Monday, 20 December 2010

Ancestral vices

Pessimism. Malaise. A cloying sense of inevitability. The constant battle between what you hope for and what you feel will happen instead. Morale-sapping, mood-killing unremittingly dark thoughts. 

There are many reasons why people drink and, while I've felt all of the above keenly in recent times, none apply in my case when it comes to beer. I just genuinely enjoy the taste.

It could be that's an inherited trait too. Some months ago, I sat alone in a pub drinking and thinking, with only my Moleskine as company and it's astounding what cod theories find their way into your notebook in such circumstances.

One of these was inspired by a contributor to the Caught By The River site, one Jude Rogers, who has a regular column called Lines Made By Walking. I duly nicked this and called my theory Lines Made By Drinking.

For me, it's almost like the folk tales of beer. When I drink beer, I tap into my father, grandfather and their forebears. Their beer. What they wanted to block out or round off or blunt. The Eden they sought to gatecrash or stumble blindly across. This is my folk; my tradition. There is a line stretching back generations of disappointment and unfulfilled potential that I can follow more clearly through the dulling of my senses and hazy musing.

Whether or not this is a worthwhile pursuit is open to question, but in my book, it beats taking a depressant to cure depression any day of the week.


Beer: Hertog Jan Grand Prestige
Country: Belgium
Strength: A soporific, dulling 10%
Colour: Dark night with the dim, distant red glow of embers through thick fog
Smell: Sponge fingers soaked in neat vodka
Circumstance: Trying desperately to drum up some enthusiasm for the week ahead.
Tasting notes: Within moments, I feel like I'm being water-boarded with crusted port. Just a small sip multiplies in your mouth exponentially and you're gagging in seconds trying desperately to swallow yet desperate to maintain a grip on some of the flavour. About the latter, it becomes manifest there is nothing to concern you. Just as the sweet, fortified grapes have made their mark, a wave of sharp cherry tang washes it away. Once that's retreated, only the tingling, swishing, shingling of the retreating Morello tide remains. Genuinely sensational.
Drinkability: Amazing. This isn't a fruit beer, but it wields all the flavour and sharpness more commonly associated with them.
Gut reaction: Seems fine, but all that flavour and fortitude must extract a price.
Session factor: One day, I'll test this out, but my suspicion is I won't need that many.
Arbitrary score: 9.3

1 comment:

M.S. Heridan said...

Regarding Dark Thoughts: Would thoroughly recommend 4 tins of Tanglefoot and 1 bottle of Spitfire (currently 1 pound a can at Tesco and 1 pound a bottle at Lidl) as a fully indulgent chemical night in. Especially for those with testing employers. Unless you don’t have to go to work tomorrow like.