|Weather retort: cocking a snook at|
so-called unpleasant conditions
But I won heartily and hands down today, so the wind can gust as much as it fancies. I'm warmed by successful Christmas shopping, recently ignited central heating and the kind of warm glow made possible only by hearty winter beer and fond memories.
I did a good stint at the coalface of festive purchasing this afternoon and duly rewarded myself with some seasonal refreshment. Blessed am I by the mores of my family and the proximity to shops that cater for them of good juicers. Reader, I didn't disappoint.
From Tottenham Court Road to Bond Street and then Charing Cross, I avoided the crowds and plucked Christmas presents out of outlets as would a heron picking at juvenile frogs. I took a similar approach to the hostelries and lunched well in three fine examples: the Draft House on Charlotte Street, the Harp in Charing Cross and, finally, the Lyceum Tavern on the Strand.
This latter inn is of particular relevance. Granted, it's now a shit boozer that caters almost exclusively to the hard-up, thirsty tourist. But wind the clock back nearly 20 years and it was the pub of reference for me and three others. We called it Bingley Reminder.
It reminded me of nothing. I wasn't there when two of the other three went fishing in the Yorkshire town of Bingley and ended up in a pub drinking Sam Smiths beer to excess, henceforth unable to function properly. I know nothing of the awkward bus journey back to Bradford they shared, jostling with fishing tackle and local people around difficult roundabouts to increasing hilarity. I can barely remember why we ever thought drinking D Pils was even remotely a good idea.
But that was our Wednesday evening for almost a year. Turn up, drink lager near a man who looked for all the world like Peter Shreeves and go home to own houses before 9pm because we were all unable to do much more.
I miss that. Not the incapacity, mind. Just the fact there are three other people in the world (so, London) who will do that at the drop of a hat and regularly. They've all grown up and tired of life, whereas I'm stuck here still clinging to nights from my 20s.
So it's great that I've now got a 10% swine of a beer to finish myself off with this evening. I'm currently fine, but I imagine in 330ml's time, I'll be back in the Bingley Reminder. Looking at dart boards and dreaming of former Manchester City managers.
It's what we all would have wanted.
Strength: A quite frankly absurd 10%
Smell: Glue and bubblegum out of the bottle. Tramp-strength lager out of the glass.
Tasting notes: Apples. Apples everywhere. In all honesty, I can't think of a more fitting beer to have this evening than this one. It's ridiculously strong and has put me straight back to the evenings I referred to above. D Pils was a daft lager; this is a similarly silly ale. A mound of preposterous sweetness in a football sock of stupidity, it really only has one way to go. Downhill. Harti Weirather would be hard pushed to match its descent, even on the familiar slopes of the Hahnenkamm. Then it wallops straight into the glüwein like a German given free rein on New Year's Eve and deposits such a large dollop of sickly disappointment at the end that you're forced to try another gulp just to make sure. One for the ski resorts, I fancy.
Session factor: Oh, do come on.
Gut reaction: What with it being both lively and strong, this could have 'off work the next day' repercussions.
Actual beer: Sharp's Brewery Honey Spice Tripel. From the Connoisseurs range. Beer equivalent of dubplate culture. Yadda.