That's right, another year older. As they say not long till I hit the big three zero now. Though I don't really feel any older but over the years I think I have realised a few things and maybe even mellowed out since my college and university days. Here are a few of the things I have learnt over the years;
- You don't need to use over 8 different malts and 13 different hop varieties to brew a good beer.
- Global breweries and big mega corporate brewing mega brands are not all that evil. Their products have a place on the market, they even help out the smaller brewers in ways and provide that essential yin for that yang that is beautiful craft beer.
- The running of a real brewery is not in any way similar to a magical wonderland of fantasy where everything goes to plan and everyone goes about their daily duties of brewing and delivering beer with glee.
- Certain beers can be awesome with desserts, even ice cream.
- Radio 2 isn't all that bad.
- I need more practice with Barbecues.
- Never oak age beer in a very small wooden cask for over a month, the results can be overpowering and nasty.
Anyway this year I decided to celebrate my birthday with a Barbecue. I mean, I have a garden now, and a barbecue, so why not. Luckily, after a very overcast start to the day the sun came out shortly before guests started arriving. My 3.4% golden ale had been vented since the previous night and it was all conditioned up and ready to go, The only problems were its less than optimal head retention and the fact I struggled to keep its serving temperature down with ice packs from the freezer.
Other than that I was chuffed with it. Aroma wise you had hints of grassy citrus, grapefruit and the bready yeasty notes of the Mordue house yeast strain. On the palate it sure was easy to knock back. Light bodied with a broad bitterness coming through from those cascade and Hersbrucker hops. Citric fruit, herbal notes and a touch of pine with a slight grapefruit hint coming from the Amarillo hops that were added after the boil.
So after the first few quality control pints all was set for a prolonged session in the (intermittent) sun. With me not being the sort of bloke who drinks the same beer for an entire session I got round to cracking open some Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat. A pleasant enough beer but to me it just seemed indistinct from any other American wheat beer. After this I managed to share round some Baladin Wayan, another crazy Italian take on Belgian beer, in this case saison. A nice golden fruity malt driven ale with banana and spice. Very enjoyable and once the barbecued food was flowing a nice bottle of Flying Dog Doggy Style pale ale came in handy for standing up to all those spicy relishes whereas my Anchor Porter latched on the to caramelised meaty texture of the burgers and sausages yet found a better friend in the the chocolate cup cakes for afters.
At about this stage things turned a tad more hard core as the 8% Hardknott Queboid came out with its interplay of bold malt backbone, assault of tangy, grapefruit like hops and crazy funky Belgian yeast. Then from one big untamed beast of a beer came another tho I didn't originally intend on opening my only bottle of Brewdog Tokyo* it was more of spur of the moment/live for the day sort of thing. I agree with all the bloggers who have called this beer under-rated. It got the spotlight in its heyday of being Britain's strongest beer before it was over shadowed by a bunch of freeze distilled, over priced super high gravity offerings that semi-resemble beer. The truth is I would choose this immense 18.2% Imperial stout over a bottle of Tactical Nuclear Penguin any day, it's boldness expresses a much more structured, composed array of flavours as opposed to it just taking your throat out.
Anyway, the rest of the night was a bit of a blur people leaving, snacking on party food and fond memories of everyone sitting round outside late at night. A few Cigars and drams of Laphroig and Ardbeg were involved and that about finished things off. So happy times indeed, and what was more impressive was the amount of free beer you get when people are stuck for birthday presents for you but know you love beer. This year I managed to bring in quite a good range.
|This should keep me stocked up for a while.|