Saturday 13 December 2014

Green Flash monster

Social drinking: a flash of inspiration
at the West End's finest bar
Brought to you by Roger Clapham

Funny old sticks, these Americans. They spend millions of dollars on truly awful beer, then go and produce some of the most genuinely tasty examples of styles once popular on this side of the water. Weird.

I remember bumping in to a couple from San Diego one winters afternoon at the old Kernel Brewery on Druid Street, all of us huddled round the makeshift trestle table grouping together to shut out the cold.

We began chatting about the cultural differences between what some wag described as two races divided by a common language and eventually got on to a couple of subjects that brought us closer together and ensured we were still poles apart: beer and guns.

The beer talk went well – all of us were big fans of hoppy pale ales, porters, stouts, imperial stouts, imperial porters, imperial IPAs, double IPAs and anything else that sounds slightly over-the-top and experimental.

When the subject moved on to guns, it was as if we were talking to beings from another planet. Zack (had to be Zack, didn't it?) insisted bearing arms was not only a fundamental, inalienable right, but that it helped make the US a safer place.

Incredulously, we asked how that could possibly be. He posited the mutually assured destruction theory, in which I've never had a great deal of faith. We then asked whether he'd ever been shot, to which he replied: “Yes; twice.”

Once we'd stopped laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, we asked why.

It was after an argument over a parking space,” he replied. The English contingent looked at each other with what can only be described as intense disbelief before again collapsing in fits of hilarity. When we'd finally cried out every last tear of laughter, Gareth turned to him and said: “You do realise you've just proved our point, don't you?”

There was little else we could say on the subject as Zack admitted he probably had. So our conversation drifted inevitably back to beer and this is where the relevance kicks in (thanks for bearing with it).

Barbara, Zack's then partner, worked for a while at Green Flash brewery in San Diego. I've been meaning to try one of their beers for a while as a result. The trip to Clapton Craft at the end of November finally offered up that opportunity and I grasped it.

Then I took advantage early. Yes, reader, I cheated and drank it long before it was due. I've obviously since had it replaced with another bottle, which is what I'm about to drink now.

I already know how good it is. And I do feel guilty too, if that helps.

Beer: Green Flash West Coast IPA
Strength: A frankly fucking ridiculous 8.1%
Smell: Welcome to the cheap sweets. With a faint aroma of Edam.
Tasting notes: After the merest hint of Refreshers that tips a cursory yet defferent nod to the undoubtedly large grain bill, the extravagant hops kick in. Obviously, I've never actually done this, but it feels a bit like how I imagine drinking a sea urchin would be. That, or a tiny beer-flavoured hedgehog has been spooked and recoils into a ball that pricks every inch of your mouth. The beauty of it is, somehow the alcohol placates the little feller and he begins to relax, retracts his spines and gently crawls off in the vague direction of your epiglottis.
Session factor: Disturbingly high given the ABV.
Arbitrary score: 131,214
Sponsor: Roger Clapham 

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