Thursday 4 December 2014

Dutch courage

Double trouble: a mischievous scamp
of a beer that bites back
Brought to you by Clare Sudbery

Some days, you wake up and yearn for what you can't have. I did that this morning. I wanted to wind the clock back. Travel in time to a happier moment. A point when all was good. Essentially, three hours earlier when I was fast asleep and didn't have to get out of bed.

A grim picture greeted my drawing back of the blinds. One that reminded me of almost every day I ever lived in my hometown of – and how grim does this sound? - Oldham. It's that bad, Microsoft Word thinks it's a spelling mistake.

But lately I've realised it's not what you're presented with, but how you react to it that really counts. First thing I did after grimacing at the bleakness of the morning was to open the calendar and my delight was immediate.

Emelisse is a cracking brewery from Holland. The sort of beermaker that Heineken would love to have monopolised out of existence but couldn't quite refresh the requisite parts to achieve it. I've never had a bad beer from them and I don't expect I'm going to start now.

Thus enabled for the day, I pitched out into the dreich, smashed my way through the final bits of a magazine with a finicky client literally breathing down my neck and rewarded myself by lunching well with one of the Faber new poets at the Draft House on Tower Bridge.

Predictably, the afternoon went more slowly, but Will effortlessly managed to embellish an idea for a book I've been mulling over recently and sparked off the necessary inspiration to give it a ruddy good go next year.

So having battled my way back through the mooing hordes of London Bridge, I find myself sitting in a comfy swivel chair listening to Steely Dan's Can't Buy A Thrill and grinning like an idiot. And about to open a double IPA that will doubtless improve upon a seriously good mood.

Beer: Emelisse DIPA
Strength: A frankly ridiculous 7.9%
Smell: Like opening an old, plastic jar of sweets – the kind from which you used to buy quarter ounces of old favourites like midget gems – only to find it's been used to store Maroilles. c.f. Any strong American IPA in a bottle.
Tasting notes: Lyle's Golden Syrup sidles its way out of the side door, along the ginnel and away out the back gate when it knows full well it's tea time. It throws a quick, furtive glance over its shoulder to check mum and dad haven't clocked the escape, then skulks off down the alley, through the gap in the hedges and into the estate. Lyle's is not allowed to go to the estate, but that's where its best friends Dankness and Bitter live. And Lyle's loves hanging around with that pair of ne'er-do-wells. They spend the hour before twilight falls popping younger kids' footballs, throwing dirt at cars and making large dinges in neighbours' well-manicured lawns. Then the call. The one they've all been dreading. It comes booming out of three simultaneous houses and they each slope off dejectedly in their respective directions. Bitter is always the last to leave. But even he can't resist. All that remains are the dents, the mud and the tear-dampened deflated footballs.
Session factor: Oh, do fuck off.
Arbitrary score: 61114
Sponsor: Clare Sudbery

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