Month: February 2016

Magnificent MABfest 2.0

9Hf3j1CC_400x400I am a collaborative kind of fellow, this blog stands testament to that.  I believe that, bar a few exceptions, together is stronger.  Working together allows the sharing of ideas, experiences and resources and with that group strength it is possible to achieve more.  I mean, try pushing a car on your own…uphill!

It is similar thinking that led to the formation of Mercian Alliance of Brewers, and in the spirit of collaboration we at Midland Beer Blog Collective want to make a big deal of this.  We believe the Midlands has some amazing brewers and those brewers working together for the betterment of all is something to shout about.  MAB’s second festival (MABfest) is this weekend with at Twisted Barrel Ale Tap House and Brewery.

I had the opportunity to fire some questions to Richie from Twisted Barrel, one of the members of MAB to get more info.

“What is Mercian Alliance of Brewers, and what are its main aims and objectives?
The Alliance is a collection of micro-breweries based in the old area of Mercia. Our goals are to work together to create new, interesting beers, to share brewing knowledge through working together, to hold regular beer festivals to showcase our products, to increase the availability of our beers and in general improve the beer culture throughout the Mercian area.
Who is part of MAB?
There are now several breweries involved in MAB, as follows:CaMqbsCWAAEyRPn
Twisted Barrel Ale
Green Duck
Fixed Wheel
Fownes
Two Towers
Craddocks
Rock n Roll Brewery
Broughs
Glassjaw
Kinver
What do you think the future of MAB will be?
We hope that through working together we can build good, close working relationships that enable us to more formally evolve the organisation and start to take advantage of commercial opportunities such as increased buying power, shared deliveries, collective exporting etc.
We can only achieve this through working together to create great beers and put on events that are well supported by the local communities we work in.
We’d also like to achieve an increased number of outlets in the Mercian area either stocking or able to stock MAB products.
What is your vision for MABFest and do you see it growing in the future?
MABFest will rotate throughout the member breweries that have Tap House premises, and eventually hopefully over time be able to find a more permanent home as an established part of the beer calendar. For now though, we’re taking things one step at a time to gauge whether customers are interested in seeing small businesses work together.
MABFest 2 details:
Opening times:
Thursday 25 – 5pm-midnight
Friday 26 – 12pm-midnight
Saturday 27 – 12pm-midnight
Free entry
Beer list:
Cask – all £2.50/pint unless specified
Broughs – Springfielddownload
Broughs – Superior
Craddocks – Monarchs Way

Craddocks – El Dorado Pale
Fixed Wheel – Blackheath Stout
Fownes – Old Favourite No.5
Fownes – Korvaks Rise
MAB – Cnebba
Green Duck – Blonde
Kinver – Half Centurion
Kinver – Over The Edge (£3.00/pint)
Rock n Roll – Thunderbolt
Rock n Roll – Magic Spell
Two Towers – Vulcanised1348130358_large
Two Towers – Baskerville Bitter
Keg – all £3.50/pint unless specified
Twisted Barrel – Sine Qua Non
Twisted Barrel – Wake Up Juice (£3.00/half)
Twisted Barrel – Brobdingnagian
Twisted Barrel – Mmmm
Twisted Barrel/Glassjaw – The Morgul Path
MAB – Icel
MAB – Cnebbafixed-wheel
Fixed Wheel – Century Gold
Fixed Wheel – Spartacus
Green Duck – Dog and Duck (£3.00/half)
Guest Lager :
Freedom 4
Ciders:
Twisted Barrel cider (made with Hogans)
Hogans – Hazy Daisy
Food:
Friday:
Various street food vans available as part of Foodie Friday, a monthly event at Fargo Village with various street food traders.
Saturday:
Cafe Horchata
Becky’s Bhajis
There may be other vendors as there is a Folk Festival onsite that day too.”
I would like to thank Richie for getting back to me so quickly, and with such thorough answers.
I think you will agree that there is a great selection of beers on both Cask and Keg from some fantastic Midlands Brewers.  I would encourage you to support these fantastic breweries and make your way to Twisted Barrel Tap House, Fargo Village, Coventry.  When you get there you should purchase yourself a fantastic beer, and chat to some of the members of MAB that will be on hand. And if you find yourself there on Saturday make sure you say hello and perhaps we can share a beverage together.
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Botanist tasting session

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On Tues Feb 9th my wife Deb and I were invited to a beer tasting at the Botanist in Temple St along with a few other bloggers, including Bob and Sarah Maxfield who are part of the MBBC where I repost my blogs. Two things I need to say upfront are, one, in the past I had kind of dismissed the place as more of a cocktail and fancy lager bar mainly aimed at a different clientèle to myself and two, it should be noted the beers were free but that doesn’t colour my opinion.
Because of my real job I didn’t get there until after the official tasting, led by Kieran of the New World Trading Company (@BeerGurusNWTC), had begun and so missed the Erdinger and Camden selections, so my first beer was Goose Island Honkers Ale, described as an English style ale done by an American brewer.20160209_183010_resized I quite like Goose Island offerings and this was ok, reasonable balance between malt and hops but unspectacular, whereas Deb just thought it a boring traditional ale. Next up we had an English brewer doing an American style IPA, 13 Guns from Crafty Dan, part of Thwaites Brewery. Got a reasonable hop hit off this one, both in terms of aroma and flavour, and have to say I was pleasantly surprised which says more about me than it does the beer.

To Belgium next for Vedett Extra Ordinary IPA, a very pale blond ipa made using Belgian yeast to give it a certain character, quite light and fruity but a bit gassy and does taste strongish. Moving from light to dark we had Guinness Dublin Porter, which according to its entry on Untappd came from a 1796 recipe….well I’m not sure they should have bothered! It smelt ok but was very thin and fairly tasteless, as Deb said “It promised something but didn’t deliver”. Fortunately our next dark beer was much better, Millionaire from the Wild Beer Co, a dessert stout with cacao nibs and sea salt. Although only 4.7% this is a lush, creamy, full flavoured beer with a salt and malt caramel backbone, but the general consensus was that you wouldn’t want to drink a lot of it. We finished off in Bavaria Germany with a Weizenbock, Schneider Weisse Unser Aventinus (TAP6) which Deb described as wheaty and punchy with a hint of banoffee pie.

20160209_183029_resizedSo that was just a sample of their range, which after having a look through their beer menu looks quite substantial with a bit of something for everyone. And the tasting session was good, quite informative, Keiran having brought some samples of malt and hops which I thought was a nice touch for those not as geeked up on the subject as myself.
Check out http://thebotanist.uk.com/location/birmingham for more details of their menus, live music and classes.