It's not all been trawling through brewing records this Christmas. Beer has/is being drunk.
As a special treat for the holiday, and to take advantage of the web's possibilities, I'll be posting about what I drink real time. Exciting or what? You'll be able to see if I keep to Christmas drinking plan.
11:45 Beer Geek Breakfast
I've just popped a Mikkeler Beer Geek Breakfast (Speyside edition). I'm matching it with my usual breakfast: a handfull of pills. The roastiness squared of coffee plus roast malt holds up well to the plastic chemicaliness of the tablets.
The beer's OK. Much better than the last Beer Geek Breakfast I tried. Mike emptied most of his into Keizer's Gracht. I did finish my share, but through clenched teeth. This one's positively pleasant in comparison. A bit astringent/sour from all the dark malt, but nothing too annoying.
Just wondering if, as there's already some whisky in the beer, I need to have an Islay with it. Decisions, decisions.
12:30 Hoppin' Frog BORIS the Crusher I'd planned this for present-opening time. But that happened while I was still in dreamland. Watching Dolores slave away in the kitchen time is what the clock is showing currently.
I picked up this bottle when I was in the USA for work. $8.99 it cost me. Mmm. This is a real surprise. Good mouthfeel (from the oats, I guess) and lots of dark chocolate. Quite restrained compared to the Beer Geek Breakfast. The malt chocolatey sweetness and subdued roastiness combine with the clinky-clink noises from the kitchen into a gestalt of inordinate simplicity and elegance.
As this Stout lacks any intrinsic whiskiness, I've paired it with the Ileach. (The cheapest Islay whisky Ton Overmars sells, just 25.99 for 70 cl.) Yummericious, in a combining-drinks-too-early-in-the-day sort of way.
13:30 De Molen Rook en Vuur
I did not pay for this beer. I did not pay for this beer. That's the disclaimer out of the way. Another Stout, but one with a twist. Or two. (Twister - that's really Christmassy. When else does anyone play Twister?) Smoked, and chillied. That would usually be enough to have me running for the hills. But I trust Menno. And his beer. There's a very delicate lick of flame on the tongue, but not a roaring fire. The smoke is subdued too.
Fire and smoke fit perfectly with the rain that's slowly melting the snow away outside.
We'll be having our starter soon. Not salmon as I'd predicted, but portobello mushrooms with goats cheese, pine nuts and bacon. It looks very nice.
I did not pay for this beer. I did not pay for this beer. Just in case you missed the first disclaimer.
15:30 Dogfish Head 120 minute IPA
Bit slow there, wasn't I? The Rook en Vuur was a bit too one-person sized. You must be very disappointed.
After all those heavy Stouts, I've gone for something light and zingy. Should match the police car chase programme on the telly perfectly. Shit. Andrew's changed channels. Now it's a Hitler exploding the earth doomsday device programme. The beer actually matches better with that. I can already smell the duck, so I need to hurry.
It's nothing like as crazily hoppy as I expected. A bit more grapefuity than I like, but OK. Grapefruit, orange. You know something. It may match the food quite well. It might. It could have. But I'll be drinking wine with the main course. If I value my grillocks.
I'm off for dinner now. I'll be back in a hour or so for post-prandial meanderings.
Gave the kids a taste of the DFH. Lexie ran for the toilet. After spatting it out he said: "Blergh! That was horrible. Sweet and bitter." Andrew just did the sucking lemon thing. And gave me a look. "That's how it's supposed to taste. Sweetness and bitterness in perfect disharmony."
19:35 the Ileach
Over a game of Pharoah, I switched to whisky. If I were being nasty, I'd say: to take away the nasty taste of the DFH. But I didn't think it was nasty. Just not what I wanted to drink. Courses, horses, that sort of crap.
"Dad, no, not alcohol. You're taking drugs again. Really, don't."
I feel like the dad in those old temperance posters. "Daddy, please don't drink." My kids have never said those exact words to me. "Dad, no more beer." "Daaad, not a jenever. You know what mum said." Those I've heard.
Time is drawing on, this joke is wearing thin, my family craves attention. Peace and love, peace and love. Man.
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