Thursday, 13 February 2014

Beer and Dieting Week 6

I cannot believe I have kept this diet going for 6 weeks now.  I have amazed myself by my discipline and total abstention from chocolate, cakes, crisps, biscuits, pizza and everything else I love.  Writing about it is the key I think.  Once you start telling everyone about what you are doing then you have no choice but to carry on.  That's certainly the way I feel so I know I have to see it through to the end now.  Sigh.

The weight has continued to come off at a steady rate and a further 4 pounds has been shed in the past couple of weeks bringing my total to 16 pounds.  This means of course that I am over halfway to my target of 30 pounds and passing this mark is definitely a psychological boost.  

As usual this post will go over some of the cask beers I have been enjoying over the past two weeks rather than thinking about the food I haven't been eating.  There have been no gold award beers recently but there has been nothing disappointing either.  What I have found has been plenty of good beer in excellent local pubs which began with a lunchtime trip to Sussex CAMRA pub of the year 2013, The Wilkes Head.  This gave me the chance to try a decent golden session bitter from Ambridge Brewery, Just Jane (3.9% ABV).  Just Jane turned out to be a refreshing, slightly pale, crisp dry bitter.      

I made a couple of visits to the local Wetherspoons, The Hatters Inn, which is specialising very much in LocAles now.  On the first visit I was able to enjoy the Langham Triple XXX (4.4% ABV), a nice malty chocolatey dark ale with a slight spicy edge to it.  The second visit saw me try my first beer from Turners, an East Sussex micro.  The Ruby Mild (4.6% ABV) is a highly enjoyable rich traditional dark mild with hints of berries and chocolate.    

The Western Sussex CAMRA social took us to my local brewpub The Gribble located in the village of Oving just outside Chichester.  Their usual beers don't excite me a great deal but I tried a new beer from them called Quad Hopper (4.0% ABV).  This was a decent pale hoppy beer with a dry citrussy bitterness in the finish and it got the thumbs up from all attendees.  From here we moved into Chichester to the Eastgate, a popular GBG-listed Fullers pub.  I tried the guest ale from Butcombe, a 3.8% ABV beer named Rare Breed.  This turned out to be the best pint of the night.  A lovely amber coloured beer with a rich bitterness.  Definitely a classic traditional English bitter.  We finished the evening round the corner from the Eastgate at The Bull Inn with a couple of decent pints from the home counties.  XT 2 (Gold) is a drinkable golden ale from Buckinghamshire brewed with American and Bohemian hops that gave the beer a somewhat bittersweet character and White Stork (3.9% ABV) is an interesting highly floral monthly special brewed with Hersbrucker hops courtesy of the Tring Brewery in Hertfordshire.                              

My local pub in Pagham, The Inglenook, has had the usual selection of high strength IPAs with Jaipur and Magic Rock High Wire NZ both available again.  However, I spied something new on the bar so I went for what turned out to be a particularly good 5.2% IPA from north of the border with the odd name of Ka Pai from the Stewart Brewing Company.  This pale IPA is packed with four New Zealand hops and the aroma and taste is full of fresh rich sweet fruits with mango and pineapple notes observed.  The finish is bittersweet with citrus notes coming through and it is highly recommended if you find this one on the bar.

A subsequent visit to The Inglenook provided me with the opportunity to try a beer brewed just down the road.  Goldmark are a new local brewery based just to the east of Arundel and Hercules IPA (5.6% ABV) is the first pint I've had from them.  It is a very fruity golden IPA with sweet fleshy fruit notes of peach and nectarine evident and the finish is more bittersweet with a nice spicy bitterness combining with the initial sweetness.  An impressive pint and I need to try more form this new micro.

Last night it was the AGM of my local CAMRA branch at The Maypole Inn, Yapton.  Although I was driving I was able to enjoy a couple of halves along with my diet coke and both of them were well worthy of a mention.  After my earlier visit in the day to the Arundel Brewery described here I was happy to find their Old Ale (4.6% ABV) available as I had been meaning to try it all winter.  It really is a classic old ale following in the finest tradition of other Sussex brewers Harveys and the now defunct King and Barnes.  Very smooth, very black and that enduring bittersweet finish that I love so much with this type of beer.  The other beer I was delighted to try last night was the collaboration between local brewer Dark Star and Yorkshire brewer Saltaire.  At 5.6% ABV, this Bock is a delightfully complex dark sweet beer and I would love to find it again to enjoy a full pint of it.  I've not been won over by past interpretations of this beer style but this is definitely worth finding.

The AGM itself saw me sworn in as the new Pubs Officer of my local CAMRA branch so you will now find me promoting the pubs of West Sussex even more than I currently do.  Watch this space.        
The past couple of weeks has therefore seen the perfect combination.  More weight lost and some lovely beers enjoyed.  With just 14 pounds left to lose in 11 weeks I can almost taste those wonderful Manchester beers I will be rewarding myself with at the end of May.   


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