“They say an end can be a start, it feels like I’ve been buried yet I’m still alive
It’s like a bad day that never ends.
I feel the chaos around me, a thing I don’t try to deny
I’d better learn to accept that there are things in my life I can’t control”
(“If I Ever Feel Better” – Phoenix)
(Clip courtesy of B.D White – via YouTube)
For me, this is possibly the ultimate earworm – well, in its original form anyway. From a band that have – criminally – never had a hit single in the UK. I am also yet to discover so sad a song set against SUCH an uplifting melody.
Taken from their debut album “United”, this track – again, for me – explodes any myth that the French can’t make great pop music. For a while indeed, French music dominated dancefloors in the late 90s and early to mid 00s with the likes of Daft Punk (former band mates with members of Phoenix in “Darlin'”) and Justice.
I could have easily just used a clip of the single, but chose the one above to fit in two of the greatest French musical exports of the last 20 years. For a whole variety of reasons (and not just the obvious) at this particular moment, this feels right to me.
And the moment – at approximately 05:57 – when the band kick in again gives the lie to anyone who says that French bands can’t rock. A truly awesome mash-up.
Thinking of changing the focus of this blog. Maybe a few more pub pieces and less bottles. If you don’t like that idea, let me know, my head is in a weird place at the moment and I’m even more open to persuasion than normal!
Also, I need to track down some excellent fresh new Northern beers, this one has a few “interlopers”!
- Manchester Sun– Beer Nouveau (Prestwich) – 5.3% abv – Golden Bitter – 330ml – Barbeerian (Prestwich)
Golden beer with a persistent white head giving off a gentle fruity aroma with maybe a hint of plum & raisin.
Quite full-bodied in the mouth, that fruitiness carries on onto the palate with more forest fruit and more than a hint of marmalade. This is followed by quite a substantial bitterness and a dry finish with some grassy hops in the aftertaste.
This is what used to be called a “Premium Bitter” and would be a smidgen from a fully fledged IPA for me. Either way, an excellent beer. And do you know what REALLY impresses me, Steve says on the label what he set out to do, and – in his first two bottles – he has nailed it.
- Dry Hopped Lager(Galaxy) – Adnams (Jack Brand – Southwold, Suffolk) – 4.2%abv – Lager – 330ml – Swap with my friend Simon (for a bottle of Thwaites’ 13 Guns)
Yes. A lager. From one of the Regional big boys too! One of TWO this post! A lucky find over Xmas, for which I thank Simon.
Bright and golden (as you would expect), its lingering fluffy white head giving off an aroma of fresh apples with a citric hint of lime sharpness.
In the mouth, a rich tea biscuity sweetness gives way to a light and refreshing fruity mouthful, Orchard fruits with a little lemon and a subtle floral flavour wafts across the tongue too. This is possibly one of the nicest UK lagers I have tasted thus far. Beautifully refreshing. and a joyous thing. A summer beer in midwinter!
- Faceless Spreadsheet Ninja(Citra Pilsner) – Weird Beard Brew Co (Hanwell) – 5.5% abv – Pilsner – 330ml – Barbeerian (Prestwich)
Yep. Another Pale golden Lager! This has a lingering white head and an aroma that is quite restrained, fresh-baked white bread being my first thought.
In the mouth, this comes to life! Medium bodied, This has a surprising depth of flavour with like a citrus jam stickiness and a quite fabulous hoppy hit post swallow. That fruitiness just keeps coming, with a little more citrus asserting itself in further mouthfuls.
This could almost convert me to Lager!
Fruity, refreshing, with a crackling grassy hop dry finish. Yum. Weird Beard strike another home run!
- Dragons Tears– Black Jack Beers (Manchester) – 5.2% abv – Jasmine Saison – 330ml – Barbeerian (Prestwich)
Now then, the first #Beergasm of 2015!
Hazy and golden beer with a thin but persistent white head and a slightly spicy fragrant aroma (presumably the Jasmine)
Oh but this is LOVELY! A typically good Saison in that it is terrifically refreshing, getting the saliva glands working overtime, with that yeastiness powder coating the tongue as the beer slides down.
This is quite full bodied and has that delicate almost floral spice of the Jasmine adding to the lightness of touch. A beautifully refreshing mouthful from young Mr Hamilton & chums!
- Rum In The Black– Wilson Potter (Middleton) – 4.2% abv – Stout – 500ml – Great Ale Year Round (Bolton Market)
Black, with a milky coffee coloured head and a nose of Chocolate. Sweet and seductive.
Medium bodied, a little sweetness in the mouth gives way swiftly to a more bitter chocolate,smooth and moreish with a slight smoky note in the swallow.
Following mouthfuls give up hints of the rum in the title but with that sweetness surpassed by a lovely gentle bitter hoppy finish.
Another excellent beer from the increasingly impressive Wilson Potter.
- Bristletoe– Bristol Beer Factory (Er,,,,Bristol) – 4.7% abv – Oatmeal Porter – 500ml – Barbeerian (Prestwich)
This is black. No shit Sherlock. It also has a rather attractive beige foam collar and a lovely slightly sweet chocolate & coffee aroma. Mocha if you will. It smells nice and….. “dark”.
Taste wise? The chocolate is almost a given. And it is chocolatey, medium-bodied and smooth from the Oatmeal, the first thing is a slight sweetness from the chocolate which fades to a dry and quite hoppy finish, really satisfying mouthful.
At times, it feels like a little lactic like a Milk Stout – never a bad thing in my particular book. It’s the body and the slight sweetness which reminds me that this is a Porter.
Never had a bad beer from BBF. This continues that streak.
Shortly after this, whilst I was having a late night watching the AFC playoff game, I decided to give something a try. The West Indies Porter by Guinness. I took one mouthful (unfortunately) and poured it down the drain. I wanted to like it. I actually have no problem with Guinness, but it was vile. Just caramel. Try it if you want, after all, I was tempted at £1.50 a bottle for a 6% beer. But remember, you were warned!