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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Certified by the Master Brewer

Its a rare honor to be able to hang out for an evening with Fergel Murray, and what makes it even better is that after that you can walk out of there Certified to pour a perfect pint. Indeed, who is this Fergel Murray, you might ask?

He is the Master Brewer at Guinness in Ireland. Guinness, enjoyed all over the world is brewed in only a few select places and only one man controls the whole operation, that is the job of the Master Brewer, and its a pretty fine job at that. Fergel makes sure that the quality and taste is consistent and travels globally to ensure that standard is met. He speaks with passion about his product and rightly so, no question about Guinness is too menial for him.

Guinness, as I have enjoyed for years is available in Draught on tap at all good pubs, and Foreign Extra Stout, or FES, which is the supermarket variety. FES has been around for a while now, but has a recent update in flavor, the alcohol content has dropped from 8% to a current 6.8%. Its now mellower, with a more balanced taste of roasted barley, sweetness and a slight bitter aftertaste. Its actually not bad, and Fergel is quick to stare you down if you ever snub his FES.

The night's event was nothing short of fantastic. It was truly a place where all the Guinness drinkers gathered round and talked about all things Guinness. Its a given that Guinness drinkers mix easily at bars outside but to get them all together in an event is something else. Its also funny to note that we all have the same mindset too, like for instance since Fergel was there and showed us how a perfect pint ought to be poured, we were required to pour our own drinks, and thus continued the entire night, most of us thought that was a marvellous idea, where they ought to have pubs with unmanned taps and we just help ourselves to it. We talked about how bartenders don't know how to pour a proper pint, and learned that if it wasn't poured or served right, we can always send it back.

In the end, it was all worth it. I always liked knowing where my stuff came from, and who made it. The people behind the product, the engine of the entire mechanism, and to be able to sit down and have a pint with the guy who brewed the pint? Priceless.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Officially my favorite

I've drank off many a bottle of whisky of various tastes and everyone finds their favorite, whether by taste or by price paid and the perceived value of their precious golden liquid. For me, its all about smoothness, its about the sweet, vanilla richness, its about the taste.

So far my absolute favorite is the single malt Balvenie 12 years Double Wood. Matured in Traditional Whisky Oak and then in Sherry Oak, imparting a subtle sweetness that is immediately pleasant to the nose its by far my all time favorite. The complex aftertaste trumps even the Ballantines 17years or even the ubiquitious Blue Label which is decidedly smooth but lacks any bite to its character.


Thursday, June 14, 2007


Work, late nights, physical labor, building schematics, carpentry drawings, joinery, hot blazing sun, constant phone ringing, chasing for payments, financial reports, Forex hedging, managing shipments, managing life. Its tough, yes...

Then it all gets better.

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