It's been an odd week. I have failed to keep up with work (many reasons but mainly a surfeit of lampre- I mean, marking), had a lovely breakfast with the rest of my colleagues, failed to locate a decent garage and been home late a lot. However, it's Thursday, I've played football, my arms ache and I'm having a beer.
Tonight I am mostly drinking Derby Brewing Co.'s Old Intentional that comes in a natty bottle with a purple label evoking various parts of Derby's skyline, and not all of that is terribly flattering. On offer at the local supermarket, always worth a punt.
There's a definite smell of hops, not the sharp citrus of cascade or the pungent aroma of maris otter nor the fiery spice of fuggles but it's there all the same. Puts me in mind of raisins and grape and strawberries in Pimm's of a summer evening. Colour is a nice chestnut with a thin head that arrives with a great deal of vigour and then dissipates just as quickly. First sip is hoppy, the bottle claims delicate hops but I call foul and say they run the show, above a smooth malt and the barest hint of a yeasty tone sounding softly in the background. Picture yourself in a Tibetan monastery, somewhere in the distance there is a singing bowl being sounded, that's about the influence of the yeast and it is a good effect to have. Carbonation is light and carefully handled, I've had the bottle a few weeks and the conditioning has done it some good from the feel of things, and there is a satisfying amount of fizz without being overwhelming.
At 5% ABV it's firmly in my normal drinking stable and the wealth of taste in it makes me think that this is of good quality. There's a body to it, a kind of warm thickness, the sort of feeling you would usually associate with a familiar coat that you dig out to wear in winter after a long summer and find bus tickets in the pockets along with a receipt of meaning and a tenner that you forgot you had sometime in late February the year before. In the same way this is a beer that rewards your hesitancy with rich flavour and an improving aftertaste. It's probably not a sessionable beer but one that you have with food, I'd suggest a nut roast or a vegetable curry to get the necessary 'bite' that this would soothe over, and that is no bad thing.
Most pleasurable. Enjoy with a hearty meal at most times of the year, but not high summer, and have a brace. One to have as you eat and one to have as you dissolve into the inevitable after dinner conversation where one puts the world to rights.