The Crafty Colt – Craft beer on wheels

The Crafty Colt – Craft beer on wheels

No matter what you end up doing in life there comes a time when you may feel like you could do something else. Maybe it is something you have always wanted to do but never really known how, maybe it’s something more recent that you have developed a passion for that has steered your attention away from what your doing or lets be fair, maybe you just hate your current path and want to be happy.

Not many of us are brave enough to take that step and jump into the unknown as security and comfort feels way better than being outside of your comfort zone, not knowing when the next pay day will be or hoping for that big opportunity that takes your passion to the next level. This is true of most of us and no matter what our ideas are we will always have our detractors and doubters, however that shouldn’t stop us making the jump. Every single one of us within employment are working within something that started out as a similar idea, the money you earn every month is from the wider account of a company that was birthed through calculated personal risk, blind faith, dismissal of doubters, will power and I like to think a certain measure of passion. No matter where you are in life these thoughts come to us but few consider these will come to someone involved in professional sport.

It is so easy to sit in your seat at your local stadium and think everyone who picks up a ball will have an endless supply of financing and are above ambition outside of that arena, simply because you have their number and name on your back doesn’t mean they are removed from wanting different things. After all is said and done not everyone can go into punditry or after dinner speaking, some people have their own ideas and need to branch out outside of their usual lane to give them something to nurture for the future. Take Sam and Wayland’s Yard as an example here, a recently retired rugby professional now doubling down on his passion (literally. Second store now open in Birmingham!) and making a real go of it and killing it. I love the idea of supporting projects such as this one by using my blog to give them exposure and I caught wind of a new project swelling within Worcestershire from a player that is still on the books at Worcester Warriors.

Put aside his professional sporting prowess and Max Stelling is simply a 24 year old guy who has caught onto the unrelenting swathe of amazing craft beer being produced in the UK. This amazing beer revolution has touched a lot of our lives and there have been a few amazing businesses birthed as a result such as Bison Beer in Brighton, Honest brew and multiple new breweries being opened all the time. Today I would like to bring to your attention what Max is bringing to the table. The Crafty Colt.

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To tell us a bit more about The Crafty Colt I caught up with Max to ask a few questions on what is was all about:

So Max what is the Crafty Colt?

The Crafty Colt is a mobile craft beer bar in a converted horse trailer. The difference between us and every other bar is two fold; 1. Our beer is better. We serve the very best of British craft beer from breweries such as Tiny rebel, Verdant, Deya, Cloudwater etc… 2. Our bar is unique… We have a 90 degree bar which gives a more open feel and improves our service!
 
You have picked a pretty good time to start. The craft scene is booming right now. It’s a big change from rugby at Worcester. Anything in particular that made you take plunge?
The craft beer boom is exactly why we started! I had wanted something other than rugby in my life for a long time and my interest in craft along with the business potential made it an easy decision! I may well carry on playing Rugby but its nice to have something else to do, especially when it involves beer!
 
So you must be really into your beer! When did you start really getting into craft beer?
I love beer and once you get involved its such an enjoyable journey. There are so many great breweries in the UK and so many varieties of beer… It’s great fun! My first experience of craft, or close to, was Sierra Nevada’s pale ale which most super markets do now. I bought a few from Tesco and from there did some research and ended up at Cotteridge Wines in Birmingham. They have an unbelievable selection as well as a tap room with some keg only specials… It was there and then that my obsession with craft began!
 
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Is it just keg beer you will be serving?
We currently have capacity for two beers on tap and up to eight more in our fridges. We tend to serve a session pale and an IPA on tap and everything from Sour to Stout in cans and bottles.
 
So I know you did your first event last weekend, what’s next for you? Anything lined up?
We did, we were at Fews Marquees open weekend. It was a great experience and we met a lot of great contacts in the events world! We have a number of events lined up and more and more being booked all the while! We will be involved at some of the Johnny Arr testimonial events coming up…
 
Being mobile presents some interesting challenges and equally some really good opportunities, are you aiming at anybody specifically or can anybody sign you up for an event?
Being mobile is a challenge with beer, however, we think that the opportunity to travel nationwide and sell brilliant products is worth the challenge. Ultimately we want to give the public access to great British craft beer that they otherwise would not taste. Anybody can book us for both public and private events. 
 
Where can people find you?
Instagram; TheCraftyColt
Facebook; The Crafty Colt
Twitter; thecraftycolt
Alternatively you can call me any time on 07972306909.
 
Right man, Last thing – Give me you top 3 favourite beers and we like to be a bit different on here so can you match them to a film or a song that best describes the beer!?
My top 3 beers:
1. Deya – Steady Rolling Man – 5.2%
Good Will Hunting – Its a great Story, gets pretty deep and interesting in the middle and finishes strong!
2. Verdant – Pulp – 8%
Fences – You have no idea how strong this films message is…
3. Beavertown – Gamma Ray – 5.4%
The Other Guys – It doesnt matter how many times you watch it, it never gets old!
Show them some love online and get involved. If you have a party and want some amazing drinks on tap give the guys a shout, I wish The Crafty Colt all the success in the world and hope that 2018 is the start of something special!
…and for the record, strong choice on Fences. Cried …like, twice. Go watch it.

 

 

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Tiny Rebel Peaches and Cream IPA.

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First of all, Tiny Rebel. Just stop. Your breaking my brain.

Every time I think they have done another number on me and raised the bar for craft beer and given me something to hang my hat on they hit me with a crossed left and leave me sitting in front of a pint thinking about how I can ever do better than what I am drinking. It’s really annoying when you try and come at a beer from a neutral perspective and end up sounded like a gushing little fan boy. If anything though, those kind of reactions are rarely  undeserved and this beer is one such product. Take a bow TR and Urban Brewhouse.

The pint was served to me at the Hogs Head in Wolverhampton from their craft rotational keg boards. The pub is run by Stonegate pub company who, to be fair, are probably becoming one of the key proponents of great craft beer in the managed retail sector in the UK, especially by providing Wolverhampton with the best pub in the city. It comes at no surprise to me that they are working with Tiny Rebel on a tap takeover, as they are both the shit.

  • Look: The beer pours golden with a slight haze, adding to my intrigue. A short head that dispersed fairly quickly but not really fussed by head retention on keg beer as don’t want to sound like some pompous CAMRA lifer. Plus the average customer wouldn’t take into consideration the pain in the arse changing 10 rotational dispense systems from CO2 to mixed gas every time there is a new product coming in. Fact is – looked inviting.
  • Nose: Citrus fruit, sweetness and almost a vanilla scent.
  • Taste: No surprises here… Peaches. Was a gorgeously smooth beer with a velvety peach note and a hoppy punch from the Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic used with a light creamy finish from the added lactose. Yes mate.
  • ABV: 5.5%. Not shy. Not apparent on the taste, dangerously drinkable.
  • RATING:

4.5/5

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Wayland’s Yard Christmas Festival

Wayland’s Yard Christmas Festival

It turns out it has been so long since I last wrote anything on here that I had totally forgot my password. The last 6 months have been borderline ridiculous and I have had so much on that the blog has had to take a back seat. To give you a brief idea of just how busy I have been… work has been all consuming, I have sold a house, moved out of said house, moved back in with my parents and subsequently bought and moved into a new house… which has left me precious little time to sit down and do anything, let alone pontificate about food and drink.

I am looking to right the wrongs of the recent past and get back on the proverbial horse with a hell of a lot in the pipeline to get things moving again, but first and foremost there is a looming yule like presence breaching the horizon. I can hear nothing but Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra in the shops which means one thing and one thing only… Christmas is here. Strangely though, the day that it really dawned on me just how close the big day is, I had an incredibly well timed email from literally my favourite spot in Worcester… Wayland’s Yard. If you don’t know who Wayland’s Yard are, I covered their launch heavily last year and was really impressed with their local attitude and concentration on building an amazing culture that equates to equally amazing food and wonderful coffee. Sam, the man behind the yard, has been kind enough to invite me to their Christmas Festival and Craft Market which promises to be a festive celebration with their beautifully presented coffee flowing throughout the weekend, complimented by mulled wine, mince pies, and again…their genuinely good food. If you are an existing subscriber of the blog you know how I feel about their food. so I can’t wait to get back there and get involved with the guys.

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Polly from Wayland’s Yard got in touch and said:

After our first anniversary in October and some successful Yard Parties over the Summer, we thought it was time to celebrate Christmas the Wayland’s way. Everything we do is about championing local produce, business and people – that’s why our Christmas Festival is going to give over 40 local crafters/business people the platform to sell their gifts to people just in time for Christmas. Add to this local musicians, a choir, mince pies, mulled cider and our usual food offering and we think we’ve got a pretty decent recipe for a party!!

I think everybody who loves what this blog is about loves the idea of a successful local business supporting other local business to give people something unique for the festive season.  So lets get down there and support them and get festive in the Yard!

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If you want to attend.. clear your calendars on the 16th/17th December, WY is located at number 6 Foregate street, near the train station and the party gets started from 11am to 6pm on Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday.

 

I can’t wait! See you there for some Proper coffee… and proper food.

Kona: Making waves

Kona: Making waves

Sometimes no matter how hard you try to avoid cliché superlatives and bold statements to describe a new experience, you just can’t manage it. The second, third and maybe forth time, it probably diminishes a little… becomes more familiar. Whether that is the first time you had a certain dish at your new favourite restaurant or maybe the first time you tried skinny dipping at Brighton beach, its very much a personal thing.

With this in mind, it takes something really quite special to allow you to categorically say every time you experience it, it is as f**king great as the last time. Big Wave by Kona Brewing Company is just this kind of experience and it deserves as many cliché superlatives as you can throw at it.

 

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Golden ales are ten a penny now lets be honest, and it takes quite a lot of effort to wade through the almost limitless amount of pale offerings from new start up’s trying to make their mark, bigger more established players trying to get in late on the game (here’s looking at you Rev James) and everything in between. So when I came across Big Wave it came highly recommended by a friend at work who has an outlook not too dissimilar to mine when it comes to beer. Luckily I happened to stumble upon a bottle on a trip to Waitrose a few weeks later. shit. Game changed.

The Important Stuff

Upon cracking open the bright blue cap the beer pours a beautifully crisp golden colour and holds its head well, releasing a punchy tropical aroma from the Galaxy and Citra hop varieties used. The flavours back this up with a prominent but still subtle pineapple and tropical vibe, finished with a gentle bitterness and stops just short of making the beer too sweet. One word can describe Big Wave perfectly… that word is balance, providing sweet aromas, moreish flavours and at 4.4% with an IBU rating of 21… this is as balanced as a beer gets and as far as I am concerned, this is in my top 5. I love it.

Flavour matching

Traditionally a good golden ale like this goes with white fish such as a piece of flame grilled cod or Pollock, spicy poultry such as buffalo style wings or Piri Piri smoked turkey legs. Even better still, how about pairing it up with the perfect ocean side burger recipe in The Honu burger, I will be honest the write up is from a few years ago and the photography and writing isn’t great. I will be remaking and updating this one soon so keep your eye out for that one, but for now you get the general idea!

In the meantime, don’t forget to look out for Kona: Big Wave in a bottle shop near you.

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Bore off Bourdain.

Bore off Bourdain.

I have wanted to put something together about this since I read it last week but I haven’t had the time. So now I have a spare few minutes I would like to draw your attention to the following article:


 Clickety click…

Right, now I am assuming you have read the article in full and have assertained that Anthony Bourdain is talking utter bollocks. 

I understand that if something in society doesn’t click with you that naturally you won’t be a fan. However when it’s clear you don’t understand that paricular thing at all I would advise keeping your opinion to yourself until such a time when you know enough about it to comment. I am a strong believer in ‘You aren’t entitled to an opinion. You are entitled to an informed opinion’.

With this in mind it’s worth noting that craft beer is not going away and whether you like it or not it is making huge waves globally. As a broader concept craft beer is a complex sensory experience based on your individual perception of a beer that has been designed to deliver certain things. This means some people will take different things away from the same beer and there is no right or wrong answer, naturally that then leads to conversations between people about these particular experiences. Beers using unique blends of hops, malt, barley etc (sometimes with the addition of more adventurous ingredients) are catering for people who want more than a pint of mild or a pint of gassy keg lager. Why is this a negative thing?

Food is a mainstream sensory experience that almost everyone partakes in, craft beer is more niche than food by its very nature but I am failing to see the problem with this in comparison. Bourdain spends his life telling us his opinion on food so whats different? He must have an issue with one of two things:

1) Brewers getting excited about being able to innovate and offer us something new.

Or

2) People enjoying it…

I find it frustrating as he is pretty decent at what he does and he knows his stuff. Beer links so well into food it seems very short sighted to write off craft beer in general just because it’s too interesting to people! This has made me realise something though. I am going to do more writing about craft beer as it is something I am very passionate about occupationally and personally, but for now I will just say this to Mr. Bourdain: 

For somebody who was part of a show that took single spoonfuls of a chefs dish and critiqued them to call people who love and review craft beer ‘Zombies’ is total hypocrisy. Jump off your high horse buddy boy. Your famous for talking about an equally valid sensory experience… but I will raise a glass of wonderfully crafted amber nectar to your health nonetheless. I might even take notes and show my friends.

Freshly baked ciabatta bread

So I’ve been mulling over this particular article for a while and today is the day I finally get my act together and get it live. I have never been, and have never claimed to be particularly good at baking, although recently I have a much keener interest in it.

I have started from the ground up and started with making my own bread and I can confirm I am now hooked. Its hard to describe the feeling of accomplishment when it goes right and you end up with a really attractive end product emitting that soul warming smell that makes your home seem that little bit more special. Its a hard feeling to beat.

So rather than me harping on about it, here’s a recipe for you to do it yourself. I challenge you to do this once and not want to do it again!

Ingredients

500g strong white flour
450 ml Luke warm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoon dry Yeast
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons garlic granules
2 tablespoons oregano and\or 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
Olive Oil

Method

Pre heat oven to 200C or gas mark 8

In a large bowl mix with clean hands flour, sugar, herbs and yeast

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Pour in the water and salt and mix in the bowl with your hands for 5 minutes. The mixture will be like a very thick paste.

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Lift parts of the dough up and fold it over itself to push in a few air pockets. Work the dough in the bowl for 5 minutes. If you have a food mixer, beat it with a dough hook but still finish off with the hand method to push the air pockets in.

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Flour a work surface and continue to work the dough until smooth.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil directly to the dough and mix into it by kneading for a few more minutes.

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Allow to prove in a clean bowl drizzled with a little more oil to stop it sticking, covered with cling film for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size.

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Pour the dough onto a well floured work surface and fold over like an envelope length ways to create the ciabatta ‘look’. At this point you can leave it as a loaf, cut into rolls or get creative and twist them up. Once shaped leave to prove for a further 20 minutes.

Lift dough onto a floured baking tray and (sprinkle some flour onto the top of the bread/s to create a more rustic look) bake for around 25 minutes, until golden and when tapped sounds hollow. Leave till cool on a wire rack or a spare grill pan for 15 minutes before serving.

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