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I have noticed in recent days that the Government's attempt to reduce alcohol consumption by asking brewers to voluntarily cut the strength of their drinks has started to kick in. Stella Artois is now below 5.0% while Budweiser is down to 4.8% from the same figure. The problem is that the alcohol content of a beer and the other ingredients within it are a synergy, meaning changing one thing - in this case the amount of alcohol - will significantly effect the taste of the brew unless the other ingredients are altered too. Effectively, you need to brew a whole new beer. However, what seems to have happened is that the brewers have just reduced the alcohol content and kept everything else the same - the result being worse beer than before. It's a shame but sadly the Government (of all political parties - the last lot were just as bad) don't seem to think adults can make decisions for themselves regarding how to live their lives so we have to have this imposed upon us instead. I resent this but what can you do? I suppose there are always alternatives.

Anyway, here's my latest beer tasting notes.

Cēsu Light (4.2%) - "Tas nav alus,tas ir aliņš" it says on the back of the bottle. I don't know what it means but I wholeheartedly agree. This Latvian beer was a nice pale lager with a surprisingly high amount of body. Great to drink while snacking something.

Servus (4.5%) - This beer came in a regal looking red and white can, slightly communist in its approach with a double headed eagle as its registered trademark. This is a pasteurised beer that's imported to many countries so, perhaps unsurprisingly, it was a fizzy and unremarkable affair which is probably nice in an English pub on a warm summer's day. Sat in front of my computer in March, less so. Grainy, thin and watery, strangely and luridly yellow.

Warsteiner (4.8%) - A standard German pilsner really, with a nice gold label and described as "Eine Königin unter den Bieren". It's quite a mellow affair with a drying aftertaste but it can be prone to being overly fizzy again. Brewing excellence since 1753 apparently. I'd say standard fare since that time in all honesty.

Goose Island Mild Winter (5.6%) - I love Chicago's Goose Island brewery. They brew some wonderful American IPAs and this Christmas beer is everything you'd expect. Deep, dark, rich and sweet, this truly was a warming brew for a cold January evening. Apparently it should be served in a Willi Glass, which is something I'm sure I once saw in a sex shop.

Жигулёвское (4.0%) - A brew from Russia's Baltika brewery, imported to Germany in an authoritatian puce labelled bottle with the Romanised Zhigulyovskoye written on the label. The beer itself was surprisingly tasty, a light beer with a fair dollop of flavour.

Nøgne ø Two Captains (8.5%) - A delightfully deep flavoursome brew from my second favourite brewery in the world. At 8.5% this double IPA is tempered just right - a delicious balance of alcohol and flavour, mellow, slightly drying and incredibly moreish. I love it. Absolutely love it. Brewed with Jan Halvor Fjeld, the winner of the Norwegian homebrewing championship, this beer is a true winner indeed.

Nøgne ø Pale Ale (6.0%) - I tend to find anything greater than 5.0% strength makes for a good beer and this standard pale ale doesn't disappoint. Described as a "light, yet quite assertive ale", I cannot disagree with what's written on the label. Refreshing, hoppy, malty and with a citrus finish, it's an ideal beer to be quaffing while nibbling on tortillas.

Švyturio Šviesusis Alus (5.0%) - Moving to Lithuania now and another fine brew from the Švyturys brewery, which started brewing in 1784. The bottle label looks classy and the drink a delicate sympthony of flavour, this is definitely another fantastic 'standard' beer but then I do love Lithuania's brewing tradition.

Einstök Olgerd Icelandic Pale Ale (5.6%) - Packs a punch like the most ferocious Viking sailing the high seas in December. Stylish blue label, nice horny Viking warrior motif and a delicious beer made crisper due to the water used. Located just 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle in the fishing port of Akureyri, the Einstök brewery uses glacial water from the Hilðarfjall Mountain which flows through lava fields, picking up minerals which adds depth to the taste. Certainly a unique brew and one I hope to try again. Golden in colour with tastes of citrus fruit and sultanas. Heavy on the malt, light on the hops, as you would expect really.
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I have finally had chance to write up my rough Beer Tasting Notes from my trip to Russia in November. I have tried to use the Russian at all times but in some cases, I cannot find it and in others, the beers are from Western Europe and are sold as such. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed tasting all these brews ^^

Жигулевское (4.0%) - Crisp, nice tasting and refreshing. Nothing particularly special - a very typical European pale lager but certainly a promising baptism into the world of Russian beer.

Бочка Свемлое (4.7%) - Pleasant pilsner, not too special but the bottle does have a very distinguished label. This one was dark green!

Shikari Unfiltered - We had this in a sushi bar right next to Red Square. This beer had a very intense flavour, perhaps too intense. A pasteurised beer with a deep deep taste, it went very well with salmon roe and avacado. A nice accompaniement to the food.

Shikari Bamboo - The sushi bar took great pride in the fact that this beer was being sold outside its native Japan. Putrid green beer with added bamboo - surprisingly smooth, slightly dry aftertaste but somehow it worked.

Балтика избранное (Baltika 5, 5.3%) - A beautifully rich gold colour, the taste matches its glorious sight. Like a filtered beer, absolutely gorgeous and definitely one of the best brews from the giant Baltika brewery.

Сибирская Корона Lime (4.5%) - Refreshing, sweet, limey - from one of the major brands in Russia, sadly owned by InBev.

Сибирская Корона (5.0%) - Average pilsner, dry and sweet. Pretty much the standard, typical and most popular beer in Russia. It can be found in most bars and restaurants. The Fosters of Russia even though it is apparently brewed from "barley malt of high quality with addition of rice and with a special yeast strain". The assertion that it "quenches thirst perfectly" is about right though.

Охота Крепкое (8.0%) - Gorgeous high strength and heavy bodied beer. Golden to amber in colour, it has an aroma and taste of toffee, green apples, grass, burning embers and liquorice. It's also a fantastic way to end a long day sightseeing in Moscow.

Baltika Razlivhoe Nefil'trovannoe (4.6%) - Average beer, a little too fizzy. This is an unpasteurised beer and the taste got a wee bit sickly after a while.

Василеостровское светлое - Very pleasant mild beer with no sharp aftertaste. As a pilsner should be, in many ways.

Edelweiss (5.0%) - A very pleasant Austrian wheat beer, not harsh or abrasive with a semi-sweet and smooth taste. 100% Alpine Weissbier, the marketing says, so quite what it was doing in Moscow I am not too sure.

Бочкарев светлое (4.7%) - A refreshing, if slightly bitter, tipple, largely due to the pre-eminence of hops. It also has a soft foretaste due to the unique blend of malts.

три медведя (4.7%) - Literally meaning Three Bears, this beer is not too sweet and not too bitter, but just riiiiight. Brewed in Kaliningrad, this is a clear and golden brew. Like a horsey's breakfast such is the hay taste.

Jäger Bier - Wolfie says 'nice', such is his contribution to this rather piss poor beer guide. I would say this is a smooth and refreshing tipple, slightly sweet, and I think entirely unrelated to the aniseed liqeur which bears a similar name.

Pražský most světlé (12.0%) - We had this in the Jäger Bar in St Petersburg, a rather odd place to find a stunning Czech beer. This was rather smooth but drying on the palate. Excellent with 'beer toast'.

Pražský most tmavé (13.0%) - A deep ruby red colour and intense, melt in the mouth, deep flavour. Possibly one of the most gorgeous beers I have ever tasted. Ended up drinking this whilst watching Bob The Builder sing a song about big fox, little fox, cardboard box.

Vasileostrovskaya Dark (5.2%) - Delicious, sweet, deep flavour. That's all I wrote down and as it has been six weeks since I tried it, that's all I can really remember. I really should have written this out before now, look, some of the alcohol percentages are missing too!

Контакт светлое - Brewed specifically for the Контакт Bar chain, where we spent a marvellous Friday evening in St Petersburg, this is a cool and refreshing beer with no taste whatsoever. Quite weak but after a few, none of that seems to matter. Pleasant enough I suppose and nice with pepperoni and pickle pizza.

Крынiца (4.6%) - Surprisingly, a Belarusian beer we didn't discover in Belarus. This beer is very drying on the palate and is quite standard. The brewery started operations in 1975, you may be interested to know.

Трехсосенское светлое (4.0%) - The brewery started brewing this little number in 1888. Extremely dry with a soft, sweet, yet odd, aftertaste. Slightly tangy with a buttery and woody-hoppy nose. Light bodied, bordering on urine coloured.

Степан Разин (4.9%) - From a brewery founded in 1795, this is a distinctly average and bland beer. You would have thought after 200 years they would have managed to get it right but sadly not. It has a picutre of some beardy bloke on the label.

Балтика Пшеничное (Baltika 8, 5.0%) - A wheat beer with an unpleasantly rich aftertaste. Best avoided. I had a couple of sips and was almost sick. The label on the bottle is also creamy yellow, like stale cum, and enough to give you a headache.

клинское светлое (4.5%) - Another bland and uninspiring beer which I can't fully remember. You are not missing much.

Budwar Dark (4.7%) - Stout like aftertaste, quite drying. We drank this, bizarrely, in a bar at Domodedovo Airport called Fosters Bar. It sold nothing but this and Fosters. It was nearly £6 a pint but good to sip as we watched the airside action from the bar's windows.
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Another day, another week, another month. And another Beer Tasting Notes where I can ramble on about all the ingenious ways I have discovered to poison my liver.

Alhambra Especial (5.4%) - A golden brew not dissimilar to the piss from a virgin boy. It tastes surprisingly sweet and not anywhere near as alcoholic as its 5.4% would suggest. It is also very refreshing and an ideal autumn brew.

Maes Pils (5.2%) - This beer comes in a simple brown bottle with the word Maes engraved into it. The label aroundthe neck is dark blue and advertises a beer with extra malt. This adds to the classy feel of this tipple, which has a significant depth ascribed to the malty taste. Sadly, it only came in a 25cl bottle, which makes puppy saaaaaaaad.

Cerveza Pacifico Clara (4.5%) - The label of this beer looks like it would be found on an eighteenth century pirate ship. The same is true of the bottle design. A rather forgettable beer with the slight aftertaste of seamen, it is what I would describe as a fourth beer of the night beer. Still, sing along - what shall we do with the drunken puppy...

Harviestoun Schiehallion (4.8%) - An unpronouncable Scottish beer whose name sounds like the bitter ramblings of a divorced Glaswegian at closing time on a Friday night. This beer describes itself as crisp, refreshing and dry, after the famous Scottish mountain of Schiehallion, after which its named. It also has a mild grapefruity taste. It's a little dry for my liking but it is a nice beer.

Pott's Landbier (4.8%) - I do love those bottle tops which look like a Schold's Bridle. The ones with an elastic band around the rim which you have to flick off. I think I bought this at a German petrol station for a nominal amount of money on my way home from Eurofurence. On the back there is a label with three women on it, advertising 'Volle Pulle Partyspass!' It doesn't tempt me. The bottle looks like one of those trainer buttplugs you can buy but the liquid contained within is the nectar of the gods. One of the greatest beers I have ever tasted. Sweet like honey.

Boheme 1795 Pilsen (4.7%) - A distinctive floral aroma with a smooth crisp taste apparently. Tastes like generic fizzy pilsner to me. Still, a nice enough beer to drink while lounging in front of the TV.

Little Creatures Pale Ale (5.2%) - Of course Little Creatures should avoid drinking ale lest they end up on the front of a bottle wearing no clothes except for a pair of comedy angel wings. This beer from Fremantle, Australia, was a typical pale ale with a nice bouquet for an aftertaste. There was a dash of fruit in there too. It had a good depth.

Elland Brewary Amnesia (5.8%) - Another pale ale, this time closer to home. The label is a daunting magic eye picture which really fucks with your head once you have had a couple. It has a nice golden colour with a smell of summer fruits. To taste, it's a smooth, sweet and hoppy affair which is more saccarine than bitter. Definitely a winner in my book. Or on my blog for you pedants out there.

Fürstenberg Premium Lager (5.3%) - From the German town of Donaueschingen in the Black Forest, this pilsner lacks the dark air of the place of its birth. Instead it's a light and refreshing number, very smooth and an excellent example of a 'hand crafted, bottom fermented' lager. I am not sure what bottom fermented means, I certainly wouldn't want to drink anything fermented in somebody's bottom. Still, if it makes lager this good, perhaps it will catch on.

Švyturys Gintarinis Šviesusis Alus (4.6%) - Lithuania's Švyturys brewery has long been one of my favourites and this is probably my most favouritist brew they do. It's a nice golden beer, in a bottle with a golden label, and it's the ideal drink for long, warm summer days.

Aldaris Pilzenes (4.2%) - If you were to hand out prizes for best can design, then this beer would be one of the frontrunners. A beautiful blue and silver design with an image of an old village scene etched into the metal, it is certainly classy. The beer itself is a pleasant, smooth experience - a bit like being chatted up by Sean Connery. Only damper.

Dębowe Mocne (7.0%) - If you know me well, you will know I like strong beers. This Polish example comes in a classy beige and brown can which has a strong eighteenth century air about it. Brewed by the Tyskie brewery, this beer is rich, dark and deep - and makes you keep coming back for more. Very much the beverage equivalent of an abusive relationship.
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The Romanians tend to prefer the mainstream, mass-marketed, international brands but there are a few good local brews to be had, plus a range of other beers you would struggle to find in the UK. Instead of waiting two months like I did with my Ukrainian flavoured Beer Tasting Notes, let's have a look now at what I sampled...

Ciuc (5.0%) - Pronounced 'chuck', this beer is delightful. With a crisp, deep flavour and a slightly drying aftertaste, this full-bodied and naughty tipple is probably my favourite of the whole trip.

Ursus (5.0%) - This beer is one of those salutary tales where it's best to judge it in all available forms. I had it at the football match on draft, where it was rather flavourless and very watered down. However, in bottles it had a far cleaner flavour. Claiming to be the reigning beer of Romania, it couldn't even reign over my heart.

Holsten Unfiltered - Apparently the Holsten brewery does this and it is most agreeable. It has a nice tangy and citrus flavour, with a slightly odd taste. It never gets sickly though and I had a good three or four after the football match.

Ankerbräu Nördlingen - I believe this is a German beer, brewed in the Bavarian town of Nördlingen since 1608. It's another one with a very odd, almost metallic, taste but one which grows with you after each sip. I drank this one in the restaurant on the Sunday and, again, three or four of these don't get sickly.

Clausthaler (0.0%) - Bought in the hotel in Sinaia because there was nothing else I hadn't tried, this beer is a perfectly acceptable take on the non-alcoholic variety. Due to the lack of alcohol, it perhaps tastes slightly too malty.

Bergenbier (5.0%) - This is one of the most popular brands in Romania. I drank it overlooking Peles Castle on the Monday, a well-deserved reward after three hours of intensive mountain walking. With that view, anything is going to taste good. This drink has a harsh, strong taste and has a very close similarity to Stella. As in Artois, not McCartney.

Timişoreana (5.0%) - This beer is brewed in the north-west city of Cluj by the same brewery who make Ursus (SAB Miller). Brewed since 1718, this is a very smooth, deep tasting beer which does not reflect the fact that it's made by one of the big four breweries.

Albacher (4.8%) - A tinny, disappointing beer which was ridiculously fizzy. I couldn't finish this, but then it was warm and I did need to go to bed.
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Utenos Specialial Iškyloms (5.0%) - This is smoother than the original Utenos and comes in a delightful blue and silver can. Sadly, the can is probably the best thing about this brew as it is decidedly average. Nice picture of a buff gentleman and a bakini-clad girl on the container though.

Baltika2 (4.7%) - Another brew from Russia's Baltika brewery, and one of the better ones. Mellow, clean and an excellent accompaniment to American Dad! This smooth brew is very drinkable indeed.

Ratskrone Pilsner Premium (4.7%) - I think I bought this in a petrol station in Germany for 99 cents. It tastes like it was bought in a petrol station for 99 cents. Perfectly acceptable if not unremarkable.

Lech Pils (5.5%) - Smoother and less gassy than original Lech, this alternative brand from this Polish brewery is a real winner. It comes in a nice gold and green can too, very regal.

Wernesgrüner (4.9%) - We bought a six-pack of this from Kaufland while at EF. Comfortably the most disappointing beer I have ever had out of Germany. Tasteless and incredibly gassy - the German answer to Foster's.

Goose Island India Pale Ale (5.9%) - Chicago's Goose Island is one of my favo(u)rite breweries. This pale ale is quite simply gorgeous. There's a nice deep taste of hops to it while it's also very refreshing.

Goose Island Honker's Ale (4.3%) - Not as nice as their pale ale but it's still a very quaffable brew with considerable depth of flavo(u)r. Quite unique in taste for an ale.

Phoenix Fresh (3.5%) - Beer with lemon?! Surprisingly, this works. However, it may start off refreshing but it becomes more and more like toilet cleaner the further down the bottle you go. In the end it's just sickly. This is a product of Mauritius. which I thought was worth a mention.
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I didn't get the opportunity to write up my beer tasting notes from Ukraine. They have been saved on my phone for the last two months. So let's take a look at the fantastic brews this country has to offer.

Бочка свiтле (Bochka Light) - Clean and crisp with a drying taste.

Krušovice - A Czech lager which is surprisingly ubiquitous in Ukraine (well, not that surprising as soon as you find out it's owned by the Heineken group). It is very fizzy with a strange aftertaste. Like gargling with marzipan. I am not a fan.

Львівське свiтле (Lvivske Light, 3.7%) - Golden, slightly drying on the palate. Pleasant enough though, just not the best light beer I have ever tasted.

Рогань (Rogan) - Another light beer, sweet tasting, slightly gassy. Nothing particularly special - it doesn't quench the thirst on a 30 degree July day, that's for sure. Might work well with a particular curry, considering its name.

Валтика7 (Baltica7, 5.4%) - Gassy, weak, uninspiring. Don't bother - the Валтика brewery does far better brands. And to think this is their export beer! This is the one you can buy in the UK!! That probably says something.

Валтика3 (Baltica3, 4.8%) - Nice mild flavour but drying on the palate. Very refreshing with a deep hoppy texture. A definite winner from this famous Russian brewery and one of the delights of a four hour delay at Kyiv airport.

Валтика0 (Baltika0, 0.0%) - Non-alcoholic but surprisingly refreshing. Actually better than Валтика7. Again, it made the delay go that little bit faster.

Львівське Живе (Lvivske Zhive, 4.8%) - Живе means 'Alive' because this is an unpasteurised tipple with a shelf life of a mere 30 days. This is a very pleasant breakfast beer (yes, we did drink this at breakfast time). Full bodied and rich in flavour. It is also extremely fresh tasting. Gets a bit sickly towards the end though.

Львівське 1715 (Lvivske 1715, 4.0%) - This is one of the premium brands of the Львівське brewery. Based in Львів, it is unsurprising to discover that there is a strong Polish influence in the company's brewing tradition. This beer had a pleasant aftertaste but was slightly drying. Still, worthy of a special mention.

Оболонь Tуiаиiум (Obolon Typemiym, 5.0%) - Apparently, this is one of Оболонь's Premium beers. My verdict? Very fizzy, slightly drying, quite hoppy but a beautiful golden colour.

Zibert Original (5.6%) - A German beer which, like Kuwovice, is surprisingly ubiquitous. It is brewed by the Оболонь brewery specifically for the Ukrainian market. Advertised by a geeky German guy wearing glasses who has his house invaded by reporters at 4am. This is a nice sweet beer, very smooth, and delightful to drink after hearing the news of the closure of The News of the World.

Hike (4.7%) - Bitter is the only word I have written to describe this. It is brewed by the Оболонь brewery, who rival Carlsberg for bland and insipid beers.

Арсенал (Arsenal, 4.4%) - Like sucking on liquified gunpower. Caustic aftertaste, dry. Not surprisingly, it's one of the budget brands.

Янтар (Yantar) - A budget brand in a country where the average bottle of beer costs 45p. Nothing outstanding, quite refreshing with a harsh bitter aftertaste. Golden though. Like drinking wee from a whisky drinker.

Чернiгiвське (Chernivske) - Quite a revelation, one of the best beers I have ever tasted. I can also get it in Bradford, which makes me happy. One of the biggest brands in Ukraine too.

Чернiгiвське вiле (Chernivske Bile) - Unpasteurised version of the above. Tastes lemony with little gas. Nice white label, giving it a refined feel, like a summer's day in eighteenth century France.

Славутич (Slavutich) - Quite a popular brand this, advertised by three dicks arsing about on a yacht whilst The Dandy Warholes' 'Bohemian Like You' is playing in the background. A pleasant enough beer, if unremarkable. Average.
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A slightly shorter version of beer tasting notes this week but I have been guzzling for your amusement so let's get the ball rolling with the latest brews I have discovered at whatever off licences I have been frequenting recently.

Bohemia Clasica (4.8%) - A bit of an odd name for a Mexican beer, to match the odd taste really. Unlike the Sols and Coronas of this world, this beer is a sweet pilsner type which gets progressively worse the warmer it gets. A little gassy, a little pale in taste but perfectly acceptable if it was the middle of February. It's one that needs to be drunk quickly otherwise the gas overrides the sweetness. A bit like making love to your partner and then blowing off at the point of orgasm.

Efes (5.0%) - A world famous Turkish beer, which rivals Carlsberg for its fizziness and lack of taste. I do like the blue and white can but I do find Efes underwhelming and unremarkable. Not a bad choice a couple of beers into an evening though.

Crown Lager (4.9%) - Think Castlemaine XXXX, think Foster's and this is only marginally better. The gold label says "Crown has represented the best of Australian beer since it was exported exclusively for our diplomats in 1919" which is reason enough never to visit the land Down Under.

Bangla (5.0%) - Moving over to Bangladesh now and I feel this beer is probably one of those which is best drunk in its country of origin. The label suggests it goes well with strongly flavoured foods, which I can quite believe. Sitting on the couch and watching Super Casino, it is somewhat underwhelming. Despite this, the balance of hops is a good one so it's pleasant enough.

Beer Lao (5.0%) - I like beers from SE Asia and this effort from Laos is no exception. Brewed with indigenous Laotian rice, you get a nice sweet flavour typical of brews from the region. The label has the local language on it, as well as a nice tiger insignia, and I must admit this was a thoroughly refreshing and rather delightful tipple.
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Due to my desperate attempts to try and shift a few pounds, this latest edition of Beer Tasting Notes has been a long time in the making. However, here it is for you to imbibe at your leisure.

Jaipur India Pale Ale (5.9%) - I had this pale ale at the Jaipur Curry House in Armley about four weeks ago. The deep hoppy flavour went well with my mild curry - a pleasant change to the usual fizzy lager (read Cobra or Kingfisher) which is typically served at Indian establishments. In fact, the intense flavour complemented the meal most perfectly despite my doubts about enjoying a happy marriage. And less gas means less bloatedness, meaning the after meal mint went down a treat.

Kalnapilis Grand (5.3%) - An unremarkable bitter lager which is one of the poorer brews to come out of the fine brewing country of Lithuania. A delightful golden colour, this beer was pleasant enough without being anything special. The description of 'Grand' is somewhat misplaced.

Żubr (6.0%) - A nice high strength beer with a picture of a bison on the front. Described as 'Okaz Natury' whatever that means, the deep green colour on the can evokes a dewy woodland scene. Think The New Forest on a damp November morning and you won't go far wrong. Nice enough without demanding to be drunk again.

Viru (5.0%) - Moving to Estonia now, I first encountered this distinctive beer in a trendy nightclub in Soho about three years ago. The most distinctive thing about this brew is the bottle, which is an eight sided pyramid tapering at the neck. It's a gentle sweet beer with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Very drinkable and perfect when clubbing. The deep blue label and engraved V signs on the bottle make this an exceptional, high quality product.

Смаръiй Мелънuк СВЕТЛОЕ (4.6%) - This Russian lager has a picture of a windmill on the front of the bottle. Leaves are also indented into the neck of the container. These are the most remarkable things about this unremarkable drink although it is pleasant enough. It has a smooth, slightly sweet taste and an anaemic golden hue.

Zelta Premium (5.2%) - Like dehydrated urine in colour, this beer starts off fizzy but loses its gaseous element very quickly. A slightly drying aftertaste, a gold label and a ship motif make this beer stand out. Latvia has produced better though.

Lāčplēsis Gaišais (5.0%) - Clean, crisp, drinkable and with a mild aftertaste, this beer is nectar of the gods. I am starting to fall in love with the Gaišais (pale) lagers of the Baltic lands and Lithuania is the country which does them best. Liquid gold is all I can say. Truly heavenly.

Warka Miara (5.7%) - Take a Warka on the wild side (sorry) with this high strength beer. In reality, it's very similar to other mainstream Polish brands such as Tyskie and Okocim - definitely one for the mass market. It's very fizzy too. It has been brewed since 1478, which makes you think they had time to create a tipple which is far better than this. Decidedly average but I like the striking red can. Definitely a third pint of the night option rather than something to savour.

Tuborg (4.6%) - I first tried this beer two years ago during a visit to Copenhagen. Back then, it was hardly known in the UK but nowadays it's almost ubiquitous. I like the distinctive flavour of this beer although it is an acquired taste. 136 years old and of a pilsner style, it's only drawback is that sometimes it's so gassy it forces you to sit on the toilet for quite a long time. Still, if you can overcome that, it's actually quite a nice beer. I have craved this one on a few occasions although you need to be in the right mood to tackle it.
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Another week and yet more beer has been imbibed. This is what I have been tasting over the last seven days:

Cēsu Light (4.2%) - This Latvian beer claims to come from the 'oldest brewery in the Baltics'. I am sceptical as I have been to four pubs in the UK which claim to be the smallest in the country. Brewed since 1590, this pilsner is a light, slightly hoppy effort which has a slight bitter aftertaste. Perfectly drinkable though and I imagine quite refreshing on a warm summer's day. Vegetating watching 'Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps' probably didn't do it justice.
Aldaris Pilzenes (4.2%) - Another Lativan beer at 4.2% and a far superior one to Cēsu Light. This has a sweet, light taste with a delicate aroma. It's also a beautiful golden colour which only adds to the sensation of drinking liquid gold. Brewed in Rīga since 1865, this pilsner has been a definite highlight of my Eastern European beer odyessy so far.
Aldaris Gaišais (5.0%) - The Aldaris brewery is fast becoming one of my most favourites in the world. This beer is truly gorgeous. It has a smooth and slightly smoky taste which slips down a treat. It was a true pleasure drinking this pilsner-style tipple, which was a slightly lighter colour to the pilsner previously described.
Gradisca (5.2%) - For many years, the Italian beer making tradition has slipped under the radar. Yet with Peroni and Birra Moretti gaining presence in Wetherspoons, I am discovering that Italy's beer is almost as good as its wine. Gradisca is a very moreish beer but not necessarily in a good way. It's the alcoholic equivalent of Fanta but without the orange taste - it is drying on the throat and rather bitter. Having said that, it does have a charm which is difficult to pinpoint. The lady on the front of the bottle looks like a cross between a vampritic Geisha girl and Little Red Riding Hood. This probably isn't a good thing.
Oболонь (5.0%) - This is one of the leading beers of Ukraine which, like Norway's Ringnes, is actually quite unremarkable. This beer was pleasant enough but it doesn't stick in the memory.
Augustiner-Braeu München Edelstoff (5.6%) - This must be a contender for one of the best beers ever produced. It's creamy, rich and velvety borne from nearly 700 years of brewing tradition. The label on the bottle looks like a pamphlet from 1328, the date of the brewery's foundation, whilst this beer is the alcoholic equivalent of that woman in the bath going down on a Flake in those old Cadbury's commercials. Truly, truly wonderous, enhanced by the gold leaf design of that label and the primitive bottle design. Liquid silk.
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Another week and yet more beer has been imbibed. This is what I have been tasting over the last seven days:

Cēsu Light (4.2%) - This Latvian beer claims to come from the 'oldest brewery in the Baltics'. I am sceptical as I have been to four pubs in the UK which claim to be the smallest in the country. Brewed since 1590, this pilsner is a light, slightly hoppy effort which has a slight bitter aftertaste. Perfectly drinkable though and I imagine quite refreshing on a warm summer's day. Vegetating watching 'Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps' probably didn't do it justice.
Aldaris Pilzenes (4.2%) - Another Lativan beer at 4.2% and a far superior one to Cēsu Light. This has a sweet, light taste with a delicate aroma. It's also a beautiful golden colour which only adds to the sensation of drinking liquid gold. Brewed in Rīga since 1865, this pilsner has been a definite highlight of my Eastern European beer odyessy so far.
Aldaris Gaišais (5.0%) - The Aldaris brewery is fast becoming one of my most favourites in the world. This beer is truly gorgeous. It has a smooth and slightly smoky taste which slips down a treat. It was a true pleasure drinking this pilsner-style tipple, which was a slightly lighter colour to the pilsner previously described.
Gradisca (5.2%) - For many years, the Italian beer making tradition has slipped under the radar. Yet with Peroni and Birra Moretti gaining presence in Wetherspoons, I am discovering that Italy's beer is almost as good as its wine. Gradisca is a very moreish beer but not necessarily in a good way. It's the alcoholic equivalent of Fanta but without the orange taste - it is drying on the throat and rather bitter. Having said that, it does have a charm which is difficult to pinpoint. The lady on the front of the bottle looks like a cross between a vampritic Geisha girl and Little Red Riding Hood. This probably isn't a good thing.
Oболонь (5.0%) - This is one of the leading beers of Ukraine which, like Norway's Ringnes, is actually quite unremarkable. This beer was pleasant enough but it doesn't stick in the memory.
Augustiner-Braeu München Edelstoff (5.6%) - This must be a contender for one of the best beers ever produced. It's creamy, rich and velvety borne from nearly 700 years of brewing tradition. The label on the bottle looks like a pamphlet from 1328, the date of the brewery's foundation, whilst this beer is the alcoholic equivalent of that woman in the bath going down on a Flake in those old Cadbury's commercials. Truly, truly wonderous, enhanced by the gold leaf design of that label and the primitive bottle design. Liquid silk.
lupestripe: (Default)
It has been a busy week of beer tasting - here is a list of beers and ales I have been enjoying this week.

Mahou (5.5%) -
This is made by the same brewery that does San Miguel. Out of a bottle, this high alcohol beer is quite sweet with a nice kick at the end. It also has an exceptionally clean and refreshing taste. A definite winner and a beer I could drink all day without getting bored.
Kasteel Cru (5.2%) - Posh beer for posh people, which you can buy in ASDA. It is a product of the Alsace region of France and comes in a champagne looking bottle. It is quite a nice beer, a little hoppy, but probably a bit gassy in all honesty. Not one to be drunk warm and certainly not as classy as the bottle suggests.
William Worthington's White Shield (5.6%) - Now I generally think British beer tastes like dishwater. However this India Pale Ale is an exception. Very drinkable, if slightly gassy, this has a nice nose and a delicate taste which is perfect for a warm summer's day. It does dry your mouth out though. Still, at least it's British. BRITISH!!! *waves flag yet doesn't know why*
Duvel Green (6.8%) - I have not found a beer which tastes like this slightly spicy light-bodied example. Due to its high strength, you can only buy it in half pints but it doesn't taste like 6.8% meaning that it is very easy to get drunk on it. It does have a slight sweetness which gets a tad sickly after a while though whilst it could do with being slightly less carbonated. Think citrus fruit and pot pourri and you won't be far wrong. Is it cinnamon that comes in long thin sticks? Something like that too.
Kozel (4%) - I have had this Czech beer in bottles, both in the UK and in the Republic, but had never tried it on tap. It is a nice beer, enhanced by the fact it is advertised by a talking goat, but it was far too fizzy and lacking in flavour for my tastes. I prefer it in the bottle, at least then it has a more mellow humour and a greater depth. Described as an "honest traditional beer", I am not too sure.
Leodis (4.6%) - This lager is brewed by the Leeds Brewery and I believe is exclusively sold in its outlets around the city. This pilsner style lager is brewed on site at The Brewery Tap pub. It has a soft nose, slightly buttery, whilst the taste is predominantly of citrus fruit. It leaves a dry taste on the palette, which makes you simply want to drink more. It is a bit too fizzy though so think the alcoholic equivalent of Tango.

I might as well go through the Brew Dog (from hereonin named Brew Puppy) beers as they are fantastic examples of Scottish endeavour and drunkenness.
Trashy Blonde (4.1%) - This beer is described as "a titillating, neurotic, peroxide, punk of a pale ale. Combining attitude, style substance and a little bit of low self esteem for good measure; what would your mother say?". The answer is mmm nice beer. Deliciously fruity, this is a very refreshing beer which goes down a treat. Loads of flavours to enjoy, this kept my whistle wet like the trashiest of blondes.
5am Saint (5%) - This is an amber ale, with a deeper taste and a higher alcoholic content to Trashy Blonde. I think I prefer it due to its hidden depth and complex flavour. It had a nice mellow taste from memory and this is the only Brew Puppy beer I went back for at the Leeds Meet.
Punk IPA (5.6%) - This modern classic pale ale definitely sneaks up on you. It doesn't taste like the 5.6% it is whilst the tropical fruits and light caramel tones add to this deception. It has a very strong fruity taste - like an explosion in a Lilt factory - and this adds to its refreshing appeal. Again though, I doubt I could drink too much of this beer for fear of being sick.
lupestripe: (Default)
It has been a busy week of beer tasting - here is a list of beers and ales I have been enjoying this week.

Mahou (5.5%) -
This is made by the same brewery that does San Miguel. Out of a bottle, this high alcohol beer is quite sweet with a nice kick at the end. It also has an exceptionally clean and refreshing taste. A definite winner and a beer I could drink all day without getting bored.
Kasteel Cru (5.2%) - Posh beer for posh people, which you can buy in ASDA. It is a product of the Alsace region of France and comes in a champagne looking bottle. It is quite a nice beer, a little hoppy, but probably a bit gassy in all honesty. Not one to be drunk warm and certainly not as classy as the bottle suggests.
William Worthington's White Shield (5.6%) - Now I generally think British beer tastes like dishwater. However this India Pale Ale is an exception. Very drinkable, if slightly gassy, this has a nice nose and a delicate taste which is perfect for a warm summer's day. It does dry your mouth out though. Still, at least it's British. BRITISH!!! *waves flag yet doesn't know why*
Duvel Green (6.8%) - I have not found a beer which tastes like this slightly spicy light-bodied example. Due to its high strength, you can only buy it in half pints but it doesn't taste like 6.8% meaning that it is very easy to get drunk on it. It does have a slight sweetness which gets a tad sickly after a while though whilst it could do with being slightly less carbonated. Think citrus fruit and pot pourri and you won't be far wrong. Is it cinnamon that comes in long thin sticks? Something like that too.
Kozel (4%) - I have had this Czech beer in bottles, both in the UK and in the Republic, but had never tried it on tap. It is a nice beer, enhanced by the fact it is advertised by a talking goat, but it was far too fizzy and lacking in flavour for my tastes. I prefer it in the bottle, at least then it has a more mellow humour and a greater depth. Described as an "honest traditional beer", I am not too sure.
Leodis (4.6%) - This lager is brewed by the Leeds Brewery and I believe is exclusively sold in its outlets around the city. This pilsner style lager is brewed on site at The Brewery Tap pub. It has a soft nose, slightly buttery, whilst the taste is predominantly of citrus fruit. It leaves a dry taste on the palette, which makes you simply want to drink more. It is a bit too fizzy though so think the alcoholic equivalent of Tango.

I might as well go through the Brew Dog (from hereonin named Brew Puppy) beers as they are fantastic examples of Scottish endeavour and drunkenness.
Trashy Blonde (4.1%) - This beer is described as "a titillating, neurotic, peroxide, punk of a pale ale. Combining attitude, style substance and a little bit of low self esteem for good measure; what would your mother say?". The answer is mmm nice beer. Deliciously fruity, this is a very refreshing beer which goes down a treat. Loads of flavours to enjoy, this kept my whistle wet like the trashiest of blondes.
5am Saint (5%) - This is an amber ale, with a deeper taste and a higher alcoholic content to Trashy Blonde. I think I prefer it due to its hidden depth and complex flavour. It had a nice mellow taste from memory and this is the only Brew Puppy beer I went back for at the Leeds Meet.
Punk IPA (5.6%) - This modern classic pale ale definitely sneaks up on you. It doesn't taste like the 5.6% it is whilst the tropical fruits and light caramel tones add to this deception. It has a very strong fruity taste - like an explosion in a Lilt factory - and this adds to its refreshing appeal. Again though, I doubt I could drink too much of this beer for fear of being sick.
lupestripe: (Default)
As you will know by now, I am a rather large fan of beer. In fact, it's quite a passion of mine. However, I rarely drink to fall down but rather to enjoy the vast number of ales, lagers and beers on offer from around the world.

In a bar, I tend to go with real ale - like the fantastic Golden Salamander I tried in Bradford today - whilst at home, I tend to go with bottled continental beers. However, over my 10 years of drinking, I am sad to say I have never kept a record of all the beers I have tasted. From hereonin, I intend to change that by writing regular tasting notes on my LJ. I may even convert it to a bespoke beer group in time.

So beers I have had within the last fortnight:

Svyturys Extra (5.2%) - Founded in 1784, this light Lithuanian beer has high refreshment value with a deceptively high alcoholic content. It's available in Wetherspoons I believe and is definitely worth getting. I tried it in Lithuania during my trip there in 2003. With a beer this good, I don't understand why the suicide rate there is so high.
Original Crocodile (5.2%) - Moving on to Sweden, this average ale needs to be served cold to be enjoyed properly. It's a rather sweet beer from memory but not one that was easily discoverable in Stockholm during my visit in 2003. The potential furry reference elevates it somewhat although I don't want to find out what the Fake Crocodile tastes like.
Baladin (7.5%) - Any beer with no label and all writing etched into the glasswork of the bottle is a winner in my book. This high-strength beer tastes every inch the 7.5% it is, but you can't help but want more when you have finished.
Bohemia Regent Prezident (6.0%) - 1379 is the date on the bottle and the Czechs do have a fine brewing tradition. This beer was very pleasant in the traditional style of the region. Light, fizzy and with a pleasant aftertaste so everything spooge isn't.
Lech (5.2%) - Standard Polish fare but the only beer of the main local brands I never drunk during my two visits to Poland (in 2003 and 2005). Perfectly fine but the taste isn't too distinctive and it is very fizzy.
JulBrew (4.7%) - You may be surprised to hear that Gambia has a brewing tradition but it does. JulBrew is a delightful gem, sweet and drinkable. Unfortunately, Wolfie's parents only brought back two bottles - one for me and one for Wolfie - so I may have to wait until August until I get to sample some again.
Tiger (4.8%) - Now a main UK brand admittedly but one of those which proves that brewing in the UK and brewing in the country of origin often produces two completely different results. The Singapore version of Tiger is gorgeous whereas the UK one tastes uninspired. The different climatic conditions also play a role as a similar accusation could also be laid at the door of Indonesia's Bintang beer.
Tooheys New (4.6%) - I am unsure as to Australia's brewing tradition as nothing has ever jumped out at me regarding beers from Down Under. Tooheys is nice but if I remember, it was a tad too hoppy. Very like an ADHD bunny on crack.
Victory Prima (Alcoholic content unspecified) - The Americans don't make good beer from my experience but this was a huge surprise. This Pennsylvania brewery makes 'A Refined Pilsner Beer For Natural Enjoyment' and for once the marketing is quite right. The microbrewery tradition in the USA is one of its hidden gems and the brews from New England are particularly strong. Victory Prima evokes WW2 patriotism due to its label design, which is a nice touch.
Zatec (4.6%) - Another Czech beer, apparently brewed since 1004. I find most Czech beers mould into one after a while although this is one of the strongest ones I have tasted. The brewery was reborn in 2002 and the taste of the beer has a sense of the care which is clearly invested in the brewing tradition. A good choice.
Steinlager Pure (5.0%) - Clean, crisp, refreshing - very much like sheets treated with Bounce. Also pretty much like the country its from - New Zealand.
Cerveza Palma Cristal (4.9%) - This beer is Cuban and is perfect for sharing. Very much like Communism really. This beer is sweeter though.

So there we have it. I have a load more beers in the fridge - another 10 to try at least - which I will update you with later in the week. Until then, if you have any recommendations then please shout.
lupestripe: (Default)
As you will know by now, I am a rather large fan of beer. In fact, it's quite a passion of mine. However, I rarely drink to fall down but rather to enjoy the vast number of ales, lagers and beers on offer from around the world.

In a bar, I tend to go with real ale - like the fantastic Golden Salamander I tried in Bradford today - whilst at home, I tend to go with bottled continental beers. However, over my 10 years of drinking, I am sad to say I have never kept a record of all the beers I have tasted. From hereonin, I intend to change that by writing regular tasting notes on my LJ. I may even convert it to a bespoke beer group in time.

So beers I have had within the last fortnight:

Svyturys Extra (5.2%) - Founded in 1784, this light Lithuanian beer has high refreshment value with a deceptively high alcoholic content. It's available in Wetherspoons I believe and is definitely worth getting. I tried it in Lithuania during my trip there in 2003. With a beer this good, I don't understand why the suicide rate there is so high.
Original Crocodile (5.2%) - Moving on to Sweden, this average ale needs to be served cold to be enjoyed properly. It's a rather sweet beer from memory but not one that was easily discoverable in Stockholm during my visit in 2003. The potential furry reference elevates it somewhat although I don't want to find out what the Fake Crocodile tastes like.
Baladin (7.5%) - Any beer with no label and all writing etched into the glasswork of the bottle is a winner in my book. This high-strength beer tastes every inch the 7.5% it is, but you can't help but want more when you have finished.
Bohemia Regent Prezident (6.0%) - 1379 is the date on the bottle and the Czechs do have a fine brewing tradition. This beer was very pleasant in the traditional style of the region. Light, fizzy and with a pleasant aftertaste so everything spooge isn't.
Lech (5.2%) - Standard Polish fare but the only beer of the main local brands I never drunk during my two visits to Poland (in 2003 and 2005). Perfectly fine but the taste isn't too distinctive and it is very fizzy.
JulBrew (4.7%) - You may be surprised to hear that Gambia has a brewing tradition but it does. JulBrew is a delightful gem, sweet and drinkable. Unfortunately, Wolfie's parents only brought back two bottles - one for me and one for Wolfie - so I may have to wait until August until I get to sample some again.
Tiger (4.8%) - Now a main UK brand admittedly but one of those which proves that brewing in the UK and brewing in the country of origin often produces two completely different results. The Singapore version of Tiger is gorgeous whereas the UK one tastes uninspired. The different climatic conditions also play a role as a similar accusation could also be laid at the door of Indonesia's Bintang beer.
Tooheys New (4.6%) - I am unsure as to Australia's brewing tradition as nothing has ever jumped out at me regarding beers from Down Under. Tooheys is nice but if I remember, it was a tad too hoppy. Very like an ADHD bunny on crack.
Victory Prima (Alcoholic content unspecified) - The Americans don't make good beer from my experience but this was a huge surprise. This Pennsylvania brewery makes 'A Refined Pilsner Beer For Natural Enjoyment' and for once the marketing is quite right. The microbrewery tradition in the USA is one of its hidden gems and the brews from New England are particularly strong. Victory Prima evokes WW2 patriotism due to its label design, which is a nice touch.
Zatec (4.6%) - Another Czech beer, apparently brewed since 1004. I find most Czech beers mould into one after a while although this is one of the strongest ones I have tasted. The brewery was reborn in 2002 and the taste of the beer has a sense of the care which is clearly invested in the brewing tradition. A good choice.
Steinlager Pure (5.0%) - Clean, crisp, refreshing - very much like sheets treated with Bounce. Also pretty much like the country its from - New Zealand.
Cerveza Palma Cristal (4.9%) - This beer is Cuban and is perfect for sharing. Very much like Communism really. This beer is sweeter though.

So there we have it. I have a load more beers in the fridge - another 10 to try at least - which I will update you with later in the week. Until then, if you have any recommendations then please shout.
lupestripe: (Default)
A rare Sunday off meant a forray to the other end of the number 4 bus route in Leeds - to the small sleepy hamlets of Seacroft and Whinmoor. Not exciting, you may say, but do you ever wonder what the places are like at the other end of your bus route? With an idle day and inclement weather, we decided to head on over and discover what was there. The answer is not a lot unless you like housing estates.

Whinmoor
had a shop and a library with little else but Seacroft Bus Station has the excitement of a Tesco and a Jack Fulton Foods attached so we mosied around there for a bit, looking for bargains. I picked up a shreader and another bottle of wine for our increasingly diverse wine rack. We also grabbed a tomato and cheese pizza from Greggs, my first ever, which was wonderful.

We went to The Cricketers Arms next, on Seacroft Green opposite a wonderful little church with a black clock face. The clock was stuck at 8.40 but the beer and company in the pub was most excellent. We talked about last night's England match with the barman and also watched a small Jack Russell in a pink glittery collar (yeys!) yapping for something. Five minutes later, we realised she wanted to get her owner to get a bouncy ball toy from one of those twisty turny machines you put 20p in to dispense candy like Tooty Fruities. With ball got, we threw it around the pub and watched the dog chase it, paws skidding on the black shiny tiles as she crashed into the bar and games machines. Still, she was having a great time and it made me yearn to have such a simple life of a dog. Sadly, her teeth were too sharp and decimated the bouncy ball soon after.

We drank Budweiser in those limited edition World Cup bottles made out of thick steel, like the cans are. It made the beer taste a lot fresher and it was very easily drinkable, and certainly didn't taste like a 5% beer. We drank three and ate new Pringles flavour Chili and Cheese (note to Walkers - chili and cheese works, chili and chocolate tastes like a burp with a little bit of sick in it) whilst watching the hugely entertaining Serbia v Ghana match. I had backed Serbia to get to the semi-finals of the World Cup but that chance has pretty much gone now with an enthralling 1-0 win for the African outfit. The European side were unlucky but the game was riveting - far better than the earlier Slovenia v Algeria game, which proved that neither England nor USA have anything to fear in Group C.

With football and drink done, we headed back into Leeds City Centre to a Persian (read Iranian) restaurant I have been meaning to try for a while. The lady who runs it is from Tehran and she advised us on the food we should have. Sadly, we wanted to try everything and ordered masses of food only for us to struggle eating it all. Three starters and two mains - no wonder I am getting hideously overweight, if I am not already. Anyway, we had falafel and hummus, naan bread and a sharp yoghurt mixed with shallots and a traditional mixed salad to start off with. After that, Wolfie had lamb on the bone with special rice (I think it was mixed with tea leaves) and I had a lamb stew with pickles and tomatoes with saffron rice. The food was most tasty, full of flavours, and surprising in its depth. It was a little similar to the stews my mother used to make and not as spicy as perhaps I would have expected. We also tried a traditional kebab, which was amongst the best I have ever tasted, the meat being so tender and succulent. We had traditional lassi (a bitter yoghurt drink) and Arabica coffee and Persian Tea to drink. Another definite winner I feel, even though I am still bloated some five hours later.

After that, we went home and caught the second half of the Germany v Australia game. Some may say Australia were unlucky to get Tim Cahill sent off but the match was realistically over before then and the Germans look a threatening side. Losing skipper Michael Ballack seems to have galvanised them more and they have definitely been the best team I have seen at this tournament so far, regardless of the 4-0 scoreline. I am still glad I have backed Lukasz Podolski to be World Cup top scorer too, he has one already and I think he could be a good outside chance. Anyway, after last night's affair, Germany are not a team England want to face in the next round so England need to finish top of Group C, you feel, to avoid them. Even then though, I still fear England could struggle against Ghana, the likely runners-up in Group D. We'll have to see what happens but the Germans were so fluid and on top of their game this evening, it is a bad sign for England fans.
lupestripe: (Default)
A rare Sunday off meant a forray to the other end of the number 4 bus route in Leeds - to the small sleepy hamlets of Seacroft and Whinmoor. Not exciting, you may say, but do you ever wonder what the places are like at the other end of your bus route? With an idle day and inclement weather, we decided to head on over and discover what was there. The answer is not a lot unless you like housing estates.

Whinmoor
had a shop and a library with little else but Seacroft Bus Station has the excitement of a Tesco and a Jack Fulton Foods attached so we mosied around there for a bit, looking for bargains. I picked up a shreader and another bottle of wine for our increasingly diverse wine rack. We also grabbed a tomato and cheese pizza from Greggs, my first ever, which was wonderful.

We went to The Cricketers Arms next, on Seacroft Green opposite a wonderful little church with a black clock face. The clock was stuck at 8.40 but the beer and company in the pub was most excellent. We talked about last night's England match with the barman and also watched a small Jack Russell in a pink glittery collar (yeys!) yapping for something. Five minutes later, we realised she wanted to get her owner to get a bouncy ball toy from one of those twisty turny machines you put 20p in to dispense candy like Tooty Fruities. With ball got, we threw it around the pub and watched the dog chase it, paws skidding on the black shiny tiles as she crashed into the bar and games machines. Still, she was having a great time and it made me yearn to have such a simple life of a dog. Sadly, her teeth were too sharp and decimated the bouncy ball soon after.

We drank Budweiser in those limited edition World Cup bottles made out of thick steel, like the cans are. It made the beer taste a lot fresher and it was very easily drinkable, and certainly didn't taste like a 5% beer. We drank three and ate new Pringles flavour Chili and Cheese (note to Walkers - chili and cheese works, chili and chocolate tastes like a burp with a little bit of sick in it) whilst watching the hugely entertaining Serbia v Ghana match. I had backed Serbia to get to the semi-finals of the World Cup but that chance has pretty much gone now with an enthralling 1-0 win for the African outfit. The European side were unlucky but the game was riveting - far better than the earlier Slovenia v Algeria game, which proved that neither England nor USA have anything to fear in Group C.

With football and drink done, we headed back into Leeds City Centre to a Persian (read Iranian) restaurant I have been meaning to try for a while. The lady who runs it is from Tehran and she advised us on the food we should have. Sadly, we wanted to try everything and ordered masses of food only for us to struggle eating it all. Three starters and two mains - no wonder I am getting hideously overweight, if I am not already. Anyway, we had falafel and hummus, naan bread and a sharp yoghurt mixed with shallots and a traditional mixed salad to start off with. After that, Wolfie had lamb on the bone with special rice (I think it was mixed with tea leaves) and I had a lamb stew with pickles and tomatoes with saffron rice. The food was most tasty, full of flavours, and surprising in its depth. It was a little similar to the stews my mother used to make and not as spicy as perhaps I would have expected. We also tried a traditional kebab, which was amongst the best I have ever tasted, the meat being so tender and succulent. We had traditional lassi (a bitter yoghurt drink) and Arabica coffee and Persian Tea to drink. Another definite winner I feel, even though I am still bloated some five hours later.

After that, we went home and caught the second half of the Germany v Australia game. Some may say Australia were unlucky to get Tim Cahill sent off but the match was realistically over before then and the Germans look a threatening side. Losing skipper Michael Ballack seems to have galvanised them more and they have definitely been the best team I have seen at this tournament so far, regardless of the 4-0 scoreline. I am still glad I have backed Lukasz Podolski to be World Cup top scorer too, he has one already and I think he could be a good outside chance. Anyway, after last night's affair, Germany are not a team England want to face in the next round so England need to finish top of Group C, you feel, to avoid them. Even then though, I still fear England could struggle against Ghana, the likely runners-up in Group D. We'll have to see what happens but the Germans were so fluid and on top of their game this evening, it is a bad sign for England fans.
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