The Ribman's Backyard Keg Party, Merchant's Yard, East London

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
'The Ribman' is a London street food vendor known for making what are possibly the best pork ribs in the capital and dishing them up stripped from the bone and served in big and squishy brioche buns. He's also known for making some of the best hot sauce money can buy - but currently demand far outstrips supply.

So in order to fund the purchase of a space to produce his infamous Holy Fuck Hot Sauce on a larger scale The Ribman launched a Kickstarter project to raise funds, the aim? To raise £10,000 in a month. Only, after 4 days that target was smashed and a new one of £15,000 was respectively announced and then suitably dispatched.

This Saturday was the celebration event put on for the project's backers plus their mates, and what a party it was. We had pre-ordered a keg of Camden's truly excellent unfiltered USA Hells, which was waiting for us upon arrival - by a reserved table and suitably chilled I might add - what more could you want?

It's a beer which has loads going on but which you can drink all day - not too bitter, not too heavy, but crisp, floral and citrusy with a perfectly weighted body of unfiltered pale grain.

It was also stonkingly good value, working out at roughly £2.40 a pint, which for central London is pretty much half price. Served via an American-frat-party-style pump it was also pretty fun to be able to pour our own beer all afternoon.

To soak up that excellent beer we ate rib meat tacos, which were a collaborative effort from The Ribman/Ambriento teams and baby back ribs from Dukes Brew & Que and hot dogs from somebody else I can't recall - it could've been Big Apple but I'm not 100%. All were pretty awesome, but it was those tacos that really stole the show. Tender pork rib meat, beetroot slaw, salsa verde and Holy Fuck Hot Sauce, combined to create a proper little firework display in the mouth. Outstanding stuff.

If you want to get in on the fun then your best bet is to head to Merchants Yard any Friday over the next few months and let the Street Feast team look after you.


If a beer is to your tastes does it matter if it's 'to style'?

Wednesday, May 08, 2013
I wrote recently about how much I liked the branding of this beer and the idea behind it. But what does it taste like?

Well it tastes very good, but I'm not sure it's a black IPA like that wonderful label would suggest. But does that matter?

The aroma is hot black irish coffee and sweet, boozy orange liqueur. Quite a lot of alcohol in the aroma but it smells good, though not the most floral 'black IPA' I've ever smelt. And therein lies the slight problem for me.

Yes the taste is a big beautifully bitter porter, but for me it lacks the fruity hop flavour that makes the best black ipas really sing. Its also not too heavy in the body and with that clean and bitter finish it drinks way below its weight and is gone before you know it.

So honestly, stylistic geekery aside, this is a lovely beer which opens up to reveal loads of rich coffee flavours spiked by leather, tobacco, and a dry white pepper finish.

Which in itself is interesting enough. So does it matter if it isn't really a true to style 'black IPA'? (whatever the hell that is).

My vote is for no.