Tuesday 2 December 2014

Wu Tang merrily on high

Saison's greetings: unexpectedly fantastic
despite early misgivings. Recommended.
Brought to you by Simon Green.

Been looking forward to using that headline since ‘Whole Calendar’ sponsor Simon Green asked if I’d use today’s date to publicise the release of the latest Wu-Tang Clan long player.

Titled ‘A Better Tomorrow’, it’s their first release for nigh on seven years, so if you’re a fan of the Clan, it’ll be worth checking out. I believe it’s already on Spotify, but you can find more details here.

And somewhat appropriately after yesterday’s unsteady start, this is indeed a better tomorrow. Seem to have shifted the illness, dusted off the disappointment and approached the day with an incredibly positive outlook.

Plus this evening saw the first small steps of a project I’m working on next year, which perhaps unsurprisingly sees me traipse around a range of London’s lost, forgotten or most romantic boozers. Tonight’s definitely fell in the last category, it having been described by Ian Nairn as ‘a real West End glitter’ of a place.

It was a regular haunt nearly 15 years ago when I used to work in St Martin’s Lane and I’ve popped by a few times since then as it still has a fair bit of old world charm despite it now being almost universally patronised by tourists.

The project, in case you were wondering, is hopefully going to turn into a book that sheds light on how once treasured pubs – valued by Nairn and other writers such as Geoffrey Fletcher, Laurie Lee and Jeffrey Barnard – have fallen by the wayside, lost their lustre or simply disappeared. It’ll include up-to-date write-ups and photographs, alongside some words on how the places used to be. I hope to find some are still worth frequenting nowadays, but here the optimism isn’t so strong. We’ll see.

I’m relatively optimistic about this beer, though. I love saisons and have brewed a couple of highly potable ones this year. They’re a terrific style of beer that gives you just the right amount of rustic mustiness, ale-like roundness and spicy finish without ever being overpowering. A real all-rounder and something I’ll be brewing more of come next summer.

Oddly enough, I’ve never heard of this brewery, which goes by the name of Strawman. Time to attack it, then. 

Beer: Strawman Saison
Strength: A particularly welcome 3.9%
Smell: As dank as a recently detergented gents. Pretty much spot on, then.
Tasting notes: Clean as a whistle; good as a bank. Which some years ago really meant something different. The second similie struggles these days, but fortunately those connotations don't apply to this beer. It has all the gravitas of a 1960s respectable bespectacled bank manager, pin-striped and with a meticulously trimmed waxed moustache. Probably a tee-totaller and almost certainly married with the requisite 2.4 children. The only sting in its tail, and it's a big one, is that the miserly bastard won't lend you the thousand pounds you need to buy a house (for it is still the 1970s in this beer's eyes). But in all honesty, it's probably got a damn good reason for refusing and, in the long run, you'll be better off as a result. What's more, you'll ask again the following day and won't mind when the outcome's the same. 
Session factor: Ridiculous. I'd be hard pushed given a choice of this or water coming out of the mains. 
Arbitrary score: 161114
Sponsor: Simon Green

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