It's been an altogether blander affair this year. Barring a few extremely notable exceptions, the beers have been fairly one-track and uninspiring and the same can be said for some of the entries too.
Maybe that's down to waning inspiration or perhaps it's because I've had a considerably less eventful December in 2011. There's something to be said for the theory that creativity is frequently heightened by distress or borderline depression. So in a way, it is heartening to note it's been much more difficult to assign as much importance to the blog this year than I did in 2010. But it's a funny one to ponder. Would you prefer inspiration or contentment? Can the two coexist? And wouldn't this be much better if I had a pint?
As for the last question, I can think of only one way to answer that. And to round things off, a beer that's as London as you could hope for. Brewed by Fuller, Smith & Turner of Chiswick, it's an India Pale Ale like many I've had this year. Not a daftly hoppy one either, but robust and interesting enough.
It's doubtful you'd call this a craft ale like some I've had this month, but I really don't mind that. You feel like you can have a full pint of it without having to fawn over how amazingly well it's been balanced and how wonderfully pungent the new world hops are. Not that I mind any of that, but sometimes you just want a beer and this is just one of those.
Beer: Fullers Bengal Lancer
Strength: A strong yet perfectly feasible 5.3%
Colour: Standard beer light orange.
Smell: Standard beery smell, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing noxious. If anything, slightly fresh smelling, like just-washed woolens.
Tasting notes: Sharp, crisp and with admirable fortitude. Every other cliche you can think of to describe what's a genuinely tip top IPA. Whether it would qualify as one in the strictest sense is really neither here nor there with me today. I'm being seasonably charitable, but I think this beer deserves it. There is a faint taste of Christmas about it too. Peppery and spicy at first, just a smidgin of fruitiness later. Well done, Fuller's.
Gut reaction: I'm marking it down here as it's already not sitting comfortably on my Christmas dinner.
Session factor: Not today, but another time I'll gladly neck a few of these in one go.
Arbitrary score: 258