|The Good Life: Surbiton's Big Smoke|
is a quality porter
Yesterday evening, I learned one of the people who is a regular fixture at London's The Rake bar, as indeed I am, died. Quite suddenly and without warning, one of the friendly faces with whom I frequently joked and shared pints with was no more.
I'm not going to pretend I knew him particularly well; I didn't. But I counted him as one of us. One of the faces at the bar. One of the many I know there with whom I can chat and discuss beer and generally smile or giggle at some of life's ridiculousness. One of the select few who you can bump into when you haven't arranged to meet anyone and strike up - and hold - a proper conversation with about whatever comes to mind.
Glenn was a thoroughly good bloke. A gent. More than happy to buy a round at the drop of a hat, which he did for me the first time I met him - just because I knew people he knew. He had a deep knowledge of beer and could be relied upon to have an opinion about pretty much any beer or development in the scene as would come up during the evening's witterings.
I think I still owe him a pint. I'm sad I won't be able to buy it now. We've lost a good one there. I went along earlier this evening to raise a glass to him. The beer I'm about to drink is to say thanks, not only for the beer, but for the snatched bits of chat and laughter I'll remember him for.
Beer: Big Smoke Dark Wave
Strength: A fittingly decent 5%
Smell: The snug bar of a well-frequented boozer the morning after.
Tasting notes: Oh, it's good enough all right. It's got pretty much everything you'd expect from a porter. Chocolate and coffee and a mild but insistent fruitiness; just enough to get the zangers going. I like the way it doesn't shout at you; its voice has all the timbre it needs to be heard above the general hubbub. And it's not one for monopolising the conversation either. It'll chip in when it needs to or when it has something useful or interesting to contribute. Nothing more. This is not a beer that's overly fond of the sound it makes, but it knows what it's talking about and delivers that in a wry, disarming way so you're always interested no matter the subject. A thoroughly good egg of a beer.
Session factor: You could happily spend a long evening by a fire swapping anecdotes with it. Whether or not that would pass muster on a 15-hour coach journey is anyone's guess, but at a pinch, you'd give it a whirl.
Arbitrary score: 120,615