|Golden great: quite honestly one of the
best beers I've ever had.
And no wonder. Being away for this weekend, I've had to open three days' worth of calendar today as I won't be back till Monday. Looks like Christmas has come early, since they are three absolute gems, starting with today's Kernel, tomorrow's from Ska Brewing (love that name) and Sunday's from Mikkeller.
I remember the day I bought the Kernel beer. A Saturday at the back end of a poor week saw me standing outside in my back garden soaking up some early November sun. A little bird, possibly a wren, flew down and perched on the fence post about two feet away from my head. I think I said something like: "Aw," and the little blighter cleared off. The irony wasn't lost on me.
Then I stumbled on a hidden message from someone and, all of a sudden, the day looked rosier. I decided I'd have a good day, so headed out for Eggs Florentine, then to the Kernel Brewery in Bermondsey for a couple of ales and to lay in a few bottles for the calendar.
This one stood out. BADSCCANS Galaxy. Sounding like a cross between a German football team, a horror film and a low-rent chocolate bar, this monster was a barrel-aged double IPA, weighing in at a fearsome 10.5%. I had to have it.
So intimidating was my purchase, I cut short my visit to the brewery and avoided drinking too much to properly appreciate the rest of the day. I bought amazing cheese from the local delicatessen, saw some truly jaw-dropping fireworks on Blackheath and discovered shared platters at the local tapas bar. It was the start of a genuinely exciting, interesting and inspiring month, full of adventure and wonder, but which all too quickly burnt out by the beginning of December.
Perhaps opening this bottle will signal the start of another upturn in fortunes. After the rigours of the last few weeks, I think I'm ready for that. But even if it doesn't, the next few beers are sure to put at least a wrinkle of a smile on my face.
Beer: Kernel B.A.D.S.C.C.A.NS Galaxy IPA
Strength: A frankly-ridiculous-but-who-cares 10.5%
Colour: Pale blood orange with an Instagram filter
Smell: All I could possibly want a beer to smell like. Dried fruit, summer meadows, peaches and ever such a faint hint of Thai stick
Tasting notes: I just don't know where to begin. This is incredible. All the flavours of Christmas and fine ale rolled into one enormous mouthful. A true selection box of a beer. I don't often do this, but quite honestly, it deserves it. The initials stand for the hops - Simcoe, Citra, Columbus, Apollo and Nelson Sauvin. You can pick out each one as if you were deliberating over a box of chocolates. It's dry hopped with Galaxy hops and then aged in a 1974 Strathmill whisky barrel. You could almost say it was gilding the lily or flavour overload, but because you can distinguish each different taste and aroma, it's not. It's nigh on orchestral, every part working in perfect harmony. And you get a free chaser thrown in with that tinge of whiskiness delivering a fond farewell at the end. Quite simply amazing.
Gut reaction: Who knows or cares. I could have gut-rot for a week and still feel it was worth it.
Session factor: Higher than you'd expect given its strength. I reckon I could eat a few of these.
Arbitrary score: 31112