The Session #66 – The One Beer To Rule Them All

This month’s Session is hosted by Craig at DrinkDrank. In his post, he asks us if we were to design our perfect beer, what would it be. If the easy part wasn’t enough, he also wants us to name this theorectical concoction.

The one beer I do want to make is a Wedding Beer. Two wedding beers to be precise. The first, a strong barley wine, purposefully designed so that it will age with my future wife and I. This will all be bottled, with a bottle on each table, and whatever is left kept back to age. The second would be a small beer, made from the mash of that barley wine, which would be available on the wedding day only.

As to what would go into this beer I’m not sure. On a personal level I quite like aniseed and liquorice flavours in beer (though strangely, I don’t like liquorice normally). As this would ultimately be a shared beer, the choice of ingredients should also probably be shared. This arguably means it wouldn’t be “my” perfect beer, but my argument says it would be, and this is my post, so ultimately I’m right.

I think.

If I was going to make another beer, just for me, it would be a big imperial stout, laced with spices and chocolate and maybe a bit of orange peel. Ideally it would go well next to a burning log fire, sat next to a plate of freshly baked mince pies. Snow will fall outside everytime it’s drunk, simply because it’s that sort of beer. It’s a beer for sharing, yet also a beer for keeping secret, and enjoying every last drop yourself, whilst also eating that whole plate of mince pies, despite the fact you know you shouldn’t

I suppose, now I’ve described the beers, I should also name them. I’m not sure if I’d actually name the barley wine itself. If I could think of a name that would do it justice, not just in terms of taste, but also what the beer would be a part of, not just on the day itself, but as we opened bottles as we and they aged. The small beer on the other hand, is much easier to name. It will be called “The Companion”.

As for that big imperial stout, it needs a big epic name to capture it’s awesomeness. A name that defines cool, sophistication, and perfection. A name that will sit comfortably in peoples lists of top beers. A name that, if it was alive, would encapsulate the massive ego it would have from being absolutely amazingly awesome. (Especially at alliteration.)

My big imperial stout will simply be called “Dave”.


The Session #63 – The Beer Moment



This month, The Session is being hosted by Pete Brown. The topic for discussion this month is “The Beer Moment” This is what came to mind when I read the announcement…

Last year, on the 23rd of December to be exact, I had a beer moment. It involved a beer I had drunk numerous times before, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout.

I was on my way home from London to Southampton for the Christmas Weekend. I had packed a bottle and glass to enjoy on the train. One of my favourite things about winter is that there are times where it is so cold that a beer can be just left outside for a while to bring it to a good drinking temperature. This was one of those nights, and so by the time I got to open the bottle on the Woking to Weymouth train, it was the perfect temperature.

Now, as I said earlier, this is a beer that I’ve had many times before. It’s amongst my favourites from my eight or so years of drinking beer. On this occasion though, there was something different. It tasted better.

This got me thinking, is there something more to the enjoyment of beer than just the beer itself? Was the enjoyment of this beer moment influenced by the fact that I was on my way home, to share and enjoy more beers and a few days off work. How much is enjoyment of anything influenced by the circumstances in which that thing was enjoyed, or not enjoyed.

I can’t actually think of any other occurences that have come close to feeling like a “moment” as this one. It actually seems like the last time I drank a beer for pleasure, rather than a purpose, like my “Friday Pint” or “Black and Tan Experiment” drinking. As I think I may have read another blogger (or perhaps a few bloggers) write before, it’s easy when trying to be analytical about beer to lose track of what got us started in the first place, those moments.

I find that “The Beer Moment” is most likely to come when I’m not thinking about it. Sometimes it’s good to step away from being critical and to just enjoy something for what it is, not just in the world of beer, but in the world in general.