I've been terribly remiss recently and have not posted anything for over a week - mainly because I've been behaving myself and avoiding pubs till payday. However, this week I'm on leave, so I thought I would a) do some concerted beer hunting around the neighbourhoods of West/North West Birmingham, particularly looking for East European treats; and b) try and put some photos on my blog - something I've singularly failed to do so far.
A week or so ago (prior to this week's beer hunting) I took a walk from City Hospital to Cape Hill, 'hitting' [that's slang for checking out] all the shops, mini-marts and local stores specialising in continental produce. I must have nosed around in 5 or 6 shops in total and picked up 6 beers (2 of which I wrongly believed I'd never tried before - Gambrinus Svetly and Zlatopramen 11). The four genuinely new ones for me, were as follows:
Redds Cranberry - an almost unbearably sweet Cranberry flavoured lager. I couldn't finish this one, as my teeth were starting to erode. Avoid.
Argus - a perfectly average Polish lager, with moments of breaded bedspread and cellotape.
Corgon - a Slovakian lager, erroneously listed as 10% (though it is actually 4%) which is yet to be sampled. As is.....>>
Kolson Super - an 8.6% lager of mysterious origin. So mysterious in fact that it doesn't yet exist on Ratebeer. To rectify this I have been badgering the Polish and Croatian RB admins to help me out in identifying this beaut. The latest thinking is that it's brewed by the Polish arm of a Danish multinational brewer, which may or may not have transferred ownership to a different Polish brewer, following a purchase of shares..... And people think think that drinking beer is just a bit of a doss! Honestly.
Here is a photo of Kolson and Corgon:
The Kolson can really is rather cool isn't it? Reminds me of Knight Rider.
Today's beer hunting was via the number 11 bus route and took me firstly to Handsworth, then Witton. Handsworth is a brilliant treasure trove of shops, representing a cornucopia of different countries. I could have walked the length of Soho Road, or wandered down Grove Lane, but I'll have to do those another time. Today's stroll covered Rookery Road.
First I popped into a a Vietnamese supermarket, but sadly, they had no Vietnamese beer :(
On a more positive note, visits to 4 different Baltic/Polish/Czech stores yielded up 5 new beers - 3 Lithuanians, a Latvian and a Polish. Here are some more photos:
First up, here's a strange one -Ragutis Smetoniska Duonos Gira, from Lithuania. I bought it, not really knowing what it was, but have since learnt that it's a KVASS, a low alcohol 'beer', made from fermented bread (I think). I haven't a clue how palatable this will be, but I love the gold foil which tops the can.
(Ignore the two bottles in the background, we'll get to those later).
Here's a picture of Wojak - today's Polish lager. Rather strong at 6.0%, but not labelled as a Mocne.
Finally, in terms of East European-ness, is Cesu from Latvia.
The other 2 beers were Svyturys Ekstra Draught (which you can spot to the back right of Cesu, above) and Kalnapilis Original - 2 standard looking Lithuanians.
The other part of this mornings festivities was a trip to Tesco in Witton, which is rather towards the other end of the beer hunting scale (i.e. the not very challenging end).
In Tesco, I picked up 3 beers which I was supposed to sample last Sunday, in a triply blogged collaboration with CAMRGB and Porter Pages. In a display of rare incompetence, I managed to totally cock up the acquisition of Cains Calcutta Pale Ale, Marston Pale Ale and Fullers Mighty Atom, as every Tesco within my weekend range did not stock them. Consequently I ended up across the other side of the City, picking them up 3 days late. In any case I will sample them tonight and tweet my findings, before the comments of the three bloggers are sequewayed together into a single blog piece, which will be published on the Campaign for Really Good Beer site - look out for it.
Why those 3 beers in particular? Well, they are 3 x 2.8% efforts, so below 3 percent, being sampled by 3 different bloggers. 3 is the magic number. Neat huh?
Here's your last photo, where you can see the '3 under 3%' and the other results of this morning's haul.