Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The last of the Christmas beers

It was time it went, after all I hadn’t drunk anything from it since New Year’s Eve. I’m talking of the 5-litre mini cask of Devonshire 10-Der I got from Country Life just before Christmas. This is a 10% barley wine-strong ale hybrid produced by a North Devon brewery based in the most unlikeliest of places — a theme park devoted to all things ovine (The Big Sheep, great for young kids up to about 8 and there’s a brewery and shop onsite as well). Anyway, I thought it time that the empty keg was put out for recycling. It’s been in my cellar that is usually 6-8˚c at this time of the year. It had been vented as well so all sorts of changes were happening. There was only about a third of a pint left so I thought I would do a spot of responsible drinking. Wow. It was still and limid in the glass, a texture reminiscent of the silken waters of the Cam at Granchester, calm enough to swim in. Chocolate and roasted coffee beans, a fiery alcoholic nature and a rye biscuit dryness in the finish still enticed. Grown up and worthy of a cigar (if I smoked, which I don’t), silken dressing gown and a lambskin-bound edition of, let’s say, The Devil Rides Out (and the wind howling outside). Fortunately, it’s all gone now so the family are spared the above spectacle.
Mentioning The Devil Rides Out reminds me of the time my mate Mark got married several years back and he and his missus held the reception at a country hotel Shepperton way that was the home of Christopher Lee’s character in the original film. He organised a barrel of Alton Pride from Triple fff for the do in the evening. Top man.


  1. Sounds magnificent, thankfully 5 litre party kegs seem to be catching on the with craft brewers over here in the States (or at least my favourite brewer here does them so I'm happy!). Fierily alcoholic chocolate and coffee sounds just the ticket for a winter evening - with a 78 on the Victrola!

  2. I'm impressed that you thought buying 5 litres of that was a good idea.

  3. Velky — cor, 78s, I remember my Taid having some when I was a kid. Nothing to play them on, they were just in a cupboard. Always think of people listening to crackling recordings of Caruso doing my tiny ’ands are frozen (well whoever was his oppo)
    Zak — buying beer is always a good idea, I did Headcracker foro Xmas one year. Though I must admit I felt slightly ropy on the morning of Jan 4 (there was a lot of string stuff swilling about over Xmas) and went on a detox for four days. Tip top ever since.

  4. "It was still and limpid in the glass, a texture reminiscent of The Cam at Grantchester, calm enough to swim in . . ."
    Sheer beer poetry!
    (only mildly marred by the association Grantchester has with Jeffrey Bleedin' Archer)

    More beer poetry -
    (ex-Betwixt, still brewing though)

  5. MicMac — Grantchester has its own magic that someone like him cannot spoil, I interviewed him once, asking him about his 10 favourite films, it was on the phone and I felt that each choice was chosen by his PA, there was no passion, it all felt one-noteish, it was almost like he was reading something, one of them was Cage aux Folies, a film all about deception, make of that what you will…

  6. I'd like to echo Zak's sentiment!

  7. No, you're absolutely right - I was being a bit mischievous - Grantchester does indeed have an unassailable magic.

    Cage Aux Folies eh? - It could be argued his financial follies led him to the cage, I guess :~)

    Glad you liked the Carol Ann Duffy thing.
    (I think you kindly allowed me to gatecrash last year's Lager Seminar at Thornbridge?)

  8. Mike
    no probs, that lager seminar feels a long time ago.

  9. " . . . that lager seminar feels a long time ago."

    You're telling me! - since then I've opened & closed a brewery :~(