|Drei man: I could happily pass the rest|
of my days in this beer's company
Brought to you by Alan Freeman
Well, Christmas shopping can come and kiss me right where the sun don't shine, sunshine. Nailed the lot (barring one or two kids' gifts) at Rough Trade East in an hour this afternoon. Good job I love my family, eh?
It's been a funny old game over the last few years has Christmas shopping. Without a significant other for whom to buy, there really seems to be no pressure at all. As a result, gifts seem to just fall into place and present themselves as if a fait accompli. And consequently, I'm leaving it later and later every year.
The flipside (and there always is one, isn't there?) is that while scouring the shelves for suitable presents, you invariably chance upon stuff that would be ideal for no-longer-significant person x or potentially significant person y or even way-out-there-but-bloody-hell-why-not-you're-single-after-all-so-just-ruddy-well-go-for-it significant person z.
Came in waves and waves this afternoon. So many things I'd have bought for people whose potential has either disappeared into the ether, is apparently flatlining or has yet to even surface that, in a way, I was thankful my bank balance would have refused on my behalf anyway. But I'm glad I found all these things in one shop: shows I'm consistent in my taste at least. And it gives me confidence that, if I do ever end up with someone outside the family I need to buy for, I'll have had a fair few years' practice and will appear a complete natural.
With the pressure now seemingly off, I can begin to wind down and even start feeling festive, though in all honesty that still feels some way off. December, as I may well have intimated before, is a tough month for me. Consistent, daily 'beer-group' pressure meets Christmas party central up town with the rockers and brings loneliness into sharp focus. It's been less pronounced this year as I've grown used to it now, but it's never completely absent.
If there were some supreme being out there – and as far as I'm concerned, there isn't – then it has made its point that we're all ultimately alone. I've got that, OK. Twigged a while back; these further lessons are superfluous. The training for old age and feelings of isolation and alienation is now complete. You can stop now. Just wondering which class is next, though I've a fair idea given my time of life.
Anyway, back to that which keeps me deluded there's something you can rely on after all. If anything could persuade you that's a reality, it's Drei Fonteinen Oude Geuze. It's a beer I discovered earlier this year and, if I'm honest, have fallen for quite dramatically.
It doesn't really taste like beer. It's quite sour, almost as sharp as a Champagne. All its complex characteristics are hidden behind the fact it's called beer and viewed as such. And I think that's what appeals. There's in fact so much more to learn about things you think you know all about but haven't really given a chance and this beer screams it from the depths of its stomach and right into your unappreciative mouth.
This evening, the beer sponsor will be drinking the very same beer at the same time I do. He doesn't like beer, but I've a feeling he might like this one nonetheless.
Let's crack on with it and see, shall we?
Let's crack on with it and see, shall we?
Beer: Drei Fonteinen Oude Geuze
Strength: A fittingly ambiguous 6%
Smell: Gas, gas! Quick, boys. An ecstacy of fumbling and mustard but with the sweet promise of far-off paradise.
Tasting notes: I think I've just found my significant other, because I'm utter putty in this beer's hands. It's sparkling and sassy as Hell from the outset and makes me smile more than anything I can think of right now. But it doesn't stop there. No. It has far more to it than meets the tongue's eye. Wit, charm, intelligence, warmth and an understated yet obvious confidence, it's little wonder I'm enchanted. And I am. I can't wait for more. I laugh every time I sip. I drink in its aura every time I'm lucky enough to be in the same room. It's so sharp I fear I'll be shredded to ribbons every time we meet, yet it's a benign rather than malevolent presence and understands when I'm struggling to keep up. My word. And, stop press, the sponsor – who doesn't like beer – says it's delicious. This one's a serious keeper.
Session factor: Gladly now and for the rest of my natural life. There would never be a dull moment. So, pretty high, then.
Arbitrary score: 90,115
Sponsor: Alan Freeman