Sometimes the joy of beer is in sharing. The best case scenario is to share the beer experience in 'real time' either with friends in the pub, or via the medium of off-licence, at home (also with friends).
However, for someone like me with burgeoningly anti-social habits, the Internet offers a remarkably pain free way of sharing good beer experiences, with some complete strangers/friends who feel obliged to read your blog.
Here is a quick resume of my most recent 'good' beer experience. Actually, I'll give you my two most recent best experiences... how's that for a BOGOF?
i) 19th May AKA Champions League Final.
This evening saw four dark beers stashed in the fridge, and supped whilst Chelsea put Munich away on penalties. In fact, because I'm rather a slow drinker, this session probably lasted until well after the Chelsea fans had downed their last stein of Augustiner Helles in Munchen.
Things kicked off with Buxton Imperial Black IPA, an absolutely belting beast. Hoppy, ashy, smooth with licorice and good, clean earth. From that high point, it was a tough ask to top it.
But Magic Rock Dark Arts had a good stab at living up to Buxton's err blazing trail. Dark Arts is une grande Stout: chiseled blocks of graphite, bobbing in a sea of blended hop and sweetness.
Next up a Brewdog Dogma - an example of the style which is known as a Scotch Ale. What exactly is a Scotch Ale Dan? Did the style originate in Scotland presumably, Dan? Err, well yes, but it's been popularised by our US craft-brewing cousins. Dogma is everything which I profess to be err not necessarily enamoured with: thick, sweet, extremely malty, with not much hops. But, this was very delicious; exceptionally smooth and compelling. Another winner. But hang on, could it be that I'm deliberately lauding a Brewdog beer, because I'm so delighted that they are opening a new bar in Birmingham? Perhaps subconsciously. But honestly the beer was great. Great news about Brewdog opening a bar in Birmingham, by the way. Can't wait until August.
Fourth and [thankfully*] last of the evening, was a Bristol Beer Factory Raspberry Stout. Now this was plainly a nice beer, but I'm afraid my tastebuds were shot by this point. In fact my sense of reason had wandered down Hagley Road some time previously.** It didn't hit the heights of the others.
* With ABVs of 7.5%, 6%, 7.4% and 7.7% respectively, I was at full capacity.
** Please see above sentence and try to pay more attention.
Buxton won the night.
ii) 26th May AKA Eurovision
Oh yes - Eurovision. But oh, not just Eurovision, also DownDIPA, the Campaign for Really Good Beer's celebration of Double India Pale Ales.
Not quite as socially unacceptable as the evening detailed above, this night saw the consumption of three beers of 7.2%, 9% and 4.9% content.
First up was Ageless, a very tasty hopfiend from Redwillow. This was more of a single IPA, rather than a double, but that's missing the point; the point being that it was a very tasty, hoppy, orange rock and parma violet accented beer.
Then came a genuine DIPA - Summer Wine Maelstrom. For those who need to know, Summer Wine are a really very good UK 'craft' brewery from Holmfirth (yes, the place where they filmed Last of the Summer Wine). Maelstrom was thin, sticky and packed with very bitter, oily alcoholic menace. Excellent.
At that point I was sensible (for once) and opted out of any further DIPAs. I had a Dunkelweizen instead. Maisels Weisse Dunkel in fact. Yes, it suffered in comparison with the two previous beers, lacking their hoppy, high content flavour. But it was nice to relieve some happy Germanic memories of Summer's gone by. More proof that this Summer will be the 'Second Summer of German beer' (which I will explain another time, but basically means that I am aiming to drink lots of delicious German beers this Summer, in some futile attempt to regain my fast fading heyday).
Any way, the Maisels was smooth, nutty and full of frothy sweetness. One day soon I might tell you my top ten Dunkelweizens***
Eurovision is obviously a hoot, and the beer was equally good. Here's to the next DownDIPA.
*** If you are particularly naughty.