Sunday, 26 February 2017


I've been looking forward to this. I had intended to have it on the same night as the Saint Petersburg (click here) but then didn't due to a combination of indolence and light-weightedness. Thus it has waited a week, coldly rejected on the shelf, and eyeing me carefully and suspiciously as one would a potentially useful contact in the black market. However, a long week and an odd morning, all self-induced, mean that a strong one ("it's a bit pokey" warned the nice man in the bottle shop) is just what I fancy now.

I refer to the Billionaire from Wild Beer Co. and it promises a great deal in the chocolate stout department, enough to tempt me out to the bottle shop to get the Millionaire as a potential after, but we'll see. Would you like to know more?

There was a slight noise on opening, the beast wished to emerge and feel the air for itself. A hint of what was to come was made by the strangely quiet and still innards and then onto the pour where the full beauty of the dark was made known in the soft light of the energy saving bulbs in the alcoves. Whispers of the carbonation on the glass, viscous liquid pooling and falling into the curve of the glass like stars on an event horizon in deep space. Voices sweetly suckling at the bones in your ears like stones in the stream. Headless, like the horseman of myth and legend, heedless and crashing down and deep into the bottom of the glass. Smells like chocolate and caramel hard and soft, sweet and sound surely slipping into the nose. Poetry in motion, motion in the words and so there is a full scent strong on the cocoa like melted millionaire shortbread.

On the glass like wine, leaving that wet line of legs and turning like something left in the fridge too long, melted ice-cream not fully liquid nor solid in any appreciable sense. Explosion of thick chocolate on the tongue, faint buzzing from the flies of carbonation carrying the bittered note of hops and caramel to the sides of the mouth, the middle subdued by the cascade of sweetened bean, slowly and tenderly moving down the middle like a lover dropping feathery contact on the upturned skin glistening in the candlelight of the romantic night in. Luxurious like long draughts in baths, luscious like locks gathered from the head of the one you love beneath the sucking nostrils of entwined romance in the heat of passion on a cold night. Empty arms bereft of love with distance a poor replacement so that the aftertaste, though present, cannot match the power and the fury of the opening. An ale or an heir to a fortune? Hard to place and impossible to judge.

Savoured and supped, revered and reverent not quick and quaffed, sessioned and swallowed. It is the night and the flavour the lover in the hotel getaway. Bedsheets bunched and twisted, trays of breakfast abandoned in the hall, lunch ignored in favour of the honey over gravel of the voices and the sounds. Velvet embraces with spicy undertones like the red tinge that catches the light from dark brunette or black atop the soft face resting on the rising and falling of the lungs. Here is an ale that repays your time and wants you to stop awhile and enjoy your time in its presence. Imperial stout that Romans would recognise, three-hundred for the long evenings into the night-times, and a huge 10% ABV hit disguised and elevated at the same time. Claims of a salty bite, the kind that leaves a mark to be hidden by a scarf come the sober morning, but ultimately the kind of fin de sciele  decadence that heralds the end of an age, the sunset of a civilisation.

The end of an Imperial Stout

Enjoyed best watching the political classes descend beyond parody into farce, with the people firmly stuck in their place, nary voices in opposition (what would it achieve). As the clouds of chaos rise on the horizon, hammerhead dark anvils spearing the ground with billions of volts of flashing painful light, so you open the bottle. As revolutions rise and die in flame and suffering, as wars rage and wane, munitions rain from clear skies and refugees are hurled from places of refuge to die alone and panicked in the cold waters so you pour and then drink deep. Coming are the Gothic hordes to lay waste, sanitation fails and the veil slips so that the temples and the circuses are abandoned in favour of ever smaller farmhouses and forts on hilltops. Maybe an emperor will rise in the East, maybe the West will subsume in wreaths of smoke, as the seas rise and species die this is the ale to drink and to revel in it all. An apogee.

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