Brew Review: Tiny Rebel’s Cwtch

You know that awkward interview question which asks what your hobbies & interests are outside of work & you suddenly realize you don’t have any respectable hobbies to share?

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If I had to be totally honest, my inappropriate hobby would be “day drinking outside on a sunny day”. When it’s sunny & even semi-warm, you can find me with a beer in hand at my nearest beer garden.

Unfortunately (or fortunately I guess), I live in London so sunny & warm days are few & far between, giving me time to do more respectable things like my job & working out.

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I’m not happy about it though…

But with spring emerging, we happened to have a particularly lovely, sunny day here in London this past weekend – so I decided to skip on down to my favorite local pub to celebrate in the sun for the remainder of the afternoon.

It was there that I discovered this week’s brew to review: Tiny Rebel Brewery’s Cwtch beer. I have to admit, the number one reason I chose it was the fun design it had – definitely something you don’t see often when it comes to beer marketing. Plus it claimed to be voted “Champion Beer of Britain 2015”, so I figured I’d give it a go.

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Well, let’s just say this…

Maybe it was because I was participating in my favorite hobby. Or maybe it was due to the fact it was the first sunny, “warm” day of the year. Or maybe this beer is just all it’s cracked up to be but needless to say – wow – I am in love with this beer.

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Described as an “untraditional Welsh Red Ale”, this brew is dominated by citrus and tropical fruit flavors that are balanced with caramel malts and has a moderate bitterness.

While it is slightly more bitter than my typical beers, it’s still quite smooth. It isn’t too light that you drink it quickly, not appreciating the flavor, but it also isn’t too harsh where each sip is a struggle. I got to enjoy the beer casually, while also appreciating each sip.

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Cwtch is definitely a winner and a great beer to try if you are like me, and looking for a beer that is the next step up from your usual pale ale. I’m slightly obsessed with it.

BEER INFO

  • Name: Cwtch
  • Description: Untraditional Welsh Red Ale. Red colour & American hops.
  • Brewery: Tiny Rebel
  • ABV: 4.6%

MY OVERALL RATING: 4.8/5

Learn more about Tiny Rebel’s Cwtch beer here

 

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6 Great Beer Events This April

I’m a creature of habit. When it comes to going to events or choosing a restaurant to eat at – I tend to always choose what I know. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to my favorite London watering holes. There are one or two “old man pubs” (as my younger brother likes to call them) that I always tend to gravitate to.

While these pubs will always remain close to my heart, a goal of this blog is to experience more of what London has to offer – specifically with it’s beer scene.

To help me – and any of you – experience some of London’s finer beer events, I’ve rounded up some of the upcoming events coming up this month. Which will you be attending with me?

NORTHERN MONK TAP TAKEOVER (7 April)

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Image Credit: People’s Park Tavern

The guys from Northern Monk Brewery in Leeds are throwing a party at People’s Park Tavern which will feature some beer talk, plus free tastings showcasing some of their more unusual beers. Five kegs will be on tap, plus you’ll have the chance to wander around the brewery.

CRAFT BEER TASTING (15 April)

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All Saint’s Woodford Wells are offering a selection of different beers from a variety of local breweries on the 15th of April. Buying a ticket to the event includes a branded tasting glass (that you get to take home), tasters of all available craft beer, “An Introduction to Craft Beer” class, plus just good ole fun.

LOVE BEER (17 April)

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Following the horrible fire that destroyed Battersea Arts Centre’s Grand Hall last year, the annual beer festival that normally takes place there is no more. The venue have decided to throw their own version however, giving beer lovers the chance to try over 100 London beers from a host of local, independent brewers.

BEER & CHEESE PAIRING AT BULLFINCH BREWERY (20 April)

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The one thing that can absolutely beat my love for beer – is my love for cheese. My cheese obsession is well-known among my family & friends, so I can say I am absolutely thrilled with this specific event.

Bullfinch Brewery is hosting a night combining their finest beers paired with artisan cheeses, with a tasting led by guest brewer Jack Beavis from the Woolshed Brewery in Australia’s rural Riverland. Ticket price includes six beers, five cheeses and a couple of meaty surprises.

SPRING FESTIVAL 2016 (22 – 23 April)

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Image Credit: Bavarian Beerhouse

Why wait until October to celebrate Oktoberfest? The Bavarian Beerhouse is hosting a Spring Festival that features live Oompah music, dancing and plenty of German beer served in Stein glasses. Plus with a range of authentic German food on offer, this is definitely a beer party you don’t want to miss.

BERMONDSEY MICROBREW CRAFT BEER TASTING EXPERIENCE (Every Saturday)

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Image Credit: London Brewery Tours

This particular event isn’t just an April specialty, but coming across it (and being a newbie to the craft beer world myself) I thought it was worth adding to April’s list.

A £50 ticket allows you to visit a bunch of breweries with London Brewery Tours. This walking tour will give you a behind the scenes look at what goes on when creating the perfect craft beer, as well as (of course) giving you a taste of the best microbrewery beers on offer.

**BONUS** LONDON WHISKY WEEKENDER (1-3 April)

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Image Credit: Oval Space 

Okay, okay. I know this has nothing to do with beer – but c’mon guys. Who can turn down a good whisky tasting? Plus it’s something my husband might actually enjoy with me.

Is there an event coming up that I missed? Or one that I should add to my calendar for a later month? I’d love to hear! Leave details in the comments or shoot me a tweet at @CheekyDrinks 

Brew Review: Siren Craft Brew’s Chocolate Caribbean Cake

In case you weren’t aware, it was Easter this past Sunday. You may have missed it if you’re like me and spent the majority of the week in a sugar-induced coma from chocolate egg overdose.

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In actuality, while I’m all for chocolate, I personally am not a big Easter person. I’ve lived away from my family for about five years now, so without my parents giving me Easter baskets from the mysterious “Easter Bunny”, Easter tends to pass without any real notice from me.

However, having just started this blog, I thought Easter could be a great opportunity for me to “hop” (see what I did there?) onto a new craft beer I’ve never tried before: a chocolate stout!

After discussing my options with my local craft brew brethren, I decided on the deliciously named Caribbean Chocolate Cake brew by Siren Craft Brew.

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Now, before I get into specifics about my experience with this beer, I must reiterate two things:

  1. I am not, nor do I pretend to be, a beer expert.
  2. Prior to starting this blog experiment, I have not ventured far away from my beloved pale ales.

By trying this dark, chocolate-flavored beer I am definitely stepping out of my taste bud’s box. But one of my goals with this blog is to become less afraid of dark beers and to hopefully even find a few I enjoy.

But with a name like Caribbean Chocolate Cake I figured, how bad could it possibly be? Even the label boasted an impressive roster of flavors including orange, dark chocolate and even coffee. Trying this beer was going to be like a walk in Willy Wonka’s park…

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Come Sunday, I decided it was an appropriate time to crack open the bottle and give this chocolate stout a try as my Easter treat.

Upon pouring the beer into a glass, I was immediately terrified by how extremely dark it was. But at the same time, I grew smug at the thought of how cool I was going to look drinking such a dark beer. So much so, I even waved it in front of my husband’s face to show him how cool I was with my sophisticated beer drinking abilities.

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Look how dark! I’m still impressed

He didn’t quite share the same enthusiasm as me, unfortunately.

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The first sip was – not surprisingly – quite bitter. Of course, this was to be expected with a combination of dark cacao and coffee flavors so it didn’t deter me. What was surprising was just how chocolaty it did taste. I was expecting maybe a hint of chocolate, and then a strong beer flavor, but it was more chocolate than beer I was tasting.

With each sip, the beer became better and better. It wasn’t as harsh of a drink that I was expecting, thanks to the strong taste of chocolate; making it a truly unique experience to drink.

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Conclusion: Overall, I’m glad I ventured out of my beer comfort-zone with such a dark beer and different flavors. But with that said, I don’t think I would choose this beer again.

While the beer was delicious, I’m not a huge chocolate or coffee flavor fan, so with a brew where both flavors were both so pronounced, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. (I do take full responsibility of this fact since the beer clearly states that both flavors are main factors in this beer – directly on the front of the label.)

But if you’re looking for something slightly bitter, with a rich, chocolate flavor – this is definitely the brew for you!

Beer Info

  • Name: Caribbean Chocolate Cake
  • Description: Tropical Stout with Cacao Nibs, Cypress Wood & Lactose
  • Brewery: Siren Craft Brew
  • ABV: 7.4%

My Overall Rating: 2/5

Learn more about or buy Siren Craft Brew’s Caribbean Chocolate Cake here.

Girl Meets Beer

During my first foray into drinking, I was pretty adamant about one thing. “I will never drink beer” I would state, proudly tucking my six-pack of Smirnoff under my arm. “Even in college, I’ll just bring my own drinks to the party.”

Fast forward a year when I’m home from my freshman year of college. As I’m pouring my dad a glass of beer into one of his frosted mugs, my younger brother tries to tease me: “Look at Nicole – she has no idea what she’s doing. She’s tipping the glass when pouring the beer!”

My dad – much wiser – looks at me and flatly states, “No, she knows exactly what she’s doing”.

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That day officially marked me as a beer drinker.

Like they said, going to college did change my drinking preferences. While I started off just drinking mixers, if the party only had a keg on tap, I wouldn’t turn down a red Solo cup of cheap beer. And while at first I still hated it, I eventually learned to like it and one day even preferred it.

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My dad & I enjoying a beer together.

Today, beer is my drink of choice. Whether it’s out for a cheeky drink with friends, with my meal at a fancy restaurant, at home after a hard day at work, or just chilling with my dad (who doesn’t mind me drinking beer anymore, as long as I don’t drink all of his good stuff) beer is my go-to alcoholic beverage.

However, there is still one small issue. Beer is stereotyped as a male drink – it seems the world believes women just don’t drink it.

This is particularly evident whenever I go out with my husband (who coincidentally is not a beer fan). We each will order our own separate drinks and 90% of the time the bartender will give him the beer and me the cocktail.

And that’s where the idea for this blog got started. Why does beer have to be only a male drink? Why shouldn’t women appreciate a good brew, which can be just as exciting and varying as “ladylike” drinks such as wine?

Don’t get me wrong, I am an equal-opportunist when it comes to alcohol…

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but I’d just like to showcase that beer can (and should) be accessible to everyone, even women.

Now, I am in no way a beer expert (I’m not shy about my love for Fosters) and I’m not here to try to outdo the big dogs already dominating the beer scene. I’m just an enthusiastic beer consumer, who happens to be female, wanting to explore the ins-and-outs of the London beer scene (and beyond) while sharing those experiences here.

I hope you’ll follow along!

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