The Friday Pint #35 – Dancing Man Brewery DNA

To start with, I’ll make a confession. I’m writing this post on Thursday, about a pint I had on Tuesday. As it’s transfer deadline day and I’m at work I won’t be able to get to a pub to have a pint, and this particular pint has lingered in my mind.

Dancing Man Brewery is situated on the premises of The Platform Tavern pub in Southampton. The brewery is the brainchild of bar manager Aidan Levin, who is one of the most enthusiastic brewers you could hope to meet.

When I tried the first batch of beers at the brewery’s launch night I wasn’t overly impressed. Talking to Aidan and hearing the ideas he had for future brews told me that it would be worth coming back. Thankfully, I did.

Last Thursday, as I was sat in The Southampton Arms in Kentish Town, I received a phone call from Aidan, telling me that there was a festival that weekend at The Platform Tavern, featuring three new beers, including a Black IPA. I was heading home anyway to brew the lager on Friday, and so I decided to pop in on my way back.

The three new beers available (Last Waltz, Pole-Axed and Cloud Cuckoo) were all wonderful, and proof that my suspicions were right that Aidan’s beers would get better. The stand out for me of the beers I had last Thursday, was Pole-Axed, a Citra hopped IPA, brewed to be taken by an expedition down to the South Pole. I’ve said a few times to various people that I’ve never really liked Citra as a hop. Indeed, to this point, the only beers I’ve liked that have been hopped solely with Citra have been Kernel’s IPA and Anchor’s Brekle’s Brown. Now I can add Pole-Axed to that, and hopefully Aidan can get enough Citra to brew it again at some point.

Now, onto the DNA, which was one of the beers that Aidan mentioned back in January when the brewery launched. When poured, it looks like a standard brown ale. Hidden within the taste of this beer however, is a sweetness that has come from the addition of marmalade to the brew.

It took me a while to figure out if I liked it or not, and if I’m honest, I’m still not sure now. The fact that I wanted to go back for more would suggest that I did indeed enjoy it, yet I’m not sure why. The beer had a cloying stickiness, much like the lingering bitterness of some of the overtly hoppy beers.

The conclusion I came to as I reached the halfway mark of the pint, was that a pint of a beer this sweet maybe too much. As I continued to drink, I realised that this wasn’t a session beer, it wasn’t a beer to casually drink at lunchtime, it was a beer that would be perfect after food, or as an accompaniment to an appropriate dessert.

I’m pretty sure I did like it. I certainly want to try it again, and I’ll be there on Sunday to have a pint or two of whatever is on before heading to the match at St. Marys. There are plans for another festival in November, which may include a Chocolate and Chilli Stout. I’ll be in America, but you should make your way down to Southampton if you can.

Actually, you should make your way down anyway and see what’s on. (689)

The Friday Pint #34 – Arbor Ales Port Stout

So, first things first, this morning I finally got around to brewing a beer. A Vienna lager hopped with Hallertaur. In a few weeks time the results shall feature in this thread. I’ve made roughly 5 litres (around 9 pints, or 15 330ml bottles). If this goes well, I may brew a porter or stout for Christmas.

As for today’s Friday Pint, I’ve opened a bottle of Arbor Ales Port Stout, part of the brewery’s Freestyle Fridays range. The beer is a 5.7% Oyster Stout with port added late in the fermentation.

The first thing I notice about the beer is its aroma, full of burnt toast notes, it’s one of the best stout aromas I’ve experienced in a while. Taste wise it feels rather rich, with a slight bitterness in the aftertaste. The effect of the carbonation on the way the beer feels on the tongue means that the beer isn’t quite as good as it could be. If the mouth feel was more velvety smooth, Arbor Ales Port Stout would be a very good beer. (1204)

A Post About Football, Mostly…

The more observant of you reading this blog will have noticed the tagline at the top that states that Good Morning… is “A blog about beer, mostly.” This post is one of those posts that diverts away from beer, though beer is involved.

After last seasons eventful trips to Nottingham (delayed train) and Birmingham (snow), this weekend I headed to Manchester, to watch Saints’ first premier league game in seven years. Like the two trips from last season, this wasn’t just about football though. I also intended on revisiting The Marble Arch, and paying a first visit to Port Street Beer House.

Those of you on follow me on twitter will probably be already aware that this trip was also eventful, with my ticket not actually arriving before the match. Thankfully, the ticket office staff at The Etihad Stadium were my heroes of the day, and gave me a ticket after I explained the situation, and showed them the booking e-mail on my phone.

Stress of not having a ticket over, I could have easily walked back to Port Street Beer House, where I had already popped in and had a Summer Wine Brewery’s Dr. Paracelsus, a beer that momentarily made everything better. As it was I stuck around the stadium.

The match was ultimately lost by Saints, but for a while, they were in the lead against the champions. For a side who were supposed to be defeated 4-0 or 5-0, they certainly didn’t feel that way. In any other circumstances, a 3-2 loss would have been disappointing. As it was, I’ve never left a football match more happy with the performance I’ve just watched. Sure, there were mistakes made, and things they could have done better, but they fought, and kept fighting, and almost managed to leave with a point.

Happy with the game, I headed back to my hotel room to change into a non football top and charge my phone up a bit before heading out to find food, and more importantly, beer.

My first port of beery call was a pub I visited last time I was here, the Robinson’s owned Castle Hotel on Oldham Street. Last time, the bar was filled with Robinson’s beers. This time, only two featured, with the rest of the pumps featuring guests from other breweries. Across the road from the Castle Hotel is Gullivers, a JW Lees owned pub, who kept me in there for a second half through playing 60s reggae.

After finally getting food, I headed back to Port Street Bar, where I got myself comfortable, and started drinking beer. I drank beers from Hawkshead, Thornbridge, Brodies and Harviestoun, amongst others. I watched people come in and order their beers. Some knew what they wanted, some were guided by the bar staff, some had their eyes drawn towards the 9.2% of the Magic Rock Human Cannonball.

There’s only so much beer I can drink in one night, and with the flow of people starting to slow down, I decided to head back to the hotel and call it a day.

The next morning, with time to kill before The Marble Arch opened, I headed to Old Trafford, and went on the stadium tour. I also took the time to look over past victories, and found an interesting edit of history…

The tour finished at around a good time for me to head back and start my session at The Marble Arch. For lunch, and to accompany the many beers, I went for the cheeseboard. Just like beer, too much choice can sometimes be a bad thing, and it was some struggle trying to choose which four cheeses from the 20 on offer I was going to have. (I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been somewhere with 20+ taps and pumps frustrated that I won’t be able to drink everything that I want to drink).

After an afternoon of drinking beers like “Pint”, “Draft” and “Bitter”, I left with a few bottles, and made my way back to Port Street Bar, before getting half way there and remembering that it’s closed on Mondays.

With a couple of hours before my train, I ended up at The Font. Beerwise, it wasn’t too bad, and when I was in there it was relatively quiet, yet it didn’t feel like the sort of place I’d want to drink regularly. My trip finished with a bottle of Thornbridge Bracia. I enjoyed it a lot, yet didn’t really have enough time to drink a full 500ml bottle by myself, and appreciate it fully.

I’d like to come back to Manchester soon, I feel like there’s a huge chunk of beer places I’ve yet to find, as well as all the places that are just a short train journey away. Now, when’s that Manchester United match… (496)

Vibrant Forest Pale Ales

Vibrant Forest Brewery is situated in Totton, on the edge of the New Forest. The Brewery was opened last summer by Kevin Robinson, and has since won praise and awards for it’s beers, Flying Saucer, Wheatwave, and Black Oktober in particular.

This summer, Vibrant Forest has brewed a series of single hop pale ales, each brewed to the same alcohol and bitterness level, with the same malt base, using a different hop in each brew. The first three single hop pale ales from the brewery are Chinook, Nelson Sauvin, and Citra.

The Chinook is a rather bitter hop, that lingers rather unpleasantly on the tongue. The aroma does little to excite me as well. The beer seems to be a nice, well made beer, yet it would seem Chinook isn’t the hop for me.

 

 

 

 

The Nelson Sauvin however, has changed me from being indifferent about the hop, to being quite a fan. The aroma has a distinct smell of white grapes, which carries on slightly into the taste as well. This bottle seems to be a little bit sharper than the one I had earlier this week, yet it’s still a very enjoyable beer.

Pale Ale #3 is Citra, a hop I’ve had mixed reactions with, mostly verging on disappointment. So far, in terms of beers hopped solely with Citra, only The Kernel‘s IPA Citra, and Anchor’s Brekle’s Brown have been on the positive side of the scale. For all the hype that initially surrounded the hop, only those beers seemed to have hinted at it being worthy of the excitement that seemingly surrounded it.

Unfortunatley, this pale ale doesn’t really do anything to improve my opinion of the Citra hop. There’s a rather grassy bitterness to it, that lingers rather unpleasantly, coating the mouth and making you go back for more, just because the taste is better than the aftertaste. As I said with the Chinook, the beer seems like a really good beer, and I’d love to see more single hop pale ales from Vibrant Forest, especially Amarillo and Moteuka ones if the hops are available. For me though, Citra is a hop that disappoints, more than it satisfies.

 

Now that I’ve tried the three individual pale ales, time for some beer geekery, inspired by Steve Lamond’s Hop Mixology post. First, I shall be trying Citra and Chinook, followed by Chinook and Nelson Sauvin, Nelson Sauvin and Citra, and finally, a blend of all three pale ales.

The Citra plus Chinook mix is marginally better than it’s two component parts, but only marginally. The initial taste when the two are combined is actually a lot better, and actually, there isn’t as much of a lingering bitter after taste either. I prefer this over either Citra or Chinook, but I don’t really like it.

The Chinook and Nelson Sauvin combine to create a rather soapy, and somewhat unpleasant beer, in many ways the least enjoyable so far. The grape nose of the Nelson Sauvin is still there, and there is a slight redeeming malt element in the aftertaste, but neither of them distract enough from the soapyness of the taste.

With the Nelson Sauvin/Citra mix, the Nelson Sauvin seems to dominate the Citra, with little of the latter hop really dectable. This is a somewhat unexpected result for me, as I was expecting the taste to be more bitter, and for the Citra to overpower the grape qualities of the Nelson Sauvin.

Combining the three gives a wonderful aroma, by far the best of all of them encountered whilst writing this post. The combined taste is almost, but not quite as good. There’s a distinct clash between the hops which means it doesn’t quite work. It’s still perfectly drinkable, but as far as hop combinations go, Chinook, Nelson Sauvin and Citra isn’t the way to go.

Of the three beers, Nelson Sauvin is by far my favourite. The fact that I personally didn’t particuarly like the Chinook and Citra ones shouldn’t say anything about the beers themselves. As I made clear earlier in this post, Citra is a hop that I’ve only enjoyed on two occasions. If you’d like to try the pale ales for yourself, and more in the Vibrant Forest range, they are available for sale from Bitter Virtue in Southampton.

A full list of Vibrant Forest outlets is available here. (735)

The Friday Pint #33 – A Post About Nothing

There’s an empty spot in front of me where a beer could be. Even if there was a beer there it would be out of place. I’m at work, and as such unable to have a pint. Not that I need one of course, and after last week, this three day break is probably very welcome for my body.

In place of the low murmur of conversation, there is the quiet cacophony of multiple fans, and air conditioning, and electrical hum. There is no one in the room except for me. No one to talk to. No one to avoid being talked to by.

I begin to think of the weekend. My weekend off. Providing my ticket actually arrives, I’ll be spending Sunday afternoon at the Etihad Stadium, watching Saints first game back in the Premiership since 2005. If it doesn’t arrive, I’ll be walking around Manchester, seeing its sights, and drinking its beer.

I’ll be drinking its beer anyway. I’ve booked a hotel room so I can do so after the match, and also on the Monday afternoon. I have been to Manchester before, and found a pub selling Robinson’s beers. I drank the range before moving on to the Marble Arch, where I regretted drinking as much as I did in the Robinson’s pub.

This time, I’m assigning most of Monday afternoon to drinking in the Marble Arch, and spending Sunday in Port Street (what with it being closed on Mondays, this seems like a reasonably good idea).

In writing about beer, I begin to want a beer. There are quaffing days and sipping days, and today is a sipping day. At least, in here it is. Outside earlier it was hot and sunny, far too hot for the sort of high strength imperial stout or barley wine I’d like to savour, slowly sipped from my favourite glass.

In reality, I’m longing for winter. I’m longing for the long cold dark winter nights which make imperial stouts and barley wines just a bit more satisfying. The long cold dark winter night that make a rustic pub, with a real log fire, and a dog, seem even more welcoming. I’m longing for something that doesn’t really exist, except in the romantic writings of beer writers.

When those cold dark winter nights actually come, the last thing I think of is going to the pub. Especially when it’s bitterly cold, with patches of ice on the paths, and I’m already warm in my room. Those pubs exist, but they’re rarely within easy walking distance of most people, especially when it’s cold, dark, and potentially dangerous underfoot.

Most of us have to make do with The Local, or if that won’t do, The Regular. The beer choice won’t be exotic, but it will have “Old Reliable”. The beer we’ve drunk the most over our lives. It’s the beer we go to when we “need a beer”. It’s not challenging, but it’s more satisfying than most other beers we’ve drunk. It holds memories.

Generally, The Local (or The Regular) won’t have the same atmosphere that the romantic ideal pub has. There will be a fire, but this will often be for show, with heat coming from behind the radiator, in front of which are three bar stools, on which are sat regulars with pints in their hands, which never seem to be drunk. They are always talking, yet never seen drinking.

In some places, there will be a TV. Some will switch it on only for special occasions. Big sporting matches and royal weddings and the like. Others will have it on all the time, tuned into a news channel on mute, with some eyes fixed to the scrolling stream of headlines as they consume their beers.

Music will be provided by a jukebox, that sits on the wall unnoticed, along with the music it plays through speakers that have their volume set so it can be heard by people who want to hear it, but not heard by people who don’t. For atmosphere, some places will turn up the volume of the jukebox at certain times.

Behind the bar there will be a selection of crisps, nuts, and either boards of Cheese Moments or Pork Scratchings, or if you’re lucky, both. All are priced at slightly more than you’re happy to pay for such things, but you end up doing so anyway, in an attempt to stave off the inevitable feeling of drunkeness that is to come.

Some people you will know by name, some people will know you by name, but you’ll only seem to ever know them by face. Some people you’ll never know at all. It’s people that make The Local, and sometimes, there are too many of them. On some nights, the bar at The Local is two, maybe three deep. The Local draws people together. It makes friendships, it reunites friendships, it breaks them up with a fight and the sound of a young woman shouting “Leave him, he ain’t worth it”

If you look around The Local, you’ll begin to notice little characteristics, small things that differentiate it from The Pub Down The Road. Picture frames on the walls, little knick knacks on shelves surrounding the room, patterned carpet from the 70s with wallpaper to match.

I’m not sure if such a place really exists either, yet a place like “The Local” is much more likely to be encountered by beer writers than their romantic ideal. Location is important though, as is circumstance, and company. Some might say this is nothing compared to the actual beer, but consider this.

You have a beer. In one situation you are on your own, drinking the beer, and either enjoying it or not enjoying it. In the other situation, you are with friends, or family. Each of you has a different opinion of the beer. Which seems more satisfying and rewarding?

Even the worst beer can have its purpose in the best company. (500)

The Friday Pint #32 – GBBF (again) (The Spitfire of The Friday Pint posts)

When your day’s beer drinking begins with a glass of an 11% imperial stout from Emelisse, it’s not likely to get better than that point.

Indeed, the beer aged in Coal Ila barrels had an indulgent peaty aroma and taste, that wasn’t really touched by any of the beers that came afterwards, certainly not the Spitfire, which only served to prove that London Pride is a pretty good brown ale.

I could have easily played GBBF bingo whilst I at the Olympia. I saw men in sandals (albeit without socks, so I’m not sure if this counted or not.) I saw men in Hobgoblin t-shirts. I saw men in hats (stupid hats, not sensible Ska brewing caps, they don’t count).

I am now at Camden Brewery. There are none of those things here. Compared to what it will be like tonight, it is calm and relaxed. I am able to sit at the bar and drink Unfiltered Hells whilst occasionally stopping to talk to whoever is working. It’s one of the many things I like about the bar.

In the fridge remains a selection of Ska Brewing and Oscar Blues cans. I expect I shall leave with some more.

In admission, this is a terrible Friday Pint, possibly the worst. The thing is though, you need the bad to make you realise how good the good actually is. Consider this the Spitfire of The Friday Pint posts. (383)

The Great British Beer Festival 2012 – Almost Live!

I am currently sat in the Olympia. Thousands (at a guess) of trade people and beery geeks with season tickets, or blagged trade tickets are milling around drinking thirds, half’s or pints of the numerous beers on offer here.

At the point of writing this paragraph, I have been here for just under 90 minutes, in which time I have drunk four thirds of beer from three different countries. They have mostly been disappointing.

My starter was from US brewery Sierra Nevada, a brewery that has a place in my heart for being the one that alerted me to the fact that there was more to US beer than Bud or Miller or Coors. The beer in question was Imperial Red, which, although nice, was slightly disappointing for me.

I followed this up with a third of De Molen‘s Rasputin, aged in Speyside barrels. The aroma was gorgeous. The sort of aroma that I could spend a whole afternoon taking in through my nostrils. I doubt that I will try a better beer whilst I’m here, yet it did have it’s flaws. The alcohol was slightly burning, and whilst it should have been a luxurious beer, it felt slightly to thin to feel luxurious.

After this I decided to go upstairs to try Melissa Cole‘s collaboration with Ilkley, Siberia. I’m sorry to say this, but based on what I tried today, I wasn’t that fussed. I believe I have a bottle waiting for me back in Southampton, so I’ll make a second opinion on that.

Beer number four was one of my wants of the festival, following Brewers Reserve No. 3 last year. Fullers Brewers Reserve No. 4 was somewhat of a disappointment. It didn’t seem to have the flavour and aroma that No. 3 had last year. I’ll be buying a few bottles to stick away and age, but right now, it’s my least favourite of the Brewers Reserves.

Update 2.

Since last writing, I have had two more beers.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo is on I had on cask last year. It’s a personal favourite of mine, yet I believe cask isn’t the best dispense method for it. I still enjoyed it though, and I believe it’s the sort of beer more British brewers should be making.

After this came Green King‘s 5X. Like Fullers Brewers Reserve, only one firkin is being made available each day of the festival. I much prefer this to the Brewers Reserve, and it’s a shame that Green King don’t produce this to sell normally, if only in bottles from source. It’s a delightfully delicious beer, and one that I feel would change with age.

After this I’m going to be mingling. There may be another update here, though I expect the next one may come when I’m at home.

Update 3.

Two more beers to add to the list. This time from Cantillon, including the Pure Apricot, which, whilst nice, wasn’t as apricoty as I’d have liked it to be. Since last writing I’ve also had a 20″ bratwurst, and I’m now eating some biltong. Time to return to those American beers….

Update 4.

My American bar return was short lived. I had a third of Lagunitas Undercover Shutdown Ale, which I quite liked, yet it wasn’t amazing. Whilst drinking it I walked around and encountered Melissa Cole, Zak Avery, and Krishan from Stirchley Wines. Also here is the team from the PO Vaults. Whilst talking to them, I got myself a third of Amber‘s Chocolate Orange Stout, which is a very nice beer.

Currently I’m drinking this years champion beer of Britain. Coniston No. 9 Barley Wine is to some a surprise victor. It’s a rather strong beer, given the traditional Camra stance. I happen to like it, though I wouldn’t drink it often.

Where I go after this I have no idea.

Update 5.

Where did I go after this? Well, for one thing I got to meet Boak and Bailey, of Boak and Bailey’s Beer Blog. After a bit of time talking to them, and Des De Moor, who was also talking to them, I went round to find Nate of Booze, Beats and Bites.

Amongst all this socializing, there was also more beer drinking, including two from the US bar, and Offbeat Brewery‘s Way Out Wheat.By this point I’d stopped taking notes.

After leaving the festival I headed to Cask with the aforementioned Nate, where I had a pint of Redwillow’s IPA, which was probably a mistake on my part, not that I actually finished it before heading to Richmond with the intention of visiting Real Ale, only to find it shut at 8pm.

As I was in Richmond anyway, I decided to pop into Pig’s Ears and have a quick drink. This turned out to be a half of William Bros. Ceilidh followed by a bottle of Brewdog’s Lost Dog.

After all this, when I finally got in, I opened a bottle of Camden Town Brewery‘s Hells Lager and then followed this with the bottle of Stringers Mutiny that I received from The Ormskirk Baron. It was a very delicious end to a very enjoyable day.

Roll on GBBF 2013! (587)

There’s a difference of opinion here…

I don’t like the beer you quite like. The fact that my opinion is right must by default make your opinion on that same beer wrong.

All keg beer is cold fizzy lager, even the stouts you can get on keg these days. If it comes from a keg it must be cold and fizzy, and also, lager. Lager is bad because it isn’t dull and brown and warm.

All cask beer is dull and brown and has no flavour. The champion beer of Britain will be a dull, brown ale. My opinion is right, all others, are in theory, wrong.

Cans are just miniature versions of kegs. My preconceptions of keg beer must mean that by association, canned beer must also be cold and fizzy, and not at all enjoyable.

I have made my conclusions from various comments I have read across the internet. Cask is old fashioned and not innovative. It’s also the drink of dull old fashioned men with beards and sandals. Cask is not cool. Keg isn’t cask. It’s cold and fizzy, and people are only doing it because the Americans are doing it, and they think it’s cool.

In short, what I have deduced from listening to a lot of different people on the internet, is that all beer is rubbish, regardless of it’s dispense method. The whole keg versus cask debate doesn’t matter, because they’re both as bad as each other.

Whatever your opinions on the matter may be, lets just agree that you might possibly be wrong. There’s also the possibility you might be right, but when there’s beer to be drunk, and enjoyed, is it really worth debating all of these petty details?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to invent the next great marketing term in the world of beer… (1054)

The Friday Pint #31 – Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam

Since moving to WordPress, I’ve recieved many comments on my blog posts. This week, I thought I’d round up some of the ones that have been posted on The Friday Pint posts, and reply to them in some way.

Clarisa commented on The Friday Pint #13, saying “your blog’s design is simple and clean and i like it. your blog posts are superb. please keep them coming. greets!!!” Thank you Clarisa, I hope you’ve been enjoying the recent stuff.

On The Friday Pint #14, Aicha posted “greetings my friend, i came to congratulate you for your great website. all the best”. Thank you for your kind words, Aicha. I hope you are well.

Agnes posted on edition #18, saying how she was looking forward to my other posts that were about to come. How were they Agnes? Did you enjoy reading them?

My trip to the Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival, the subject of The Friday Pint #23, provoked good reactions from Benta and Dalvania. It’s always good to recieve complimentary feedback, so thanks to both of you.

The Friday Pint #25 has had some interesting comments. Ronnie left me the following message…

“I cling on to listening to the rumor lecture about receiving boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the most excellent site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i get some?”

I’m afraid I can’t help you there Ronnie, but I can tell you that Bitter Virtue has Stone Old Guardian, which is a rather lovely barley wine. I had some when I was up in Leeds earlier in the year. You should try some.

I also got a delightful message from African Mango Diets.

“african how diet do mango is ideal for nearly any function. Indubitably, you will try new things when it is linked to website. The countdown begins now. Do you have to look credible? Trust me, based what I have learned, I started an experiment a couple of months ago with facebook. This isn’t something you shouldn’t take lightly, but I can see this. I’m a tightwad provided that sure african mango is work when dealing with blog. That’s how to quit being bothered about this. Here’s something that my apprentice always says as that concerns diets, “Only the strong survive.” Guestbook is a popular tool to save you money for forum. In any case, I still do understand how to use diets that well. Perhaps you could change your modus operandi. african how diet do mango, in general, changes quickly.”

I suspect a lot of meaning has been lost in translation here, yet I thank you for taking the time to post a comment on my blog, even if it is seemingly irrelevant to the subject matter of the actual post.

Thanks to all of you, be you spambot or actual physical entity, posting comments on this blog. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to make lazy posts like this, which completely excuse me from the strenuous task of going out and finding somewhere to drink a pint, and then making notes to write about it later on.

Besides, I’ll be drinking tomorrow. I think that’s a good enough excuse.

  (506)

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”. (1618)