Best way to divest your shelves of a load of booze you can’t be bothered moving or putting into storage?
Well, as previously demonstrated, you get a load of friends together and DRINK IT!
And so it came to pass that on Saturday we converged on Dave’s Flat (of which Dave is the Mayor) – accompanied by the 28 or so beers which I’d accumulated on my shelf, and a selection of English Tapas*. The mission was fairly simple – drink the beer, and if possible, enjoy it.
If nothing else, the afternoon served as an excellent example of the massive range of flavours, styles and textures that beer can take, and they ranged in alcoholic strength from about 4.5%ABV for the Meantime London Lager, all the way up to the frankly terrifying Brewdog Tokyo at 18%ABV. As styles went, there was no real consistency or direction – just stuff which I’d picked up along the way which looked kinda interesting.
I know that we definitely started out along the journey with a Coopers Vintage Ale from 2007 – certainly a fairly robust and structured beer, a little sweet and quite hefty at 7.5%ABV. I absolutely love it, and that’s why when it’s your beer, you’re allowed to choose the first one. The object of the afternoon was to try all the different options, so we’d share one bottle between 6 – meaning that as well as getting a taste of each, there was more chance of convincing ourselves that we hadn’t just drunk all that beer.
Our trajectory took a few twists and turns as we headed into the dark & robust flavours of beers like Brewdog Zeitgeist, Aventinus Eisbock, Orkney Dark Island Reserve, and a bottle of X-33 that I picked up at U Medvídků, as well as the high, hoppy and sometimes almost piquant paler ales such as Kernel Brewery‘s Nelson Sauvin, and the Brewdog/Mikkeller coalition effort “I Hardcore You”. We had a couple of nice chocolatey surprises in the form of Harviestoun Ola Dubh 18 and Kernel’s Imperial Stout, and then there was the stuff you’d categorise as “Other”, such as Brewdog Tokyo (Imperial stout flavoured with jasmine, cranberries and loads of oak chips), and Brewdog Prototype 27 (Islay barrel aged beer with raspberries!).
Most assertive beer of the afternoon would have to be the London Brewers Alliance Porter that we managed to nab a bottle of – it’d be rightly described as “a bit lively”, and maybe we’d neglected to chill it, but most of it surged out from the neck of the bottle like an enthusiastic labrador and distributed itself across Dave’s dining table. Ah well.
The most popular beers of the afternoon seemed to be the Kernel Nelson Sauvin Pale Ale, and the Harviestoun Ola Dubh aged in Highland Park 18 year old whisky barrels.
The beers we ended up enjoying were (in no particular order):
And if you think I’m going to write any “proper” tasting notes, I’m afraid you’re sorely mistaken. Sufficed to say, it was a journey alright.
Humungous props also to Liz and Hannah who, while the rest of us were arguing over what kind of pizza to get, snuck down to the Tesco and came back with what seemed to be the ingredients for the FINEST toasted cheese sandwiches ever constructed.
And an extra special mention also goes to Paul’s amazing Guinness Chocolate Cake, which was about 15 different types of amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a rich & dense & yummy cake spring forth from a normal human’s kitchen, and I’m not entirely unconvinced that he didn’t use Dark Matter as an ingredient.
If you’ve got a load of beer to get rid of, I highly recommend this sort of thing as a mechanism – it were grand fun, and everybody seemed to enjoy the voyage through flavour country.
* generally accepted as any mixture of different flavours of crisps, nuts, or other oil-dripping bar snacks – in this case we had 2 types of pork scratchings, and for variety, some sort of pork-derived byproduct.