the answer, of course, is get back on the ale. No point putting yourself through the achy pain of sobriety when New Years eve is just round the corner. And then its Drinkuary of course....
Alas, the pong of work hung over my calendar so I had to take my foot off the bottle for another day before beginning three days of Christmas relaxation starting today. In order to soften the impact of this needless distraction, I arranged to meet up with friends after work for, ahem "a couple of pints". Whilst you struggle to guess what may have actually happened in relation to that description, I'll fill you in on the important details....
We started around 4 at Shakespeares. Not too busy, but that's often the curse of the days between Christmas and New Year - no-one seems able to work out whether to expect a working day or weekend trade. Which was good, because we were able to grab a large table in the left hand room and settle down for a few pints.
I was joined by Jazz and Dave, Mr C, Maureen and Suzie Wish and started on a pint of Axholme Dark Lager. It was a very nice dark mild. It wasn't a schwarzbier or anything similar though! From here I moved onto pints (3 or so) of the excellent Welbeck Abbey Brewery Coco Noel, a fantastic chocolate stout with just the right balance of sweetness and crisp bitterness. This really loosened up those drinking it and put us in good spirits for our next stop.
DAda was atypical in its exclusivity so we also got a decent spot to sit in here. I had another enjoyable pint of Dancing Duck Gold, J9 alas missed out on the Rauchbier because she was distracted by a fruity offering (stop it..) and overall the drinks on offer were good, although Wish and C didn't rate the Bernard, so we (I, grumpily) decided to move on.
The Red Deer was our final stop, which makes a nice change for me, and it was here from a choice of two guests (there are about 5 or 6 regulars) I finally made the acquaintance of a beer that lots of people rate highly - the incredibly tasty and satisfying Santa Baby, a 5.9% IPA from Welbeck Abbey Brewery. This is another excellent Christmas ale from Welbeck, (although its festive relevance isn't exactly apparent in the taste! I'll let the brewery explain...) and one which, I confess, pretty much finished me off. I don't know how many glasses of the glorious brew passed my lips but it was a fantastic way to end a great night out with good friends.
By the way, Welbeck have even gone and got themselves a website so you can follow this link to see what has replaced their blog - and read a little about Santa Baby into the process.
So, that rounds up the details of my proper works night out, a tale that serves as an illustration of why you shouldn't drink almost exclusively beers of 5.0% and higher all night, as well as highlighting the money saving benefits of keeping ones underlying levels up throughout Christmas.
Which reminds me, that Abbeydale Deception isn't going to drink itself....