Wednesday 4 December 2013

Best of the West

Bitter pill: but I'd gladly swallow another
Came off my bike this morning. Nothing to do with lorries turning left, irate motorists or seemingly suicidal pedestrians. Nope, just the wrong sort of leaves on the ground.

They say pride comes before a fall and it most definitely did today. I'd just deftly negotiated the gates that stop traffic going along Trinity Street in Borough - possibly the best I've ever done it and without deviating from the straight diagonal line necessary - when I welled up with a smug sense of achievement.

Moments later I was horizontal, caught up in the pedal straps and looking as prone as a drunk baby giraffe. Leaves. Hundreds of the buggers just lying around. As I steered out of the corner, my wheels just slid across them and I was down. A kindly pedestrian helped me to my feet and asked if I was OK. Stoically, I said I was fine, but I didn't feel it. The burn in my hip had already started. As I slowly pedalled away, even the nearby builders who'd witnessed the mishap without pointing and laughing asked after my welfare.

Which got me thinking. Perhaps cyclists aren't the pariahs we're made out to be. And, in fact, neither are drivers. Nor pedestrians. There was some good, honest humanity going on there and I felt much the better for it, despite my leg hurting like Hell.

So I've spent the rest of the day being nice. Got on with my work, smiled at passers-by when riding back, allowed people out of junctions while driving, laughing, joking with strangers and generally being a thoroughly pleasant human being. I took the kids to Tandoori Nights in Dulwich for dinner too as I'd been threatening to introduce them to curry houses for a while. They loved it.

As a result, I'm not even going to carp about best bitter - tonight's delight - being a bit of a tired, uninspiring style of beer as far as I'm concerned. Sure, it's OK when you're seeking a malty thirst-slaker, but doesn't excite much. I remember trying to persuade Evin from Kernel Brewery to make one and he point blank refused, saying he just wasn't interested in them. Fair enough, although I reckon he'd do a belter.

I'm just going to be thankful someone took the time to select it and enjoy a glass of something I've never had before. Go me. Perhaps I should fall off my bike more often.

Beer: Best Bitter
Strength: A distinctly ordinary 4.2%
Smell: Reassuringly normal, although there is a faint whiff of brandy snaps and pine needles.
Tasting notes: Really good, this. Pours more like a pale or an IPA than a best bitter and tastes that way too. First thing that hits me is that there's barely any of the overburdened maltiness that characterises many bests. In fact, there's barely any. Instead it's just a full-on, smash-you-in-the-face boxing ball of hoppy bitterness that pummels and rabbit punches your tongue at an alarming rate. And I swear there's a hint of Old English marmalade swilling around in there somewhere. That gets punched out too and you're left on the canvas, reeling and searching frantically for the corner stool. Impressive.
Session factor: I could easily have several more. Now. Right now.
Gut reaction: A bit gassy - it's well carbonated - but I can deal with that.

Actual beer: Butcombe Brewery Adam Henson's Rare Breed. Says it's a golden ale on the sleevenotes, which I'd agree with. Really nice, though. And more bitter than it claims on the label.


rach said...

Heh. You said Butcombe.

CarsmileSteve said...

I still love ordering butcombe, even though I can do it without sniggering, when I get the pints back to the table it's still "hur hur, butcombe"...

Eddie Grace said...

Hahahaha. Peurile swine. How dare you sully my blog with this juvenile commentary. :D