Monday 17 December 2012

I should cacao

Cold porter: a comforting brew that
warms the cockles
It won't have escaped readers' attention that this December has been characterised by fairly bleak updates from Calendar towers, but pulling out this morning's beer should signal an upturn in fortunes.

Have to admit, it's not every day I wake up and say: "Today is going to be a good day," but seeing the brown paper wrapper made me feel like I'd welcomed home a long-lost friend. Now I realise it's potentially a pretty damning indictment that I'd consider a beer as a friend, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

Does drinking this brewery's beer make you happy? Yes. Do your eyes light up when you see it? Yes. Will it always be there for you? I hope so.

Since we met, I've introduced it to many people, including my parents. I've shared many special moments with it. It's been a talking point at plenty of social occasions. It's been at my last few birthdays. I've even helped brew it. Crikey, it must be serious.

We were introduced by Caught By The River, run and kept in publishable material by a bunch of actual people I consider friends. I haven't even met all of them, but they all seem part of a wider group bound by a common interest and all those I have met have been remarkable in their own ways. To paraphrase Mark E Smith, always different, always the same.

I'll be meeting a fair few of them tonight at the annual Christmas drinks, at which there will be laughter, smiles, interesting conversation and plenty of beer.

One person who won't be there is someone I've spent a great deal of time with recently. We've become almost inseparable in the past few months, which is kind of odd given we're not going out with each other. I did (still do, if I'm honest) harbour hopes it might develop into something more, but that's not one of the things we have in common, sadly.

Remains to be seen how sustainable this kind of 'grey area' relationship is, it having not been subjected to the challenges and vagaries of other interested parties just yet. But for now, it's a genuine pleasure spending time together and I'll miss her not being with me this evening.

Fortunately, I have other friends I will be with tonight, not least this little corker from The Kernel.

Beer: The Kernel Export Porter Cacao
Strength: A perfectly sustainable 5.3%
Colour: Deep, dark, reassuring black coffee.
Smell: Rich chocolate cake with a caramelised coffee buttercream filling.
Tasting notes: Smoother than Pepé Le Pew in a velvet smoking jacket at first, the dirty little skunk sheds its coat and starts spraying around its filthy scent of warning in the shape of a stinging hoppy hit. Just as you're recoiling, overwhelmed, it dons its outerwear again and picks up where it left off, seducing your taste buds with its chocolatey charm and raising its eyebrows all too ostentatiously. Powerless to resist, you lift the glass to your mouth again and succumb.
Gut reaction: Oily, viscous calm on troubled waters this. Not expecting anything untoward.
Session factor: There's only so much of this attention you could take.
Arbitrary score: 1969

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