In many ways, December really isn't an ideal month for this kind of venture. Christmas parties abound, the lure of the fireside of a snug pub is increasingly difficult to resist and disease stalks the streets, buses, tubes and offices, waiting for its moment to pounce.
And it got me. I feel dreadful. All of a sudden, my decision to don extreme weather clothing and wander about in last night's storm as a kind of Honor Oak King Lear looks all the more foolhardy.
Could quite happily head straight to bed, but what with being on the downhill stretch now, I may as well take the plunge. Besides, this is a free beer and we all know how good they can be for you, eh? An old mate Rob, who has just finished a particularly worthwhile project photographing all the pubs in Brighton, picked it up for me in Dorset before I'd decided to have London breweries as the theme. So as it's a present, it makes the cut, despite being from Bridport.
And in a way, I feel duty bound to drink it now as well, especially since I've just read on the label that the brewery - Palmers - donates 5p for each bottle sold to the Chesil Trust, a charity that helps the young or disabled enjoy sailing.
By drinking this, I'm supporting a worthy cause.
Beer: Palmers Dorset Gold
Strength: A paltry 4.5%
Colour: Well, duh. Actually, it's a more pleasing copper colour that sticks two fingers up at its name.
Smell: Can't make much out through this bloody cold, but among the usual maltiness, I can detect a hint of air escaping from a deflating inner tube.
Tasting notes: Ah, it's not bad. Fairly standard stuff, but interesting enough. A tinge of ginger accompanies the rounded fruity opener and that's a clue to the zest to follow, delivered by a not overly generous portion of hops that aren't much to write home about. In fact, there's a not unwelcome undercurrent of honey running through it too, which has definitely lifted this out of the arena of the run-of-the-mill. Hang on. Ginger? Zest? Honey? I'm clearly craving a hot toddy or 'enhanced' Lemsip, aren't I?
Gut reaction: It's a feisty number where the fizz is concerned and I've been belching.
Session factor: You could, but for me it'd be too much like overdosing on Beecham's Powders.
Arbitrary score: Nil-nil
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