A night in with some Indian take-out and the last vestiges of the Christmas tree before dismantling on the morrow. Still hard at the grindstone, trusting that this not an augur for the New Year as a whole as it is bloody hard work. However, much firing off in my brain about how to shape and mould things so that, locally at least, 2017 is better than 2016 was. Truth be told, last year had ennui setting in about now and this year is already better than that.
I'm having a lamb moni puri from our excellent local Indian takeaway with some mushroom rice. Very spicy and very strong flavours and I thought, in the absence of fish and chips, it would be the perfect accompaniment to Christmas on the Beach because it is a lager and full of summer freshness, or at least that is what the label promised. It's a lager so it can't be too bad with something so highly flavoured, right?
Great curry and a lovely little lager. Would you like to know more?
As you can see, I poured this only once the curry had been served. I am such a glutton that I started eating before I had chance to smell the brew and the immediate effect of eating part of a green pepper was to create hiccoughs - of course I had to move straight to having a sip of this to quell the heat and I was not disappointed. This is supposedly delicately flavoured by the hops to evoke kiwi and tropical fruit but it is far from delicate, these flavours burn out the chilli and curry that I have eaten and shine through clearly on the tongue. A massive hop hit with a dry centre of taste that complements the curry nicely, mingling with the dry heat of the rest of the curry sauce that isn't a green pepper and is mixed better with the rice wrapped in the chapati. So it was for most of the brew and most of the curry, I used this lager brew to cover the heat and to recover from the rather strong flavours in the sauce. Not unwelcome, but very strong.
It poured well, however, and created a decent but soon gone head with plenty of activity atop a straw-coloured body and good carbonation. Having a sniff mid-way through the curry revealed that there was indeed a good amount of hops and kiwi came to the fore - the sort that's been in the fridge for a bit and is lovely and green and firm. My mouth, already watering from the curry, struggled to water more because it was such a tasty smell. And, with a curry on the side, it is a very appetising combination. I have been known to have Cobra with my curries and I have always thought that it worked reasonably well as a side, but this works so much better and is so much better flavoured. Well, it has an actual flavour! Those Pacific hops really do a good job of evoking the sun and sea from some Pacific island community - I half expected a group of dancers to spring up with grass skirts at any moment. Luckily for me and my casual racism they did not.
As the curry progressed and the brew continued to be used to quell heat and lubricate the mouth I found that the lager continued to maintain a good carbonation and a good flavour. The hops remained the main impression from the taste and the dry aftertaste allowed the curry to do its work in a timely and effective manner. Such is the curry and my own greed that I have imbibed this 5.2% ABV lager rather more quickly than the taste warranted. This could have easily been something to have a little slower and enjoy more as I reflect on the way it all balances and is used but it has stood being drunk swiftly over a strong curry just as much. I was a little dubious of this brew, even after the good reports from people I know who post reviews, but this was completely unfounded.
Enjoy with fish and chips ideally, from a decent chippie that is local and thus easily accessible on foot so that you can bring the food home, but any takeaway food will work well. Ensure a clear night free of work and a decent film on the telly, even if you have to make use of a DVD. Pour, settle, get eating and then let the lager do the work that a lager ought to do: background interest that showcases the meal by cleansing the palate and augments the DVD by offering a slight alcoholic kick.