now regular readers may wish to admonish me or mumble under their breath in dissatisfaction at the fact that my detox and stop at home money saving plan lasted only 2 days. However, any such scathing disapproval would only prevent you from sharing in my joy at drinking two utterly faultless beers last night, in ideal surroundings. So forgive me, and allow me to tell you why breaking my abstinence was so worth it...
I left work with a significant thirst after a day of frustration and poorly executed projects by those above me. I decided to go straight to Shakespeares Ale and Cider House on Gibraltar Street, not five minutes away (well, literally, if you walk slowly) without even stopping to secure myself some cash first.
Having checked the card machine was working, I selected a pint, a half of somethiong strong and a packet of crisps. It came to a fiver. Myself and the lass behind the bar were impressed, and I paid on card and got some cashback. I realise I may have mentioned this before, but giving cash back, especially in the form of for example, charging £12.80 for a pint and giving a tenner back, is simply good business sense. Punters stop around longer, and assuming they purchase more beer, don't pay by card thereby saving you the transaction fee...
Anyhoo, todays business lesson aside, lets talk about the incredible beer.
Revolutions Brew Demo, 4.5% unfined late hopped ale. A glorious amber, possibly slightly chectnut ale which, was crystal clear. Initially I was disappointed about this. However, my sense of let down evaporated, after one swig told me straight away I had picked the best beer on the bar. As my visit continued, it became obvious that I had probably picked the best beer on any bar, anywhere, on that night.
Demo drinks so easily as to be embarrassing. There is a distinct and pleasing nutty flavour lurking in the bitterness which I swear I have detected in unfined beer before. That its colour is so glorious maybe an anomaly, since I was expecting a cloudy offering, but it was suggested to me that the finings weren't there to clear the beer, rather to keep the yeast at the bottom. Arguably, one is the same as the other - I found out though that the beer had been in the cellar at Shakespeares for a good while. So you could suggest that all the "matter" i.e. yeast and hop debris had naturally settled to the bottom of the cask. I still don't understand if or how that could have contributed to the beer being so damned amazing though....
Five minutes after my first purchase, without even having entertained the idea of starting to sup my half of Raw Pacific Ghost, 5.9%, I was back at the bar using my tenner to purchase a sarnie and another pint of Demo. This time I had to force myself not to drink Demo until I had finished my Raw beer. It was a very enjoyable and impressively balanced hoppy beer in itself, but it possibly didn't receive a fair assessment in the face of the competition.
All too soon I was once again delighting in the absurdly pleasing quaffability of the tremendous Demo. Had I the money, time and physical capacity, I think I would have drunk the beer until it ran out. It was that good. That it was also safe to drink plenty at a sensible 4.5% made it all the more satisfying. An unrivalled start to any night's drinking.
I was off oop troad next to pop in Dada as Tuesday's demand. The two other Tuesday regulars were in and we chatted about darker beers, mild at the Temple, and the National Inventory of Unspoilt Pub Interiors. On the bar there were no guests, which would normally annoty me immensely, but I didn't care, because they were selling Thornbridge McConnells. Which is bloody excellent. I haven't drunk it since December, and it was well worth the wait.
Plenty of Thornbridge favourites have fallen from grace recently for me. Most notably Kipling, Jaipur and for a while now, Lord Marples. So to find McConnells in such fantastic form was reason to celebrate. And I did so by buying several pints of the wonderful drink.
The enjoyment of my visit was enhanced by chatting with beer genius Emily and James, the youngest man in the world. There are times I have been to Dada and been non-plussed about the beer, but not minded in the face of excellent company. I have already written at length about why I like the place so I won't go over old ground, but its safe to say that my trip there, on this occasion of beer excellence, was the perfect end to the evening.
This year has seen me bowled over and blown away by Brodies Citra, Red Willow Faithless, Magic Rock Bearded Lady Bourbon Cask and Magic 8 Ball, Blue Monkey BG Sips (again), Steel City 666, Dark Star Saison and now Revolutions Brew Demo.
It looks like I've nearly settled on my top ten beers of 2012....