27 September 2013

Lórien Bar, Palma de Mallorca

Lórien Cerveseria / Llongueteria, founded in 1990, is a beer bar worth finding. It is situated at 5-A, Carrer de les Caputxines, near the centre of Palma, the capital of Majorca.
The name of the street is derived from the Caputxines Church and Convent founded by three Sisters in 1668.
If you approach Lórien bar from one of the narrow streets leading off La Rambla then you will pass the church and if the inset door is open an opportunity to see inside the church which should not be missed.
Lórien opened at 7pm on a Monday in September, the day of our arrival in Palma. We reached the entrance a few minutes early when the painted shutters were still down. We had time for a quick look inside another nearby chuch - San Nicolás - before returning to Lórien and finding it open.
We were almost the first customers to arrive and were able to chat to Pep and ask him about beers from Mallorca.
Pep kindly gave us a copy of the brochure for the Mostra de cervesa Artesana, recently held at Mancor de la Vall, near Inca, Majorca, on 14 September 2013.
He described some of the breweries and beers featured, several of which are stocked at Lórien. He allowed us to take his photo behind the bar, wearing a Barcelona beer festival t-shirt and with a copy of Ullage, the newsletter of West Berkshire CAMRA.
Pep fetched his selection of Mallorcan beers from the fridge and placed them on the bar. Now it was time to order a beer! I chose the Galilea brewed by Cas Cerveser and M chose the Blat brewed by Beer Lovers (Companyia Cervesera del Nord de Mallorca S.L. - Alcudia)
 We took our beers to a table by the beer blackboard in the front area of the bar. The decor includes 'wooden beer crate' style bar frontage, celtic style designs paintd on plain paintwork, high shelves of beer bottles, framed pictures and a large mirror.
A delivery, during our visit, turned out to be a case of Red Ale from Sa Bona Birra a microbrewery based in Ciutadella de Menorca, another Balearic island.
This was another of the beers that Pep had encountered at the beef festival in Mancor de la Vall and Pep would later add details to the blackboard which features new beers that are not included in the printed beer menu sheets.
The beer menu is in Spanish and Catalan. It starts with an illustrated colour scale used y the European Beer Convention ranging from EBC 6 (Moritz lager) to EBC 130 (Guinness stout). The beers are divided into beer styles and listed with details of country, colour, bitternes (IBU scale), alcoholic strength, bottle size and prize. Prices range from 2.70 euro for a 33cl bottle of Moritz (Catalonian lager) to 12.00 euro for a 75cl bottle of Chimay Grand Reserve (Belgium). The draft beers are Hoegaarden (33cl / 2.65 euro); Guinness (25cl / 2.60 euro); Murphy's (25cl / 2.60 euro) and a 'Cervesa Artesanal' which changes regularly.
On our visit, the guest draught beer was 'Catapulte' an IPA collaboration between Zulogaarden
(Catalonia) and Benelux, a brewpub in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Note that beers and prices mentioned above are subject to change.
We left and promised Pep that we would be back to try different beers on another day.
Two days later we were back with a friend. Although the bar was busier on this occasion we were able to sit at 'our' table. On this occasion, M had draught Hoegaarden, C had Galilea and I chose a Moritz Epidor from the Lager Bock section of the menu. When in Barcelona I had enjoyed Moritz Lager Pilsner so this was a good opportunity to try their stronger (7.2% ABV) beer. There was even time for me to have a 25cl glass of Catapulte from the draught font before leaving. Two strong beers to start the evening might explain why my navigating meant that it took us longer than expected to find our way to nearby Plaça d'en Coll!

sauep.com (Lorien website with links to twitter and facebook etc)
C/ de Les Caputxines, 5-a
07003 Ciutat (Palma) - Mallorca
Tel. 971 723 202
Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday from 7pm  +  11am - 3pm on Tuesdays & Saturdays.
N.B. Payment by cash.

18 August 2013

Around Berlin in 7 Beers

[Work in Progress - version 3]

Peter Sutcliffe signed a copy of his excellent guide 'Around Berlin in 80 Beers' when I met him at the book launch event at Copenhagen beer festival in 2011.

While visiting Berlin in August 2013 I was able to visit 7 of the bars mentioned in the book.
This post will feature some photos from the bars I visited.

1) Lemke am Schloss (Charlottenburg)

On the way to Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg to see some surrealist art, a Sunday lunchtime stop at the Brauhaus Lemke brewpub at Luisenplatz 1, was a good idea. 

A table at the back gave a good view of the bar on the right and brewing vessels on the left.
The menu included a four beer tasting option (4 euros) and was a good choice as the measures looked on the generous side (0.1 litre). The beers were served with a small dish of grains to clear the palate between beers.
I tasted the pilsner (centre right) first, then the wheat beer (centre left), then the special (zwickel) and finally the dunkel (left). These were all served cool and in good condition.
As this is a beer blog there will only be a brief mention of the lunch but the pork knuckle was the main part of a substantial German dish, recommended for value and quality.

6) Gasthaus Lentz, Stuttgarter Platz 20, 10627 Berlin  (near Berlin-Charlottenburg station)

Arrived on a wet Monday evening and was lucky to find a table near the counter inside this popular cafe / bar.
Immediately impressed by the great atmosphere and service standards.
An interesting range of draught beers which are expertly served into freshly rinsed glasses that match the beer is always a good sign.
The large room with a red floor and high ceilings has some interesting photos and enamel signs on the plain walls. Plants and flowers give a natural feel. The entrance door is flanked by a large window on one side and a smaller window on the other.

The draught beers are from several regions of Germany and I picked a beer from Bavaria in the Benedictine brewing tradition - Andechser Vollbier Hell by Klosterbrauerei Andechs.
Gasthaus Lentz had become my favourite beer bar in Berlin so I resolved to return the next morning for a beer on my last day in Berlin. On Tuesday I could take some daytime photos and drink the Weissbier / wheat beer from Klosterbrauerei Andechs with a fresh and salty pretzel.

Kloster Andechs brewery English webpage 
Gasthaus Lentz website with photos  

7) Hopfingerbrau, Berlin Hbf (main railway station)

On the way to Schonefeld airport, I stopped off at Berlin Hbf to visit Hopfingerbrau. It is on the level immediately below the top level (for S trains and long distance DB trains to Warsaw and Cologne etc).
It was not busy on a Tuesday lunchtime and I was impressed that Herr Pscheidt, behind the bar, brought my 0.5 litre of Dunkel to my table instead of waiting for the waitress to do this.

I took the opportunity to get a photograph of him holding a copy of Ullage and to ask him for some more information about the Dunkel. He kindly went off in search of a keg cap to give me as a reminder of the supplier for the beer. The bar is now operated by the Radeberger brewery and the Dunkel is branded as Markischer Landmann from the Berliner Kindl Brewery in Berlin.

The copper vessels behind the bar and the copper piping over the bar are just for show but do give a solid impression of brewing quality to this conveniently positioned bar.

15 June 2013

Beer Bars In Copenhagen

A visit to Copenhagen in March 2013 included visits to two favourite bars (Black Swan & Charlie's Bar) and a new favourite (Fermentoren). The Mikkeller bar was too busy to get near the bar on the evening I visited so nearby Fermentoren was the obvious alternative.
Among the things I like about Copenhagen bars are the blackboards with details of the beers and prices and that you are unlikely to find smokers (however, this is not always the case!).
The beers may be more expensive than in England but they are usually stronger and the prices are not astronomical in the bars mentioned here.
I was lucky to be staying within walking distance of all the bars but the closest of these was Black Swan. The only problem was that it is closed on Sundays when a third visit would otherwise have been possible!
Black Swan - situated on a corner
Inside, the bar also has a corner shape. The blackboard with names, strengths and prices of the beers is on the wall at the end of the bar nearest to the windows overlooking Borgergade.
Mantas behind the bar at the Black Swan
There are beer fonts on this bar and more on the bar at right angles to it. On my first visit I had Kama Citra and Dark Hops both from Beer Here, a Danish brewery based in Frederiksberg on the edge of Copenhagen.
Mantas, the bar owner, speaks good English and Danish and is from Vilnius, Lithuania. The Black Swan is linked to Copenhagen Rugby League FC and it was packed for the club's launch event on my second visit on 2 March.

[work in progress - to be continued]

Wadworth 6X 1923-2013

It was a rare privilege to be invited to attend the 90th anniversary event for Wadworth 6X at Coopers' Hall on Friday 24 May 2013. Located in Devonshire Square, near Liverpool Street station, Coopers' Hall is the home of the Worshipful Company of Coopers, one of 108 livery companies in the City of London. A cooper is someone who makes wooden casks usually for beer in England and for whisky in Scotland.
Coopers' Hall, London on a wet day in May.
The Wadworth brewery is in Devizes, Wiltshire. Alastair Simms, a Master Cooper, was employed there by Wadworth & Co Ltd for 18 years until he left recently to set up his own cooperage company in his native Yorkshire. Alastair was at the event and explained that he would continue to do occasional contract work for Wadworth.
Alastair Simms, Master Cooper
It was interesting to learn from him that the only other breweries in the country with coopers are Marston's, Theakston's and Samuel Smith. Wooden beer casks are made from cut down whisky or red wine casks. Alastair works with traditional hand tools and uses no glue to make oak beer casks. He mentioned that making a pin (4.5 gallons) is harder than making a firkin (9 gallons)
On arrival we were able to sample a glass of Wadworth 6X (4.3% ABV) in preparation for a later opportunity to compare its flavours with those of a special 90th anniversary version of 6X (6% ABV) which had also featured as one of the beers in the recent JD Wetherspoon real ale festival.

Head Brewer, Brian Yorston, with Wadworth brewery book.
Once gathered in the basement museum of Coopers' Hall, we heard from Wadworth Head Brewer, Brian Yorston, about the naming of 6X and the ingredients for the 90th anniversary version of 6X. He showed us some of the old brewing record books that are still used for recording brewing and for reference purposes.
The term X originated in the Middle Ages when the monks who brewed beer marked the casks with X, XX, XXX or XXXX to indicate the strength.
After the first world war, the Wadworth XXXX beer was brewed at two strength levels with a lighter 'Harvest Ale' version for the summer months. In 1923, the brewery decided to rename the stronger beer 6X, probably to reflect its original strength of 6% ABV. Beer strengths were reduced during the second world war and since 1943 6X has been brewed at 4.3% ABV.
In 2013, the original 1923 brew recipe was used to recreate a 6% ABV version of 6X for the 90th anniversary. The old brewing books showed the ingredients used but not the hop varieties, just the farms the hops were sourced from. Brian and Second Brewer, Colin Oke, used Fuggles and Goldings hops for the special 6X but in different proportions than for the modern 6X.

Chairman, Charles Bartholomew, with anniversary cake and 6X beer.
In preparation for toasting the cutting of an anniversary cake, our glasses were filled with the special anniversary 6X. The 6% ABV version had an estery fruitiness with hints of tropical fruit, as well as a fuller body.
Charles Bartholomew, Wadworth Chairman, whose great great uncle Henry Wadworth designed and built the tower brewery at Devizes in 1885, now invited us to toast 6X.
There were examples of colourful handpainted pub signs from the brewery's sign shop to see but a trip to Devizes on a weekday is needed in order to see the Wadworth shire horses either in action with a brewery dray or else in their stables.

28 March 2013

Thessaloniki Beer Bars

[Work in Progress]

On a visit to Thessaloniki (20-25 March 2013) I took the opportunity to visit some beer bars, usually with my Greek friend Theodoros Natsinas who kindly helped with the ordering and gamely drank beer with me despite it 'not being summer' the season when Greeks are more likely to drink beer.
The bars were interesting but I was disappointed at the relative lack of Greek or English beers that were available in comparison to the number of German and Belgian beers that predominated.
Here is a pictorial record of the bars / beers.

Kafodeio Elliniko, Ioustinianou 3, Thessaloniki

Historic photographs on the walls and glass topped circular tables with display items.

The bar with a collection of traditional small coffee pots with long handles on low level bar.

Vergina Weiss with a complimentary dish of popcorn.

Cafeneio Prigipos, Apostolou Pavlou 22, Thessaloniki

This is near the Turkish embassy which is surrounded by high spiked railings and has a permanent police guard.

Bar is located at the far end of the room (left).
Frappe (cold coffee) served with a glass of water. Note beer glasses in display cabinet (right).

Καφενείο Η ΠΡΙΓΚΗΠΟΣ website

Beeri Beeri, Platia Navarinou 7, Thessaloniki

Swiss chalet style frontage achieved by whitewashing some windows on the floor above! This bar has some quirky features and an open kitchen area for preparing meals. The beer and food menu is presented on a 'scroll'.
Tim outside Beeri Beeri - time for a beer!
view of bar on entering
interesting collection of fonts including a watering can!
Open kitchen (left) - Proprietors with a copy of 'Ullage' (West Berkshire CAMRA newsletter)
fruit crate for a lampshade among unusual features of main seating area.
Corfu Beer - Royal Ionian Pilsner

Beeri Beeri facebook page

Toixo Toixo, Polydorou Stergiou 1, Thessaloniki

This is in the old town and can be reached by the Culture Bus (route 50). The 'Craft Microbrewery' awnings caught my eye but I was unable to confirm if this microbrewery is still operating. www.craft.gr  
I visited this restaurant / bar on my own so sat at the bar and admired the decor while I enjoyed a Vergina 'Weiss' from a tall glass.

left of bar
fonts at centre of bar
right of bar - small bottles of Tsipouro in cabinet

 Toixo Toixo facebook page

Bite Me!, 1 Leoforos Nikis, Thessaloniki

After a liquid lunch it was time to find something to eat before a visit to the Photography Museum. I was lucky to find Bite Me on the promenade near the port. The compact cafe had only been open since 15 December 2012 and was spotlessly clean inside. I found a seat on a tall stool with a view of the grill and of the bay glimmering in the sunshine.
view from promenade near Bite Me!
There were pictures of the dishes behind the counter so it was easy to decide on souvlaki.
Souvlaki at Bite Me!
 A choice of drinks was available including beers from Germany and the Czech Republic. I chose a Greek beer - Fix. It was served in a glass designed to keep the beer cool.

Fix - brewed by Olympic brewery

Another nice surprise from this visit to Bite Me was the discovery that the beer was included in the price of the meal on this occasion! I wish Bite Me every success with their new venture.
The Photography Museum was now only a short walk away.
Thessaloniki Photography Museum - the port.
Bite Me facebook page