Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Beer and Dieting Week 10

This latest update is the tale of two very different weeks.  Week 9 was good with a further two pounds shed but week 10 has been a struggle.  This wasn't helped by Shrove Tuesday and these little beauties below were hugely enjoyed.  This resulted in only three quarters of a pound falling off in week 10 which I think is the first week in which I haven't managed to lose at least a pound.  However, my total weight loss is now 21.25 pounds so with 7 weeks to go I have just 8.75 pounds left to lose.  

Last week also wasn't helped by my first visit to The Belle Isle bar in Chichester.  This cafe/bar/restaurant has been open for well over a year I think and I wrongly assumed that it was a typical restaurant bar.  How wrong could I have been.  The CAMRA guys in Chichester have been raving about the place for a few months now saying how great the beer selection there has been and it has been on my list of places to try for quite some time.  Last Wednesday I checked it out and I was hugely impressed.  The menu is tex mex (fajitas, burritos, nachos) meets English cafe (beans on toast, fish finger sandwich) meets American diner (jerk chicken, Alabama hotpot).  I ordered some honey soy chicken wings and they were superb.  It is not just somewhere to eat though as I discovered.  The vast floorspace means they are quite happy for customers to just go in and enjoy a drink with or without a snack.  The three handpumps are constantly offering different beers from some of the very best micros from across the country.  When I visited I enjoyed an Atom Pale Ale (4.0% ABV) and an Ilkley Olicana Pale (4.2% ABV), both from Yorkshire.  The Atom Pale Ale has quite a fruity hoppy taste with a dryish bitter finish whereas the Olicana Pale is quite floral with an underlying dry bitterness with some peppery spicy notes in the finish.  The third beer available was a house beer brewed by new Dorset micro Sunny Republic.  I simply must try this pacific pale ale when I next visit.  The bar sits across the road from the worst Wetherspoons in the UK so faced with these two choices there really is no contest.  The Belle Isle will be a regular destination for me from now on.

The beer highlight of the past fortnight was a visit to the excellent Sussex CAMRA Branches Beer & Cider Festival held in Hove.  Many wonderful beers were enjoyed and this event was reviewed in a separate post and can be read by clicking here.  This latest two week period began though with a drive out to the tiny hamlet of Heyshott where the Unicorn Inn sits at the foot of the South Downs.  A steep climb will take you to the South Downs Way and the Unicorn is a popular watering hole for walkers.  Here I enjoyed a quite magnificent pint of Triple fff Moondance (4.2% ABV).  This beer has always been a favourite but on this particular occasion it was just perfect.  It is a tangy citrussy beer with plenty of flavour before leading on to a lovely long dry bitter finish.

Another drive out took me to Farnham and a chance to visit my favourite pub from the Surrey/Hants Borders CAMRA branch LocAle Trail I completed last year.  Here I picked up a copy of the branch magazine which I was delighted to see contained the first extract from my blog.  The full blog post can be viewed by clicking here.  Very amusing to see myself described as a 'prolific beer writer'.  I think they have me mixed up with someone else!!  The Jolly Sailor is a cracking pub slightly out of the centre of town.  It is a Greene King pub that sells a great range of guest beers and most of these are from local micros.  I went further afield and tried a pint of the Elgoods CXXX (4.2% ABV).  This special ale had a deep rich chestnut colour to it and a lovely malty taste which made a nice change from all the hoppy beers I've been having recently.  It was very drinkable and one worth checking out.         

Back closer to home, my local pub The Inglenook has been serving some superb high strength hoppy beers as usual.  I had a lovely pint of Wreckless (4.8% ABV) from the Macclesfield micro Redwillow.  This was my first taste from this brewery and I was very impressed.  It has both Citra and Amarillo hops but these are kept in check by a dry biscuity malty base before you get a nice crisp bitter finish with tropical fruits.  Equally impressive was the Pale Ale No.5 (6.0% ABV) from Cornwall's Harbour Brewing Co.  This distinctive pale ale had an initial earthy bitterness followed by a refreshing citrussy middle with some melon notes before giving way to a pleasant dry bitter finish.            

My best beer of the week came on Monday when I spied on the bar the Lotus IPA (5.6% ABV) from the Ilkley Brewery.  This was my third Ilkley beer of the week and I was in heaven.  I have had this before in a bottle and I instantly fell in love with it so to find this on cask was fantastic.  This golden IPA is packed with hops giving lots of citrussy and tropical fruit flavours that swirl around your mouth exciting every single tastebud.  The finish is dry and long and this is without doubt a 10/10 beer for me.  I love it.

Ten weeks of dieting has not seen any reduction in my drinking pleasure.  The past two weeks has seen me attend an excellent beer festival as well as enjoying more superb beers in some tremendous pubs.  Long may it continue.


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