Sunday, February 26, 2006

Beer! Again!

A truly food and drink action packed weekend ...

Sat 25 Feb 2006

We kick started the weekend with a late lunch at Tampopo, on South Parade. After my last experience at a noodle bar I wasn't too sure about this but went along with an open mind, not having eaten here since 2003. I was quite surprised by how expensive the main menu is - £7.95 for a chicken mee goreng (or £8.50 for the prawn option) is really quite steep, although they do offer 'express' set menus which are considerably better value for money. For £6.95 I was able to have the mee goreng and a small serving of pork gyoza (3 pieces). I added on a bowl of miso. The miso was white miso and not particularly interesting at all - a few bit of seaweed and a lot of finely sliced spring onion - no tofu at all - really quite dull and bland. The gyoza were OK - I've reached the conclusion that the best (and safest!) gyoza are homemade - I found the wrappers a bit on the chewy/undercooked side and the filling rather too heavy on the pork and not enough other flavours. The mee goreng was quite good - I was starving so I did devour it in record time (and douse myself as well as my food with chilli oil) but the vegetables in the dish were fresh and the noodles were properly cooked. All this washed down with an Asahi.

By the way - when it comes to Japanese beers I'm constantly disappointed by the fact that those available in the UK are, predominantly, brewed either here or in the EU and not actually imported. I'm also stuffed because I am, at present, refusing to drink Kirin (thanks to the Lion Nathan attempts to take over Coopers) - so my choice is between Asahi and Sapporo (both usually very good beers).

Anyway, I came away from Tampopo thinking that I'd be relatively happy to go back and eat their express deal again - if I sort of had to but I doubt I'll be suggesting a rapid return. Basic, standard super fast noodle food - ho hum.

The evening saw us jump on the train and head off to Saltaire and the CAMRA Bradford Beer Festival. I love beer festivals and while Andy is positively cool about the thought of drinking real ale the festivals usual have a 'Foreign Beers' bar to keep the lager drinkers happy. So while Andy ploughed his way through an interesting range of German beers (and a phenomenal amount of cash) I was focussing on the really quite comprehensive representation of local breweries.

My drinking list (all halves!) was as follows:

1. The Mordue Black Midden Stout from North Shields, T&W. Coming in at just 4.4% I was hoping this would be a gentle introduction to the evening's drinking but by the end of my half, which I enjoyed I might add, I realised that this was not really a session beer (yes, probably stout as a rule isn't anyway). Although initially enthusiastic about this beer I actually enjoyed my second beer a lot more, though Andy did prefer this one's taste. I've just had a quick look at their website and I know that I've enjoyed a pint of their Workie Ticket beer quite recently - I think it was the other week when I had dinner at the Reliance.

2. For my second beer I moved a bit closer to home and to a beer from the Wharfedale brewery. A half pint of Silk's Folly, coming in at 4.5%. The beer programme suggested this was a porter-style beer but the sign at the festival said Stout. Whatever. I enjoyed this beer more than the Mordue - it smelt absolutely fantastic (Andy preferred the smell) - but a quick look at the brewery's website suggests that it's not a beer they usually have in production, so I guess there's no point in looking out for it to make up your own mind.

3. We moved to the upstairs hall (beers A-F) and I decided to switch from dark to light and went for the Aviator Ale from the Dent brewery, in Cowgill, Sedburgh, Dent (??) in Cumbria. This selection was based on the fact that Andy's dentist was in Sedburgh. The tasting notes say "medium bodied amber ale with strong citrus and hoppy flavours" - which is pretty accurate - and at just 4.0% this would make a great session beer. I noted that I was quite a fan!

4. Quick nip back to Yorkshire for the Brown Cow Jack Frost - a pale ale at 4.2%. I quite enjoyed this beer too although my notes are less than fulsome on this ...

5. Off to Cumbria again for the Hawkshead Red (4.2%). Having had a Hawkshead Bitter in Cartmel once (and very very much enjoying it - to the extent that I'm still talking about it) I was actually really quite disappointed in this beer - deciding that it was OK but a bit tasteless (please appreciate that by this point I was, effectively, on my third pint, so I will be happy to be corrected). This beer did at least serve to wash down some rather nasty pork scratchings.

6. Last beer of the night was Roosters Oyster Stout (from Knaresborough) - the programme description read 'soft, silky stout' - so who was I to refuse? I did enjoy this but can't say anything interesting about it.

You can see from my pretty limited tasting that the North in general was well represented at this beer festival. As always, it was a well organised and smoothly run affair - though I do think in the pork scratchings department they need lessons from the good people who organised the last Woking Beer Festival.

After all that typing - I'm thirsty - time to head to the pub!
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Blogger Richard Atkinson said...

Thanks for the info about the Wharfedale Brewery. I'd not heard of it until I read your blog. Must get my hands on some of that. Cheers!

9:27 pm  

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