Monday 21 December 2015

A pair of Bristol's finest

Rye smile: this saison's been fashioned
by a consummate professional
Amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it, eh? Today I have recovered a lost hat, eaten dinner, hung up some washing, done some more, moved some stuff around in my flat and contemplated the sheer amount of other stuff I still need to do before the next month is through. 

Exhausting. This, of course, got me thinking about stuff I haven't done. Like sent Christmas cards in time for the last post (again) and told British Telecom of my imminent flat more. I'll get on to it, I'm sure. If I put my mind to it.

I've also not managed to keep up to date with this year's calendar, though I aim to rectify that this evening. And for the first time since I left the marital home, I haven't penned a 'Shadows and Reflections' piece for Caught By The River.

Should you be unaware of this excellent website, every year they ask friends and contributors to submit some words on what has moved them or otherwise throughout the year. Mine are usually laden with misery and regret. Last year's was uncharacteristically upbeat, despite the setbacks I endured.

This year? I just don't know what to write. It's been a pretty weird year all told and I'm not sure I can do it justice. Neither am I sure I want to. Sometimes, things are much better left unwritten.

The same cannot be said for this calendar, however. And it certainly isn't going to write itself.

Beer: Wiper And True In The Rye
Strength: An all-too-familiar-this-year 5.5%
Smell: A fine blend of mashed barley and a piney undercurrent I always attribute to mosaic hops
Tasting notes: (looks at label) Oh, mosaic. The old nose can still pick it out, it would seem. It works well in this wonderful example of a farmhouse ale. For some reason - and it might be my imminent cold - all seems perfectly balanced here. Like a deft punter poling his way along an oilslick backwater with an envelop of new lovers for cargo. Despite all the tumult of the raging rye, the hullaballo of the hops and the yaw of the yeasty current, all is above-water swan serene in this beer's world. As natural as the Breton shirt and straw boater he's spoiling on this delightful summer's day. Not even the Tannoyed 'come in number six, your time is up' sullies the scene. The dry land of the finish is only too welcome after such a display.
Session factor: Loftier than an upper first.
Arbitrary score: 555,555

Magnificent mouthful: Millionaire makes
mincemeat of moribund milds 
Beer: Wild Beer Co, Millionaire
Strength: A mercifully meek 4.7%
Smell: Most unlike the shortbread its name would suggest. More like Marmite and murky molasses
Tasting notes: It feels like a mild, but this could so easily be the oilslick backwater described above. Dark, mysterious, full of obscurity. Massive Millionaire Shortbread flavour to start with, like you've mistakenly drunk your post-beer snack instead and are just on the point of chomping into your glass of beer. As the weir-induced scum subsides and the thick, foamy head gives way to a more tense surface, a malty brackishness takes over and signals the calming of the once-disturbed eddies. Beer as river, skulking away softly into the gathering dusk.
Session factor: This is neither cascading waterfall nor dallying delta. Mid-river medium at Millthrop, but none the worse for that.
Arbitrary score: 684

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