Thursday, 20 December 2012

Milk and alcohol

Lactose intolerant: Left Hand Milk Stout
is just too sweet
Another year passes without me being able to complete the calendar every day. I'm almost ashamed to say it, but I think it's actually an impossible task. For me at least.

Or if not impossible, then ridiculously difficult. I mean I could have forced yesterday's down and written some barely coherent drivel on the back of it, but there comes a time when you just have to hold your hands up and say: "I can't do this."

So it was yesterday. Two days' worth of Christmas parties under the belt and I just buckled under the pressure. Had to spend all day in bed listening to the soothing tones of Radio 4 Long Wave and cowering under the duvet, only surfacing to utter the odd pathetic groaning sound, then falling back into the arms of alcohol-tainted slumber.

Hats off: nothing spectacular, but nice
to reminisce
Fairly certain my liver will thank me for the time off and, in all honesty, I think I'd done pretty well up to that point. Some 18 days on the bounce, whether I've wanted to or not, is nothing to be sneered at.

But rested from the fray and it's back on the treadmill with two beers to deal with this evening. They're both American, both strong and both fall into the 'not exactly what I fancy right now' category.

Wouldn't do them in this order either - milk stout first then a 'not quite pale' ale second - but that's the way they came out of the calendar, so that's how they'll be sampled. This may take a while.

Beer: Left Hand Milk Stout
Strength: A healthy looking 6%
Colour: The black of the pool ball
Smell: Thick, almost acrid treacle and bitter dark chocolate, ruined by Marmite.
Tasting notes: Now if there were ever a beer I could have stomached yesterday, this would be it. Principally because it doesn't really taste like beer. In fact, it's so far removed from beer that I'm not sure I'm qualified to talk about it. Weirdly, it feels like someone's held your nose and forced a good couple of tablespoons of muscovado sugar straight into your mouth, then held your jaw shut till you've had to swallow it. It's not an entirely unpleasant sensation, but you're only given a terribly brief hint of what the drink is supposed to be before it's disappeared and it's back to the sugar foisting again.
Gut reaction: I simply don't know. It could go either way. Fortunately, I'm only having one of these.
Session factor: Minimal. Unless you really like sweet stuff and don't really like beer.
Arbitrary score: 3

Beer: Magic Hat #9
Strength: A rather weary 5.2%
Colour: A satisfying orangey glow
Smell: Damp, just-licked cat fur
Tasting notes: All sorts going on here. Whether that's a hangover from the milk stout, I'm not sure, but my first impression was of a large mouthful of sugared, jellied oranges, the like of which I haven't seen for more than 30 years. This instantly takes me back to Christmas Eve and the wonderful anticipation of opening presents the next morning, one of which would undoubtedly be a box of sugared, jellied oranges and lemons. I think for a good few years, I looked forward to those more than anything else. Then after a while, that bittersweet tang gently fizzles away and I swear I'm tasting a cheesecake I had two days ago.
Gut reaction: It's fairly frisky this one and I've belched a couple of times already.
Session factor: Pretty high. I like what this is doing and honestly wish I had another couple.
Arbitrary score: 1974

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