Another thing that was keeping me busy over the last couple of months is that I was helping All Bar One launch their new beer range. Each October they do a special push on beers and are trying to create a genuinely exciting collection of beers from around the world, not just the usual selection of overpriced lagers with obscure provenance and interchangeable product delivery.
This year, like last year, I wrote the blurb and tasting notes which is currently sitting in a very attractive booklet on every table in each of All Bar One’s 37 outlets.
OK so it was paid work and I’m bound to be positive, and while ‘the world’s best beers’ might be a bit of an overclaim, they’re doing some really interesting stuff – far more interesting than you’d expect from a chain like this. The highlight this year is the world exclusive launch of Duvel Green on draught. It’s 6.5%, and while it’s still definitely Duvel, it’s a little lighter, a bit more quaffable. Other beers include a keg version of Adnam’s East Green, which is jolly nice, Kasteel Cru Rose (not my cup of tea, but lots of people like it), Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Budvar Dark, Worthington White Shield and Meantime Chocolate. You can find out more about the full range with my tasting notes here: http://www.all-bar-one.co.uk/classics/index.htm
The new food menu is also genuinely excellent, and we did a bit of food matching in the back of the booklet. One that didn’t make the cut is Guinness with their melted chocolotae pudding. Truly awesome, and I guess Meantime Chocolate would go even better.
It’s well worth getting down there – several big chains are starting to look more closely at their beer ranges, and while they’re never going to break new ground for the hardened beer aficionado, it’s got to be a good thing worth encouraging.