Well not that sneaky really. The Regal Moon in Rochdale is one of JDW's flagship ale houses. It is shutting for some refurbishment soon and was granted permission to start the October JDW Fest a bit early. Chris, the manager, had promised us that the most sought after beers, those brewed by foreign (in this case American) brewers would be there in force. And so it came to pass.
Now I often go to JDW on Wednesday nights, but it was a surprise to see Tyson and his retinue of attendants already there and ticking for all they were worth. Think thirds. The jungle drums could be heard in deepest Bury it seems and they'd charged over the hill (very appropriate) just to steal a march. Incidentally while the Regal Moon was fairly busy, I noted that the nearby and almost as big Yates had not a soul in it as I passed. Funny that, but then again, maybe not if you own the place.
Tyson has already named and shamed and as I often do, I mostly agree with his assessments. I'll add a couple of my own thoughts though. To my palate the Ninkasi Cream Ale was a bit like souped up Deuchars IPA, but not really in a good way, being a touch on the cloying side. The Ballast Point presumably used Marston's yeast and water. It certainly was a dead ringer for most Marston's beers and unless sulphur is a joy to you, that isn't a good thing. Brewing these foreign beers in breweries with a particularly distinctive yeast is probably not a world beating idea.
Mind you, the exception was Stone Supremely Self Conscious Black Ale which is possibly the most stunning beer that Wetherspoons have ever had brewed for them. Adnams yeast was drowned (a good thing in this case) in a massive hop attack. Dark as the ace of spades and with a great body, it drank superbly.
I could still taste it on the bus on the way home. And that too was a good thing. Seek it out. The Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA was at 6.3% a bit of an aquired taste, but my advice is to give it a chance. The jasmine is quite pronounced
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer author, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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