This is the time of year when people are looking at purchasing their beers,etc for christmas.All you get in most supermarkets are your everyday,common beers.Why not try something different this christmas.
There are a number of places online where you can purchase beer.
Beers of Europe are a company specialising in bottled beers,and have an excellent range from all over the world.You can order as many,or as few as you like for one standard delivery charge,and you could even have delivery within two days!
Another company specialising in beer delivery is beer-ritz.They also sell a arge range of belgian,and other countries glassware,if you want to make up your own giftbox for someone special.Delivery is free if over £25,but some of the beers are quite pricey.
If you still cannot find that elusive beer,try only fine beer.Another good website if you are hunting for something different.
Go on,use your imagination this christmas!
I agree that real ale is growing with some fantastic brews popping up all over the place.
I recently signed up to a new concept called real ale heaven which delivers a magazine with a bottle of real ale to your door.
The magazine was fact finding and funny and the beer you will not find in the supermarket at present was lovely.
I think the editor Gareth Tudor has got the balance spot on.
I receive a news letter with fringe benifits next week including an invite to a beer festival at the worlds oldest cricket festival.
If your like me and like real ale you should have a look on www.realaleheaven.com.
The magazine only came out just over a week ago and is realesed once every three months.
I admire original ideas with creative effort and i think this is one of the genuie artifacts on the market at present.
When I suggested this category I thought it might be nice to tell you a little about the beers I have been writing about for the last few years. This is quite a broad subject so I decided therefore to concentrate on what is meant by Real Ale, why I started and continued to drink it and my involvement in the Real Ale world.
~~~WHAT IS REAL ALE?
Real Ale is the term given to beer that is brewed using traditional ingredients (water, yeast, hops and barley) and is allowed to mature using secondary fermentation (this means exactly what you would think ~ the beer is allowed to ferment for a second time) in a container. The beer is then served from this same container without the use of carbon dioxide. You will also find Real Ale often referred to by the name Cask-conditioned Ale; again owing to the fact that the beer is allowed to mature and gain fuller flavour and body while waiting in the cask to be served.
The main difference (apart from taste of course) between Real Ale and nitro-keg Beer (the term given to non-Real Ales) is that keg beer is only allowed to ferment once. Then it is filtered or pasteurised to prevent any further development of taste, body and character. In essence keg is a dead beer and Real Ale is a living, growing beer. What is lost in body, texture and taste in a keg product is made up for in terms of consistency and shelf life. Killing the yeast means that pubs can keep the beer longer, whereas Real Ale will last for only a short time before becoming undrinkable (this is why some people have had bad experiences of Real Ale ~ drinking in a pub that has kept the beer for too long will result in bad beer!).
~~~HOW WILL I KNOW IF THE BEER I SEE IS REAL ALE?
In a pub the most common way of telling that you are seeing a Real Ale is by the hand pumps on the bar. This is probably the most regular way that pubs serve "proper" beer. If you don't see any distinctive hand pumps though there may still be some Real Ale on offer. Look out for a cask behind the bar because this could mean that there is also beer being served by gravity.
Keg beers are served from a pressurised keg and are often quite fizzy and have a frothy, creamy head (this is why many companies have product names with Creamflow, Smooth or other such things in them). Keg beer is easier to serve than Real Ale ~ simply stand with glass under nozzle, press a button and the beer will magically appear. This pint will look and taste pretty much the same as the other beers that will come from that keg. Real Ale takes a bit more effort to serve and to keep, but the result is a more unique and interesting drink.
If you are in doubt as to whether the beer on the bar IS Real or Keg the best thing to do is to ask the person behind the bar. They will be able to clear up the matter and save you from peering around an unfamiliar pub.
~~~WHAT TYPES OF BEER ARE ON OFFER?
There are a few different styles of Real Ale and there is usually a style that is suitable for all tastes. The most common style (and the one most people have heard of) is Bitter. Bitters tend to be below 4% ABV and are quite bitter in flavour and have a brown, copper or amber colour. Slightly stronger are beers termed Best Bitter; these are usually a little darker and a little stronger. Mild Ales are a favourite of mine and until recently were in danger of dying out because they were deemed to be an Old Man's drink! Next we find the Golden Ales; beers which are pale in colour and tend to be hoppy and refreshing.
Milds are brewed with very few hops and can be light or dark in colour. They tend to be lower (with some exceptions) in alcohol too. Porters are brewed using dark coloured malts and are most commonly dark brown or black in colour. They are stronger and have more complexity than Milds. Most people have probably heard of stouts and associate them with things like Guinness. They are black in colour and use roasted barley to give a distinct roasty bitter flavour. The strongest of the British Real Ales styles is Barley Wine. These are normally served in smaller measures because they can range in strength right up to being comparable with wine. They also can be very sweet (there is a lot of sugar in them) and often look a little like wine.
I bet you didn't realise there was quite THAT much choice!
~~~WHY DID I START DRINKING REAL ALE?
The biggest push for me to move from lagers and Keg to Real Ale was that I was fed up with spending money on beer that was cold, fizzy and tasteless. Drinking isn't cheap and I began to object to handing over cash for something I wasn't really enjoying that much. While at University a friend of mine said I ought to go along to the University Real Ale Society and go on one of their trips to some local pubs that served Real Ales. I went a few times and really enjoyed the beer ~ it TASTED of something, it had some substance to it and I felt like my money was being spent on something that I was enjoying.
~~~WHY DID I KEEP DRINKING REAL ALE?
When I left University I continued to drink Real Ale and when I met my future husband I discovered that he liked beer too and got him drinking and enjoying the proper beer with the proper taste! Real Ale seemed to cost the same (sometimes even less) than the lager and the keg and it was much better value than something that was either full of chemicals and fizz, or was so cold that it didn't taste of much at all ~ no comparison really!
After meaning to do it for ages we joined CAMRA ~ the CAMpaign for Real Ale. This voluntary organisation 80,000 members in the UK and has 200 branches around the country. In recent years the number of breweries producing Real Ale has risen to around 450. But CAMRA isn't the subject of this review, so I will get back to me and the beer!
I started writing beer reviews for various web-sites; there were so many beers out there, with wonderful names and lovely flavours, and I just wanted to share them with people. People said "I don't like beer" and I just couldn't understand how they could say that when there was such variety of colours, textures, tastes and strengths. I have tried lots of different beers there are still so many more for me to sample. The list is more or less endless. Through writing these reviews I was approached to submit my reviews to a local Real Ale magazine and I was then elected as Chairman of the local beer tasting panel ~ my descriptions will be published in the nationally produced Good Beer Guide. I feel that enjoying Real Ale has been good for my confidence and I have got a lot back from it.
We go to beer festivals to try ones that we can't get locally. The Great British Beer Festival is probably the biggest example of a collection of different beers from different breweries. This year it will be held at Earls Court in London and over a few days thousands of drinkers will converge on the hall to sample all the different beers and enjoy the atmosphere. Although there is security on patrol it is vary rare there is any trouble at events such as these. A small minority sometimes go overboard, but the majority of Real Ale drinkers are well behaved and don't get SO drunk or violent. I really enjoy mixing with my fellow drinkers and have met some really good friends who we socialise with regularly ~ and NOT just to drink beer; we go on holiday together and also share our likes and dislikes over books, television, etc.
I hope that I have filled you in a little about my take on draught Real Ales and have conveyed some of what I have learned to you.