Well, it's been a pretty good weekend. For a start England are now finally the official greatest test cricket team on Earth (woopee!) and I finally got to check out the food at The Broad Chare with its excellent beer range.
As I mentioned in the last post, this weekend was also the exclusive preview tasting of the Mordue Red Rye Riwaka at the Free Trade Inn, Byker. A ten litre polypin connected up to a hand pump provided free halves all round for anyone who wanted to try it and although the feedback I got from it was mostly positive I had noticed an obvious change in the beer compared to how it was raw from the fermenter. It seemed the beer's originally forward hop attack had subsided and given way to the malt and rye backdrop. Some of the aroma also seemed missing but then again I sensed it hadn't developed much condition in its plastic container.
I myself have never been a fan of plastic polypins but the most important thing was that the fundamental characteristics of the beer were largely unchanged and those who tried it seemed to like it. I also explained to a few people that we were planning to make the commercial version a bit more red and less 'London Pride' esque coloured.
Anyway, Saturday a trip to work to check some fermentations was combined with a long anticipated visit to a little shop called Coppers in Gosforth. A kind of regular corner shop with its own section of bottled beers. So like Rehills but with out the cigars and elaborate collection of spirits. My conclusions on the region's beer shops are simple: For American craft beers Coppers edges it, for Italian and European specialist beers go to Rehills but if you're after only local beers Rothbury Wines is the one.
So after the night out came the night in with a Rogue Juniper Pale Ale. Full bodied, and bold with drying spicy juniper notes in the finish, it sure is drinkable. I also discovered how well the Russian Dortmunder style lager Baltika 7 goes with gammon steak. A beer and food pairing advised by the master himself Garrett Oliver.