Category Archives: Pivo

>National Winter Ales Festival 2010


…Well, a good day was had by all yesterday at the National Winter Ales Fest in Manchester. Before getting into the beers, I’d just like to thank the Venue and the Organisers for such a good festival – it doesn’t sound like much to organise the basics such as friendly, knowledgeable staff, a great, spacious venue, and a cracking beer list, but if you go to enough of these events you’ll know it is – and CAMRA did really well here. The boys, so to speak, have done good.

Anyway – onto the beer. Despite my initial despair at missing Robinson’s Chocolate Tom (but that’s what you get for going on the last day – damn having to work!!), my pint of, well, Marble’s Pint more than made up for it. I’ve had this a few times before but I really need to start lobbying pubs in Leeds to get it – such grapefruit on the nose, a burst of tropical fruit on the tongue and a surprisingly restrained bitterness for such a fruity beer. It’s wonderful stuff, put a smile on my face, and set the tone for rest of the day.

Despite what you might personally think about Cain’s, I am a stickler for their Fine Raisin Beer – so to try it on draught was a real must for me. Dark amber in colour, with an exceedingly malt-cereal body, it’s a great beer. The juicy, slightly candied raisin note comes in right and the end, and stops the beer being cloying. A treat.

Other beers to impress me throughout the day were Hawkshead’s Organic Stout, which managed to be wonderfully smokey and roasty without being heavy, Bernard’s Pilsner, which provided a great, cold zing and cleansed the palate after lunch, and Otley’s wonderful 08 – pale, really smooth and refreshing, but then finishing with a big hit of warming alcohol. Perfect for weather like this, and proof that a well-brewed strong golden ale can still be found in the UK.

>2009 Review

>Well, it’s that time of year when I cast my mind back to what we’ve tasted, seen, and cried our way through in 2009.

My Blog of the Year spot goes to Thornbridge’s brewer’s blog. I like the simple design; the articles are always interesting and present a nice mix of brewing inside-knowledge, know-how, and personal experience. As a budding microbrewer myself, this aspect really interests me – I’ve really enjoyed following thier exploits in brewing and running a growing business throughout the year. For me, Kelly and the gang are always happy to share their experiences, which is again sometimes lacking in the brewer/blogger relationship. Blogging should be embraced by brewers – we are, after all, the beer drinkers that take time to shout from the rooftops our love of their product. And I do love Thornbridge’s beers – to me, they represent a vibrant, young, questing set of brewers who represent this country at the highest level. British Brewing dull? Not these guys. So well done, Thornbridge, and I look forward to drinking in 2010 with you – mine’s a pint of Kipling.

Other honourable mentions go to the ever-excellent Boak & Bailey, Zak Avery’s YouTube Vlogs (still effortlessly head and shoulders above the rest – and apologies for not making the TNP tasting – I was busy failing my driving test) and The Beer Nut, which is consistently engaging and honest.
My Beer Venue of the Year award goes to Pivo, a great beer bar in the middle of York. I’ve always said that York is a real hotbed of great, solid English pubs and beer – and having a little slice of international craft beer on the scene ices the cake, really. It’s very small, but perfectly formed. I’m going to find it hard to visit York without dropping in from now on.
Kudos to Leeds Brewery for opening The Brewery Tap, which brews its own Leodis Lager on site. I’m not massively enamoured of the beer, but I like the idea. What about a Koelsch for the summer, guys?

Beer of the Year – always a tricky one. This year I’m copping out with a tied #1 spot for Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch – which managed to be the hoppiest beer I think I’ll ever drink and yet retain excellent balance – and Nogne-O’s IPA – another masterclass in balance between hops and body. Thanks for the memories, guys.
Also memorable were Dark Horse’s Hetton Pale, Orkney’s Red Macgregor, Dogfish Head’s Johnny Cask, Taddington’s Moravka, Sleeman’s IPA, Stone’s Levitation Ale ,Meantime’s London Pale and Young’s Special London Ale, which I am finding is taking my addiction to one type of beer to a whole new level. Wonderful beers, them all.

Beer Event of the Year goes, without a doubt, to Flying Dog’s tasting, which happened at The Cross Keys in September. The full post is here but it made such a nice change to go a well run event, with great hosting by James Brophy, and meet so many great people who are passionate about beer. Thanks again to all involved. North’s Orval & Cheese day was random-yet-inspired, and The Barge and The Owl in Rodley ran their annual beer & music festival to even greater numbers than last year, proving that the appetite for family-oriented community beer events is still there. Well done, lads.

Next Year? Well, more of the same I hope. I’m getting married in September, and my honeymoon will take in Milan, Florence, Venice and Verona – so I’m hoping to finally fill that black hole I have in my knowledge about Italian Craft beer. If anyone has any pointers for me, drop me an email. Can’t wait.

>York Beer Festival 2009 / Pivo

We dropped in on York’s 2009 Beer Festival yesterday, to start what turned out to be lovely afternoon’s drinking. This was the first time the festival had been held at Kanvesmire, near the race course, and it was a suitably pleasant setting, with large, airy marquees set up, and a plenty of outdoor setaing. The Hog Roast guys (I’m not sure If i could do a beer festival without these guys now!) were doing a roaring trade, and we settled in with handfuls of fresh pork scratchings to some serious sampling. Brass Monkey’s Brass Monkey Bitter proved to be as solid as you’d expect, with a pleasant roastiness to it, and Summer Wine’s Helios more than held up on the pale and hoppy front. Leeds’ Monsoon IPA was good too – lots of trademark Leeds Grapefruitiness up front, slowly fading to reveal a biscuity body; Stewart’s Copper Cascade proved to be a decent, malty Scottish red but was a little lacking in hop character for me. However, the beer of the festival turned out to be American – Stone’s Levitation Ale, which – quite honestly -blew the majority of the English brews we tried out of the water – with it’s sheer depth of flavour. A sweet, dark beer, with masses of coffee/toffee notes in the body and a tight, creamy head, Levitation really is a wonderful beer – and a sensible abv, too. I know I should be singing the praises of English beers, but in this case, I just can’t. Taste rules.
With that epiphany ringing in our ears, we headed off into York to check out Pivo, a bar that I’ve had on the list since …A swift one recommended it a while back. It’s hidden away in the smallest building in York (or so it seems), but what it may lack in sitting space it makes up for in choice – again, Stone’s Levitation was on offer (must be a York thing) as well as York’s Wicked Wheat (heavy on the spices), SNPA and Meantime’s Elderflower Maibock. Pivo stocks a decent range of beer and looks like a decent addition to York’s more traditional Pubs and Alehouses. Check it out.
Pivo, 6 Patrick Pool,
01904 635464

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