Posts Tagged ‘Ale’


June 16th, 2008

When Kieran first mentioned that he had the chance to go and help brew the School of Computing’s graduation ale and was looking for some volunteers to go with him I nearly bit his arm off! The chance to head across to the E&S Brewery in Elland to have a go at brewing up our own batch of beer. it was like a dream come true.

As the date approached, however, it became clear that the brewing would clash with my new job at O2. It turned out alright in the end though - the brewing would take place from 6am - 4pm and I would work from 5.30pm - 9.30pm at O2. You just have to love the seventeen hour days!

The 4.40am alarm went off on the morning of the brew and I rushed myself a breakfast and headed over to Kieran’s to pick him up ready to be in Elland, near Halifax, by 6am. Armed with a bottle of Kick and a change of clothes we arrived at E&S eager to start our day’s work and what a day’s work it turned out to be!

The brewer’s day is a long one. Often at work by 6am, lots of manual labour and careful scientific work, then hours of waiting around they don’t leave until well into the evening. It is highly rewarding though.

We started off by loading a quarter of a ton malt and wheat into a hopper ready to go into the mash ‘tun, this was then mixed with hot water to make the ‘mash’ which was then left to stand for an hour or so. This ‘wort’ was then drained off and piped into the copper, basically a giant kettle, and was then boiled for an hour. We added the hops and some other ingredients and set about clearing the masher. We had to shovel by hand the original quarter ton of malt (now much heavier as it was soaking wet) out of the mash tun for the cows to eat. We then hosed, scrubbed and polished the inside of the mash tun ready for the next brew. We managed a quick lunch before we had to start pumping the wort from the copper into the fermenter where we could add the yeast and start turning it into ale. When the copper was empty we set about cleaning it, removing all the hops and other debris. This is actually done by climbing into the copper and shovelling it out again.

A hard day’s work, but well worth it in every day. Roll on graduation day so I can taste it!

A big thank you to all at Elland Brewery for letting us play in their factory and also to fellow volunteers Kieran and Tony.

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CompSoc Pub Crawl

September 22nd, 2007

Well this is a story and a half!

Last night saw the annual Fresher’s reception in the School of Computing. The Long Room was the usual venue, ale and wine the usual fayre and the school disco style separation of Freshers from every body else. As the ale and wine flowed the segregation became less and less pronounced and by the end of the second hour everyone was mixing and chatting away. Kieran leapt to his feet just as the last drop of ale was being quaffed to announce that CompSoc would be continuing the evening’s merriment in the form of a pub crawl into town starting with the Old Bar.

After a few drinks in the Old Bar, along with pizza for those who needed a good lining for their stomachs, we set off on the pub crawl proper with Sam, our illustrious president, leading the way to The Fenton. There was a level of irony that should be mentioned here; Sam is a second year and has lived in Leeds for over a year now yet still doesn’t know where anything is in Leeds! So, with a gaggle of Fresher’s, CompSoc committee and the usual band of hangers on we trekked the couple of hundred yards from LUU to The Fenton (it’s on Woodhouse Lane between Leeds and Ledds Met unis for those that don’t know).

I don’t spend much time in The Fenton unless I’m playing a card game there or I’m on an Otley Run, but it’s a nice enough place and is owned by the same people that run the Eldon so a good selection of ale to be got. We stayed here for a swift one then headed next door to Strawbs.

Strawbs is a quaint little place, a litte bar (about a metre long) and a selection of seats and sofas. It can be a little grotty, but this time round mainly due to the fact we filled the place it had quite a good atmosphere. The drinks are reasonable if a little limited in range.

Dry Dock was the next stop on the crawl. It is a very student orientated place but with a Yellow Card the drinks are about as cheap as you can get in Leeds! The Freshers were starting to feel the pace by now. The beer had been flowing for a little over seven hours (it was ten o’clock by now) and wheat was beginning to separate from the chaff. We had had a couple of drop outs along Woodhouse Lane, namely CompSoc V-P Kieran.

The main gossip by this stage was the massive amount of flirting going on. It is always funny to see Freshers chatting up the ladies - it is much like watching dogs on heat. Liz and Charlie were both getting a lot of attention at this stage!

Fab was the next port of call and the temperature was beginning to rise. Charlie and B were starting to have to fend the guys off and Liz was having her drinks bought for her. A few more bodies left at this stage but the numbers were still far better than we could have imagined prior to the event. With Sam still leading from the front the night was beginningt o turn into one that many wouldn’t forget. Most people were merrily drunk byt this stage, especially Sarann who had long since passed her safe limit!

After a couple of drinks in Fab we moved on to our final bar - Bourbon. This is where the fun began. Firstly we were down to the hardcore few, about ten people, half freshers hand half others. Sarann, Liz and Charlie were all busy making new “friends” and really making the Freshers feel welcome. Sarann and Liz were being particularly friendly. Unfortunately, Sarann was now well past her limit and had to be taken home - a job for Michelle and I. The rest of the gang headed over to Grosvener Casino for a flutter. All I can say on that topic is check out Liz’s blog on the night.

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Summer BBQ

June 12th, 2007

Liz and I headed across to the BBQ and party hosted by Matt, Kat, Kieran, Heather and her housemates on Saturday afternoon. A few getting ready problems had caused us to runa little late, we didn’t leave my house until gone 3.30pm. We were some of the first to arrive, even though it started at three. With chairs and tables set out, Kieran’s front garden is actually a really nice place to hold a party, it is roomier than it looks and with the front fence, encolsed enough to feel like a garden party rather than a park party.

Kieran had taken the liberty of ordering a keg of ale from Elland Brewery, a genius idea! Over the night we sank over 60 pints from it! Along with the copious wine, the BBQ food and the cheese there was much revelry and fun. The musical choices were excellent and the party ran really well. It started to die out in the early hours, but a few harcore party animals lasted until gone 3am! I stumbled home with Claire about 3.30am after polishing off my third bottle of wine, which had been preceded by a good bash at the ale (about ten pints if my memory serves me correctly) so I was rather drunk.

Unfortunately, the night was not a total high point. I had had to drop Liz off at the station so she could get to work. It was the worst goodbye we have ever had to say. I am not going to say much more about it as it was a very personal experience. In case you are reading Liz, I miss you and I hate not being with you!

Thanks Kieran et al for a quality party, it really was a great evening for the most part. Hope we can have a repeat in the future.

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Sometimes you have to lose before you can win.

April 29th, 2007

This last week has been pretty wierd. Monday saw one of the lowest points in my life and today I am one of the happiest people on the planet. I have met someone really special and I think the circle has finally worked itself out, I think that everything is finally falling into place.

I’ve been thinking about today’s blog title for some time and have even penned a few drafts to go with the title. However, I never really found the right words to make the most of what I think is a really poetic line. That is until today. I think I am finally starting to understand a lot of what has been said to me over the past four or five years, a lot of lights have been switched back on at the end of a lot of tunnels. I think that I have rounded that corner in life where you finally move past being a teenager and start thinking like a real, grown-up adult. This may sound strange to some of you as I am a twenty-two year old who occasionally comes across as even older. To those of you know me in some depth will probably understand what I am saying a little better. I have lived a good life, I have seen a lot of things and been to many places. This occasionally makes me a litte world weary, even at this age! I don’t think that this is a true reflection of my age. There is a difference between having grown up in the way I am talking about it and the image that those around you see.

I am now thinking in terms of responsibilities, of how to make sure I get the most of this life in order to best enjoy the rest of my life.

I’m not naive enough to suggest that this is an overnight process, I think that this is the start of the transition. Something that will take time. I am glad it is happening though. As much as I enjoyed the last few years, I want more from my life than hangovers and dodgy memories. More than beer trophies and debts.

Liz came back to Leeds last night and we went out with Chris and B to the last day of the ale festival at the Old Bar. It was a really nice evening, even though too much beer was consumed! Claire joined us for a bit, but I get the impression she felt a bit out of place. To be honest, I don’t blame her for that - B and Liz are old school friends so even Chris and I felt out of place at times!

So, as my title says “Sometimes you have to lose before you win.” This makes more sense to me today than at any other time. I am not sure whether I will still feel this way tomorrow, but for today, it works.

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April 28th, 2007

Thursday saw the start of the Old Bar’s Festivale. Liz, Michelle, and I headed down to sample the wares and take part in the quiz. They were running sixteen cask ales and four cask ciders, a real treat of proper drinking! They were also running a variety of games and promotions. I won two Black Sheep T-Shirts!! It was unfortunate that most of the circle had coursework deadlines so couldn’t be there.

Headed back to mine afterwards and watched Silent Hill with Liz, it is a really bizarre film. I don’t really understand it, so of anyone out there would like to comment on the story line then please freel free! Fell asleep about 4am.

Went for lunch on Friday with Liz and Michelle then dropped Liz off at the station before meeting up with Claire in the Old Bar. I have not spent much quality time with Claire in ages for one reason and another. She has had dissertation and practical work to finih, then spent three weeks in Japan! It was really good just sitting down and having a few drinks with her again!

We were joined for a bit by Graeme and Sarann before they headed off to finish their coursework. Maths Chris popped by and had a drink or two before heading to bed!

We eventually joined up with a crowd about 9pm, Matt, kat, Sarann, Michelle, Kieran, Heather, Worfolk and a few others - turned into a really good old fashioned piss up at the Ale Festival. Time flew by and before we knew it we were all quite drunk and getting kicked out!

Friends, General, Reviews , , , , , ,

School of Computing 50 Year Jubilee

March 31st, 2007

I spent most of yesterday helping the School of Computing at the University of Leeds celebrate its 50th anniversary. There was a whole programme of events, starting with a formal lunch and the unveiling of a statue to Geoff Cook. This was followed by a lecture, given by Andrew Herbert - a Leeds SoC alumnus and currently director of Microsoft research at Cambridge - and then a reception in the School of Computing’s “Long Room”.

I attended the lecture, which was surprisingly good fun and very informative, even for a relative layman like myself. I didn’t think that a Microsoft employee would be wuite so self deprecating and ‘tongue-in-cheek’ about the failings and quirks of Microsoft products and services. Andrew was a good speaker and his enthusiasm for the subject was obvious. His talk was entitled “Why everything I learned at Leeds is now useless.” It focussed on how the subject has changed over the thrity years since he graduated with a degree in computational science. The punchline to the piece was that although the technology has improved byseveral orders of magnitude, the underlying principles and purpose of academic computing are still relavant today.

The reception afterwards was amazing. Free food and a free bar which sported four rebranded ales from the Elland Brewery. In the four hours it was available, the bar was drunk dry - all four firkins were emptied! I have to admit some responsibility for that.

Maths Chris and I left the “Long Room” at about 8.20 and headed to B’s for some dinner (and more drinking seeing as we had managed to acquire 4 bottles of wine…). I was most disappointed to note that most of the circle had bailed thre reception - some people didn’t even go to the lecture first!! After some korma at B’s, her friend Ian appeared and we set about the task of getting drunk!

**Blur - twister, cards, trip to Co-op, pizza and red wine. face painting and general tom-foolery.**

I woke up this morning next to Michelle with a raging headache and the phrase, “porn babies” stuck in my head. Fun.

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