|Dream come true: Mikkeller fulfils its|
Not Christmas, of course. Despite feeling slightly more festive now I've finished my Christmas shopping, I'm still firmly of the opinion this is a time of year that amplifies what you don't have rather than emphasising what you do have. Glass still half empty.
While buying presents over the last few days, it's really come home to me that I've missed having someone special to buy for. Must be three years since I took great joy in spotting something while out and about that would be ideal for my partner. It didn't really register that much in the previous two years for one reason or another, but this year it's been different.
Almost every shop I've visited in London, Lewes, Eastbourne and Brighton has produced something I'd have snapped up in an instant had there been someone to buy it for. Course, the bank balance will be much healthier as a result. But while I may be richer in mere monetary terms, the soul feels much poorer for it.
Happily, I'm certain the malaise won't last. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I'll spend much of it ensconced in a pub listening to a choir, drinking beer and laughing with friends. Christmas Day with the family will be another mirth-filled occasion, while Boxing Day should herald more giggles and drinks. I know I'm lucky to have all that and by the 27th, there'll be no more reason to feel festive any way.
Before then, I have the not-so-small matter of finishing off this year's calendar. No idea what tomorrow's beer is, but I know I've been looking forward to this one for a while. Mikkeller is a terrific Danish brewer that can do very little wrong in my eyes. Never had a duff beer from them, including the lager they brew for the Craft Beer Company, so their take on The American Dream (as this beer's monikered) is one I'm awaiting with bated breath.
And unlike with many other things, I'm pretty certain this one is going to deliver.
Beer: Mikkeller The American Dream
Strength: An eyebrow-raisingly miniscule 4.6%
Colour: Olympic gold
Smell: Just opened cherry bubblegum and mildly soaked juniper berries
Tasting notes: While many brewers can pack stacks of flavour into fairly strong beers, it takes skill, dedication and effort to be as succinct as Mikkeller in saying so much with so little. And with this, they're saying 'hidden danger'. You've a feeling things will turn nasty just by looking at the outside of the place, what with its flat roof and 70s decor, but you're persuaded in all the same. The cheap Christmas decorations and Formica bar should give it away, but now you're there, you'd better at least buy a drink. And it's fine at first. Quite lovely in fact. A fruity welcoming smile puts you off guard, but then comes the punch. Hard, fast and ruthless, the bitterness takes you completely unawares and wallops you with a cudgel of hops that tears at the taste buds like a vulture hollowing out a carcass and leaves you face down and dazed. You've been well and truly had. Done up like a kipper. Fleeced. Obviously, your wallet and phone are long gone, but the kindly mugger does leave you enough for your bus fare home. But as you stagger out, beaten and bloodied, you turn round and think you might quite like to go in for another.
Gut reaction: So sharp it'll more than likely pierce the stomach lining and seep into somewhere I'd know about had I paid more attention in biology.
Session factor: Dangerously high. This one's a repeat offender you're more than happy to stump up the bail for.
Arbitrary score: 80,669