|Divine comedy: one that'll have your|
tastebuds rolling in the aisles
The more cynical among you might suspect I only bought this beer to use the above headline. And they'd be partially right.
But those familiar with this Danish 'cuckoo' brewery will have guessed the real reason. If you want a potent beer, they are among the world's best at bringing you just that.
A little more than a year ago, I had the immense pleasure of working at the Independent Manchester Beer Convention and was delighted to discover I'd be helping serve To Øl beers. What I didn't know was that it would be with brewers Tobias and Tore, who had brought around six kegs of their range and were, as I arrived, busy hooking them up to their makeshift chilling system, which consisted of a converted coolbox filled with ice.
Like many brewers, To Øl embrace the spirit of improvisation. I was fascinated to see such a Heath Robinsonesque contraption come together and actually work, but even more amazed at the beer that came out of it.
True, their beers are called some frankly ridiculous names. 'Dangerously Close to Stupid', 'Fuck Art, This is Advertising' and 'Liquid Confidence' anyone? But if those names are memorable if nothing else, the taste of them stays with you much longer.
Liquid Confidence was one of my top three beers of last year, while I'm pretty sure it was Dangerously Close to Stupid that rendered Marcus and Gareth (surnames witheld to protect their true identities) almost incapable of eating their pre-paid gourmet meal with anything approaching decorum.
Today's is a rather more sober affair, chiming in at just 7.1%. Just. Yet I'm still expecting it to linger in the mouth, hopefuly soothe an increasingly sore throat and beat back the advancing army of common cold.
Time to apply the medicine and see if to drink is devine.
Beer: To Øl Black Ball porter
Strength: An evening-ending 7.1%
Smell: OK, now it's Christmas. Thick molasses ooze out of the bottle immediately and rise, gently swirling as cigarette smoke. It's as if they're coating the insides of my nostrils and preventing the build-up of mucus. A welcome development.
Tasting notes: I took the first sip a minute before writing this and my tastebuds are still giggling. Like they've been stuck in a room full of laughing gas for the past day and are just emerging, tears in eyes and gasping for breath. I'd wager this is partly due to the fact this beer doesn't half know how to stick around; in fact it's taken its shoes off and put its feet up for the night. Ain't going nowhere. Really difficult to describe without drifting too much into beer-speak. So I won't. Frankly, this is fucking brilliant.
Session factor: Not particularly high, but that said I'd like several more.
Arbitrary score: 26714Sponsor: Mark Brereton