Sunday 1 December 2013

And so it begins

Wrapper's delight: Just look at the quality
of that cladding
What's the best way to prepare for a month-long drinking binge? A weekend at a health spa? Taking the waters of Bath? Or going to a beer festival sandwiched between two brewery visits?

So it will come as no surprise to regular readers that I'm again approaching the advent calendar with a bugger of a hangover. I can't even claim it as research, since I don't imagine any of the beers I drank yesterday will feature in this year's crop. In fact, they won't. All of them were brewed in London, now pretty much the world capital of beer.

It didn't used to be this way. A decade ago, when I first toyed with the idea of doing this, all you could muster in the metropolis by way of breweries was Young's and Fuller, Smith & Turner. Neither were particularly inspiring or interesting, but they served a purpose. When Young's packed up and headed north to Bedfordshire, it looked like Fuller's was all that was left in a city once famous the world over for its brewing.

Since then, there's been something of a renaissance. I've lost count, but there must be upwards of 50 breweries in London, at least half of which were at Spitalfields market yesterday flogging their wares. I did my best to keep them afloat, naturally. This was after a trip to Fourpure, the latest addition to Beermondsey's burgeoning brew scene. Of course, I clearly hadn't had enough after the market, so bimbled down to Redchurch in Bethnal Green for a few more. Unwise.

Now, having tried to sleep it off all day, I'm about to crack a (thankfully not too strong) beer open before heading out to a Belgian beer bar. Doubt I'll be able to fully appreciate the Roddy Frame gig lined up later, but you never know. So much for looking forward to this year's calendar, then.

Beer: Dunno, obviously. It's labelled as an American IPA
Strength: A mercifully managable 4.7%
Smell: Like a big bowl of ripe tropical fruit with just a hint of bubblegum
Tasting notes: Chewy. But then I expected that and I doubt it's the beer's fault. There's a ruddy great head on it as well, sticking out of the top of the glass like an alcoholic candy floss. Light and refreshing and with enough citrusy character to strip away several layers of hungover tongue clag, it's going down surprisingly well. But then I do like these kind of beers. Not too strong but with just enough swagger that you'd doff your cap to it out of respect. I can't work out whether the slightly salty aftertaste is down to this beer or the gallon or so I had yesterday.
Session factor: Pretty high. On another day, I'd happily sink a few of these.
Gut reaction: Belch-inducingly fizzy. Really quite volotile and I'll need my wits about me to keep it down.

Actual beer: Rocket Science Titan American Pale Ale. It is Rocket Science after all. Weighs in at 4.4% and is a pale rather than an IPA. Not bad at all. Based in Yate, apparently. Worth seeking out. 


Sam Tait said...

I'm proud to have been able to contribute to the liver damage these next 24 days will cause. If anyone else needs a beer sommelier, gizza shout!

Blackie said...

merry christmas ben!

Anonymous said...

London capital of beer my arse, Yorkshire innit.=) When does the foil come off btw?

Alzinho said...

And we're off!
So, what was it then?
Aren't you supposed to tell us that once you've done the tasting, ya numpty!

Eddie Grace said...

Had to go to a gig. Was brilliant. On my way back so will reveal the beer soon.

Yorkshire? Pffft. Capital of bugger all. ;)

Eddie Grace said...
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