After a late day at work and in need of shelter for the wait for the bus, I popped into the Fork Handles for a Christmas brew. There were two but I thought the Santa’s Dark Side fit my mood, best.
Overall: No more believable as an ale than Santa’s good side is as an explanation for the horrors of Christmas Past.
Colour: Coal-infused ruby.
Aroma: Burnt cigarette filter tip. Viceroy’s, specifically.
Mouth: Thin-to-medium body but with a frothy collar that promised more than it delivered.
Flavour: Berries and quinine with a burnt oak maltiness and no chocolate, at all.
Yesterday’s entry here.
I need to restock the festive beverages but there is one more here before I do…and most pubs have Christmas brews on tap, too. Today was Bewdley Brewery’s Bah Humbug … after G-Had Hash #22, of course.
Overall: No complaints, fine with the cooking effort (a chiles rellenos casserole).
Colour: Peter Tosh or Bunny Wailer after a sunny, outdoor concert series.
Aroma: Bowling ball wax (and some rental bowling shoes).
Mouth: A bit watery, tart but not especially astringent.
Flavour: Chocolate and herb (skunk, not cooking). A little bit of baked potato skin if the subsequent sip comes without time to savour — or recover from — the previous.
Yesterday’s entry here.
Day 3 (22 to go) of the Advent Booze Calendar and it was the turn of Arkell’s Noël. I like that mine are all Christmas themed tipples but the Advent project Brownie has entered looks like more fun. And, like him (he mentions it in his post), I have a ’365 day’ project for next year…mine for a different drink everyday to try to break in our new bar set. But for now, here’s the Noël notes:
Overall: A surprise in that it doesn’t taste like every other Arkell’s ale, in fact it has a threat of the fantastic Pilsner in it.
Colour: Pinkish copper like a very new American penny, or like a very soiled…oh, just read the ‘Aroma’ notes….
Aroma: Sex toy, unused but lubed with a good quality poly(dimethyl)sulfoxide.
Mouth: Medium-to-light, acidic with carbonation and a bit of a hoppy backlash. Not as bad in the mouth as suspected.
Flavour: Sex toy, not so unused as it seemed from the scent but not at all in a threatening way. Bitterness that draws at the missing back molars. Floral, light and mildly sweet (that’s probably the Astroglide).
Yesterday’s entry here.
The second day of the Advent Booze Calendar found me working on lecture slides about ion guides and collisional cooling of analytes with this brief break in the action to make some notes on Wye Valley Brewery’s “Dorothy Goodbody’s Christmas Cracker.” Wye Valley has a special ale for each month dedicated to their saucy mascot, and I am tempted to try to run the calendar with these next year.
Overall: Very similar to yesterday’s pick, especially drinkable.
Colour: Deep brown like Audrey Hepburn’s eyes
Aroma: Damp lumberyard spoils, not rotting but no longer woody
Mouth: Medium bodied, fine carbonation. Non-viscous but not watery, either.
Flavour: Hints of chocolate and nutmeg riding on a tart backnote — like the pith of a lemon left in some baking cocoa. The finish is something akin to linseed oil (reminder it is time to treat the garden furniture for winter weather).
At 6% abv, Christmas Cracker seemed a suitable way to kick off the Advent Calendar (24 days till Xmas). Here are my tasting notes.
Overall: very pleasant glass of beer, try it if you can
Colour: Deep chestnut or freshly oiled saddle.
Aroma: Varnish and furniture polish with a hint of last year’s potpourri. Maybe a bit phenolic like sticky tape.
Mouth: Full bodied, a bit coating but not so much creamy as slightly like thin oil. Neither gassy nor flat but with pronounced fine carbonation especially in the mouth.
Flavour: Burnt chestnuts and a bit of unsweetened baking chocolate. Malty, but a bit of a sour edge with just a hint of buttermilk.
The Swan is contained in a gorgeous building with care taken to preserve the architectural integrity and a friendly host and a tie to an awesome microbrewery over in Coleshill (the Old Forge). Everything seems to be done right to make this a welcoming local and yet the atmosphere reeks of middle class smugness. I don’t get it, as I really want to feel comfortable in the place but something just doesn’t seem right.
I was happy with my beer, and it was a good price. The four tables of yuppies near the open fire each had a well-behaved dog but I guess the problem was largely that the four well-behaved dogs each was surrounded by tables full of yuppies. Worth a visit for the building and maybe I just hit it on an off-cycle…I’d return for the Old Forge ales, at least.
[*kpw = kebab per week for 2013, as noted in an earlier post and the 53rd entry for the 2013 Challenge]
I’m always knocked out by Fairford with its medieval layout and ancient buildings (albeit surrounded by modern estates due to the USAF presence at RAF Fairford a mile or so to the south). It isn’t exactly the sort of place I expected to find a good kebab or bad chips but I was in turn pleasantly surprised and sorely disappointed with my snack from the Fairford Kebab and Pizza house. The meat was a delight and didn’t sit very heavy (neither fatty nor salty) and the chilli sauce was functional-to-quite-good. The chips were not nearly so good, though, with about a third of their thickness a polymerised crust of oil from the initial blanching dip in the fryer. Oh, well, it was cheap and it took the edge off before the run back to Lechlade.