Sunday, 12 February 2012

SB XLVI & some beer notes

Not much to report this week, blog fans.  It's been a cool week (near or slightly below freezing).  We thought we were in for Blizzard 2.0 this weekend but it turned out to only be a light dusting on Friday.  Saturday was quite cool but clear and sunny.  In hindsight, we probably could have gotten out.  Today, a few ticks about freezing but cloudy and not worth getting out in.  I actually did some tax prep work (oh what fun).  Ready for the weather to break so we can get out a little more.

Speaking of getting out, we are headed to London on Thursday for a long weekend (the half term school break is this week).  First time since we moved here so we are looking forward to it.  Next week's blog should be a touch more entertaining.

In case you are wondering, our 2012 travel plans so far are:

Easter -- Belgium/Holland
May -- Lake District, England
June -- Scotland Highlands
July -- TBD (Normandy??)
August -- Cornwall (England)
October -- TBD, but likely UK

We are certainly looking forward to the trips to come.  It is important to remember though that we aren't on a 3-year vacation here.  We have work and school and the ups/downs that go with that.  This past week was particularly hectic on the work front for both of us and we are looking forward to the short break.

As I'm sure everyone knows, the Super Bowl was a week ago in Indianapolis.  It was the first time where I really felt like we missed something big from being over here (though I can't and won't complain).  It sounds like Indy really put on a good show.  So proud of the city and I look forward to the next one in town so we can participate.

Trent, a friend from work in Indy, was in town on business and we had him over for dinner last night.  It was a really nice visit and so glad that he looked us up.  Good to catch up on old times and hear what people are doing back in Indy.  Trent was super thoughtful and brought me the SB hat pictured above and below.  Thanks Trent!  Even better, it just promotes Indy and not the teams (couldn't have a Patriots logo on a hat I own).

 A little fuzzy, but here's the back with the Indianapolis call out.

Now, a quick digression into a brief (?) beer discussion.  In general, I (and my US friends) have been somewhat disappointed with the beer here.  To me, they just have 2 main types (ale and lager) and very slight/subtle variations around each one.  I miss my favorites and the variety back in the US.  That doesn't keep me from trying though!

One nice thing is that you can buy singles of pretty much all of the beers so you can try different ones.  (Before you think I'm a big alchy, I just have 1 a night when cooking dinner and maybe a couple extra when socializing with friends on the weekend). 

This one caught my eye as it claimed to be the original Budweiser (albeit not the "King").  It was similar to US Bud in that it was a lager, but it did not have the rice element/taste that the US version has.  It's close, but I probably liked it better.  Now, just like with our history attractions, I had to look this up.

According to the wiki entry (link), the original Budweiser was founded in 1785; was imported to the US in 1871 and Anheuser-Busch started using the name on its own product in 1875.

A second company (now named Budvar) was established in 1895 by mainly Czech brewers, which also started exporting beer under the name Budweiser . . . . These exports into the US market led to the Budweiser trademark dispute. Negotiations between the three companies, the two from the original town and the American Anheuser-Busch, about using "Budweiser" reached an agreement in 1911 that allowed Anheuser-Busch to use the brand "Budweiser" only in North America.

In most European countries American Budweiser is not labelled as Budweiser but as Bud, and the name Budweiser refers to the original Czech beer, Budweiser Budvar, except for the United Kingdom, where both beers are sold as Budweiser.

Get to learn all sorts of things (some more relevant than others) while over here.

I was also happy to find a "local" brew that didn't fit solidly in the ale (bitter) or lager category.   I'm no beer expert and I generally associate porters as being dark and malty and a little sweet and stouts as a little more bitter but I could be completely wrong on that.  At any rate, it was a nice change of pace and one I'll have to work into the rotation.  I found it at Marks & Spencers (Kingsway) for any locals out there.

Again, according to Wikipedia (link), Porter is a dark style of beer originating in London in the 18th Century.  The name came about as a result of its popularity with street and river porters.

So, hopefully a few nuggets of info even if there weren't particularly historically noteworthy.  Have a good week.


  1. Nice beer post, especially the Bud info.

    Great hat, makes me jealous that I don't have one.

    Funny about the holiday schedule, I have working on our schedule this past week also. Great minds think alike they say.

    1. I suggest you add Prague to your travel schedule. We made it there a few years ago on easyjet for only a few pounds. You can sample Budvar fresh, and I assure you it will taste different than the bottled variety. In Prague, except at touristy places, each restaurant only serves one brand of beer (and it will be on tap), so select a place with Budvar. In Prague, they claim Budvar has been made since the 12th century.

  2. If you can edit - I think you are planning 2012, not 2011. Another Scots suggestion - although with airfare up might be a bit more these days is Barra... The airport is the beach (and only at low tide). It is my ancestral home, but I've not made it yet.

  3. @Jay -- curious to see what your 2012 plan looks like.

    @Ray -- I finally figured out how to let you comment! Glad you are still reading. We will add Prague to the list -- sounds interesting. We do have a long list though! In the near term, I'm excited about the Belgian brews coming my way at Easter.

    @Chuck -- thanks for the catch. Fixed. Barra is way out there. We'll make it to Skye -- perhaps we can see it from there!