|Black regret: something tells me I shouldn't
have had that last stout
Having to give up being self-employed was a bit of a blow earlier this year. And it was a funny feeling to have the success of landing a pretty decent job appear like a failure. Still doesn't sit quite right after so many months being the so-called master of my own destiny, but a tremendous silver lining has been the close proximity of the Draft House on Charlotte Street.
By a long chalk the most 'pub-like' of any of that chain, it also has the benefit of being run by a man who not only knows his beer, he also knows me from a few years back. It's also just round the corner.
I've spent many a long hour in there and many more pounds since full-time employment coaxed me back into its clutches. Fair to say it's softened the blow.
And what was supposed to be a quick couple of halves to nullify the effects of a long, tricky day quickly turned into a few more. Did I blame it on the client? Did I blame it on the overtime? Did I blame it on the bollocking? No, I blamed it on the Brewdog.
Because my favourite bete noir (excuse the lack of accents, but I can't be arsed) of the beer-making world came out with an absolute cracker of a stout that I shared with a colleague, whereupon everything became right with the world.
Travails were forgotten, hours turned to moments and the entire day sloshed out of a 75cl bottle lovingly into a 33cl glass of natual wonder. Little wonder it became never my intention to stay so long on Charlotte Street.
Yet in the back of my mind was always the black IPA I'd hauled out of the calendar this morning. So I high-tailed it out of the best pub in the West End and moseyed on back. Not entirely sure my tastebuds are up for doing this justice, but one can but try, eh?
Beer: Black IPA
Strength: Bloody 6 point ruddy 2 per cent. Oops.
Smell: Just like a colleague. There's a mustiness that probably comes from too much exercise and not enough sprinkled water. Lived in, I think you'd say
Tasting notes: Properly difficult. I get the feeling this one's caught between several stools and will probably produce some in the not-too-distant future. What starts out as a gentle welcome soon turns into a fully fledged grilling under the sheer weight of several sacksful of toasted malt. I feel like I've fallen asleep open-mouthed at the exit of a grain silo and am ingesting roasted, ground barley in my sleep. Then some wag has decided it's a good idea to pour a whole jar of molasses into my cake hole to see if I can still breathe afterwards. I gulp at the last pockets of sweet, available air as I struggle for consciousness, but then a life-saving rope ladder of tang is cast my direction at the last minute and I grasp the fucker. On terra firma now. Gasping thankfully in exactly the same way as a landed trout doesn't.
Session factor: Not a chance. One is quite enough. Not on the grounds of quality, just on the strength of some things are best left as a one-off experience.
Gut reaction: Rumblefish.
Actual beer: Wiper & True India Pale Ale Black