Wednesday 9 December 2009

My 'dinger fling

OK, a little forced, but I really struggled with the pun tonight. I blame the day job.

The run-up to Christmas creates all manner of false deadlines that mean everyone has to work three times as hard as they really ought. All of a sudden, publications that are barely read at the best of times are rushed out ahead of schedule, with the result they're even more likely to find themselves straight in the bin than they ever were before.

Welcome to the world of in-house magazine publishing. Where company policy and HR initiatives dressed up as 'news' are force-fed down people's throats as corn is to geese in south-west France. Work all hours God sends and you might even get your picture in the rag, holding some poxy certificate that hasn't even got the decency to spell your name right. Course, the photo will be taken by Sarah in HR who doesn't know one end of a digital camera from another, so she'll just take it on her new iPhone. Yes, of course that's fine - we'll be able to print that. Don't worry yourself over trivia like resolution, brightness or picture composition.

In what parallel universe do the people who pay for this crap really think it'll be read over Christmas anyway, when staff finally manage to escape the clutches of their corporate captors? Not one I've ever encountered, that's for sure.

So much for seasonal goodwill to all men and all that.

The more eagle-eyed among you will notice I'm drinking this from a different glass tonight. The old faithful finally went the way most precious-yet-fragile things seemingly do, breaking as I tried to clean it. If the one pictured lasts half as long, it'll have had a good innings.

Beer: Joseph Holt Humdinger
Country: Manchester, England
Strength: A typically stingy 4.1%
Colour: Pleasingly copper
Smell: A rain-soaked pair of just-washed woollen trousers with a pocket full of crushed gooseberries
Circumstance: Another day, another marathon work effort. Now I know how Hercules felt.
Tasting notes: Large spoonful of honey - like a tablespoon of the stuff - that makes you fear for the rest of the glass, but this soon fades. You're then treated to a swift increase in sharpness and bitterness, doubtless from the hops (he guessed), and a long, lingering, tantalising drying out laced with spices that cries out to be doused in honey. And so around we go again.
Drinkability: Good. Highly sinkable, this. It's got enough about it to keep you interested without being so over-complicated you don't want to subject your tastebuds to another examination.
Gut reaction: Soothing and calming; I don't anticipate any issues with this light and sprightly beer.
Session factor: High. The honey isn't overpowering and the bitter spiciness creates a quite wonderful viscous circle of a thirst that begs to be slaked.
VFM: 9.7. Last of the £1.50-a-bottle Sainsbury's bargains before the tight-fisted retailer upped the prices in the run-up to Christmas. So much for seasonal goodwill to all men and all that. Wasn't on offer when I went in this evening, so that makes it doubly bargainous. A real find, this, and worth every penny.

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