Christmas sweets

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Untappd: a beer-drinking app

This is a good analysis of beer apps available. This is different to beer websites like Beer Advocate and RateBeer. However you can’t switch between the 2 or even different ones in the group which means when you start on one you might as well continue.

On Tap Diaries

Where live in a world where somebody has already invented a social network or app for everything. Beer is no exception. Untappd -which has an iOS, Android and Windows Phone version- lets you keep a record of every beer you drink, rate it and share it with your friends. As you register and rate more beers, you earn badges that give you certain status within the app. At the same time, Untappd starts recommending different kinds of beers to its users according to the previous ratings of that person.

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Besides the fun generated by any app, Untappd is a great way to know trendy beers and bars in your city or any other place in the world. You can also search for bars and breweries wherever you go.

At the same time, breweries and brewpubs can create their own profiles and monitor how many people rate their beers and what…

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My night as a beer guru

That was a pretty cool thing to be awarded that title by a nice guy that I met last night called Ben Byford. I was also helping my husband in his beer choice. It was unusual for me that I was so decisive yesterday but last week I had been so indecisive that I missed out and didn’t want that to happen again.

I had decided earlier what I was going to drink and what I was having first although that did kind of go out the window as soon as I got there because beer is best fresh so the selection constantly which is good. I was going to be lazy and drink beers that I knew were good but I drank beers that I had heard about online/liked the breweries etc instead.

First beer at the Bottle Shop was Siren‘s Haunted Dreams. This is their attempt at a pumpkin beer. It just has pumpkin spices, no pumpkin but that didn’t matter as there tend to be three categories of pumpkin beer, 1 with pumpkin, 2 with spices and 3 with pumpkin and spices.

It was a nice chocolate porter with hints of spice. I thought it tasted like a chocolate ginger sweet even though I don’t remember ginger normally being used in pumpkin pie. My husband got the spices later on as there quite muted so its a smooth drink. We couldn’t detect most of the other spices but we had already had an Artesian Light beer from Asda (Shepherd Neame boo) before we came out and some Black Sheep Beer. For dessert I had a sample of port with my mince pie and stilton after my spaghetti bolognese which my husband proclaimed to be one of my best ever.

Next was a recommendation from Lucy that we sample the beer on tap and that was a Brew by Numbers golden ale. That was quite nice and fruity and led on nicely to another recommendation, Weird Beard’s Hacienda. This is a black saison with oranges. I made the mistake of having it cold and it hid most of the orange taste but it didn’t taste anything like a saison usually does as it was a lot darker than usual hence black saison. Good for people that are not keen on saison and good on Weird Beard for adapting a summer style to suit the winter.

Afterward I wanted to try the Out of Office coffee ipa also by Weird Beard as Sam had that one but didn’t rate it very highly. (Nothing beats Mikkeller’s Brunch Weasel). I came to the same conclusion.

My husband had one of his favourites at the moment which is the Founders Breakfast Stout. He sways more towards the american side of things in his drinking. He recommended that to our padawan. He also had the Buxton Rainshadow which is quite dark, alcoholic and disappointing. We shared it between the three of us and had an interesting debate about the merits of carbonation in beer. Different beer styles suit different carbonation levels. There is no one level fits all gauge although mass beer producers would have us believe this.

As to my padawan, I helped him choose the Weird Beard Something Something Dark Side which is quite floral in this present incantation which makes it really nice. Much nicer than usual. I suggested some of the Brewdog beers like Cocoa Psycho but he didn’t have that one. They haven’t got the Christmas Brewdog‘s yet but they will soon I expect. He did have a Brunch Weasel as his last beer but I’m not sure he was as sold on it as we were. Since we were drinking lots of dark beers as its that time of year, we also had a chat about Dark Star as they have nice beers in Brighton when we visit my brother/ in law. Apparently, one of the brewers has left to form his own company which is how Dark Star came into being in the first place, a branch out from another brewery.

It was at this point that I was getting a bit hammered so three glasses of water followed by the final beer a Broken Dream by Siren. This is always very nice and since all I needed was something simple and reliable that fit the bill quite well.

My husband brought home a Kernel as I was thinking of drinking that earlier but in the end didn’t really have any as it wasn’t necessary. He also got Evil Twin‘s Lil B as he didn’t try that when he was in America. This is for later sampling but we did however share a Batemans Mocha beer that I got from Sainsburys earlier. If you go up to Lincolnshire as I did recently these are really awesome dessert beers and there is a 4 pack that is quite cheap and really nice. Sadly I haven’t seen them in these parts. When I next go to the Shire I shall have to ensure there is room to bring some back.

The pill

I have been reading a very interesting article in the guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/19/women-pill-partner-hormonal-impacts-contraceptive-medicine?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

today about the affects of the contraceptive pill on women in general. Now most women are on this from their teens until they get married and then they go on a different kind to help them through the menopause. This can have quite devastating effects in the transitional periods both starting and finishing. Some even have them during their usage which is why they stop using them and there is so many different brands and type out there as surely one is right for you. What nobody stop to think of is the havoc this causes to women both emotionally and physically. Women are the stronger species with what you have to go through on an average cycle. Any women who has had difficulty trying to conceive will know of the constant worry and turmoil that goes through your mind of is this month the one that has worked, when should I inform people, change my diet etc. Synthetic hormones are nice if they regulate your cycle and even better if you dont have periods for the duration your using it but when you stop using it, BAM! Your normal cycle returns with vengeance and you’re wondering WHY?!?

As the article states “we are often given 2 choices contraception or pregnancy”. What if you didn’t want either? It also reminds us that “in science, just like in life, female hormones are seen as a hindrance”. This is most certainly true and all you need to do to prove it is look as our business sector or even just watch the Apprentice on TV. Women don’t always want to make the choice of job or children and quite often want both but its too much to have job, children and husband if he works too. Men quite often do not do housework etc. Yes attitudes are changing but its a glacial process.

The ideas that are brought up about how the hormones are skewing our mate selection are extremely critical. I think it was relevant in my case. The libido certainly was. I have anxiety and panic attacks due to my aspergers anyway. I think I’m prone to depression too.

Christmas sweets

I love Christmas food. I eat loads of Christmas puddings and mince pies each and every year. I start when they start appearing in shops in Sept/Oct and continue into the new year buying up the reduced supplies to last me until I’m sick of them or they disappear which happened surprisingly quickly this January. Usually I’m eating them until Spring and the biggest pudding is left until the next Christmas. I like sampling each years offering from the different brands, shops and recipes in general.

Recently I went to waitrose as they have the Heston Blumenthal range 25% off and if you have a mywaitrose card its a further 10% off. These are still fairly expensive but for an occasional treat which is what Christmas is there good. I got the Earl Grey Stollen as his Earl Grey Hot Cross Buns were very nice at Easter. I also got the spiced mince pies and the hidden clementine christmas pudding. Since there really only for me the hidden orange christmas pudding would have been too big.

The mince pies have the normal shortcrust pastry with a lattice top but in addition to the usual mincemeat, they have lemon curd and rosewater to prevent them from drying out too much. There also topped with flaked almonds and come with tangerine sugar to add on top to make them look snowy. This makes them very cheffy and definitely for showing off. I had them plain and with sugar and cream. I will have them warm later on. (My husband starting eating them so I didn’t manage this) I thought there was a bit too much going on here as I can’t detect it all but then I have a rubbish sense of smell and also in the last weeks waitrose weekender, your sense of smell is important in regards to how something tastes. In addition these are the kind of pies you need to have with Stilton and some port not on there own to appreciate there flavours properly.

Me and hubby had the stollen together which was very nice but he got bored of it after a while so I finished it. We also had the hidden clementine Christmas pudding. This is certainly a sharing pudding as it’s really rich but we didn’t really enjoy it that much. Maybe because I’m lazy and microwave them and puddings really need steaming. The clementine didn’t really do it for us and we would much rather just have normal Christmas pudding. So I will not be buying the hidden orange and last year I gave my mum a gold Christmas pudding and she said that was far too sweet and she would much rather have a normal one too.