IN less than a year, my little Big Log shot from 10,000 total views to more than 100,000 earlier today. How did that happen? The 200-300 daily hits would partly explain that. But who’s reading? And why? For that, I’m hugely, and humbly grateful, and chuffed by my tiny band of fans, regular readers and subscribers. Even if I don’t know what you get out of my ill-informed opinions.
The other 999,995 readers however, are harder to explain. Mostly, they stumble upon this pokey little blog while searching for their favourite lager. Some of whom proceed to leave comments ranging from the rapid to the stultifyingly obnoxious about how their subjective opinion is better than my subjective opinion. Nevertheless, I’m chuffed to bits that anyone reads these posts at all.
Since starting this blog, there has been a flood of no one asking “what are your favourite beers?” Answering that question is not easy. Partly because there are so many types. And partly because people in anoraks will grumble.
Throwing caution to the wind, the most memorable was the Ruddles Rhubard I tried a year ago. No other beer smells of vanilla and tastes of rhubarb while still being an outstanding ale. If it had a face, it would be wearing a spinning bow tie and a clown nose. That’s the kind of lunatic creativity that reminds you why British ales are so much fun. The trouble is, I’ve never seen it on sale since.
So what do I drink that you can actually buy in the shops? If you’ve read any of the recent posts, you would probably guess Hoegaarden White Beer. And you’d be right. Sure, the Dutch, German and Austrian competitors are excellent. But you can’t buy any of them in the thousands of tiny off-licenses and supermarkets around London.
If getting drunk quickly is your thing, then Gaymer K Cider is the way to go. Okay, I’ve not exactly taken it too the limit. But I think you stand much less chance of ending up in A & E with vomit down the front of your tee-shirt than you would with super-strength lager. Alternatively, a Scotch and ginger or Gin and tonic (as I’m enjoying right now) are both equally refreshing ways of intoxicating yourself quickly.
Any other honourable mentions? Crikey, there’s too many to name. There are countless ales from around the British Isles that are outstanding or special in their own funny way. Badger Tangle Foot, Badger Golden Glory, Fuller’s ESB, Wychwood Fiddler’s Elbow, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Wells Bombardier Satanic Mills and Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer are the first that sprung to mind.
Then there’s the genius that is are European ales. Special mentions here go to Duvel Belgian Golden Ale and Leffe Blonde. Both of which I buy regularly, not just because they are exquisite, but because the shops here sell them.
Cider turned out to be less interesting than I’d hoped. I’m still looking out for ‘real’ cider. Until I find it, Westons Premium Organic Cider is the best I’ve tried so far.
Then we get to the ones from further away. Frustratingly, most that turn up here are lagers. But despite this handicap, there are some stunners. For your curry, Bangla Premium Beer does nicely. From Poland, Perła Chmielowa Premium Pils Beer and Leżajsk Beer surprised by being good. Obolon Velvet proved that the Ukraine, and Eastern-Europe in general knew how to make excellent beer that wasn’t lager. And Pilsner Urquell astonished by living up to the hype. And not bad going, considering I knew almost nothing about beer when I started this blog.
In an attempt not to be typecast as the “beer guy”, I’ve tried my hand at other things too. Snacks for instance. The trouble with that was how difficult it was to find something interesting to say about a pickle. To save you from having to read my snack food reviews, all you need to know is that MS Black Country Pork Scratchings, Smiths Scampi Flavour Fries and John West Boneless Sardines are delicious. And that most pickled gherkins are the same.
Citizen journalism wasn’t beyond the bounds of my Big Log. Taking full advantage of London’s incredible East-End, I’ve been caught up in all kinds of danger. The protests at the Olympic Torch relay got me hooked on the adrenalin rush. But that was nothing compared to being “kettled” and charged at by riot police at the G20 protests in the City.
Those are the bits of the past I can remember. Where is it going in the future? I have no idea. But I can’t wait to find out.
What are your favourite posts or comments?
What do you like or dislike about this blog?
Got any requests for anything you want to see written about here?
Thanks for reading, chaps! Normal opinionated rambling will be resumed next post.