What are you drinking Marcus?

It’s time to introduce a new type of post I may have shamefully ripped off from a podcast I listen to… What are you drinking Marcus?

In 2014 my amazing Wife invested in a small micro brewery startup called Sacre Brew and ordered me a number of beers as a Christmas gift. This for me was the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received as I have a love of artisanal beers and I love the idea of investing in startups as my numerous indiegogo and kickstarter purchases have shown! Louise appears on the Sacre Brew Community page!

They arrived just in time for Christmas with a little hand written note advising how to store them and to leave a few for a couple of days to allow the process to finish.

So today I thought I’d open the first of bottle of 11 different beers, I’ve waited long enough!

Sacre Brew – Hailstone tripel

It’s very lively and very strong at 7.8% volume, it certainly warms you from the inside. It’s fizz is a little more than I’m used to (I’m not a fan of lager beers!) but it’s not unpleasant. Drinking 1/2 the bottle actually has my head swimming a little already! It reminds me very much of Blue Moon American beer and a citrus slice of orange could accompany it very well. I do have 2 more bottles of Hailstone, I will give that a try that next time!

It’s perhaps a little to strong for a school night, but on a cold Christmas evening it would be perfect! Just the one though it’s at the limit of your NHS 3-4 Units per day!!

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My coffee bean search is almost over

I’m currently into my 2nd month of Pact coffee shipping and thought I’d write a few words about my experience so far. (Spoiler, it’s fantastic!)

Pact coffee is a UK startup that ships coffee in various forms (full bean/ ground) direct to your door, their differentiator is their coffee is freshly roasted very close to your shipping date which improves the coffee flavour noticeably.

WHAT IS PACT? At Pact we are on a mission to get the UK drinking better coffee by making incredible, freshly roasted coffee accessible to everyone. Our world-class beans are bought from dedicated farmers, roasted in small batches in Herefordshire and shipped within 7 days. Our coffee isn’t ground until the last possible moment before being sent straight to you to enjoy.

How it works

F1414747243_thumb.jpegrom their website you answer some straight forward questions about you coffee-making setup (filter/cafetiere/espresso/aeropress etc) and how you enjoy your coffee (milk / sugar) and it then makes some recommendations on some coffee they are roasting now. You select the coffee and within a day or 2 (Next day for me both times) the yummy coffee arrives with a nice little coffee magazine to read.

Then every 2 weeks another shipment of coffee will arrive, either the same roast or a semi random selection based on your original answers. It’s possible to change or pause your order if you start getting too much delivered or are off on holiday and then take it up again a few weeks later.

How does it taste


1414747232_thumb.jpegI’m fairly fussy when it comes to coffee, I’ve tried many supermarket beans trying to find my favourite and my search never really ended. Some were ok, some were damn awful!

The 2 sets of coffee from Pact have been really really nice. I’m not usually an espresso person, more of an Americano (hot milk thanks) as the extra water removes a lot of the bitterness of some coffees, yet a Pact espresso is very nice. Smooth and tasty. A double espresso and a splash of hot water and milk is a fantastic way to start my day. I’m reliably informed that it tastes great in a latte also!

Improvements to the service

1414747223_thumb.jpegBeing the only real coffee drinker in the house the 2 week cycle of new coffee arriving is a little to aggressive, I think every 4 weeks fits our households coffee drinking habits better. As I wrote earlier it is possible to skip / move deliveries easily if you have too much coffee and they email you a day or 2 before they ship allowing you pause your order or change to a different coffee, so it’s not a huge headache but a default 4 week delivery option would be useful for me!

Pact are currently running a promotion so you can try their coffee for only £1 if you use this code  (I also get a free t-shirt) it’s a great offer if you like good coffee!

 

Introduce three coffee-loving friends to Pact and we’ll post you a limited edition T-Shirt… Your personal invitation code is: MARCUS-UBYQHQ Anyone with access to this code will be able to claim their first bag of Pact Coffee for £1.

Or if you’re passing my house drop in and I’ll fix you up a great Pact coffee myself! ;o)

Guinness Dublin Porter

I have been looking forward to trying the new beer from Guinness based on Arthur Guinness original brewing experimental notebooks dating back to 1796 for some time. The recipe for Dubin Porter is based on Arthurs 200 year old experiments and is very dark in colour with a distinctive taste. At taste of 200 years ago perhaps?
Whilst I enjoyed the taste I found it a little too gassy for my taste, I preferrer the smoothness of freshly poured Guinness still.

You can find out a little more of this new beer at the Telegraph Website.

Homemade scratchings, perfect with beer!

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Decided to make a pulled pork chilli for Sunday supper  and once I’d trimmed off the excess fat and skin I thought I’d try my hand at some homemade pork scratchings to go with a beer and the Villa game on the TV.

The bad news is it’s still 2 hours till kick off and there’s only 4 pieces left!

Recipe is supper easy;

 

 

 

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Trim off any excess fat from the back of the skin but not all of it. Then cut the skin into bite size pieces and place in a roasting tin, season with some salt and leave it rest for 15 mins at room temperature. Whilst your waiting turn on the oven as high as it goes to let it warm.

After the 15 mins dab the pork with a kitchen roll and remove any moisture that has escaped.

Throw it in the top of the oven for 20 minutes.

 

 

 

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After 20 mins take a look in the oven and the pork should be crispy and golden, if not give it another 5 minutes. Once golden remove the scratchings and place in a bowl with some kitchen roll to remove any excess oil and allow to cool for 5-6 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Once cooler, (They should be a little warm still) I sprinkled them some Nando’s Peri-Peri chip sprinkle as I thought it would make a nice appetizer for the chilli pulled pork later!

Coffee how it should be, BBotE.

I recently purchased 2 bottles of a rather exotic coffee beverage called Black Blood of the Earth. What makes this beverage is special is the way it’s produced and the quality of the finished article. The Black Blood of the Earth (or BBotE for short) is a cold vacuum extraction coffee concentrate. It was created by a diabetic with a sweet tooth out of his need for caffeine but without adding sugar and cream to cover the bitterness. While the goal was to make a rich, flavorful coffee full of delicious oils, caffeine was also concentrated as a pleasant surprise. According to back of the envelope rough estimates, the caffeine is concentrated about 40 times higher than normal drip coffee.

So whats it like?

Considering the amount of caffeine I imagined a rather bitter taste, how wrong I was. It’s almost sweet neat with no after taste, except smooth coffee… if you can imagine coffee tasting as it smells when it’s freshly ground you’d be half way there!

How to drink.

I have 3 prefered ways currently.

  • 1 shot of BBotE, on it’s own and sipped slowly. Great for Sunday mornings.
  • 1 shot of BBotE in a mug with some hot water added to give it some warmth is a great way to start my weekday commute.
  • 1 shot of BBotE with a 400ml of Guinness poured over creates a lovely coffee Guinness, a little like a Baileys cream! An early evening treat! Crazy but it works!

If your interested in trying for yourself head over to Funranium Labs & Store. It’s only available from the creator in the US however there is a small army of worldwide ‘pushers’ who can ship more locally including one in London.