Part of the joy of growing
up is learning to appreciate all the simple things in life. A fireplace, good socks, Sunday lunches, chats with strangers in the pub about football… all these are great but pale in comparison when put next to the simple pleasure that is a good pint of beer.
Now, I don’t have a chunky sweater (actually i do! ) or a pipe, but I do like a glass of real beer every now and again. It’s been a few years now since I waved goodbye to fizzy lagers, and to be honest I haven’t looked back.
I thought it would be a good idea to feature a brilliant website called the Melthair Ale Guide, that has news and reviews of some of the dozens of new beers being made in the UK every month. Darren Woolridge from the site agreed to answer a few questions on condition that I bought the next round…..
Who started the Melthair Ale guide?
The Guide started in 2008 with contributions from several ale loving friends. All the reviews are carried out on the spot and aim to give the reader all they need to know in a concise manner!
What does the name mean?
Quite a strange answer to this one. A few years ago whilst in Spain, we attended a festival. Nights were spent enjoying the festival and days were spent in the sea, floating around, generally recouperating. Various sea based games were developed, including Melthair.
Possibly linked to our fragile state of minds the game took on a Zen like quality and essentially involved competitors melting their hair to their heads with sea water whilst chanting a mantra. An unusual sight for other beach users and even more unusual to explain now. Melthair then became the name of a musical act (which somehow got onto Radio 1) and has since became the name for our ale guide.
What beers have you reviewed this month?
This month has been a busy one, with over 30 ales tested (by more than one person!). Ales reviewed include Newman’s Brewery ‘Daliad Da‘, Bath Ales ‘Gem‘, Fuller’s ‘Jack Frost‘, Purbeck’s ‘Solar Power‘ and ‘Cwrw Cymru‘ from the Mochyn Du.
Does a beer have to meet any criteria to be reviewed?
Along as it’s an ale we’re give it a go. We’ll leave the lagers to someone else.
Are you looking for new people to review beer for you?
Definitely. People can add their own reviews or comment on those posted. An ale based debate is always welcome!
From all the beers you have reviewed do you have a favourite (or fav Brewery)?
There’s quite a lot really, but anything from Skinner’s Brewery in Cornwall and Brew Dog Ales are always popular.
Do you visit any of the Real Ale festivals?
Yep! We’re at one now! The Biannual one at Le Gothique in south London is a good one.
Unfortunately it gave you an instant hangover so wasn’t the most popular. Someone’s Cornish Uncle drank it all in the end and then disappeared. Other homemade ale have fared better and some are actually drinkable!
Do you ever drink lager?
Yeah, we’re not ale snobs. But ale tends to be first choice – it’s just much tastier.
Do you think the standard of beer has improved over the years?
Well, we think that availability and choice has improved. More and more people are turning from lagers to craft beers. It’s a smart move too. We predict a future of beer-bellied men and women. At least they’ll have a smile on their face.
Where is the best pub in the world?
What a question… some suggestions include The Waterfront in Falmouth (pictured), The Square and Compass in Dorset, The Market Porter in London (because it has so many ales) and Chapter in Cardiff.
Do you prefer Nuts or Crisps?
How about a pickled egg?