So last week Thursday I finally made it to The Beer Kat in Holloway Road. The former seedy Irish pub turned gnarly live music venue has found new life as a hip beer joint that operates under a monthly craft brewery takeover policy. The first month it was Beavertown. Then Siren Craft Brew. Then a threeway featuring The Bristol Beer Factory, Moor Beer and Wiper and True. And currently, it’s under the watch of south Wales’ Tiny Rebel. But the real motivation for our long-overdue visit was the Simpsons pub quiz.
Straight away I’m impressed by Tiny Rebel’s eclectic and interesting-sounding range of beers, stouts and porters. Mostly, all strong. The designs are colourful as well, almost psychedelic. We decide to ease our way in with the Cwtch Welsh red ale, the Champion Beer of Britain 2015. And the dark, 4.6% strength nectar’s delicious; rich and malty with a tangy citrus bite. The thick, dark colouring’s down to its decadent blend of six caramelly malts.
There’s just enough time for another round before the quiz gets started. This time I decide to try something a bit more far-out. I really enjoyed Beavertown’s take on peach cobbler, the incredible Peacherman Belgian wit, so I thought I’d try Tiny Rebel’s mango-fuelled take on the same seasonal bevy: the Mango Down.
As I lean in to sip it, the smell of mango’s pretty overwhelming. But the tartness of the 5% beer’s traditional Belgian wit yeast balances its sweet fruity flavour, creating a refreshing, cloudy, summery experience. Not quite as game-changing as the Peacherman, but it’s good.
At this point we’re deep into The Beer Kat’s Simpsons quiz, and instantly I’m shocked by the difficulty of the questions. I thought I knew a lot about the show. But damn, these questions are tough. It’s almost like whoever made the quiz studied other quizzes, ignored their fun, classic charm and went out of their way to design the toughest Simpsons quiz ever.
Instead of filling it with iconic moments and details only true fans would know – Milhouse’s middle name, Kirk Van Houten’s soppy love song – the quiz seems to focus on random, less memorable and re-quotable episode details. Sure, they do throw in a few, like; Why did Bart phone Australia? What was the name of the Japanese dishwashing detergent with Homer’s face on it? But mostly, it’s tough as hell. And what makes thing worse is other tables are clearly cheating; phones out, Simpsons trivia googled. Who comes to a pub quiz and cheats? Seriously, life’s way too short.
Needless to say, by now, my Simpsons aficionado credit is seriously depleted. Time to scrape off my Blinky tattoo and seriously rethink my toy collection. Meanwhile, my buddy Jerred swoops in with a round of Clwb Tropicana and some exotic, yoghurt and spice-covered fries, courtesy of Devi’s Street Food. The “Merguez” fries are amazing but the beer’s a bit too much.
The 5.5% brew smells like a strong tropical car air freshener, and it’s fruitier than an old Wham! music video, filled with peach, pineapple, mango and passion fruit, over a backbone of American hops. But it’s not my bag, baby – it reminds me of a fragrant, beer version of Malibu Rum. Too far removed from actual beer. I switch back to Cwtch and nurse my post-Simpsons quiz wounds. Damn, that’s a tasty beer.