and take the money and give you none. It is my system. :) :)

  6. Incidentally, Soubriquet, I learned that hops itself is something called a "sterilant" (killing micro-organisms) so it seems pasteurization is overkill in addition to being harmful to taste. If I read it right. :)


    Hops were originally added to ale to improve its shelf-life, as it were, but whilst they serve to deter the actions of some micro-organisms, they don't, in the quantities used in the brew, actually sterilise it.
    The big brewers want, of course, a long shelf life, they want to warehouse and ship beer, and keep in in store, and in the pub cellar for as long as possible. Long storage is easier if it's dead. No life at all, an arid wasteland..
    Whereas a real ale brewery ships a barrel of living culture, a beer that's not ready to drink when it leaves the brewery, nor when it arrives at the pub, it's the job of a good cellarman to rack it, tap and spile it, and serve it when it's ready. In the cellar of my local, there will always be a few barrels awaiting their time. Sometimes, a barrel will end, but the next will not quite be ready to drink. No problem, as there are always about eight others to choose from.
    The drawback is that if the pub over-ordered, then that beer will pass through its window of opportunity, and become undrinkable. Different beers have different 'open' times, and of course, cellar temperature is critical. Whereas the pasteurised stuff keeps a lot longer.
    Like processed cheese, or tinned vegetables. It lasts longer, but at a cost to its taste.

    Did we, at some time, discuss IPA? India Pale Ales? These were heavily hopped, and brewed to slightly higher alcohol content, and bottled "live", so that a small amount of fermentation would continue in the bottle, and these beers were designed to survive the long hot sea journey to India, where they would eventually refresh the sons of empire, or, from a different perspective, the bloody handed tyrants.

    According to one source there are over 600 live bottled beers available in Britain, and also worth mentioning are the belgian and northern french brews... they call them Bieres Artisanales, and they're often in a bottle which has a wired champagne-cork closure, and a dimple (punted) base, to withstand the high pressures generated in fermentation.

  8. Learning a lot from you. And I haven't even finished reading your earlier recommendations. Window of opportunity", eh? That's better than Bud's "born date" and Coors' little thing on the label that turns blue when it is cold enough. Ok, back to the books for me.

  9. @A. - I doesn't make sense to use stout in the pudding recipe since all the alcohol (regular and extra) is going to just boil off anyway. Use sweet but not stout. This American is such an expert on Yorkshire Pudding. :)

  10. @Max, she said Christmas Pudding not Yorkshire Pudding...

  11. Caroline, your point is well-taken. Alcohol wouldn't evaporate during the cooking of a Christmas pudding. Sorry.

    Sigh. :)

    Tell me what a Christmas pudding is, then. Somebody.

  12. Ok Soubriquet, I went to that camra website. I guess I don't have to do any more posts on beer now. It's all pretty well taken care of. Can you think of anything else I can talk about in a pub blog?

    I feel like such a loser now. Where's Debbie when you need a shot of positive imaging?

  13. @Max, I didn't say it wouldn't evaporate, I just wanted to clarify the type of pudding.

    Yorkshire Pudding, a savoury dish served as a side.
    Christmas Pudding, a sweet dish served at Christmas. My mum covers hers in Brandy then sets it alight, before dishing it into our bowls and covering it with custard. I don't actually like the taste of it all that much, but its a Christmas tradition.

  14. Well, you may not like the taste all that much, but at least you get your eyebrows burnt off. So there's that.

    How come we don't have all the cool stuff here?

  15. however... my mum once made a cherry cake and had soaked the cherries in some type of alcohol, most likely brandy again. The alcohol did not evaporate, as I managed to get intoxicated from eating the cake.

  16. Is that all you have to say? ":)"
    I am a little stunned.

  17. Soubriquet - Here we call it malt liquor if it is over 5% alcohol and is brown like a beaver. Malted Barley. Haven't a clue so don't ask.

  18. Actually, malt liquor is not that dark at all.

  19. Came across a good pub blog today

    You may or may not be interested.

  20. Hey, that's a good website that Sheila posted.
    I haven't been to the Ship Launch in Bangor.
    All the others, I've been to.
    The Victoria, or the Vic, as it's more commonly known, is pretty much on my doorstep, about a mile and a half, anyway, centre of town, right opposite the Town Hall.
    Good beer thre, rather grand surroundings, can be very crowded when the orchestra dash across the road to fill up during the interval.
    I'm always amazed at the bladder fortitude of professional musicians, especially the brass section.

  21. (um... not all those in the entire website, just the front page as of now)

  22. Sheila, a magnificent pub website!

  23. @Soubriquet - That's an odd coincidence. I haven't been to bangor in the Ship Launch.

    "All the other's I've been to." Hmmmmm. I guess I believe you.

    The link you gave me was very helpful. I now know everything there is to know about beer. And, thanks to Sheila, I know where to get some, too! :)


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