Saturday 21 December 2013

In a glass darkly

Get stout: the time has come for
soothing beery goodness
Winter Solstice is great in many ways, not least it being the shortest day of the year so when it's not going well, you don't have to wait long until it's dark and you can hit the bottle. 

Today's been a stinker. Woke up to find someone had been sanding the inside of my throat with emery paper and filled in my nasal passages with the dustings. Not even two cups of coffee fired down on the bounce managed to wake me up properly, so I've been sitting in a catatonic state for most of the afternoon. Plus, the youngest daughter has been ill all day, only to miraculously recover now Strictly Come Dancing is on the telly soon. Now she's awake and excited. 

It's not been great football-wise either. Oldham succumbed to a feeble home defeat to Colchester, made all the worse thanks to an own goal opener. And to cap it all, the weather has been awful. Howling winds, horizontal rain and the kind of grey skies that make you wish the daylight away. All contributing to the feeling that it's almost certainly time to hibernate. Thankfully, there is beer. And it looks like a big, thick comfort blanket of one this evening.

Stouts are rapidly becoming my winter beer genre of choice. Two of my favourite beers this year were imperial stouts of some distinction - To Øl Liquid Confidence and Kernel Barrel Aged Blend Imperial Stout - and I've since had several more that have been sublime, including one from Brewdog, who have clearly got their act together in the last year or so.

There's something about the velvety texture, the coffee and dark chocolate flavours and the often sharp, lingering hoppy finish that make it a supremely comforting winter combination. And it feels good for you too, which I'll welcome today as I continue to cross swords with this lurgy.

Beer: Stout. Lovely stout.
Strength: A hopefully sleep-inducing 7.5%
Smell: What little of this I can detect through crippled sinuses smells like plummy Christmas pudding. Perfect.
Tasting notes: Just what the good doctor ordered, this. A perfect counterpoint to the bitter weather and rasping throat, this is a medicinal marvel that is pouring calming oils on the choppy waters of my gullet. It could almost be a glass of sherry liqueur, such is its upfront stickiness. It reeks of alcohol too, almost too much if I'm honest, but this is beatifully offset by the terrifically spicy finish. There is an overall feeling that what I'm drinking here is practically like food. It's definitely contributing to an overall warming sensation that I'm keen to perpetuate. Here's wishing I had another one.
Session factor: Not huge, really. I'd drink more, if only to carry on with the 'treatment'.
Gut reaction: Just had a fairly spicy curry and I'm pretty sure this is helping that too.

Actual beer: Bristol Beer Factory Ultimate Stout. Yeah. Good.

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